Mini Metro Mini Review

I have found another way to waste pass time on my devices: Mini Metro. It was included in the App Store Best of 2016 and won a bunch of other awards. The principle of the game is simple: you are responsible for building a metro/underground/subway network in a major city. Mini Metro comes with 15 different cities. London, Paris, New York, and Berlin are unlocked. You gain access to other cities by achieving a passenger-carrying goal in some other city, for example, move 500 passengers on the Berlin network and Melbourne opens up. The maps reflect the layout of the water features of the city.

Game screenshot

London Underground typical starting position

You start with the ability to build three different lines indicated by the coloured dots to the right. You have assets of three engines and the capability to create three tunnels. Stations appear on the map; initially, they are indicated by squares, circles, and triangles, but different shapes appear as the game progresses. To construct a line, just touch a station symbol and drag to the next station.

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Hey Siri

How far away is the moon?

Source: Hey Siri

If you’re wondering what to say to your phone…

Review: Adult Colouring App

Colouring apps for adults seem to be increasingly popular. I decided to have a look around and see whether I’d have fun with one. Most of the apps that I looked at offer a free version with in app purchases required to unlock additional facilities. Some such as Pigment and Colorfy are subscription-based. But I thought £3 a week forever for something I wanted as an occasional diversion and not an obsession was over the top. I decided to go with Adult Colouring. The name is unfortunate as it suggests something naughty, which, of course, is not the case.

I installed Adult Colouring on my 12″ iPad Pro and worked with the Apple Pencil. I played around with the free version and decided that the price to unlock the full version was fair. [Read more…]

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More Airtable

Flipbook ScreenbeanThis is the fifth post about the Airtable database. All Airtable posts are here.

For this post, I have put together slideshows with commentary for a number of different topics: Attachments, Output, and Backup and Restore. [Read more…]

Airtable Scenario: Airtable and the iPhone

)Other posts in this series about the web-based and iOS-enabled database, Airtable, can be found here.
Phone Screenbean

Airtable is a universal app that runs equally well on an iPad and an iPhone. In this post, I’m going to look at using the app on an iPhone. [Read more…]

Airtable 3

The structure of my Airtable demo database continues to evolve. I changed the name from “Businesses” to “Clients” and have settled on these tables as the basis for exploring how Airtable works in use rather than design.

This simple diagram shows the tables and fields in the demo database.

This simple diagram shows the tables and fields in the demo database.

I’ve decided to do this by describing different scenarios. I’m just going to write about these as they occur, so my apologies if there isn’t much sense to the organisation.

Previous posts about Airtable are here.

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Airtable Part 2

In a recent post I introduced Airtable, a cloud-based database app available as a web client and an iOS app. In this post I’ll describe building a simple database. I have not done any real design for this (making it up as I go along), but the basic idea is for a client management system for some company (I’ll call it ABC) selling some unspecified products and services. [Read more…]


A very long time ago I used to earn a living writing database applications on PCs. One early project for a fleet transport system was won over competition from KPMG. I remember being pretty chuffed about that at the time. So I’ve always had a soft spot for database software. I first saw Airtable mentioned in a post by Federico Viticci on MacStories. When the iPad app version appeared, I decided to give it a try.

[Read more…]

Don’t Be Hacker Bait: Do This One-Hour Security Drill

Do this one-hour digital security checklist to boost your data privacy and protect all your devices from hackers.

Source: Don’t Be Hacker Bait: Do This One-Hour Security Drill – WSJ

Good advice from the Wall Street Journal.

Adobe’s Sleazy Customer Management

I started to use Adobe Photoshop a good few years ago and spent a good chunk of money on upgrades over the years. When Adobe changed to a subscription model, I decided that a monthly sub of a bit under 9 GBP for Photoshop and Lightroom was reasonable. However, for various reasons, I used the software less and less: in the last six months, I’ve done no image processing with Lightroom and opened Photoshop maybe twice.

Nine quid a month for nothing isn’t reasonable so I logged on to my Adobe account see about cancelling my sub. Here was revealed the first bit of sleazy behaviour: there is no way to cancel on the account management page. You have to contact Adobe by chat line or phone. Already I’m expecting some hassle. Anyway, I elected for chat line and after a short wait, Chinthana appeared.

I explained I wanted to cancel because I wasn’t getting any value as I wasn’t using the software. This lead to the second sleazy manoeuvre: I was offered next month free if I carried on with the subscription. At this point, I should point out that the Adobe CC subscription is an annual subscription payable monthly. No doubt, I knew this when I signed up, but had forgotten. Adobe doesn’t remind you very often. I get an invoice each month that includes the line:

“Your Creative Cloud membership will renew automatically each month until you cancel.”

It seems to me it’s reasonable to suppose that I could cancel anytime with a month’s notice. Chinthana explained that the small print doesn’t say this: it says you can cancel, but you have to pay 50% of the remaining annual subscription— 32.48 GBP in my case. By this time, I was pissed off and responded:

“I will pay this under protest. I think this policy is disgraceful for a customer who has paid the sub for at least two years.”

Time for sleazy tactic number 3: I was offered two free months to see out my subscription. The conversation continued:

Roger Cavanagh: No. How many times do I have to repeat myself? I want to cancel. I am getting no value for my money as I do not use the software anymore.
Chinthana: Okay. Are you okay with the cancellation fee?
Roger Cavanagh: No I am not OK with the cancellation fee, but no doubt, the small print says I have to pay it.
Roger Cavanagh: The monthly bill you send says: “Your Creative Cloud membership will renew automatically each month until you cancel.” It does not say, “and you will be charged to leave”.

At this point, Chinthana said he would check with his supervisor. After a little while, he came back on line and said his supervisor had agreed to waive the fee. Now I’m sure than Chinthana does have a supervisor, but I’m not all sure that he asked permission to waive the cancellation charge. It’s more likely that the workflow got to a point that tells the agent to give up and let the customer off.

So I got what I wanted: cancellation. Adobe got almost one month’s sub for nothing because my last payment was only a couple of days ago and I have already uninstalled the software. But I am left with a much-reduced opinion of the company.