Appy Tuesday – Duolingo

I recently decided I wanted to improve my Irish language skills. Being a former Gaelscoil pupil I have a great understanding of the language but my grammar is not what it used to be because I haven’t used it in 10 years. I took to Twitter to find a podcast to try improve with but instead it was recommended that I try the Duolingo app.

Duolingo is a free language education app which was selected by Apple as iPhone App of the Year in 2013 and by Google as Best of the Best for Android in 2013 and 2014. With over 80 million users, Duolingo has become the most popular way to learn languages online in only 2 years. Duolingo offers the choice of learning 22 different languages, 12 of which are for English speakers wishing to learn a new language.



I set up the app to learn Irish. It is easy to do. Beginners start at basic 1 but there is also a placement option for more advanced users. I used the placement option and got to skip the lessons and went straight to the first gate test. The content is very engaging with a wide variety of methods used to teach words, aurally, written English to Irish, written Irish to English, pictures , matching of English words to Irish words. Points are awarded for completing lessons, I also like the daily reminders to use the app. Repetition is key and I plan on completing the whole course over the next few weeks.

Duolingo is available to download free from the App Store and Google Play

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Appy Monday – FoodCloud

 
On this weeks AppyMonday we’re looking at FoodCloud, an Irish App and initiative co-created by Trinity students Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. 
 
Foodcloud is an app that lets businesses upload details of their excess food. The service then texts a local charity, who in turn can pick up the donation and share it with those who need it.
Ward and O’Brien looked at ways to get food that would otherwise be discarded into the hands of these people. They estimate that Irish retailers produce about 87,000 tonnes of surplus food a year, most of which is dumped at a cost of €8.5 million. With no existing redistribution infrastructure they set up FoodCloud.
 
The App itself is very basic but that isn’t an issue; it gives the retailer a very simple signup process to get them up and running and able to submit their details quickly and easily.
 
The largest retailer to work with FoodCloud has been Tesco who trialled the service from October 2013 to February 2014 in 18 Tesco stores and donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities. They now plan to roll out the service to their stores nationwide.
 
Any charities or  retailers  who are interested in participating can register with the app or visit www.foodcloud.ie for more information.

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Appy Monday – BeoirFinder Supporting Craft Beer in Ireland

Craft Beer has become very popular in Ireland in recent years with microbreweries and brewpubs popping up all over the country not to mention the ever growing list of pubs stocking the extensive and sometimes daunting list of beers.
 
BeoirFinder aims to make the finding and the drinking of said beers much easier. Developed by Beoir.org who are “an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Ireland’s native independent microbreweries”, it uses the extensive database of Beoir.org.
 
The App’s name comes from the Gaelic word for Beer. While a great choice of name for an Irish beer app it actually makes it difficult to locate in the app store and doesn’t appear for typical search terms you would use if searching for an app like this.
 
The interface is simple and to the point. It is broken down into four sections, Maps, Venues, Beers, and Events. The Map screen shows your location and icons for venues nearby. These can be filtered to narrow your viewing to pubs, breweries or even off licences.
 
  
 

The next tab is an extensive list of beers, a description of them, and the ability to rate and leave comments for each beer. A must have feature for the beer connoisseur.

 

Finally the Events section which as of writing is empty. A quick visit to the Beoir.org website shows upcoming events so hopefully this will be something that is fixed or updated in the next version.

Overall a really great app that will only improve with the planned updates and a must have for people new to the craft beer scene and those already enjoying it.

The app is free to download from the iTunes store and Google Play store.

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Appy Monday – FIFA the Official FIFA World Cup App

World Cup fever will hit the planet this month and even though Ireland won’t be taking part, that won’t stop us from enjoying one of the greatest sporting events on earth.

Although there are a lot of apps available for tracking the match scores, The official FIFA app has undergone a pre-tournament update providing football fans with the latest World Cup news, information on all the coaches and players across the 32 participating teams, and a full fixture list for all 64 games to be played in Brazil over the next 5 weeks. The update also provides tourist information for exploring the home nation with details on the host stadiums and cities.  

