Tag Archives: Apps

Back To School Apps & Tech

As the kids go back to school this year, be sure to check out some of the great Apps and Tech available for students. Mary Cantwell shares this great inforgraphic with us.

Mary is a DEEP design thinker in the K12 Arena. Homebase Atlanta, GA Thankful playing field, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School Creator of DEEPdt methodology, Discover. Empathize. Experiment. Produce. Center 4 Design Thinking: a thinker, a doer, a dreamer, a maker, a tinker, a rough around the edges learner @scitechyedu

To interact with each of the icons go to https://magic.piktochart.com/output/2624459-back-to-school-apps


Road Trip Apps

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and that means the beginning of the summer travel season.  When you hit the road be sure to have some of the great road trip apps that are available to help you along the way. There are apps that help you avoid traffic, find hotels, restaurants, gas stations, among other things.

It’s also important to always have great signal while on the road.  zBoost Mobile1 cell phone signal booster is the solution. The dual band booster captures the signal outside of your car and amplifies it on the inside for a stronger signal. The unit boosts voice and text for all major carriers.

Some great road apps were outlined by Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious,  in Get These Apps Before Your Next Road Trip: 

  • Traffic, road hazards and speed trapsInrix XD Traffic Maps and Alerts – current traffic, accidents, events and police activity.  Google Maps shows you the quickest route  and it will alert you when a faster route becomes available.

Continue reading

Mommy Blog: A Mommy and Her DROID

I have had my DROID for a few months and must say that I am a big fan. Even now that Verizon has the iPhone I am not ready to make the jump – we will see if I can hold out once there is an LTE version but for now I am working on making the most of my DROID.  My four year old son asks Daddy and his nanny all the time why they don’t have a swipe phone like Mommy. He wonders why they still have a Backberry (Blackberry). He tells them they just aren’t as cool as Mommy 🙂

I am always looking for new apps to help me with work and the family. I found this article on apps for Mommy Entrepreneurs and decided to give a few a try.

Here is a link to the full article:


Here are the highlights of the ones my crew is going to check out!

Dinner At My Place – What do you do when you find yourself at the store and don’t know what to make for dinner? Fire up Dinner At My Place, choose a recipe and it spits out the shopping list while you are standing there. LOVE it.

Pro Zoom Camera 5x – Replaces the default camera app on the droid with something that takes MUCH better pictures. So the next time you are at your child’s field trip and you forgot your camera, the Pro Zoom Camera 5x will do the trick. Handy for uploading business pics to Twitter and Facebook too.

TSCamcorder – A far superior replacement for  the default video app on your phone so you can catch that impromptu concert or shoot an on the fly video for your blog.

Key Ring – Hate hauling all those loyalty cards around in your wallet or on your key ring? Me too. Thanks to Key Ring now they are all scanned and at my fingertips whenever I need them

I have to say I am pretty excited about the camera and camcorder. My son will be excited to that we can get better bideo (video) for him to watch on his phone. Check back in a few weeks and see how these apps are working for me!

NYT.com: A Guide to Mobile Apps

With thousands upon thousands of apps to choose from, it can be an overwhelming task to find the best apps to load up your mobile device with. Luckily, the New York Times reporters compiled lists based on devices! 

