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Category — AtoZ

Quizzes Galore: QuizUp App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

QuizUp Android

This is my first and only gaming app in this series. I enjoy games but I’m not much of a mobile phone gamer. There are reasons, one being games take up a lot of battery and another that they are time suckers. But I do play games, and absolutely love some of them.

QuizUp is one of them. I used to love quizzing in college and Trivia was my favourite topic. QuizUp allows me to get back on that bandwagon. It has 1,200 topics to choose from and over 600,000 questions. That’s almost unlimited game play with out questions repeating.

And I’m not playing alone, I can play with friends, or even challenge strangers. QuizUp claims tone the Biggest Trivia Game in the World!

QuizUp Android QuizUp Android

 

What the QuizUp App’s supposed to do

 

The app allows three sign-up modes – Facebook, Google+ and Email. The Facebook and G+ signup options will pull in data of your friends who are also playing QuizUp.

You can choose quizzes from a wide range of categories and topics. Each quiz has 6 questions and a 7th bonus question. At the start of each quiz you make a choice of whether you want to play alone, with a friend or with a random stranger.

If you play alone, you use your energy, which gets replaced over time. But if you challenge and play with friends or strangers, no energy is required and you can play unlimited games.

At the end of each game, you can start a new one, play a rematch or move on to another quiz. Each topic also has a community built around it, so you can connect with people who love the same things you do.

QuizUp Android QuizUp Android

QuizUp Android QuizUp Android

 

How I’m using the QuizUp App

 

This is my go to app when I have some time to kill. I play with friends and strangers, get excited, feel good about myself, and even learn something new. It’s like I’m doing something productive even when I’m killing time. 😀

QuizUp Android QuizUp Android

 

My thoughts on the QuizUp App

 

I’m careful about using QuizUp, two reasons for that – one I get sucked in and can’t stop playing, two it drains my battery (because – refer to point one).

This is such a fun app and the variety of topics makes for hours of entertainment. The other plus in that I don’t have to find common topics between friends, I can just go ahead an play strangers across the world.

And let’s not forget the coolest things about it, I learn something all the time when playing. It’s not a silly game!

 

App details and link

 
QuizUp Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Plain Vanilla Games Corp
Devices – Android, iOS
Size – 39M
Installs – 10,000,000 – 50,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 20, 2016   No Comments

Podcasts: Player FM App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Player FM Android

I started this series with Audible: An Audio Book App and a lot of what I said for audio books applies here too. There are just so many things I do in a day that require my hands and only half my mind, these are the times that are perfect for multitasking.

When I’m walking the dogs, doing chores around the house, packing food boxes for the dogs, gardening, or crafting, I have time on hand to listen and that’s where podcasts come in. Podcasts are a wonderful way to follow people, listen to their opinions, learn something new or just pass the time.

This year I want to explore the world of books beyond the printed page and podcasts are turning out to be a great way to do that. I started out with listening to one bookish podcast and now I’m subscribed to nine!

Player FM Android Player FM Android

 

What the Player FM App’s supposed to do

 

It’s a simple app that allows you to find the podcasts you want to listen to and subscribe to them. Downloaded podcasts can be seen as a list or as cards and can be listened to offline.

You can set limits on how many podcasts are downloaded and stored at any point in time so you aren’t hoarding or wasting space. You can also explore based on categories, trending and popular to find new podcasts to listen to.

While listening, player buttons are accessible easily on screen and in the notifications section. You can even pause, stop and play on the locked screen. There is also an option to rewind or forward in 30 second increments, which makes it it so much easier.

Player FM Android Player FM Android

 

How I’m using the Player FM App

 

I use the app to keep up with my podcast subscriptions, find out what each one is about and listen to them. I find the controls easy to use and having them right on my lock screen makes it easy to pause and restart.

Player FM Android Player FM Android

 

My thoughts on the Player FM App

 

In my search for podcasts, I’ve also tried out a couple of podcast players and found that Player FM is the perfect podcast player for me. This simple straight-forward app, doesn’t claim to do too much, but does all its supposed to.

It has a clean layout and is easy to use. Perfect for my podcasting needs. Do you listen to podcasts? which is your favourite player?

