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Friday app roundup

The weekend is upon us and it certainly looks like a very sunny one, just in time for Whistler’s upcoming Pemberton music festival. This week’s app roundups include: an app to help you manage your tweetstorms, an app designed to let you play around with a synth on your iPhone, and an app to help you manage your short term rentals; an app designed to help you quantify every facet of your phone.

App: Storm ItTweet Storm app

OS: Android

What is it? This is an app designed specifically for those that feel fenced in by Twitter’s 140 character limit. It’s only going to do that one thing well, it wants to offer more editing capabilities than are traditionally offered. Due to the nature of Twitter, its editor features are not going to give you the power to edit tweets you’ve already sent, but it does give you a safe space for brainstorming, before you post. It also aims to preserve the response chain, without getting muted or blocked.

Best review quote:  Storm it is simple app that allows you to add or collect your ideas / thoughts and share them as a Tweetstorm on Twitter. The term “Tweetstorm” (not Tweet Storm) was coined and made famous by entrepreneur, investor – Marc Andreessen. It’s a series of tweets from one person that starts with a number and a slash. – Android and Me

Get it now: for your Android.

App: AirbnbAirbnb app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? Airbnb is the one most people have heard of when we’re talking short term rentals. It’s designed to make the process of renting your homes for the short term easier, you can get to know your guests a bit before you make the decision to rent and the same thing goes for them. Its ubiquity is what sets it apart from some of the others out there, it’s already available in 34,000 cities which means it’s going to have more availability than some other apps. Similar to how a messaging app is only as good as the friends you have that use it, home sharing apps are only as good as the communities that use them.

Best review quote: Communicate with the host directly through the app, as well as view pictures and get information about the offered amenities, the area the space is located in, price, and much more. – Android Central

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

App: orphinioorphinio app

What is it? This is an app that’s designed to be a musical instrument in the range of a jawharp or glockenspiel and it offers a minimalist design and the ability to interact with other synth apps. The integration is the key in this sphere, you don’t want to be limited to creating music in a single app if you want to be able to share it online, you need the support of other existing apps. At the same time it’s aimed at those who don’t go in with a lot musical knowledge to begin with.

Best review quote: What can I do with it?
◦ Express the sounds you feel
◦ Play polyphonic music very expressively
◦ Crazy drumming and shaking
◦ Dream and relax
◦ Create soundscapes and melodies without 
musical knowledge
◦ Visually explore music and music theory
◦ Use orphinio’s innovative interface to play other synth apps via MIDI – BGR

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: Instant – Quantified SelfInstant - Qualified Self app

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? This is designed to be a measurement of how much time you spend on your smartphone and online. It’s going to get deep into the nitty-gritty of which apps, you use and for how long. It’s a lifeblogging app, but it’s a life blogging app with deeper integration, than some of the others. It includes geofencing for work and home and other Google Fit integrations. As a productivity app, this one is all about the numbers and the dashboard model, to put a quantifiable spin on what you’re actually doing. It is compatible with Android Wear as well. It’s also not trying to lock you into productivity in a single app. On the other hand it is going to be impacting your battery life by running in the background.

Best review quote:But for the most part, you would have to download a handful of apps in order to log this data. Newly launched Instant 2.0, now available on Android, instead is offering a single destination for tracking nearly everything you want to record, including phone usage, app usage, fitness activity and traveling. – TechCrunch

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

Sources: Android and Me,  Android CentralBGR, TechCrunch

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Friday app roundup: alphabears and graphing calculators

It’s nearly the weekend and given the warm spring weather, I’m almost reluctant to give you a list of recommended apps that could keep you staring at screens all weekend when you should be out enjoying the weather. However, releasing weekly app recommendations is part of my job, so here we are. This week’s recommended apps include: a detailed app that can replace your travel guidebook; a word game with 100 percent more bears than its competitors; a girl-powered matching/fighting game; and an app that can replace your graphing calculator.

App: Guides by Lonely PlanetGuides by Lonley Planet universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? With summer fast approaching, you’ll no doubt be planning your vacations soon. When it comes to vacationing, suitcase space is always at a premium, so why waste space that you could use for a fun summer read with a guidebook? Instead you can use Guides by Lonely Planet to navigate the city you plan to visit and point you to the interesting local sites. It’s true that there’s only guides for 37 cities so far, but if you’re traveling to one of them this is the perfect alternative to a physical guidebook. It even includes easy-to-use offline maps to help you find your way around.

Best review quote: It’ll point you towards interesting things, but also help you get around and manage both your budget and expectations, thanks to a built-in currency convertor and general daily cost estimates for every city. – Greenbot

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

App: AlphabearAlphabear universal game app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is the cutest, cuddliest twist on classic word games. You spell words by selecting letters laid out on a grid, if the word you spelled uses letters next to each other you get a bear. If you use more letters in the same area to spell words, your bear will get bigger and you’ll get more points. It’s a refreshing alternative to the popular app, Words with Friends.

