Be My Eyes – The App Helping the Blind

apps for the blindDeveloper: Be My Eyes

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free

Be My Eyes is another one of the fantastic ways app developers are utilizing the advantages of the smartphone to help communicate and lend a service to those who are physically challenged and in this case, visually impaired. As a sighted person, it is hard to contemplate the reality of blindness even partially, but the advent of this app gives hope to those living with an impairment. I truly had a feel-good moment when I learned about the existence of this app and am obliged to spread the news.

How it Works

Be My Eyes operates on an as needed basis and it’s easy to become a volunteer. Download the app to your Android or iOS device and login in with your Facebook or email account.  If you use an email account, you will receive a confirmation email in order to make yourself official. Be sure you read the privacy policy and terms of use as it will cover all the bases for using this app.

free apps for the blindOnce you officially join you will receive a quick training tutorial via a call and video. Make sure your audio, video, and microphone features of your device are enabled. This is not only important to communicate, but also something to think about if you are on limited data plan. There is really no “on” feature, and the app only has to be installed to receive calls. If you don’t receive a call for a while, don’t fret, and if you are unable to answer a call, no need to worry, there are over 600,000 volunteers on the network, by the way. Once you take a call, your job is simply to offer live assistance to an individual who is visually impaired. These are everyday tasks, we (sighted people) take for granted. This could be a something simple like helping a person read his/her mail not scripted in braille, or as the training video suggests, helping someone choose his/her clothes. Yes, I know…it is a complete stranger, but remember you are a doing a great deed for someone who can’t perform routine tasks without assistance.

Simple good deeds go beyond the typical etiquette and the doors you hold open for others every day. You are providing a free service and live assistance by which you are essentially lending your eyes. It is comforting to realize the app world can cater to everyone which makes my job more enjoyable and even rewarding. Kudos to Be My Eyes. If you can’t or do not prefer to volunteer, spread the word about this app and pass this article on to others.

Mosaic from Steven Soderbergh – Watch It How You Want To

Developer – HBO/PodOp Experience

Price – Free

Mosaic Has the Heavy Hitters

Mosaic is a mobile mini-series murder mystery app currently available only on iOS devices (it is being released shortly on Android) directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Sharon Stone and released by HBO.  The project had a reported budget of over 20 million dollars and was in development for 3 years.  The app or really mini-series, in this case, is similar to the 1980’s science fiction choose your own adventure children novels. To refresh your memory every few chapters you were presented with a decision and depending on your choice you jumped to different sections of the novel. Anyway, back to Mosaic. Even before the release, the mini-series boasted both huge budget and a group of collaborates never before seen for a release of a mobile app.  We have Academy Award winning Best Director, Steven Soderbergh (for “Traffic” in 2000), shooting the project. He is also known for the “Oceans” trilogy series, “Erin Brockovich”, and “Contagion” to name a few.  Superstar Sharon Stone is the lead and her credentials are well known with “Casino” or possibly the first 30 minutes of “Basic Instinct” as probably being my favorite roles of hers.  Most readers will probably rank either “Game of Thrones”, “The Sopranos”, or “The Wire” as one of their top HBO television shows so before even downloading the app, my expectations were through the roof.  I plan on locking myself in my room with a large pizza, 12 pack of Busch beer and binge watching this beast.

Mosaic Plot (no spoilers here)

I will keep this brief as to not ruin it for the audience. The movie follows a famous children’s author who visits a lavish ski resort and someone is murdered. (DUN DUN DUN DUUNNNN!).  The mini-series can be viewed primarily from two separate people’s perspectives.

Mosaic Concept

As I waited patiently for the app to download, I was excited to see how this mini-series would impact the entertainment industry. I thought of it as a video game mashed with a movie and my decisions would change the outcome. It would offer great repeat value as I would re-watch it revising my choices. After burning through the first few episodes, I was discussing the mini-series at the work coffee bar. (No one talks at water coolers anymore.)  I was rudely informed by a colleague that our path through the mini-series does not affect the plot outcome.  While disappointed, I continued depriving my family of my attention as I plowed through the mini-series.  Knowing we can’t change the outcome, you are at least given the ability to choose how to view the plot.  You can choose one of two character’s perspective through the mini-series after the first episode.  As the saga continues, you are presented little additional bits of information referred to as discoveries.

