Tag: app

I Spy With My Mobile Eye, Mobile Spy v6.0

Continuing its efforts to keep children safe on their computers, tablets and smartphones, Retina-X Studios® announced last week the 6th generation of Mobile Spy® monitoring software for smartphones. This version has been overhauled and now includes new social media recording features and application blocking.

Mobile Spy (available across 5 smartphone platforms) silently records smartphone user activity of children/employees. Logs are viewable online in real time and reviewed from any web browser inside a secure online control panel. Standard features include monitoring of entire SMS text messages, actual GPS locations, call information and photos taken on the phone.

With this update they have added the ability to view 9 types of social media messengers (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry PIN Messenger, GTalk, Twitter, etc.). This gives the user the ability to make sure their employees are not sharing confidential material or that their children aren’t communicating with forbidden individuals. Also, users can now view a list of applications installed to the device and forcibly block any app remotely. Gmail App email messages and YouTube videos played are also now recorded. Another new feature is the Phone Usage logs, which show how much time the child or employee spends on each activity they perform. The software can also be uninstalled remotely.

Mobile Spy offers the industry’s only LIVE Control Panel, which allows the user to instantly view the phone’s screen and a map of the current GPS location. This optional feature also allows users to perform administration commands instantly, such as having logs emailed to their email address, initiating a silent call or SMS from the device or putting the device in lockdown.

How it works?

  • Customer purchases Mobile Spy and downloads software onto the phone to be monitored. Customer configures program according to their monitoring needs.
  • Phone user performs SMS messages, URL browsing and call activities. Mobile Spy Records the activities and then silently uploads logs to the Mobile Spy servers.
  • Customer logs into their online account from any Internet connected PC. Here they can view all recorded activities in near real time.

With all that said, would you pay $49.97 for 3 months (or $99.97 for 12 months) to monitor/spy on your children or employees?

My first concern was with privacy.
Their company privacy policy is that their customer databases remain confidential and private. They have not, will not, and won’t ever sell names to “spammers” or other parties who would like to use their databases to advertise or solicit their products or services. Their products do not collect any information from your phone other than the information required for the products’ successful operation.

My second concern would be upon purchasing the spy subscription, will users know this software has been installed or is running?
Mobile Spy uses the latest innovations in mobile monitoring to keep monitoring safe and secure. There are no indications that Mobile Spy is running while it is active. The program has no entries in the User Menu, and its files are extremely discreet. Best of all, when Mobile Spy is running, there is NO entry for it in the Task Manager. So it is my responsibility to notify any user they are being monitored.

Luckily, I have no children or employees to monitor, but this capability could make things interesting.

My next questions are; 1) Who do they allow you to monitor? and 2) Who is currently monitoring me?



SnipSnap Coupon App

What if an app could combine sms notifications, mobile payments and bar/qr codes? I think SnipSnap is almost there. Plus, with couponing continuing to be a hot topic due to the current state of the economy, this app is right on target.

With this app, users can take photos of coupons and store them within the app. The app will process the bar code and turn it into a scan-able image, all while retaining the original photograph. I like the idea of SnipSnap Coupon App! In addition to scanning your own coupons, you can also see coupons that other people have scanned, too. You can select coupons to add to your favorites list and once you’ve tried using them at the store, indicate if you were successful or not.

However, it is missing two crucial pieces in order to make it really survive in the marketplace. First, this app still needs buy-off from more retailers. Not all retailers are accepting mobile coupons, causing the user to be frustrated and to lose faith that they can completely get rid of paper coupons. On their site they are open the while some supermarkets accept digital (or paperless) coupons, many still require a printed coupon to redeem. Second, while retailers place coupons in newspapers throughout the country, I can forsee trouble with coupon sharing feature, as more and more people are redeeming the coupons. Could consumer savings get out of hand for the retailer/manufacturer?

The best feature I have found is that the app reminds you when you walk in the store that you have a coupon or that a particular coupon is about to expire. Extremely handy! I often have a pile of paper coupons and half of them expire before I remember that I had a coupon.

Anyone using this app? It has a 4+ rating through the App Store. I have downloaded it and here is a quick walk through.

Creating a ‘How To Video’ with Snapguide

I found Snapguide through iTunes ‘App of the Week’ and I am fairly impressed.

It is perfect if you are looking to learn how to do something new and are frustrated with trying to find it on YouTube or prefer a more friendly interface. The app is filled with user-created how-to guides, which can teach you to do any number of things with a combination of text and photos to show you what to do and how to do it at each step of the way. As more users participate, the more content that becomes available.

