Get Better at IELTS Reading with Elevate

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As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently took an IELTS exam.

One of the things that is really important in the Reading portion of the exam, is the ability to read quickly and grasp information accurately. And obviously that’s not something that you can learn in a day. Speed reading is a skill that needs to be trained.

A while back, I tried a brain training app called Elevate.

It has different games that will train different skills, such as Reading, Listening, Speaking, etc.

When you start the app, there is an initial “test” that will evaluate your “level”. And then you can customize your training goals, you can choose to “improve focus while reading and listening” and/or “retain more of what you read and hear” and/or “improve your mental vocabulary”.

The app comes with a set of free games (in-app purchase to unlock more games), and every training session unlocks 3 games for the day that are relevant to your goals.

For IELTS Reading, I recommend the Processing Reading game, which shows you passages at increasing WPM (words per minute) and then it will ask you some questions regarding the passage.

This feels very similar to the IELTS Reading exam, except it really forces you to read faster while retain information accurately.

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Another game that will help improve your reading is Memory, which is actually used for training Speaking. But since it tests your vocabulary, I think it will be pretty helpful in answering the Reading portion’s questions.

It is pretty straight forward, just type in the word described.

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I think if you make it a habit to train, you’ll be pretty good at Reading in no time, and maybe perfect that IELTS exam!

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TV Shows are Back! Keep track of them with the Episodes App

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I have been tracking my TV shows with Episodes for a while now.

It’s super easy to use, just search for your TV shows and add them to your watch list. You can even turn on notifications, so that it’ll send you a notification the day before, the day or the day after it airs.

The watch list will also show you when the next episode will air. Or if your show no longer airs :*(.

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When you click into your shows, it will show you the title and description of the episode. And after you have watched it, you can just mark it as watched.

Oh and it also sorts your TV shows based on Unseen and Upcoming, and according to the days before it airs.

All my TV shows are back, good bye blog! (aha, just kidding, I’ll still blog, or at least I’ll still try to blog as much as possible…?)

Link: http://episodesapp.com/

50K/30 Customer Reviews

Apps, Dev

Thank you, OnPluto ๐Ÿ™‚ for leaving a review for my app 50K/30 ๐Ÿ™‚

FYI

Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOS

50K/30 is a simple and concise iOS writing app with a prominently displayed word count, because we know (or at least for me) itโ€™s all about the word count.

50K/30 is available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99.

Feel free to contact me for promo codes, questions, comments, suggestions and random ramblings.

On App Reviews and Features

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So I recently “wrote” an app (50K/30 available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99) and I spent maybe an entire day and night (read “dev” blog?) gathering and sorting through App Review sites.

Now Maniac Dev has a pretty impressive list of App Review sites (http://maniacdev.com/2012/05/ios-app-review-sites/), but it has been months since that was updated.

I used that as my base list and just check out each and every site to see if they “fit” my app, well all the strictly game ones are out of the list, and obviously any site that is one break or stopped reviewing is also out of the list. I only ended up with around 50 sites, and that isn’t much for cold emails (the email version of cold calling?).

And then there are the review sites that charge you for expedited reviews. Now, I have no money, so no way am I going to go for that. Besides paying someone to review your app just seems kind of… wrong?

Now features are okay for me. If I have enough money, I’d pay someone to “feature” my app, I mean, that’s like advertising, right.

But yah, no money. My sister and I do call ourselves “2 Broke Girls”.

But hey, I realized that a lot of fellow indie developers are poor too. So what about us? How can we let anyone notice our app in that way way way too crowded App Store?

Okay, one idea, make my own App Review and Feature blog (I’m so poor, I can’t even afford a website). And then any indie developer can just I don’t know… shoot me an email or message me here or tweet me or toss me a paper note or whatever, and I will try my best to review or feature them, oh and I will not charge them anything, expedited reviews or what not (we’ll do it FIFO, first in first out?).

Okay, I know that my blog doesn’t really have that much page views (I take full responsibility for the lack of blog posts as of late). But if I have apps to review or feature (they should be easier to review than tech books, right?) and then I’d have more things to blog about. If I’m lazy to write, I can always make a video and ramble, I think.

So yeah, it’s just an idea. I will try to blog at least once a week and feature as much apps as possible (of course, that is if anyone will as me to review or feature them).

So that’s it for now.

50K/30 for iOS Demo Video

Apps, Dev

Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOS

50K/30 is available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99.

Feel free to contact me for promo codes, questions, comments, suggestions and random ramblings.

Video by my little sis ๐Ÿ™‚

Making 50K/30 iOS App and Other Random Things

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A development told using Instagram photos (because everything looks better with filters).

First of all, what is 50K/30? Read my pitch?

