leslie hitchcock

Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

WUT?? No, Seriously, WUT.

In reviews on June 30, 2014 at 9:00 am

Wut.Filed under mobile apps I completely missed during an insanely busy time in my life is WUT. Seriously, that’s its name. Honestly, I can understand how it flew under my radar because the purpose of an app like WUT genuinely perplexes me.

Learning of WUT this weekend, I sent my first one and I’m not sure what happens next. Before I dig into why that is a problem, let’s run through the premise, according to the founders.

Much like Secret and Whisper, WUT [I giggle each time I say its name] aims to live within the genre of anonymish apps, where thoughts can be shared to members of your network without identifying the original poster. The difference between WUT [still giggling] and those other apps is that much like Snapchat, the messages disappear off a user’s home screen and cannot be resurfaced upon opening the app. In WUT’s case, my network is my Facebook friends. Upon sending a WUT it can be WUTWUT-ed, meaning reshared by a member of my network. An alert is pushed when that happens, as well. If a friend in my network is spammy with their WUTs, I can mute them. Beyond that there are no more features.

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All I can say to this is, “Why?” Someone seems to think this is relevant, but it doesn’t compute for me. Perhaps I’m not the target market. After all, I don’t use Snapchat. I downloaded the app, but never opened it; it has since been deleted. WUT’s ephemerality doesn’t really appeal to me. I enjoy knowing what my friends are thinking and up to – Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare make me feel connected to people whom I care about. Yes, Secret (which I certainly enjoy) is also an anonymized app, but because I can engage with my network, it feels more connected.

WUT is a visually appealing app, and I love aesthetics. I enjoy the soothing pastel background and clever integration of emoji into the interface (ask anyone who regularly texts with me how much I adore emoji – especially camels, since there are no lions). As has been stated by TechCrunch, its ease of use is WUTs most noted aspect, but all you’re doing is sending a message into the ether which “dozens” of your friends will see until it vanishes. Not too much needs to be involved when that is the gist.

My friend who introduced me to WUT had not received a single WUT since installing the app, which leads me to believe our network of “dozens” of WUT users is not so bullish on the experience. However, last night a flurry of WUT activity occurred and I even participated in my first WUTWUT.

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Hopefully the “dozens” of friends I have on WUT will continue to participate in the chatter WUT founders envisioned. I hope so; already feel like an old lady who doesn’t “get” Snapchat and the like, so understanding this would salvage my reputation. Otherwise, perhaps WUT will go the way of WUFPH, which I also find endlessly hysterical:

BREAKING: The Jawbone UP Is Incredibly Chic

In reviews on September 24, 2013 at 9:00 am

Jawbone UP

For those of you who know me, the only hardware that typically interests me is that which can be found on shoes. Never one to fall for the latest gadget, I bought an iPhone 4 to upgrade from my Blackberry Curve (pouring one out for RIM). Only when that iPhone began to experience significant battery loss and random calling of contacts without my initiation (which coincided with the launch of the iPhone 5) did I trade up. Hardware is not my thing.

During the TechCrunch Hackathon I bought a Jawbone UP on a whim; an exhaustion-fueled whim and then promptly forgot about the purchase until it arrived several days later.  Needless to say I didn’t track the shipment compulsively like I do a shoe purchase. Hardware is not my thing.

Part of my concern with wearing a plastic computing device on my wrist was that it simply isn’t chic. But I bought it anyway and lo and behold, who was writing about this newest hardware craze in its September issue? VOGUE of all publications! My favorite shopping website even Instagrammed a wrist sporting a Rolex, a Jawbone UP and a Cartier bangle. Truth be told, I layer my UP similarly, but not as extravagantly. (Although I wouldn’t mind a Rolex… but back to the review.)

The Hardware

At first the Jawbone UP felt a little constricting and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to maintain wearing it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Sleeping with it was a bit of a chore but after a few nights, it was old hat. My skin around the UP started to get irritated but the UP has since loosened, so it is no longer a problem. I’ve been wearing it as suggested for over two weeks now and only take it off to dry it after it gets wet.

