My Favorite Apps of 2018

On the occasion of the end of the year I will list my favorite “things” from 2018 here in the next few days. That may include apps, music, devices, movies or whatever.

I start with my favorite apps (in alphabetical order, Android ONLY — no iOS, sorry):

1.1.1.1

Simply a faster than everything else DNS provider. Free and easy. I use it in case I have a bad connection to a site or service, not all the time.

AccuBattery

I want to know how healthy my phone battery is, at all times. Perfect app for that!

Accu​Battery - Akku & Batterie
Accu​Battery - Akku & Batterie

ACR

Yes, I do record all incoming and outgoing phone calls, and that’s the best way to do it. I also like the automatic sync with dropbox etc.

Anrufaufzeichnung - ACR
Anrufaufzeichnung - ACR
Developer: NLL
Price: Free+

Ada

I’m really not a hypochondriac or so, but this app is really good at finding diseases based on symptoms.

Ada - Deine Gesundheitshelferin
Ada - Deine Gesundheitshelferin

Adobe Scan

Haven’t had a better scanning app than this one, plus it automatically syncs with your Adobe Cloud, so you always have your phone scans on your computer to further edit and use. Brilliant stuff by Adobe.

Adobe Scan: PDF-Scanner, OCR
Adobe Scan: PDF-Scanner, OCR
Developer: Adobe
Price: Free

Astrolapp

I am an avid sky and space fan. This app is a better alternative to Google Sky Maps, I think.

Best WIFI

A small, lightweight app that makes one thing perfectly: it always connects you to the strongest WiFi available. If you have multiple SSID’s (WiFis with different names) in your home or work (for example), “Best WIFI” will always automatically connect you to the strongest network as soon as the reception of the network you’re currently connected to falls below a certain threshold. Maybe you have repeaters on your premises, for the garden, garage, whatever… in this case this app is AMAZING.

Best WIFI
Best WIFI
Developer: Pintac
Price: Free

Bimostitch

Bimostitch is able to create great and huge panoramas from your single taken images that fit together, automatically. I recommend a high performance top-end device for this as this app needs heavy computing, both very CPU and RAM intense (I’m running it on a Samsnung Galaxy Note9, fast as hell).

But the results are top notch. Sometimes the app can behave a bit bitchy, but it usually works great.

There’s a free and a paid version, whatever you need or floats your boat:

Bimostitch Panorama Stitcher
Bimostitch Panorama Stitcher
Developer: BCD Vision
Price: Free
Bimostitch Panorama Stitcher Pro
Bimostitch Panorama Stitcher Pro
Developer: BCD Vision
Price: 3,09 €

Bitmoji

This one creates cartoon-ish verions of yourself which you can use as emojis. Extremely well done and fun! Nothing I would desperately need, but if you’re into that kind of shit you’ll have great fun! You can integrate Bitmoji into your “GBoard” (Google keyboard) which is nice.

Oh, I look like this then:

Bitmoji Image

Bitmoji – persönliche Emoji
Bitmoji – persönliche Emoji
Developer: Bitstrips
Price: Free+

bxActions

Own a Samsung Galaxy series device, S9 and beyond? Then you certainly have the terrible Bixby button on the left which starts — well — Bixby, which is a terrible “personal assistant” no one needs. Love your Google Assistant? Cool, re-map the Bixby button (and much more!) with bxActions. Problem solved!

Actually a real shame that Samsung doesn’t allow this function built-in, but you know… they wanna push their crappy Bixby until everyone pukes blood, and then they’ll probably cancel the whole “service” and blame the users for not using it. What about bulding a great personal assistant that blows Google Assistant out of the water, instead?

Bixbi Taste neu belegen - bxActions
Bixbi Taste neu belegen - bxActions

CodyCross

About the only “game” on my phone, just to fill/kill time when idle and bored.

Codycross - Kreuzworträtsel
Codycross - Kreuzworträtsel

Earthquake Alert!

Simple, reliable and easy to use earthquake alerter. If you live in an earthquake prone area I recommend the pro add-on, added below.

