Sunday, 20 April 2014

Fruity Picks #2 - Smart Wallet

I travel everywhere by public transport and have several pre-paid cards which not only bloat out my wallet,  but cause an inconvenience when I keep having to take them out and put them back, getting on and off buses and trains. I have a flip case for my iPhone 5 which allows me to store a couple of cards and a few bank notes, but I don't really like flip cases. I wanted something that I could attach to the iPhone without changing the normal case.

There are a number of sticky sleeves which can be attached to an iPhone case and I picked the black neoprene Smart Wallet from Amazon (UK) which set me back £4.99. It comes in other colours and even a Union Jack design (for an extra £1.00).

The wallet sticks very securely onto the back of the iPhone and is stretchy enough to provide enough space to hold three plastic cards, a pair of railway tickets and a couple of banknotes. Just the job for when I'm travelling, and it means I can stick my wallet in my bag rather than leaving it to the mercy of pickpockets in busy London stations!

After two months of constant use, the Smart Wallet shows no sign of peeling off the phone and no obvious signs of wear and tear. A simple low cost solution that works well.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Fruity Picks #1 - UBClock

In a world that is obsessed by time, even the Apple Harvest can't escape knowing what time it is and over the years I've amassed quite a few clock based apps. For me, the ideal clock app is one that :-
  • sits relatively unobtrusively on the desktop (and stays there!)
  • has a degree of configurability in terms of clock face, date, second hand etc.
  • doesn't use too much in the way of system resources
I use iStats Menus to show the time and date in the menu bar, and I have configured a GeekTool Geeklet to show text based date, time and weather on my desktop. For quite a few months I've been using QuartzClocks to display a real clock on the screen, but I've recently replaced it with UBClock.

UBClock on my desktop
UBClock ticks all the boxes and I think it looks stunning. Although it only has one style of clock, just about every aspect of that clock can be modified, from the action of the second hand (e.g. Linear sweep or Railway judder) to the colours of the borders, backgrounds and dial. The date and day can be shown (in different formats naturally) and the hands can be replaced with a digital display if selected.

The clock can be moved around, locked in a specific position, or locked to always appear on top, and its background opacity changed to blend in with your desktop pictures.

UBClock showing all configuration options (from MacAppStore)
UBClock is available from the MacAppStore for 69p. Kudos to developer Ulf Bierkämper for the care and attention to detail that make this app such a pleasure to use.