Apps

I am addicted to this iPhone Game: Shooty Skies

I will start out by stating that I am not really a big game player on my iPhone, mainly because in the past I have gone for the 16gb iPhones, which was always a mistake as I the phone was always full.

Now I have a 64gb 6S i decided to have a look at the games on the app store.  In the past I was addicted to Crossy Road, which was a simple but brilliant game, very simple but the good ones always are! 

The folks over at Mighty Games have been at it again, this time with Shooty Skies.   A simple shoot em up game where you fly different characters through levels seeing how long you can survive before one of the bad guys hits you with one of the many different items they fire at you.

Have a quick look at this video of me playing it recently.... I am not that bad am I?

Anyway this is a great free game for you or your kids, I would warn you though that there are plenty of options within the game to make in app purchases, you cannot blame developers for making the games this way as they need to pay the bills but just be careful of kids being let loose especially if they know your password (which they shouldn't).

What games are you playing...... I would love to know now I have plenty of room to fill my iPhone up! 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid for review or a promoted one at that, just a simple honest review of a game I like! 

3 apps to help you edit images on the go!

3 apps to help you edit images on the go!

You will know by now (if you are a regular reader) that I love taking pictures, be it with my iPhone 6 or Nikon DSLR it really doesn't matter.  I am a massive fan of Instagram and just love how creative people are with their images!

When I am out and about it is great to be able to edit pictures quick and simply on the fly and share them straight away or upload to your blog on the go! 

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Using custom keyboards on your iPhone?

Using custom keyboards on your iPhone?

So with iOS8 Apple introduce custom keyboards!  I don't know of many people that use them, probably because they are used to not doing so, but there are some great keyboards out there!  I have been mucking around recently with some and though I would share the ones I have enjoyed!

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Meet Beme - A new social media app

Meet Beme -  A new social media app

Have you heard about this new social media app? No?  Good job your resident geek is all over it then! 

Let me start with a bit of background on this app, it is a concept thought of by Casey Neistat, a guy I have been following on YouTube through his daily vlogs for a while.  He made some pretty serious money through hard work and some off the wall adverts, really pushing client briefs away from the norm.  I have to say I am a fan of Casey Neistat, his out look on life and commitment to working hard is a good ethos that a lot of people could learn! 

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Inkly App: Perfect for those who are not organised like me!

I am far from the most organised person out there, I am slowly getting better though!  Be it with planning blog posts or letting the wife know where in the country I am with work and not tell her that morning that I won't be home until the next day! 

One thing I am rubbish at is present buying, I am even worse at cards!  I sometimes remember when I have to buy them and who I have to get them for but for some reason I often forget a couple!   

Yes alright I know you can buy cards online and have them sent directly, but its so blatantly clear that you have done that and it doesn't feel like personnel enough for me!  I might as well just send an email with a picture saying "Happy Birthday" or whatever occasion its for! 

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A great new app: Storie

Most of you that follow me on some form of social media will know that I am a big lover of photography (If you don't follow me shame on you😊).  I literally snap pictures all the time and have been addicted to instagram for years now.

Over the last few months I have been binge watching some great YouTube channels!  Don't ask me how I started because I can't remember, but it started out watching the excellent Casey Neistat and then I stumbled across Mr Ben Brown's channel.

Image: Storie.com

Image: Storie.com

I have always loved recording video but have not been confident enough to put myself in front of the camera, I have done a couple of videos on product reviews but never actually featured in them myself!  Whilst watching Ben's channel a lovely couple feature a fair number of times, they were Nick and Angela Miller.   Ben then highlighted the fact he was using a beta version of Nick's app called Storie

This is a great and very simple app....  like all good ideas actually makes me wonder why its not been done before.  

Storie is as it sounds, a video app that lets you tell a video story.  You can record segments very easily and then save them for later for when you have a bunch together to make your story!   You are able to add filters to the video and can use both the front and rear camera within the app!   

There are already thousands of users on their doing some fantastic little stories but  I really think that this will be a great way for parents to share little stories, days out etc with friends and a wider creative community.  So far I haven't found many parents on there but think a lot of you will love it!

You can tag videos using the faithful old # and you can also share via other social media channels.

Unlike other video apps (Vine, Snapchat) you are not limited to very short times.  I think this would be a great way to share videos with friends and family especially if you are travelling somewhere with sketchy data, you could record your day and then upload it when you are say back at the hotel.

At the moment the app is only available on iOS but Android is coming soon.  If you sign up let me know so I can give you a follow! 

Periscope and Meerkat Apps: Understand them now as your kids will!

If you are up to speed with social media then you would have heard of both of these live streaming apps, if you haven't then in simple terms they are an easy way to broadcast live video on the internet from your smartphone or tablet.

Credit: Meerkat

Credit: Meerkat

They are great apps and a nice alternative to the current social apps out there, but they also have their down sides.  There is a lot of adult content being shared on these and very easy to find!  You would therefore need to be aware of the downfall of these and what to watch out for especially where your children / teens are concerned.

Both apps let you tune in to other peoples streams, for both you need a Twitter account and content you share will also be shared on Twitter.  So there are considerations that need to be made before using the apps.

