Category Archives: App Reviews

Favorite Apps 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, it’s time for the annual TechnicalCafe “Favorite Apps” post, where I talk about some of the apps that I have been using over the past year or so and why they are considered my favorites.

In no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite apps that I have used throughout the course of 2015:

Tweetbot 4 – $4.99 (iOS)

Screenshot of Tweetbot








TweetBot 4, by Tapbots, is the latest version of TweetBot and provides a great way to view, post, and manage tweets, with users being able to do so by using a variety of touch gestures, such as swiping to view a conversation, etc. Using the five buttons at the bottom of the interface, one can easily view tweets, manage conversations, interact with followers, and more, with two of these buttons being user-customizable!

Alien Blue – Free (iOS)

Screenshot of Alien Blue








Alien Blue, the official iOS Reddit app, is my go-to way of accessing Reddit using my iPhone. With Alien Blue, users can view and post Reddit threads, as well as comment on existing ones. Additionally, the app includes support for viewing images from within the app itself, making it easy to enjoy the Reddit experience all within one app. A built-in browser also makes it easy to view articles and what not that may be posted, making it easy to view Reddit posts, articles, images, videos, and more, without having to use more than one app.

Calendars 5 – $6.99 (iOS)

Screenshot of Calendars 5Screenshot of Calendars 5








Calendars 5, by Readdle, is a full-featured calendar app for iOS, which enables users to easily view and manage their schedules on the go. Calendars 5 supports syncing with Google Calendar, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo!, AoL, as well as other calendars.

Sunrise Calendar – Free (iOS | Android)

Photo Dec 28, 9 40 06 PM Screenshot of Sunrise Calendar








Sunrise Calendar, which was acquired by Microsoft earlier this year, is a great calendar app that can be used to keep track of one’s schedule, be it for school, work, or other events that users wish to keep track of. Sunrise offers two views of one’s events – a schedule view that enables users to view a schedule of upcoming events by day of the week, along with weather information, and a calendar view that shows three days at at time and what events are scheduled during that day and for how long.

Wunderlist – Free (iOS | Android)

Photo Dec 28, 9 40 20 PM Screenshot of Wunderlist








Wunderlist, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, is a free service that enables users to create to-do lists and reminders, in order to keep track of tasks. Users can create their own lists, group lists into folders, and can even share lists with other users. There is also a pro version of Wunderlist, should one want additional features, such as unlimited assigning, unlimited file size, unlimited subtasks, and the option to set 10 additional background images.

1Password – Free (iOS | Android)

Photo Dec 28, 9 42 24 PM Screenshot of 1Password








1Password, by AgileBits, is a password manager available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows, which can be used to securely and conveniently store one’s passwords and other important information.

With 1Password, users no longer have to remember all of their account names, passwords, and other sensitive data, as it can be securely stored on one’s devices, with access only being granted when the correct master password (or fingerprint, in the case of Touch ID) is entered. Data can be synced across iCloud, Dropbox, WiFi, and via folders on Mac OS X, and is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption so that one can ensure their information is safe and secure.

Pushbullet – Free (iOS | Android)

Screenshot of Pushbullet








Pushbullet is an app that enables users to sync notifications, messages, and other data across the various devices that one may own, including iOS and Android devices, computers, and tablets, making it easy to send files, links, and more between devices. There are a variety of free apps and extensions available, for a variety of browsers, platforms, and devices, that make using Pushbullet easy.

MyFitnessPal – Free (iOS | Android)

Screenshot of MyFitnessPal








MyFitnessPal is a free service that is offered through both iOS and Android apps, as well as via the MyFitnessPal website, that enables users to keep track of various health and fitness related data, including food intake, exercise data, weight, and more, with the goal of helping to keep users healthy and in shape.

Users can search the MyFitnessPal database for various food items and log them, in order to keep track of what foods they have consumed throughout the day, as well as what nutritional values each food item possesses. Perhaps one of the best features of the mobile app is that users can use their phone’s camera to scan the barcode of a variety of foods, which will automatically recall it from the database. Should an item not be in the database already, or should a user want to enter a custom food item, users can create a new entry for their logs.

Mint – Free (iOS | Android)

Photo Dec 28, 12 40 12 AM Screenshot of Mint








Mint, by Intuit, is a free service that enables users to keep track of their money and finances, including spending, income, budgets, and more. With Mint, users can add multiple accounts, including checking, savings, credit cards, etc. and see how their money has been used and where it has been going, thanks to a variety of helpful metrics and graphs. Users can also create and view budgets, with default budgets being provided, in order to better keep track of spending within certain categories.

If you’re interested in what apps made the list in previous years, I invite you to check out the following links to see what apps were chosen in: 20142013, 2011, and in 2010.

