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Monthly Archives: November 2016

  • How To Use GIF Keyboard (iOS)

    How To Use GIF Keyboard (iOS)

    The world of texting has changed much since I first began using a cell phone many years ago. While the early days only allowed you to express yourself with simple smiley faces like :) or =) or even XD, things are much more sophisticated now. These days, there’s a whole world of stickers and emojis available to convey your thoughts and feelings. But now, technology has jumped even further. We are now able to communicate through GIFs. You know what that means. The day has come where you can finally text someone that GIF of Spider Man dancing whenever you’d like. What a time to be alive. Now, for those who don’t know, a GIF is a short, looping video image without sound. So it’s like those moving pictures from the newspapers in Harry Potter. Kind of. Let’s take a look at how you can send GIFs using GIF Keyboard for iOS.


    What Is GIF Keyboard?

    Much like the previously reviewed BitMoji app, GIF Keyboard is an application that acts as an alternative to your standard emojis. However, GIF keyboard specializes in providing a GIF for any mood. Feeling extremely happy? There’s GIFs to represent that. Feeling a bit down? There’s GIFs for that. Angry that somebody ate that slice of pizza you were saving? There’s probably a GIF for that.


    How Do You Use It?

    Before you start sending GIFs to all your friends, you simply need to set GIF Keyboard as one of your main keyboards. You can do this by going to the keyboard section in your general settings, looking at the current keyboards you’re using, and tapping “Add New Keyboard”. After you choose GIF Keyboard, you’re all ready to start providing the world with plenty of wonderful GIFs. Like that one with the smiling dog. I like that one.


    Is There Anything Else?

    However, it’s not as simple as tapping a GIF to send it. Once you tap the one you’d like to send, it immediately copies to your clipboard. After that, you simply need to paste it into the message section, hit send, and comprehend that we are truly living in the future.

  • How To Use Drum Set Pro (Windows)

    How To Use Drum Set Pro (Windows)

    The drums are easily one of my favorite instruments. They add a great backbone to a song and can really spice up an instrumental section with some handy fills. I still remember my early days of learning drums. And annoying everybody in the house. However, if there was an app to play drums when I was young, perhaps it wouldn’t have been so obnoxious. Well, considering I learned drums before smartphones even came out, I guess that would have been difficult. But let’s look at Drum Set Pro for Windows phones anyways, shall we?


    What Is Drum Set Pro?

    This may come as a surprise, but Drum Set Pro for Windows phones is a drumset app. I know, it’s a shocker, right? I’ve played a few instrument simulator apps in my day so I’m pretty well versed on the subject. In fact, I still remember the first time I tried out GarageBand and thought I would use it to create an epic rock opera. Hey, it could still happen.


    How Do You Use It?

    Much like most other instrument simulator apps, Drum Set Pro gets right to the action. You’re presented with two different options: a standard drum kit or an electric pad kit. Both will sound basically the same, but you have more options when it comes to cymbals and additional drums with the standard kit. You can also record your beats by hitting the record button and listen to them by hitting the play button.


    The Bottom Line

    Drum Set Pro is about as basic as you can get when it comes to simulating an instrument. Which isn’t a bad thing, as simplicity is welcome when it comes to playing around with different sounds. However, there’s definitely some things that could use improvement. For example, an ad will often be covering up part of the drumset, making it difficult to use the lower drums. Additionally, after you record your beat, there’s not much you can do with it. If these options were fixed, I could see myself jamming away on the go much more with the app. Do kids still say jamming?

  • Windows Phone Users Blocked By Google?

    Windows Phone Users Blocked By Google?

    It’s pretty well known that there’s some stiff competition between mobile companies. Between Google’s Android phones, Apple’s iOS devices, and Windows Phones, all three are fighting for the throne in the smartphone business. But is there some foul play going on? Is it possible that these companies battling for domination would try to make things more difficult for people using other devices? Are we all just pawns in some game? Well, that’s a topic for another article. But today, let’s talk about a supposed problem with a suppose platform caused by a supposed company. Supposedly.


    What’s Happening?

    Apparently, users of the Windows 10 Mobile system have had a bit of difficulty using their Google services on the platform. While this may not sound too important to the casual user, there are many people that have quite a few things tied to their Google accounts. Everything from important documents and dates to your email can be attached to your Google account, meaning it’s pretty vital to be able to use them when needed.


    What Does This Mean?

