This week's sponsor

Earnest take control of your student loans.

Posts in reviews

Track Your Water Consumption with WaterMinder

Drinking water consistently has never been a habit I've been able to master. The benefits are obvious, of course, but I've always fallen back on picking up a soda as my drink of choice.

After spending time with WaterMinder, I'm beginning to feel a conflict – as much as I love soda, I now have a motivation to drink water more frequently. By providing me with a visible goal to reach, WaterMinder has already challenged my habits.

The Goal

WaterMinder's goal is to, quite simply, help you drink water. Similarly to how the Activity app aims to provide movement goals based on height, weight, and general activity lifestyle, WaterMinder calculates and presents you with a specific ounce count for the amount of water you should drink every day. By reminding you at certain intervals (I'll get to that a little more in a bit), the ultimate goal is to fill up a meter, a completion of the goal.

iPhone/iPad App

Although the app runs on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, the iPhone version of WaterMinder is the hub where you'll customize the experience. After a simple setup and explanation process, you'll need to give WaterMinder access to some health information stored on the phone. By doing this, your water intake will be logged in both Health and WaterMinder; additionally, the app will copy over your general information in order to calculate your daily desired water intake.

Logging water and the history tab.

Logging water and the history tab.

Once formed, your journey with WaterMinder is fairly straightforward – when you've consumed water, you'll log it. By default, the app comes with three sizes of cups (WaterMinder specifically says "cup sizes," but I'm not too sure about this phrasing...): 8 oz., 14 oz., and 17 oz. As you drink more water, your number percentage will fill up, covering the graphic blue.

In addition, a history tab includes your water intake history, such as times you've logged and what sizes you've consumed. The time frame for this can be changed between today, week, month, and year, so you're able to get a big picture idea of how your water consumption habits have fared.

Achievements and settings.

Achievements and settings.

The "Achievements" section contains fifteen badges that can be awarded by completing various tasks. For example, after you log your first drink, you'll receive an achievement. Completionists may find this appealing, but it didn't do much for me.

Reminders and custom containers.

Reminders and custom containers.

Finally, a wide variety of settings can be customized to create the optimal user experience. While I'll include a screenshot above, I want to point out two that are vital to the usage of WaterMinder: Reminders and Cups.

In the Reminders settings (which is within the notifications section), you're able to tell WaterMinder when you'd like to be nudged to log your water intake. By flipping switches for reminders ranging from 12:30 AM to 11 PM, you can set a schedule for when you'd like WaterMinder to ping you. There is also the option to add custom reminders at the times of your choosing.

With cups, it's easy to add a custom container by entering in its ounce count. By doing this, you can tailor the values to meet various water bottles you may use. This is a great inclusion and one that prevents people from having to calculate every time they want to add an amount that is not included by default.

By default, WaterMinder will display a badge on the app icon that shows how many ounces of water you've drank so far during the day. On supported devices, pressing on the icon allows you to log preset amounts without entering the app.

Apple Watch App

WaterMinder on the Apple Watch does not try to be a full-fledged app; rather, it is a, ahem, watered-down version of the iPhone app. Included is your water consumption information, the logging history for the past two weeks, and the achievements mentioned above. You're also able to add water to the day's amount from the Apple Watch, which is often times quicker than entering it from your iPhone.

WaterMinder's glance is, unfortunately, fairly useless – it shows how much time is left in the day and how many more ounces of water until the goal is reached. By the time you swipe up and find the glance, it's just as quick as opening the app.

However, a much better inclusion is that of a complication, which is manifested through WaterMinder's ring on the watch face. Although it's simple, it's an easy way to see how close to the goal you are.


Owners of multiple iOS devices will be pleased to know that WaterMinder will sync its data and keep it updated. While I was slightly concerned that this was not the case when I had to enter my information on the iPad, the data caught up quickly.

My one complaint with WaterMinder is that it is always portrait on the iPad. I'd like to see the app redesigned so that it could run in landscape; removing my keyboard, flipping the device, and entering in data is not an optimal experience.

WaterMinder is a mature app that knows exactly what its purpose is. By recognizing this, it doesn't provide an unnecessary amount of features that cause confusion. WaterMinder is a one-trick pony, but it does its trick so well that I can't imagine ever tracking my water with anything else.