What were your favorite iOS and Android apps that you have used in 2015? Why were they your favorites? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, fun, and safe New Year! Thank you for visiting the blog and TechnicalCafe YouTube channel, and for reading and viewing our content, as well as for taking the time to leave your feedback on the blog and videos; it’s greatly appreciated! Without the readers and viewers, TechnicalCafe would not be the website and channel that it is today!



Favorite Apps 2014

Since 2014 is coming to a close in a less than an hour, it’s time once again for the “Favorite Apps” list – a list of apps that I have been using or have used throughout the past year that I have found helpful, well-designed, useful, intuitive, or simply a great way to pass time and enjoy using frequently.

Below is a list of 10 apps that were chosen (by browsing through my iPhone) that is not in any particular order, so an app’s position in the list does not reflect how “good” it is, etc. Also, there are some runners up this year, which are apps that I used and enjoyed, as well, that did not make it into the “favorite apps” top 10 list.

1. MyFitnessPal (Free, Android)

MyFitnessPal Meal ListingMyFitnessPal Chart

MyFitnessPal is a service that is offered through both an app and website, that enables users to keep track of various health and fitness related data, including food intake, exercise, weight, and more, with the goal of helping to keep users health and in shape.

Users can search for various food items from a database containing a variety of different foods by either typing the name of the food item or by scanning the barcode with the app. Should an item not come up or should a user want to enter a custom food item, they are also able to do so from within the app.

Another great feature of the MyFitnessPal app is that users who have wearable fitness items, such as the Fitbit, are able to connect their exercise information to the app, in order to see how many calories were burned, taking the data right from their wearable pedometer, etc. – something that can be useful if one is interested in finding out their net calorie intake, calories burned, in addition to other health data.

2. TweetBot 3 ($2.99)

Photo Dec 28, 12 34 41 AM

TweetBot 3 is an app that was on the list last year, and for good reason – it is a great way to view, post, and manage tweets, and also has support for multiple Twitter accounts. Supporting a variety of touch gestures, such as swiping to view a conversation, etc., as well as the ability to customize the menu, one can easily view tweets, manage conversations, interact with followers, and more! These features, and others not mentioned here, are what make TweetBot 3 worth the $2.99 price tag!

3. Alien Blue (Free, Pro Upgrade In-App Purchase Available)

Photo Dec 28, 12 33 33 AM Photo Dec 28, 12 33 39 AM

As someone who has become a frequent user, I discovered the Alien Blue app for Reddit this year, and have been using it frequently ever since! Purchased by Reddit a few months ago, Alien Blue is a feature-packed app that lets users view and vote on new Reddit submissions, read and reply to comments, manage which subreddits one is subscribed to, and more! There is also a paid “pro” version of the Alien Blue app, which provides more features and helps to support the development of the app!

There is also an iPad version of Alien Blue, which provides a great way for users to access Reddit on their iPads, though there is no Android version of the app available at the time of this posting. However, if you are on iOS, I would recommend giving Alien Blue a try, especially if you’re already a Redditor!

4. iStudiez Pro ($2.99)

Photo Dec 28, 12 40 30 AM Photo Dec 28, 12 40 37 AM

For those readers who are in high school or college, the iStudiez Pro app may prove useful for keeping track of classes, homework, exams, and other school-related information and data.

5. Sunrise Calendar (Free, Android)

Photo Dec 28, 12 35 31 AM Photo Dec 28, 12 35 38 AM

Sunrise Calendar is a great calendar app that I use to keep track of my schedule, be it for school, work, or events that I wish to keep track of. With two interfaces – one that enables you to view a “schedule” of your upcoming events by day of the week, along with weather information, and another that shows you three days at at time and what events are scheduled during that day and how long they are scheduled.

Sunrise Calendar supports Google Calendar and Microsoft Exchange, and also has a web-based application, at, which you can use to manage your calendar from any web browser.

6. Calendars 5 ($2.99)

Photo Dec 28, 12 35 53 AM

Calendars 5, by Readdle, is another calendar app that I use to keep track of my scheduled events and appointments, as well as what work I may have due, etc. Calendars 5 offers several views of your calendar, including a daily, weekly, and monthly view option. Also included and integrated within the app is the ability to view, create, and manage Google Tasks, helping to ensure that you get everything done in a timely manner.

7. Snapchat (Free, Android)

Snapchat is a free photo and video messaging app, with the catch that each photo and video that is sent only lasts for a certain amount of time, up to ten seconds, after which point it is no longer viewable by either user of the app. Users can send photos and videos to multiple users at a time, and can even post videos to all of their friends, in the form of a “Snapchat Story”, which remains visible to users for a 24 hour period.

8. Evernote (Free, Android | Premium Upgrade Available)

Photo Dec 28, 12 38 14 AM

Evernote is a free note taking and managing app, which I have used since I briefly switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 earlier in the year. I like the ability to use the Evernote app on my phone and MacBook Pro, as well as the option to use the web interface, should I wish to view or edit my notes on a computer or device that does not have Evernote installed.