10 Apps That Make Magic on Your iPad


  1. IWORK ($30, or $10 each for Pages, Keynote or Numbers): Since you can’t type easily on an iPad, it may never replace your laptop. But with this software, which is made by Apple, you won’t need to rush to your other computers to edit Microsoft Office files. The Pages app is great for revising and exporting text files; the Numbers app is good (and getting better) with spreadsheets; and Keynote is a serviceable complement to PowerPoint.
  2. AIR DISPLAY ($10): Turn your iPad screen into an extra PC monitor with Air Display, and never again miss a new Twitter post, Facebook post or stock market move.
  3. FLIPBOARD (free): Twitter and Facebook rely on “new stuff on top” layouts, with links that send you elsewhere to see what people are fussing about. Flipboard rationalizes this editorial insanity. The app plops your Facebook feed into a magazine format, showing all the stories your friends recommended, with photos and updates. You can create other personalized magazines from Twitter feeds, on topics of your choice.
  4. STAR WALK ($5): A jaw-dropping astronomy app. Hold the iPad toward the night sky and it labels everything. You can also preview the movement of tonight’s sky, or witness a particular night sky from centuries ago. Star Walk is billed as an educational app, but it’s as entertaining as anything on the market.
  5. SKETCHBOOK PRO ($8): Experienced artists can create masterpieces with this program. Hobbyists and children can happily lose themselves for hours. The app is powerful, yet fairly intuitive.
  6. NETFLIX (free, but requires a paid Netflix subscription): The iPad renders video beautifully, and Netflix streams a nearly limitless catalog of movies and TV shows to the device. Fast, easy, addicting.
  7. FRUIT NINJA HD ($5): On the iPad’s big screen, this game will give you more of a jolt than Angry Birds. (But do yourself a favor and download that one too.) The task: swipe your finger to slice flying fruit. Hit a bomb and your ninja days are numbered. A recent update added online multi-player functionality.
  8. INSTAPAPER ($5): Great articles typically appear when you have no time to read them. Instapaper quickly stores links, so you can read the full articles later, from within the app. Instapaper also remembers articles you’ve saved with the free online version. Some will find setting up the service on an iPad frustrating, but it is worth it.
  9. PANDORA RADIO (free): Fans of the personalized radio service will appreciate the big-screen format, which is great for reading liner notes and browsing artists and songs. The music selections and ads (if you don’t pay for upgraded service) are the same as on the iPhone or online version.
  10. EVERNOTE (free): Another bigger-is-better entry. Evernote stores notes, photos and voice memos, so you can retrieve them later on any Web-connected device. The service offers a fair amount of free storage, but you can skip the limit for $45 a year.


Top 10 Must-Have Apps for the iPhone

  1. GOOGLE (FREE) You can find Google through your mobile browser, but the app is a major time-saver. The voice search function is seamless. Ask it for specific Wikipedia entries, for instance, and it complies. Or just say “Starbucks” and the app uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest location. A recent update put the “Goggles” service within the app, so you can snap a photo and let Google search for information on that object. And given Google’s emphasis on mobile, the app will continue to improve.
  2. SOUNDHOUND (FREE AND $5) You’ve probably heard of Shazam, the app that identifies songs. SoundHound is faster, and it offers a broader range of ancillary features. You can hum a tune into the phone and it’ll find the song, look up lyrics and run YouTube videos of song performances. The $5 version lets you identify an unlimited number of songs. Users of the free version get five tags monthly.
  3. HIPSTAMATIC ($2) Scores of photography titles are in the App Store. Many are terrific, but not one matches Hipstamatic’s blend of simplicity, serendipity and art. At heart, the app is a filter that will unpredictably saturate, blur or discolor your images, among other things. The results are always surprising and often stunning. Add packs of lenses and film effects for $1 apiece.
  4. EVERNOTE (FREE) The company advertises this as a personal digital assistant, and it’s an apt description. Evernote is a traveling notepad that synchronizes with desktop and browser software (also free). Use your iPhone to copy an image, take a photo, record a voice memo or jot down a note, and it appears on your computer (and vice versa). It also recognizes your written text, within limits. The free version stores a fair amount of information, but for $45 a year, you needn’t sweat the data limits.
  5. ANGRY BIRDS ($1) A runaway favorite among the iPhone crowd, the app tests your ability to break down the barricades that protect green pigs. The weapon: flightless birds, launched by catapult. No wonder they’re angry. The game is easy to learn, yet challenging to play, with witty touches throughout. You can try a limited free version, but if you do, good luck resisting the paid version, with more than 800 possible scenes.
  6. URBANSPOON (FREE) Not sure what to eat, or where? Spin Urbanspoon’s slot machine and it will dial up a suggestion. You can also select certain attributes — Japanese food, for instance, or inexpensive food — and local eateries appear. The app includes user reviews and contact information, and you can press a button for a map and directions.
  7. STAR WALK ($3) Point your phone toward the heavens and this app identifies all you see — constellations, planets, individual stars — in brilliant clarity. If you pivot in another direction, the app follows. It’s an astonishing app that’s great to pull out during dinner parties, beach walks or sleepless nights in bed. You needn’t have a clear view of the sky to experience the starry night.
  8. FIREFOX HOME (FREE) In the same vein as Evernote, Firefox Home is a way to synchronize your desktop and mobile lives. Once you load the app and register, Firefox Home will show your browsing history and bookmarks. If you’re reading an important document online when you leave the office, you can start the app later and pick up where you left off.
  9. QUICKOFFICE MOBILE SUITE ($5) The next time someone e-mails you a Word, Excel or Powerpoint document, Quickoffice will open it and allow you to make quick edits from your iPhone. (Otherwise, you can open, but not edit, Microsoft Office files.) You can also create documents with the app, but it is far less useful for that purpose. Rather, Quickoffice offers a way to complete small work tasks easily while you are on the move.
  10. REDLASER (FREE) It may not tell you if a clothing item makes you look fat, but otherwise RedLaser is a perfect shopping companion. Scan a bar code and it retrieves product information, including prices at online merchants and local stores (in case you are in the mood to haggle). Or follow a spouse or child around a store, scan what they like and you have an instant gift list. The app’s scans sometimes fail, but more often than not RedLaser works smoothly.

