Recent App Reviews
On Wednesday Google released a new version of Google Translate (free) in the App Store that has some great new features. Most importantly, it now includes Word Lens: you can point your camera at some text in a foreign language, and the translated text will instantly overlay the image on your screen. You don't even need an Internet connection. According to the announcement on the Official Google Blog, the translation works between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, with more languages to be added.
For many of us who rely upon smartphones as part of our work flow, chance are we’ve used a scanning app or two. We might even have broken down and gotten one simply for scanning barcodes when we’re out shopping. But a fairly new development from Evernote looks to change the field dramatically. That development comes in the form of Scannable, their iOS app that’s now available in the App Store.
As puzzle games become more ubiquitous, developers need to have a hook to really nab a player. Mujo is evidence of what happens when the market is saturated; its gameplay is fairly standard for a puzzle, but the design around it is both creative and frustrating.
Missouri frugal blogger Enza Ketcham recently teamed up with her co-worker, Andy Walleck, to create a new app for both kids and adults. The app is a fun game that you can play with your children to bring up the topic of financial responsibility–avoiding credit cards and shopping when products are on sale. The free ChaChinga app is available now in the iTunes store.
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!
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.
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 (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!"
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.
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.