Evernote lets users upload photos, voice clips, and more, allowing for one to keep track of all sorts of things, such as receipts, business cards, and more. There is also a paid upgrade, to Evernote Premium, which includes the ability to upload more content to one’s account, in addition to other features.

9. Shazam (Free, $6.99 Upgrade, Android, $5.59)

Shazam is a useful app for when you are curious as to what song is playing or who may sing it. All you have to do is open the Shazam app, allow it to “listen” to the song for a few seconds, after which point it will send it to Shazam’s servers and analyze it, returning information about the song that you just tagged, including the song title, artist, links to purchase it from iTunes, etc., and more.

There is also a paid version of the Shazam app, called Shazam Encore, which can be purchased for $6.99 on an iOS device and $5.59 on an Android device, and enables more features and the ability to tag more songs.

10. Mint (Free, Android)

Photo Dec 28, 12 39 31 AM Photo Dec 28, 12 40 12 AM

Mint, owned by Intuit, is a free app and service that allows users to keep track of their money and finances, including spending, income, budgets, and more. With Mint, users can add multiple accounts, including checking, savings, credit cards, etc. and see where their money has been going, thanks to a variety of helpful metrics and graphs. Users can also create and view budgets, in order to see if they are overspending on certain areas and what not.

Runners Up:

The runners up this year include DataMan Next (free), Google Maps (free, iOS | Android), Waze (free, iOS | Android), Yik Yak (free, iOS | Android), and Duo Lingo (free, iOS | Android).

If you’re interested in what apps made the list in previous years, I invite you to check out the following links to see what apps were chosen in: 2013, 2011, and in 2010.

What were some of your favorite iPhone and Android apps this year? Would you have chosen different apps for the list? Please feel free to let us know what you think or what you may have done differently in this list by posting in the comments section below!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, fun, and safe New Year! Thank you for visiting the blog and TechnicalCafe YouTube channel, and for reading and viewing our content, as well as for taking the time to leave your feedback on the blog and videos; it’s greatly appreciated! Without the readers and viewers, TechnicalCafe would not be the website and channel that it is today!

Sunrise Calendar App Review

Keeping track of your schedule, important dates, and appointments can be tricky at times. However, if you are a Google Calendar, iCloud, or Microsoft Exchange user, Sunrise Calendar, available for iOS and Android devices, is an app that allows users to keep track of their calendars and schedules on the go!

When you first launch the Sunrise Calendar application on your phone, you will be prompted to sign in Google Account, iCloud, or Exchange details, in order to sync your calendar with Sunrise.

After the syncing process, you will be able to log into any of the Sunrise Calendar apps and view, create, and edit new events and tasks, which will be synced between your calendar and the Sunrise Calendar applications, including the web-based application and the Mac OS X application.

Whenever the Sunrise Calendar app is launched, users will see their calendar in one of two views – a “list” view, which displays various days and the events that are scheduled for them or a more traditional weekly calendar view, with events taking up time-slots within a specific day, similar to what one would see in Google Calendar’s “Weekly” view.

Users can switch between the two different views by tapping on the icon that looks like three lines, located to the right of the Sunrise Calendar logo, at the top of the application.

Sunrise Calendar List View

Sunrise Calendar’s List View

Within the “List” view of a user’s calendar, the day of the week, events, and weather will be displayed. Users will also be able to view and select a particular day within two weeks of the currently selected day. Scrolling up and down will change the currently selected day, and is an easy way to view what events may have previously occurred and which events are upcoming.

Sunrise Calendar's Weekly View

Sunrise Calendar’s Weekly View

Sunrise Calendar’s weekly view is similar to that offered by other calendar apps, such as Google Calendar and the Calendar application on iOS and Mac OS X, in that it displays the day of the week and shows the events, time they begin and end, and duration of them as blocks on a grid. All day events, such as birthdays and anniversaries, will show up at the top of the particular day’s grid and timed events will show up throughout the day.

New events can be added to a calendar by tapping on the “+” at top right of the app, which will launch the “New Event” pane, where various aspects of the event can be configured, such as the event’s name or title, date, time and duration, and location.

Screenshot of adding a new event in Sunrise Calendar

Adding A New Event

The “New Event” pane also enables users to set a location for the event, invite others, set which calendar the event will be on (if there is more than one), set an alert time (which will make an audible sound at the chosen time), and add a description of the event to their calendar.

When setting a time and duration for the event, users can either manually enter or select the start and end times or alternatively tap and drag the event within the day’s grid to select when the event beings and ends, in a way similar to that of Google Calendar.

Setting an event's start time in Sunrise Calendar

Setting an event’s start time in Sunrise Calendar

Should you wish to delete an event, all you have to do is tap on the event in either the list or weekly calendar view, which will bring up the event’s information, tap on “Edit”, and then scroll to the bottom of the event and choose “Delete”.