 

App details and link

 
Player FM Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Player FM Podcasts
Devices – Android
Installs – 1,000,000 – 5,000,000
Link – Android Store

April 19, 2016   3 Comments

Organise Your Gardening: Gardroid App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Gardroid Android

Gardening is an activity I love, it a past time or hobby that requires both mental and physical exercise. It’s not enough to physically break your back maintaining your garden, you also need to observe, think and plan before taking action, that’s a fair bit of mental exercise too.

Having healthy productive plants requires tracking and remembering what you did, when and what action is next due, when. The old school method followed by serious gardeners is to have cards for each plant and the cards are updated regularly, so at a glance you know all about the plant.

But what if you can do all that tracking and planning with an app? Wouldn’t that be great? It would be much easier too.

I’ve been looking for a good app since the day I started to dabble in soil a couple of years back. And, I did find some really good apps but, they didn’t work well for non-US countries, that makes them useless for me in India. Then I found Gardroid.

Gardroid Android

 

What the Gardroid App’s supposed to do

 

Gardroid is quite a comprehensive gardening app. It doesn’t offer much in flowers, herbs and shrubs but it rocks for vegetables (Pro version has herbs and fruits). It offers a list of vegetables that you can choose and read about. (How these vegetables are listed in based on the type of category chosen – month, soil type or US hardiness zone.)

You can create a list of plants in your garden. Each plant will have details about it – when was it planted, transplanted, watered, fertilised, etc. You keep adding this data as it grows. (It also reminds you based on the plant.)

For each plant you can also add notes and mark each watering. Based on all this information it tentatively predicts harvest time. You also have the option to mark harvest time as an event on your calendar with one click, so you don’t forget.

Gardroid Android

Gardroid Android

 

How I’m using the Gardroid App

 

I use the app to track my vegetables and read about growing them as it’s the first time I’m growing a lot of them. Knowing when to sow and transplant is useful information when growing something.

Then comes marking them so each has a card from sow to harvest. I find the reminders really helpful and knowing when to harvest is really helpful when growing root vegetables like potatoes and radish.

Gardroid Android

Gardroid Android

 

My thoughts on the Gardroid App

 

I find the Gardroid app really helpful as it offers more options than just US hardiness zones and that makes it usable in India. But I’d love to see the option to choose my country/location and get plant recommendations based the climate and soil here.

Knowing what you can grow and when it will grow, is valuable information for newbie farmers. But for now, of all the apps available out there, I think Gardroid is the best. It offers the most options and is the easiest to use.

 

App details and link

 
Gardroid Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Google Inc.
Devices – Android
Size – 3.7M
Installs – 10,000 – 50,000
Link – Android Store

April 18, 2016   1 Comment

News and Views: Inshorts App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Inshorts Android

I am not a news junkie, I am the opposite of it. Keeping up with the news takes a lot of effort for me. I remember even as a child I had to force myself to read the whole newspaper. I did like some sections and special editions that were tuned-in to my interests, but the rest I couldn’t care less about.

To me the newspaper always seemed a harbinger of bad news and I didn’t want to start my day with that, so I just avoided the paper and the news. The downside to this is that when I meet people, not knowing whats happening in the world leaves me feeling very left out.

So, 6 months back I set myself the challenge of following the news. Easier said then done, as I had to find a way to keep up with the news that worked for me, that I enjoyed. And that was how I found Inshorts.

Inshorts Android

 

What the Inshorts App’s supposed to do

 

Inshorts is a news app that aims to present each piece of news in 60 words, keeping it crisp, short and sweet (the news may not be sweet or nice though). The layout of each bit of news has both text and an image.

The news in a variety of categories is curated by news junkies and pushed through the app. Users can select to see all the news, news in a specific category or even the My Feed section that seems to learn what you like and show news selectively.

Each piece of news when scrolled through gets marked as read. Users can share the news via social media channels and save it for later too. The app also has notifications so you don’t miss any piece of news.

It also works offline, so you can read whenever, however to update to latest news you must connect to the internet.

