Posts from the ‘Reviews’ Category

Marcel Dufresne of Mause Reviews TopXNotes

Tropical Software TopXNotes has been very favorably reviewed by Marcel Dufresne of Mause Reviews. Mr. Dufresne quoted “TopXNotes from Tropical Software is a top of the line note organizer.” TopXNotes is a collection place where you can save and organize information you need to remember, but can’t.

“We are very pleased with the detailed and careful consideration Mr. Dufresne has given TopXNotes,” stated Tropical Software president James Lee. Mr. Dufresne goes on to say, “Someone has gone as far as to say that it is like Stickies on Steroids.”


The review summarizes with “There are many note taking apps out in the market. TopXNotes is a top of the line text editor with an affordable price.”  TopXNotes 1.8 is $29.95 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available on the Mac App Store or from the company’s web site.


Review: Spectra – Camera Painting for iOS: Complete Paintings Using the World Around You

If you’re like me, you enjoy casual puzzlers. However, they all seem to run together after a while. Wouldn’t it be great to be faced with a new challenge? Enter Spectra – Camera Painting for iOS. This puzzler challenges users to complete on-screen paintings by using their iOS device’s camera to capture colors from the world around them.


Spectra offers an unusual twist on puzzle/color matching games. Users are presented with an unfinished work of art, and are challenged to help complete the image by pointing their device’s camera at various real-life objects to complete a selected color. Beginner images begin with matching four colors, while later images require quite a few more colors to be found and matched.

Review: Spectra – Camera Painting for iOS: Complete Paintings Using the World Around You

The game sounds simple, but players will quickly find the game to be an interesting challenge, especially in later rounds. I quickly discovered that matching colors isn’t an exact science, and I found my self finding objects that I thought were an exact match, but required a bit different lighting to match the required color.


I got some funny looks from friends and family members while playing the game, but when I explained it, they asked for me to send them a link so they could try the game! Then we were all pointing our iPhones at various objects in the room, (sometimes even each other), trying to complete the coloring in our images.


Early levels make it pretty easy to match the colors, but once you’re on the expert level, you’ll find it a devilish challenge to make just the right match. The three levels of challenge are Novice, Expert, and Master. (I never did quite reach the Master level. But, I’m still trying!)


The game also makes use of the iPhone’s built-in flashlight to allow capturing colors in dark environments, like dark corners, or even behind furniture. (The brighter light offered by the flashlight can also help you create various shades of colors to match just the right hue in later levels. Make use of the “pinch-to-zoom” feature too, which helps you find just the right color hidden in other objects.)


The app is free, and offers 8 paintings to get you started. That, may not sound like a lot, but the three skill levels for each painting will definitely keep you challenged for a while. And when you do run out, you’ll find a large number of additional painting packs, all available via coins, which purchased in-app for $0.99 to $3.99. (You also earn coins by completing each painting.)


Additional Painting Packs include:

* Abstract
* Art Nouveau
* Cakes
* Cartoons
* Cubist
* Folk Art
* Futurism
* Graffiti
* Impressionist
* Natural World
* People
* Pets
* Pointillist
* Pop Art
* Sport
* Surrealist
* Transport
* Travel Art
* Wildlife



Honestly, I have been playing this game for quite awhile before I was ever asked to do this review. I have to say it’s the type of game I wasn’t sure I would like, but has proved to be a winner. I won’t say I play it every day, but it is certainly a great game to play while you’re in the waiting room at the doctors office, or while waiting for an oil change to be completed. (Just be prepared for a few odd looks!)


I highly recommend Spectra – Camera Painting to anyone who is looking for an offbeat puzzle challenge that really is unlike anything they may have played before. And, for the rock-bottom cost of “free,” it doesn’t cost a dime to try it out.


Rating: 4.0/5.0


Spectra – Camera Painting is free, and it’s available in the iOS App Store. [GET IT NOW]


Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.

Review: Flutterbud – Video Messaging Made Easy

There are plenty of video messaging apps out there, so why create another one? That was my first thought when I was assigned a review of Flutterbud, a recently released video messaging app from developer Finderous. However, it turns out that this free app has a few tricks up its sleeve that makes it worth a download.




Flutterbud: Relationship App is the somewhat misnamed, but entertaining video messaging that allows users to send pre-recorded video messages to other users. We’ve seen that before, right? Well, how about an app that allows you to record a video and send it to your friends and family, but you control when they can see it.

