Puppr – Dog Training & Tricks App

dog training appDeveloper: Chin and Cheeks LLC

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free download with in-app purchases

 

Training your dog(s) involves patience and more so for puppies. Different breeds are known to be more receptive than others so it takes time and effort for all owners and dogs involved. Well, Puppr is here to help and perhaps you can “teach an old dog new tricks” with this new dog training app.

Time to Train Your Dog

puppr appThe app is available to pretty much everyone as you can download it for both iOS and Android devices. Assuming you will do so, first, you will be prompted to enter your “puppr’s” name and sex. Then training is about ready to begin. The app has a built-in clicker which you tap to acknowledge an acceptable behavior from your dog. Needless to say, make sure your volume is turned up on your device.

dog training appThe home screen of the app gets right into the training and tricks by offering several different lesson packs to choose from: Basics, Silly, Silly 2.0, Charming, Circus, and Useful. Under each lesson pack, you will notice a variety of commands. Each command screen will display the level of difficulty and a step-by-step process. Note, you will need to have some treats on standby. We all need motivation to learn, and perhaps, I would be more motivated if someone would offer me treats. And no, I don’t dog appneed a clicker to be alerted of an acceptable action. By the way, the clicker will always be located at the lower right of the screen.  The training and trick commands shown with a padlock symbol below them is where the in-app purchases come into play. There are no advertisements, but lesson packs are sold at $2.99 each which is very reasonable considering the amount the typical dog owner incurs for basic necessities and trips to the vet. Some of these commands will take more time than others, and some are really unique which you just have to try like “turning off lights.” I can’t even get my wife and kids to do that!

Final Notes

Basically, you have to train yourself to be able to train your dog. Puppies will require a little more training and diligence but it’s better to teach them now than later. The more your dog learns, the easier it will be to introduce new commands and tricks. Keep a journal to help track you and your dog’s progress. You will become a proud owner and will being showing off your dog thanks to the Puppr dog training app.

 

StockX – The Stock Market for Finer Things

 

Developer – StockX LLC

Free – High End Authentic Items Extra

StockX – Your Market Street for Goods

StockX Overview

Since reviewing Stadium Goods a week ago, I have become a full fledge want to be sneaker head. While searching every end of the internet for sneakers in my price range (low), I came across StockX.  StockX is a market place similar to the stock market, where sellers can list their goods for their minimum asking price and buyers can offer or bid their highest price, and when both parties meet in the middle, a transaction is completed.  StockX offers transactions in the high end markets of sneakers, streetwear, watches and handbags.  While older items can be offered, everything sold is in the new, unused condition referred to as deadstock.  Each sale is individually reviewed to ensure authentic and in the unused.

StockX Software and Offerings

StockX requires the typical login requirements. After logging in, you are provided four general categories (Sneakers, Streetwear, Watches and Handbags) where you will be presented with the sub-categories most popular, Lowest asks (deals), Highest ask (most in demand) and Release calendar (items based on the newest release).  At the bottom of the homepage is a unique market index which will show the overall value of the manufacturer goods. Similar to the DOW Jones Industrial Average, this index provides collectors an insight into market conditions based on the manufacturer and is pretty valuable for the more than “casual collector”.  The bottom of the app provides users the market page (also the home page discussed above), the browse page, the search page, and your account page where your current offers, sales, purchases and lifetime purchases and sales are shown.  StockX does provide the bonus to frequent buyers similar to a sandwich punch card where after every five purchases your shipping on your next purchase is free.

