You’ve no doubt recently sampled a variety of online countdowns, re-hashing the best and brightest of 2013. While the boys and I at www.brusmedia.com hate to jump on an already rolling bandwagon (we like to build our own runaway vehicles), here are five apps that absolutely rocked our year, last year!
Think about the capacity of your phone. It’s not like you’re hauling around your professional and personal life, right? Wrong. We’ve moved on from the time of calls, texts and the occasional happy snap, carrying our smart phones close to our hands at all times. As office apps make spreadsheets, documents and PDF’s accessible, and banking apps can be found on almost any device, the amount of sensitive information we carrying with us day to day is enough to transpose our identities and put our livelihoods at risk. Dropbox automatically saves and syncs files between all networked devices, ensuring what happens on your phone doesn’t stay there.
Price: Free (2GB); $9.99 per month (100GB)
Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry
Keeping youngsters away from smartphones and the internet is no easy task, and well in all fairness, you shouldn’t even be trying to do that. Yes there is no denying the unsafe nature of internet and how it can expose kids to all kinds of bad stuff. But simply imposing a ban on technology is hardly the solution. There is no need to go to such an extreme. Instead, use parental control apps to filter out the harmful content from the web. And this brings us to ShieldMyTeen, an Android app that is designed to counter the negative aspects of internet in order to make it more child-friendly. It uses a category-based blocking system to restrict access to content and websites that you deem inappropriate for your kids, be it pornography, drugs, violence, gambling, or some other vice. It even lets you go one step further and block websites like Facebook and YouTube in case you feel your kids are wasting too much time on them. They won’t let you off the hook easily though, so be sure to come up with a good and convincing explanation to pacify their angry reaction in case you limit their online freedom to such an extent.
Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’re sitting at your desk, on a bus, in a taxi or struggling to balance lunch with a deadline and an idea strikes; it’s perfect and raw, something to ponder but you don’t have a pen in your hand, much less a scrap of paper. Evernote is a digital jotter, accessible on every device compatible with this brilliant app, including a laptop, phone, phablet or tablet. It’s more than a notepad however, Evernote also acts as a Dictaphone, a scrapbook and a pinboard for image and photographs.
Price: Free; $5.00 per month (Premium)
Platforms: Blackberry, iOS, Android, Windows
Every phone can send a text, there’s no doubt about it; from the first “flip phones” to the old knock-around Nokia’s most older Y’s and younger X’s had growing up, there was always a capacity to communicate via messaging. Though Twitter may claim a current hold on brevity, texting has come a long way since the initial 140 character limit. WhatsApp is part of that evolution, an app based service allowing users to distribute rich content, including stickers, info, pics and short snippets. You can chat to large groups of friends, colleagues or even organise a party in one central location – your phone.
Price: $0.99c Android, $0.99 (iOS), Windows (Free), Blackberry (Free)
So you’ve signed up for Facebook, you’re tweeting away with the blue birds of Twitter and you’ve managed to sign up to Google Plus, mostly because of rankings and the sage words of Matt Cutts. But what about Vine? Six seconds to impress, entertain and tickle a global audience with your antics; it’s not simply a case of recording whatever random silliness you can cook up, as the editing controls are sophisticated enough to allow for a bit of elementary creativity; while the video length is short, there are millions of ways to share and gain a following worth noting. Before you dismiss Vine as another soon-to-be has-been, take a break from snap chatting and get your head around this fun fact: Vine was awarded the fourth place position in iPhone downloads in 2013. Think about how many iPhones there are in the world? Yeah, not to mention Android!
Platform: Android, iOS, Windows
Do you have a mate who absolutely bites the big one when it comes to paying back a loan or returning the twenty bucks you shelled out last week? Everyone does. While all of us are naturally forgetful sometimes, make sure promises to pay you back later don’t translate to, I’ll pay you back with love and pictures of cat memes. Venmo allows people to contact their money sieving friends and nudge them for that Friday night fifty without seeming like a complete penny pinching douchebag. If you are one of those guys (yeah, one of THOSE guys or girls) who routinely borrows cash from good friends or family, Venmo allows you to make good on your promises without the processing fee or necessity of, I’ll go to the ATM tomorrow. Just connect your bank details and bam, debt paid.
Platform: iOS and Android
Have we neglected to include your favourite? Our apologies! Educate us in the comments below.