Moov wearable first impressions and test / review

moov fitness tracker coach wearable

I just received the fitness-coach-wearable “moov” in the mail. Moov is a device made by an innovative US startup that crowdfunded itself on their own website instead of using kickstarter. Kudos!

The device promised to be way smarter than any other passive-fitness-wearable (like the Jawbone UP or the Fitbit Flex which I actually used myself) so did it deliver?

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My thoughts after using Windows Phone 8 for 10 days

iPhone VS Nokia Lumia 820

I’ve been what some people call “an Apple Fanboy” since 2005. That year I bought my first iPod and then the addiction started. I had the first iPhone in 2007, went through 4 Macbooks and 2 iMacs, 3 iPads and countless iPhones. I tried using an Android Phone (Samsung Galaxy S) for a few weeks but it failed to meet my expectations (and was ugly). Android might’ve changed since then (I am aware it did) but recently something else has swayed me in yet another direction. Yes – for the last 10 days I’m a Nokia Lumia 820 user and I really like it.

Why switching now? Well – iOS 7 is the main reason. I know it’s a beta, I know it will change a bit. But the main reason that I don’t like it is that it lacks contrast and it’s really dishonest. It pretends to scream simplicity, but it’s lost between the blurs and gimmicks and from afar most apps are hard to tell from one another. I don’t think it’s a good design (and I’m a designer for over 10 years now). That’s why I wanted to try a truly flat, modern and innovative UI. The choice was obvious.

Windows Phone 8 typography lock screen

There’s a lot of praise for great typography in Windows Phone and in most cases it’s completely true (unlike iOS 7 and that super thin Helvetica Neue). Just take a look at the lock screen. It doesn’t need animated backgrounds – it’s beautiful with just the text, and the fonts are super crisp. Sure – in some places the typography could still be improved, but Windows Phone is currently the most modern and visually clean mobile OS.

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Solar charging with twists and turns

I’m a big fan of renewable energy. Since there’s not enough wind where I live, and not enough geothermal anywhere that I can dig with a shovel, I decided to go with solar. There are two companies that definitely stand out both efficiency, and design-wise so I decided to buy both chargers on impulse and try them out:)

First the Voltaic AMP arrived. It’s a small, portable charger that’s a foldable case, so it’s easy to carry around. Two panels give out about 4Watts of energy, and that in turn is supposed to charge the internal battery (3,000mAh, 11 Watt hour capacity) from 0 to 100% in about 6 hours. It turned out that even in Eastern European sun on my field trips, I was able to get it charged in between 6 to 7 hours. That resulted in a full battery and the ability to charge my iPhone 4S once, and then to about 50%. Not bad! The case is durable and looks like it can survive plenty of damage, so for anyone doing some outdoor survival this charger would be perfect. It’s so tough you can easily hit it with a rock and break the rock ;) They also offer iPad chargers, laptop chargers and solar backpacks!

Light, portable, ready for travel
Pretty fast charging
Very durable

No social media integration or measuring your charges
The battery gets easily scratched when used
Can’t charge an iPad at all

Voltaic AMP is a good deal at $99 for everyone who does a lot of travel and needs sun on the go

The second one is the newest of all – a Solar Charging community, with uploading your Wh and CO2 grams to a social website to share. It’s called changers, and it does make a change by introducing the social aspect to solar power. I found out that I’m actually uploading the data every day and it’s really awesome to have saved over 50 grams of CO2 by doing this. Since I’m using both chargers, and both are 4Watts, I’m probably saving twice the amount actually. The solar panel has the Holstee Manifesto on the back, some suction cups that can be reversed (to place it on the inside or outside of a window), and this time the battery and the panel are separated. The panel is light and quite flexible, but pretty big and hard to pack (unless you strap it to the outside of your backpack), and the small, beautifully designed battery (looks like an Apple designed elephant a little bit) can power two iPhones a day. On their promo materials they also said it could give some juice to the iPad, but unfortunately Changers doesn’t seem to work with either iPad1, or the new iPad (I have both for testing apps). On the upside I think it takes a little faster for the battery to charge, so in 4-5 hours of sun a day you can have two iPhones ready to go.

Sunpowered social media – it works!
Fast charging!
Aesthetically pleasing design!

Hard to travel with
Can’t really charge an iPad at all

Changers will work better at home or at the office, where its design will shine and you'll be sharing your CO2 savings with friends online.

Pixelmator is not all sweet and awesome – here are the cons

Pixelmator looks great at first try, but using it for a real project reveals hidden bugs and annoyances

A while ago I was considering retiring my Photoshop license for a cheap and well defined solution from the Pixelmator Team. Their app – Pixelmator has been a huge success, generated millions of income and a lot of praise. As a power user of Photoshop I tested it and was pleasantly surprised at first. Aside from the lack of still a few important functions (layer styles) it seemed like it can transform the industry and steal some cake from the big brother.

Unfortunately after using it for my professional project (that was a one time try, because actually doing something for work is the best test ever) I found that it’s ridden with bugs and annoyances. First of all – the selection tool is terrible – it sometimes selects something quite different than intended, the selected areas move outside of the screen for no reason. Yuck. They supposedly fixed it in 2.0, but I encountered the problem a couple of times still.