Easy to charge, the UP battery lasts about 10 days. To juice it back up, simply uncap the end of the UP and plug it into a USB drive which charges through your computer.

The UP comes in a variety of colors and I chose mint green. Somehow the white or black seemed garish — and seeing as how I love colors, it suits me well. Because I’m a fashion girl at heart living in a technology world, I layer mine with a variety of bracelets and I have to say it doesn’t look bad. My girlfriends noticed it immediately as an addition to my wrist but thought it was simply a new accessory. They were shocked when I shared what this little trinket does.

Part of the “Quantified Self” movement, the UP tracks various aspects of my daily routine after learning a bit about me (height, weight, etc.) It automatically logs my steps from the moment I wake up and my sleep as soon as I drift off. The UP is signaled to start monitoring these activities by a button I press in various patterns to tell it what I’m up to.

The Software

What really blows me away about this technology is the Jawbone UP app. Available for free, it is where I upload all of the data my UP is collecting about my day. It tallies it and visualizes it in such a beautiful way that I want to constantly look at it.

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The features I use the most are logging sleep, smart alarm, steps, other activities and idle alert.

  • Sleep: I’ve been curious about my sleep for a while, knowing how sometimes I don’t feel well-rested even though I achieved 8-10 hours of shuteye. The UP helps me to better understand how deeply I’m sleeping, versus lighter sleep. I have also learned with the UP that even when I think I’m awake, I’m actually in light sleep. As someone who gets grumpy when I perceive I haven’t slept long enough, this helps chill me out. My boyfriend appreciates this, Jawbone, so thank you.
  • Smart Alarm: Since I got the UP, I haven’t used a traditional alarm clock, instead using this feature on the UP. I set it for 6:30am Monday-Friday and based on my sleep cycle, it buzzes to wake me when I’m in light sleep within 10 minutes of 6:30, rather than an alarm which jolts me awake rudely. The only thing I wish it could do was snooze, but perhaps that will come later.
  • Steps: I’m a high energy woman, but with my job I can get tethered to my desk pretty easily. During the day, I try to take breaks and walk around the block but I’m not always successful. The UP determined based on my height, weight and age that I should take 10,000 steps a day. That seems fishy to me because I thought that was just a given, but whatever. Because I compulsively upload the data after I’ve walked, I have learned that skipping the bus in favor of a 6 block walk in the morning and walking twice around the block mid-afternoon, coupled with all of my other city jaunts, gets me to 10,000. (I didn’t take that walk this AM as you can see in my screenshot.)
  • Idle Alert: This feature is wonderful! Set to buzz me everyday from 8:30am-5:30pm, if I’m sitting for 30 minutes without moving I get a jolt. The main thing I’ve learned is that 30 minutes goes by really quickly! Also, that the UP doesn’t think that yoga counts as moving, which it TOTALLY DOES in vinyasa flow.

I do have some feedback for the UP team, specifically around various bugs I’ve uncovered. The most annoying one is that when I try to manually log a yoga class, it only lets me input one hour, rather than 1 hour 30 minutes which is how long most of the classes I take are. That is small, but if I’m trying to quantify myself, then it does make a difference.

I also wonder where on earth they determine calories burned. The numbers seem incredibly elevated for me, a recovering calorie-counter.

Aside from that nit, I love using the UP. So all you fashion girls, check it out! It is a stylish addition to an already-chic “arm party.” Hardware just might be my new thing.

Actually Print the Pictures Housed on Your Device With Printic

In reviews on May 31, 2013 at 9:15 am

printic

Remember when you got your first camera as a present? I do.*

I’ve always loved capturing tiny moments in time so a camera was one of my staples in life. My first camera was a Canon point-and-shoot which used actual film (!) and I loved that thing. My second camera was another Canon but this one was digital. The zoom was incredible, it was lightweight enough for my handbag and I went everywhere with it.

