Launch Center Pro: Usually $5, Get it Free

It’s got to be the best tagline I’ve ever seen in the App Store:

Launch actions, not just apps.

If you are interested a free code for the paid app that does this, read on….


The “just” in that tagline is precisely placed, too, because Launch Center Pro can launch both apps and actions. But its ability to launch actions is what sets it apart. With minimal effort required for setup, I open up Launch Center Pro (hereafter, LCP) on ye ole phone to see these options:



Yes, that’s right. I can message (or call) my wife, text my whole family, post a selfie (I don’t really do that), enter a new Calendars 5 event, and much more with a single tap.

“It’s like speed dial for everyday tasks,” the app description rightly claims.

Already included in the app (though customizable) is a slew of app search options:



You can create your own actions via the Action Composer, which requires zero knowledge of Apple’s x-callback-url functionality, even though it utilizes it.



My phone allows me just four apps in the dock. LCP is so handy, I moved the Phone app to my home screen, and put LCP in its place in the dock. If that doesn’t speak to an app’s utility—that I use it more than I place calls on my phone—I don’t know what does.

I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s not just a five-star App (though it is that, too), but LCP is a really smart innovation that will simplify repeated actions on your phone. See it in action in this short video.

It’s been priced as high as $4.99 recently. Right now it’s $2.99 for iPhone in the App Store. There is a separate iPad version, too, which can sync with the iPhone LCP.

But you want a chance to get the app free, you say? You came to the right place. Thanks to good folks at Contrast, who make the app, I’ve got a promo code for the iPhone version to give away.

Just comment here (and make sure you type in your email address, which goes undisplayed) for a chance at winning the code… share this post (and comment where you did) for a second entry. I’ll announce the winner some time this weekend. Leave your comment where it says, “What do you think?” below.

Launch Center Pro supports a ton of apps, too.

All of Joy of Cooking’s Recipes, On Your Phone you know that you can get the entirety of Joy of Cooking in your iPhone or iPad?

The iconic and ever-useful cookbook would be hard to improve upon in its print edition (though some duct would help ours), but the iOS app does just that.

It’s currently on sale through New Year’s Day, $4.99 at the App Store. EDIT: They’ve changed the price twice since I posted. As of 12/22, it’s $6.99.

If I procure the app unto myself, I shall report back, but for now here’s a bit of what it claims to be able to do:

• Universal app supports both iPhone and iPad.

• Thousands of recipes and reference materials cover everything from enchiladas to lemon meringue pie.

• All materials are included in the app. No internet access is required.

• Pre-set digital timers enable you to get each recipe just right.

• Let the app speak each step aloud so you can concentrate on cooking, rather than reading.

• Navigate each recipe with simple voice commands. No need to touch the screen with sticky fingers!

• Thousands of photos and illustrations leave nothing to interpretation.

• Built-in menu-maker allows you to create a menu and use it to
navigate among recipes while you cook; you can even print it out or
email it to your guests.

• Joy of Cooking classic red bookmarks help you keep track of several recipes at once.

• The Favorites list lets you store recipes that you want to cook again and again.

• Shopping lists can be created easily from one or more recipes.

• The Sleep-Block feature prevents your iPad from sleeping when you just want to cook.

• A switch to enable metric units can adapt recipes to your preference.

• A built-in conversion calculator makes it easy to substitute just
about anything. Want to know how many teaspoons are in a half-cup? That
answer, and many others, is just a few taps away.

…and more.

Here are a couple screenshots from the App Store:





Read more about this impresive-looking app here.

My New External Brain: Evernote

Evernote Icon


I’ve finally seen what all the Evernote fuss is about: It’s more impressive than almost any other productivity app I’ve used, and a basic account is free.

The company claims a lot for its app:

Evernote makes modern life more manageable by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters. From work notes and to-do lists to recipe collections and travel plans, add everything to Evernote to help you get organized without the effort.

But it’s so easy to access from any other app on any device, and so well-organized that it really can help you remember (or, rather, access) everything.

For example, do you want to file away the information in an email in a safe place, but not lose it among hundreds of email folders? Email it to your custom-created Evernote address, and it automatically files in your default notebook.

Do you want to make a simple shopping list with check marks and tap them as you go? Evernote can do that.