Review: Flutterbud - Video Messaging Made Easy

Flutterbud is easy to use from the word go. It offers a simple setup, and using the app is just dirt simple. If you can use an iPhone, you’re more than pre-qualified to use this app.


When running Flutterbud the first time, you’re asked to setup an account. The account is free. (You can also connect the account to your Facebook account.) Then, you’ll want to invite friends and family to download the app and join, so they can see the video.


The fun begins when you record your first video and send it to friends and family. (Make sure to hold your finger down on the record button, or you’ll end up with just a snapshot.)  Sure, you can do that using the built-in Messages app on your iPhone, but you have to send it manually when you want the recipient to see it.  With Flutterbud, you record your video, and then you can decide when other users will see your video.


You can select to allow recipients to view your video immediately, or conveniently select a date using the built-in date picker to allow your audience to view the video anywhere from a few minutes to months into the future. Your recipients will see that they’ve received a new video, but the app won’t let them see it until the date and time you specify.


The app also notifies the send when a recipient has viewed their video. It even send a nice notification to Apple Watch users, as seen below.

Review: Flutterbud - Video Messaging Made Easy

The feature is great for building up suspense and anticipation on the part of your audience. The uses for the feature are many. You could make a family announcement via Flutterbud, ensuring everyone will see the message at the same time. You could also send a holiday greeting for Birthdays or Valentine’s Day.  It would be a great way to have fun by staying in touch with loved one’s your far away from.


My wife and I played with the app, and thought it was great fun. You can leave delayed messages for each other, which the recipient can only view at a specific time. Makes the day a bit brighter when you anticipate viewing a video you can only view at a special time.




Flutterbud is an easy to use and fun app. Creating quick messages and scheduling for a viewing time in the near (or far) future is a great idea. I can see families and friends using the app to have fun by staying in touch over the Internet via special little videos scheduled for meaningful times. Sure, Flutterbud is a one trick pony, but it’s a really entertaining trick.


Rating: 4.0/5.0


Price: FREE – Available for iOS devices in the App Store. [GET IT NOW]


Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.


Review: Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro]

Users who are looking for an easy way to control their Mac remotely, whether it be from across the room or another room entirely, can now make use of an app from developer Evgeny Cherpak, called “Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro].” This handy app allows Mac users to control their favorite computer via their iPhone or iPad touchscreen, controlling the keyboard, mouse, apps, and settings of their Mac from anywhere in their home or office, as long as they’re on the same Wi-Fi network.


Review: Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro]



Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro] is an easy-to-use iOS app which works with a small Remote app loaded on the Mac, and allows users to control their Mac’s keyboard and mouse via their device’s touchscreen. In addition to controlling the keyboard and mouse, the app allows users to start any app installed on their Mac, (and quit the app for that matter). It also allows controlling the Mac’s audio, playing of media, and even activating AirPlay to stream your Mac’s screen to your Apple TV or other AirPlay-enabled device.


The Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro] app also comes in handy for locking your Mac when you’re away, putting it to sleep, waking it, logging out, restarting, shutting down, and much more. Users can also start and stop the screensaver, eject and close the DVD tray on older macs, turn the display off, or increase and decrease the brightness of the display.


Features Include:

  • Control your Mac volume using volume knob or volume buttons of your iPhone or iPad
  • Media player controls that work with your favorite media players like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and others
  • Keyboard and Trackpad for web browsing on your big screen TV connected to your Mac from your couch
  • Launch and quit apps from any place in your home or office
  • Put your Mac to Sleep, Restart or Shutdown immediately or schedule these and other actions for later


I found the app to be easy-to-use and quite responsive. It was also easy to setup, and when first starting the app instructed me how to install the partnering app on my Mac, and how to connect my iPhone with my Mac in order to control it from my device.


Review: Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro]


There is little to no lag when typing and controlling the mouse on the screen of my Mac, with the pointer and keyboard entries responding immediately when I touched my iPhone’s touchscreen. I found the features of the app to be quite helpful to someone who, like myself, works from home. When I am away from my keyboard, Toni Stark, the office cat, enjoys taking over the writers chair and attempting a bit of her own prose. I was able to shutdown my Mac or put it to sleep when needed, avoiding any impromptu “editing” by Toni.


I enjoy viewing videos stored on my Mac’s hard drive on my big screen HDTV, and also enjoy taking advantage of its big screen for a bit of web surfing and such. The ability of the app to control AirPlay, allowing me to stream my Mac’s screen to my HDTV, plus the ability to control my Mac’s installed media players, makes the app one that will be staying on my iPhone for well after I finish this review.