Inshorts Android
Inshorts Android

 

How I’m using the Inshorts App

 

The app is simple and easy to use and the news doesn’t overwhelm me. I can scroll through a lot of news fast and read more only of the ones I want to and yet know a little about everything that’s happening right now.

I land up using the app when I have a few minutes to kill or when I’m doing things like watching the dogs eat. 😉 The bookmark feature works well for me as I bookmark news and videos to go back to watch later when I have better bandwidth and more time. The notifications are also helpful.

Inshorts Android

 

My thoughts on the Inshorts App

 

I really like the Inshorts app, it’s easy to use, the news in brief makes sure I don’t get overwhelmed and the variety and mix makes sure I get a little of everything.

It has worked out really well for me, and has actually encouraged and helped me stay in touch with the news. The app works well and I love it!

 

App details and link

 
Inshorts Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Inshorts (Formerly News in Shorts)
Devices – Android, IOS
Installs – 1,000,000 – 5,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 16, 2016   4 Comments

Music Discovery: Soundcloud App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Soundcloud Android

I first heard of SoundCloud a couple of months back when I saw a friend using it. As we sat down catching up over tea, she introduced me to some of her latest favourites in music. She was playing them off an app.

I was intrigued, I love listening to music and also know instinctively whether I love a song or not at first listen but I’m challenged at curation. I don’t do so well at discovering new music and depend on friends to introduce me. Left to myself I’d be stuck in the ones I have and never hear a new song.

Discovery and curation is what caught my attention about this app, using social power and the internet it could lead me to listening to new music and exploring the musical space.

Soundcloud Android

 

What the Soundcloud App’s supposed to do

 

A free user of SoundCloud gets a certain amount of space free to upload their music, which frankly isn’t much but users can also connect to their friends, make new friends, make playlists, join groups and discovery new music.

It’s all that’s offered beyond music upload that makes this app so cool. It’s like a GoodReads for music, and it’s power lies in the community using it.

Soundcloud Android

 

How I’m using the Soundcloud App

 

I’ve been using SoundCloud to follow a couple of friends whose musical tastes I love, I’ve also been discovering a little music on my own, though most of this is artists I already love. The new ones I’ve been finding via friends and curators like ‘A Song A Day’.

Soundcloud Android

 

My thoughts on the Soundcloud App

 

Over the last few months I’ve come to like SoundCloud a lot, it’s become my music listening source at almost all times (except when there’s no internet).

There’s one downside though. I wish there was a way to get the app to take some of that music offline, it could be DRMed and all that, I don’t care, but it’d be nice to have my music available even then the internet is on the blink, plus I’d not have streaming lags.

How do you discover new music? What’s your favourite music app? Are you on SoundCloud? Drop me a friend request. :)

 

App details and link

 
Soundcloud Android

Stars – ★★★★☆
Developer – SoundCloud
Devices – Android, IOS
Size – 21M
Installs – 100,000,000 – 500,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 15, 2016   No Comments

Loose Notes: Google Keep App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Google Keep Android

I am a note taker, I don’t like cluttering my mind with data and so I try to write down as much as I can. (I find it free’s my mind) Give me directions to a place and I’ll write it down, packing to travel – I’ll create a checklist first, saw something interesting – I’ll save a photo, come across a gardening tip – immediate notes made, the list goes on.

I’ve filled note books over the years with all this stuff and the notebooks would be filled with little pieces of paper too as I’d take notes on them when I didn’t have the note book handy. I sound a bit crazy, don’t I? :)

But then I came across Google Keep. This little nifty app is an excellent note taker, one that can be used as, just a post-it or it can be used to write extensive notes.

Google Keep Android

 

What the Google Keep App’s supposed to do

 

Google Keep is an app that comes inbuilt on most Android phones today. It’s a notes app that allows you to make short notes or long notes based on what you want. You can type or copy and paste text on to a note or between notes.

You can create checklists on the note, make a voice note, add photos to the note, draw in a note, use a marker on a note, and even use a highlighter in the note.

You can also label and colour code notes to make them easier to find and sort. Notes can also be moved around and reordered. All notes sync to your Google account so they are always safe and backed-up.

