This Week in Apps (3/21/10) – MacJournal, Grades, Osfoora, Street Fighter IV, Vlingo, and Proactive Sleep

Playing with apps on my ever-changing iPhone (and soon iPad) Springboard…

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MacJournal for iPhone (Mariner MacJournal)
mj.pngYes, there’s Evernote, Simplenote, and any other number of notes apps but to me, MacJournal is unique. I’ve been using the Mac app as a “learning journal” for the last year. I have a tendency to do a crazy amount of research when I’m interested in something and MacJournal’s allowed me to better archive and retrieve my notes on those subjects.

That’s why I was excited to learn an iPhone app was coming out and after a long and obsessive wait, it hit the App Store yesterday. Beyond syncing with the Mac version (and like the Mac counterpart), the app is a full blog editor. Personally, I use MarsEdit for blogging but this feature may prove useful on the iPhone.

Rating – ★★★★★
Price – $4.99
App Store Link

Grades
grades.pngGrades is an app that will make you wish you were in school again…or at least make you mad about how you use to have to calculate the grade you needed to make that A (or B or C).

Aside from its usefulness, what I like about Grades is how well it guides the user through using the app. Most screens include references and examples for how to use the app without taking away from the clean design.

Rating – ★★★★★
Price – $0.99
App Store Link

Osfoora for Twitter
osfoora.pngConsidering how crowded the Twitter client marketplace is, you wouldn’t think there’d be room for a new kid on the block. But Osfoora has come out blazing and has a growing user base.

Osfoora definitely feels inspired by Tweetie 2 but its home screen is unique, adapting a Facebook-type layout. While I personally wouldn’t switch to it from my combo use of Echofon Pro and Tweetie 2, it’s a fairly bold undertaking by solo developer Said Marouf.

Rating – ★★★★
Price – $0.99
App Store Link

Street Fighter IV
sf.pngAnyone who played video games in the 1990’s knows the Street Fighter series. That’s why despite the $9.99 price tag I immediately bought the game when I saw it on the App Store.

I was a little hesitant about playing a game like this, which historically was best with a joystick. Even the console versus arcade versions weren’t as good because it wasn’t as easy to do special moves and combos. Capcom did a pretty good adapting the gameplay to this format. My only complaint is that it seems like everything is lost when a call comes through…and just went I had defeated Dhalism several stages into the game.

Rating – ★★★★
Price – $9.99
App Store Link

Vlingo
vlingo.pngI initially tried out Vlingo — a voice-powered app — when the first version hit the App Store (which I believe was some time in the last year). With the launch of v2.0, I thought I’d give it another try.

In concept, I still think Vlingo is a great idea. Who wouldn’t want to quickly dictate texts, e-mails, search the web, and more all via voice. In practice, it still just doesn’t work. Also, Vlingo has a super long Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Read it carefully because, for example, there’s a possibility that your contacts will get indexed and sent to their servers for faster voice retrieval if you select that during the setup process.

Rating – ★★
Price – Free (w/ In App Purchases)
App Store Link

Proactive Sleep
proactive.pngI own more than several alarm clock apps, including Sleep Cycle. I was interested to check Proactive Sleep out when I saw it on the “Featured” list but it really disappointed me.

Not only is it confusing to use, it’s extremely buggy. For example, the alarm clock immediately fell several minutes behind the iPhone system clock (thankfully, I noticed this before I went to sleep) and the app crashed three times on me. On the more bewildering side is that although Proactive Sleep is a paid app, they are including irrelevant ads in it.

Rating – ★
Price – $2.99
App Store Link

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