Friday app roundup: plants, zombies and moonwhales

Finally Friday is here. It’s time to start putting off everything until Monday and start goofing off in celebration of the approaching weekend. To help you boost your unproductivity we’re here to bring you our top four apps of the week that can help you achieve that goal/

This app’s roundup includes: a fun game that transforms classic Plants vs Zombies game into a collectible card game; an app that brings you Google’s favourite Pixels wallpapers for use on any Android; an app that wants you to play the role of depressed debtor trying to dig themselves out of poverty, and a game that needs your help to defeat something called a skyfish.

App: Plants vs Zombie Heroesplants vs zombies heroes universal app

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? Plants vs Zombies classic play involves lane-based game play, but this mobile app version of the popular game, instead replaces that with a collectible card, game play structure. Your goal is to collect a team of plant and zombie heroes, to form teams and go on courageous adventures. You can even battle amongst your friends to figure out who is the ultimate undead horticultural hero.

Best review quote: Players start out as Plants, although you’ll get to play as Zombies, too. After you’ve played all of the Plants you can afford, press the action button to start your turn. The attacking team’s units will fire, followed by the defender’s. Each unit has power and health ratings that determine how much damage it can dish out and survive. – Android Central

Get it now: for your Android or for your iPhone or iPad.

App: WallpapersGoogle Wallpapers Android app

OS: Android

What is it? Google has released a simple app to bring a variety of wallpapers to any Android smartphone. Basically, this is the wallpaper picker feature removed from the Pixel Launcher and available for use on any Android. It’s basically giving you access to Google’s picks for wallpaper and if you have a Pixel smartphone, you can have one wallpaper for your lockscreen and another for your homescreen.

Best review quote: This is the same app, though since updated, as the one that came with LlabTooFeR’s leak of the Pixel Launcher over a month ago. It isn’t exactly world-altering stuff, but does feature a nice selection of images while also integrating with your phone’s wallpapers as well as those providing by third party apps. Wallpapers can also choose a new image each day within each category offered. – Android Police

Get it now: for your Android

App: Crap! I’m Broke: Out of PocketCrap I'm Broke Out of Pocket universal  app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is a stylized, cubist-animation style simulation game about dealing with being broke in a virtual world. To keep your pathetic character afloat you have to get a terrible job like a burger chef or a dish washer. Once you’ve completed your shift, you’ll get kicked out after which you can continue to look for work or head home to eat or pay your bills. However, it’s prudent to buy food first, if you don’t you may end up spending your entire food budget on paying your bills. At the end of the month after paying your bills you’re given the option to purchase additional furnishings for your home. True to its realistic form, this game is very hard, not as hard as actually being broke and homeless, but it’s still a pretty bleak game.

Best review quote: As a simulator game, there’s only one mode in CIBOOP, and you’ll find out that you start off as a guy who just got a new home in the city, and for the first three months, your mom will help you with the rent. But after that, you’re on your own. You have a refrigerator that has some different food items that you can purchase to prevent starvation, and a laptop where you pay your bills and get messages alerting to you either unforeseen expenses or maybe some cash back (but mostly the former). In order to get some cash, you’ll have to get out of your place and go find work from nearby businesses. At first, you start out just washing dishes at the diner next door, but as you pay your bills and earn your keep, you’ll be able to unlock more jobs from other nearby businesses, like burger flipping, sorting cans in the factory, bartending, and even being a bouncer for the club.

One thing you’ll always have to be sure to do is keep an eye on the hunger and month gauges in the top left. The circular month gauge lets you know how much time you have left until the end of the month, when bills are due. The hunger gauge is your hunger — if you work too hard and forget to eat, you’ll starve to death. And if you don’t starve to death, you’ll be buried under piles of debt. Either way, the outcome isn’t pretty. However, the developers did add an “ending” to the game, so if you can manage to survive life’s struggles, there is something to look forward to. – App Advice

Get it now: for your iPhone or iPad or for your Android.

App: Legend of the SkyfishLegend of the Skyfish universal app

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? Legend of the Skyfish is a fun game in which you play Little Red Hook who is attempting to defeat the monstrous Skyfish with the help of the Moonfish. You need to defeat enemies in battle and solve intricate action puzzles. It’s a fun game that includes 45 hand-crafted levels. It’s an enjoyable way to spend your time on a rainy afternoon this weekend.

Best review quote: Legend of the Skyfish is a beautiful action adventure puzzle game with a unique weapon and tool – a fishing pole! Follow the intrepid Little Red Hook on her journey with the Moonwhale to defeat the monstrous Skyfish. – Android and Me

Get it now: for your Android or for your iPhone or iPad.