Another update is due as the tournament starts to access minute-by-minute action, live from all 64 games of the tournament.

     

Set up of the App is simple, select your favourite team participating in the World Cup, select the team notifications you want pushed and you are ready to go. Tournament news and team news is easy to access and the content on the app is very informative. Table positions and match details are what most users will be interested in, and I especially love the feature that allows you to add fixtures to your calendar.  

FIFA – Official App of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is available to download for free on both Android and IOS

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Appy Monday – Free Wi-Fi Finder

I have about 100 apps installed on my iPhone 5c but none as useful as the Free Wi-Fi Finder app that I downloaded over the weekend. 

The Free Wi-Fi Finder uses your current location to display where there is Wi-Fi available nearby. Results can then be filtered by location type such as Bar, Hotel, Library, Restaurant or School/University. When you select the hotspot you want to use, it displays the locations details and the option to get directions to that location. 

There is also the option to add location information for new Wi-Fi hotspots to the apps database. The app already features over 550,000 free and paid Wi-Fi locations in 144 countries worldwide

The Free Wi-Fi Finder app can be downloaded on Android from the Google Play Store and for iPhone from the App Store.

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Appy Monday – Secret

Secret landed on Irish iPhones at the end of April, already a hit in the US; I had been dying to see what all the fuss was about after coming across it when a secret was posted on the app revealing that the former head of Google+, Vic Gundrota, was interviewing for other jobs proved to be true as he officially announced he was leaving Google days later.

The app is fun and easy to use. Simply type your secret, add a cute coloured background or add a picture from your gallery, making sure that your photo won’t give your identity away of course and hit send. If someone from your contacts taps the heart icon indicating they love your secret, that secret is then sent on to their contacts, and the more loving your post gets the more it spreads. You can only comment on secrets from your friends or friends of friends. 

To protect user anonymity, until you have three friends using the service they withhold secrets from your contacts showing in your secret feed. When I first downloaded the app this held me back from getting the true secret experience. Also users that don’t have enough friends on Secret won’t see posted by friends or friends of friends they will simply see “Your Circle” on posts.

Secret is available to download for free on IOS and is currently in beta on android so should be released in the near future in the Google Play Store. 

To see the big picture effect of Secret check out what happened when a made up secret wrote from the toilet went viral here. Appy Monday everyone! 

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Appy Monday – Tinder

“The application is clearly addictive.” – The New York Times “Everyone I know is suddenly talking about it.” – New York Magazine

Tinder is the must have app for all singletons in 2014, it is a social discovery app that allows users to view other Tinder users nearby and decide if they like them based on basic information such as a photos, interests and mutual friends. The information used within the app is pulled from Facebook which is needed to log into the application. Tinder users also get to add a brief intro to make their profile more appealing.

“‘Tinder’ is a verb. It has become so popular that the name of the application is an action.” – The Huffington Post

Setup of the app is easy, users log in with Facebook, select what sex they are interested in, add an age range and radius to search. Users are then presented with their matches which they can “like” or “pass”. If you both mutually like each others profiles you are then allowed to private chat in the app. If you pass on someone, you’ll never see their profile again, and they can’t see yours.

As I’m in a relationship my use of the app was limited to watching a friend scroll through the women of Dublin, swiping right for a like and swiping left for a pass and cursing profoundly when he made a mistake or doubted his judgement on the last left swipe knowing his mystery women was now off his Tinder radar forever. 

Tinder is available on Android and iPhone get it whilst it’s hot! 

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Marketing To Generation Snapchat

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a popular photo messaging app that allows users to take photos or record videos known as snaps, and then add text and doodle drawings to them, before sending to a friend or controlled list of recipients. After taking the snap users set a time limit of between 1 and 10 seconds for how long recipients can view their Snaps. Snapchat Stories are a great option for brands, allowing them to add snaps together creating a story. Snap Stories live for 24 hours before disappearing. After this time the snaps are hidden from the recipient’s phone and also erased from Snapchat servers. Snapchat has an estimated 30 million users who send on average of 350 million snaps a day and is very popular with users between 13-25.