 

Mosaic Final Thoughts

I praise the idea with being cutting edge, but found the lack of my power to control the outcome disappointing and found the plot line to be a little loose and hard to follow. I believe this is the result of picking your viewing options.  I completely understand the hope was after finishing the story you would re-watch it from other perspectives, but I just lacked the desire.  I also commend HBO for not using the app as a sales tool where you watch free teaser episodes, get hooked, and then require a subscription to finish the mini-series.  I also think anytime a project of this magnitude is featured for free, the consumer is the winner.  I am glad to hear Soderbergh has two more similar projects in development, and I fully expect the following projects to keep the Mosaic concept, but add what we want which is the power to change the outcome.  The biggest take away for me is the time and money spent on a mobile app. This will encourage even greater investments in the free mobile app market making us tech nerds the true beneficiary of this project.  On January 22, 2018, HBO will be releasing the complete Mosaic footage in chronic logical order.  I will watch the complete series for the sole reason of deciding the better format to enjoy the Mosaic experience.

 

Cornhole 3D: Bag Toss App

cornhole 3D bag tossDeveloper: Re:Creative Studios, LLC

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free

 I am a big fan of most outdoor, summer games especially when I am surrounded by family, friends, and a BBQ pit. My expertise would be better suited in the playing “Washers,” but I am not too shabby at “Cornhole” or sometimes referred to as “Bags.” Well, guess what? There’s an app for that now too thanks to Re:Creative Studios.

“Who Wants to Play some Cornhole?”

cornhole android appWhat makes playing the actual Cornhole game entertaining is how everyone can partake in the action and the scoring is very straightforward even if you are already a six pack deep. Well, the app is just as easy to play. You can login with Facebook or just forego this option and get your game on. You are given several choices for game play. Choose 1-on-1 (online play), Classic Single Player, Time Attack, Pass N’ Play, and With Friends via Facebook. Your initial venue will be the “Backyard,” and as you progress you can then play in the “Tailgate” world, and “Tropical Beach” by which the difficulty level increases as well.

ultimate cornhole bag tossRun through the quick tutorial to get a feel for throwing the bags which is just a flick of the finger (not the obscene version) and start playing the game of your choice. Each game has a different set up so make sure you pay attention to the rules. For example, the versus game choices are played in innings with a score limit while the Time Attack option consists an individual effort of you racking up points in order to advance. Like I said, the swipe of the finger and a little touch will lead to immediate success, but be mindful of the wind as it varies from each time you toss the bag. To be honest, the bags seem very rigid and don’t have as much give compared to real world bags. When you first get started, you will find yourself launching a bag into the no man’s land, but after that, it doesn’t take long to get used to and become competitive.

One thing I must mention and you will immediately notice is the full frontal of advertisements you will encounter. You can eliminate the solicitation by clicking the “Adds On” icon in the upper corner and pay the $.99 to permanently play ad free. Otherwise, you will be blasted with ribbons of ads during game play and a video ad after each game. If you are impatient like me, pay the buck, and feel emancipated from the ad world. It’s almost as relieving as fast forwarding through the commercials on your DVR, but you won’t even need to do that to allow for uninterrupted game play.

Final Toss

I view Cornhole 3D as an app which is going to appeal to a certain audience. For the most part, the reviews are in good standing on the Google Play Store, and I would have to side with the majority, as well. If you are into typical games for a summer BBQ or picnic, this app will help you get your fix in. However, I will not guarantee it will improve your overall game.

Etch A Sketch IT! App

drawing appDeveloper: Spin Master Studios

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free

Spin Master Studios has created another intriguing app based on an old school toy. The Etch A Sketch IT! app is just that. In your childhood days, before you discovered video games, there really weren’t many toys which required meticulous hand-eye coordination like the original Etch A Sketch. Even adults had their hand in the popularity of this classic so check out some Google images of the some crazy Etch A Sketch art if you get a minute.

 

etch a sketch appEtch A Sketch IT! in Action

This is one of those apps you can easily just mess around with, and it doesn’t require too much of a time commitment. Once the app is downloaded, the home screen will offer up some options: Take Picture, Use Picture, Classic Etch A Sketch, and Gallery. The “Take Picture” option is just as it sounds. Snap a picture, click the right arrow to keep the picture, crop your picture as desired, click the right arrow again, and watch the magic happen as the sketch is created.  You will have to keep tapping the right arrow to progress through the steps of the sketch creation.  After you deem your sketch is acceptable, you can replay the video of the creation of the sketch, share the sketch (in mp4 format), and/or save to your Gallery. Import a picture from your image gallery on your phone or tablet and run it through the same process. You can even add some sticker art to the sketch. Or if you get that nostalgic urge, go back to the home screen, and tap the “Classic Etch A Sketch,” and create a masterpiece of your own. Art is not my strong suit so I found utilizing this feature to be a little more challenging, plus, it’s a harder to manipulate the controls on a 5” screen versus the real thing. Once again, I am enamored how the developer takes a classic idea and makes it unique to the world of apps.

