iOS’s Best App, Now at 30% Off



Drafts is the only app that lives in my dock on both iPad and iPhone. I was skeptical before I reviewed it. Now I use it more the Phone “app” on my phone.

Best of all is the customizable keyboard, from which you can trigger a bunch of actions to perform on the text in your draft: send as Message, Email, make into OmniFocus list, send to Evernote journal, make into a mind map, etc., etc., amen.

Here’s how part of mine looks:



If you use your iOS device (iPhone or iPad) to boost your organization and productivity, this is an essential app. You can, for example, do this amazing thing and this even more amazing thing.

Best of all, it’s now 30% off for a Back to School sale. I’ve never seen it cheaper.

Check out Drafts here.

PCalc: A Stylish and Full-Featured Scientific Calculator App

PCalc Icon

Looking for a good scientific calculator that your kids (or roommate) won’t make off with, because it’s downloaded as an app to your iOS device? (Which your kids or roommate might also abscond with, but still….)

PCalc is a beautifully-designed, dynamic calculator for iPhone and iPad, available in the App Store. Below I review the definitely-worth-its-$9.99 app. There is a free, “lite” version available here.

PCalc functions with zero lag, and has a really nice layout, which you can change to suit your preferences:


This image via TLA Systems Ltd.
This image via TLA Systems Ltd.


I liked that view so much I didn’t even think to look for different display options till weeks later. But then I found this:


Orientation View w Ticker


And this:


Another nother View


And also this:


Another View


The developer describes the app thus:

PCalc is ideal for scientists, engineers, students, programmers, or indeed anybody looking for a feature-rich calculator for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.

It includes an extensive set of unit conversions, a paper tape, an optional RPN mode, engineering and scientific notation, as well as support for hexadecimal, octal and binary calculations.

My favorite feature–that I’ve not seen in any of the other five or six calculator apps I had downloaded and promptly deleted from my phone–is that PCalc can run conversions for you: currency, in the kitchen (good for those of us who still can’t go fluid ounces to cups, which is ALL of us), energy units and more.




Listening to the new Kendrick Lamar, I might want to know how many square miles 40 acres is. With PCalc, I have my answer within a few taps:




It has a bunch of Constants stored, to which you can add your own:






There are also a ton of functions this app can perform that I probably would have loved in my high school Calculus class, but would have trouble with now. You can do more when you rotate to landscape mode:


Landscape View


Note the Ticker Tape underneath the number up top… that’s your computation history! You can even swipe back from the results screen to have PCalc re-perform your last operations.

This is a highly advanced calculator. I can’t say whether science and math students can put away their TI-80-whatevers, but they should at least download PCalc first.

Need to quickly figure a tip, or something else? Without even unlocking your device, swipe down to the Today view and find the best-looking, most functional widget you’ll probably see on iOS 8:



Even Apple’s own Calculator app does not have access from the swipe-down Today view.

PCalc is a fantastic app, and the last non-graphing, scientific calculator app you’ll ever put on your phone. See the full feature list here, and look at many more screenshots here.



Thanks to TLA Systems, the makers of PCalc for iOS, for giving me a download of the app for this review. See my other AppTastic Tuesday reviews here.

File Under: I Can’t Believe a Phone Can Do This

I can hardly believe the technology on a little iPhone exists to do this, but this is now how I am going to take and process meeting notes from here on out.

I have an app (Drafts 4) that has a downloadable action I found at their Web Action Directory.

Let me show you what it can do:


Drafts to EN and OF 1


Drafts to EN and OF 2


This means I simply open the Drafts app (which is quite aesthetically pleasing, and fast, too) and take meeting notes there…including marking action steps with the checkbox keyboard shortcut key (!).

Then I tap the action above, and all my meeting notes are saved as an Evernote note, with all the checkboxes I made automatically converting to OmniFocus tasks.

Many, many thanks to Agile Tortoise for the awesome app and to @rosscatrow for the action above to install into Drafts 4. A good step forward in my ongoing quest to stay organized.

Group Text+ (App Store’s best iPhone Texting App) is Now Free

Group Text


The best texting app in the iOS App Store is (for the moment) free.

I’m a big fan (and daily user) of Launch Center Pro, which is created by the same developers who make Group Text+.

Group Text+ makes sending texts to a pre-saved group (or individuals) really easy and fast… and it even comes with a bunch of hilarious gifs you can send! (I’ve gotten way more into this last feature than a man my age probably should….)

