Cool App-titude

August 4, 2015
By Rachel Lilly

The new mobile shopping app snach.it aims to combine the deep discounts of Groupon with the instant gratification of Snapchat. It simplifies the shopping experience by offering curated daily deals from top brands, but you only have 30 seconds to purchase, or the offer is gone.

December 9, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

'Tis the season to head out and about to shop, travel and visit with family, and the free ParkMe app could make your activities easier this year. It features location and rate information for lots and garages near you along with a live map of available street parking. In addition, ParkMe provides detailed directions to the parking, including photos so you know what to expect. Find real-time information on lot availability, make reservations in advance for select areas and set the parking timer to avoid having your meter run out.

November 4, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

You might hit the gym or stay active for your health, but do you exercise your brain? The scientifically designed program Lumosity provides personalized training to help you improve memory, attention and a wide variety of other cognitive skills. The program, based on extensive research in the field of neuroplasticity, currently boasts more than 50 million members in more than 180 countries. Lumosity's in-house research and development team collaborates with researchers from 36 top universities around the world, including Harvard, Stanford and UC Berkeley, to transform common neuropsychological tasks into fun, challenging games.

October 21, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

With the Ebola outbreak dominating headlines and flu season looming, it's difficult to know where to turn for fast, reliable health information. That's where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) comes in, offering a variety of apps to help you protect yourself.

September 16, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Driving somewhere unfamiliar and in need of a gas station? Starving but not sure which restaurants are nearby? The free AroundMe app for iOS and Android identifies your location and shows you a complete list of nearby businesses in the category you select. Find a restaurant, movie theater, gas station, hotel, hospital, bank, bar, grocery store and more.

For each listing, you can view the location on a map and the best route with step-by-step GPS directions. Add the information to your contact list or email it to a friend.

September 2, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

SafeTrek app helps users feel safe in dangerous areasHave you ever felt unsafe or just uneasy walking alone at night or in a secluded area? Many people keep their phones close at hand, but in a real emergency, you may not have time to dial 911. The SafeTrek app for iOS and Android offers a solution.

Created by a group of students at the University of Missouri, the SafeTrek app monitors your location and can automatically notify police.

August 26, 2014
By Rachel Lily

Do you hanker for the nostalgic feeling of typing on a manual typewriter? Tom Hanks has the solution. The free Hanx Writer app for iPad, created by the actor in partnership with creative agency Hitcents, brings the look, feel and sound of old-fashioned word processing to life.

Documents created in Hanx Writer can be emailed, printed and shared. Pick from a variety of typewriters, each with unique features.

August 12, 2014
By Ali Cybulski

Every writer can use a good editor. Enter WriteRight, an English/Spanish text editor for Apple devices that helps you polish your prose.
 
WriteRight provides synonyms, antonyms and phraseology, helping you choose the words that best fit your writing. The app’s powerful grammatical engine recognizes conjugated words, either feminine or plural, suggests synonyms and then replaces those words with their conjugated synonym counterparts, matching gender and number, person and tense. WriteRight also includes a customized Markdown keyboard, iCloud save and syncing and numerous exporting options.
 

July 29, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

The free Goodreads app helps you discover and share books with your friends and other users. Goodreads is a popular website deemed "the world's largest social network for readers" with more than 20 million members and a catalog of more than 12 million books. The app makes it even easier to browse personalized recommendations, write reviews and keep track of what you want to read.

See book reviews and updates from your friends, explore popular book lists, read more than 2,000 free e-books, join online book clubs and keep a reading "wish list." Browsing the bookstore in person? Use the barcode scanner to add a book to your "want-to-read list" and check out reviews before buying.

July 22, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Do you love listening to podcasts? The new Overcast app, developed by Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and creator of Instapaper, offers a simple, intuitive interface to listen to all your favorites.

