Our weekly app picks
Another Appday Sunday and we're back with a handful of our favorites to share. We've got apps to make life easy, apps to make you healthy, and apps that help you get where you want to go. And of course a game, because Jerry.
Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!
1. Russell Holly — Ping
The folks behind Secret have this other app that doesn't get talked about nearly as often, which is odd because I'm pretty sure it's the best thing this company makes. Ping gives you a notification with information on whatever topics you ask it to provide you with, from weather and news to random bits of information in their "Curiosities" section. It's a cool thing to have pop up and grab your attention for a second on your phone, but with Android Wear you get these notifications at a glance, which is even more fun.
2. Ara Wagoner — HydrateMe
I'm kinda forgetful sometimes, and nowhere is this more true than in remembering to do basic things like get up to stretch, eat, and of course, drink. This is usually not good, but it's especially not good during the winter, when my lips are chapped and the humidity is usually lower. And while I had been using Tasker and AutoNotification to push an hourly notification to drink, I wasn't actually drinking that often, just racking up notifications on my phone and my wrist.
While browsing Google+, I came across HydrateMe, an Android Wear app that's just launching and has a simple goal: get you to drink more. You can use it to log the number of drinks you have in a day, but that's not really why I'm using it. The Wear app has a self-contained alarm, which you can set to go off at intervals of your choosing. These alarms will only go off while the watch is being worn, so you don't have to worry about a slew of notifications while your watch sits on its cradle overnight. You have access to the last week's results for free and you can unlock access to the last month as an in-app purchase, but for now, I'm just loving the easy to set and use alarm and the fact that I'm forcing myself to drink more.
3. Phil Nickinson — Flight Board
If you're like me and you tend to overcompensate for a slight fear of flying (read: lack of control) with a bit of extra enthusiasm for the hardware side of the business, or maybe you see a plane taking off or landing and just want to know what it is and where it's going, FlightBoard's a fun little app that'll get you a ton of info. It's not inexpensive, but those four bucks get you a nicely designed, easy-to-read, well, flight board. It's very much like what you might find in an airport somewhere — like, say, Charles de Gualle Airport in Paris. (Which you really should experience at least once in your life.) You can see the flight number, destination, gate number and status. It's just a fun little app for the avgeek in all of us.
4. Andrew Martonik — Capitaine Train
We're currently getting ready for a trip to Paris next month, and we plan on taking a few trips on the train while we're there. It's been interesting to see the multitude of sites you can choose from to book train tickets, and also how comically bad the apps are for each (if they have one at all). Then I found Capitaine Train, and it has absolutely blown me away compared to competition.
While most other booking services seem antiquated and poorly designed, Capitaine Train's app and website are an absolute joy to use. Both the site and app support single sign-on with both Google+ and Facebook, and make it dead simple to book trains in and around France. A sign-in is required, which isn't much of an issue considering the single sign-on, but the search system and completely competitive pricing (some more U.S.-centric sites will overcharge you) seem like a worthy trade-off.
I know not all of our readers are planning trips around France any time soon, but if you do, you need to use this app. Knowing about it now, I wouldn't have considered others out there.
5. Justin Duino — CamCard Free - Business Card Reader
After I came back from my first CES I realized that I had received over a hundred different business cards. While I could manually input every single card into my contacts, I did not want to because it would been more time consuming than I would have wanted. After a quick search in the Google Play Store I found CamCard.
What makes CamCard useful is the way it scans business cards and automatically inputs the information from the card into the corresponding contact fields. While the process is not always completely successful in collecting the information correctly, the amount of work the app does streamlines the process of adding the business card to your contacts. When you are ready to save your contact, you have the choice of saving it to the app itself or to any of the accounts on your phone that saves contacts. I typically keep the contact saved in CamCard and to my Gmail contacts so that I can find the cards themselves within the application but also sync the contact information across all of my devices.
The free version of CamCard has all the functionality of the Pro version but is limited to storing up to 200 cards. If you do hit the 200 card limit, you can download the full version for only $0.99 and import your CamCard contacts from the lite version quickly and easily.
6. Jerry Hildenbrand — Day of the Viking
I love this game. I hate this game.
Yup. It's a nicely done and entertaining tower defense style game, basic and fun with an easy to grasp upgrade process for your defenses, and it's full of horribly placed ads. You'll have enough fun playing each level and squashing the Viking horde with boulders, but the interstitial ads will make you want to kick something cute and furry when they appear between levels. I still keep playing it, because the gameplay is fun enough to make the kicky feels go away soon enough.
Give it a try and see if you find the game itself worth the nagging ads.