Our Favourite Smartphone Apps – Part 2 | SwiftCase Productivity Podcast #17

Our Favourite Smartphone Apps – Part 2 | SwiftCase Productivity Podcast #17

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the SwiftCase productivity podcast, my name is Adam Sykes, founder of SwiftCase, the professional productivity platform and today we have got Craig with us – Craig: Yeah, I’m Craig McCarthy, the Development Manager of SwiftCase and I work in our Baltic Triangle office in Liverpool. – Alkis: I’m Alkis Petrou, Senior Developer of Swiftcase. – Phil: And I’m Phil Whitby, Developer over here at Baltic Triangle with Craig and Alkis. Okay great, so last time we were talking about some of our favourite apps and what the features are and how other people can use them so hopefully you’ve checked out some of the apps that we put at the bottom of our videos last time so we put all the links there so people could find them and hopefully we will have a few comments about what apps you use and what you think is good and whether you think the apps that we suggested are any good and whether there are any better alternatives out there as well, so we didn’t manage to get around to all of our app suggestions so we thought we’d split this podcast into two parts, so I think our next app that we are going to look at is one of yours, Alkis, yeah? – Alkis: Yeah, it’s called Bux and for any stock traders out there, it’s basically a stock trading app not limited to stock trading and investing in general, but what I liked about it back when I used it, is it kind of game-ifies this whole idea of stock trading, so if you were like me and coming into it from a very fresh perspective, it’s quite
overwhelming seeing on the different very fresh perspective it’s quite
overwhelming seeing all the different types of charts and just like this very Wall Street appearance of it, but then Bux does this thing where it kind of gives you a score and and compares you to other players and it really makes it fun, I mean I’m not advocating stock trading, that’s of course up to your preference,
you know. – Adam: Measure into it anyway and you’re aware that you can lose money as well as make money. Yeah, it’s a good app to have a look at. You know, I mean I think of it as stock trading as a bit like gambling on the internet and some people like to gamble, as long as they’re gambling responsibly and you’re not putting in more than you can afford to lose then you know, it’s a bit a fun – Alkis: Yeah, you don’t have the option with virtual currency, so if you don’t really wanna risk any capital then you can always – Adam: So you can just have a play around on it. – Phil: I think that’s a great idea, like what we were going to talk about next week where it’s the freemium model, so it’s almost like a freemium – Adam: Yeah, yeah. – Phil: So you might pay for the app, you know having the freemium experience with stock trading. Adam: Yeah, yeah. That’s a good idea, it helps people to learn about how it works and gives you a go and obviously it does provide an important part of our capitalist structure so yeah, it’s important to have that. *laughs* So yep, cheers for that Alkis, so that’s Bux, B-u-x isn’t it? Alkis: B-u-x. that’s right. Adam: Yep, great. Okay, so we are now onto Phil’s app, so this is your last app. – Phil: Yes, yeah it’s actually sort of now built-in to IOS I think it was originally an app by a smaller company called Workflow and it allowed you to automate all the tasks you do on your phone Adam: Oh, okay. – Phil: And of course like any good app on IOS, Apple come in and then buy them out, then integrate it into their system as if they invented it all along. So they have now incorporated it into the basis, recently, of their operating system and it’s called Shortcuts now. So for instance, the way I use it is when I want to share my location and how long I’m going to take to get home with anyone, with my wife particularly because she’s usually by the end of the day hanging on for dear life with two kids, desperate for me to get home to help out so usually, instead of me having to get in the car and type out a message saying “On my way!” And then I’ll be this much time, I’ll just go “Shortcut that” and swipe left, press the button and it just sends her – Craig: Love that. – Phil: a pre-written message with the estimated time – Adam: Very good. – Everyone: Yeah, yeah. And that’s just one of the small things it does, it’ll do anything based on locations when you turn up, so say if I got to work, I could say, send an automated text that says “I’ve arrived at work safely.” You know, or anything, to remind me to get my camera to do another podcast, my phone, all these sorts of things. Yeah, so it’s really powerful and the interface is really intuitive and easy to use and things like that. Craig: That’s amazing really, because one of the things we tend to talk about is how you can automate processes and business but what you’re doing there is – Adam: Exactly. – Phil: I just got sick of typing out messages and trying to be witty every time. Craig: Well that’s productivity at its finest though isn’t it? – Adam: The only shame is that it’s on an iPhone. *Everyone laughs* That- that discounts a lot – Phil: I’m sure there’s an equivalent, maybe someone who’s watching knows the equivalent on Android – Adam: For Android or for Samsung users what app do you use instead of Shortcuts? Or previously Workflow. – Phil: Yeah. – Okay great, So that’s another great app that people can check out if they’re on iPhone. So my final app was going to be Grammarly, so basically we’ve started doing a lot of
blog posts now, a lot of content we’re writing and being from a tech background
I probably haven’t really written many things since, what, certainly since University and
even that was kind of very dry technical documentation of papers and so on, so I
haven’t really written anything in blog form and I never know where the commas meant to go, or the sort of things like when to introduce a semicolon all these little things that
people – unless you’re into English Language or you’ve been doing it regularly you kind of lose out – you get out of practice don’t you, now I think that’s where most grammar
checkers kind of stopped and my spelling and grammar checkers like you know
Microsoft Word or Google Docs or whatever else they kind of stop there, but where Grammarly is even better is it lets you define goals for your text so you can
say “I want this this piece of work to inform people, to convince people, to
describe something, to tell a story and how you want – what level of expertise
your user is at whether they are a knowledgeable person or a complete beginner or the expert and what sort of sector they’re into, if you’re writing for
business academia and so on so you can set all these goals and depending on what
goals you set, Grammarly makes different suggestions so for example sometimes
it tells me I’m too direct when I tell people “You need to do this in your business!”