Do you have a bill you need to pay, and want to remind yourself of that unfortunate reality, but also have the relevant info at hand? Just take a picture of your bill with Evernote, add in a few comments, and it all saves in one place. You can even set a time-basd reminder to a note.

EvernoteAre you trying to make sense out of that stack of recipe notecards, and want to have it all in one easily accessible location for next time you cook? You can take photos of everything and file it in a “Recipes” notebook in Evernote. You can even tag your recipes with primary ingredients or nutritional details, so that pulling up your “Protein” tags gives you some good ideas for dinner.

There are at least a dozen more ways I’m using Evernote now every day to organize myself. I highly recommend it.

If you want to try it, you can register for free here. Going to that link also gives you and me both a free month of Premium, which adds some nice features like (get ready): keyword searching the three pages of text you just photographed from your favorite textbook. Yes, Evernote can do that.

But you don’t really need Premium to get a lot of utility out of it. It’s free, no strings attached.

It’s not perfect, of course. But I have yet to run into a limitation for the many ways I’ve already put it to use. Check it out and see what you think.

App Santa–Sweet iOS Apps on Sale

App Santa


I’m not sure how the actual St. Nick would feel about iTechnology, but App Santa offers a surprisingly large selection of excellent iOS (and Mac) apps for sale, starting today.

A few highlights of apps I use (and like):

  • PDF Expert 5 ($6.99, from $9.99)
  • Scanner Pro ($2.99, from $6.99), which I use regularly for e-filing
  • Calendars 5 ($2.99, from $6.99), even better than Apple’s native Calendars app
  • TextExpander Touch ($2.99, from $4.99)

And a few apps that I haven’t reviewed (but will soon) that look sweet:

  • Drafts 4 ($4.99, from $9.99), “where text starts on iOS”
  • Launch Center Pro ($0.99, from $4.99), the tag line of which is, “Launch actions, not just apps”
  • Screens ($13.99, from $19.99). This morning after having it installed for less than a minute, I was using a tiny little phone to control a big desktop computer. Amazing!
  • MindNode ($4.99, from $9.99): a smooth mind mapping app, which I’ll post about more in coming months

Find them all (and others) here.

Nisus Writer Pro: One Day Festivus Sale

Strong, Fast
Excellent Word Processing for Mac


I don’t really know much about Festivus, but in honor of it, for less than 24 hours, Nisus Writer Pro is on sale. I was pleasantly surprised by this really versatile and smooth (and high-powered) word processor when I started using it a few months ago.

Find Nisus Writer Pro here. You can also get Nisus Writer Express and a sweet Mac Mail searching program (InfoClick) on sale. I don’t think it gets priced this low, usually.

Here’s the pricing info, from the Nisus newsletter:

Nisus Writer Pro is $55 for the full version (regular price $79) and $35 for the upgrade (regular price $49). Nisus Writer Express is priced at $20, the upgrade price is just $15. InfoClick is only $10! Family Packs for both Express and Pro are also discounted. You can purchase from our store and from the Mac App Store (full versions only).

All you need to do is go to our store and buy, no coupons required. You will be happy you did as you will receive a fantastic deal on great Nisus products.

I have switched almost all of my work away from Word and Pages to Nisus Writer Pro. I highly recommend it. There are also demo/trial versions at the links above.

TextExpander Touch On Sale for $1.99 in the App Store

Text Expander TouchNow that I’ve made it through Black Friday without (a) buying anything or (b) blogging about any sales….

TextExpander Touch is on sale at the App Store for $1.99. Given how long it can take to type long swaths of text on an iPad or iPhone, TextExpander is a great time-saver, especially for stock replies or snippets (e.g., if you email directions to your house a lot).

Here is my review of TextExpander. You can find the app for sale here.

Accordance at SBL/AAR 2014: 50% Off

sblIf you’re at SBL/AAR 2014 this last day, Accordance Bible Software is offering the best deal I’ve ever seen from them: $250 gets you the (normally $499) Essential Collection.

The deal is only available for new users. If you’re trying to decide what you think, you can see my Accordance 10 review series here, and my initial impressions of the new Accordance 11.

Here are a few other booths you might check out, too, before the conference ends.