Category: Reviews

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Codecademy’s Javascript Course Review

It’s been a few years since I had written any negative reviews.  I am about 87% of the way through Codecademy’sJavascript course and have learned a majority of the Javascript syntax just by taking their course alone. However, I didn’t learn a single thing about how to apply these Javascript codes to any real websites, nor did I learn anything about how to write any actual useful Javascript programs. What do I mean by that?

Let me give you an example of one of the programs they ask you to write while taking the course.

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This program is supposedly the best they could come up with for a program that looks through a text and tells you if it found your name or not. If you don’t know anything about coding, and even if you do it will still probably take a while to analyze what’s going on in this code because it’s so bad, here’s what it does:

  1. It takes two inputs: any body of text and your name
  2. It keeps track of the first letter of your name and the length of your name
  3. Anytime it finds the first letter of your name, it saves that letter plus X characters after to a list. X being the total length of your name minus 1
  4. It will then return that list to you if your name was found, or return “your name wasn’t found” if it wasn’t found.

Here’s the problem with this. If you gave it these two inputs:
body of text: “Hello. My, my what a day”
Name: “Megg”

It will return [“M”, “y”, “, ” “];

and say that your name was found. The thing is, it didn’t find my name at all. It only looked for the first letter of my name, matching the capitalization, and took X characters afterwards. Lame.

Here’s my recreation of their lame program inside their own tutorial:victory-wrote-worst-code-ever

And this was the output result: my-name-perfectly-found

Wow, awesome. It was able to perfectly find my name! /sarcasm

Okay, this is me recreating a much much better program inside of a text document. Just because I was so curious at other ways this problem could be solved. better-code

There was no unnecessary nested for loops that had to be written for this, just simple one function, and it works perfectly. That’s the way you write a proper “find name within a given text” program, not in the way they gave.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that they provide this awesome service to millions who don’t know a thing about programming. But really, when you want to excite people who have never programmed before, asking them to create a broken program won’t make them excited to learn anything more.

Overall it was a great crash course for quickly learning the syntax and operations of the Javascript language, but completely terrible for learning how to code properly. This isn’t the only example of a really bad program they ask you to write, their course is riddled with them, but this one was one of the better examples of bad code they had you do, and I could not just pass up this opportunity to write about it.

Written on: 10/2/2016

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Your Cyprus Holiday

Today we’re going to review a Cyprus guide android app called Your Cyprus Holiday. This is an android app for those who want to vacation to Cyprus or are already vacationing at Cyprus but are not sure where to go or what to do there.

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Your Cyprus Holiday splash screen

One of the first things to notice about the installation of the app is how many permissions that it required:

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Whenever installing an app you have to make sure that the permissions it asks for make sense for that application. For example, the “Directly call phone numbers” permission, even though it’s a relatively strong permission, is required for their hotel and vacation booking feature, so it makes sense to be there. Looking through all these permissions, they all make sense for the application. Sometimes though apps will ask for permissions that don’t make sense to be there, so you have to be careful about those.

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When you start up the app, it will ask you for the language you want to use. It comes with English, German, Cypriot, or Russian. After that it asks for when you will arrive in Cyprus. If you choose a date, it will bring you over to their booking app so you can book a reservation using their app. Hitting the “I am not sure” button skips this process which leads you to the main menu.

From here you can either view the map, book a hotel, or visit the local attractions.

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Click on the image to view them in full size

Map Feature – Clicking on the map feature simply shows a bunch of colored dots on the map. You don’t know what the dots mean, there’s no legend or guide to tell you, and even when zoomed all the way in you still don’t know what the dots actually represent. They aren’t clickable so you can’t view what that location is and it took more than a minute to load the map. Overall it’s not a very useful feature at the moment, but it could be improved in later updates.

Booking feature – This app also lets you book Cyprus hotels, spas, and taxis directly from their app. However, considering the wide availability of hotel booking apps from more reputable sources, I would not recommend using this app to book a vacation to Cyprus. It’s also the first thing that the app asks you for, however I’m just not very trusting to non-reputable apps when planning a vacation could cost thousands of dollars.

By Area Attractions – This is the most useful feature of the app. You can locate nearby interesting locations close by to you and find directions on how to get there through the app. This is probably the main thing I would use the app for as it has many interesting locations and attractions you can visit, as well as a description and pictures of each one.

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The app gives you the address and names of most locations, but sometimes it doesn’t give you a description of the place and just leaves it blank. That’s another reason why I wouldn’t recommend using this app for their booking feature, because if some of the more important features in the app are incomplete, you can’t trust to spend thousands of dollars on it to make reservations.

However if you do want to use this app to look for nearby attractions and locations in Cyprus that you can visit, then I would definitely recommend downloading this app. You can download the app by visiting: Your Cyprus Holiday at the Google Play Store.

Review Written on: 5/8/2014
Last updated on: 8/27/2016

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Guitarhoo!

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Guitarhoo! is a free app available in the Apple app store for guitarists who want to improve their skill in the trade by learning from other profesionals. This free app is jam packed with numerous interviews, videos, and reviews of professional guitarists and guitar songs.