Earthquake Alert!
Earthquake Alert!
Developer: Josh Clemm
Price: Free
Earthquake Alerter Pro
Earthquake Alerter Pro
Developer: Josh Clemm
Price: 1,99 €

EyeEm

For me the best photo community and market place to sell your photos there is. I have already sold photos for hundreds of dollars. Also, a nice feature to have is the auto-tagging (“EyeEm Vision”).

EyeEm - Foto Filter Kamera
EyeEm - Foto Filter Kamera
Developer: EyeEm Mobile
Price: Free

FareFirst

Very cool app to find cheap flights! Stands out from the rest in that category.

Files (by Google)

Great file manager, cleaner, organizer, and for sending files.

Google Fit

Besides Samsung Health Google Fit is my go to app for tracking and checking my activities. I’m an avid hiker, so this stuff is very useful for me in general. I have both connected with my WearOS smartwatch.

By the way… if you want to sync your Samsung Health data with Google Fit (or the other way around) I strongly recommend this app:

Health Sync
Health Sync
Developer: appyhapps.nl
Price: Free+

FLIO

If you travel a lot, you’d want everything that makes things easier at airports. This app helps a lot.

FLIO - Ihr Flugbegleiter
FLIO - Ihr Flugbegleiter
Developer: Flio Ltd
Price: Free+

gStrings

The best things are simple. This is basically a guitar tuner, and it does the job amazingly well.

Tuner - gStrings Free
Tuner - gStrings Free
Developer: cohortor.org
Price: Free+

And a paid version:

Tuner - gStrings
Tuner - gStrings
Developer: cohortor.org
Price: 3,99 €

Hashtagify

This is hands down one of my absolute favorite apps. A.I. detects the contents of your pictures with an impressive accuracy and spits out tags for Instagram etc.. Saves so much time!

Hooks

With Hooks you can subscribe to all kinds of topics and get notified when something happens, to put it simple. Like, say, you want to get notified when your favorite sports team plays or when your fav artist releases a new track or album… stuff like that. Or an extreme weather alert one day before shit hits the fan. Can be very useful.

Hooks
Hooks
Developer: Hooks
Price: Free

Horizon

Always wondered how to always have horizontally shot videos? Horizon does that using your phone sensors to keep things horizontally!

Horizon Kamera
Horizon Kamera

IFTTT

My number one app/service ever. I love automating things, I’m kind of obsessed with this. My life, my house, my work… everything is automated. 😀 (not the really serious stuff where a failing system could cause real damage!)

IFTTT
IFTTT
Developer: IFTTT
Price: Free

Komoot

As mentioned earlier, I’m an avid hiker. Komoot is great for finding and recordings trails and share your activity with the world. Honestly, I wouldn’t need it, but it’s a fun thing to have. Of course, it’s not only for hiking but all kinds of outdoor activities.

Locale

My #2 fav app of all times. It automates your phone. Get into it, highly recommended! Quite a costly thing, but totally worth it!

Locale
Locale
Price: 8,49 €

MacroDroid

My #3 fav app of all times. Again: automation. But MacroDroid takes it to another level. You can literally automate EVERYTHING (or totally fuck up your device!). Requires a bit of tech knowledge and/or programming skills, but not very much, really.

That’s one huge reason why I love Android… all of this automation stuff isn’t possible (like that) with iOS.

MacroDroid - Automatisierung
MacroDroid - Automatisierung
Developer: ArloSoft
Price: Free+

Navbar Apps

In case your device has soft navigation bar keys this app lets you do fun and useful stuff with them.

Navbar Apps
Navbar Apps
Price: Free+

Google News

My #1 source for my daily dose of news, highly tailored to my own needs.

Google News
Google News
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Google Keep

My life would be worthless without it (not really, but you know what I mean). Take (text, audio, video, picture) notes and keep them organized, create (shopping) lists, keep sudden thoughts and ideas, scribble things, get reminded based on date/time or location. Simple, easy, just works.

One Touch Location

An old but very useful app that I have on my devices for a long time already. Let’s say you drive around in an area you don’t know and you’d like to stop at a coffee place when nearby. This app will alert you when there’s one around. It does much more, but that’s basically what I like about it and use quite often. A modern (Material Design) make-over of the UI would be great, though.

One Touch Location
One Touch Location
Price: Free+

Parkopedia

Who doesn’t hate looking for available parking in unknown (or even known) areas? This app helps you find it easily!