In general, I must say this is pretty wicked how this thing works. Take a couple pictures of things around the office and get an idea of how this thing really works. I took a quick pic of the minions who guard my desk, and Walla! Check out the video below. I like easy, no stress, and fun. This app is all of those. You can make it a simple form of entertainment or an art tool, whatever you choose. For those of you who have reminisced with me as I have wrote this narrative, give the app a try, and I bet you end up asking Santa for an Etch A Sketch this year.

Military News app by Military.com

best military appDeveloper: Monster Worldwide

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free

 The men and women who voluntarily enlist and serve in the military are automatically heroes in my book. As we approach Veterans Day, the emphasis of honoring those who have served his/her country should be on the forefront of our minds and not go unnoticed. It is not just a day where we complain about the banks not being open or not getting the mail, but rather a day of acknowledgement and gratitude for every member of every branch of the military. Since I am an outsider looking in from this perspective, the least I could do is review an app in honor of our service women and men.

Military News Highlights

military apps for iphoneMilitary News is exactly what its namesake suggests and more. Registration is as easy as using your email address and creating a password. You will then be prompted to select the branch of military by which you are a member of. To be clear, I am not a member of the military so my lame-self bypassed this option and landed on the app’s home page. The home page lists the top news stories and feature headlines, but there are many more specific pages one can view. There are news articles specific to each branch of the military for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The app goes even further with pages for “Gear & Equipment,” “Global Hot Spots,” “Terrorism,” “Finance,” “Pay & Benefits”, “Veteran Benefits,” “Fitness & Off Duty,” “Family & Spouse,” “Discounts,” “Veteran Jobs,” “Special Operations,” and “Military Videos.”  Based the plethora of choices offered, I am assuming you will find something of value and entertaining to read. However, as I not an expert on anything military, heed my advice cautiously, but I remain optimistic you will find an article(s) of interest. When you do come across an article(s) which grabs your attention and peaks your curiosity, pin it to your favorites by tapping the star in the upper right of the screen. Your favorite articles can then found under the star at the far left of the ribbon containing all the other aforementioned categories of pages.

military apps for androidThe simplistic format and ease of use of this app makes it a desirable download even if you are not military personnel. The topics and articles are definitely abundant, but if military specific content doesn’t strike your fancy, then this isn’t obviously for you. Regardless, let’s not forget about our military whether it’s Veterans Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, or any day for that matter. Thank a Vet and honor all service women and men who protect our freedom and allow us to wake up every day knowing this.

Sprocket – New Age Frogger Game

Developer – Pixonite LLC

Price – $1.99

Sprocket Gameplay Overview

Sprocket is a straightforward, yet intriguing mobile game that appears to take some inspiration from the 1980’s hit classic, Frogger.  Basic game play is to use your thumb to move your player, the dot, to jump from partial circles called ponds without jumping into the open space.  The ponds rotate and continue to get smaller as they move into the center, like a vortex.  The pond will disappear when it makes its way to the center of the vortex. The game ends if your player is on the pond as it disappears in the bottom of the vortex.  Each jump is rewarded with one point.  During game play, both stationary dots (in addition to your game piece) and moving dot will appear (pumping from ponds). Capturing the dots provides bonus points and will slow down the game play for short interval.

Sprocket Game Tips and required Intangibles

While extremely simple, a quick response reaction time is needed for success. I personally can’t move my oversized thumb quick enough to get a game lasting for more than a 15 or 20 seconds.  To be successful, you can’t just jump one pond per complete rotation, you will need to be able to jump consecutively two or three ponds in a single rotation (see the video below).  In the bottom right corner both your current scoring and historical scoring is displayed. My high score is six which is really quite embarrassing, and I played this game for some time. Fat fingers are my excuse. The best high score currently is 408 which is really impressive.  This fierce competitor probably has skinny fingers and had been texting since birth. I do like the idea displaying the all-time best scores as it is a great way add some goals and continued competition.  I would like a difficulty setting to give myself a better chance at of getting on a real good roll of 15 or 20.

