Win App review – a little something to block out the gawd awful noise

Win App review – a little something to block out the gawd awful noise

Icon for White Noise Machine Win 10 app
Icon for White Noise Machine Win 10 app

White Noise Generator by Idea MK (Store page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/white-noise-machine/9wzdncrdbvl4)

Works on Windows Mobile devices ☕☕☕☕ /☕☕☕☕☕

I move about the city a lot which means I’m often blasted with the most awful noise imaginable. Everything from music piped in at ear splitting levels, constant construction, people yelling into their phones or jackasses who haven’t figured out the sounds from their Candy Crush game were designed to push the average person into a raging fury of Hulkitude.

It’s difficult to block out the noise and a pair of earphones really doesn’t do a lot, other than to muffle the sound a little. If the music isn’t too loud, I’ll pop my headphones on and hope for the best. However, this doesn’t always work. Short of investing in a pair of high end noise cancelling headphones, you have to either suffer or download a white noise generator. Enter apps designed to keep you and me sane – the white noise generator.

I tested a number of white noise generators, some were meh… others crap on a cracker and then I found this simple, modest little app, White Noise Machine

This is the type of app I like – no unnecessary features, simple, clean and intuitive. Tap it on, choose the type of ambient sound you want to hear and hit play. I use the wind feature a lot, but the storm and rain are quite good as well. The wind varies just enough to distract from the incredible cacophony around and allows me to concentrate or relax.

The app comes with a handy timer if you want to set it to shut off on it’s own. When the screen turns off, the app continues working (unlike a couple I tried). All in all very sound. I gave it nearly full marks because it was the one app that stopped me from turning into one of those people who stand in the middle of the sidewalk shaking their fist at everyone. They can have their noise, I can have my quiet.

It’s a free app that relies on ads for revenue. The ads in no way detracts from the software’s usefulness. They pop up occasionally and are easily dismissed. Because the ads are non-intrusive, I’ve actually taken to tapping them once in a while to support the developer. I’d pay for this app – happily. It would be money well spent.

I have a tiny little observation that makes me chuckle. The app offers a variety of sounds including hairdryers and vacuums.. to each their own white noise. But the airplane? Sorry guys, that isn’t the sound of a jet, it’s a prop plane. You really need to change the photo.

My only real complaint is the looping is a bit sloppy. When the end of the sound comes, the app abruptly cuts out and starts over. I can be a bit disconcerting and I wish they’d fix it.

It’s specifically designed for Windows mobile devices, anything from 8 up. So laptop users are out of luck. Hopefully the developer will extend the app to laptops and tablets.

 

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

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.

LeadStory is nimble. It loads feeds usually in under 5 seconds. It doesn’t weigh content down with a bunch of outdated stories, instead, pushing the top news from each category. Compare that to MSN’s News app which takes nearly a minute to load. I keep MSN on my start page for fun. I call it the “App to measure all news apps by”, not because it’s good, because it’s so fricking slow. If your app is faster than the typical 50 sec load time for MSN, that’s a good start.

The overall design is almost Zen like. Clean, simple and easy to navigate, not a lot of frills. But then, why LeadStory categories add crap that will slow the app down? This also means there isn’t much you can adjust. But the designers offer what I deem one of the most important features – the ability to adjust font size. You can also set the background to dark rather than the traditional white if that floats your boat.

You can customize your news feed as well, tailoring your feed with specific alerts: It’s very easy to setup new alerts. One complaint I have is the lack of info on removing custom feeds. It’s surprisingly easy to remove them without realising it. I had my thumb on one of the feeds I created and before I realized what I’d done, I removed it. Before I figured out what was happening I accidently removed two others. A small drop down menu that says “Get your thumb off my feed” would help avoid this. “Delete feed” would suffice though.

It would also be nice if they added the ability to remove categories. I don’t follow sports or entertainment and usually remove them on any app. That’s a small issue, but I like to tailor my news readers a lot and I miss this option.

Like most apps, LeadStory includes a share feature that allows you to send a story via email. They also offer a few other options, depending on how your phone is customized. You can send to messaging, Reading List, OneNote and in my case Flipboard and Facebook. The only minor irritate is having to remove the self-promotion the app inserts into sharing. Can’t fault them on promoting their app though.

Upgrading to the pro version will set you back a princely .99c. You can’t even get a cup of awful coffee for that price so it’s a bargain. Well worth checking out.

LeadStory feed