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Recent App Reviews

CES 2015: Upgrade Your Home Lighting System with a Zuli Smartplug

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We were given a demo of the new Zuli Smartplug system ($135-3 Pak/$50 for single) at  CES 2015. The first production units should start shipping next week. The Zuli smartplug can turn any electrical device into a smart appliance. You simply plug it into a wall socket and your appliance, and you can monitor and control your devices remotely (to include power utilization.) The included app also works with your Nest! 



CES 2015: Check Your Little One's Temp from Another Room with TempTraq!

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If you have had a sick baby, then you know how terrible you feel to have to wake them up to check their temperature. With Blue Spark's TempTraq you can do it easily and remotely, and all you need is your iPhone and an ingenious smart sensor which adheres under your little one's arm. We were able to get a demo of this new monitoring tech at the Sands Expo booth at CES 2015.



Review: The Glimpse App and Widget

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Do you find yourself heading back to the same websites over and over again, especially those which update often? 

Arno Appenzeller has developed a new new app called Glimpse ($2.99) that let's you see all your favorite websites in one quick glance. Once you download the app, you can add web pages into it that will then show up as a widget in your Today view, located in your Notification Center. 



Wizard Golf: Become a Scratch Level Sorcerer!

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Wizard Golf (free) is the most bizarre, yet weirdly addictive game you are likely to find in the App Store. Featuring retro dungeon-crawler-style graphics, this hybrid golf-strategy game is a keeper, if only for the right to say (when people ask), "I'm playing Wizard Golf!"



Jamstik Helps with That New Year's Resolution to Learn to Play Guitar

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A year ago, I bought our daughter an acoustic guitar, complete with instructional DVDs. That guitar has collected dust ever since. But now, I have the Zivix Jamstik which should change that. The Jamstik helps kids (and adults) learn how to play the guitar using tools they are already comfortable with, like an iPhone or iPad and apps. It connects wirelessly via Wi-Fi, or via USB to a Mac. The Jamstik works with over a dozen apps like GarageBand or other MIDI apps, as well as the included Jamstik Connect, JamMix, and JamTutor apps from Zivix.



ROCKI Makes Your Existing Speakers Wireless Without Bluetooth

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If you already have made an investment in speakers and want to turn them into wireless ones, there are a few options. You could get a Bluetooth adapter, but you would have to deal with the latency and distance limitations of that technology. On the high-end, there are SONOS speakers which use Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, but they are expensive and don't take advantage of your existing speakers.



Roto: A Simple Puzzle Game to Test Your Wits While Having Fun

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If you are a sucker for addictive, challenging games, then you just found yourself one. Whether you are simply killing time, aiming for bragging rights, or love pushing your limits, Roto (free) can get your competitive spirits going with its simple yet challenging mechanics.



How to Follow an Interest on Pinterest (as opposed to Following a Pinner)

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Some people say that Pinterest is the new Google. People head to Pinterest to search for project ideas, recipes, and news about their favorite topics. Using the Follow Interest tool, you can easily find new pins about your favorite topics without following other pinners one at a time. Pinterest will find the most popular pins from all of of the users who are posting about the topics you love and display them in your Pinterest feed. I've used this feature to find new pinners to follow and find more great pins about my favorite topics: health & fitness, technology, and DIY. 



CloudOn Adds On-Device Document Editing

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CloudOn was one of the early, free, mobile-editing solutions to come to iOS (see our previous review here). The software provided access to a virtualized office suite of editors, which meant that you had to be exclusively online to use it. In terms of document editing, however, it was full featured and could sync docs to several popular cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive. In October the app was updated markedly, adding the ability to locally edit documents. Kudos are in order— it's a big plus for iOS users, but the other editors still need a bit more work.



Tip of the Day: How to Follow a Conversation Thread on Facebook Without Commenting

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There are several reasons why you might want to see comments on a Facebook post—I often want to see comments if the poster is asking a question I'd like to know the answer to.  

You can receive notifications about future comments by leaving a comment yourself—I often see people comment "following" or "commenting because I'd like to receive updates" on Facebook status updates—but Facebook recently made a change so you can easily subscribe to updates without commenting on a thread. Here's how to follow a Facebook thread and receive notifications of comments without leaving a comment.



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