Parkopedia Parken
Parkopedia Parken
Developer: Parkopedia Ltd
Price: Free+

Peakfinder

I’m not only an avid hiker, I also love mountaineering. If in the mountains, or close by, this app is great at finding and naming the peaks around you in AR style. Awesome!

PeakFinder AR
PeakFinder AR
Developer: Fabio Soldati
Price: 4,69 €

Photoshop Express

Just as Snapseed, Photoshop Express is part of my mobile photo editing arsenal. Great functions and quality.

PIA VPN

IMO, the best VPN you get for (little) money.

Pushbullet

Write and read SMS on your PC, send links and other stuff from and to all connected devices etc. … Pushbullet can do a lot of things, and connected with IFTTT.com even more.

Pushbullet - SMS on PC and more
Pushbullet - SMS on PC and more

Refind

I don’t know how I found interesting news and articles before Refind, really. Definitely one of the best apps and web services EVER!

Refind
Refind
Developer: Refind, Inc.
Price: Free

Samsung Health

Doesn’t need many words, SH is just a very solid and nice looking health app in which I only miss one tiny thing: the ability to scan barcodes to record my energy intake easier.

Samsung Health
Samsung Health

SayIt

Let your phone speak (any!) text. From the creators of “Sleep as Android”. Simple, just works.

SayIt
SayIt
Price: Free

Sleep as Android

I totally record my sleep, the noises and movements I make etc. … it also wakes me up intelligently. The king of sleep apps, no doubt! Even better with a smartwatch connected (I have a Ticwatch Pro).

Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android

Smart Recorder

Great recorder that has the ability to only record when sound is detected. Very useful!

Snapseed

Just an incredibly great photo editing app that you most probably know already.

Snapseed
Snapseed
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Spotify

No description needed. I have never thought that I would discover so much great music in my life. It’s just really good. As an artist myself, it’s a bit disappointing, but as a music fan? Great.

Spotify – Musik und Podcasts
Spotify – Musik und Podcasts

Stellarium Mobile

Beautiful looking app for stargazing on your device, but not as good as Astrolapp. Different, but also quite good.

Stellarium Mobile Himmelskarte
Stellarium Mobile Himmelskarte
Developer: Noctua Software
Price: 2,99 €

Stoop

Honestly, haven’t used it much, but I like its approach to organizing newsletters. I need to get into this more, I guess. Recommended for the great idea, for sure.

Stoop
Stoop
Developer: Stoop Team
Price: Free+

Storm Radar

The title says it all. This is one of the better weather apps. I don’t know many good, actually I think most are really BS. There is no reliable prediction of the weather for more than 2 days into the future. Don’t believe that crap.

Storm Radar: Wetterkarte
Storm Radar: Wetterkarte

Telegram

My absolute #1 for messaging and everything related to it. I hate WhatsApp.

Telegram
Telegram
Developer: Telegram FZ-LLC
Price: Free

VolcanoDiscovery

My favorite for earthquakes and volcano eruptions. Very scientific approach and background. Usability is shit, but the info you get out of it is unmatched.

Vulkane & Erdbeben
Vulkane & Erdbeben
Developer: VolcanoDiscovery
Price: Free

Waze

The real-time traffic data of Google Maps is actually better (because there are more Google users than Waze users), but Waze warns you about speed limits, accidents etc.

That’s it!

Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments. Also, let me know YOUR favorite apps. Always keen to learn about great apps I haven’t dicovered yet!

Why not LANDR?

You’ll probably expect a big and loud “NOOO” from me. I have to disappoint you. LANDR is good.

BOOM, there I dropped it: it’s good.

You get reasonable results for an unbeatable price. Fast, easy, very affordable. There are few good reasons not to use LANDR. But decisive, for example: it’s only good, not more, just good.

There is no human experienced audio engineer who brings his many years of experience and his sense of music and musicality into play. Nobody tells you if and how you can improve your mix, so that eventually the master gets better. Special requests are not considered by LANDR, corrections — of any kind — do not exist. You can not talk to anyone about the process and that’s why you do not learn anything, there is no feedback or commentary.

I claim that a master of LANDR will never sound as good as any of mine or my colleagues in the same category of our business. But…

If you do not have high standards but just want a “good” sounding song then LANDR is for you. You only pay a fraction and get decent results that you do not have to be ashamed of.

