Monthly Archives: December 2011

My app suggestions

‘Tis the time of year when everyone is making lists – top good things to happen in 2011, top bad things, top resolutions for 2012, top predictions for technology/social media/the world in 2012. I have decided to humbly provide a list of iPad apps I have been using and find useful, fun or ideally both.

Scrabble iTunes Link
This one just popped up on my radar a few days ago when I read it was on sale from $4.99 to 99c. I like when apps go on sale AND already have good reviews. I am already addicted to the darn game now – how often can you play a single word and get 99 points!

It has some sharing features like friends on Facebook and local network, but I haven’t really had time to figure out if they work well. I did play with a friend using the play and pass feature and that was fine. Play against the computer and lose chunks of your life!!!

Zite iTunes link
This is your online magazine that is customizable to your interests. You can hook in your Twitter news-feed, Google Reader, Delicious or Read It Later accounts and then choose subject areas from a list that will interest you. The great thing about this app is each time you open an article to read you can rate whether you liked it and it will use this to give you more stories like it in the future. Bit like Netflix recommendation engine, but in the background.

Stories are sharable on social media, email the article or even save it to your favorite offline reading service like Evernote, Instapaper or one of the accounts you already linked. As the iPad is an ideal content consuming gadget, these kind of apps are going to become more popular as everyone tries to find more ways to deal with social media overload.

Pulse iTunes link
I like to stay up to date on what the current happenings are in tech, social media, politics, news in general and some entertainment fun. Pulse is the app that helps me with this. Create pages with different feeds from the content areas you like best. You can choose feeds individually or pick a generic bundle for a general category – like sport.

You can arrange the feeds how you want and have as many or as few on a page as you want. Slide along a feed to see picture and headline, tap on the story that interests you and you get the details. Depending on the origin of the feed you will get the entire story or a link to the original article.

Stories can be favorited and saved in your account. Again you can link in your social media accounts so you can share stories with 1 click or email them. Great source for content curation for your own Twitter feed too.

Solar Walk iTunes link
This was one of those apps that was featured in an Apple commercial – how often can you say you actually pay enough attention to a commercial these days to remember to look for something online featured in it? I am no Apple fangirl, but credit due to them for really clear, informative and useful commercials!

Anyway, Solar Walk is just a fun app that shows the solar system and the planets (and moon’s and asteroids and space junk) and you can timeline where everything was or will be. The graphics really show of the iPad display and it gets kinda mesmerizing! The really cool things are the included movies that educate on how the tides are influenced by the sun and moon, or how the seasons work depending on your location to the equator. All things you probably vaguely remember from school, but this app makes it much more visually fun!

Planetary iTunes link
If Solar Walk has you hooked then how about an app that visualizes your music collection as a solar system? Sounds a bit strange, but the visuals and uniqueness make it worth playing with.

BikeBrain – iPhone app – iTunes link
So with it being New Year and all, that means the resolutions come out and get dusted of once again. Yes, exercise more. My long time mantra since moving to America over 10 years ago! I need some motivation for this kind of thing and if there is app for that then all the better.

BikeBrain, naturally enough, is marketed to the cyclist, but I have found it is equally suitable for the dog walker or jogger. Start the app at the beginning of your outing and it will keep track of your route, speed, distance and calories. When done you hit the finish button and it lets you name your outing and save details so you can see how well-intentioned everything started out!

The downside is you suddenly realize the walk you have been taking the dog on was not a mile long, more like a 1/3 of that – oops! No wonder the little brat is still so full of beanz all evening.

Heart Rate – iPhone app – iTunes link
Now that you are busy walking the dog, or heaven forbid jogging, wouldn’t it be nice to know if you are giving your heart a workout too? Heart Rate is an app that uses your iPhone camera to sense your heart beat. No idea if it is really accurate, but it is kinda fun to show your friends how light through your finger can be used to detect a pulse!

Those are a run down of the apps I have been playing with lately. I haven’t covered any of the ones I talked about in earlier blogs – like Evernote, Flipboard and Dropbox because, well, I already talked about them.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year

Fiona

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