I found everything from creating an Easter egg pop to assembling a bicycle! All very helpful and detailed. There are all a few funny characters out there that have uploaded videos about how to eat McDonald’s with maximum enjoyment (not sure that’s possible).

Snapguide is also social, giving users the ability to share the content on Twitter, Facebook or via email. The app also always users to learn with others by chatting with people who share your interests.

This app not only allows you to read and learn from others’ guides, but to create your own. Guides are created by typing out steps or recording audio and pairing them with photos, and they can be shared over Facebook and Twitter as well as within the app for others to learn from and use.

Snapguide Create    Snapguide Explore     Snapguide Title    Snapguide Editor     Snapguide Publish

Overall, this is a great app and has been getting great reviews on the app store. Unfortunately, after reading a few reviews there seems to be a constant prompt asking you to rate the app.

There are only a changes that I would make. First, I would include the ability to share on Pinterest, as this a place where people go to explore and post great ideas! I would also make the ‘Explore’ section, not just show popular or recent videos, but give the user the ability to navigate/narrow their search by categories. For example, if you were looking for what to have for dinner, this function would allow the user to narrow the possibilities, in order to get ideas for dinner and not specifically get directions for grilled chicken.

Just curious, has anyone else heard of this app or used it to create a ‘How To’ video?

WSDOT Traffic Website & Mobile App

As a daily commuter, I often rely on the WSDOT traffic maps to understand how long my commute might take and what areas are backing up, so I can strategically determine the quickest and safest route.

For a long time I used their website (from a bookmark in my browser), that is not mobile optimized. I know the idea is that people are checking this site before they leave and not from the car, but to be honest, I only check it once I am in the car. They have recently added display advertising to their page, which makes it even more difficult to attain the information I need on my mobile phone. Since their website is not optimized for mobile, I must zoom in to get the details I am looking for and in doing so the banner ad consumes a quarter of my screen.

Seattle Area Traffic Map

Because of this addition, I decided to check out their mobile app. I hadn’t before because I had been advised by other commuters that it wasn’t very accurate. In comparing the maps over the last week, I find them fairly similar in traffic volumes. However, I am not thrilled with the user experience on their mobile app.

The most frustrating part is that I am not able to favorite a flowmap for a particular area. For example, I open the app, and I am sent to a menu that has traffic maps, ferries, mountain passes, social media and border information. I select traffic maps, from there I get another menu where I can select from 13 different cities/areas. I select Seattle Area and arrive at the flowmap, which I find the most helpful in determining my commute. This is where I ask, “Where is the favorite button? I want to put this on my flowmap on my home screen for quicker navigation!” While I have done away with the obtrusive display ad, I have to navigate through 2 menus to get to the 3rd screen that I find most helpful.

WSDOT Mobile App   WSDOT Traffic Maps Screen   Seattle Area Flowmap

I am particularly passionate about traffic because I commute over 60 miles, 5 days a week. I recently joined a vanpool (always a passenger), which has allowed me to be more involved socially with traffic than before (passenger half the time). As a passenger, I am able to photograph, retweet updates and give insight to daily commuters. With this said, I would love more social capabilities within the app. For example, I would like to tweet the flowmap or updates I see from the WSDOT instead of the app being a one way street of information to the user.

Another great idea that I found, in the app reviews on iTunes, is to incorporate the ability to report carpool lane violators, instead of calling the HERO phone line. I find myself calling the HERO line at least once a week.

Also, with the recent addition of tolling to the 520 bridge, it would be great for the app to tell the user the current toll rate, so that drivers can decide if it’s worth taking 520 or not.

It might also be interesting if they could generate a screen, where I could go as a regular I-5 commuter, to get tips and tricks for traveling the corridor from other users. They currently have a screen where you can see Seattle Area alerts, but what if I could post a tip that there was a giant pothole in the right lane at the mid-point of the Ship Canal bridge. This way other commuters could be aware of the hole before they slam into it and the WSDOT would be able to gather road conditions first hand and take the steps to fix it.

Altogether, good app, I only have a few suggestions for the WSDOT. First, optimize their area traffic map websites for mobile use. Then, add a favorite option for your area flowmap within the app.

REI Visa iPhone App

Worked with the REI Visa team and U.S. Bank to create an iPhone app, where a customer is able apply for the card and/or manage their existing account.

We are seeing great results and media coverage of this release. Below are a few of my favorite.

REI Visa iPhone App