Being a Google Calendar user, I have used the Sunrise Calendar app for a while and really like being able to access my calendar quickly and easily. The app is easy to use and does not have a large learning curve, like some of the more advanced calendar apps that are available.

I like being able to see both a list of upcoming events and a calendar-like view so that I can get a visual sense of how long an event is and what time it begins or ends. Though Sunrise Calendar does not feature screen rotation, it displays a few days worth of events in both view modes, with the ability to scroll to see more. It would be nice to see a monthly calendar view with the ability to select an individual day in the past or future, but the app still works well and gets the job done.

Overall, if you’re looking for a new calendar app that is simple to use and offers a variety of great features, you should definitely consider trying Sunrise Calendar for iOS or Android, which is available from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store for free.

Sunrise also has a free web-based version, as well as an app for Mac OS X, both of which are pretty similar and provide a convenient way to view and edit your calendars while you’re on the computer.

Have you used Sunrise Calendar? Please feel free to leave a comment below with any questions, thoughts, or opinions you may have! Also, if you’re interested in tech related videos, please feel free to head on over to the TechnicalCafe YouTube channel!

DataMan App Review

Many iPhone users probably know the problem of worrying about how much cellular data they may have used during their billing period, especially if they do not have an unlimited data plan. Even then, some users may simply be curious as to how much data they use over time.

DataMan, by XVision, is an iPhone application that enables users to keep track of their data usage, both over a cellular connection, such as 3G, 4G, and LTE, as well as over WiFi. Perhaps one of the better features of the DataMan app is that is tracks users’ data usage in real-time and displays it in a simple, easy-to-read manner, which is nice, as sometimes cell phone carriers can take a while to update customers’ data usage and show it on their accounts.

Additionally, DataMan provides users with a reading of how much, as well as what percentage of their data cap they have already used, with the level of detail (Minimal, Standard, or Complete) configurable by the user.

For example, the “Complete” complexity setting shows users how much data they have used over both their cellular network and WiFi, providing details regarding how much data was uploaded and downloaded on both. Users will also see their “forecast” and the percentage of their data cap that they have already used during their current billing period, as well as how much time is left until the next billing period begins.

DataMan Main Screen with complexity level set to "Complete"

DataMan Main Screen with complexity level set to “Complete”

Also, the app can alert users when they have reached certain percentages of their data allowance. These alerts can be configured by the user to remind them at various percentage points of their data allowance.

When configuring DataMan, users can enter in the date that their cell phone plan resets, the length of their billing period, what their data cap is, as well as how much data they may have already used (which you may need to get from your carrier if you are unsure), and DataMan will do the rest, even resetting itself once the billing period is up.

DataMan Plan Settings

DataMan Cell Phone Plan Settings Menu

The app also provides a variety of color and theme options, allowing the user to set their desired font, as well as what colors the app’s theme will use.

DataMan's Color Settings

DataMan’s Color Settings

DataMan is available in two versions – DataMan Next (which is the app that is shown in this review) and DataMan Pro, with there being some minor differences between the two different versions. (The Pro version supports mapping where data was used, push notifications, better data usage forecasts, which apps use the most data, etc.) However, the DataMan Next version of the app should be enough to get the average user through their billing cycles without having any overages.

DataMan Next can be purchased from the App Store for $1.99 and DataMan Pro can be purchased from the App Store for $4.99.

If you have tried using DataMan Next or DataMan Pro to help keep track of your cell phone’s data usage, please feel free to post your experiences in the comments section of this post! Also, any questions about the apps are welcome, and I’ll try to answer whatever I can!

Please feel free to use the Contact page of the TechnicalCafe website to send any suggestions on which apps, etc. that you would like to see reviewed or explained in a future blog post!

Favorite Apps 2013

Since today is the last day of 2013, I figured it would be appropriate to write a blog post about some of my favorite iPhone apps that I have been using over the past year, as well as some of the apps that have been popular over during 2013, as well.

In no particular order, here is my list of my favorite iPhone apps of 2013:

Tweetbot 3 by Tapbots

$4.99 – iPhone/iPod Touch

Tweetbot 3 is the latest version of a Twitter application that enables users to view tweets from multiple timelines, as well as view and reply to tweets using various gestures throughout the app. Additionally, Tweetbot features nice graphics and aesthetics, with the option to view your timeline(s) in either a lighter “daytime” theme and a darker “nighttime” theme.


Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

Another app that has appeared on this list in previous years, Instagram is a social photo-sharing application that enables users to post photos for their followers and other users to like and comment on. Recently, in the most recent version of the app, users were given the ability to send photos to other users directly, and before that, and earlier in the year, the ability to post videos to their Instagram account.

Snapchat by Snapchat, Inc.