Top 10 Android Apps

  1. GOOGLE SHOPPER (FREE) As mentioned in last week’s column, this app can save you hundreds of dollars by helping you find better prices nearby or online. Scan a bar code and the app takes it from there. If the scan doesn’t work, you can speak the product’s name and the app finds the product.
  2. GOOGLE SKY MAP (FREE) Some serious eye candy that you’ll want to activate on the next cloudless night. Point your device toward the heavens and Sky Map puts a label on every celestial body you see — and some you can’t.
  3. REMOTEDROID (FREE) Turns your phone into a wireless trackpad and mouse. You might not want to use the tiny keypad to input text, but if your computer lacks a trackpad — or if you’d like to liberate your trackpad from its spot — this will make your day.
  4. CARDIOTRAINER (FREE) Arguably better than any fitness app on the iPhone, CardioTrainer is an Android-only program that tracks your fitness regimen and calorie consumption. It includes a music management feature to keep your workout tunes fresh.
  5. SOUNDHOUND (FREE AND $5) It’s Android’s best showoff app after Sky Map. Open SoundHound and it identifies nearly any song — even some you hum. It also finds lyrics and YouTube videos of song performances. The $5 version lets you identify an unlimited number of tunes. Users of the free version get five songs a month.
  6. EVERNOTE (FREE) Can’t afford a personal assistant? This will help. Evernote is a mobile notepad that synchronizes with desktop and browser software (also free). Use your smartphone to take a photo, record a voice memo or jot down a note, and the next time you open Evernote on your desktop computer, your mobile notes appear (and vice versa). The free version stores a fair amount of information, but $45 a year buys unlimited storage.
  7. URBANSPOON (FREE) Great for those with empty stomachs, full wallets and no ideas. Spin Urbanspoon’s slot machine and it offers restaurant suggestions. You can also choose certain attributes — like moderate prices and bistro food — and selections appear. The app includes reviews, contact information, maps and directions.
  8. QUICKOFFICE MOBILE SUITE ($10) You can read Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents on an Android phone, but you can’t edit them without dedicated apps. Quickoffice is, so far, the best of these apps. It lets you create documents in a pinch, but the app’s strength is letting you get bits of work done away from the office.
  9. SLACKER (FREE) You’ve most likely heard of Pandora, the great personalized radio service. Slacker is better, with a deeper catalog of songs. And unlike the Web version, you can download hours of music to your phone and listen when you are offline. (That feature is free to try, but a $4 monthly fee applies thereafter.)
  10. FXCAMERA (FREE) Android doesn’t have anything quite like Hipstamatic, the iPhone app that creates beautiful effects for your photos. FxCamera is close, with several cool filters to choose from, and quick sharing to Facebook.

The Top 10 Blackberry Apps

  1. Google Mobile (free): Use your voice to search.
  2. Google Maps (free): Turn-by-turn directions, and more.
  3. Evernote (free): Sync notes from your BlackBerry to your other computers.
  4. Poynt (free): Find local restaurants and businesses, read reviews and more.
  5. Shazam (free): Identify songs that are playing on the radio. Users of the free version get five songs monthly, and you can buy the unlimited version for $5.
  6. Weather Channel (free): Solid forecasts, nicely laid-out.
  7. ScoreMobile (free): Keep track of scores, read game recaps and view standings for major U.S. sports and foreign soccer leagues.
  8. Bloomberg Mobile (free): Great one-stop-shop for financial news.
  9. Viigo (free): For tracking news across many categories.
  10. UberTwitter (free): More full-featured than the standard Twitter app, this is a must-have for people with serious Twitter habits.

Mommy Blog: iTots – I Have One Do You?

Joe Brier for USA TODAY

It is nice to know that I am not alone and that now they too are branded with their very own i – iTot that is!   I can 100 percent relate to the recent USA Today article on iTots.