Best review quote: For a unique word game, Alphabear is both adorable and challenging. Grow your bears as big as you can to increase your score and earn more types of bears with special skills and rewards. For a fun and upbeat word puzzle, Alphabear brings it. – AppAdvice

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

App: Flipped Out! – Powerpuff GirlsFlipped Out! Powerpuff Girls universal game app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is a Powerpuff Girls-themed mashup of a three-to-match game and a simple fight game. You get two modes to play in, sugar and spice. In sugar mode it’s all about matching monsters buy colour, which will then explode. In fact you need to use the Powerpuff Girls themselves to fling those pesky monsters into matches. In spice mode, (which is accessed by flipping your phone or tablet horizontally), you’re using the Powerpuff Girls to fight monsters hand-to-hand. So double your girl power fun!

Best review quote: The true delight in Flipped Out – The Powerpuff Girls is how the attention to detail shines through. A short animated sequence kicks things off to set up the story, and Professor Utonium encourages you and talks while the game is paused. – 148Apps

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

App: Andie GraphAndie Graph Android app

OS: Android

What is it? Not every app can be a fun, rainbow-spewing romp. This is one of those more serious apps that’s designed to do one thing well, in this case it’s an app that simulates Texas Instruments graphing calculators. It includes different versions that can be used for different kinds of calculations, for instance one includes more statistical functions, another has more trigonometry etc. Obviously, you probably won’t be able to use your phone during a math test, so you’ll need a physical back up, but this is still a useful app for completing your math homework. It definitely has a more comprehensive list of functions than your built in calculator app.

Best review quote: For all the students especially for them, that deals with calculations in their daily routine, this app is very helpful. In this, you can solve out your lots of problems very easily using this graphical analytical calculator on your android device. – TechViral

Get it now: for your Android.

Sources: GreenbotAppAdvice148AppsTechViral

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Special Thursday app roundup: dinner dates and s’working it

Happy Easter to those of you that will be celebrating it this weekend. If you can, I hope you are enjoying your extra days off, if you have to work, I hope your customers are reasonable people. So given that today is an honourary Friday, we’re bringing you the app roundup a day early. This week’s app roundup includes: an app that will whip you into shape for summer; an app that will keep you entertained on your flight to wherever; an app that solves the problem with dating apps (yes, another one); and a powerhouse music video app (that I should have mentioned before.)

App: SworkitSworkit universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? Nothing is a longer struggle than staying in shape, it’s a constant battle. What’s worse is that your app stores are absolutely awash in potentially helpful fitness apps. This app is hands down, one of the most versatile ones around. You choose the length of your workout, 5 to 60 minutes, the type of workout (strength, cardio, yoga or stretching) and then the app will give you a video of a trainer detailing your workout. It’s simple to use and it can be customized to suit your needs. It has everything you want in a fitness app.

Best review quote: Sworkit has the added benefit of having some research to back it up. In a survey of 30 popular fitness apps, researchers at the University of Florida ranked it the best when looking at its aerobic, resistance, and flexibility components. – Business Insider

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

App: Flyover CountryFlyover Country iOS app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This app is amazing and it’s brought to you by the National Science Foundation. It works for more than just flights, but hikes, road trips and any other travel needs. It uses GPS to show you interactive geological maps of where you’re traveling as well as nearby fossil sites, Wikipedia articles about the area and offline base maps. If you are flying or driving it also tells you where you are, your speed and altitude. Best of all, you don’t need in-flight WiFi to use it!

Best review quote: The aim of Flyover Country is to educate people, not just scientists, about the world around them, so it’s a fascinating tool to have on your phone and to be able to dip in and out of. – The Next Web

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

App: DineDine iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? It seems like every couple months, some startup says they have a solution for all our terrible dating app experiences. This is another one from Tokyo this time, but it sounds like an excellent idea. This app is designed to help you skip the endless chatting and instead get you right to the first date. This is exactly what needs to happen, you don’t want to feel disappointed because you wasted a couple weeks chatting with someone before figuring out that you’re not a match after all. It also autosorts your profile pictures based on which ones are proving to be most popular.

Best review quote: After filling out a profile, you pick three restaurants or bars (there’s Yelp integration) where you’d want to go on a date. Dine then shows you two to five people a day, and which places they chose, and you can request to go on a date there.

Once you send someone a date request, and they accept, a chat box opens so you can get some sense of whether you have any chemistry. But the act of having the restaurant or bar right there at the start makes it feel much less nebulous than chatting on Tinder. – Business Insider

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: VevoVevo universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? You know who Vevo is even if you don’t have the app. They sponsor, I’d estimate roughly 30% of the music videos on YouTube. When you see their logo, you’ll realize you’ve seen them many times before. Why get their app, instead of sticking with YouTube? Well, it now uses Twitter, Spotify, machine learning and YouTube itself to deal you recommendations just for you. When recommended videos are done wrong (looking at you Spotify) it can really sour your opinion of that app. Also, when you can’t afford concert tickets (you do get access to live performances of your favourite artists) or you just prefer a multimedia music experience, this is definitely the app you need.