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

Snapchat is a popular app, that enables users to send photos and short video clips to one another, with the option to add text and drawings to them. Recently, Snapchat Stories were added to the app, which allows users to post multiple photos to their “Stories”, which are available for a period of 24 hours, unlike a regular Snapchat, which only lasts for up to 10 seconds.

YouTube by Google, Inc.

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

The official YouTube application essentially “replaced” the previous YouTube app, created by Apple, that came as one of the pre-installed apps on iOS 6. The YouTube app lets users sign in with their Google or YouTube accounts, as well as view, comment on, and like or dislike videos from the users that they are subscribed to, and also offers suggested videos, like the YouTube website does. Additionally, users can view their YouTube channels and even use the “Capture” app (or the iOS camera app) to record and upload videos to YouTube, as well.

Tinder by Tinder, Inc.

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

Tinder is a social/dating application that allows users to “meet” new people by displaying a photo of a user, and allowing them to either swipe right and “like” the user, or swipe left and “dislike” the user. If two users swipe right or “like” each other’s profiles, they will be matched and given the ability to chat with each other within the app.

Additionally, Tinder enables users to post multiple photos to their profiles, should users wish to view more about a user, as well as displays some text and what the two users have in common. Most of this information, including photos and common interests is taken from users’ Facebook profiles.

Plants vs. Zombies 2, by PopCap

Free- iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

The second version of the popular tower-defense game, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a game where the goal is to prevent hoards of zombies from attacking your house. In order to do this, users can plant a variety of plants, each with their own abilities (some shoot peas, others freeze the zombies, etc.), in order to deter and kill the zombies before they gain access to your house.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 adds some new features, including power-ups, new plant and zombie types, and more, with the ability for users to purchase coins and other features via  in-app purchases, which can be used to buy more power-ups, unlock new areas, unlock new plants, and more!

Mint by

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

The Mint app, as well as the website, both of which are owned by Intuit, Inc., are two great tools that enable users to view and manage their personal finances.

Mint enables users to connect their bank, credit card, and other types of accounts to their accounts on the Mint website, where they can then view their spending using a variety of useful tools, including graphs, and also enables users to create and manage budgets, as well as see where their money has been spent over time. Mint does not allow users to actually “move” or access their money, but is a useful tool to help users manage their personal finances.

NetFlix by NetFlix, Inc.

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

While I’m sure most people are familiar with NetFlix and their great streaming service, I figured I would include this app on the list of my favorite apps of 2013 because it can be quite useful for watching movies and TV shows, especially if you are traveling or not around a TV, or if you, like me, can’t really see a TV without wearing your glasses!

The NetFlix app works with NetFlix’s streaming service, which costs $7.99 a month, and enables users to watch a variety of movies, documentaries, TV shows, and more! (If you want a free trial of NetFlix, you can go to!)

Dropbox by Dropbox

Free – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad | Android

Dropbox is another app that is probably more well-known, but is still an app that is useful for storing files between multiple computers and devices, including iOS and Android devices. With Dropbox, if you want to make a file accessible to your variety of devices, you can do simply by placing it in your “Dropbox” folder, which will store it in the cloud and make it accessible across all of your devices via the Dropbox app or web interface.

Dropbox provides 2 GB of storage space for free accounts (with the ability to have up to 16 GB of space for free), and offers plans that allow more storage, starting at $9.99 a month. There are also business plans available, starting at $15 per user.

Calcbot by Tapbots

[Price] – iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad

Calcbot is a calculator app for iOS devices that is a great alternative to Apple’s Calculator app that comes with iOS. Calcbot features the ability to view and use past expressions and calculations or answers, as well as perform a variety of standard and scientific calculations and operations.

Do you have any experiences with these apps? Are there any apps that you like that were not included? If so, please feel free to let us know what you think in the comments!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, fun, and safe new year!

Favorite iPhone and iPad Apps 2011

Since today is the last day of 2011, I figured I’d write up a post about what iPhone and iPad applications I enjoyed using over the past year. These apps don’t necessarily have to be the “best” or most useful iPhone or iPad applications of the past year, but rather, they are applications that I may have used or heard of and thought they were nice, enjoyable, or useful applications.

Also, just a note that this list is not in any particular order, so the first app listed isn’t necessarily better than the last one listed.

1. TweetBot (iPhone)

TweetBot, by TapBots, is a Twitter client, which allows users to access their Twitter feeds, read and post Tweets, view people’s profiles on the service, as well as other things. TweetBot also features a great looking user interface, which includes sounds and animation and makes viewing and writing tweets fun. Also included in the application is multi-touch gesture support, so users can view, create, and read tweets in a more interesting and interactive way.

In addition, TweetBot supports the ability for users to have multiple timelines within the application, so that, if they have more than one Twitter account, users can view them both within the same application. Users can simply tap on the “Timeline” button, which looks like two figures of people, and is located in the top left of the app, to view their timelines and select which one they would like to use. Also from this menu, users can choose to go to the “Accounts and Settings” page of the app.