WaterMinder can be purchased in the App Store as a Universal app for $1.99.

Arq 5 Brings Significant New Features and a Major Licensing Improvement

Arq Screenshot

Arq Screenshot

For years, Arq Backup has been often overlooked when talking about backup solutions for the Mac, despite the fact that it is one of the easiest and most flexible options, as well as the most configurable. If you are really concerned about the privacy and security of your backups, you should take a close look at Arq.

Today marks the release of version 5 of Arq, a little over 6 years since its first official release, and it contains many awesome new features, but one significant change that I want to highlight right up front is this: Arq v5 moves from a per computer license to a per user license. That means that instead of having to buy a new license for each Mac you own, one license covers them all. This makes Arq a much more affordable option for people who use multiple Macs. It also means this is the time to take a closer look at what Arq offers.

Read more

With Version 1.1 and an iPad App, I’m Switching to Airmail

When I first covered Airmail for iPhone, I noted how the vision of an email client for power users on iOS was only halfway there due to the lack of an iPad app and a variety of glitches and technical issues. Airmail showed that it was possible to build an email app for power users on mobile devices – asking for a fair price in the process – but I couldn't switch to it as my full-time client yet.

That's changing with today's update to Airmail for iOS, which I've been using as my only email client on the iPhone and iPad for the past several weeks. In addition to an iPad app – which mostly follows in the footsteps of its iPhone counterpart in terms of UI and navigation choices – Airmail 1.1 brings powerful new features such as saved searches, customizable keyboard shortcuts, support for send later and read receipts, and more.

While the majority of "modern" email clients are focused on reinventing email with new display options for the inbox and novel interfaces, Airmail wants to redefine how much control you're given over your email on iOS. Which is to say – Airmail is the most powerful email app for iOS out there right now, treating iPhone and iPad users with the same respect and attention other developers would only show for their Mac apps.

Read more

Find Local Movie Showtimes with Snapseat

As established companies with deep pockets fill the App Store, small developers often struggle with entering a genre with existing competitors. For the app to succeed at all, it must be far more compelling the alternatives, often requiring competitive and standout pricing.

Snapseat, an app for finding showtimes and information about movies, is very similar to Fandango, which poses a question: what makes it different?

Read more

Activity++ Review

After creating the wildly useful Sleep++ and Pedometer++, iOS veteran David Smith has returned with Activity++. Smith's newest venture is set on improving what's already been done with activity tracking for the Apple Watch. Along with its $2.99 price tag, Activity++ is a bold move in the progression of solid apps from Smith and one that, rather unsurprisingly, looks to be a great step forward.

Read more

Record Your Mind with Thoughtful

Tim Cook, during his discussion of privacy at Apple's latest media event, called the iPhone an "extension of ourselves." As one might imagine, such a claim is based around the amount of our personal information we put into our phones: credit card information, personal thoughts, and other sensitive data we wouldn't want others to have access to.

Thoughtful, a self-described "thought tracker," is the epitome of that extension. It's an app that, for the sake of self-improvement, you'll put personal thoughts into – and, through some helpful features, will attempt to promote better habits.

Read more

See the World With Streets 3

I almost didn't get this review finished. While I should have been writing, I found myself wandering the globe with the help of Streets 3, a browser for Google Street View from FutureTap. I started at a remote church on the coast of Iceland, stumbled into a pub in London, and then made stops in Kings Park in Perth, El Calafate, Argentina, and finally, Plaza Navona in Rome. From the remotest location to the biggest cities, Streets' panoramas were gorgeously detailed and easy to navigate.

Read more

TextExpander Updates Focus on New Service

TextExpander from Smile Software is one of those indie apps that feels like it's been around forever. TextExpander has saved customers countless hours of typing by letting them define short abbreviations that it expands into longer snippets of text. Today, Smile released TextExpander 6 for Mac, TextExpander 4 for iOS, and even an all-new Windows beta. The apps include some interesting updates, but at the center of the updates is a new service,, which provides snippet group syncing, sharing services, and team management. Smile is simultaneously moving TextExpander to a subscription pricing model, a development that I expect will not be popular with some long-time customers.

Read more