Google Keep Android

 

How I’m using the Google Keep App

 

I use Keep for just about everything I need to note down. Movies I’ve watched this year, books recommended to me, birds I saw on my last holiday, a poster I saw and want to follow-up, a packing checklist, the dogs weights month on month,… You get the idea.

I even write blog posts on Keep sometimes when I’m away from home and have a little time and the phone handy. And I’ve stopped taking visiting cards from people; when they give me their card, I take a picture and add it to my Rolodex note on Keep, the cards are less likely to get lost this way and are always accessible.

I have a lot of notes, so I use labels and colours for them. Colours are a easy way to find a note, especially one you lookup often. I use colours as tags to add more functionality to my labels.

Google Keep Android

 

My thoughts on the Google Keep App

 

I’ve used quite a few note taking apps but Google Keep is my favourite, it’s simple, clean and easy to use. Plus it has so much functionality packed into one little app. It also syncs to the cloud and is available offline without taking up too much space.

It lets me do everything I’d want to do when making a note. I can add text, a photo, a checklist, highlights, a voice note and even draw. Awesome sauce isn’t it!

 

App details and link

 
Google Keep Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Google Inc.
Devices – Android, IOS
Installs – 50,000,000 – 100,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 14, 2016   2 Comments

Keep it Safe: Dropbox App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Dropbox Android

About 5 years back I lost my phone at my brothers wedding reception. I still remember that evening, that frantic searching and the heart break when we didn’t find it.

It wasn’t the loss of the phone I mourned, it was the loss of all those moments I had captured, all those photos I had taken and videos I’d recorded that made me sad. I’d lost all the images I’d captured over a three day wedding. It was all gone.

Today I don’t think I’ll feel so bad if I lost or broke my phone. Well, I would feel bad about losing it or having to spend to buy a new one 😉 , but I won’t be mopping about my photos because they are all safe. Ah well, at least most of them will be.

Dropbox Android

 

What the Dropbox App’s supposed to do

 

Dropbox is a service that saves your files in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about losing them when a phone is lost, a computer crashes or a hard disk fails. The files in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere and any device by logging in.

You can auto sync certain folders and apps on your phone so your data stays always backed up on dropbox. Free accounts come with 2GB of space.

The service also allows you to create a special folder on your computer that stays constantly synced with the cloud. What this means is that if you have set up your photos to sync with your dropbox account, then when you login to your computer the pictures will all be there on your computer too.

Dropbox Android

 

How I’m using the Dropbox App

 

I use dropbox to sync all my photos and videos from the phone. I now have a pro account but for almost 3 years I used the free account. Since I would run out of space in the free account, I would regularly copy the files out of my synced folder on the computer and empty it. That way I’d free up space for the phone to save more photos on the cloud again.

I also use the dropbox account to view other files I’ve saved there for on-the-go access, and I even share files with people through the service.

Apart from photos there are also other apps that backup on Dropbox so I know that my data is safe at all times and that losing a phone today does not mean I lose all my data.

Dropbox Android

 

My thoughts on the Dropbox App

 

This is a very useful app/service for so many reasons and it has so many uses. But the very first reason that led me to use it, which is still my most important reason, is it’s ability to save my photos on the cloud and keep them safe from loss.

 

App details and link

 
Dropbox Android

Stars – ★★★★☆
Developer – Dropbox, Inc.
Devices – Android, IOS
Size – 41M
Installs – 500,000,000 – 1,000,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 13, 2016   2 Comments

Justify The Costs: Toshl App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Toshl Android

Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about money and one of the first lessons is that you should keep track of it. 😀

Keeping track money in a bank account is easy, if you spend from the bank via a cheque or debit card, the bank tracks it and you know at all times where your money got spent. If you spend it on a credit card, then when the bill arrives you know.

But tracking cash in hand is cumbersome, all those little day to day expenses like buying groceries, fuelling up the car, paying the house-help, buying take-away,… etc. Tracking these small expenses that don’t got through the bank or card is tough.

The old school method was to maintain a little notebook, or well, you could use an excel sheet. But it’s still cumbersome and here’s where Toshl comes in. This little app sits on the phone and allows you to enter every little expense with just a few taps and you usually always have your phone so you can make entries as you pay.