    Not to get too conspiracy theory-ish on you, but some people may believe that Google may be blocking Windows users on purpose. While the company has denied such claims, they have admitted there was an issue with the format that is now fixed. So mystery solved. Or is it?! (Que dramatic music.)


    The Bottom Line

    Personally, I find it a bit hard to believe that a company such as Google would do something to intentionally punish people for using non-Android devices. However, I also didn’t think I would like cantaloupe until I tried it. So what do I know? The important thing is that the issue has been fixed and we can all go on with our lives. Unless this kind of thing happens again. Then I’ll just write another article about it.


  • How To Use Baristame (Android)

    How To Use Baristame (Android)

    I’m going to be absolutely honest with you, I love coffee. I drink it in the morning. I drink it at night. I would freeze it and eat it like a popsicle if I could. Actually, what’s holding me back from that? I should get an ice tray and a pot of coffee right now! Fine, I’ll do it after I write this article. Despite my love of coffee, I don’t know too much about how to make fancy coffee drinks such as lattes and mochas. If only there was an app to teach me…. Oh wait, there is. And I’m reviewing it today. It’s called Baristame. And it’s for Android devices. OK, I’ll stop with the short sentences.


    What Is Baristame?

    Baristame is an app that teaches you about coffee drinks beyond your basic coffee pot. Everything from mochas to affogatos are featured in the app. What is an affogato? I have no idea. At least I didn’t until I downloaded this app.


    How Do You Use It?

    The joy of using baristame is all in its simplicity. After you open the app, there are quite a few options available to you. One section highlights various drinks and how to make them. The next section showcases interesting facts about coffee itself. And, finally, the last section showcases how to brew different types of coffee. So it taught me three things I don’t know in one simple use. I’d say that’s worth the price of admission.


    The Bottom Line

    I must say, I was very impressed with the Baristame app. Not only was I learning how to make different types of coffee that I would never have been able to figure out on my own, the app was teaching me information about the importance of beans, where coffee comes from, and interesting roasting info. Meaning I finally have something to talk about at dinner parties.

  • How To Use Keezy Drummer (iOS)

    How To Use Keezy Drummer (iOS)

    As somebody that loves playing drums, I can honestly say I’ve never been that much into drum apps. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of being able to play drums on the go. But there’s a difference between rocking out with sticks and cymbals and tapping on your phone. However, today’s app is going to be a little bit different. But I’m not going to tell you why just yet. I’m trying to build up some anticipation here. So let’s take a look at the Keezy Drummer app for iOS devices.


    What Is Keezy Drummer?

    The Keezy Drummer app isn’t like most drum apps I’ve tried before. You see, most drum apps will give you a digital drum kit that will produce different sounds based on which drum you tap. However, Keezy Drummer plays the drums for you. You see, it’s more of a “beat maker” than an actual drum simulator. I’ll explain a bit more in the next section.


    How Do You Use It?

    Instead of giving you a digital drum kit, Keezy Drummer presents you with sixteen different dots. Depending on which dots you tap in, a sound will be produced when the beat comes up. In other words, it’s kind of like a much simpler version of GarageBand. Additionally, you can increase the speed by tapping on the diamond in the lower left corner. Between these two options and the variety of sounds, you can create some pretty interesting beats.


    How Is The App?

    I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed Keezy after playing around with it. While it’s not exactly the most refined app for creating drum sounds, it definitely benefits from simplicity. I could even see it being a great way to help make raps and rhymes. If only I was good at those things...

  • How To Use Autodesk Sketchbook (iOS)

    Drawing is very fun. Whether you’re just doodling in your notebook during a boring meeting or are sketching a detailed self portrait of yourself to give to someone for their birthday (not that I’ve done that before or anything…), it’s always a blast to use the artistic part of your mind. However, in an increasingly digital world, how do you fulfill your need to draw and doodle the day away? Well, as it turns out, there’s an app that allows you to enjoy the fun of art without the risk of paper cuts. Let’s take a look at Autodesk Sketchbook for iOS devices.


    What Is Autodesk Sketchbook?

    So, as I somewhat alluded to (somewhat), Autodesk Sketchbook is a drawing app. Now, I should let you know, I’ve used some drawing apps in my day. And, from my experience, I can tell you that there is quite a range of quality. While some are genuinely useful drawing tools, others are like much worse versions of Microsoft Paint. Where does this app rank on the spectrum of drawing applications? Well, let’s see how to use it first in the handy, dandy, informative and iconic “How Do You Use It?” section.