Best review quote: Vevo first asks you to select your favorite music genres. That allows it to then present artists from within that genre (or genres), instead of just presenting some of music’s more popular names. Plus, as you move through your artist selections, Vevo will take into account each choice you make then adjust the next set of recommendations in real-time, the company also says. – Tech Crunch

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

Sources: Business InsiderThe Next WebBusiness InsiderTech Crunch

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Friday app roundup – get ‘er done edition with dog sitters and handymen

I hate to do this to you on such a rainy afternoon, but today’s Friday app roundup is all about practicality and getting things done, even if you’re super lazy. No wait, I take it all back, I have no regrets about my choice of theme sometimes you just need to “get ‘er done.” What better way to get something done, than to have an app do all the heavy lifting for you?

With that in mind, I present this week’s choices for the four most useful apps seen this week: an app designed to help you make difficult decisions; an app that finds a dog sitter for you; an app that answers practically any question you might have about Surrey; and an app that finds people to clean your house or fix things for you.

App: Decider AppDecider iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? Decisions can be tough to make. Sometimes the more you consider a big decision, the more you become too paralyzed to make a choice. That’s where Decider has your back. You just enter the decision you’re grappling with, and a set of at least three pros and three cons. You then assign weight to your pros and cons depending on their importance, the scale at the top of the app will show you which choice is best. You can also enter additional pros and cons for an even more nuanced answer. Oddly enough, the app’s creators caution against using the app too much, but also point out that it is a makes “quality decisions” and it can be used to weigh in on both super important and ridiculuously trivial questions. My only question is how do you use Decider to decide if you should download the app?

Best review quote: […] it will weigh the options on both sides, and then happily make the choice in your stead. Yes, it’s a software program that ably handles the core functionality of human thought. That should be terrifying to you. – PCMag

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

App: DogVacayDog Vacay app for iOS and Android

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? ‘Tis the season to go on vacation and if you’re a dog owner, you have to consider where your beloved pooch will stay. That is if your four-legged friend is unable to come with you. This is where DogVacay comes in, instead of trying to find a kennel, this app can help you find qualified dog lovers to pet sit your pals. It handles the entire process from helping you find the appropriate person to watch your pet at their house or yours, to messaging for meet and greet to booking reservations and handling payments right on your phone. It even includes pictures daily photo updates sent to your phone and pet insurance, so you know man’s best friend is in the right hands.

Best review quote:  Forget the kennel! With DogVacay, your pet can stay in a real home with a loving sitter while you’re away. DogVacay connects pet owners with our community of over 20,000 five-star-rated sitters across the U.S. and Canada. – Android and Me

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

App: My SurreyMy Surrey universal app

OS: iOS, Android, BlackBerry

What is it? If you live in Surrey, BC then this is the app for you. It can answer pretty much any question you have about that particular municipality. It makes it easier than ever to find local events near you, parking, bike lanes; what hours your local library is open; when family swims are at the nearest pool; when and where upcoming youth events are; and much more. It also makes it super easy to add city events to your smartphone calendar and get local news updates. More than that you can ask the app questions out loud and recieve clear concise answers in natural language.

Best review quote:  Fast Company has dubbed the new My Surrey feature “Siri for cities,” and it can answer queries about parking, waste collection and animal control (such as “Why wasn’t my trash picked up this morning?” and “How many dogs can I keep on my property?”), among other municipal services. –Engadget

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

App: HandyHandy iOS app

OS: iOS

What is it? Who really loves to clean their own home? Much less has the time set aside to do so? Are you super confident in your own plumbing abilities? Wouldn’t be easier to just get someone else to clean and fix things for you? Yes, but then you’re thinking you’ll have to go through Yellow Pages or dive into Yelp and call and vet a bunch of people. No, you don’t. You can let Handy do the work for you and find you the best qualified, most reasonably priced, home/office cleaners, landscapers, plumbers, electricians, painters etc. You can book a handy professional for as soon as tomorrow instead of waiting a week and you get a 100% money back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the work provided. Keep in mind though it’s only available in select Canadian, UK and US cities – thank goodness Vancouver is one of them.

Best review quote: In the old days you’d have to flip through the Yellow Pages or venture into the wilderness of Yelp to find someone to do these things, but now you can get it all done from your phone. Clog your toilet? Handy is there. Pizza on the roof? Handy is there. Clog your toilet with a pizza? They can probably handle that, too. – PCMag

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad.

Sources: PCMagAndroid and MeEngadgetPCMag

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