StockX Recommendation and Final Thoughts

General searching of goods on StockX is not as easy as it’s competitors as you are only provided a minimum amount of categories to narrow your search. It is best to find the product you want on another site and then review the pricing on StockX.  The major benefit of StockX is the guarantee of quality and authenticity. Beyond requiring all goods to be unused and authentic, they also require them to be provided in the original box.  While the standard for boxes is a bit more relaxed as they allow minor wear and dents but on tears or missing lids) this is not case for most sneaker providers online, they provide a new replica box.  The minimum accepting price is listed for each shoe and will vary for size, the app even shoes you recent sale prices (from many sites) and sale trends.  Don’t expect to shoot a bid 25% percent below the minimum price and assume it to be accepted.  If the sneakers are most have, offer the minimum (there many only be one offered at this price).  If you like the shoes and want a deal, offer 5 or 10% below the minimum and see want happens.  I scored a pair of the Jordan II’s in the UNC colorway with this same strategy.  You will rarely find pricing on StockX below the offerings of EBay, but you will also never find the quality of StockX on EBay.  The term excellent condition on EBay is definitely ambiguous.  I will continue to browse at other sites but StockX will be my final stop before purchasing.

Brightmind – Become One with This App

Brightmind Your Personal Meditation Coach

Developer – Brightmind Meditation LLC

Price – 14 day free trial ($7.99 per month)

 

Brightmind Review

I have never got into meditation, but always respected those who are into it. I can immediately notice how relaxed and comfortable they are with themselves.  I always envied their ability to not let work or normal stresses bother them so when I saw this app, it seemed like a great opportunity for me to learn and realize the benefits of meditation for myself.  I used it and followed the plan for two weeks.  Currently Brightmind has eight meditation practices or programs: Physical Senses, Relaxation, Training Positivity, Thoughts & Emotions, Noting & Labeling, Mindful Awareness, and Life Practice.  Brightmind plans on releasing a new practice every month.  The app will allow you to access the first couple of programs for free, but the others will require subscription which costs $7.99 per month (or lifetime membership for $399.99).  They do offer a 14 day free trial period which includes automatic payment if you don’t physically cancel the program within the trail period.

Just like the Fender app, the app starts for the individual that has had no exposure to meditation. It does a great job of explaining the purpose, goals and techniques of meditation. The app will provide recommendations on how to meditate and will even tailor the course based on your goals of meditation.  Your goal options are: perform your best, stress less, communicate better, aches and pains, or simply just meditate.  During each lesson, the relaxing voice of the instructor will walk you through the process over either a 10 minute or 15 minute duration.  During the classes, they nicely work in new techniques as you progress.

During my two week trial, I performed a mediation class in the morning and evening. I highly recommend using a structured schedule and following it will give you the best results.  I liked the ability to select my goals as I would pick a course based on how my day was.  If my back was hurting, I selected a program to relief aches, and if I was stressed, I would select a program tailored to reduce my stress.  I learned lot about the general practice of meditation and while I certainly didn’t become a monk over my two week trial, I did notice small changes in my stress level and just felt a bit more relaxed and comfortable.  While I chose not to extend my free trial into the monthly subscription, I hope to continue practicing mediation and definitely got value out of this app and learned a lot about a culture I didn’t know much about.  If you are even remotely interested in meditation, I would recommend downloading the app and giving it two weeks where you really try to absorb and practice the techniques as I do see value in the practice of meditation.

Fender Play Learn to Be a Rock Star

 

 

Fender Play ReviewDeveloper – Fender Digital

Price – Free one month trial period ($9.99 per month thereafter)

Fender Play Online Free Guitar Lessons

 

Fender Play My Rocker Background

the cheapest used Fender I could find in the classifieds.  Remember this was the 90’s and Craigslist was accomplished by reading the classified ads in the daily paper.  I still have the crappy guitar and thinking I had enough guitar background, I figured I would try Fender Play online guitar lessons app and provide a true non-biased review, if it actually helps.

Getting Started on the Fender Play App

Fender Play CostYou will need a guitar. I hope this is understood. I spent fifty bucks and got mine restrung and tuned at my local music mom and pop store. I downloaded the app and provided all the unnecessary registration information all apps seem to require these days.  Note,  by signing up for the free month you have authorized automatic renewal and cancellation steps are pictured to the left of the home screen?.  The app will prompt you with two questions to help it teach you what you what to want to learn.  Choose between electric or acoustic, and then select the style you want.  Both acoustic and electric have the following styles available: Rock (Hell Yeah!), Pop, Country, Blues, and Folk.  I chose electric and rock because while I am a tech nerd and look like one, I am really a rocker at heart.  After making your selection, you  choose your lesson type (called skills), and each skill will have multiple lesson.  There are five levels you can choose skills from based on your current ability (mine would be classified as  bad beginner).