Sources: Android CentralAndroid PoliceApp AdviceAndroid and Me

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How to watch NFL on your smartphone

Fall is here, if nothing else the rain outside definitely proves it. You know what comes with fall, fantasy football and by extension, the NFL. Now you’re not always home when it comes the catching the game and that’s why it can be handy to have the option to watch an NFL game on your smartphone. It’s not the the most intuitive thing to do, the NFL alone offers three different ways to catch up and that’s on top of the existing option to watch via the free CBS Sports app or to watch it via live TV on your smartphone through Telus’ Optik on the Go app, which brings Optik TV to your smartphone. (Of course, Optik on the Go, requires that you be subscribed to an OptikTV plan.)

Using CBS Sports app you are given full access to the fastest sports scores, live video, real-time news, instant alerts and personalized team feeds. You can watch live games which sadly does not include NFL games, but does include: SEC football, NCAA basketball, PGA TOUR, CBS Sports Network and original Fantasy & News shows. However it does include live streaming radio which may cover NFL games on game days.

Optik Channels viewable wherever Wi-Fi is available, or on any mobile network (74 channels)

Your best bet for game coverage and updated fantasy football scores is the NFL’s Sunday Ticket app. With the help of NFL’s Sunday Ticket app you can track your fantasy league team, keep tabs on your favorite players, get highlight alerts instantly, and so much more. Plus, you’ll never miss a moment of the game you’re currently watching! While watching live game action, you can see Press Highlights Central, Stats & Standings, Fantasy Hub, or My Players for on-screen stats.

If streaming the whole NFL game is the only thing that matters to you, then you need to get ready to shell out, $234.99 for access to the entire season’s worth of games or you can decide to get a 7-day subscription for game day for $29.99 via NFL GamePass. So yeah, that’s kind of price-y, but it truly is your only option if you need the option to stream the entire game, instead of just highlights.

Finally, if you are already a Telus Optik TV subscriber and if you’ve subscribed to some sports channels, then you can simply get Optik on the Go, so you can watch the game live stream on game days. It works over WiFi or your cellular network and it includes (providing you’ve subscribed to these  TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RedZone, Sunday Ticket HD, SN360, Sports Net One, Sports Net East, Sports Net HD, Sports Net Pacific, TVA Sports, TVA Sports 2 and TVA Sports 3.


Viewable within your TELUS home Wi-Fi network at no extra cost1 (47 channels)channels).

Hope this helps you enjoy the next game, wherever you are.

Sources: Android Central

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Special Monday app roundup: really bad chess and dating imaginary Japanese anime characters

Well, it’s Monday and due to unforeseen circumstances we missed last week’s Friday app roundup, so instead we’re here to liven up your dreary, rainy, grey Monday with some fresh new apps. That’s right, we’re offering all the tools you need to avoid doing work for the remainder of the afternoon on a Monday. So yeah, put away that task list and prepare for some quality time goofing off.

This special Monday app roundup includes: a trippy photo-bending app; an app that makes chess fun again with the power of randomly assigned pieces; an app that lets you message the Japanime fake boyfriend of your dreams; and the perfect anti-Tinder shaking up the world of dating apps.

App: SprayscapeSprayscape photography Android app

OS: Android

What is it? This is an experimental photo app from Google Labs, that uses the gyroscope inside your Android to give your photos a mind-bending effect designed to make it look as if the pics were taken inside a 360-degree sphere. It’s nice to see Google, thinking outside the box and offering us just a cool app that will help you up your Snapchat game and enhance your the quality of your ‘grams. So give this trippy photo-bending app a whirl!

Best review quote: Sprayscape is a quick hack using the phone’s gyroscope to take pictures on the inside of a 360-degree sphere. Just point your phone and tap the screen to spray faces, places, or anything else onto your canvas. – Android and Me

Get it now: for your Android.

App: Really Bad ChessReally bad chess iOS game app


What is it? It’s true chess is a board game that can be perceived as too complicated, not fun, kinda boring and hard to learn. What if it could be a lot more fun? That’s where Really Bad Chess comes in. With Really Bad Chess you and your opponent are given chess pieces at random, for instance you might have all knights whereas your opponent has mostly pawns, a queen and a bishop and yet you’re playing chess as if it were a normal fair game. So whether you win or lose, is now much more about luck and making the best of what you’re given. All in all, this game almost makes me wish I had an iPhone, only to be able to play this awesome game.

Best review quote:Really Bad Chess changes this by completely randomizing what pieces both sides get. You could have a second row that has three knights and a queen in addition to some pawns. Or maybe you have a couple extra rooks. Your opponent will have something completely different.