2. Saver (iPhone)

Saver, by Alex Solonsky, is an app that allows users to track and view their expenses and features things, such as graphs and lists, where users can see how much money they’ve spent and where it’s going. When a user wants to add an expense to Saver, all they need to do is click on the “+” icon, located at the bottom of the app, which then brings up a screen where users can enter in an amount of money, as well as select, or “tag”, what this money was spent on.

There are a variety of categories that users can pick from, in order to tag their expenses, including “General”, “Kids”, “House”, “Amusement”, “Wardrobe”, “Groceries”, “Auto”, “Food”, “Payments”, “Vacation”, and more! Additionally, each category also has sub-categories, which users can use to further narrow down what they spent their money on. For example, some of the subcategories in the “Food” tag, include “Cafe”, “Fastfood”, “Bar”, and “Restaurant”.

Once a user has added their expenses, they can view them in a pie-chart, which is color coded according to the category of expense. Users can then tap on that part of the chart, which will bring up a list of the user’s expenses. Also, users can select to view their expenses by either the week, month, or year, which is useful if you want to track your expenses only for a certain amount of time.

3. Instagram (iPhone)

Instagram, by Burbn, Inc. is on the list for the second year in a row, as it’s a great application which allows users to share photos, not only on the Instagram app itself, but also on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, Instagram allows users to “edit” their photos by applying filters, which change the overall look and feel of the photo. Users can also select whether or not they want a “frame” around the photo, as well as some other features. \

Once a user has selected a filter for their photo (though, users are free to post a picture without having a filter or any editing at all), they can add and edit a caption for their photo, select whether or not they’d like to share it on Facebook or Twitter, as well as configure some other options for the photo. After that, all one needs to is post the photo and it’s available for everyone who’s following you to see! (However, you can choose not to announce a photo on Facebook or Twitter, if you’d rather not.)

One of the great features of Instagram is that it’s a social app, where users can follow other users and see what pictures they’ve been posting. Additionally, users can “like” or comment on others’ photos, which adds to the social aspect of this application.

4. Oink (iPhone)

Oink, by Milk, Inc., is a social “rating” application that just came out in 2011, and allows users to rate the things in the world around them, rather than just rating the places they have been to. For example, rather than rating a particular restaurant as having good food or being a great place to eat, Oink allows users to rate specific things at the restaurant, such as a specific dish or place to sit, or even the lighting!

Other users can then see what one has posted to Oink and what their thoughts were on the particular thing they rated, and can also add their own ratings and comments to the post. Users are also able to “Like”, “Love”, “Dislike”, etc. the variety of things that are rated, and additionally, users can choose to add something to their “To-Do” list, if they are interested in trying what they saw someone else post about.

Users can also choose to share their ratings and posting on both Facebook and Twitter, should they want to share their experiences with their friends who many not be using Oink or may not have an iPhone.

5. Tiny Tower (iPhone and iPad)

Tiny Tower, by Nimblebit, LLC., is a fun game, where users are in charge of building and running a tower filled with a variety of residences and businesses, as well as managing the citizens who happen to move into the tower and live in the residences.

Gameplay consists of ensuring that the various business and stores in the tower are stocked with the items or services that they carry or sell, as well as helping to move the tower’s guests or residents, called Bitizens, to the various businesses by use of an elevator, which the user can move up or down, to get the person to the correct floor, which is specified by the Bitizen in the elevator.

When a user accrues a certain amount of money, they are able to purchase more floors for their tower, building it higher, and adding to the number of residences or businesses that are available for Bitizens to use. However, after a new floor is added to the tower, the next floor’s price will increase, so a user has to save up more money to build it.

Additionally, stocking and restocking the businesses in a tower requires that a user use their coins to do so. Though, users can opt to purchase (with actual money) TowerBucks, which can be spent on much of the same things that regular coins can be, but, similar to FarmVille or CityVille, allow things to be completed or done faster than if a user were to strictly use coins.

TinyTower is a fun game with a 8-bit style user interface and doesn’t require that users play it for hours at a time. Because of the nature of TinyTower, with running businesses and such, users can choose to restock a product, etc., and come back later when it has run out, without having to sit around and watch the game run to do so.

6. Zombieville USA 2 (iPhone and iPad)

Zombieville USA 2, by Mika Mobile, Inc., is a fun game, where the user’s main task is to infiltrate a zombie infested city or town, and take out the zombies. In order to do this, the user is given a choice of a variety of weapons, including clubs, knives, guns, and grenades, though some weapons are only available after the user earns enough money in the game to purchase them.

Additionally, users are only allowed to carry three weapons at a time when they are fending off the zombies, which is a good thing, as occasionally, one or two of the weapons being carried can run out of ammo, causing the user to have to switch to their third weapon, whether it be another gun, a grenade, or a baseball bat (which doesn’t require ammo and doesn’t “run out”, like the other weapons do.)

