Cool App-titude

August 4, 2015
By Rachel Lilly

The new mobile shopping app 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.