Sprocket Recommendation

I really like the simplistic nature of Sprocket and can see how a lot of people will really enjoy the game or even find it very addictive.  The repetitive nature of the game will appeal to large audiences.  The low price and zero ads should encourage you to give it a shot.  Millennials who have grownup texting at ridiculous amazing speeds will probably be the most successful at the game.  If you like this game, try Lynk for another similar game or try Block Puzzle AR for free.

 

 

Moonlite Storytime Projector App

bedtime story projectorDeveloper: Spin Master Studios

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free download. Purchase projector and stories.

 As a follow up to our Black Friday app review, I find it appropriate to highlight a hot item for the upcoming holiday season. I present to you “Moonlite Storytime Projector”. For the record, this is by no means an advertisement for this product, but only a recommendation for a parenting app by which I hope you will be thanking me later.

How Projector App Works

moonlite bedtime story projectorThe app mimics a viewfinder which creatively utilizes your smarthphone flashlight as a projector. This is one of those ideas you wish you would have thought of first because I remain confident the developer will be successful with this invention. To be blunt, you will need to purchase the Moonlite gift pack at a measly $40 from their website or pick it up at Target in order to utilize this app to its full potential. Look for a deal on the Cartwheel Target app.

moonlite appWhether you had your Moonlite gift pack shipped or you physically purchased it, at some point, you will be equipped with a Moonlite, five story reels, an activation card, and a quick start guide. And if you made the commitment to this purchase, I assume will then have already downloaded the app. The app will require you to sign in with a registered email account, and then you are almost ready for a night time story. The app does a good job and gives a quick tutorial on how to install and set up for story time with your little one(s). The app is paired with the story reel and each story comes with sound effects and background music in harmony with story line. You can always purchase more story reels as necessitated.

Final Remarks

Story time has taken on a new meaning and the app world is once again making our phones even “smarter.” More so, bed time has now become a more rewarding experience and educational event for both parent and child. Yes, this app will require a supplemental purchase, but it is extremely useful and beneficial at a reasonable price. Even if you don’t have children, give as a gift to a family member or friend as this would make for a very thoughtful and unique offering. I only wish my child was still of the age to enjoy story time in lieu of being fixated with a PS4. I wonder if the developer has thought of an adult version of the Moonlite product…oh yeah, it’s called TV.

Stadium Goods– Collectible Sneakers Market Place

Developer – Stadium Goods

Price – Free (Shoe purchases up to $149.5K)

Stadium Goods – Your Sneaker Retailer

stadiuim goods locationStadium Goods doesn’t mess around. First thing you need to know about the collectible market is they aren’t shoes…they are sneakers. Shoes are what you wear to mow the lawn in. If you are looking for “shoes,” head to Foot Locker because Stadium Goods only showcases “sneakers” in all price ranges.  They showcase limited edition, high end sneakers mainly of the Adidas and Nike brands with a large focus on the iconic Air Jordan brand. While featuring these products, they also sell most other prominent brands including Reebok, Puma, Converse, and New Balance.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the terms collectible or high end.  As these options are definitely available for the big sneaker players, the average person will have plenty of options below $100.  There are even twenty-two Air Jordan styles available under fifty dollars. However, most of these are of the kids variety.

stadium goods promo codeStadium Goods – How it Works

The shopping experience is divided into seven categories “Nike”, “Jordan”, “Adidas”, “Deals”, “Footwear”, “Supreme”, “Apparel”, “Collectible” and “Trophy Case”. Within each category you are prompted to narrow your search by brand or line. After narrowing down the selection, you have the typical sort options buyers are accustom to (sort by price, newest, etc.).  You can also search for the exact item you are looking for to save time.  The Trophy case option is dedicated to the most sought after sneakers and those buyers with the wallet which can support the purchase.  These sneakers might even impress the likes of Kanye West and Spike Lee.  For myself and the other 99% of the population, we can buy shoes on a payment plan. For qualified buyers, they offer 3, 6, 9 and 12 month payment plans The interest rate varies between ten to thirty percent stadium goods mens(depending on your credit analysis) which is in the spectrum of most credit card companies.

Stadium Goods – Things to Know

rare pairStadium Goods only deals in new sneakers. So while you won’t find the original Air Jordan’s, they do offer replica retro versions of almost every popular past sneaker. Also, if you are “sitting” on a great pair of rare, unused sneakers, give them a shout as they do offer a consignment program. Stadium Goods provides a 100% authenticity guarantee.  Each sneaker goes under their 10 point verification system before even being listed.  They go one step further by reviewing any customer concerns about authenticity.  I got hooked on a pair of “low end” Jordan’s while doing my research, so I am happy with the experience.

