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SpaFinder Helps You Get a Dose of R&R

By on Oct 10, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

Most modern adults lead far busier lives than previous generations. With many homes requiring two incomes in order to stay afloat these days, the separate spheres of work and home of old, whereby men went to work and brought home a paycheck and women ran the household and raised the kids, are a thing of the past. No longer are these duties split between the sexes now that both adults in the home have to hold a job and bring home the bacon. As a result, each spouse (or parent) must now take on the duties of both breadwinner and homemaker, leaving little time for personal pursuits like hobbies, down time, or sleep, just for example. Add to that the competitive job market, which means most people are willing to work overtime and weekends in order to keep a job, and the stress level can be astronomical. The point is that you could probably use a dose of rest and relaxation every now and then. And with a handy application like SpaFinder on your iPhone, you can get just what you’re looking for with ease. Whether you’d rather unwind with a massage, a facial, a scrub, or a seaweed body wrap, just for example, there are no doubt a number of spas in your area that can cater to your every need and offer you the type of pampering you prefer. But if you’re going to shell out the money for an extravagance like a day at the spa, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. So you might not feel comfortable flipping through the Yellow Pages and heading to the spa nearest you. You’ll probably want to comparison shop for services, pricing, and of course, customer reviews. SpaFinder provides all of this and more in an application that’s free to download. You can certainly start by seeking out spas that are closest in proximity to your current location (home, work, etc.), but you can also search by a number of criteria, including location (such as zip code), specific treatments you’re seeking, and price, just for starters. Your results will populate on a map (or in list form, if you prefer) and you can select tagged locations in order to get more information, including basics like address and phone number, as well as directions, an overview of the business, a menu of services, pricing information, reviews, and even deals, discounts, and specials being offered. But it gets better than that. Once you’ve found day spas in Needham, New York City, or your local region that seem appealing, the app offers you the option to book an appointment with a few simple taps. All you have to do is hit the “book now” button and enter information as prompted to reserve your preferred appointment time and date at the spa of your choice. And with new discounts being offered all the time, you’re sure to find a great deal on whatever services you’d like to try from spas that come recommended by other users. In short, it’s a great way for the harried, modern adult to get away from the stresses of work and home life for a little while and procure a little much-needed pampering. The fact that SpaFinder streamlines the process means your stress-free experience starts the minute you decide to search for a...

Cutie Monsters Makes Counting Fun

By on Sep 7, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

In years past, parents have relied on all kinds of toys and texts to help them help their kids learn to read and count. But these days, a set of wooden blocks, while still useful, is a little outdated. Thanks to advances in technology, there are now much more accessible and mobile tools available to parents and their children. And with no shortage of educational apps geared towards children as young as infants, you’ll have no trouble finding options that can help your kids through the complex process of growth and development. Even better, there are all kinds of applications designed for educational purposes, and if your toddler is just starting to learn numbers, the Cutie Monsters Jigsaw Puzzles app for the iPhone and iPad should be at the top of your list. At $2.99 you might think this app is a bit expensive for a toddler. But there’s a reason it was awarded the honor of Excellence in Design by the Children’s Technology Review in 2013. In fact, there are several reasons. First and foremost, kids will be delighted by the creative and adorable monsters (Blobby, Blushy, Toothy, and others) designed to help them learn the numbers 1 through 10. Each number gets its own star treatment with pages that help kids learn to identify numbers by sight, sound, and counting objects. But there’s a lot more to this app than simply teaching young users how to count to ten. With 40 unique, illustrated pages, 20 interactive screens, and 9 jigsaw puzzles, there is a lot of opportunity for entertainment. But each portion of the app is designed with your child’s learning in mind, and the result is that children will work not only on counting, but also on fine motor skills (thanks to tapping and swiping), listening, observation, logic, the ability to match shapes and patterns, and even vocabulary. In addition to pages that introduce kids to numbers, each monster is divided into 3-6 pieces to form puzzles that toddlers can put together for fun without frustration. In addition, children can work on their reading and language skills with features that let them tap any word on the screen to hear it spoken aloud, or simply read by themselves. And the full soundtrack and fun sound effects make for a complete package. Of course, there are a few features that parents are sure to love, as well. Free updates and additional content are a major bonus, especially considering the cost of this app. But you’ll also appreciate the fact that Cutie Monsters is not only devoid of advertising, but it also has no outbound links for your kids to tap accidentally, taking themselves to outside websites or making purchases without your knowledge. It sounds like common sense in an application geared towards toddlers, but surprisingly few developers follow suit. While you’ll probably still rely on other toys like alphabet blocks and Baby Einstein toys and DVDs to help your kids develop their language, reading, and counting skills, it’s nice to know that there’s an app that your kids will love for the purpose of learning. And perhaps the best part is that you never have to search for it or pack it up as you run out the door. When you have the Cutie Monsters Jigsaw Puzzles app on your smartphone or tablet you can easily bring entertainment and education for your kids with you wherever you...