Remote Control, Keyboard & Trackpad for Mac [Pro] is an easy to setup, and easy-to-use app, which proves to be well worth the $2.99 USD cost of admission. The app takes only a few moments to install and setup on both the iPhone and Mac, and connecting the two units was a breeze.


The app offers complete control of any Mac via any iOS device that is connected to the same Wi-Fi network. The ability to control the Mac’s keyboard, mouse, apps, and settings, as well as media and volume control, and AirPlay streaming makes the app one that would make a worthy addition to any Mac user’s toolbox.


Rating: 4.5/5.0


Price: $2.99 – Available in the App Store. [GET IT HERE]. – A free version is also available to try before you buy. [GET THE FREE VERSION HERE]


Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.

Review: Spectra – Camera Painting: Complete Paintings With Your iPhone’s Camera

There are a number of unique games available for iOS devices these days, endless runners, puzzle games, Pokemon, and more fill the screens of the devices around us. I was given the opportunity to try Spectra – Camera Painting, a new game that offers puzzle fans, and even Pokemon players, a unique challenge.

Review: Spectra - Camera Painting Complete Paintings With Your iPhone's Camera



The concept of Spectra – Camera Painting is simple. Select an image from the game’s library of 8 images, (you get 8 free, you can buy more later, if you’d like), and then point your iPhone’s camera at real life objects in the world around you to match the colors found in the images to completely “paint” the illustration.


While the concept is simple, finding just the right color to match the colors found in the image can be frustrating, yet entertaining. Any object around you is fair game for use in the game.


Point your camera at objects containing the color selected on screen, and when you match the color, you hear a click, and a check mark appears, marking that color as found. That piece of the image fills in on screen, and it’s onto another object to match a new color from the image. If you like, you can tap any on-screen color to select it as the color to search for.


The game also allows users of iOS devices that include a flash to use it as a flashlight, aiding in finding just the right color anywhere in any lighting condition. You can also pinch to zoom, to fill the lens with the correct color.


I found the game to be an enjoyable time passer, particularly when I was waiting in line, or sitting in my dentist’s office waiting for my appointment. I did get a few odd looks from those around me, but once I explained what I was doing, they seemed to accept it. (A few even asked me for the name of the game.)


While the free app only offers 8 illustrations to begin play with, it does offer 3 levels of challenge, so most players will get hours of fun from the first batch of images before needing to consider the in-app purchase of additional illustrations.


When it comes time to buy additional images, they are available in packs ranging in price from $0.99 to $3.99. Available Painting Packs include:

  • Abstract
  • Art Nouveau
  • Cakes
  • Cartoons
  • Cubist
  • Folk Art
  • Futurism
  • Graffiti
  • Impressionist
  • Natural World
  • People
  • Pets
  • Pointillist
  • Pop Art
  • Sport
  • Surrealist
  • Transport
  • Travel Art
  • Wildlife


I would like to see a feature that allows users to select images from their own camera rolls as the source image, but I could see how it might lead to frustration and complaints if the player selected a photo containing an overload of colors that would be difficult to match.




Spectra – Camera Painting is an enjoyable game for the iPhone and iPad. I found it to be a great time waster in situations where I was waiting on someone or something. Plus, it makes a great way to unwind in the evening after work.


While I wish the app included more images, (without an in-app purchase), or allowed you to use your own images, the game offers enough playability (with three skill levels), that an occasional in-app purchase for more images really isn’t a big deal.


Rating: 4.5/5.0


Price: FREE – Available in the App Store. In-app purchases are available, ranging from $0.99 to $3.99, that allow players to purchases new images, in a number of categories, if they so desire. [GET THE GAME HERE]



  • Unique color matching challenge
  • Easy to learn
  • Three levels of challenge



  • I wish the game allowed players to use their own images



Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.

Review: Green – Budget Forecasting Helps Users Take Control of Their Finances

Keeping track of your budget, and making sure you have enough cash to make it to payday is always tough, but the holidays in particular make it tough to live within your means. Developer CoopToons has come up with Green – Budget Forecasting an easy to use and comprehensive budgeting app for iOS devices that makes it easy to take control of your finances.

Review: Green - Budget Forecasting Helps Users Take Control of Their Finances



Green – Budget Forecasting is an app for iPhone and iPad devices that is designed to help users track their spending, bill paying, and account balances. The app’s main screen shows a nice at-a-glance chart that shows what your current balances are, and what your future income, expenses, and balances will be.