Black Friday Ads 2017 – Best Deals App

best deals appDeveloper: Buyvia.com

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free. In-app ads (Imagine that!)

Tis the season to be shopping, or at least, start thinking about it. Retailers are hyping Black Friday already, and the biggest and best deals are being advertised everywhere. As your app review specialist, I feel it is only fair to offer my two cents. In the app world, I have basically found the Black Friday promotion is simply an extension of existing shopping and couponing apps. Today, I will focus on Black Friday Ads 2017 developed by buyvia.com.

black friday appThis app has some pretty nice features and in general, has a useful agenda. Make sure your GPS locator is enabled and start browsing for deals. The app prominently features the Black Friday tab at the top ribbon of the home screen which populates a current list of ads and sales from all of your favorite local and online retailers. Obviously, this app has a search option, but the unique feature I feel I must highlight is the scanning feature. You have the ability to scan a bar code or QR code right there in the store to find the best deals even if the particular item is located in another store. I am sure retailers don’t like this too much, but it only helps out us as the consumer in the long run.

shopping appWhether you like the rush of battling the crowds, or you are more comfortable with the online order process, this shopping app will provide you with the best deals around. I opt to let my wife handle the shopping so she now has this app on her phone now too. I showed her this app at dinner the other night, her eyes lit up, and she downloaded it immediately. If she can navigate this app successfully, it’s a no brainer. I say this in jest as she is very picky about her apps (for some reason).

As time and money are very important to the average consumer, shopping apps like this are great resources. Take the time to do your “homework,” and you will find great deals. Download this shopping app and get head start of the retail frenzy known as Black Friday.

Darts of Fury – Finally! A Great Dart App!

Drinking Game AppsDeveloper: Yakuto

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free download and play with in-app purchases

 

For starters, Darts of Fury needs to be downloaded ASAP. It’s compatible with the both iOS and Android based operating systems so don’t worry about that part. Secondly, I will initially advise you that your device is not be used as a dart, although, the intense competition may bring out the sore loser in you so I can’t guarantee you may not end up actually throwing your smartphone, since darts go great with a beer, this is really a drinking game app. I will explain the game play below if you haven’t already started playing the app prior to the end of this paragraph.

Playing Darts

The game play is simple, and you don’t necessarily have to be familiar with playing darts or even the types of dart games. Sign in with your Facebook or Google account and you are official. Complete the quick tutorial to get yourself acclimated with the game play which is basically just positioning your finger and flicking the dart. Tap the “Let’s Play Darts” in the middle of the screen whereas you can choose to play league (on-line) against other dart masters or complete the training modes to better prepare yourself for on-line play. I went straight into challenging the on-line opponents. Your opponent will be randomly chosen and will be based on your current skill level so don’t feel intimidated if you are a beginner. You will be greeted with an arena-like venue which even includes a jumbo Tron. Drinking Game AppsDrinking Game AppAnyway, each turn consists of three darts. Drag your finger across the screen to aim, flick your finger to throw the dart, and rally to beat your opponent. If you are successful, you will be awarded coins and points upon each victory. Points will help you level up and coins contribute to customizing your gear aka darts. I would recommend getting used to the “touch” of throwing the darts before spending any coins on new and improved darts. As you level up, you also being working towards another goal to “league up.”

Darts App

Throughout levels you will randomly win coin boxes and unlock achievements to obtain gems. Since coins and gems serve as the currency for this app, the purchase point lies in buying gems which are offered in quantities ranging from 200-7,000 gems from $.99-$29.99, respectively. Gems will allow you to purchase more coins, re-throw your game winning dart attempt, and buy more tokens. Tokens (blue arrow symbols) are key to playing as you need tokens to play a match. If you run out of tokens, you can wait for tokens to regenerate every ten minutes, watch a video containing ads, or add more with your stockpile of gems.

want to play this app with your friends? ... Tweet it! Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

As you have probably already gathered, this gaming app comes highly recommended, and it didn’t take long for my addictive nature to set in. This game is hard to put down, and the only thing stopping me from continuous play is driving, work, and my time dedicated to reviewing other apps. Needless to say, Darts of Fury has left all the other dart playing apps in their dust and will have a nice home on my phone for a long time. Nice job Yakuto!

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