App of the Week: Notabli

notablieNotabli is a fantastic little iPhone app (free) that lets you share you favorite moments with your kids safely, securely and privately. Think of it as an invite-only social network that lets you show off your kids. I use it with my sisters and parents, all who live hundreds of miles away from my family. Here’s how it works.

Begin by adding information on your kid(s), like name, nickname, birthdate and gender. Select a cute cover photo to represent him or her. A tight shot of Jr’s smiling face is best, as the icon will be small. Next, get adding some moments.

Notabli lets you add photos (shot with the app for pulled from your Camera Roll), video, audio entries to text. Entries can be viewed by child or in a single stream. Those who have been authorized to participate can leave comments or mark certain moments as favorites.

Parents get special privileges, in that up to two parents can contribue moments to a child’s pool, and across devices. For example, my wife is out with the kids as I type this and has added a few photos of our kids having a nice time. I see them on my iPhone, and my sisters and parents see them on their iPads. It’s more fun than email, safer than public posting like Facebook and it looks really good.

The settings give you the option to copy photos to your Camer Roll and upload over cellular. You can connect to Facebook and Twitter if you like, but that’s totally optional (I haven’t). Finally, optional notifications can be enabled for new moments, comments or “hearts,” which indicate a post that has been marked as a favorite.

I don’t use Notibli as a photo album, but it’s great for sharing photos of the school play or the pinewood derby with those who can’t be there. Email works too, yes, but Notabli looks much better and even my parents (sorry, mom and dad) have no trouble using it. It’s a great little app.

You’ll find other featured apps here.

App of the Week: Race to the Pennant

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Today’s App of the Week is Race to the Pennant ($0.99, universal) for iPhone and iPad. It lets fans of Major League Baseball track their team’s progress towards the playoffs with fun, informative bar graphs and information.

I like this app because it’s simple and it presents information in a clear and unique way. The main screen is divided into the American League and the National League. Each league is further divided into the Eastern, Central and Western division. Finally, each division presents its five teams as a colored bar.

Each win moves that team’s bar closer to the top of the screen. As the season progresses, a quick glance presents the standings in an attractive and very readable bar graph. You can tap any division for a more detailed view (above). This reveals a team’s win/lost record, current steak, record across the last five and last ten games, and finally the number of games back.

But there’s more! Swipe across any team’s detail screen to see more info on its record and to read related articles on MLB.com. You can also identify your favorite division.

Race to the Pennant has been updated since this post was originally published, and the latest version (1.1) greatly improves the speed with which its data is uploaded. Previously, scores weren’t updated until the following morning. Now it happens on game day. You can also set a favorite division and the app loads it on launch, which is very nice. In addition, the app now pulls news from a different source and it’s much more readable on an iPhone.

Race to the Pennant is simple, great-looking and fun. Developer Tyler Hillsman is doing a great job with it, even if he is a Royals fan.

App of the week: Hop Scheduler is a handy iPhone app for home brewers

hopsYears ago, when I moved to Cape Cod and didn’t know anyone, I did what most people do in that situation. I started to brew beer 1.

Brewing your own beer is a fun hobby that you can totally geek out on, from process to ingredients to hardware. Hop Scheduler for iPhone ($2.99) is one of those tools. This simple app lets you know when to add your hops, and in what order, depending on the style of beer you’re creating. It’s really quite handy.

To get started, tap Start A Brew Session and then select your boil time 2. Choose between 120 minutes, 90 minutes, 60 minutes or 30.

The next step is to identify your hops by name. Enter it into the input field and tap the “+” button. Hop Scheduler will list your hops and suggest a time for each. Finally, tap start the boil. A nice-looking countdown screen appears with the name of the next hop to be added as well as when it should go in.

Hop Scheduler is simple and good at what it does, which is precisely what I like in an app. Plus it looks great. Home brewers will want to check this one out. Grab Hop Scheduler and get brewing.

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  1. This is the book that served as my introduction. It’s a great place to start.
  2. Don’t let it boil over TRUST ME.