or “People do need to do this in their business!” but sometimes Grammarly tells me maybe you should make this more of a suggestion and say perhaps you should try, and I normally delete those ones, but most of the other ones are very good suggestions. – Craig: I like the way it tells you about passive voice, one of the things I am terrible at is writing in passive voice, I constantly do it and I use Grammarly as well – Phil: What’s an example of passive voice? – Adam: So say when you’re writing something, let’s say you say I have been – “I have been doing this” or “You
should have been doing this” or – Phil: You put “I do this” – Adam: Yeah, but that’s probably not a good example but I can’t remember, that’s why I have Grammarly to tell me! – *Everyone laughs* Craig: You’ve put me under the spotlight trying to come up with a sentence! Adam: Yeah, yeah. Passive voice is when you are writing in the past like “You should have been doing this” or “I looked this” or “Something was concluded” – Phil: Yeah, intuitively you know it’s wrong, but you can’t necessarily or formally explain why. – Yeah because what you’ve written is right, so if you read it, it would be the correct sentence, you know, “This was concluded” is a correct sentence or “You will come to this conclusion or you will conclude
this, it sounds better – Phil: Yeah, the story equivalent. – Yeah. So it’s, it helps with lots of different things and – Craig: It also has a built-in employee choice of checker as well. – Yeah, yeah, you can even, if you want to pay, you can actually submit it to a live proof-reader and pay someone and someone will actually read it, I don’t tend to use that but certainly all the other bits so if you check, like if you’ve taken a bit of text from a website like a quote or
something, you can check if you’re using too much, like general worker’s costs Craig: Yeah, I mean it’s like it’s applicable to all sorts isn’t it really, and there’s a free version which also you can get a browser extension so that’s really
handy you don’t have to use their dedicated app or anything like that – Adam: It works on Microsoft Word actually but it’s not that great at the integration, I tend to use it just as the app by itself just because I
find the one thing that’s quite good is because it’s got, it hasn’t got any formatting, you literally choose the title, then you type, and apart from putting in extra line breaks, returns and maybe some tabs or something,
you can’t format your document, there’s no bold, there’s no italic so you just concentrate on writing the content. – Craig: Just the words. – And once you’ve actually got your content then you can format it so it’s totally distraction free and also it saves all your stuff so like any other cloud based thing it saves all your content and you can get to that content on any computer that you’ve got and you can access it on your phone. Alkis: Oh, I wish I had this on Mother’s Day. – Adam: Haha, yeah. So it’s not great with large documents – the book I was talking about, so I actually edited one like my father-in-law’s books and I used Grammarly and what I found is although you had a Word document to begin with, I effectively had to separate out – Craig: It processes it all at once doesn’t it? – So if you change something sometimes it will make a big post – Craig: It takes a long time. – So I found that it’s great with blog posts but if you’re doing anything long you need to section things up and do it that way. Phil: How much is a thing of it? – Adam: I can’t remember, it’s not that expensive. – Craig: It’s not that expensive at all. – But we’ll put the price in the comments in case anyone wants to get it but yeah, check out Grammarly and it will make your writing much better. Craig: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, the app I wanted to talk about next kind of relates to this a little bit. You might have seen a few subscribed to our YouTube channel and if you don’t please click below on the red button underneath and the bell ­čÖé We’ve been doing a lot of videos recently, the app that I’ve actually been using to do any of mine is called Big Vu and you can see it spelled there, it’s V-U not View and its the * free version but there’s a subscription as well to remove the watermarks and things like that but it’s more when we’re kind of
following a bit of a loose script and rather than stopping every 10 seconds to check what I’m going to say or getting a dedicated teleprompter or anything like that or using the only creative methods that I know that you use It actually shows the text that you’re going to read out on the screen but it does it in a clever way where it’s positioned near your camera lens so – Adam: You’re looking at the lens. – Yeah, so it doesn’t look like you’re reading anything which is ,you know, really really handy. On top of that, it comes with all these little bits that you can do as well so like really quick edits so if you’ve recorded it in
portrait mode it adds like the bars on the side without worrying about editing, you can trim it and, you can add little effects and put your logo in the corner, it’s got all little transitions and I probably wouldn’t recommend it for a fully-fledged, crazy video or anything
