Things I Like: Next.app for iOS (A Simple Spending Tracking App)

There are a million budgeting apps available for iOS. Most of them are way over-designed for my purposes. I basically gave up on finding one for the phone after testing out Mint, Quicken, YNAB, etc… they were all just too much.

What I wanted was simply this: when I spend some money, I want to be able to, VERY quickly, punch in how much and roughly on what. And I want to be able to view those entries grouped by day, week, and, most importantly, monthly.

I don’t want to have to view and then cross-tabulate the five different accounts spending can occur in.

I don’t want pie charts, graphs, or to be flooded with data.

I want to be able to input a spending event VERY VERY QUICKLY. This is the most important part.

None of the apps out there did all of this well, if at all. So I gave up on it entirely for a while until I happened across this article by Federico Viticci, a hardcore iOS nerd whose work and reviews I’ve respected for years. In it, he explains why he loves and how he uses Next, a simple iOS budgeting app. His review sounded like exactly what I was looking for, so I grabbed the app.

It is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

fullsizeoutput_3685

This is the screen that greets you when you open the app. It’s a bunch of easy-to-parse icons defining categories. The ones in blue are ones you’ve added spending for before. The darker the blue, the more money you’ve spent on that type of thing.

Simply tap an icon, punch in the amount and tap the checkmark key and you’re done. Takes two seconds.

Wanna see how much you’ve spent in the last day/week/month/year? Swipe right and choose:

fullsizeoutput_3688

Tap on any category to see a trend line over the time period chosen (so, day over day, week over week, etc.):

fullsizeoutput_3689

Swipe to the rightmost screen to see a daily breakdown of every charge you’ve entered grouped by day instead of by kind (like the other screen does):

fullsizeoutput_3686

None of this is like “awesome new exciting!” but I’ve been surprised at how hard it’s been to find an app that does this well. The key need for me here is quickness; if there’s any friction at all in using an app like this, I know I’ll stop using it in short order. And that sucks. But Next just gets out of the way. I can order coffee and quickly enter how much that run cost without pissing off the person behind me in line in the drive-thru. It takes literally about 3 seconds from grabbing my phone to having entered the data and done.

I don’t use this feature because it would slow me down too much, but if you want to enter a note on any entry to describe what it was or whatever, you can. I find that just tapping a category icon for each entry gives me all of the detail I need.

So, bravo to the fine Germans at “no identity gmbh” for making Next, which does everything I want it to and does it exactly how I want it done.

 

 

Steve Would’ve Never Let This Happen

I don’t understand the iPad Pro line from Apple. A few months ago they release the biggest, fastest iPad ever, with the most RAM and new accessories that only it can use, the regular iPads need not apply. Then, more recently, they release what everybody would consider the mainstream version, which has a lot of the bad-assed stuff of its older brother, but not all of it, and it’s a bit smaller.

So far, so good.

Until one realizes that this smaller, supposedly NOT the top of the iPad line has a better, if smaller, screen than its big brother. And some fancy light detection technology that will change the color warmth of the screen automatically to match its surroundings. AND it has a way better camera.

So, like.. what the fuck?

Yeah, first world problems and all that, but if you want the absolute best iPad today to future proof yourself, there isn’t a clear answer. Best iPhone? 6S or 6S+, the only difference is the size, pick accordingly. Best Mac laptop? Macbook Pro Retina 15, loaded. Best iMac? The big one, loaded. Best iPad? Uhhhh… depends.

I like Apple’s willingness to have top-tier internals across a wide variety of sizes; the iPhone SE is a great example of this, providing first-rate hardware in a form factor the market has otherwise abandoned or consigned to shitty performance due to gimped parts from the bin bucket. But I cannot understand why they did this weird separation of high-end features across their top two iPads.

So, I’ll just stick with my iPad Air 2 for now. Fuckin’ thing works fine, anyways.

TODAY’S EPISODE OF REAL SPECIFIC NERD BEEFS: Auto-Capitalization After Erroneous Auto-Correct in iOS

So, iOS will often autocorrect a mis-typing of “in a” to “Ina”, because OF COURSE many more people have a friend with Scandinavian ancestry that they’re referring to to a third party via text than would EVER need to type “in a”. So, fine, fucking thing overwrites my error with its own, now it says “Ina” in the middle of a sentence.

delete-delete-delete-delete and type “in a” where it should have been to begin with.

iOS writes “In a”, capitalizing the “in” even though that’s absolutely senseless in this context.

So you have to delete everything AGAIN, UNCHECK the shift key that will otherwise needlessly capitalize your “in”, and then type “in a” for what is now the sixteenth time.

What the fuck, iOS? Wouldn’t a better assumption be that, since the capitalization only originated with your erroneous autocorrection to begin with, and given that the writer is now deleting your autocorrection, indicating that it was WRONG, that your capitalization was ALSO incorrect and therefore you should leave the goddamned keyboard in its default state instead of invoking a special mode that, in every other instance, has to be specifically invoked by the user?

God DAMN it. This happens to me a million times a day. I know it’s because Apple (and Android does this too) expects you to choose from their row above the keyboard of possible corrections rather than just do the work yourself, but I can retype this shit faster than I can move my thumbs up to that row and choose as the cognitive workload is higher (and therefore slower) to do that than to rely on the built-in muscle memory for a retype. I have where each normal keyboard key is memorized; one can NOT, by definition, memorize where keys that pop up only due to specific context will be, so fuck that row of choices.

I further¬†know that most people give two shits about capitalization or grammar or spelling at all these days, and most texts are written in a combination of emoji and whatever letters pop up when some Vine-addled fuckboi just drags his dick across the Apple keyboard, but I’m going to be back over here raging against the dying of the light on this one, however much Apple insists on fighting me about it.