In the days of yore, I hurried rolls of film to the developer before the store closed and received prints back one week later. The excitement I felt from the advent of one-hour printing was palpable and I gave those stores a lot of business. In fact I still have boxes of 4×6 moments long passed that have moved with me from North Carolina and then to three subsequent San Francisco apartments, so loath am I to part with them. Did I mention that I’ve been in California for over seven years?

Then I met the iPhone and things were never the same.

All of a sudden, a camera almost as good as the one I constantly hauled around was ever-present in my mobile device. Then when I (d)evolved to barely release the phone (camera?) from my grubby little fingers, I could take instant shots of everything and anything that caught my attention. My other cameras had inadvertently found themselves with a one-way ticket to being obsolete.

I mean, the Camera is permanently affixed as one of my most important apps.

I mean, the Camera is permanently affixed as one of my most important apps.

But what of the pictures I was constantly taking? Part of the fun of having a body of work in photographs is being able to thumb through the images, frame them, give them as gifts. Where does that leave me, iPhone? I ask you!

There are several solutions like uploading to Walgreens or the like, using Picasa to achieve the same or buying a printer just for my iPhone, but none of these worked especially well for me. Picasa updated to be almost unusable as its original inception. Walgreens continually cropped my photos due to their size and without fail used odd image placement. And buying a photo printer just didn’t ring true to my needs.

I’ve used Postagram for sending pictures to others, but what if I just want one for myself? What then? Printic aims to solve that problem in a beautiful, simple way.

Learning of Printic from another photographer I admire, I decided to check it out. The interface is smooth and straightforward, inviting me to get started printing my pictures immediately. Each Printic order requires three images to be printed and they can be uploaded to the service via Facebook, Instagram or pictures stored on the iPhone itself. One click on each photo I want to print and they are collected by the app, allowing me to have final approval to determine if they require cropping, centering or editing in some other way.

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Voila! After settling the bill (converted from € to $, how charming!) I settled in to wait for my Printics to arrive. I appreciated that the team sends emails to let me know when the order has been received and when it is shipping. However, I wish that was managed through the app. I already get a lot of email.

There were a few things I noticed in the app that were less than polished. It is a French product and some of the English translations are misspelled. No big deal, just noticed. Also, for some reason Facebook doesn’t pull in photos I’ve published directly to my timeline into a folder, so I had to track some images down on Flickr and save them directly to my phone to print. I can see these pictures on my timeline on desktop but not on mobile. This is not Printic’s fault, obviously, but made the experience slightly frustrating.

I adored how the prints were packaged and their polaroid style appeals to my inner hipster. See how adorable?

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All in all, I think that the roughly $3 I spent on these images was worth it. Team Printic, expect me to be a repeat user!

*Thank you for bearing with me as I meandered down photography memory lane under the guise of a mobile app review.

Just Landed: A No-Brainer Flight Tracker App

In reviews on May 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

just landed app

Many portals exist with the premise of helping one meet a loved one at the airport on time. Airline sites; which are cumbersome on mobile and IMHO are not accurate, seemingly tied to a reluctance to openly acknowledge delays. Tripit or similar; which redirect to the airline websites. A myriad of flight tracking apps. Airline flight status text updates which are all too frequent and invasive. And a loved one can only call or text so many times about ETA before it becomes bothersome.

It makes a theoretically simple solution much more problematic. Unless you’re the Just Landed team!

Now to call Just Landed a “no-brainer flight tracker app” may seem to diminish the brilliance behind it. Let me be clear: that is not my intention. While using the app for the first time today to schedule an airport rendezvous I just couldn’t believe it took so long for someone to make this app! It is simply too logical. Thank heavens the team behind Just Landed finally brought it about.

Just Landed monitors incoming flight information and your location simultaneously. Based on arrival times and traffic data, recommends when you should leave for the airport to meet the flight you’re tracking. It is magical!