The gameplay is pretty simple, with users using a “joystick” style control and three buttons, each in control of switching to and firing or using one of the three weapons that is being carried by the user’s character. Also, thoughout the level, users can find and shoot or hit boxes and other things (including mailboxes, signs, etc.), which may house money or extra ammunition, which can then be used to help the user purchase new weapons or to reload their current weapons.

Once the user has reached the end of the level, a helicopter comes down, thereby rescuing the user once they jump onto the ladder that is hanging from it. Then, a user will be notified of how much money they have made during the level, how many zombies they managed to kill, what their accuracy was, as well as some other information.

7. Powers of Minus Ten (iPhone and iPad)

Powers of Minus Ten, by Green-Eye Visualization, is an application that enables users to zoom into the human hand, in order to learn about biology and to see what goes on in the human body at the cellular and molecular level. Also, according to the app’s description on the iTunes App Store, the 3D content in the app is scientifically accurate, so users are able to get a real feel for what goes on in the human body.

Additionally, Powers of Minus Ten also features a “game” aspect, where users earn points and such for finding and identifying certain structures within the human body, including proteins, organelles, and more! There are also games that users can play, such as a matching game, in order to help them learn about processes, like Mitosis.

One great aspect of Powers of Minus Ten is that the graphics are great and can help students, or anyone interested in the human body or biology, view what perhaps microscopic structures and cells look like within the human body in an interactive way.

When viewing a particular section (or magnification level) of the hand, users are able to pan around and view where things are positionally, as well as what else may be going on or is located in that particular area.

Overall, Powers of Minus Ten is a great application, with some fun games included, which can help users view the human body in a way that perhaps they haven’t seen before, especially when it comes to the microscopic level.

8. Where’s My Water  (iPhone and iPad)

Where’s My Water, by Disney, is a great puzzle game, where the object of the game is channel water from one area of the screen, to another, where an alligator named Swampy is waiting for the water to take a bath.

Where’s My Water starts off pretty simply, with users having to dig a path for the water to reach Swampy, but as the gameplay progresses, getting the water to Swampy’s bathtub begins to get more and more challenging, as different challenges are added.

For example, once the user reaches a certain level, switches are added to the puzzle, causing the user to have to channel water to a switch, in order to operate it and get water to Swampy’s bathtub. In some levels, there may even be more than one switch that has to be activated, in order to beat the level. However, some levels include a water spout, which allows users to turn on and add more water as they need it, so they don’t have to worry about wasting the water they may have started the puzzle with.

Where’s My Water is a fun puzzle application, which I personally liken to another iPhone application, Enigmo, involving getting water from one area to another, using a variety of different tools. If you’re interested in puzzles or challenges, perhaps you should check out Where’s My Water, by Disney. Additionally, this application is good for children, as well, as it features colorful graphics, and the fun of trying to get the water to Swampy so he can take this bath!

Which apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad did you enjoy using throughout 2011?

Thank you for reading this blog post, as well as the TechnicalCafe blog throughout the year! I hope everyone had a great 2011 and that everyone has a happy, healthy, fun, and safe 2012!


Favorite Apps 2010

With only about an hour and 20 minutes left of 2010, I figured I’d write a post about my favorite iPhone and iPod Touch applications that I have used or heard about in 2010.

While not all of these applications came out in 2010, I still think they are worth mentioning, so here are my favorite iPhone applications of 2010: (in no particular order)

1. FaceBook

The FaceBook application for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad has made it easier to see what my friends and family are up to, as well as keep in touch with them on the go. Also, the FaceBook mobile application has made it easier to share photos on the go, as there is no need to upload any pictures to a computer first, as they can be uploaded on the fly.

2. Twitter

The Twitter application is on my list because it makes it easier to view and create Twitter status messages on the go. In addition, the application makes it easy to search for and follow other Twitter users, without having to go on a computer to do so. The Twitter mobile application, formally Tweetie, which used to cost $2.99, was acquired by Twitter in April of 2010 and released for free soon after.

3. FourSquare

FourSquare is a geolocation application that enables users to see the different places and venues that people, such as friends, family, and co-workers are checking into. Each time a user checks into a location, they are awarded a certain number of points. Also, users can earn different badges by doing and accomplishing different things, such as checking into 25 different venues.

The FourSquare user who checks in at a certain location the most is called the “mayor” of the location and in some instances, the mayor of a location can be offered deals by the venue. While not many of my friends and family use FourSquare, I still find it interesting to see where they are checking into, as well as fun to check in myself.

4. Shazam

Shazam is on the list because I find it to be really useful when you’re trying to find out the name of a song or perhaps the artist who created it. All you need to do is take out your phone, launch Shazam, and press the “Shazam” button, and the application listens to the song, sends the information, and then returns the name of the song, artist, as well as other information. There is also an option to purchase the song from iTunes, which is nice if you enjoy a particular song. All of the songs that you “tag” are available in a list, as well, which is also a nice feature.