This setup not only makes the game different each time you play, but it’s also a clever way of dealing with difficulty. When you play Really Bad Chess, you always play against the same artificial intelligence. It doesn’t get smarter or faster the further you progress. Instead, as you move up in rank, the quality of the pieces you get changes. In the beginning you will have much better pieces than the AI, improving your chances at winning. But as you get better and win matches, the balance starts to shift in the other direction. – The Verge

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Mystic MessengerMystic Messenger universal game app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? If there’s one thing Japanese girls and some of their Japanime-loving Western counterparts like, it’s games that give you a pretend boyfriend to woo/be wooed by. Mystic Messenger is one of those faux relationship building romance games. You are given the choice of pursuing one of these Japanese animated high school dream boats. Each potential suitor has his own unique personality traits, for instance he might be an aloof businessman who loves cats or an up-and-coming JPop star expressly forbidden via contract from having romantic relationships. The app is designed to look like a fake messaging app which allows you to text, call, chat or email your paramour of choice. It’s the perfect game to play while listening to One Direction on a lazy Sunday afternoon on a pink chenille bedspread in a room plaster with Katy Perry and Chris Evans posters.

 Best review quote: The “otome” genre is one that’s not particularly well-known among mainstream game. The word “otome” is Japanese for “maiden,” and that’s precisely who these games target: women. Typically, otome games are text-driven visual novel adventures with a strong romantic component: the men you interact with are young and attractive, and through your choices, you can (hopefully) woo one of them into a virtual relationship. Branching paths and multiple decision points mean that you can replay the story multiple times and see different endings, good and bad, while pursuing different relationships. There’s an element of role-playing as well as reading (virtual) emotions: what would the guy I’m looking to smooch want to hear from me in the current situation? – Motherboard

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: SirenSiren dating universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This dating app is the anti-Tinder. It hates shallow swiping on looks. Instead you interact with other users by answering daily open-ended questions, thus simultaneously devaluing your looks and promoting interpersonal interactions that are more organic, more akin to meeting someone in daily life. It’s a refreshing concept in a tired genre of terrible copycats that seem to emphasize the exchanging of unasked for pictures of what’s in a man’s shorts. It’s nice to see an app that understands that I don’t do well when pitted against prettier girls in a photo lineup. So yeah, definitely going to give this one a try, you should spread the word about it though, because a dating or messaging app is only useful if the people you want to interact with are using it.

Best review quote: Unlike other popular apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge, Siren doesn’t encourage you to swipe through people’s photos. Instead, there’s a daily open-ended question that users answer, and their responses are displayed on a feed.

The idea for Siren was inspired by their frustration with other dating apps, the majority of which were created by men. Lee and Hess, who are both women of color, believe that Siren offers a different perspective on how people can meet — or, at the very least, doesn’t objectify people as much. – Business Insider

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

Sources: Android and MeThe VergeMotherboardBusiness Insider

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Everything you (n)ever wanted to know about wireless charging and wireless fast charging

Today’s technology is so complex and advanced, most of the time I feel like the explaination for everything like how a computer works or how ATMs work, is best explained by the phrase “science doing science things.” It all seems to technical for a layperson like me or you to begin to understand, so instead we just accept that it works and don’t question the how of it. But today, we’re going to dive deeper into understanding how one of those complex things works that is often held up as a reason to choose an Android instead of an iPhone, wireless charging (and wireless fast charging.)

What is wireless charging anyway?Wireless Samsung Fast Charging pad on coffee break with Samsung smartphone

Well first off, we’re going to keep the concept of wireless charging limited to the discussion of Android phones. As you may have guessed, wireless charging allows you to charge your Android, without plugging it into a charger and plugging that charger into the wall. Wireless charging typically involves a wireless base, which can come in any size or shape, and it works by charging your Android automatically as long as the right spot on the rear of your Android, is on the right spot on the wireless charging base.

It’s also important to note that regular wireless charging isn’t super fast, it’s roughly comparable to the speed of wired (non-Quick Charge-type) charging. However, there is a second type of wireless charging, which is wireless fast charging, and as the name suggests, it can wirelessly charge your Android super-fast. By super-fast we mean, wireless fast charging can take you from little charge to 50% charge in about 30 minutes or a full charge in as little as 90 minutes.

How does wireless charging actually work?

In technical terms, wireless charging uses something called, “resonant inductive couplings”, (one in the Android and one in the charger base) to transmit low power signals between the two devices. Both your Android and the charger base have a special kind of coil, the charging base has a transmitter coil and your Android has a receiver coil. These coils come into the play during the wireless charging process, when the charging base sends its signal out which happens on a regular basis. Then when the compatible receiver coil in your Android is close enough, the signal becomes modified and inductive charging begins.

What is inductive charging? Well, those two electromagnetic coils create a magnetic field between the charger and the Android. This is similar to what happens when you plug your Android into your charger which is plugged into the wall, they create a magnetic field which “creates” electicity using the difference of potential and vibration.

The coil inside your Android which is connected to something called a battery charging circuit and then the battery is charged using the energy induced in the magnetic field. A byproduct of this process is heat, which is why wireless charging isn’t the most efficient way to re-charge your Android.