What makes Overcast stand out from the many podcast options found in the app store? It allows users to download podcasts and listen anytime, even offline; search and browse new episodes; create custom playlists; subscribe to shows; enhance and normalize speech volume with Voice Boost; and adjust playback using Smart Speed to pick up extra speed without distortion.

July 16, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Admit it ... you probably have at least one game on your smartphone. From Candy Crush to Dots, addicting game apps have become a popular way to banish boredom. But what if you could combine entertainment with brain training to improve your critical cognitive skills, boost productivity and gain self-confidence?

The Elevate app for iOS and Android is designed to improve speaking and listening skills, focus, processing speed and more. It features games and detailed performance tracking so you can personalize your daily mind "workouts." Plus, the app becomes progressively more difficult to keep you challenged and motivated.

July 8, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Have you ever walked into a business meeting and wished you could know a bit about each person to spark real conversation and bypass typical small talk? The free Refresh app for iOS aims to make it possible by providing a quick overview of the people you're about to meet, aggregating information from across the Web.

The app syncs with your calendar, contacts and scheduled meetings to display relevant insights from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and email about the people you will meet.

July 1, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Imagine getting alerts from drivers around you in real time. Police officer around the next curve? A broken down vehicle blocking the shoulder? Now, the free community-based Waze app makes it possible by crowdsourcing traffic and road information to provide drivers with the best route.

June 3, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

People around the world watched as Apple revealed a series of new developments during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 2-6 in San Francisco. Those announcements included plans for a new Health app coming with iOS 8, which will gather information from various health apps and fitness devices to provide an overview in one place.

May 27, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Think you could outsmart your friends and players from around the world when it comes to a certain topic? The free QuizUp app for iOS and Android connects users for real-time, head-to-head trivia challenges. With more than 450 topics and 250,000 questions, you can test your knowledge for hours on end.

Topics including books, movies, sports, games, art, business, science, geography, history and music, among many others, with more added all the time.

The popular app has more than 10 million users to date.

May 7, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Adjusting to a new time zone can be tough when you travel, but a free iPhone app could help you overcome jet lag faster than ever before. The Entrain app, created by a research team from the University of Michigan, uses a mathematical model to determine optimal lighting conditions throughout the day to help reset your internal clock.

April 29, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Few things are more frustrating than contacting big companies to reach customer service. If you can make it through the phone maze and beat the robotic menus to reach an actual human, they will likely transfer you a few more times for good measure—forcing you to repeat your question or complaint. The GetHuman app promises to make the process less painful by providing the best phone number or email address to bypass the usual frustrations.

April 22, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Grocery store reward cards ... gym membership cards ... store loyalty cards. With so many different reward programs, it's not long before you can barely find your keys among all the little plastic cards hanging from the ring. Add in gift cards and stacks of coupons, and your wallet is bursting at the seams. The Key Ring app keeps everything in one virtual place. Simply scan the barcodes on your loyalty cards to add them to your phone, and then scan straight from your phone at the checkout counter.

April 15, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Keeping tabs on your business and its competition can be tough when reviews and posts are scattered across hundreds of sites. The free Perch app helps small businesses view online activity from Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare and hundreds of deal sites all in one place.

The app provides a live feed with posts, images, promotions and customer reviews, along with sending alerts and periodic email digests. Users can create a watchlist to monitor competing businesses.

April 8, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Many people dream of moving somewhere new and finding the perfect community. If you had the chance, where would you go? The dwellr app from the U.S. Census Bureau takes out the guesswork by recommending the top 25 U.S. cities and towns that best fit your lifestyle.

April 1, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Creating a floor plan typically requires a tape measure and some patience, but the free RoomScan app for iPhone could make the process much easier.

Users simply tap each wall in a room with their phone, and the app generates a drawing of the floor plan in seconds—no sketching or measuring required. Add doors to the plan by touching the door frame.

According to the app creator Locometric, RoomScan draws complex rooms just as easily as small rectangular rooms. To improve the accuracy, users can pair the app with a laser measure, and the program combines the measurements for one floor plan. Measurements are available in metric, feet and inches along with East Asian units.