Entertain Your Tots With Babysitter2Go

By on Aug 26, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

Any parent that has ever been in public with a fussy baby or a rambunctious toddler knows the social anxiety that comes with taking kids in public. As if the stares from annoyed shoppers and diners weren’t enough, some people will even be so bold as to approach you and demand that you “control” your child, like you can somehow reason with a 2-year-old having a tantrum or an infant that can’t even speak yet, much less follow a directive! Although you hopefully realize that every parent has gone through the same thing, and simply let the stares and commentary roll off your back, the truth is that you might be looking for an easier way to diffuse the situation and enjoy your precious time away from home. And it just so happens that there’s an app for that. The aptly named Babysitter2Go application for your iPhone will set you back just 99 cents, and it’s worth every blessed penny for the peace of mind it delivers. You might not be the type of parent to plop your kid down in front of a TV, computer, or mobile device just to get a moment of respite, although really, you shouldn’t beat yourself up for wanting a break now and again – kids are a full-time job and then some. In any case, you’ll be glad to hear that Babysitter2Go is more than just flash to entrance your tots; it actually provides educational value for the youngsters in your household. And although it is recommended for kids ages four and up, user reviews recommend it for children much younger. Most agree that toddlers starting at the age of two can benefit from using this program, and one parent even admits that a 10-month-old is enthralled by the contents. In truth, infants probably won’t get much in the way or education out of Babysitter2Go simply because they aren’t yet geared towards the lessons it offers. However, they’ll likely enjoy the bright colors, fun graphics, music, and the ability to produce movement and sound every time they touch the screen or shake your handset. While you might want to get an Otterbox before you hand your precious device over to a baby, this app can provide your child with hours of entertainment and stop him from accidentally making calls or using your data minutes. And what’s even better is that your baby can grow into the application. Toddlers will benefit from the six interactive environments offered by Babysitter2Go. They can not only use the drawing mode to color animals and the rattle mode to play musical instruments by shaking your smartphone (two features that babies will love), but they can also start to benefit from interactive scenes with themes like Garden, Jungle, Ocean, and Naptime, which allow them to engage with the environment by tapping and swiping objects to produce a variety of results. And the addition of music and nursery rhymes only enhances the experience. So while you can offer Babysitter2Go to babies when they’re still in the crib, stroller, or baby play yard, you’ll find that as your infants grow and develop into toddlers, they’ll get even more from this fun and educational...

BiggerPockets: a Real Estate Forum for Everyone

By on Aug 26, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

There are few investments more assured of paying off than real estate. You could certainly find yourself in hot water if you’re not careful; if you buy at the height of the market and find that you have to sell in a downturn or you take out a variable rate loan when interest rates are rock bottom only plan for payments that reflect the current low price then you may not profit from your investment. But by and large, if you are smart about the investment you make and realistic about your plans for your property, chances are good that this tangible asset will pay off in the long run, and to the tune of thousands of dollars (or even hundreds of thousands) if you’re lucky. Of course, nobody starts out as an expert, so you may find yourself in need of some helpful hints or professional advice along the way. And it turns out that the knowledge you seek is only a tap away: it is for exactly this purpose that the BiggerPockets application was designed. If you’ve been interested in real estate for a while, then you may already be familiar with the website of the same name. BiggerPockets.com has become a popular resource for all things RE, with a member network 125,000 strong and 500,000+ unique visitors every month. And it’s really not surprising considering the targeted tools they provide. Whether you’re an agent, an investor, a first-time home buyer, or a real estate enthusiast of some stripe, this website can offer you access to tens of thousands of articles posted by pros, more than half a million forum posts, opportunities to make (and analyze) deals, advertising programs for business marketing purposes, and news related to the real estate marketplace. In short, it’s practically everything a motivated buyer or seller might need to ensure wise dealings in the housing market. Of course, the app doesn’t offer users all of the functionality provided by the website, but it definitely makes getting the information and advice you need a lot easier thanks to on-the-go access to searchable articles and forum posts that help to connect amateurs and pros alike. Say you’re looking for homes with swimming pools and you find one that looks good, for the right price, but the pool has been neglected. If you’re looking for advice on the cost and effort involved in rehabbing the pool, you can run a search for articles and forum posts related to your query or simply put it to the community at large by posting your own questions to the forum. And over time, you can share the wealth of your own knowledge, as well, helping other buyers in need. You’ll be happy to hear that this handy application is free to download for your iPhone, as are dozens of BiggerPockets podcasts posted on the iTunes store. While the app won’t provide you with MLS postings like Movoto, Zillow, or Trulia, it can definitely serve in a complimentary capacity by helping you to educate yourself about every aspect of the real estate purchasing process. Agents that want to provide the best service for their clients, investors looking for new ways to make their money work for them, and buyers seeking a dream home can all benefit from the collective knowledge offered by BiggerPockets. And considering you can take it with you from one property to then next, getting advice every step of the way, it’s one mobile app that no RE aficionado should leave home...