Today I was meeting a flight arriving from Frankfurt. International arrivals are tricky as they’re so long it is tough to monitor well, in my experience. Inputting the flight into Just Landed was an easy process: flight number, then choose the correct day, then it pops out a real-time ETA designated by adorable graphic if the plane is mid-air or if it has landed already.

Particularly handy are the alerts. I’ve disabled most lock screen alerts on my iPhone favoring the notification center instead. Just Landed will retain lock screen rights due to how indispensable the alerts are.

alert!

Also, the Just Landed team gets points for the sounds the app makes: when the flight has arrived it sounds like a plane landing; when regular alerts chime, they do so with the seatbelt indicator sound. Adorable! I do love me some aesthetics.

Another feature I appreciated was texting from within the app to let my party know I was already there and waiting. Just Landed prompted me to send it once the flight arrived and the location determined that I was at the airport. This was where I noticed some bugs in that Just Landed kept letting me know the flight had landed and offering to send a text. I wasn’t sure if the app did that to account for time in customs or if it was buggy, will determine that the next time I use it which will most likely be Wednesday.

That being said, as you can see it was a big hit that I was on time despite the flight being 40 minutes early.

i'm rule :)

I do rule. And so do you, Just Landed, for making me look good.

Moda Operandi Lets You Buy Fashion Week Looks, Now

In reviews on February 10, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s Note:Event Partnerships Manager Leslie Hitchcock is a non-editorial TechCrunch employee. In addition to working at TechCrunch and being super fashionable, she reviews startups and tech products occasionally on her personal blog, Leslie Just Joined.

Have you ever been at a New York Fashion Week runway show and been irritated that you can’t purchase a look from the collection right then and there? Oh. You haven’t? Well, then you probably haven’t heard of Moda Operandi, and that’s your misfortune.

There are First World Problems and then there are 1 percent problems. Moda Operandi, a fashion retail site co-founded by Lauren Santo Domingo of Vogue Magazine fame, solves both of them for the well-heeled (and incredibly impatient) fashionable set. And the company exhibited in Startup Alley at New York Disrupt 2011, so clearly they’re in the know. Now you can be, too.

As a loyal reader of Vogue…

View original 676 more words

Ordering Ahead with Order Ahead

In reviews on October 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

True story: In March I moved into a new apartment and I have not cooked since.

Cooking is not fun. I’ll do it if I have to; I have some game in the kitchen and am capable of making good things to eat. But all of the logistics surrounding cooking are not interesting to me: grocery stores, markets, ingredients, Farmers Markets, cook books, cleanup, etc etc. Basically, I feel like my time can be better spent. Also, I have the rest of my life to cook, so I’m not really going to start until it is imperative.

How do I eat, you ask. Excellent question! I recently attended a dinner party and I offered my help in the preparations, then quickly rescinded and instead volunteered to help with take-out if the experimental situation went south. (We did not need that option; the host made an incredible meal)

But the point remains: I eat out. A lot. If I am not getting lunch delivered as part of an office perk, I’m in a restaurant. Sometimes I wrangle friends to dine with me, sometimes I do take out. But now? Now I can Order Ahead.

Many mobile apps can help me get food: Get It NowGrubHub, Seamless. All of them bring me the meal I’ve requested. But sometimes I’m in a rush and hungry and need to have something waiting for me when I get to my destination. (If you’ve had the misfortune of experiencing Hungry Leslie, I apologize.) Plus, I really hate standing in line. Order Ahead is ideal in this situation.

I downloaded Order Ahead several months ago with the intent to review but then forgot about it because the offerings in my neighborhood are not restaurants I enjoy. It wasn’t until I was standing in the unending lunch line at HRD that I was reminded of Order Ahead’s existence. Sure enough, most restaurants I frequent in SOMA are represented. I hope the Order Ahead team works to on-board a better representation in other areas of San Francisco. I’d use it much more frequently.

The in-app UI is very well executed. After one is signed up, credit card filed and logged in, finding a restaurant from which to order is simple. My first order was from the TechCrunch office and as Marlowe is a partner, I couldn’t resist one of their cheeseburgers.