A simple explanation of how the app works is:

  • Enter your current account balance
  • Enter your recurring income and expenses (Weekly, Monthly, Bi-Weekly, etc.)
  • Green will show you your balance changes over the next year
  • Green will show you how spending today will affect your future balance
  • Experiment by adding, removing or adjusting a recurring transaction to see how it will affect your future balance
  • Spend safe by knowing your future balance.


I found the app does help users see where their money goes, and at a glance they can see when they might run short of dough during the coming months. The app makes it easier to plan for lean times, such as those last few days before payday, or when all of those bills hit at the middle of the month.

Review: Green - Budget Forecasting Helps Users Take Control of Their Finances

The app shows what the user’s lowest anticipated balance will be in the coming year, a balance for the current day, after all pending transactions complete and even how much should be sitting in your bank account at the moment. (This, of course will likely be a bit off, due to how long it takes for certain transactions, such as deposits, and online payments take to complete.)


Green makes it easy to enter and track any type of transaction, via its icon-based naming of transactions. The app includes transactions types for almost any income or outgo. And any it doesn’t already include can be created by the users. So, any type of transaction can be tracked, no matter how unusual.


Recurring transactions, such as a salary, installment loan payment, bus fare, morning coffee, etc. can be setup as a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, annual, semi-annual, and quarterly transactions.


Green allows users to protect their financial data via a passcode, so there’s no worries about someone tapping into your financial info.




Green – Budget Forecasting is a recommended app for those users who wish to keep a close eye on their financial situation. Data is easily entered into the app, and the categorization and tracking functions make it easy to see where your money is going, and how you need to plan ahead for possible lean times in the future.


For $1.99, the app is a worthwhile investment. (Don’t forget to enter the purchase price as one of your first transactions. GRIN!)




Price: $1.99 – Available for iPhone and iPad devices as a Universal Application. The app requires iOS 8.0 or higher, and needs 27.2 MB of free space. [GET IT HERE]



Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion. I used screenshots form the developers App Store page, due to concerns about the privacy of my own financial information

Review: Semler Heart App for iPhone – The Interactive Way to Beat Heart Disease

Cardiac disease and heart attacks are the #1 cause of death in the United States. Sadly, many people aren’t aware of the simple things they can do to prevent cardiac disease. While there are a number of apps in the iOS App Store that help you track your daily steps, internationally known preventative cardiologist Dr. Herb Semler, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.C felt he could do better, and developed his own app, Semler Heart, for the iPhone.



Semler Heart 1.0 was released on October 3, 2016. It claims to be the first interactive mobile app that not only tracks your daily, weekly, and monthly step totals, but also offers useful medical heart facts and other useful information to help users reduce their risk of cardio vascular disease and the associated health problems that come along for the ride.


Review: Semler Heart App for iPhone - The Interactive Way to Beat Heart Disease


Semler Heart is a simple to use app, which integrates with Apple HealthKit to track a user’s daily steps. The app’s information page in the App Store also mentions the app awards points for users to be redeemed at retail partners, however, I didn’t find any such thing noted inside the app itself. Perhaps they are still working out the details with the retail partners at the moment. We’ll keep an eye on that and let you know when more information is available.


According to the Simler Health Perks website, The Semler Heart Health Plan is based on “Seven Pillars” of heart healthy living. They are:

  • Stop smoking
  • Control high blood pressure
  • Control diabetes
  • Control cholesterol
  • Increase physical activity
  • Follow a heart healthy diet
  • Avoid obesity


Review: Semler Heart App for iPhone - The Interactive Way to Beat Heart Disease


The app is designed to get users to increase their physical activity, by tracking their daily steps. Users can set a step goal, be it a daily one, or weekly or monthly goal. By encouraging the user to set goals, this encourages them to meet or exceed the goal, thereby becoming more active, and as a valuable side effect, becoming more healthy.


Along with the daily step tracking, the app also offers you a history of your previous days’ step totals, as well as quick tips from Dr. Semler on how to lead a healthier life. Users can get a new tip with just a tap of their iPhone’s screen. Tips include everything from informative information such as: “Four conditions you can control are regular physical activity, normal weight, blood pressure, and never smoke.” All the way to “The More You Know” type blurbs such as: “Stop heart disease before it stops you!” And, a little bit of everything in between, including reminders that you can collect points that can be spent at retail partners. (Again, I didn’t see this option in using the app, but I am a writer, and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Perhaps I just didn’t rack up enough activity for the feature to kick in.)