Upon first launching the app, it asks you for your birthday information, you will understand what this is for as you continue reading, and how often you want to be updated with the latest Guitarhoo! news. The Guitarhoo! news is great as it compiles opinions and favorite songs of different guitar masters with different musical backgrounds and musical style.

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Interviews Section – Upon clicking on the interviews section, you are greeted with a large list of guitar playing professionals ranging from K. K. Downing aka Judas Priest to Gary Lucas who has over 40 years as a guitarist and songwriter. Here you can watch video interviews of each individual.

Most if not all of the individuals in this list of interviews are well known and have a long history of music behind them. It’s captivating to watch and listen to people who have built their entire life around music and were able to make a living out of it. It’s difficult to make a living in the music world, so if you want tips from professionals who have been there and done that, this app is definitely something you want to download.

guitarhoo-3Fave 5 – Similar to the interviews section, this section has a large number of individuals except instead of talking about their history and background in a video interview, the Fave 5 are articles asking about the five songs or albums that have influenced the guitarist the most and what it taught them. It’s interesting to read some of these articles as you learn exactly how a song can change an individual’s life.

guitarhoo-4Videos – In this section there are a mix of different videos. Some videos are videos of songs, others are lesson videos, and some are even interview videos. So far it appears this section has not been fully developed yet as there are only a limited number of videos listed and most of the videos are just songs. If you visit Guitarhoo.com you can find many more videos featured by Guitarhoo that way.

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Reviews – In this section you will find articles that review different songs, bands, albums, concerts, and even programs or apps. The reviewer talk about many aspects of what is being reviewed and it is interesting to get a different perspective.on certain soundtracks or albums. The reviews are usually accompanied by a video of what is being reviewed, so you can judge for yourself if you think the reviewer was right in the opinions given.

More Screenshots:

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Related Links:

Guitarhoo.com – The website that the app accesses

Guitarhoo! iOS App – Link to the iOS app itself

You may be wondering about what asking for your birthday information was all about, as the app doesn’t seem to have any use for it. Whether you are watching interviews or reading reviews, your birthday seemingly has no use with the app. Well let’s just say if you keep the app installed long enough, an easter egg will cheer you up on a certain day!

Review Written on: 4/3/2014
Last updated on: 8/26/2016

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Peer Renters

Today we take a look at Peer Renters, an iOS app that works similarly to Craigslist, which allows users to buy, sell, rent, and rent out products. The first thing you will notice when you first run the app is that it will ask you for login information:

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Because we need an account to use Peer Renter, we will first need to register. Registering is easy. First thing that we will do is click on the New User button. From there we simply enter our email address and soon after we are sent a password we can use to log in with. We have shown that it is very easy to register an account, so this next step you might be uncomfortable with:

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If you don’t fill in all the correct information, you won’t be able to use the app. In my opinion this highly limits the app because it is asking for way too much information. A username would be a better and more comfortable substitute to First Name and Last Name. Telephone number should not be a required field to fill in as even big time companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram do not ask for such private information from their users. Home address is also unnecessary as even large companies like Craigslist and Facebook simply use City as the only address field available.

After logging in you are greeted with this screen:

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From there you can use the easy to use search feature by tapping on the top right button and searching for different terms.

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As you can see if you search for the term “Computer” you will get a couple of results. There are currently not that many other users using this app at the moment which explains the limited number of listings. However, this is extremely useful as you can trace down the exact location of different items that you want to purchase or rent. This is a creative and awesome use of the Google map feature in combination with the listing of items to be sold.

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As you can see the computer for sale wasn’t really a computer, but just a computer chair for sale that only had the keyword “computer” in it. This app is mostly intended for renting or renting out different products instead of buying and selling, however you can do both. After clicking on the “Buy this Item” button you can then easily purchase the product by clicking on the Pay button, however it does require a $2 deposit from Paypal. You will then need to contact the seller or vice versa, and agree to meet up at a nearby location so you can pick up your new product.

If you don’t want to use the map feature to look for items to purchase, you can use the listing feature as well to list out all the different items in different countries all in a list. This is what the list feature looks like when searching for the letter “a” and a doing normal search for the word “car”:

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As you can see the search results are not completely perfect but that might also be due to the fact that there is a lack of listings available at the moment. As this app gains in popularity then certainly there will be more products listed here.

Adding your own product to be sold in this app is very easy:

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As you can see we have put in false information in the address field simply because it asks for too much. It would be better if you were allowed to enter a generic location address such as “The orange supermarket in downtown Lost Angeles” and plan out a more specific location or a different location with the buyer. It shouldn’t make sense that the person buys the item from your house, because you may not want them to come over to your house. If it were more like Craigslist, it would simply have the City field open and the rest of it redundant and unnecessary.

After you have confirmed the listing then your listing will be available in Peer Renter’s product listing:

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As you can see it’s not a bad app to use if you want to buy and sell products. However in summary the limitation of the app comes from the amount of information that the app asks for. It simply asks for too much information when registering and when listing items. If you want to download the app and test it out yourself, feel free to do so at the following link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/peerrenters/id807333155

Review Written and published on 4/28/2014.
Last updated on: 6/26/2016