Okay, so that was a bunch of jargon-y science nonsense, right? Here’s the dead simple version of that complex process. 1) Your Android and your wireless charging base each have a coil in them. 2) When those two coils are physically close enough, they use a combination of magnetism and vibration to send a small amount of power across the gap between them. 3) This power heads to the charging circuit in your Android which then charges its battery. 4) It takes a bit longer than if you had simply plugged your Android into a wired charger, but it’s often more convenient than wired charging.

Why do you want an Android with wireless charging capabilities?Samsung Galaxy S6 on wireless charging pad

It’s a bit hard to explain the magic of wireless charging, and why it’s so great without having you actually try it out. Because reading the above, explanation, most people near outlets were probably thinking of course if an outlet charges your device faster and more efficiently obviously, you should plug in.

You really don’t understand how convenient it is to not have your device tethered to a wall while your charging it and going about your regular, everyday life. It’s not that wireless charging works better or faster or anything. It’s more like wireless charging is very convenient, with prices comparable to buying a new USB cable and charger, and that you get wireless charging without removing the useful ability to replace your removeable battery. Because the ability to charge wirelessly and still be able to replace a dead forever removeable Android smartphone battery when it dies, just makes you feel so powerful, important and privileged.

What about Wireless Fast Charging?

First off, for Wireless Fast Charging to be a workable thing for your Android device, your charger and your Android device need to both include that Fast Charge label. It is a feature that actually needs to be built into your actual Android device in the first place. For instance, if you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charger, 30 minutes of wireless charging can help you regain a whopping 50% of battery.

It is also important to understand a little bit about the technical details of Wireless Fast Charging. Every quick charging tech has to pay attention to and monitor the transfer rate, the temperature and the amount of charge that the battery actually has. From a so-called “cold state”, it takes a good deal of time for things to reach a point where certain things need to be scaled back. For instance, reducing the amount of electricity provided (keeping in mind, that the charging base can change the frequency and wave length of the magnetic field generated from its coil), is done to protect everything inside your Android from getting too hot. When that happens, the power, as in watts of power, generated are dropped until the battery is full, at which point, it shuts down. Your Android actually pays attention to itself and sends a signal to the charging base if something needs to change.

Basically, if your phone and your wireless fast charger were to have a conversation about how charging works, it might go something like this:

Phone: Omg! I desperately need more power, so you can keep Snapchatting and stuff!

Base: I hear you, I’ll begin charging on my end. Make sure you keep close enough, so that the way my coil hums, makes your coil start to hum too. If your coil suddenly stops humming, I’m going to stop humming and turn everything off.

Phone: Okay. I can totes stay super close to you.

Base: I can see that you are using the most up-to-date Qi standard, so I can go ahead at full speed until you say otherwise.

Phone: Hey, I think I’m getting a bit too warm. Maybe you could scale it back a bit?

Base: Okay. I’m going to go ahead and lower the frequency and pitch of my coil’s’ hum, so that things don’t get any hotter.

Phone: My battery is full. Thanks. You can stop now.

Base: For sure.

All of the above, is pretty standard for Qi wireless charging and how it works. The biggest difference, aside from the speed, is that changes to the resonant circuits in both the phone and the charger base, allow their coils to oscillate at a higher frequency with less resistnace dampening, and less energy wasted by heat aka radiated energy.

The current oscillation generated by Fast Wireless Charging, is higher, while resistance and heat produced are significantly lower than previous versions, so more power is flowing to your phone’s coil to its battery without things overheating too fast. These changes are actually part of the Qi wireless charging standard, and everyone who designs and builds both the Android devices and the compatible wireless chargers work together to ensure everything is very compatible.

In addition, it’s important to understand that the Qi wireless charging standard has nothing to do with any wired USB charging standards, they’re totally separate from each other. It’s also free for anyone to access so that anyone after a short term of WPC-members only access, so everyone from the biggest company to the smallest startup one-trepeneur can use it, without shelling out for a massive $200,000 annual fee. For the most part, you, as the end user, just don’t really need to worry about the charger you’re buying not meeting the specifications. Without a ton of intervention from you, wireless charging and wireless fast charging just work.

For you and me, as consumers, it’s not like you have to put a lot of thought into wireless charging or wireless fast charging. Providing our Android device is compatible with Qi Fast Charging, we only need to worry about using a charging base that is also Qi Fast Charge-compatible, and it will let our Android charge faster than an old-fashioned wired charger. The Qi Fast Charging system is also designed to slow down before anything gets super hot or it shuts off completely, as soon as, the battery is fully charged. Furthermore, Qi is backward compatible, so all your device that can take advantage of it, will charge with any charging base even if Fast Charge isn’t available right now. The only thing we should rely on the proper wall plug to provide just the right amount of current to the charging base, so that it doesn’t overheat or take too long to charge.

Sources: Android Central, Android Central

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