Fender Lessons and is it Worth Your Time?

Fender Play CostEach lesson is a video between two and six minutes long on average. They really do a great job on starting really basic and teaching you as if you didn’t even know what a guitar is.  I would watched the first ten or twenty seconds and could quickly identify if I need to keep watching.  Based on my decade’s old knowledge, level three is where I started seeing value for me.  If you have never picked up a guitar, start at level one.  If you consider yourself a novice and have been messing around with friends to start a band and have already learned a bit, start on level three.  Skip the app all together if have taken or already enrolled in lessons.  I would recommend taking the course outlined in the app before taking any real, one-on-one lessons as it will jump start the lesson process.  Use the app and take one or two of the lessons a day and work on the technique (level one and level two lessons can be taken almost continuous without the need to practice).  You should be able to complete the course in less than a month and spend any money  so don’t forget to cancel the subscription.  Expect to learn basic techniques like chords, learn to read tablature (simple number based music writing method), and probably be able to play a bad version of most simple songs to impress your friends, but this is really about the extent of the program.  Let us know if you do try it and your thoughts.  Have a great Thanksgiving and put down the phone enough to enjoy your family and friends.

Old School Nintendo Contra for Your SmartPhone

contra app gameDeveloper: Classic Contra Game

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free play with in-app purchase(s)

While we are hot on reviewing Nintendo games and apps, I couldn’t help but reminisce about my days of dominating Contra with the cheat code (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, B, A, start) which gave you unlimited lives. Well, I searched “contra game app” in the Google Play store, and apparently the original developer, Konami, has sold rights to any developer willing to pay their asking price. Needless to say, you will have options. I defaulted to downloading the Contra app with the highest rating, Classic Contra, at 4.7.

Classic Contra Game Play

contra game free download for androidFor starters, you don’t have to blow into the end of the game cartridge or console to get the game to load properly. Just tap your app and you are ready to play. It’s a landscape format game mimicking the Nintendo controller almost exactly with your left thumb controlling the 8-position direction pad and your right thumb controls the A (shoot) and B (jump) actions. Start at Stage 1, The Jungle, and you will immediately notice the similarity to the original Nintendo game. The graphics, audio, and game play are identical to the original Contra with the only exception being you are holding a smartphone in lieu of a controller.

contra game download for mobileYou can’t enter the aforementioned cheat code for unlimited lives as you only get three. Once you die three times, you can chose to watch a video for an extra life or select “no,” and if you want to continue, you will have to sit through an advertisement, of course. Even sometimes when you pause the game, you will be greeted with a video ad. Well, guess what? You can buy your way out of the bombardment of ads for only $.99. You can also purchase additional lives (up to 30) and the “spray” or “spread” gun (the best!) up to unlimited use for prices ranging from $4.99 to $14.99. These are relatively cheap price tags especially if you desire to lose the ads and be competitive. If you know me, my cheap self will suffer through the video advertisements until I can’t take it anymore. Well, I am already at that point, so there goes $.99, and it really is a relief not to have to deal with those annoying ads. This is just the reality of the free app world and is no fault of the developer.

Final Thoughts

If you are reading this article and asking yourself “What’s the big deal with Contra?” Either you aren’t of my generation or just haven’t simply heard of it. Regardless of whether or not playing Contra induces a nostalgic memory, you should give Classic Contra a crack. I will say I had to you get used to my gorilla- like thumbs being an obstacle or maybe it’s just a sign I need to upgrade my smartphone.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp App Review

animal crossing appDeveloper: Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free download with in-app purchases

Our friends at Nintendo has gifted us with the game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The Nintendo Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp app is rated for everyone, but at first glance it seems to be more meant for adolescents. The graphics are CG and it deals with your character mingling amongst talking animals on a camp ground, but remember, this is the same target audience which made Super Mario so renowned. Ultimately, you will be the judge while we tell you what you need to know.

