Many of us struggle with managing all our personal information—social network connections, bank statements, and bills. Pageonce’s A Personal Assistant Premium attempts to simplify the task of monitoring your digital life by collecting and displaying account information from a variety of services.
It is clear that Pageonce has put the most emphasis on financial and travel sites—a wide variety of banks, utility companies, and airlines are available for tracking by Pageonce members, compared with only 28 social networks. Account changes are reflected quickly, and the service provides a solid “updates” feed, detailing account statuses on a daily basis. Depending on the services you add, A Personal Assistant can potentially give you an instant overview of your financial life.
Clearly, information security is the elephant in the room. Pageonce goes to great lengths to reassure users of the security of their data, though only this paid version of the application can be passcode-locked. In case your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can remotely delete data via the company’s Web site.
(Beside the passcode-locking, there are other differences between this $10 Premium edition and the free version of A Personal Assistant. The free version contains ads, while the ad-free premium version offers flight status data such as arrival times, weather at the destination, and gate information.)
A Personal Assistant Premium suffers from some design quirks that make it a less-than-ideal data manager. The application can be difficult to use, due to its tiny buttons and small white-on-black text; even with my dainty hands and sharp young eyes, I frequently tapped the wrong buttons. Performing actions with your information—such as updating your status or transferring funds—need to be performed in the application’s sub-par Web browser. Frustratingly, there is no way to open links in Safari.
The end result? A Personal Assistant Premium is a helpful app, though not nearly as powerful as it could be.
A Personal Assistant Premium is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.1 software update.
[Kate Dohe is a graduate student in library and information science at the University of Hawai’i in Honolulu; she works with the Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies as a designer and site administrator.]