Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 20, 2012

Gadgets, gizmos and apps aplenty

Jenni Hanna
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — With the recent introduction of some new and/or improved gadgets and phones, electronics are especially big on many wish lists this year.

Many of those items will be personalized with favorite apps—games, features, and other types of computer application software especially designed for devices like mobile phones and tablets.

At of the end of October, Shara Tibken, a staff writer for cnet.com, reported that there are more than 700,000 apps available each for Google and for Apple products. Despite all those options, I don’t have many apps that I use regularly, but I do know a few people who use and download new applications frequently.

With the popularity of apps, I thought it would be fun to get a sampling of some that are used regularly by my friends, family and co-workers. Below is a list of just a few of the apps that these folks shared as their favorites.  Many of these are free at their most basic level, but costs are often associated with them if you prefer to have a version that is free from advertising:

Pandora — This is a free app at its most basic level. It’s ideal for creating a personalized radio station of music suited to your own genre of music. For example, if you’re a big fan of music from the 50s and 70s, Pandora can customize a station with music that fits those years.

Type and Walk — We’ve all heard stories of people who are texting while they are walking, and as a result of being inattentive have walked into a parked car or bench.  This iPhone application lets you see what’s ahead of you while typing a message.

My Car Locater — Another story we’ve all heard is of the ‘lost car’. Some parking lots are so big, when you throw in multiple levels of parking it’s easy to forget where you’ve parked (a certain episode of Seinfeld comes to mind, for those of you who were regular watchers of the show). According to the app’s description, “MyCar Locater uses your GPS to remember where you parked with the push of just one button and guides you back to your car easily. Never again forget where you have parked.”

Seven Little Words — A fun game that helps to grow your vocabulary and improve your spelling. The game includes seven definitions, and an array of scrambled syllables. Going off the definitions provided, players must mix and match syllables to determine the correct word that fits a given definition.

Pinterest — The Pinterest site describes this as a ‘tool to find your inspiration and share it with others. Use it to collect things you love, organize and plan important projects, and more.’ If you’re a crafter, or always looking for unique ideas, decorating tips and more, you’ll enjoy Pinterest.

Cozi — This app earned the 2012 Appy Award for Best Family/Parenting app. It is designed as an organizational tool, keeping track of all the respective calendars of each individual in your family using colored tabs.

Trip Advisor — Offers ideas of places to go and things to do in any given city.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary — In addition to all the definitions from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, this app offers voice search – to let you look up a word without having to spell it – along with synonyms, antonyms, example sentences, Word of the Day, and more. It’s a great tool for reference, education, and vocabulary building.

News and Weather apps are also very popular. These come in all flavors. Folks who use weather and news apps tend to have the apps that coordinate with their favorite TV network. I found that for someone who typically watches the Weather Channel or WISH-TV for their weather, that corresponding application tends to be the app of choice on their phone or tablet.

There is seemingly an app for almost any situation or circumstance — it’s just a matter of searching it out. While I cannot offer any personal endorsement for any of these particular apps mentioned here, I would certainly encourage readers to do their homework and research the reviews for these products prior to downloading any one of them.

And if you, yourself, have a favorite app that you’d like to share, I’d enjoy hearing about it. Please send it my way at jhanna@etczone.com.

‘Appy’ Holidays!