March 25, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

The America's Economy app from the U.S. Census Bureau provides real-time updates for 20 key economic indicators to track trends and changes. The free app, available for iOS and Android, uses information from the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

App users will find a quick overview of indicators measuring the U.S. economy along with a detailed page for each indicator with trend data. Indicators include: advance monthly retail sales; construction spending; homeownership rate; international trade; personal income; real gross domestic product; and the unemployment rate, among others.

March 18, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

The earthquake that hit Los Angeles this week gave many on the West Coast a rude awakening. While the quake caused minimal damage, it served as a good reminder to prepare your family or home as much as possible for a natural disaster.

March 4, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

For those working in academia, finding the best way to annotate, manage and share papers can be complicated. The PaperShip app for iPad and iPhone targets the scientific community and makes it easier to download, read and manage a personal library of research.

February 25, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Like it or not, the act of taking a photo "selfie" has become a prominent part of the digital age. Oxford Dictionaries made selfie its 2013 word of the year, and even President Obama has been caught with his arm outstretched taking a photo with a smartphone. Since the selfie phenomenon isn't going anywhere, why not make it even easier?

The free CamMe app for iOS lets you prop up your phone and take a picture of you or a group of friends up to 16 feet away. Simply raise your hand and close it into a fist to activate the camera, and it snaps away. Take a few photos in a row with the PhotoBooth option and share your favorites to social networks.

February 18, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

If you travel frequently for business or for pleasure, chances are you're earning some kind of rewards—from frequent flyer miles to hotel and credit card points. But are you tracking all these loyalty programs and getting the most from your memberships?

AwardWallet for iOS and Android is a free program that tracks all your accounts on one screen. Let the app monitor your progress and notify you when your balances change or before the points expire. Once you've logged in, the data is available in an offline mode, so you can track travel plans and accounts without an Internet connection.

February 11, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Many people probably took a few language classes at some point in their lives. That Spanish class you barely passed in high school. The language learning CDs collecting dust in the closet. For me, it was three years of French that promptly went out the window. But I recently got inspired to brush up on my skills, and the Duolingo app has turned out to be quite a find.

February 4, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Thanks to a handful of helpful apps, Olympic fans can follow their favorite athletes even when they're on the go.

January 28, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

A lot of websites and apps offer weather predictions, but what if you could get a much more detailed forecast? The Dark Sky app for iPhone and iPad, which got its start as a Kickstarter project back in November 2011, predicts rain and storms down to the minute based on your exact location. While a typical weather app may warn of a "20 percent chance of rain in Washington, D.C., for the day," the Dark Sky app could send you a push notification 20 minutes before the rain literally passes over your house.

January 14, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Bring your text messages to life. This new app turns words into videos using exclusive stock video from the Getty Images library. Just compose a text message, and the app selects related clips and creates a preview. Then, tweak the preview by adjusting the font, adding a soundtrack or adding your own video clips from your device. The result is a fun, visual way to get your message to friends and followers.

Stock videos typically come with a price tag, so Wordeo users benefit from free Getty content within the app.

Want to see more? Check out the Wordeo website for examples.

January 7, 2014
By Rachel Lilly

Tap into the power of OpenStreetMap on your iPhone. OpenStreetMap is a free wiki world map, where anyone can contribute by editing and adding tags or creating places. With the free OpenMaps app or the expanded OpenMaps Pro for $2.99, you can pinpoint your location, search online for nearby addresses or business, get directions and even make your own corrections or additions to the information you receive.

Want to know what other people are saying about a location? Scan the map for geotweets.

December 31, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Do you travel frequently for business? The free Concur app could help you manage all your travel-related plans and expenses.

Book airfare and hotels; manage flight and car itineraries; check flight status; approve travel requests; and change or cancel reservations. While you're away, track business expenses and receipts. View credit card transactions and add them to expense reports, upload receipts with your camera phone and submit expense reports on the go. Those with manager access also can approve or reject expense reports and invoices.

