Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

App reviews

Avast Win10 app review - still trying to find it’s purpose

Avast antivirus iconApp Review   ----   ☕☕ /☕☕☕☕☕
Works on: Win desktop/ Surface / tablet / Windows phone

Avast Antivirus Windows store page

Every once in awhile I see an app that puzzles me. Avast antivirus app for Windows 10 is one. It doesn’t really do anything except … well … nothing.  After writing the first draft of this review, I realised my real frustration stems from the fact I expected so much more from the company. They offer great antivirus protection and that isn’t reflected in their offering.

Avast vastly over estimates peoples’ ability to understand how antivirus programs work and assumed everyone would get that the offering is not protection of any sort. They are overly optimistic that people would carefully read their store page.  The unwary out there have mistakenly believed they’ve installed antivirus protection. The way the store page is setup is unintentionally vague. The app never says “This is NOT antivirus protection". Turns out a surprising number of people don’t really get how things like antivirus programs work. Throw in the new concept of apps for Windows and you have a mix ready for misunderstandings.  So as a result, the app is being installed as a replacement for the actual program.

After talking to a few customers, I had to disabuse them of the notion they had downloaded a new antivirus program so they’ll be safe.  These aren’t dumb people by any stretch of the imagination. They see them tools, nothing more. Their eyes glaze over when I’m explaining the ins and outs of protection. This, coupled with the ambiguous store page, has led to confusion about the apps purpose.

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App reviews for Windows – V-Browser for Surface Tablets

Alternate browsers for Surface Tablets - V-Browser by Epic Apps App Review   ----   ☕☕ /☕☕☕☕☕

I’m always looking for alternative browsers for my Surface RT tablet. Pretty much everything available is rather sad and more glitchy than IE. V-Browser by EpicApps had a bit of promise but the flaws far outweigh the benefits.

Good: It’s pretty peppy. It loads pages quickly. Videos stream seamlessly. Whipping between websites was very efficient. I was impressed with how fast pages popped up. A real bonus is it's relative light weight -  weighing in under 3 megs – so it doesn’t take up a lot of valuable harddrive space.

Bad: No add-ons or extensions. To make it worse, there is no way to bookmark sites. It does claim to have a Speed Dial that you can add sites to, but after 2 weeks, I could never get it to work.

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Win10 app review - Fedora newsreader .... but will it ever synch?

Fedora News readerFedora –  Newsreader #app for #Windows

App Review   ----   ☕☕☕ /☕☕☕☕☕
Works on: Win desktop/ Surface / Windows tablet / Windows phone

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/fedora-reader/9nblgggzm828

I found Fedora Newsreader by accident not long ago. I’m always poking around looking for something to play with.  I stopped and checked the app out because … well … I’ve worn a Fedora for years and thought it was a cool name for a news app, let’s try it.

Ever since my favourite news reader went the way of the dodo, I’ve been scouting for a new go-to app. I like Lead Story, and use it for exactly that – top trending stories. I wanted a more substantial app that allowed me to throw my considerable RSS list onto and pull the many news sources into one location. I have a number of apps set up for specific work related focuses and wanted to keep them clutter free, but still need a “one ring to rule them all” kind of news feed as an all purpose bucket dump for everything else.

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App Reviews – defining the good, the bad and the downright unuseable

App Review bannerWhen I’m testing an app, a list of things run through my mind, ranging from “does it work” to “would I recommend it”. In the early days of Windows Store (back in the dark days of Windows 8), the platform was a mess – the land of crap apps and rip off artists and I rarely looked at the apps seriously. Many talented, independent developers likely took one look at the nightmare and took off. The store lagged for a long time, even after the clean-up. I’m happy to report I I’ve noticed a serious uptick in the quality and diversity of apps offered in the last 6 or 7 months.

So what is my App Tick List?

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App Review - LeadStory – fast, nimble and no frills news #app

LeadStory news aggregateLeadStory News aggregate by Movil Mobile Software

App Review   ----   ☕☕☕☕ /☕☕☕☕☕
Works on: Win 10 and Win 8 phones

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/leadstory/9nblggh5z1vc

When I originally looked at LeadStory, I was underwhelmed with it. Actually, I was put off by it’s ugly as sin interface so I put it in my pile to revisit. It’s one of those cases where I’m glad I returned. The clean-up was worth the wait. Behind that modest little icon lies an efficient app for your Windows phone.

I am a news junky and often have up to 5 different news feeds on my phone at any point in time. I have a rule, if the app consistently takes over 40 sec to load, it goes in the garbage heap unless it offers an outstanding feature I can’t live without. That means apps come and go with shocking speed on my humble Windows phone. I just checked, I’ve tested out over 300 apps so far. LeadStory made the cut for two reasons – it’s minimalist design and speed. Oh 3 – ads don’t take over the screen. That’s the kiss of death as far as any app is concerned. Pop up and cover my screen and make it difficult to close the ad, well … let’s just not go there.

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#@!% app. Why isn't it working?

- Catpaw, 2016

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