    How Do You Use It?

    Autodesk Sketchbook throws you right into the action as soon as you start it up. You’re immediately presented with all the essential drawing tools, such as different pens and color palettes. Additionally, by pressing the top right button, you can see different layers of the image, similar to Photoshop. You can also share your creation by hitting the top left options section and choosing “Share”. Clearly, I’m going to show my amazing cat drawing off to the world.


    The Bottom Line

    Overall, I really enjoy Autodesk Sketchbook. The app has a sleek, simple design that allows for simple sketching on the go. One of my only issues with the app is that it doesn’t introduce you to the tools perfectly. In other words, I spent way too much time looking for the eraser. Perhaps just a simple tutorial or how-to section would improve the experience.

  • How To Use Water Drink Reminder Android

    How To Use Water Drink Reminder (Android)

    Drinking water is not the easiest thing to remember to do. When you’ve spent the day making coffee, chugging coffee, and making more coffee, it’s pretty simple to forget that your body needs water as well. But how do you remember? Do you tie a ribbon around your finger? Do you write on your hand in permanent marker? Do you create a device that will give you a small electric shock each time you forget to drink water? Well, that would actually probably work pretty well. But hurt. So let’s talk about the Water Drink Reminder app for Android devices instead, shall we?



    What Is The Water Drink Reminder?

    The Water Drink Reminder, as you can guess, is an app to help you learn to drink water. I guess that’s pretty self explanatory, huh? I just usually have this section so I thought I’d include it here. Anyways - moving on!



    How Do You Use The Water Drink Reminder?

    The joy of the Water Drink Reminder is how little you really have to do. After inputting some simple information such as weight and sleeping schedule, you’re directed to the main menu. There, you input whenever you drink a glass of water, with different options depending on the container size. After you input the last drink of water you had, the app will remind you the next time you need to take a drink. It’s like having a personal assistant that’s obsessed with hydration!



    Should You Download It?

    My time with Water Drink Reminder was very helpful. It actually prompted me to drink much more water than regular, even getting to the recommended daily amount. And, as I’m more of a coffee and soda person, I think that’s pretty incredible. Best of all, it’s free! Kind of like water. Well, not that fancy bottled water. But I’m not going to go on a whole rant about that.

  • Fun Run iOS Review

    They say not to judge a book by its cover. Well, that is pretty true. But it also applies to mobile games. Usually from the little thumbnail you can tell what kind of game it’ll be and even if it’s going to be any good. Other times, mobile games are a bit more surprising. Enter Fun Run for iOS. When I first downloaded Fun Run I thought “Oh boy, this will just be another run-of-the-mill platforming game or endless runner that will be full of generic cuddly creatures.” Well, I was kind of right. Let me explain. In review form.



    The Basics

    As the name implies, Fun Run is a racing game. You play online with other racers to finish first, playing as cute, cuddly creatures. Pretty much sounds like you’d think it would be, right? Well, the more I played, the more I realized something: this game is actually pretty violent. I saw the screen covered in blood, the cuddly creatures struck by lightning, and heads rolling around. Not exactly the kid-friendly little app I expected.



    The Gameplay

    Outside of the strange amount of violence (which I will continue to be disturbed by later) let’s talk about the actual gameplay. The game actually plays kind of like a 2D version of Mario Kart. You collect items to attack other racers or speed up. Do you know what wasn’t in Mario Kart though? Blood and guts. Sorry, I’ll stop talking about it. Until the next section at least.



    Is Is Fun?

    Like I said, Fun Run took some of the basic aspects of Mario Kart and put them in a 2D world. Which I admit is actually a pretty interesting concept. It plays decently well, but lacks much personality. The characters look like generic clip art, and the levels lack much environmentally. I wonder if that’s why they threw in that violence. They thought maybe it would spice things up a bit. Well, then, job well done, makers of Fun Run.



    The Bottom Line

    Fun Run is a decently fun game with some problems and overall strangeness. The characters and environments lack much life, and the obstacles can be a little random at times. The bloody parts of the game just came off as weird, especially since nothing else in this game is remotely adult. Maybe if it was called “XTREME Fun Run 18+ Up To The XTREME”, but not when it's just called Fun Run.