Chasing word counts made easy: 50K/30 for iOSAre you writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days? Then 50K/30 is the app for you. (Did I sound like a telemarketer just now?)

50K/30 is a simple and concise iOS writing app with a prominently displayed word count, because we know (or at least for me) it’s all about the word count.

– it has a simple and clean interface
– it autosaves (so no need to worry about losing your precious words)
– it has a email feature that allows you to send your novel to yourself
– okay, some nonsense, because who doesn’t love themes (well, I like themes, because I’m girly like that)
– you can pick your own font. Are you a Helvetica or a Times New Roman? While you’re at it, might as well change the font size
– are you a glass half full or a glass half empty? counting the the number of words so far, or counting the words left?
– and sometimes, you just want to write carelessly and turn autocorrect off

50K/30 is available for sale now at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8) for $1.99.

Feel free to contact me for promo codes, questions, comments, suggestions and random ramblings.

Second, how did it all begin?

I have been a NaNoWriMo writer for 4 years now.

What is NaNoWriMo? You ask?

NaNoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month aka insanely writing a 50,000 (that’s 4 zeroes, 50 thousand, 50K) in 30 days (yes, only a month and it’s not even one of those long months, it’s a short 30 day month, November, to be more exact).

And since I am quite obsessed about the word count, I want a writing app that like shows me my word count, like all the time. I used to write using Open Office and before that Microsoft One Note, and those software, I’d have to like click at least 3 buttons or something before I can see the word count.

So yeah, I want an app with a prominently displayed word count. And since iOS app developer and all, I decided to “write” one.

I thought of all this while waiting for my friends for our Friday night dinner slash tea party at a place called Dazzling Cafe. (And the Instagram photos begin…)

Third, and then …?

After going home around midnight (Cinderella), I sat in front of my computer and started typing, typing and some more typing.

What inspired me to get started on it, like right away, is because one of my friends, Gina, participated in a 2 day game jam and she finished her game like all by herself. This game:

It’s about punching holes in donuts. Because their theme was Unity (the game engine) primitives, and she asked for our suggestions on Twitter, and we said: torus, donuts!

And that sort of inspired me to do good.

And so XCode and some geeky coding photos:

And after a long while (I saw the sun rise, and heard birds chirping), I have these:

My little sister picked out the theme colors, while I got the icons from Some Random Dude (http://somerandomdude.com/work/iconic), I’m serious, he really calls himself Some Random Dude, and he make open source icons licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0.ย 

Lorem Ipsum is by Cupcake Ipsum (http://cupcakeipsum.com).

The next day, instead of submitting my app like immediately, I had to go to Yongle Market to buy some trinkets for my little sister. Yongle market also sells fabrics, and while browsing I cam across these:

Hello Kitty fabrics- the cutest things.

And after some more browsing:

Look! It’s my color scheme, in leatherette!

Yongle Market is next to Dadaocheng Wharf, so we decided to go there to watch the sunset (might as well, since I already saw the sunrise).

Pretty.

And after that it’s laundry.

I’m so tired.

And then we got home and I finally submitted 50K/30 to the App Store. All I can do now is wait.

And while I waited, we took a train to get out of the city and technology (iPhone and Instagram, not counted). We went to Neiwan, Hsinchu.

And enjoyed nature- ish.

I didn’t do anything from Monday until Friday. Well, okay, I did work, but that’s like programming for some other work related apps.

On Saturday, we went house hunting, because our lease is up and we like moving. We found a pretty little loft type.

On Sunday, I begged my little sister to wake up early with me, so we can film a demo video for 50K/30. It has to be early because the sun looks prettier then.

Our little set up- Canon DSLR and a table lamp.

After that we went to Huashan Creative Park for dinner and looked at some interactive art installations.

Like this one, you’re supposed to touch the lighted green button with the body parted that has been dictated. For example touch that lower left (right? I get confused) with your ankle.

And then it’s another week of waiting.

After 10 days, waiting for review, 50K/30 is approved!

It’s available for download at the App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/tw/app/50k-30/id570422816?mt=8).

And then Friday night dinner slash dessert at Hello Kitty Sweets.

Massacred pink Hello Kitty head cake.

And then we (by we, I mean my little sister) start editing the demo video:

While I write a pitch document, this blog post and some email drafts.

It’s 4AM ish now, and little sis is almost done editing.

I will post the video soon.

In other news, NaNoWriMo starts in 4 days. And my NaNo novel this year is titled, “The Nine Lives of Hello Kitty”. It’s going to be a novel inspired by the book “Hello Kitty Must Die” and the concept of the movie “Dreams of a Life”, and accompanying game “Dreams of Your Life”.

So far that’s it.