Getting Started

nintendo appThis game is available for both your iOS and Android devices so no restrictions here. Once you download, Animal Crossing, you can login in choose to login with your Nintendo account or simply bypass this option to get started. This game takes a while to download (at least it did for me), so be patient if necessary, and you will be rewarded with a singing dog who will ask you a couple of questions as an introduction. After this brief interview, you will chose your screen name and able to create your character traits ranging from hairstyles, eyes, and associated colors. It kind of reminded me of creating a Wii character, but it’s maybe only due to my disposition toward Nintendo apps. You can always go back and change your character settings so don’t feel obligated to spend too much time with this step if you are anxious to get started.

Once you are satisfied with your look, proceed onward, and you will arrive to camp in your camper which resembles a VW bus. You will be greeted by Isabelle who is basically the camp manager. Here again, you will be interrogated regarding your preferences specifically pocket camp appthe theme of your camp. FYI, I chose sports and Isabelle stated it would be a while until my camp was set up. I must advise you that we are dealing with animals so the conversation is incomprehensible and resembles high pitched gibberish, but thankfully, it is translated.

 

Going to Camp

Basic controls require using your finger to drag your character along the map, tapping certain characters to initiate informative conversation, and tapping objects to help gather items and help other campers called “requests.” As I waited for my camp to become established, I looked for an adventure by tapping on nintendo animal crossingthe map. My first request was from a bird, Jay, to gather fruit for him to eat after his so called long workout. All I had to do was tap the fruit trees, tap to pick up the fruit, and return the goods to Jay. Jay was so grateful he gave me some hearts (which help level up), some money (bags), and some cotton. The main currency for the game is Leaf Tickets which is where the in-app purchases start. Upon completion of my successful encounter with Jay, I returned to base camp where I was happily rewarded with my sporty digs of my new camp site whereas I was quickly solicited by craftsman, Cyrus, to build some furniture for my camp. I was able to trade my cotton and money bags for a new bench. The bench will take time to build, but you can speed up the process with Leaf tickets. You see where I am going here? In short, this is the general flow and cycle of the game.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp  Wrap up

I haven’t made it very far or accomplished much, but it is a Nintendo app after all so I am confident it has much more to offer. As I stated earlier, I don’t feel Nintendo views me as its audience, but the app is brand new so I felt the need to get on it and see what all the hype is about. I will say it is ideal for kids, and might you lend some peace and quiet during the upcoming holidays. Nintendo’s reputation is reason enough to download this game.

Turo – Rent Better Cars For Less

 

 

 

 

Turo InsuranceDeveloper – Turo Inc.

Price – Free

Turo – Ride Sharing Monetized

Turo has taken ride sharing and Airbnb and mashed the two together to form a unique new rental car format. Turo allows users to either rent cars at a much greater discount or allows users to rent out their own cars to monetize their extra car or rent them on days they typically don’t drive much.  Turo boosts service to 300 airports and services in most major United State cities.  Turo touts a savings of about thirty percent compared to the traditional car rental giants.  We compared pricing and found it a bit difficult as most major rental companies only rent recent model year vehicles with minimal features, and Turo’s models will vary.

Turo Client Renting – How it Works

Rent Your Car To SomeoneSelecting your car is typical to any major rental car agency and pricing is fixed. After this point, you will make arrangements to pick up and drop off your car directly with the car owner.  The terms for pickup and drop off are defined by the user and some users will offer this service for free and will even pick you up.  Plus, as a standard to all rentals, Turo provides 24 hour roadside assistance in case you do happen to have a problem.  Buyers do have the option of three insurance packages which can be found here and even waving the insurance rights.  Their coverage is identified on the listing.  Mileage limits are set by the offeror and is shown on the listing along with the fee for additional miles used.  The listing shows vehicle pictures, car options plus the MPG and shows the provider’s total trips sold and approval rating through the typical 5 star policy.