Navigating the menu proved efficient as did placing the order. My card was on file so as soon as I ordered the bill was settled. I received confirmation in the app as well as an email. The app’s confirmation page provided significantly more detail than the email page including when it could be picked up and where in the restaurant. Simple! I like it.

When I got to Marlowe I stood awkwardly at the bar while the bartender found my order. She kind of shrugged and told me I could just go “since you paid already, right?” We both admitted to not really knowing what the protocol was for the transaction, but it worked out perfectly. The burger was delicious. The only complaint I had was that I forgot I eschewed french fries for salad. It still sits on my desk uneaten several hours later.

I’m looking forward to watching this service grow and trying new establishments as they are added. One in particular seems fascinating: ordering coffee from Philz (or in my case a Chai Latte). I wonder what the experience is like with a beverage order. I’ll report back upon trying. But until then if you’re in the San Francisco area and don’t like cooking, I highly recommend Order Ahead.

My Bodymetrics Experience

In reviews on October 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

A few weeks ago, I (insanely) volunteered to step into a rather large scanning apparatus, disrobe and have my entire body scanned. (As one does.) All in the name of tech. And fashion! But before I jump into that story, let me back up.

The purveyor of this device is Bodymetrics. Based in London and Palo Alto, Bodymetrics is a startup that has a lofty goal: to help women discover the pair of jeans that is a perfect fit, based on their body. This recommendation is made after submitting to a body scan and then trying on the resulting denim options. As someone who loves fashion and startups, I was curious enough to try this contraption for TechCrunch TV.

As you can see from the video, I’m a ham I’m super shy my hair sticks up I really enjoyed myself. The scanner is efficient and soothing. It speaks to you with a British accent and aims to have a spa-like quality in its restfulness. After the experience, I have some thoughts on the system and what women can glean from it.

The results can be astounding.

I learned that I’ve been wearing jeans that are consistently one size too large. As someone who is a consistent shopper (not buyer, but shopper) I was dumbfounded. Do you know how many pairs of jeans I own? All but two are the wrong size. This is concerning to me, but I can’t replace them all at once so I have to deal.

Knowledge is power.

Measurements really don’t mean much to me, but what I did find valuable is that the scan validated some of the concepts I previously held to be true about my body and jeans. I gravitate toward mid-rise because I have not much waist to speak of and ankle length jeans because I’m super short. The feedback that the scanner produced echoed that sentiment, making me feel better about the fact that my sizing has been completely wrong.

Flattery will get you anywhere.

Telling me that my legs are the slimmest part of my body is one way to ensure that we are going to be best friends. The Bodymetrics scanner results did just that. Golden. Keep that up, Bodymetrics.

Also, delicately saying that wearing x style will give me a “shapelier seat” is considerably nicer than telling me what I know: that I have no ass my posterior is flat.

In all seriousness, reading what that scanner had learned about my body helped me be more compassionate about the parts I tend to judge. If I’ve been wearing jeans that are one size too large, perhaps the reason is tied to my thoughts on particular areas of my body. Seeing that the scanner thought a skinny leg jean would be more flattering encouraged me to try a fit I typically avoided.

Rethink the floating mannequin in the results.

Because I have Skitch, I felt comfortable taking a screenshot of my scanner image for this post … and then blocking out 90% of it because like hell I’m showing you that. I felt the same way when going over the results with Tania in Bloomingdales. The information learned and spit out by the scanner results are way more helpful than an image of me in my skivvies. I found myself more distracted (and disheartened) by that and don’t necessarily need it consistently in my face.

I’m aware that if one used Bodymetrics to track weight loss, that feature would be helpful — but for the average shopper, a way to hide that would be ideal.

Bottom line

The technology is impressive. Partnering with the Palo Alto Bloomingdale’s is brilliant. I’ve heard through the grapevine that denim sales have increased in that location and I’d believe it. After I had some time to digest what I’d learned, I signed in to my Bodymetrics account to take a closer look at the recommendations. I’ll be making a purchase or two soon.