Should my brand be using Snapchat?

  • Is your target market aged between 13 and 25?

  • Are you looking for a fun way to interact with your audience?

  • Have you built a strong community on more main stream social media?

If you answered Yes to the above then Snapchat is the next step in your brands social media strategy.

What are brands doing on Snapchat?

Encouraging repeat customers 16 Handles, A New York City based frozen yoghurt shop ran a new years Snapchat promotion. It worked in three stages. First, existing customers would send a selfie of themselves eating some fro-yo in a 16 Handles shop to the company’s Snapchat account. The 16 Handles marketing team then automatically sent the customer a Snapchat message containing a coupon. The customer then waited until they were next in store and at the till ready to pay and opened the snap. The snaps from 16 handles contained money off coupons ranging from a percentage off the full price to a free purchase. Within days of launching their Snapchat campaign, the popular frozen yoghurt shop had sent more than 1,400 Snapchat messages and built up an active following to which they could send future promotional material. 

Creating Teasers, In the UK market MTV used Snapchat to promote its hit reality show Geordie Shore before launching the sixth series in the summer of 2013. Fans were encouraged to add the show’s official Snapchat account by seductive messaging, in exchange for exclusive content including videos and photographs of the cast, The demographics of Snapchat users and the viewers of Geordie Shore are a perfect match allowing MTV to tease viewers with spoilers direct to their smartphones.

Creating a buzz, Tennent’s Vital is Northern Ireland’s most popular music festival held annually in Belfast. The 2014 concerts were confirmed in March announcing The Killers as headliners through social media including Snapchat. To see Snapchat for business live in action add them on Snapchat, username: tennentsvital

5 smart tips for success with Snapchat for business:

  1. Choose a simple brand name.

  2. Keep it casual.

  3. Know and engage your audience.

  4. Don’t spam.

  5. Most importantly have fun!

For any help with creating the perfect social media strategy for your business contact B*Different today for a free 1 hour consultation

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Appy Tuesday – Gift List Planner

Last weekend saw the start of my Christmas shopping trips. This year, I have to say I am quite disorganised! Normally I start doing out my list of who I have to buy for in October, thinking I am half way there because I have my ‘list’ done. Last Friday night I realised before I headed off on a shopping trip with my friends Saturday morning, that I had no list or idea of what to buy for anyone, the stress that induced was a little overwhelming. The last year I found myself in a similar predicament, I ended up over-shopping and going way over budget. So Friday evening I thought, there has to be easier way to organise this than a random bit of paper, so I opened up the play store and typed in ‘Christmas Shopping’. A free app (remember I am on a budget!) came up called ‘Gift List Planner’.
The app lets you add your list of who you have to buy for, the ‘category’ of that person be it your immediate or extended family, friend, neighbour, teacher and ’empty’ categories that you can fill in yourself and also your budget for that person & if you have an idea for a present for them. Once I had added all my people that I had to buy for, you can hit the summary icon, which gives you your total estimated budget for your Christmas shopping. A very interesting and frightening feature all at the same time!

Setting up each person was a bit tedious, but I had them all done within 10 minutes and felt a lot more relaxed heading off shopping on Saturday with my list on my phone. You can also update each person once you buy an item, input how much is cost, it will give you a balance on your estimated budget for them. Handy if you are buying a couple of different bits for a person!

In the car on the way home on Saturday I updated my list on the app (I wasn’t the one driving!) and I found it a little bit satisfying to see that I had managed to get 6 people on my list sorted for Christmas! You can also tick off if the present is wrapped or not! If you check the summary again here, it will show you what you have actually spent against your overall budget, how many people you still have to buy for, *IF* you have gone over budget on estimated budgets gifts and who’s present was the most expensive.

