Beautiful Pixels http://beautifulpixels.com An Unhealthy Lust for Design Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:42:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Pillow is a Power Packed Sleep Cycle Tracker and Alarm Clock App for iOS http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/pillow-is-a-power-packed-sleep-cycle-tracker-and-alarm-clock-app-for-ios/ http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/pillow-is-a-power-packed-sleep-cycle-tracker-and-alarm-clock-app-for-ios/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 12:42:09 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14887

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pillow-mastheadI wasn’t really a big believer of the sleep cycle or sleep tracking apps available for iOS or Android. Sure, they did what they advertised, but I still wasn’t seeing the point. As long as I was getting sufficient sleep somehow, I was happy. I didn’t care what my sleep patterns were and I never felt the need to know when I went to...


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pillow-masthead

I wasn’t really a big believer of the sleep cycle or sleep tracking apps available for iOS or Android. Sure, they did what they advertised, but I still wasn’t seeing the point. As long as I was getting sufficient sleep somehow, I was happy. I didn’t care what my sleep patterns were and I never felt the need to know when I went to sleep or woke up. All this changed when I came across Pillow 2.0. Pillow is a smart sleep cycle tracker and alarm clock app for iPhone and iPad. The app not only allows you to track your sleep and view the data in a wonderful UI, but also helps you analyze and improve your sleep through tons of detailed information and tips.

Pillow has been around for a while now, but the Pillow 2.0 update is what really makes this app shine. It is a Universal app, so you can put it to work both on your iPhone or iPad. It sports a stunning design, something that’s lacking in most other apps that I have seen. Pillow also boasts some advanced features (some of which are enabled via a $4.99 IAP) that set the the app in its own league.

It works much like any other sleep cycle app. Right before you sleep, you have to enable the tracking and place the phone next to you on the bed. Pillow displays the time on the screen and recommends that you keep the phone screen side down on the bed, such that the screen automatically shuts off but the app keeps running. In case you wake up in the middle of your sleep, you can quickly peek at the time and go back to sleep. Pillow picks the optimum time to ring the alarm based on which phase of sleep you’re in, so that you don’t wake up groggy and disoriented. Once you are done with your sleep, Pillow shows you colorful charts with data such as your sleep phases, the duration you slept for and the sleep quality.

Health App Integration

Pillow integrates directly with Apple’s Health app in iOS 8, so your sleep cycle data is also available in there and other apps can use it. While in Pillow, you can turn the phone to landscape to view additional data such as a comparison between all the previous sessions you’ve recorded, and comparison between your Sleep Quality vs. health metrics such as Steps, Heart Rate, Weight, etc. that are pulled from the Health app. This gives you great insights into how well you sleep after heavy or light sessions of activity every day.

Different Tracking Modes

Pillow offers different kinds of sleep tracking modes. They are —

  • Full Mode — Sleep Cycles, Sound Recordings & Alarm
  • Sleep Cycles + Alarm
  • Sleep Cycles Only
  • Sleep Cycles + Sound Recordings
  • Alarm Only (Smart alarm based on your sleep phase)
  • Power Nap (For sleep duration up to 20 minutes)
  • Recovery Nap (For sleep duration up to 45 minutes)
  • Full Cycle Nap (For sleep duration up to 120 minutes)

You can use these mode depending on the data you’re looking to collect through the app.

Sound Recordings

One of my favorite features in Pillow is its ability to record sounds along with your sleep data. This is great for knowing how often (or loudly) you snore or if/when you talk in your sleep. Pillow will record sounds during your sleep and split them into multiple files so you can hear and export each recording as you want, or delete them if you don’t need them.

Snooze Lab

The Snooze Lab is Pillow’s special area that offers personalized experiments, recommendations and tips that help you improve your sleep. It waits till you have tracked sufficient sleep sessions to study and analyze your data and then keeps offering recommendations. These are backed by latest scientific research & facts. There are also achievements to keep you motivated.