Ways I could see Bodymetrics expanding are almost endless: men’s jeans (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE), lingerie, swimsuits. Anything that is hard to fit, Bodymetrics has an opening. Also, online shopping could really use this service. The majority of the people I know who refuse to shop online do so because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of returns. One Bodymetrics scan would alleviate that.

But here’s the million dollar question: would you let yourself be scanned? I’m genuinely curious.

speaking of disrupting native apps… google chrome for iOS

In reviews on August 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

Although I adore Apple products, I have long hated their Safari browser eschewing it for Firefox and then with the advent of Google’s browser product, choosing Chrome. The only place I could not avoid what I found to be an insufferable browser experience was on my various Apple mobile devices. No longer!

Google announced Chrome for iOS during the I/O conference and there was much rejoicing. I am so excited about it that immediately upon downloading, I replaced the Safari app with it on my home screen. Aside from the benefit of not being Safari, the app boasts several features which make it especially appealing to me: Incognito Search Tab and Other Devices.

Other Devices

The Other Devices feature was made just for little ol’ me, or so I like to believe. At the moment I have roughly 20 tabs open in my Chrome MacBook Air browser. Several have been open all week because I haven’t had time to do a lot of extraneous reading as of late. (I’ve been busy.) Because I don’t want to abandon all hope of reading some insightful industry pieces (MG and ATD) or online shopping (Sparrow Trouser from Tibi, size itty-bitty please), Chrome automatically synching them between all of my various Apple products is genius.

Where in the past I would have to add these links Evernote, now I can just leave my browser open and more easily access webpages where I left off, saving Evernote for the pieces I really want to keep.

Also, because of this feature, Chrome remembers the things that I search for across all of my devices, auto-completing my most typical searches saving me precious seconds in finding whatever is so pressing at that moment in time. Which leads me to “Incognito Search”.

Incognito Search

Let’s be honest: unless I’m completely alone here (and I don’t think I am) we tend to search things on the mobile web that we’d dare not look up on our laptops. My theory as to why this happens is that I’m on the go, have the internet at my disposal and tend to be discussing ridiculous things that obviously require more context with my friends while we’re out and about.

Because I clean my Safari search history out regularly to avoid potential embarrassment, I don’t have great examples of past bizarre searches to share with you — or I totally would in the interest of transparency. But I will tell you that once a boyfriend was sharing his iPhone screen with me, launched Safari, started a search and the first thing that popped up was a query for his ex-girlfriend’s Twitter feed. As you can imagine, that was a fun moment.

I digress! The Incognito Tab saves us from ourselves and awkward moments like that by eliminating the history trail. Hooray! You can search for more information about the strange things you think about while away from your laptop and look up your ex’s Twitter accounts to your heart’s desire. I just don’t have to know about it.

Bottom line? Great app experience, Google. Hopefully Apple will see that Safari can afford to change and be more user-friendly/less embarrassing. My only gripe is that I cannot make Chrome my default browser on my iOS devices without jailbreaking it.

Your move, Apple.

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klout for iPhone is beyond baffling

In reviews on July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm


As far as services go, Klout is incredibly confusing.

Somehow the team created a business (?) out of determining ones influence in obscure ways on the internet. I log in for fun now and then, exclaim to my colleagues (who kindly humor/ignore me) the random things Klout finds me influential in. Continuing to peruse my profile, I wonder about how the metrics are determined, marvel at the fluctuating score analysis graphs, and then go back on my merry way doing typical Leslie things.

Doesn’t this look dramatic?

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Occasionally though, I do log into find amazing insights like this.

Most of the time though, what Klout has to share with me is not relevant. Basically because I have no idea what it all means.

However, being the naturally curious individual that I am, I downloaded Klout for iPhone when it premiered. Why? No clue. Curiosity drives us in strange ways, I’ve found. But I digress.