Credit: Periscope

Credit: Periscope

The folks at saferinternet.org.uk have put together this post which will guide you things to consider, but in summary they are:

  1. Think before you broadcast - Your live stream can be seen by anyone who can access the service, think about what you are streaming and where from!  Remember this can be recorded (if somebody really wanted to) and then shared elsewhere which you would have no control over! 
  2. Consider your privacy - Think about who you want to see the broadcast, Periscope has a private option, there is a padlock you can click before you start streaming and select your followers who you want to be able to access this, but services like Meerkat do not!  
  3. Report any concerns - If you are concerned by anything you see then report the concerns to the service provider, Periscope make this very easy by scrolling to the bottom of the broadcast page and clicking the report badge! Meerkat does not
  4. Blocking is your friend - This is easier on Periscope than Meerkat, on Periscope click on the gears icon within a users profile and click block user!  Meerkat at the moment appears to be light on all of these settings so another point that should be considered! 
  5. And as Safer Internet say, its never too late to tell someone-  Remember if you are not an adult or you are an adult reading this, it is never to late to tell a trusted adult about what you have seen or if you don't have this support then you can speak to ChildLine online here or call 0800 11 11, remember if it is serious you can also report concerns to CEOP, the polices Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, here

From my experience using both apps it is clear that Periscope certainly has more controls than Meerkat but don't think this is safer just because of this.

Its always best to talk to children / teens about using these networks and good for you to have a working knowledge so you can understand the risks and positive side of both.

I would also recommend having a look at Safer Internets site for all different guides to staying safe online.

Any questions feel free to get in touch! 

Top apps for your iPhone

So you have had your iPhone for a while and the AppStore was a novelty when you first go it, but when did you last download some new and decent apps?

Wow that long ago?  Well here are some you may have missed.

Tether 

If you are also a Mac owner then this is a must have in my opinion, its so simple!  Tether will lock your Mac when you're not there and will come straight back to life when you approach again! Now this is dependent on you having your iPhone with you but to be honest most of the time I have my phone with me when I walk away from my mac!  Its great because it protects your Mac when you're away, most times it protects it from Friends & Family posting in appropriate updates on your social media (you know who you are!)

Nokia HERE

Ok Nokia are history right? Wrong! They may have turned their back on manufacturing phones (for now) but they still have some great apps, and the here is a great maps app! They are going to struggle against Google Maps / iOS Maps but if you are going away you should seriously look at this! here enables you to download the full maps to your phone so you can use them without munching away all your data, especially helpful if you are going on holiday!  Check it out 

Tempo

Tempo is a clever little video editing app, it lets you combine Timelapse and SlowMo videos in one, as well as add music to these videos, the UI is very simple and clean and straight forward to use!  You can save them directly to your phone or share them to Instagram etc 

Layouts

This is the newest app from Instagram and it is again a very simple app that lets you make great one off collages (or remixes as they call it)

Gmail

Ok this isn't a new app but it has had a great update, obviously only useful if you are a Gmail user.  They have updated the app to take advantage of the new access made available on iOS to 3rd Party Apps, the interactive notifications now allow you to respond or archive directly from notifications.  They have also updated the way Gmail handles attachments and improve the sharing or saving of these to other apps. 

IF (Previously IFTTT)

Ok I have previously blogged about how great IFTTT is, they have now produced 3 new apps that will act as buttons they are the 'Do Button' 'Do Camera' and 'Do Note'

You can set up each button to run a specific recipe that you can amend depending on your needs.  IFTTT is really great and these new apps make it that little bit easier.

The Do Button, is as it says, enables you to do something specific at the touch of a button.  

The Do Camera, this is a specific recipe that will automatically send a photo to a specific album, or to an account such as Box.com, Dropbox, Evernote or even Facebook.

The Do Note, is as you guessed a specific button to send a note, email tweet or Facebook update! 


Well these are just a few apps, if you have found some great apps recently let me know, would love to find out what you are using! 

 

The future of news? My thoughts on Yahoo News Digest

When was the last time you picked up a news paper?

Years ago this used to be a daily event for many, I used to include myself in that but as the internet and smart phones took hold the need and access to instant news information kind of made the newspapers redundant for me.  I still like to buy the paper on occasions at the weekend for feature articles but not usually during the week.

For years now my main source for news stories has been Twitter for breaking news, and then the news websites for updates etc.  I know some people don't like the news as they think its full of doom and gloom but I love to keep up to date with current affairs, and Yahoo recently launched the newly badged summly, Yahoo News Digest.

At first I thought this is likely to be just another news app which will not offer me anything different than the rest, I was wrong.

For me this is brilliant, the app highlights the top news stories twice a day on the app, listening to Nick D'Aloisio describe the app during a recent Guardian tech podcast has convinced me that this will have more to come as well.  

The app uses built in algorithms as well as editors picking the stories and delivering them to you twice a day through the beautifully designed app.... clearly using the same team who designed the excellent Yahoo weather app.

Each story comes with different atoms (as they call them) that go more in-depth than you can get on social media but presented in an excellent way, you have expanded text as well as images and video all pulled from a variety of sources.

If you have not used it yet go and have a look, and think like me you will understand why this is creeping up the charts in the app store (currently no 4 at time of writing).

Unfortunately currently this is only available on iOS.