I have decided it is time to put to rest this venture. It was a fun experience learning to blog and trying to review software. For a time I had a rather dedicated but small group of regular visitors but understandably that has changed due to my infrequent updates. I’m grateful for those who contributed by viewing my reviews or commenting and certainly to those few developers that I communicated with about their apps. This is a decision I had mulled for quite some time, but I have so many interests and reviewing apps has diminished in interest for me mainly due to the lack of traffic here. An example of an un-reviewed app is below.
Tube+ – free app, good alternative
I know I could have done more to promote it and get the word around, but I had hoped it could just grow through word of mouth since I am not one to promote myself much. In fact it grew tremendously just prior to the launch of Windows 8 and for a couple of months after that. I can only assume either my content was not engaging enough or that Windows 8 itself is to blame (many aren’t happy with the compromises it makes). The blog was also limited due to my inability to review apps that I did not find interesting but many in the general public would and do enjoy.
I have considered going the video route and make videos of apps instead where the goal would be just to highlight apps I enjoy and I would have no intention of just any apps, they’d be apps I chose because I liked them or the idea of them. I have to do some research into what video software to get and how I want to do it, but either way it would be a mostly barebones affair. There is no guarantee I will do that, but I have noticed there aren’t many videos out there for Windows 8 so it might be a direction to take things.
Regardless I have immense gratitude for the 18 people who liked my Facebook page, 19 who followed me on Twitter and the 3 people who +1′d the Google+ page for ThroughthePanes. I will gradually suspend those accounts. If I choose to revive this blog in video format, I may reverse the status of those accounts.
Be ready for the update to Windows 8 coming in August, it will be free and fix many of the problems with the current release but either way it is the end of the road for this blog. Through The Panes has shattered.
I’ll end this with a few screenshots of other apps I didn’t review but have recently downloaded. Thanks again!
Corinth Micro Anatomy Augmented Reality
Team Crossword (Xbox Live game)
Another for Tube+ showing our favorite internet cat, Maru
Back with another Star Trek app, but this is superior to the one created by Paramount. This developer has created almanac apps for several different movie/tv series as well so pretty much you’ll find similar content as found in this Star Trek app. Many developers create apps like this and they multiply like rabbits because it is a copy and paste affair. While the apps are similar to each other for the almanac, that is a benefit here, though I will only be looking specifically at Star Trek.
Star Trek Almanac – main page
The initial view after the app opens is a highlighted character (changes each load of app), a game, popular characters, stats and nice tiles that have images popping on and off in them for the sections. The character separation seems to be somewhat arbitrary since clicking one of the categories (Most Popular, Recently Updated and Seldom Seen) gets you the same list of characters, just it starts with the category you chose. There is no separation in this other view of the categories rendering them meaningless. The game is a nice inclusion with a comparison for others online. You’ll have to pay to play higher difficulties. It is a form of “concentration” where it slowly reveals a character and you have to guess which one.
While it is true I like Star Trek, I looked at this app since it seemed like an interesting combination of “game” and informational app. It makes sense to come around now since the movie “Into Darkness” is opening soon. It does require you to create a login if you wish it to track your progress towards promotion though strangely you have to login each time, it doesn’t remember you. I’m unsure why the login button defaults to joining when you only do that once. You can login from here but it is an extra click. These types of quality control issues come out in other areas of the app as well, which you’ll see.
Star Trek App – main screen
Once logged in you start out as a redshirt crew member and can earn points by completing missions to get promoted. It’s too bad though your own face isn’t able to be put into the image in the upper right. The News section is just information about the movie and other Star Trek information. They don’t add any points and are mainly promotional material. The last section is access to purchase tickets for the movie.
One the best YouTube apps on Windows Phone is Metrotube, it is finally here on Windows 8. There are many, many YouTube apps, what makes this one better than the others or is it better? For the most part I will compare it to my current favorite YouTube app called YouTube+ (review here). I’ve seen others prefer YouTube RT. I’m on a desktop so it is possible that may affect my preference. This review will be different as it is somewhat of a comparison, each section will award one app a point. (In researching for this I found there is another YouTube+ app, the other one has a space between YouTube and + , this comparison does not refer to that one).
Metrotube – main screen
Initial Screen – The video snapshots stand out well against the dark background and as I prefer that subscriptions are listed first. The view you see in the screenshot does not appear for me on first open. I have to refresh (right-click) or else there is extra space as seen here. The initial view presents the video snapshots in widescreen which I prefer (oddly the lower right subscription is cut off). The app only shows 5 subscription videos here, where YouTube+ shows 12, but since they are square, elements are squished.
I’m rarely able to provide updates on an app, but this is one I follow and felt I should update my views on it. You can view the previous reviews here (just weather here). You don’t need to be interested in Star Trek to enjoy this app, although that will be the main reason you might consider using it. It mimics the design of the computer interface from the TV show (Next Gen to present excluding the recent movies). IT provides several tools within this interface. I won’t duplicate the other review only touch on things change or not in the previous review.
LCARS – clock
One of the tools provided is a clock with timer or a destruct sequence. You don’t see that everyday, but the “destruct” is just a countdown. It isn’t fancy but if you need a clock in the Modern interface, you get it and the basic functions for its use. On each page at the bottom you’ll get the StarDate and the time will persist there though it won’t persist for 12hr or 24hr unless you change it in the settings (you can quickly switch the clock format on the clock page only). Also along the bottom is the alert status, so if you have an emergency (“Giving her all she’s got”) you can quickly go to Red Alert. The left column is how you easily switch the different tools provided. The “12-3190″ is just filler so it isn’t a blank button, looks more authentic and could always be filled with a new tool later.
NOTE: This app has some inappropriate content. One screenshot has been edited to hide it, but there are links to two images that are unedited.
As a general rule I wouldn’t even touch an app with content that wasn’t family friendly, but the premise of the app is welcome on Windows 8. It is discouraging that the app even suggests in its description that it can be used to “…send awesome greeting cards from your Windows 8 device to your friends, family, and beyond…” Not my family. The name of the app is so “happy” sounding but don’t say I didn’t warn you about what you may see. I cannot believe it is a featured app in the Windows Store with this content (since there is no way to set an appropriate rating for what the store displays). Anyway putting that aside what does the app offer?
just Wink – main page
The main page is designed well enough with categories for different types of cards though the wait for it to show via the splash screen is long. You can scroll to the right to get more categories with sub-categories cleverly placed within the design. The app sorely needs semantic view or another way to jump to other sections since it can be tedious to scroll far to the right. It provides the upcoming holidays or events first but does not indicate what day those events or holidays fall on. One of the most important things to know for sending cards is how imminent that event might take place so I can get my card there in time. (Of course being electronic you don’t have to wait for the post office).
Unless you are familiar with the associated website, the name of this app may not give much of a hint to its purpose. The full name is really “The Long Climb – PC Help, How-to and Troubleshooting”, but I felt that was too long for a title. I have seen several apps posted with information to help users with Windows 8 but as near as I can recall the majority do not feature content created by the app developer, the content is simply pulled from other sources. So with that in mind I decided to take a look.
The Long Climb – main page
The initial view is presented pretty much as any other app that provides a news feed. So nothing unique here, but it does have a consistent color palette and is easy to read. There is a website as mention that this is associated with and it is nice to see the designs are very close (more on this later). The bottom bar is not visible always but I don’t see why there is a refresh button. The reason I say that is because whenever you view and article and come back to this page, it is refreshing it anyway (a disturbing effect as it slows down access to another article.