I say all of this with a healthy dose of self-confidence because I know I’m better. But I do not need to bash services like LANDR either because I can acknowledge that they do a good job for what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. Also, I’m not religious about anything but always open for new technology and new ways of doing things.

It all depends on you and your needs. There are just things you cannot replace with an algorithm. I’m very much into all things A.I. and automation, but I also think I know where its limitations are.

Update on the album production

The album

I’ve done around 30 different mixes, tried like 10 different guitars, mixing the drum kit and making it sounding right has taken an incredible amount of time, I’ve tweaked the tiniest bits of sound to total exhaustion.

Should the grand piano have more mechanical noises… should the timpani have slightly more reverb… should the guitar have a delay or not, should I add the cello on top of the full orchestra, or an oboe? Should I widen the acoustic guitar or leave it as is? Is this chord harmonic enough for the one before? Is the Oberheim too loud? Should I use the Gibson EB0 or the Les Paul bass, finger or pick? Stratocaster or Telecaster? This or that cabinet, or none at all, what amp? Distortion or slight fuzz, tremolo?

The pains of creating an album…

Questions like that are bothering me all the time. And the production is so huge that my DAW crashes at least 3 times a day. Plus, anxiety, doubts… because “is it all worth it? Will they understand it?”. Sleepless nights. Then again: “fuck yeah!”. It all sounds absolutely heavenly, I get goosebumps all the time. And nothing is even mastered at all.

I have half of the album sounding as perfect as it gets, with the needed amount of imperfection to become perfect. I open parts of it again, again and again… stuff that I did a year ago that doesn’t sound right today, and may sound not right next week. You get the idea. 😉

No worries, it’s all good. It’s finished very soon. Once it’s done I have nothing to do with it anymore. Then it’s a product with a life of its own, and I will watch it learning to walk.

I will reply to all of your questions in a video that I’ll upload to Facebook and YouTube, very soon.

Innerviews: Mike Oldfield – The messenger

Absolutely fantastic interview with Mike Oldfield from 2013. Don’t mind the date, it’s a really great and insightful interview, especially for musicians!

In-depth, uncompromising interviews with music’s most vital and original voices by Anil Prasad.

Source: Innerviews: Mike Oldfield – The messenger

Free DSI Pro-2 Instruments

As a tie-in for the release of my new EP – “Weeble” – I’ve put together a collection of Simpler patches from one of the synths I used on the EP, the Dave Smith Instruments Pro-2

For those who aren’t up to speed on the Pro-2, it’s Dave’s latest monophonic synthesizer, based on the Prophet 12 architecture – but with new features like paraphonic mode, an Oberheim SEM style state-variable filter, and loads of modulation amenities. Here’s my full review for Keyboard Magazine.

Several of the patches are based on existing Pro-2 presets, a few are heavily tweaked.


The Pro-2 instruments in the file are as follows:

Big Room Reese – That classic bass sound we all know and love.

House Chord – Square wave chord with resonant filter envelope.

Sheet Metal – Giant metallic hit that really shows off the Pro-2’s cross-mod power.

Knarly Voice – Sounds a bit like a distorted sitar.

MiniFunk – A variation on one of the synth elements in “Oooh.”

ProWhat – Pro-2 preset that nails the big Prophet sound.

Woodie – Percussion sound with a touch of wobble.

Sub Oct Bass – Can be used as a pluck or a bass, depending on the octave range.

Here’s the Ableton Live file containing the presets:
Francis Prève – DSI Pro-2 Simpler 8-pack
(compatible with Ableton Live 8.4.2 and higher)

Note 1: If you like any of these sounds and want to keep them handy for future tracks, just click the little save button in the upper right corner of the Simpler and add it to your library (it will copy the waves too).

Note 2: If you don’t use Ableton and just want the C3 samples, I’ve created a downloadable Soundcloud file with all of the samples in series.

Also, if you’re digging these posts, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more free downloads and tutorials – and support “Weeble” here.

from Francis Prève francispreve.blogspot.com/2015/04/free-dsi-pro-2-instruments.htm…

Via Francis Prève with kind permission. Check him out for more awesome stuff.