Being a Turo Provider

How Does Turo WorkAs a provider, you can monetize your vehicle and receive a little extra cash. You can list the conditions for your pickup and those fees.  You can set the price or use Turo’s price calculator to pick pricing that will maximize profits. It will price your car at a competitive rate making it attractive to potential customers.  Providers will be given potential customer offers including trip details and rating of the user or renter.  Turo does screen all users, but you can always reject the offer if you have concerns.  Payments are based on your insurance options you choose.  Turo will pay you 65% of the fee if you select the best insurance coverage, 85% for the base insurance coverage and 90% if you waive the insurance coverage.  If decide to become a Turo provider, be sure to discuss your insurance coverage with your carrier before declining the insurance from Turo.  You also keep 100% of any fees for pickup and drop off.  The payoff potentials can make an impact.  Turo estimates a car valued at $20,000 rented 10 days a month would provide a paycheck to you around $4,600.  Now, this doesn’t include taxes, the additional maintenance, and the increase in your vehicle’s depreciation due to the added mileage.

Turo Benefits

Turo Car Rental ReviewsTuro just provided another source of income for those willing to share their car. Awesome! It provides customers a new option which has been dominated by large corporations for decades.  Expect pricing form the big guys to get a bit more competitive if Turo takes off in your town (the consumer wins regardless of whether you utilize their service).  The biggest benefit I see for those who rent cars regularly, is the options you will receive with Turo.  Most large rental company’s purchase baseline model vehicles with limited options while most individuals prefer to puchase cars with more options.  I also found Turo’s inventory selection to be less in quantity but much more diverse.  I had only 30 options in my city, but they included trucks, vans, economy cars and even high end cars like Audi and BMW.

Bike Race Game: Traffic Rider of Neon City

bike racing 3DDeveloper: Tiny Lab Productions

Rating: Everyone

Price: Free download with in-app purchase(s)

Today’s article and review is a request of a bike race game from the developer so I would like to personally thank Tiny Lab Productions for the opportunity and reaching out to us. This is our job, and we take great pride in the content provided for all apps we review whether it’s consequent of our own research or at the request from the developer.

This will be the first bike race game I have ever reviewed. I am used to my son playing these kind of games so not only am I going to be giving my unbiased opinion but my son will be contributing as well. This game is only available for Android so don’t try to download it to your iPad as I failed to do so on my son’s.

Game Play

bike racing onlineTo get started, obviously download the app, agree to the terms and service, enter your birth year, and you are ready to race. It’s a landscape format, bike race game. You start with the default motorcycle and will be using your thumbs as controller. Your left thumb will control your balance by tapping the left/right arrows, and your right thumb will be your means of acceleration by pressing the “play” symbol in the lower right hand corner. I literally hold down the throttle the entire level and am able to maintain my balance. It helps to pick up coins and listen to the direction of soothing voice of the computer generated women to guide you through the levels. It doesn’t hurt pick up what I call an impenetrable sphere where you are basically damage proof for about 10 seconds as you speed through the level. I had a good time with the game and my son loves it. He also enjoys unintentionally clicking on all the ads and commercials popping up during game play and after each level. There is no shortage of ads on this app so pay the $3.49 to lose the ads and unlock all of the levels in one easy payment. Needless to say, the app will remain on my phone until myself or my son dominates it. Do yourself a “solid” and give this game a try. The straightforward gameplay and graphics are well established.

In Conclusion…

Whether you enjoy this bike race game or not, you can check out the plethora of other games and apps the developer offers as some of these may better suit your liking. You can tap the “More Apps” icon in the lower corner of the apps home screen or visit their website to learn more. On behalf of my son, I can foresee more Tiny Lab Productions apps in my future.

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.

 

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