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A road trip with Ohai for iPhone

Those who know me understand that I love traveling. I spent the last four days in Phoenixville, Pa. with my sister, her husband and my two kids. It was purely for fun and an excellent time to test Ohai (US$4.99), a travel journal app for iPhone.

Ohai lets your record places you visit, complete with geographic location, a photo and your own notes. The app resembles a journal with one day per "page." It's fun to re-live your excursions, flipping through the pages to see where you've been. Ohai does have some big limitations, however, which I'll discuss below. First, the good.

On the road with Ohai

We hit the road on Thursday to begin our seven-hour drive (I-95 in Connecticut is endless monotony). While grabbing a snack and using the necessary room at Dunkin Donuts, I decided to make my first entry into Ohai (below). You'll see it on the top of the list, corresponding to the rightmost marker on the map.

A road trip with Ohai for iPhone

At this point, I realized that Ohai won't create an entry if you don't write a journal entry. In other words, you can't just "check in." But that's the point, really. It's a journaling app meant to record your thoughts and experiences as well as your physical location.

More driving and another rest stop, this time in Jersey. It was unglodly hot, which I felt compelled to mention.

At last we arrived in Pennsylvania, showered off the road stink and relaxed a bit. You can see above that my final destination was quite a distance from my point of origin. So much so, that the marker doesn't fit neatly on the map. I wish I could pinch-and-zoom or otherwise re-position the map within that window, but I can't. It would also be nice to tap a marker and jump right to that entry, especially if you've had a busy day.

On Friday, we explored the town and I added some photos (below). The images uploaded quickly from my iPhone 4S and add a lot. Entries just look better with a nice picture. I'd like to be able to tap a photo to view it full-screen, but unfortunately I can't. Hopefully this feature will be added.

A road trip with Ohai for iPhone

Finally, on Saturday, we visited a farmer's market and Valley Forge State Park.

The good and the bad

Overall, using Ohai is a nice experience. Entering a point of interest, some commentary and a photo is simple and the result looks nice. Sharing an entry with Twitter or App.net is simple. However, I do have some gripes.

A road trip with Ohai for iPhone

First, you can't edit an existing entry. If you notice a typo or wish you can add a photo after the fact, you're out of luck. Also, creating a new spot is difficult. For example, I wanted to add the Phoenixville Farmer's Market, as the app didn't find it on its own. I tapped the "+" icon to bring up the map and held on the blinking blue dot that indicated my location. No go. I tapped it and it still didn't work. At last I realized that you must tap near, but not on, the blue dot and the circle surrounding it. From there, I was able to create a new spot. That seems counterintuitive, as it's the dot that represents my actual location.

This one might be on me, but the app kept registering a tap as a swipe. When creating a new entry, you hit the "Tap to Check In" button. It seemed like the app thought I wanted to swipe to the next screen almost every time I tried. Finally, you can't delete old entries. Some places you'd rather forget (like the 7-Eleven parking lot where my son threw up on the way home. Don't ask).

Ohai 1.0 is a very good start. I'm sure that it will mature into a fine product and I look forward to its future. But for now, I'm sticking with Rego.



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Software iPhone

Those who know me understand that I love traveling. I spent the last four days in Phoenixville, Pa. with my sister, her husband and my two...