December 17, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Two things often come to mind around the holidays: giving gifts and kicking it into gear with resolutions for the new year. Want an easy way to combine both? The free Charity Miles app for iOS and Android lets you earn money and raise awareness for charities by walking, running or biking. Get fit and give back at the same time!

Just choose a charity and get moving. The app uses GPS to measure your distance. Bikers earn 10¢ per mile; walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile, all up to an initial $1,000,000 corporate sponsorship pool.

Follow the initiative with the hashtag #EveryMileMatters.

December 3, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Want to learn more about your mobile broadband performance while helping the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) securely map data from across the United States? The free FCC Speed Test app for Android accurately measures and tracks mobile broadband performance over time. This includes an in-depth view of download and upload speed, latency and packet loss.

Once installed, the app will run periodically in the background. It tests your mobile network (cellular or Wi-Fi) and utilizes aggregated anonymous data to map broadband performance.

November 26, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

With the holiday season underway, spending (or saving) money is more important than ever for many consumers. The new BillGuard app for iOS helps you stay on top of spending habits by providing analytics, smart savings alerts and protection against fraud and billing errors.

Use the app to view your spending over time. BillGuard also searches the Web for coupons that will lower your bills based on spending patterns. You can verify or flag a charge, and over time, the app learns and prioritizes what items you may want to review and alerts you of unwanted or unauthorized charges.

The app supports more than 5,000 credit and bank accounts.

November 19, 2013
By Rachel Lilly
Keynote app for iPad and iPhone

You don't have to be tied to a desk to prepare for an upcoming presentation. The Keynote app for iPad and iPhone makes it easy to create a slide deck complete with animation, charts, images and more.

Simply pick from one of 30 themes, add your information and present right on your mobile device. You also can use video mirroring to present on an HDTV while viewing the Presenter Display on your phone or tablet. Presentations are accessible across devices through iCloud.

November 12, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Failing to meet a goal can sting—especially with the Beeminder app for iOS and Android. It tracks your progress toward a goal and makes you literally pay the price if you go off track. The first offense is free, but after that, you'll pay $5 every time you derail.

To begin, simply set a goal that can be tracked on a graph. When prompted by the app, either manually input data points or connect to a device, such as a Fitbit, to report automatically.

Download the free app from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.

November 5, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

As voters across the U.S. head to the polls, it's easier than ever to keep up with news and analysis on your iPhone or iPad. The Politics Today app uses an algorithm to create a custom content viewing experience. It pulls and continuously updates articles from publications, journalists, institutions and opinion leaders.

The app selects the most interesting articles, videos and audio content and filters out items considered low interest. Share your favorite items through Twitter and Facebook.

You can purchase the app from the iTunes App Store for $0.99.

October 29, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

A new way to discover and watch videos on your iPad or iPhone. The free Rockpack app makes it easy to create, share and follow video playlists called "packs."

Add your favorite videos you find online and make packs based on your interests. Then, follow packs from your friends and other users or search the app to discover content.

Rockpack contains thousands of packs of videos created by users, including celebrities.

Download the app from the iTunes App Store.

October 22, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

It's one of the first word processors made with mobile devices in mind. The free Quip app for the iPhone and iPad lets you create documents on the go while collaborating with others through the chat feature.

Make lists, take notes, tackle a work project--the app makes it easy. Organize documents into folders and share them with your friends, family or co-workers. Every document has a chat thread, so you can edit together in real time.

The app works offline and syncs when an Internet connection is available.

October 15, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

See the world from a different perspective with the free Seene app for iOS. Photo apps for the iPhone are a dime a dozen these days, but this app lets you capture 3-D photos of the world around you.

Seene captures the depth and shape information of whatever you photograph, allowing you to tilt your phone and see different angles.