Pillow uses iCloud sync, so your data is available across all your devices when you need it. You can even add sleep notes after every session, in case you need to quickly jot down anything that you dreamt off. Pillow ships with multiple and a variety of alarm sounds, or you can simply pick one from your iTunes library. If sleep doesn’t come easy to you, you can opt for the Sleep aid option that plays soothing sounds that help you fall asleep. These include sounds like Rainfall, Fireplace, Crickets, Feng Shui, Thunderstorm and even White Noise.

Pillow 2.0 is available as a Universal app for Free on the App Store. There is a $4.99 IAP that unlocks the premium features.

App Details:


Website | Download URL | Price: Free


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Portfolio — Keep Track of your Stocks http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/portfolio-keep-track-of-your-stocks/ http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/portfolio-keep-track-of-your-stocks/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:43:20 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14880

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portfolio-mastheadPortfolio is a gorgeously simple iPhone app that helps you keep track of your stocks. It features a minimally designed layout that puts the focus on text and graphs, so that you can just take a peek at it and see all the relevant information you’re looking for. Although simple in its appearance, Portfolio packs a punch when it comes to features. It comes...


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portfolio-masthead

Portfolio is a gorgeously simple iPhone app that helps you keep track of your stocks. It features a minimally designed layout that puts the focus on text and graphs, so that you can just take a peek at it and see all the relevant information you’re looking for. Although simple in its appearance, Portfolio packs a punch when it comes to features. It comes loaded with a host of different features that help you monitor the stocks that you actually care about.

Portfolio includes real-time stock tickers and charts, so the data that you see in the app is (almost) always up-to-date. You can track the companies that you own stock of by adding data like number of shares, the price you bought the stock at and optionally, the date. Once added, Portfolio will keep track of this and give you an easy way to glimpse not just at how you’re doing, but will also report percent gain, dollar gain and portfolio composition. The app also includes support for over 20,000 mutual funds.

The app also supports Push Notifications, so it’ll remind you when there’s something relevant you should look at. You can get a single push notification with a summary of what happened when the market closes for the day as well as get notified when the next earnings call for your favorite company is. Portfolio also reminds you when actual earnings are released.

Portfolio is a really awesome way to keep track of your stocks, and it makes it so easy to do so. It doesn’t require an account, so none of your personal data is ever shared with anyone. You can get it Free on the App Store.

App Details:


Website | Download URL | Price: Free


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Madeon’s Adventure Machine http://beautifulpixels.com/web/madeons-adventure-machine/ http://beautifulpixels.com/web/madeons-adventure-machine/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:36:12 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14868

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madeonadventuremachine-mastheadI love interactive websites that make full use of the power of web technologies like Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3 and help you play with elements. Google’s Chrome Experiments are great examples of micro websites that push the boundaries of the web and at the same time, give you something interactive and fun. Although not a Chrome Experiment, Madeon’s Adventure Machine does a similar job...


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madeonadventuremachine-masthead

I love interactive websites that make full use of the power of web technologies like Javascript, HTML5 and CSS3 and help you play with elements. Google’s Chrome Experiments are great examples of micro websites that push the boundaries of the web and at the same time, give you something interactive and fun. Although not a Chrome Experiment, Madeon’s Adventure Machine does a similar job of being interactive and super fun.

Madeon’s Adventure Machine is a fantastic website built to promote Madeon‘s new album Adventure and his tour. The website displays a 6×6 grid of music samples that you can turn on or off to create your own mix. Using it is super easy and a lot of fun. The squares in the grid light up when activated and are split into Drum, Bass and Sounds. If you have a Launchpad, you can even hook it up and control the samples using it. You can create all kinds of mixes using these samples and even share your mixes on social media, where the website generates a unique URL for your mix.

There’s not a lot to say about it, you just have to play with it for its full potential. Go ahead and check it out.


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Fantastical 2 for Mac http://beautifulpixels.com/mac/fantastical-2-for-mac/ http://beautifulpixels.com/mac/fantastical-2-for-mac/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:04:27 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14862

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Fantastical 2 for MacIf you’re a serious calendar user on a Mac or iOS, chances are you’re using already using Fantastical in some form or the other. Flexibits completely changed the way we schedule events or use our calendar and their apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac have been incredibly well received by the audience. Today, the Flexibits duo of Michael Simmons and Kent Sutherland release Fantastical...