I found the Semler Heart app to be an excellent way to track my steps, and the accuracy of the app seemed to jibe with other apps I have on my iPhone and Apple Watch that track steps. The tips the app supplies range from the ridiculous to the sublime, which is par for this type of app. The ability to set goals, and to be able to trade in points earned for benefits at participating retailers is also a nice feature.


If you’re looking for an app that will track your daily steps, encourage you to do better each day, by bribing you if necessary, check out the Semler Heart app. At the rock-bottom price of free, the price is certainly right, and you might even live longer.


Rating: 3.5/5.0


Semler Heart for iPhone is free, and is available in the App Store. It requires 16.9MB of free space on your device, and requires iOS 9.0 or higher. [GET IT NOW!]


Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.

Review: VigCal for macOS – The Smart Organizer for Your Life

If you’re like us, you can never keep track of upcoming events, meetings, article deadlines, and other important dates, as you just don’t take the time to enter the events on your personal calendar. Enter VigCal from VigStore Company Limited, the app that hopes to become your all-in-one organizer for tasks, events, and notes.

Review: VigCal for macOS - The Smart Organizer for Your Life


VigCal offers users the ability to keep track of multiple calendars, the ability to merge calendars, color code them, and include multiple tasks, events, and notes. The app offers the ability to view all of the information in a day, week, or month view. Notes and tasks are integrated with the calendar events, and events and appointments can easily be rescheduled via drag-and-drop. A convenient free/busy function shows users how much free time they have in all views.


The event and task functions integrates with your Mac’s Contacts app to make it easy to invite attendees, or to share events with other users. The app also offers prioritizing of tasks, as well as the ability to sort tasks according to different criteria. Completed tasks can be exported to various file formats, to make it easy to share with PC users.


Also included is a smart scheduler, checklists, and the ability to create multiple notes for a single day; which includes various types of notes including: ext note, hand drawing note, voice note, video note, photo note, or any combination of types of notes.

Review: VigCal for macOS - The Smart Organizer for Your Life

Tasks, events, and notes can be displayed on a map to show the locations tasks and events need to be performed, and everything can be synced with Google Calendar, Outlook, iCloud, and more. Data can be automatically or manually backed up for safekeeping, to various formats. All data can be printed, posted to Facebook, and exported as a PDF, CSV, or photo file, to be shared via email.


An iOS/Apple Watch version of the app is also available, but we didn’t get the chance to try that version out. The version we reviewed here is the free Mac version, available in the Mac App Store. The full version can be purchased via a $4.99 in-app purchase, and adds the following features:
* Task, event and note can link together to make workflows
* Task, event and note can link to media files such photo, video, music from your Mac or from web
* Task, event and note can link to document files such pdf, text, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint
* Ability to quickly add task, event with predefined icons and text
* Ability to synchronize with built-in calendar, built-in reminders, Google calendar, Google task, Toodledo and full sync data between devices (iOS and OSX) via iCloud
* Ability to backup and restore data


We tried the various functions of VigCal, and the app operated as advertised. We especially enjoyed the ease of creating appointments, and how appointment times could be changed with a simple click-and-drag of the mouse. VigCal offers a clean, easy to read layout, making it easy to view upcoming appointments.


VigCall also offers a nice security feature that if enabled requires a passcode to access the calendars and other information. This is a nice feature, especially in the case of a shared computer.


The number of options offered by VigCal makes it a useful, and flexible tool for any busy user, allowing them to manage both their business and personal appointments and dates, without becoming overwhelmed by unnecessary complexity or unneeded features. The app offers enough features to efficiently manage your day, but doesn’t overwhelm you with too much information.


We did notice the weather forecast functionality, which offers a small icon displaying the weather for an upcoming day seemed to be incorrect, as was the weather info fo the current day. That may have been a problem with our location settings on our Mac.


VigCal offers a capable calendar and task tracking app, suitable for almost any Mac user. The app allows experienced users to dive deep into the features of the app, while not overwhelming less seasoned users with too many features and information. Any Mac user would do well to check the app out. The price (free), is certainly right.


Rating: 3.5/5.0


Price: Free – (Offers a “full version” via in-app purchase that offers an increased amount of features. However, many users will find the free version will fulfill their needs) – Available in the Mac App Store. [GET IT NOW]


Note: The above review was commissioned by the developer, and has been written in an objective, unbiased fashion.