but if you’re making quick videos like I tend to do when I go to events, it’s amazing for stuff like that. – Adam: Like short, 15 to 18 minute video – Yeah, I mean, I’d record say a 30-second video at an event and it would be on all my social media channels within probably about
two or three minutes, Adam: That’s great – Craig: and it just saves me all the time of worrying about editing or anything like that, so yeah I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re going off a loose script or if you need to read something out. Adam: Okay, that’s great, and the last app of this podcast series is through to you Alkis. Deliveroo. Time for lunch, yeah! Now, I’m not one for ordering food but when I order food I want it to be as simple and streamlined as possible, and that’s where Deliveroo ticks the books, it’s not only that they make it simple, they have a lot of features in it that really like
just make the whole process better for you I mean you can track exactly where the
driver is – Craig: That is the important thing and that is, to go on another app, very similar to Uber where I think it’s completely changed the way, if it’s available in your area, which it should be, but it’s amazing to be able to track exactly where they are and it makes all the difference. – Alkis: I think it’s very underrated. – Yeah, I think if i was to choose ordering from one place to the other, even if the price was slightly more expensive I think having the ability to know exactly where my food, my driver, where anything is, I’d opt for the more expensive one anytime for that, amazing. – Alkis: And we’re seeing this feature pop up a lot in different apps, I think Google was probably one of the first to implement it, but yeah it’s coming up and I think it really adds to the whole, you know, app. You get excited, your foods nearly here! You can watch your food getting closer. – Craig: I have to say as well, at least in the local Liverpool area, I used to live quite close to the city center and I know Deliveroo didn’t operate in other cities Adam: I was going to say, I don’t live in Liverpool either, I live over the water where it’s a bit more suburban and we can’t get these sort of apps so it’s not necessarily everywhere because you’ve got to have all these mad cyclists with the boxes on their backs having to actually go deliver your food and obviously the demand’s not there at the moment so it does tend to be in city centers. Yeah, it’s a bit of a slow burner isn’t it with the availability of this but I lived in the city center and it was amazing, and I spent so much money on fast food but I have to give a bit of a shout-out to the actual drivers as well. I remember I was at the Flag one day and we ordered some food and this guy had- he’d actually got run over – Phil: What? *laugh* Believe it or not, he was actually involved in an accident, he was just on his bike and we were on the app and he had just stopped driving *laughing* You know, what’s going on? So he shows up and he’s like “Oh, I’m really, really sorry I’m a little bit late,” he was only 5 minutes late and he was limping and I was like “Bloody hell.” Like, the dedication of these people I think that also leads onto another thing where the downside of these type of apps is whether in the gig economy and are people being paid enough Craig: It’s the rating system. Yeah, and although he’s done that, would you really expect – Phil: I mean, I did. – even having an accident, to deliver your food Believe me, we tipped him quite a lot. *laughing* But no, I could have easily gone, “He hasn’t been here on time, I’m going to give him one star,” the reason that he’d probably die before showing the information to me was that he was probably quite worried that I
would damage his reputation on these services. Alkis: This is sad. And it’s the same with all these… – Adam: maybe that’s for another episode. Alkis: From a consumer standpoint – Adam: From a consumer standpoint though, and you know, the businesses could always pay them more and then that would affect how you would actually get your food, from an app and an ease of use standpoint, it’s definitely one of the better ones nowadays. So, from writing blog articles to delivering your dinner, from doing video marketing keeps and keeping in touch with the kids, there’s lots of great apps out there on there so if you haven’t already after
our last podcast, drop any of the apps in the comments below that you use and if
you’ve got any comments on what we’ve been talking about then put that in as well, it’ll
be interesting to hear what you’ve got to say. – Craig: Yeah, and we also make an app as well, SwiftCase, so a workflow management platform you might have heard us talking about in the past and if you want to check that out, go to swiftcase.co.uk but also don’t forget to drop us a line on some of your favourite apps over on our social media channels
@SwiftCaseUK on Twitter, we’re all on LinkedIn
we’ve got Phil Whitby, Alkis Petrou, Craig McCarthy and Adam Sykes. – Phil: Yeah and don’t forget to subscribe and click that little bell to get the notifications when we do another amazing podcast. -Adam: Thanks everyone for listening, this has been the SwiftCase productivity podcast and we will catch you next time.

1 thought on “Our Favourite Smartphone Apps – Part 2 | SwiftCase Productivity Podcast #17

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