From what I can see, the iPhone app adds no value to whatever it is that Klout is offering me in the first place. I can look at my profile from the app, but there is no there there, if you know what I mean. The app monitors when my score goes up and down and sends me notifications when a change occurs.

Aside from the obvious solution of turning off Klout notifications, what action is one supposed to take at this alert? Perhaps something funny like this? Since my Klout score is meaningless to me, I have no desire to do anything, but I still don’t understand why the app is necessary. I don’t use Klout Perks, but even if I did you can’t access them from the app. You can’t give Klout to other people from the app. You can look at other people’s Klout profiles, but very limitedly. I just don’t get its point.

Interestingly enough, Klout thinks I am influential about Klout. Maybe that will increase after this post, which would amuse me. And continue to baffle me. Good times! Consider this app designated for the land of the app graveyard.

brewster: a beautifully re-envisioned address book

In reviews on July 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Fanfare! Buzz! Fred Wilson! Download now! That’s what the Brewster app launch looked like today. Did I take the bait? Of course. Should you? Absolutely.

Brewster‘s aim, to disrupt your iPhone’s native address book, is deceptively underwhelming. To the basic mobile user, the address book is taken for granted as the way we maintain our contacts. But with Mercury entering retrograde on July 14 (yes, I went there) having all of my contacts backed up in a (non-iCloud) cloud is perfectly timed.

What Brewster does though is so much more and it is beautifully executed to boot. In fact, the way Brewster is designed and behaves reminds me of Path. And we all know how I feel about that app.

When the app initially launches, it takes you through all of the various ways you can be connected to someone. I synched my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and Foursquare accounts in addition to my actual address book. After Brewster collects the data from those various sources it notifies you that you’re ready to begin.

The first step is selecting your favorite people, the ones you communicate with most regularly across the sundry networks. That sounds more boring than it actually is. Check out what it looks like. So pretty.

After checking off your favorites they are easily ordered and then accessed by how recently you interact with them. What was frustrating about this process is when you’re connected with one person across multiple platforms. For example, my mother showed up as Mother (what I call her in my address book; I am Southern after all) and under her actual name due to her Twitter account. Perhaps I just haven’t uncovered this feature yet, but it would be great if Brewster could condense all entries for a single person into one entry.

UPDATE: A “merge” feature exists within contacts! Man, that Brewster team thought of everything. But in all fairness it is slightly buried. I’d prefer it if that feature was automated and made suggestions of contacts to merge.

Once you get your favorites situated, write a blog post, publish screenshots of who your favorites are and potentially offend everyone else you’re close to, there are more ways to interact with Brewster, all of which are designed to make staying in touch more simple. Lists, network updates, search capabilities. You name it. The Brewster team covered all of their bases with regard to functionalities.

I’ve made calls from the app, texted and emailed. It is a seamless experience and because of the ease of transition to those functions, feels native. Actually, it feels better than native because it isn’t so blah to look at. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, aesthetics are important. Once a text or an email is sent, you’re directed back to Brewster, but that isn’t the case with the phone functionality. It leaves you stranded high and dry in the phone app. Not sure why that is different.

The lists feature is pretty neat. I like how Brewster suggests lists based on my interests: San Francisco contacts, TechCrunch people, industry peeps, etc. Most Mutual Connections is pretty fun in the tech industry. But with over 1,000 contacts based on all of my networks, the key function I’ll use the most (aside from my favorites) is the Search feature. I’d comb through them all and delete extraneous people to make it more manageable, but with favorites that seems unnecessary. Plus, who knows when I’ll need to get a hold of someone who today seems random.

Updates is the only feature I’m not quite sure about but that is simply because at this point it hasn’t populated for me. Apparently at some point it will alert me to who’s around, industry notables, who is “trending” in my world and who I’m “losing touch with”. I’ll be curious to see what my reaction is at that point. Urgency or apathy or something in between? More will be revealed!

Until then, I think I’m sold on this app. More native iPhone app disruption, please!

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