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Fantastical 2 for Mac

If you’re a serious calendar user on a Mac or iOS, chances are you’re using already using Fantastical in some form or the other. Flexibits completely changed the way we schedule events or use our calendar and their apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac have been incredibly well received by the audience. Today, the Flexibits duo of Michael Simmons and Kent Sutherland release Fantastical 2 for Mac — what we believe to be the best app on a Mac today.

Swanky new User Interface

Fantastical 2's Main Window

Fantastical 2 for Mac sports a beautifully designed User Interface and has been ingeniously crafted specially for OS X Yosemite. Having used the app over the last few weeks, I can firmly say Fantastical 2 feels better than anything I’ve used on my Mac. The app feels spiffy, the animations are slick and everything about the app has been lovingly crafted to perfection. Just like its predecessor, Fantastical 2 sports a menubar mini window with an overhauled design that feels right at home on OS X. You can still detach this window and have it float over other apps. Fantastical 2 also sports a full calendar window that takes full advantage of the screen real estate by offering Day, Week, Month, and Year views that you can jump between with a single click. On the left is the sidebar that displays the current month as well as your upcoming appoinments. You can switch between a Light or Dark theme for the sidebar. The whole window works as a great way to not only get a quick overview of your schedule, but also helps you find exactly what you are looking for. Yes, there’s a search feature available at the top right that lets you search anything in your schedule.

Built for OS X Yosemite

f2-ss-today-widget

Fantastical 2 doesn’t just go hand-in-hand with OS X Yosemite’s design, it’s also takes advantage of the APIs offered by the OS. You can enable the Fantastical Today Widget for your Notification Center tray and get a quick glimpse of all your events scheduled for today. It also has Share and Action extensions to create events from any native apps that support extensions. Getting stuff from Safari directly into Fantastical is now possible and super easy too. Fantastical 2 also supports Handoff, so if you have the iPhone or iPad version of Fantastical on your iOS devices, you can continue exactly where you left off.

Natural Language Parsing

Fantastical’s biggest feature in its iOS and Mac apps has been its Natural Language Parser (NLP) that lets you create new entries using common language. This has been greatly improved in this release, letting you enter strings like, “Remind me to Pay the Credit Card Bill on the 4th saturday of every month” and Fantastical 2 will know exactly what you want to be scheduled. There’s better support for iCloud reminders as well in this release, as Fantastical 2 lets you view your events and reminders together in a single list.

Calendar Sets

One of the highlights of this release is the support for Calendar Sets. If you have multiple calendars setup and configured on your system, this might just be the best thing to happen to your app. Fantastical 2 supports the accounts you have already configured on your system, so you need not set them up again in the app. Fantastical 2 not just offers native support for any iCloud, Google, Yahoo or Fruux accounts, but you can also add any CalDAV account (such as FastMail). Then you can create groups of these calendars depending on your usage. For example, I have a ‘Personal’ calendar set that includes my FastMail, Facebook and Gmail account while there’s a ‘Work’ calendar set that includes calendars from my Google Apps accounts.

What makes this feature even better is the support for Location based Calendar Sets. You can configure your calendar sets to automatically activate when you arrive at or leave any location. So Fantastical 2 will automatically switch to your Work set when you reach office and back to your Personal set when you get back home.

Time-zone Support

As someone who works from India, I have to deal with different time zones all the time. I’ve mastered the conversions for Eastern and Pacific time zones, but anything else and I have to depend upon a Google Search, head over to Every Time Zone or fire up Miranda on my iPhone. Thankfully, Fantastical 2 has one of the best implementations of time zones I’ve seen in any app. Not only can you create events for specific time zones using the Natural Language Parser, you can also view/change time zones when viewing the details for each event. If you travel a lot, floating time zones are your best friend.