“Call them iTots. Wunderkind of the 21st century. One-, 2- and 3- year-olds who know their way around an iPhone or an iPad better than you do.Some start waving their pudgy little hands over those glowing screens before their first birthday. Think 6 months.Kids aren’t dreaming of a white Christmas anymore. Sleds? Trains? Front teeth? Surely you jest. All they want for Christmas are two new apps. They also want their own iPad.”I guess my kids are actually aTots (Android Tots).  After making the move from a Blackberry to an Andriod, my  three year old now tells us that he is planning to tell Ho Ho (Santa) he needs a “touch phone.” It is amazing how quickly they learn to use new devices. He could already text GiGi on my blackberry (not that it made sense to anyone but him) and post pictures to Facebook (I don’t think it can be accident once they have done it more than a few times) but now he is ready to try out Mommy’s new “touch phone.” 

This article from USA Today give some good insight into the iTot.

A Cautionary Note For Mobile App Users

With the increasing demand for instant information, cell phone apps have become the instant answer providers.  Cell phone apps have even started invade schools.  I attended a seminar at my school, Kennesaw State University, on the 10 must have apps to graduate.  So now, not only can apps be used for games and social reasons, but they are also used as helpful tools for students at all levels of education.  All of this made me wonder….how safe is it to download all these apps?  Well, I came across this article in PC World which address some of my concerns.

Android App Data Theft: Advantage Apple?

Mobile security firm Lookout embarrassed Android by revealing that a popular wallpaper app was sending sensitive user data to a mysterious Website in China.

The discovery, on its face, looks like an argument for Apple’s restrictive phone App Store. Certainly, the store’s approval process has an extra layer of security that the Android Market does not, even if it means that some desirable apps aren’t allowed because Apple says so. Still, the advantage for Apple is not so clear-cut.

First, a little background: The Android wallpaper app comes from Jackeey Wallpaper, includes popular brands such as My Little Pony and Star Wars, and was downloaded between 1.1 million and 4.6 million times, VentureBeat reports. Jackeey Wallpaper apps collected browsing history, text messages, SIM card numbers, subscriber identification, and voicemail passwords, and sent the data to www.imnet.us, a domain registered in Shenzhen, China.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Ostensibly, an iPhone App Store reviewer would see this kind of activity in an app and disapprove, but it doesn’t always work that way. Last December, Nicholas Seriot, a Swiss iPhone developer, described a proof-of-concept app that could mine contact information, GPS locations, web searches and everything you type except for passwords. Apple would normally reject an app like that, but a malicious developer could try fooling reviewers with changes at runtime, or other delayed trickery.

Android has a different way of protecting users. When you download an Android app, it tells you what kinds of information will be accessed, so if a video game announces it will read your text messages, users can see that and determine something shady is going on. Apple, by comparison, guards the apps themselves more closely, but doesn’t tell users what kind of data is accessed.

But Android’s system isn’t perfect either, as shown by Lookout. Jackeey Wallpaper apps, when downloaded, only say they’re collecting “phone info,” which doesn’t really mean anything.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Both the iPhone and Android also face issues with third-party software, Lookout explained. Third-party code is generally used for advertising or analytics, but can access data in ways that users or even developers who implement the code don’t know about. Apple recently banned the collection of iPhone data by third-parties for analytics or advertising, but that was intended more to stop groups like Flurry from spilling the beans on new Apple products.

Lookout did commend both Android and the iPhone for keeping blatant malware out of their stores. Their message in the end was a word of caution to developers and users about the software they use. So I don’t think there’s a huge cause for alarm, nor do I think Apple’s app security approach is indisputably safer than Android’s, or vice versa.

Dating in a Digital World

Gone are the days when a guy has to walk up to your door, knock, and wait for you to answer. Now an impersonal text is sent saying they are on their way and to be ready. Not everything is bad about technology in the dating world though, actually it can be pretty convenient.

Yesterday was my first date with a guy I knew back in school. We went to the park to play some Frisbee, and of course I checked the weather forecast on my phone before we left. I didn’t want to end up a bedraggled mess if it was supposed to storm. When talk of dinner came around it was a simple thing to check my Urbanspoon App and find nearby Chinese food.

There were laughs and good stories so I felt it was going pretty good and suggested a late night movie. Rather than drive around aimlessly looking for a theatre and movie playing, I checked movies times and theatres and found one not far. I even looked at movie reviews, definitely didn’t want to see “The Last Airbender”, only 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! During the movie we were saved from the frustrated feeling of trying to figure out what other movie we had seen a certain actress in. I love IMDB (International Movie Data Base) because doesn’t everyone just hate that feeling of it being on the tip of your tongue but not being able to remember it.

Thanks to my smart phone for saving me from a first date awkward mess. Maybe technology isn’t so bad and can’t wait for date number 2!