There are options within the app to purchase ‘Advanced Features’, which lets you filter out your list to see who you still have to buy for, e.g. your immediate family category. I didn’t upgrade to this as I was quite happy with the features of the free app, it did the job for me with regards, organising my list and trying to stick to a budget!

The beauty I think of this app, is if you are money conscious, this helps you to track and stick to your budget. Or even if you never had a budget, this app certainly makes you more aware of what you spend, especially seeing your estimated total and actual total right there written in front of you! Also I found it quite handy if you think of something to get someone, you can quickly whip out your phone, write it under their name in the app, so that you don’t forget that ‘amazing Christmas present’ that your Dad would love!

Hope this brings some of you stressed souls some peace when it comes to Christmas shopping!

Happy shopping!

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Appy Monday – HMV Music

HMV launched their new digital music store app last week.

The app lets you browse, discover, pre-order and purchase mp3’s in their new online store. 

The app, which is available for free on iOS and android, combines image search and sound search technology with high quality mp3 downloads. What this means for the user, is that say you are browsing in-store, and would like to hear what a certain album/song sounds like, all you have to do is take a picture of the chosen album and the app will bring up the album details and will let you listen to a 30 second clip. Or you have the option of ‘sound search’, (highlight of the app for me!) which is basically Shazam built into the app, for those who are not familiar with Shazam, the sound search lets your phone listen to music (be it radio/tv/in-store) and will pull up the song/album details and give you the option of purchasing the song or full album. 

The app will even match up some ‘similar’ music/band options for you to discover & browse from your search.

Once you buy online, the mp3’s are integrated into the users own iTunes or Windows Media Library on their Mac or PC. HMV have priced their music to match that of iTunes.

According to a statement from the company, the HMV app is the first non-iTunes-based service on Apple’s iOS platform to allow the purchase of digital music downloads through a native app.

We are liking the new digital direction HMV are embracing since the company was taken over by Hilco Capital earlier this year and are looking forward to new progressions from HMV.

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Appy Monday – Skyscanner

I have been using this app for quite a while, but it’s only since the weekend just gone that I have realised what a gem it truly is.

After meeting up with friends over a coffee, we decided that we should look into booking a city break away in the new year. Normally, one person it left with the task, and a gazillion emails on flight options later we either give up or someone ends up with less hair! Not this time, while we were all there, I took out the phone and opened the Skyscanner app, selected dates that suited us all, inputted the information and in less than a minute, we had our options right in front of us. 

Skyscanner is the handiest go-to app for checking flights. Not only is it free for iPhone & android, there are no service charges for booking through Skyscanner either. ‘SkyScanner saves you time and money by finding the cheapest flights, fast. It’s free, flexible and simple to use’. – Basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

It is so easy to use, just input where you are looking to fly to and where from, it even lets you have a wide search, so instead of selecting Dublin, you can select Ireland, and it will pull up flights from all suitable airports in Ireland flying to your destination.

You can also filter your results by price, airline and take-off and landing times. Skyscanner has the option of chart view, which lets you see prices for flights across a particular week or month.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can select the ‘anywhere’ destination, choose your travel dates, and it will show you what countries are available and the cheapest price for flights to that country. How much time does that save you jumping back and forth on Ryanair’s app looking for the cheapest city break for a particular weekend?? A lot, plus your nerves will stay intact 😉 For that reason alone, this app gets my vote!

Skyscanner will give you your journey breakdown, showing which airline carrier, flight departing/arrival times, flight duration and of course the price per person, in a simple eye scanning layout. 

Once you have chosen your flight, Skyscanner gives you the option of sharing flight information (through email, social media, text etc., handy if you are researching that group city break!) or booking the flights. Once you hit ‘book’, Skyscanner will redirect you to the airline carrier to continue with your purchase.

So have you any plans yet for the October bank holiday?! Skyscanner may give you a few options 😉

 

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