Localization

Localization is largely an overlooked feature in most apps, but really helps if English isn’t your primary language. Fantastical 2 for Mac is fully localized in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. Not only is the user interface available in your preferred language, you can also enter your events and reminders in your language and Fantastical 2 will follow you as you type.

Back in 2011, Fantastical for Mac revolutionalized how you use calendars on your Mac and today, Fantastical 2 takes a giant leap ahead, as you no longer have to depend on the default OS X Calendar app.

Fantastical 2 for Mac is available at a launch time sale price of $39.99, with the standard price being $49.99. You can grab it from the Mac App Store or directly from the Flexibits website. You can also download a free trial if you’re still unsure.

App Details:


Website | Download URL | Price: $39.99


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TodaySteps — Daily Activity Tracker for iPhone http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/todaysteps-daily-activity-tracker-for-iphone/ http://beautifulpixels.com/iphone/todaysteps-daily-activity-tracker-for-iphone/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:58:15 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14852

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todaysteps-mastheadTodaySteps is a really cool pedometer app for iPhone that tracks your daily activity and shows you the details in a neatly designed UI. I love apps that stick to one feature and do it well, and TodaySteps falls perfectly into that category. TodaySteps sports a simple UI with a dark background and radiant colors for the highlights. It tracks your daily physical activity...


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TodaySteps is a really cool pedometer app for iPhone that tracks your daily activity and shows you the details in a neatly designed UI. I love apps that stick to one feature and do it well, and TodaySteps falls perfectly into that category.

TodaySteps sports a simple UI with a dark background and radiant colors for the highlights. It tracks your daily physical activity like total number of steps, floors climbed, distance traveled and calories burned and displays this data such that it’s easy to get a quick overview of it. On the main screen, tapping on the radial counter toggles between these stats. Turning your phone into landscape mode shows you your weekly performance chart. Thanks to the iPhone’s co-processor, the app is able to track your activity throughout the day. TodaySteps also includes a Today widget for your Notification Center tray that displays your performance over the last three days. In the app’s settings, you can set a specific Goal and choose between Metric and Imperial units.

Unfortunately, there seems to a bug in the app related to different timezones, so your “Today” and “Yesterday” count might not exactly be exact. TodaySteps is available on the App Store for $1.99.

Update: The bug has been fixed in the version available on the App Store.

App Details:


Website | Download URL | Price: $1.99


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Radium 3.1 for Mac http://beautifulpixels.com/mac/radium-3-1-for-mac/ http://beautifulpixels.com/mac/radium-3-1-for-mac/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 14:30:53 +0000 http://beautifulpixels.com/?p=14844

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Radium for MacRadium is a Mac and iOS app that lets you listen to internet radio stations. It’s a lovingly crafted app on both platforms that gets out of the way, letting you enjoy your favorite stations at ease. We’d written about the redesigned iOS app back in August 2013 and recently, CatPig Studios released v3.1 of the Mac app — that brings a redesigned UI...


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Radium for Mac

Radium is a Mac and iOS app that lets you listen to internet radio stations. It’s a lovingly crafted app on both platforms that gets out of the way, letting you enjoy your favorite stations at ease. We’d written about the redesigned iOS app back in August 2013 and recently, CatPig Studios released v3.1 of the Mac app — that brings a redesigned UI and improved UX to OS X Yosemite.

Radium 3.1 is quite a departure from its previous self, yet it retains its simplicity with this release and manages to win you over with its visual refresh. It really feels like an app that was made for Yosemite. It’s no longer a menubar app and instead appears as a floating window that you can move around anywhere. Station categories and favorites are confusing at first, but you get the hang of the structure. You also now have the option to enable/disable its Dock Icon, which is quite pretty to look at. If you use Yosemite’s Dark Mode, the menubar icon will no longer look out of place. There are other visual improvements too, such as better compatibility on Retina display devices.

Radium on Mac

If you listen to internet radio sources a lot, Radium is a must-have. Chances are, you already have a copy based off our recommendation last time and this is a Free Update for you. If you don’t, you can grab a copy for just $9.99 from the Mac App Store.

App Details:


Website | Download URL | Price: $9.99


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