There is a free version of Shazam, as well as two paid versions, Shazam Encore and (Shazam)RED, which donates money to help fight AIDS in Africa. Both Shazam Encore and (Shazam)RED can be downloaded for $4.99.

5. Instagram

Instagram is a relatively new service, which enables users to share photos that they have taken with or have on their iPhone or iPod Touch. However, unlike other photosharing applications, Instagram allows users to apply filters to their photos, changing the way they look. Like other social networking applications, users can follow each other, as well as comment and like the photos that their friends, family members, and co-workers have taken. People can also geotag their photos, as well as post links to them on websites, such as Twitter and FaceBook.

6. DailyBooth

The recently updated DailyBooth application makes it easy to view and post pictures to the DailyBooth website, which is a social networking website that enables users to post pictures of themselves. The second version of the DailyBooth iPhone application also allows users to comment on and like people’s photos, as well as view users’ profiles, in addition to other features.

6. Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower-defense style game where users have to place various plants around a backyard, in order to prevent a variety of different zombies from getting to a house.

However, zombies are able to eat the plants that are placed, so users have to be careful to prevent the zombies from getting to their house. As the levels progress, more plants become available for use, but more and different types of zombies also show up, so users have to keep on their toes to defeat the zombies and protect their house!

7. geoDefense

geoDefense is another tower-defense game, where users have to prevent a variety of different "creeps”, or creatures, from getting to the end of a specific track. In order to do this, users are provided with different types of towers, such as blasters and lasers, which damage and destroy the “creeps” that are trying to get through. Like Plants vs. Zombies, as the levels progress, the “creeps” get more and more difficult to defeat, so it creates a fun challenge to create a good defense.

8. The Sims 3

The Sims 3 is a fun game in the Sims series, in which you have to control a character that you create, performing everyday functions, such as cooking, going to work, and even going to the bathroom. Characters are able to obtain jobs, as well as play mini-games, some of which award money, which can be used to purchase new items and upgrades for the character’s house.

9. Tetris

The Tetris application, by EA, enables users to play the classic game of Tetris on their iPhones and iPod Touches. Users can move the tiles and blocks around, as well as rotate them and more, simply by tapping, dragging, and swiping their iPhone or iPod Touch’s screen. There are also two different game modes that users can play, which are “Marathon” and “Magic”. “Marathon” mode enables users to play a familiar game of Tetris and “Magic” mode adds some new things, such as power-ups, the ability to draw your own brick, as well as other things, to the game.

10. Camera+

Camera+ is a camera application, similar to the iPhone’s native camera application, but with some additional features, such as a grid to line up your photos, image stabilization, burst mode, and the ability to edit your photos. Once you’re done taking and editing your photos, you can upload them to a website, such as Twitter or FaceBook, or export them to your iPhone’s camera roll.

What iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad applications do you enjoy using? Please feel free to post them in the comments below!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

NinJump iPhone App

If you’re looking for a fun game to play on your iPhone or iPod Touch, perhaps you should try playing NinJump by Backflip Studios. NinJump is a game in which you have to run up one of two walls, trying to avoid obstacles, as well as getting various power-ups.

The purpose of the NinJump is to try to climb the wall to the highest distance that you can, without getting hit by or running into an obstacle. The higher your character goes, the more obstacles you will have to avoid.

When you first launch NinJump, you should see a loading screen, but after that you should see the game’s main menu. From the menu, you have the options to play the game, view and change the game’s options, as well as view more games.

NinJump’s game play is fairly simple, as the only thing you have to do is tap on the screen, enabling your character to jump to and from one of the two walls. When your character jumps, he also swings his sword, allowing him to defeat obstacles, as well as catch power-ups.

Some examples of obstacles that you may encounter while playing NinJump are other ninjas, who may throw stars, birds, as well as foxes, which you can either attack or avoid. Attacking one of the obstacles will enable you to gain a “point” towards a power-up.

Once you have attacked three of the same type of obstacles, you will receive a power-up, which enables your character to move up the course faster, as well as with the ability to hit obstacles without falling.

In addition to power-ups, there is also a shield that you can get by simply running into it. The shield protects you if you were to run into or be hit by an obstacle. However, the shield can only be used once, as it goes away after you’ve been hit.

If you do not have a shield and run into or are hit by an obstacle, your character will fall off of the wall and the game will be over.

After your character has fallen, you will see a menu, showing you how high your character was able to climb, as well as what your best score was. Also, you can choose to post your score to OpenFeint, FaceBook, Twitter, or send it in an e-mail. There are also options to play NinJump again or return to the main menu.

If you would like to try playing NinJump, you can download it for free from the iTunes App Store.