Use the app to take unlimited 3-D photos, share them on Twitter and Facebook, and interact with other Seene users. Just point your phone at a subject and move around it. The app builds the 3-D scene automatically.

October 8, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Achieving health and fitness goals can be tough, particularly in a busy workplace. But the Keas corporate wellness program makes getting healthy fun, social and mobile.

Through the service, employees form small teams of up to six people with similar health-related goals, and they collaborate to achieve them—working together, motivating one another and earning virtual points in the process. These points can translate into real prizes from the employer. For example, an HR department could use the program to create a goal related to the flu shot and offer rewards to those who participate.

October 1, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

With the click of a button, we can DVR our favorite show and watch it later at our convenience. But is the same thing possible on the Web? With the free Pocket app for iPhone, iPad and Android, you can easily save articles, videos or websites that you want to view later.

The app syncs across your phone, tablet and computer, so you can view it on any device, even without an Internet connection. You can even save content from more than 300 apps, including Twitter and Flipboard.

Anything you Pocket shows up in an easy-to-view layout to improve readability.

September 24, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Do you need an all-in-one source for military base information? The free Military Traveler app for Android and iOS provides a portable directory with contact information for establishments on military installations across the United States.

September 17, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

In the military community, moving is often a part of life, and that includes buying and selling items along the way. The free Call Dibs app makes that process easier by providing a convenient space for active duty, Reserve, Guard, veterans, U.S. Defense Department civilians and their families to offload or find goods.

An alternative to sites like Craigslist, Call Dibs focuses exclusively on the military community to add a layer of trust and a sense of security to the process.

Use the app to post items quickly from your phone, browse listings by others, and send and receive messages. You must have a .mil email address to be validated as a military user.

September 3, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Are you a cycling enthusiast? Whether you compete in races or just peddle around the neighborhood with your family, the MapMyRide app will help you make the most of your cycling experience.

The free app turns your smartphone into a cycling computer, using the built-in GPS to track your fitness activities. It records your ride details, including speed, distance, calories burned, elevation and the route traveled on an interactive map. Voice prompts can update you on your progress as you go. Feeling competitive? Compete against results from other riders on popular rides in your area. You can even post your workouts to Facebook and Twitter.

August 27, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

From a print advertisement to an online purchase in one click, a new iOS app lets you pounce on products from your favorite brands. The free Pounce app uses image recognition to let users scan an item from newspapers or magazines. It securely stores shipping and billing information to automate the buying process. Just scan a product and click "Buy Now." The processing, packing and shipping are done directly from the retailer just like with a regular online purchase.

The app will recognize products from any retail partners, which currently include Target, Staples, Toys "R" Us and Ace Hardware, among others.

August 20, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

Looking for an easy way to sync your data across your devices and computer? Need mobile backup for your files, photos, videos and music? The free SugarSync mobile app gives you access to all your data from your smartphone or tablet.

With the app, you can access any files from your computer, share privately with select people, upload from your mobile device to your computer and edit documents. Send files remotely from your phone or tablet even if your computer is off.

August 13, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

 

The new hōrd app for iPhone is "opening up the world of government contracting." Developed by GovTribe Incorporated, the app lets users subscribe to and track project solicitations on the go. Search for federal contracting notices and awards or a contractor's name and receive alerts when information is updated.

Information is pushed to the app in real time, letting users evaluate opportunities and keep tabs on competitors. Navigate new opportunities, gain intel and see what's popular among other users.

July 23, 2013
By Rachel Lilly

Got spare Android power to share? The BOINC app lets you donate spare processing power to run jobs for scientific research projects, from a search for more effective AIDS therapies to the discovery of new pulsars. BOINC computes when your device is plugged in and charging and transfers data over Wi-Fi, so it will not run down your battery or take up data.

Created by researchers at the University of California Berkeley, the BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) program has been harnessing donated desktop computing power since 2002. With the new app, they hope to use smartphone and tablet power too.