Disney Celebrates ‘Planes’ Film With New Storybook Deluxe App

By on Aug 12, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

It’s been a few years since Pixar’s successful release of ‘Cars’, an animated feature that took us inside the world of its titular characters, and the life of hotrod racecar Lightning McQueen, in particular. Of course, it was just a couple of years ago that the second iteration hit theaters, with McQueen and his comic relief, Mater, heading to the World Grand Prix. And now it seems that Disney is looking for a repeat performance, but on another plane. In fact, their latest animated feature is literally on a new plane thanks to a switch from a focus on motorized vehicles that race on tracks to a high-flying adventure that takes place in the air. And kids are sure to get on board with hero Dusty Crophopper, an unassuming crop duster that decides to try his luck at aerial racing. But Disney just wouldn’t be the company they are today without merchandising to go along with their latest flick. And instead of the tees and toys parents have come to expect, Disney has decided to rely on interactive technology to rake in consumer dollars in association with ‘Planes’. Don’t get the wrong idea: you’ll still be able to find plenty of branded toys, apparel, and decor related to the release of the movie, just like every other Disney product. But the company has also made a bid to enter the technology arena by creating interactive experiences that allow kids to immerse themselves in the world of ‘Planes’ to a degree unparalleled by their other releases. For example, at least one toy made in collaboration with Mattel, the Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Radio Control Plane, allows kids to make the toy mimic their movements. Thanks to the “role-play” remote control, the plane moves when they move their body. And then there’s the U-Command Super Charged Dusty (made by Thinkway) that lets kids program 10 different buttons so that Dusty will move and speak at their command. Of course, the cream of the crop in Disney’s latest lineup of merchandise may be the Planes: Storybook Deluxe app, currently available for $6.99 on the iTunes store for the iPhone or iPad. The idea is fairly simple and straightforward, but no less genius for it. The application basically follows the storyline of the movie, with a narrator taking users through 41 separate story screens. But unlike your average reading experience, this one provides you with the ability to tap the interface in order to watch animations, see clips from the film, or even compete in races thanks to the “tilt-and-play” feature. In short, this app provides users with a truly interactive experience that centers on the same storytelling that most parents would get through a standard paper book. The concept takes reading to a whole new level, creating an immersive experience that pairs the activities parents prefer (reading) with the technological pursuits kids love (playing with mobile devices). It’s the best of both worlds, and Disney may be the first company to really pull it off, especially in association with a branded product. As a result, the Planes: Storybook Deluxe application is likely to end up on plenty of lists for the top holiday toys of 2013, and it seems likely to get more use than fifty-dollar toys that your kids will play with a couple of times before relegating them to the...

Cramberry Helps Students Study

By on Jul 6, 2013 in iPhone Apps |

Before long, every student comes to the realization that keeping up with college coursework is a lot tougher than high school. While students that take AP classes are likely better prepared for this tough reality, still there is a difference between taking one or two advanced prep courses amidst a lighter schedule and taking a full load at the university level. Although you can certainly set up your days so that you only have two or three classes, unlike the 7am to 3pm routine that high schools employ, still you have to figure that every hour spent in class will result in three hours of homework on average once you start your higher education. And a lot of your time will be spent in study and memorization as preparation for exams. Luckily, the Cramberry app aims to help iPhone and iPad users by providing a quick and easy method of absorbing information. Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent hours laboriously writing out flashcards by hand before you could even start flipping through them to begin your actually studying. We’ve all been there. Cramberry has you covered in this respect. The app is not only free to download, but it comes with an absolute wealth of flashcards already at your fingertips. The program is ostensibly designed to allow you to make your own flashcards dependent on the subject and material you need to learn for a given course or a specific exam. But thanks to sharing via the associated website (cramberry.net), users can post their flashcards online for everyone to peruse. The result is that there are now over a million ready-made flashcards for users to download and flip through for free. These cards span every topic imaginable, from core subjects like math, science, history, and English to electives like foreign languages. You could learn medical abbreviations and accounting formulas if you wanted to. And everything posted on the site is provided for free, by and for the Cramberry community. Of course, you might find that you learn better through creating your own flashcards. Although this can be a tedious task in any medium, the digital format certainly makes it quicker and easier than handwriting cards. This allows you to put terminology and concepts into your own words for improved retention. But that’s not all the app has to offer. It is also designed to make your study process more efficient. It does this by using an algorithm that tracks your progress as you “flip” through your virtual card sets and reintroduces cards that you need to study further. So it actually does some of the dirty work for you. Cramberry claims to help students study less and remember more. While that may depend largely on the user, the truth is that it can definitely help you to cut back on the amount of time you spend creating flashcards and cycling through them. For the harried student that barely has time to sleep, this is a major draw. Whether you’re attending Harvard Law, Washington State University, or an online MBA program, Cramberry is one app that can offer truly useful functionality that saves both time and money (no more buying flashcards!). In short, it’s a...