Check out the app here–free, for the time being.

AppTastic Tuesday: Drafts 4 for iOS



The purpose of Drafts 4 is twofold:

  1. Provide the easiest and quickest way to get to a blank text entry screen on iPhone and iPad.
  2. Allow you then to send or export that text to as many other apps as possible.

This may sound like one of those apps that developers made just because they could, but I’ve been surprised to find myself increasingly reliant on Drafts 4.

drafts4-icon-512x512-roundedJust the last two days I used it to (a) jot down some stand-up meeting notes (which I then exported to an OmniFocus task) and (b) send an email to someone when I didn’t want to have to be distracted by unread emails in my inbox.

Open the app, and you get a blank screen, into which you can quickly type (or dictate, via Siri) text. I recently was fortunate enough to have inspiration for a sermon outline strike me when I was doing some chores around the house. Not sure what to do with this newly found locus for creativity, I quickly reached for Drafts and jotted my thoughts down:


1_Text Entry


From here I could access a wealth of sharing options:


2_Basic Sharing Options


3_Basic Share Options 2


This particular draft went into Evernote, where I could easily get it later. I could have exported it some other ways:


4_Export to iCloud


Also amazingly cool is that when I exported it to Reminders, Drafts made each separate line into its own task:


5_Export to Reminders


This is sweet enough–an app that lets you quickly jot down text and export/share to just about anywhere. But Drafts is built with an eye to detail. You can make your text look nice, too:


6_Text Appearance
Note the option to have a night mode. And all those fonts!


You can even re-arrange your text from within Drafts, just by virtue of having started a new line when you were entering text:




You can edit the keyboard keys that are available to you:


8_Edit Keys
Note, too, the Markdown capabilities


There are quite a few settings you can adjust:




And Drafts can keep everything you enter, regardless of whether you’ve shared or exported it. (Drafts also keeps a record of where you’ve shared/exported your draft.)


10_Sort Inbox


Yes, you guessed it, there’s a Today widget, too:


11_Today Widget


Drafts 4 is just as awesome on iPad (not pictured here) as it is on iPhone. The only possible downside to this app is that $9.99 is more than most iOS users are used to paying for an app. But it’s easily one of the most carefully developed and detailed apps I’ve used, and robust in its features and capabilities.

It’s well worth checking out, and has found a home in my daily workflow.



Thanks to the fine folks at Agile Tortoise, the makers of Drafts 4, for giving me a download of the app for this review. See my other AppTastic Tuesday reviews here.

Readdle’s PDF Expert 5 is 50% Off

PDF Expert 5 by Readdle is on sale for $4.99 (50% off) right now. Here’s my video review from last fall of PDF Expert 5 on an iPhone (make sure you use the settings gear in the embedded video to watch in HD; you can also view full screen). The app is universal, which means you buy it once and then can use it on iPad and iPhone. Go here to find the discounted app.




A Bundle of Septuagint Resources in Olive Tree, Under $50

Rahlfs LXXWant to read the Old Testament in Greek on all your devices? This is the cheapest way I’ve seen to get started: until midnight PST tomorrow (1/6/15) night, you can get this Septuagint bundle for less than $50. It includes

  • The Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint text
  • Its critical apparatus
  • The Kraft-Wheeler-Taylor parsings of each word in the text
  • The LEH Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust, Eynikel, and Hauspie)

This is really an incredible deal, given that the Rahlfs-Hanhart text in print is about $50 (and doesn’t include running parsings). The LEH Lexicon in print runs anywhere from $40 to $80.

What can Olive Tree do, you ask? See my gathered posts here, including my recent review of a five-volume dictionary set that is still on sale.

The advantage to having the above combo in Olive Tree is that you can tap any word in the Rahlfs-Hanhart Greek text and get instant parsing information.




You can instantly access that word’s lexical entry in the LEH lexicon. I especially appreciate LEH’s inclusion of word frequency counts, according to sections of the LXX:


LEH Entry


Using the split window setup, here’s what the Rahlfs text with apparatus looks like:


Rahlfs with Apparatus


Though Rahlfs never intended his apparatus in this volume to be fully critical, it does help you at least compare LXX readings as found in Vaticanus (B), Alexandrinus (A), and Sinaiticus (S).

And because Olive Tree is fully cross-platform, you can sync any notes you take or highlights you make and they appear on any device on which you have Olive Tree.

Find the whole bundle here, on sale for just a little while longer.