Resisting temptation

The first major league home run I ever saw was at Wrigley Field. Ron Santo pulled a ball right down the line. Someone in left field went home with a souvenir that day; whoever it is, I wonder if he still has it.

Blog PhotoI was 11. It was a glorious June day and remains one of the most vivid memories of my youth. I still have that ticket stub somewhere.

But I never became a Cubs fan.

The coolest iPad app I’ve seen is the one my co-worker Patrick Wade showed me – Flipboard – a few  months ago. It was a glorious thing to see, aggregating social media and other feeds into a tablet-formatted magazine. It rendered photos beautifully, moved between items flawlessly.

But I never became an iPad fan.

Flipboard was the siren, though. I was smitten. And it was only available for iOS.Blog Photo

Still, I was not going to dump Android and run away with iPad just for Flipboard, not me. Anyway, Android had tablet apps that did almost the same thing. There was Pulse, for the longest time, and then there was Google Currents.

Almost. Pulse was clunky, and Google Currents didn’t always work. And they both took forever to update. If they updated at all.

And then Flipboard came to the Android. Was it cheating that I downloaded it?

In one of the best examples of why technology is a wonderful thing, all three apps are way better now than when they launched. They all run faster, they update better, they work better on my tablet, a Toshiba Thrive.

And now, now that I can have Flipboard without guilt, I don’t want it any more. I’ve tested it alongside Currents and Pulse, running the same items through all three.

Blog PhotoFor me, Pulse works the best of all. Its content updates are quick – I’m usually updating it at lunch, from the previous day’s lunch hour. It uses screen real estate better than either of the others. Adding content sources is a snap (although that’s true for all three). The size of the tile squares that link to content is scalable, so I can pick from 21 – three rows of seven – or even more at any given time. It opens stories in a window while leaving half of the tiles available to look at too.

Even 500px, a photography site that looks sensational on Google Currents, looks good and loads fast on Pulse. The image previews are really good and a tap loads a larger image.

Apps like these are really among the most personal things you'll put on a device, because you're selecting the content; it's almost guaranteed to be unique. So you might love Flipboard. Or Currents.

Heck, you might even like the Cubs.

Images from the respective apps' websites.

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