The definitely most annoying thing it the text, that you create with otherwise pretty decent type tool. Normally the text box (in Photoshop) has a safe area that covers it’s height and width including higher and lower letters. Well in Pixelmator it appears to be the same, but there’s on little change. If you have two text layers, with the smallest possible safe area and they’re not overlapping at all, you can only select the top layer by CMD + Clicking on it. The only way to select the bottom layer is to select it from the Layer palette, and that simply sucks for larger projects. It appears as if the text that’s on the top layer has a magic shield around it that forbids you to easily reach other text. Sure it might be fun for a photo with a helvetica, pseudo typography Paulo Coelho quote on it, but as soon as you add another text you’re screwed.

Inconsistency is another thing that’s worth mentioning – if we change the app design for that nice looking black overlay, why do we still use the native color picker, the native extended font chooser? Besides the native color picker doesn’t have the built in hex value on every tab, rendering it quite useless for webdesigners.

So yeah, that’s a little bit of bitc**** in the morning, but I can’t help it – at the current state Pixelmator cannot be used in professional design without irritation and slower pace. Hopefully they’ll fix it and enhance the features.

App review: Galleried (iPhone/iPad/Mac)

Rating: ★★★★½

Galleried is an awesome app for finding great web designs, managing a collection of inspirations (some call them "stealing enhancers") between your devices. The App is 8Eur for the Mac, and has a free companion app for both iPhone and iPad. They sync through dropbox, so you’re always up to date with your findings no matter the device. The selection is made from a couple of sites that feature good design and 9 out of 10 times it gets the right sites. Sometimes we can see something that doesn’t quite fit, but in general there’s plenty of inspiration there. I think it’s the best app of that kind for any designer so you should get it right now! It’s worth the money.

App review: 360 Panorama

Rating: ★★★☆☆

360 Panorama is a cheap (2Eur) iPhone App that lets you create “dragged” panoramas in a fake 3d, that are both easy to do, and fun to play with. Currently the web view only works in Safari (sorry for that), but it really is impressive. When viewed from the iPhone 4 – even in the browser – we can use the full potential of the built in gyro to rotate around with our phones and preview the 3d world. The App runs surprisingly smooth, although it requires some precision and a fairly steady hand. Most panoramas have at least one jagged line somewhere – usually at the final end.

There also should be an option to do it more “3d” like than two rows of photos, but currently doing more than one can result in a badly stitched result unfortunately. Still it’s a pretty good effort in a cheap app, and can be a nice addition to our iPhone photography folder. The image quality is not bad, even in low light conditions, but there’s no focus and exposition lock, so each panorama-part can actually differ visually and that sucks a lot. But in good lighting conditions it’s a whole different story as seen above (it’d be perfect if not the final error near the end of the panorama).

It is predicted that iPhone 4S / iPhone 5 will have a built in panorama tool in the camera App, but we have to wait until tomorrow to see that anyway.

You can download it at

iPad brief review

Since everything has already been said about how it’s beautiful, but no flash. How it has a long lasting battery, but doesn’t have a USB port. How it’s fast and portable but the operating system is a bit stripped.
Blah blah blah.

Since everybody knows all the tech specs already (and if not you can just look it up) I’m gonna focus on my impressions on using the device. Because in the end who cares if it does that or doesn’t do that if you hate every second spent with it. Allright then, let’s start from the basic.

It’s just a giant iPhone

No. This is like saying a soccer ball is just a bigger tennis ball, when both have different purposes and are used quite differently. What iPad is – is the revolution that the web was waiting for – not in the content and not in the delivery methods (that’s why flash doesn’t matter here) but in the form factor that’s easier and better for the web. It was the first big hit in the tablets but now, as I said before we’ll see a whole bunch of other ones, cheaper and more accessible. And in that respect it doesn’t matter if they run iOS, android or some crippled version of windows. Or linux. What matters is the way to interact with the internet is finally changing for the second time since internet was born. (this first one was text commands, then came the graphically intense websites and online videos).

So do I like it? Yes. In fact it’s become used more for everyday tasks than my laptop. I can carry it around me all the time since it’s pretty small and light, so I take my things with me everywhere. As simple as that, holding the internet in your hands is the way to go for the internet itself. And it doesn’t matter if you choose an apple device for that or something else. It has started and we’re sure even Nokia will make a similar device soon.

Quick review : The Smashing Book


Photo of the smashing book alongside our iPad parody to prove we got it ;)

I have before me a beautiful example od DIY creativity. The Smashing Book is a compilation (but made apparently especially for the book) made by the nice people from . Why are they nice? Well they’re nice because they share what they know, and in the modern world information is money, so it’s nice of the to share. Sure the book costs 30 bucks + postage but after giving it a brief shuffle it’s worth it! Definitely. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced designer with a portfolio that when printed would have more pages than this book. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner who hearing “text-kerning” says “WTF mate?”. There’s only one group of people that won’t find this useful. The rest will love it regardless of their experience and knowledge.

So let’s pop the question

Who are those people that won’t need it though? Well the people who will not find it useful are people who don’t really learn anything by themselves. People who rely on knowledge and learning before attempting ANY tries at a subject. People that will have a full typography course before they type in their first Aa’s. These people might only benefit from the nice, easy to understand language. But they probably won’t learn much, because what Smashing Magazine did is organized the most commonly “asked questions” and answered them with both the scientific precision and clarity for the “normal” people who don’t spend their life buried in a textbook.

Is it worth the 30$?

Definitely. It’s a quick read for the first time, and then you might keep it handy since it’s almost like a bible of design, usability, productivity and more down to earth stuff like CSS and coding. That makes it universal in a way that anyone who wants to do more with their projects will want to have it somewhere close to the computer. Good job guys! Thumbs up!