  • Best Google Account Apps

    When you look across the spectrum of email companies, there really isn’t that much unique to offer. (10,000 free AOL hours, anyone? Am I the only person that remembers that?) Google, on the other hand, has plenty available when you sign up for Gmail. When you sign up for a Google account, you get instant access to a large number of Google’s useful apps. Many of these are already included in a suite of apps on your Android device. So if you’re still using, it might be time to upgrade to Google accounts. Here are a few of my favorite apps Google has to offer for Android devices.



    GMail (Obviously)

    Okay, this one’s a pretty obvious choice. But let’s be honest. It’s a great email service. It’s got a sleek but customizable appearance, plenty of storage, and a great organization feature. Additionally, it has amazing filters when it comes to junk mail. Which means you won’t have to see three “special offer” emails every day just because you signed up for a rewards card at a frozen yogurt stand.



    Google Maps

    Have you ever watched an older movie where somebody is trying to navigate with a little paper map? What a dark time in our history. I personally just wouldn’t have left the house. Thankfully, I live in a time where Google Maps is easily integrated with my account. While it has all the basic features such as general mapping and GPS, it’s the memory that is Google Maps’ best feature. Because it’s attached to my Google account, the app remembers all the locations I’ve previously searched. Which means I won’t have to embarrassingly ask my parents what their address is for the 50th time.



    Google Drive

    Before I discovered Google Drive, my home computer was a mess. I would save a document to the desktop, forget about it, and let them all pile up. I was a document hoarder, a danger to myself. But since adopting the wonderful tool of Google Drive, I’ve become a master of organization. The only drawback to the app is you will also need the Docs application in order to edit documents on your Android device. However, that’s a pretty small price to pay. Sure, I’m still a slob in real life, but my Drive has made my collection of documents clean and organized. And if you saw my room, you’d know it’s a miracle that any aspect of my life is in order.




    The days of Youtube being the highway to nothing but cat videos and “fail” videos are long gone. It is now a wonderful void where you can get caught up for hours. Well, more so than before. Thankfully, having a Google account, you can subscribe to all your favorite content creators to keep up with their newest uploads. Plus, it saves your past searches and history if you need to rewatch something. So if you need to watch a tutorial every time you tie a tie, it’s got you covered. Not that I know that feeling from experience or anything.

  • Are Paid Android Apps Really Worth It?

    “Oh, it costs $.99? Nevermind”

    -Everybody that’s ever owned a device

    If you own a smartphone, chances are you have a bevy of apps. And chances are most of those apps are free. And with good reason! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve perused the Google Play Store to leave with handfuls of free apps. Some useful, some definitely not. (I’m looking at you, Bruh Button)

    Most of these free apps will either make their profits through ads or the dreaded in-app purchases. However, sometimes we all feel the temptation to check out the “Paid” section of the Google Play Store to see what people actually pay for. So let’s take a look at what apps people buy and if it’s worth it.



    In the “Top Paid” section of the Google Play Store, I’ve noticed that most of the apps available are games. From Final Fantasy to Minecraft, tons of games are available for various prices. In my many years of Android usage, I have purchased one game: Monopoly. It’s made quite a few of those bus rides go by a lot quicker. And I’ve become a champion of Park Place. So I can honestly say I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I’d say most paid games are going to be that way. It all comes down to how much you want to play Sonic The Hedgehog on your phone.




    If you’re like me, assisting productivity may be worth shelling out a few bucks for. The only productivity app I’ve paid for, the Writing Challenge app, has been very useful. However, the rest of the paid productivity apps are a total mixed bag. Everything from notepads to battery savers and even calculators were available. While each had their own particular benefits, I personally could not see myself purchasing them. As a true cheap college graduate who no longer uses math, I can get by without spending three dollars on a calculator app. But that’s just me.



    Alarm Clocks?!

    That’s right, alarm clocks. For all the games that are popularly purchased, there’s a few alarm clocks throughout as well. While this may sound pretty unbelievable, there are a few apparent benefits to these paid alarm clocks. For example, the $1 Sleep Cycle app actually analyzes your sleep while also performing alarm duties. And then there’s other paid alarm clocks whose only apparent benefit seems to be a built-in weather function. No comment.



    You Get What You Pay For

    The quality of your apps will depend on the looseness of your wallet. If you want a well-rounded application with no ads or paywall, the option is there. However, there are plenty of free options on Google Play. Games, productivity apps, and especially alarm clocks are free and rampant. If you’re okay with sacrificing a little quality and seeing some insurance ads, just go freebie. There’s no shame either way.

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