Toshl Android

 

What the Toshl App’s supposed to do

 

On Toshl you make an entry of the amount, the date, the tag for the expense and any comments you want to add. All entries show up in the app and can be sorted based on tag or date.

You can also enter your income, track your spending and set a budget. There are also options to change dates of your financial month and change your currency. Changing currency works great when you are travelling, for example when we were travelling through Thailand I made my entries in Thai Baht.

The app also has a website so you can access all your entries there too, and even can export the data.

Recently the app has been updated and it’s become even more powerful. It now also allows you to enter withdrawals from multiple bank accounts, track card expenditures, note incomes, etc. and even has categories layered with tags. All your expenses at your fingertips.

Toshl Android

 

How I’m using the Toshl App

 

I have been using Toshl for over four years now and since I started using it, I’ve given up on that little notebook I carried everywhere. And we’ve been pro account users for almost 3 years, though even the free version is great!

Tracking little expenses is easy, I go to buy groceries and make note right at the cash counter on Toshl, or any other shop for that matter. If I can’t remember how much I paid for something, the data is right there on my phone, I just have to look it up. And I can check anytime on how much I spent in a month on various things, like groceries, medicines, bills, etc.

I also love the wacky messages it pops up when syncing. 😀

Toshl Android

 

My thoughts on the Toshl App

 

Toshl makes tracking expenses so easy and since it’s on the phone I can enter the expense immediately. That means I don’t have to sit at the end of each day and think where and what I spent on.

The data I look at each month is really helpful, like a couple of years ago we got a shock when we saw how much we had spent on eating out. Goes without saying the next month we clamped down on it.

This is a great app to track all that doesn’t get tracked by your bank. All that cash, well now you can follow it and know exactly where it went.

How do you track your expenses?

 

App details and link

 
Toshl Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Toshl Inc.
Devices – Android, IOS
Size – 4.2M
Installs – 1,000,000 – 5,000,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 12, 2016   2 Comments

Instant Save, Read Later: Instapaper App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge

Instapaper Android

I still remember the days of paper clippings; it was just a couple of weeks ago that I decluttered and threw out tons of paper clippings I had collected over the years from newspapers and magazines. That was how you saved an article to read later in the old school method.

Times have changed through and now I read mostly on the internet. There can be no paper clippings here and printouts just make for a lot of bulk and paper wasted. I miss the fun of cutting up newsprint but well… got to move with the times.

I’ve tried various ways to save articles to read later over the years, excel sheets, browser bookmarks, Del.icio.us, and more. But what it’s Instapaper that is my current favourite.

Instapaper Android

 

What the Instapaper App’s supposed to do

 

Instapaper is a simple save now read later system. You install the extension on you browser and the app on your phone and tablet and your ready to start saving. When you come across an article that interests you that you’d like to save for later, use the extension or share to app to save it.

At your convenience open the app and all your articles are lined up there to read. Instapaper syncs between all devices so you can read anywhere. You can even push articles to your kindle.

Articles get saved in a clean, simple, decluttered manner to make for easy reading. The font size changeable and you can mark the articles as read, liked, archived, or deleted. Articles can also be sorted and filtered.

Instapaper Android

 

How I’m using the Instapaper App

 

I push a lot of articles I come across to Instapaper both from my phone and browser, either because it’s too long to read immediately or I’m in the middle of something else when I find it.

Once it’s in my Instapaper account, there’s no rush, I can read on my time and then take appropriate action – share it, delete it, save it for future reference,…

I have the app installed on my phone, the extension on my browser and the Kindle push setup, so on matter where, I can read at ease.

Instapaper Android

 

My thoughts on the Instapaper App

 

Another app that’s a must have on my list. Instapaper is my go to service to save articles to read later. Saving is simple and easy. Reading is decluttered and clean. And it’s option to push to Kindle is an additional plus!

Do you also use Instapaper? Do you find it useful? Or do you use something else to save for later reading?

 

App details and link

 
Instapaper Android

Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Instapaper Holdings, Inc
Devices – Android, IOS
Size – Varies with device
Installs – 100,000 – 500,000
Link – Android Store | iTunes Store

April 11, 2016   4 Comments