Apps of the Week: OpenSignal, My Dashboard, Instacast, Todo Cat, and Lie Swatter

It’s been a great week with a lot of great new apps hitting the marketplace. We’ve got a few new ones for you this week. If you’re concerned about network quality we have an iPhone app for you. We have a light and less extensible version of Status Board for the iPad. A beloved iOS podcast app comes to the Mac, in beta. Our web app is a dead simple to-do list. Our game of the week is a follow up from the makers of “You Don’t Know Jack.”

iPhone/iPod Touch: OpenSignal


Our iPhones are awesome mini-computers that are always at hand, but without a proper network connection, they lose a bit of their usefulness. The open source OpenSignal app gives you a clear way to look at your current network status.

It shows the strength of your cellular and Wi-Fi connections. You can run upload and download speed tests, take a look at the coverage map in your area by carrier, and see a map with local Wi-FI hotspots. There’s a lot of data here in a relatively neat package, though this may overwhelm novice users.

Open Signal is Free on the App Store.

iPad: My Dashboard


In case you missed it, we did a huge exploration of Panic’s Status Board and the variety of panels that developers were creating. My Dashboard bares a passing resemblance to Status Board but it’s missing the power and extensibility. If Status Board was a successful engineer, My Dashboard is his cousin that’s a social media marketing expert.

That said, not everyone needs a powerful status tool. My Dashboard is a bunch of preconfigured widgets that you can place around three screens. You can drop a panel with Twitter, and another with Facebook. You can monitor a couple of different websites, including the doomed Google Reader. Another Panel gives you in app access to the current videos from your subscribed channels. There’s a music player that ties to your on-device library. The various backgrounds look really nice, tipping the hat to some clever design. To get your GMail and a to-do list you’ll need to spend an additional $0.99 above the apps purchase price, which doubles the price.

You can grab My Dashboard on the App Store for $0.99 here


Mac: Instacast


It’s going to take a lot to get anyone to switch their podcasting app, but Instacast has made a compelling argument for buying their app for all platforms. With the release of the Mac client, you can now pull all of your podcast subscriptions from iTunes or Apple’s own Podcasts app on iOS.

The app is in open beta right now, but it is in very good condition. You could easily mistake this for release-quality software. You can import your iPhone and iPad subscriptions by creating or signing in with your account. This means that you only have to go through the misery of reconfiguring your podcasts once. The Mac app actually has better sorting options over the iOS app. The instant sync is by far the most valuable part of the new software.

You can download the beta here it’s free but you can lock in the price of $14.99 if you purchase your license now.

Web: TodoCat


The internet loves productivity apps, nearly as much as it loves cats. This combines the two of them in a nice package that’s minimal. The page is the Sophisticated Cat meme with the I Should in bold, and the buy a boat underlined. You can then add your tasks which stack up below, you can clear them with a click.

It’s basically a scratch pad, no sophisticated GTD process involved. If you want to sync the web app you’ll need to create an account. However simple it may be, it’s really responsive and you can’t help but chuckle at Sophisticated Cat. If you’re buying a boat, your to-do list is already done for you.

TodoCat is a free app you can check out here.


Game: Lie Swatter


You Don’t Know Jack was a classic game that has had a resurgence in recent years, first as a console game and more recently as a social game. Developer Jellyvision has released a new trivia game called Lie Swatter. The premise is pretty simple, you get a listing of trivia facts and you have to choose all the lies for points, you lose points for selecting true facts about your subject.

The game is asynchronous, and turns work a’la Words with Friends. Each game is three rounds, so it can go pretty quick. Like You Don’t Know Jack there is a lot of pressure to plunk down some cash to stop the ad model. Playing with it isn’t too terrible, but it may hamper your progress if you’re playing a lot of games.

Lie Swatter is free and you can grab it from the App Store.

Mac geek? Gamer? Why not both? Mike is a writer from Wisconsin who enjoys wasting immense amounts of time on the Internet. You can follow him on Twitter.