Appy Monday – Irish Rail App

Alan Kelly - Image: Paul Sharp

Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly TD today launched the new Irish Rail App. Available on both Android and iOS. The helpful app is now available to download for free.

The main features of the App are:

  • Real time train information with delay notifications

  • Current and up to date timetables

  • Stations location services

  • Identification of nearby stations via GPS of current location  

  • Details of intermediate stations and whether there are any changes on route

  • Compact display of route alternatives, including door-to-door navigation and walking distances

  • Favourite function for destinations and routes including auto-history for past queries

  • Re-entry on last screen when leaving or re-starting the application

Download from Google Play Store Here  or Download from iTunes Here

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Appy Tuesday – Five Photography Apps for Android

Appy bank holiday Tuesday to all! So we are a day late this week because of the sunny weather but we will make it up to everyone by looking at 5 cool photography apps instead of just one! This week I got a little help from photographer Alan Devins.

Alan is a full time school photographer by day and a freelance portrait photographer in his spare time. He lives and breathes photography be it portraits, landscapes or products, So who better to guide us through photography app purchases!

1.       Camera Zoom FX €1.99

Camera Zoom FX is an excellent app and has become my default camera app. This camera app gives you easy access to necessary options such as zoom, white balance and flash control, as well as different shooting modes like timer, burst, time-lapse and voice activation. A useful feature is the stable shot mode which takes the picture automatically when the phone reaches a certain level of stability. This app really shines with its well packed post-processing effects and these are presented to you as soon as you take the picture.

 

2.       Fast Burst Camera €3.99

Fast Burst Camera is a high speed camera app that lets you take up to 30 photos per second. This is really handy for capturing exciting sporting moments like Tippeary scoring a goal or Mayo putting over a point from a free, but can be just as good for getting shots of your kids playing on the trampoline. This app also has a built in option to create an animated gif file from the pictures taken. The quality of the pictures can be adjusted to allow for more or less captures and the settings allow you to tweak options such as delay between shots and whether you want 1,3,5 shots or continuous shooting. With no shutter lag it means your picture is taken as soon as you press the button with no delay. Definitely a very useful camera app to have to make sure you never miss a thing. 

 

3.       Retro Camera Plus €2.49

Retro Camera Plus is a novel camera effects app. Rather than giving different ‘post’ processing effects like instagram, Retro Camera Plus lets you choose from a range of old cameras types which all give a different end result. It may not be the quickest app to use when you need to capture an important moment but this app isn’t trying to be a replacement camera. It is great fun to use and its novel approach is welcome over the majority of picture editor apps that are available on the play store.

 

4.       Pro HDR Camera €1.51

With the popularity of HDR photography I had to include a HDR photography app in this post. A HDR image is basically two or more different exposures of the exact same subject compiled to give a single image of High Dynamic Range which can result in a stunning image. Given HDR’s recent spike in popularity there are surprisingly very few apps available worth considering and (maybe unsurprisingly) even then you won’t get the same result as you would from a computer and dedicated software. I found Pro HDR Camera to be easy to use with both the manual and auto modes and the results were great. If the choice for a holiday snapshot was between the standard camera and this I would probably use this to bring my images closer to life.

 

5.       PicSay Pro – Photo Editor €2.99

While not strictly a camera app, PicSay Pro deserves a mention on this list. It’s a feature rich photo editor that is a must have for anyone wanting to get a little more from their photos. Besides the fun ‘stickers’ that can be added to your photos, its selection of effects and post processing is remarkable and if used right can make a throw away photo into something special in seconds. Compared to Adobe’s Photoshop Express PicSay Pro gives far more choice of effects and adjustments and is worth the low cost.

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Appy Monday – Map My Ride

Cycling in Ireland has never been more popular and you don’t have to be training for the Tour de France to pop on a helmet, hop on your bike and take to the road. 

Today we are looking at the Map My Ride App, available free on Android and iOS. Map My Ride allows users to plan, track and analyse a workout from their mobile phone. There is a lot of competition in this area of the market and after testing many cycling/route tracker apps out since I purchased my bike seven weeks ago, Map My Ride is the clear winner in my eyes.

                                      

Map My Ride is easy to use, takes very little time to set-up when you want to get going and will track your route, speed, distance, calories burned and much more. One of the features I enjoyed most on this app was the voice notifications which alert you to your progress along the route. 

Starting out with this app is easy, you have a choice of signing up to an account or you can log in with your Facebook, you just need to add some extra details such as height, weight and gender to maximise the benefit you get from the app. Tracking your route could not be simpler, simply hit record from the main menu when you depart for your cycle and pause when you are finished your workout and Map My Ride will take care of the rest, uploading your route to their website whilst giving you the options to make it public or private

Not only can you track your own cycling routes but you can look at routes others have cycled locally and compete in challenges on these routes to gain the fastest times.

Map My Ride also has extra features that I do not use such a food and water log, calories budget and weight tracking.

To download the app from the iTunes store, Click Here

To download the app from Google Play Store, Click Here 

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Appy Monday – Guidecentral

 

Appy Monday everyone, this week we look at Guidecentral the Irish start up with an international twist. 

Want to find out how to do the perfect manicure or how to restring your guitar? maybe you just need help with making the tastiest pancakes, the answers to all of these and much more can be found in the exciting Guidecentral App. Guidecentral is the new, fun and visual platform that allows users to create, discover and share how to guides. 

         

 

Guidecentral users create a profile, using their Facebook login. They can then begin to browse or create new guides. The in-app camera allows users to take step by step pictures of any project they are completing and add short captions as they go along. Users are encouraged to create and share guides.

The latest update to the Guidecentral App was released just last week and comes with the excellent new Contest feature which rewards app users who generate and share the most content monthly. 

  • If someone likes your guide – 100 points
  • If someone comments on your guide –250 points
  • If someone follows you – 250 points
  • If someone shares your guide –1000 points
  • If you share your guide –1000 points
  • If you publish a new guide –2500 points
  • If guidecentral feature your guide – 5000 points

At the end of the month the user who tops the Guidecentral leader board is rewarded with a $150 Amazon gift card. 

The team behind Guidecentral are based in Dogpatch Labs in Dublin, but the developers originally hail from Argentina and Spain. The team is headed by former Google and Youtube employee Gaston Irigayen. They decided to choose Dublin as the location to develop Guidecentral as the start up industry here is continuously growing. Dublin also serves as a great base for access to the European market whilst still been influenced by changes in the US tech scene, which is majorly important given that 70% of Guidecentral users are based there. 

To download the app from the itunes store simply Click Here

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Appy Monday – Candy Crush Saga King of Freemium games.

Candy Crush Saga

A freemium game is an app that can be downloaded for free on the Google Play store for android or iTunes for iOS products but users can spend money while playing the game to unlock premium services or enhancements if required. Freemium is a combination of the words “free” and “premium”. The app being free attracts a lot of users to download and engage with the game until they are willing to spend money to enjoy premium features such as playing with no advertisements, unlocking extra levels or simple extra powers to help overcome existing levels.

One of the most played freemium Apps out there at the moment is Candy Crush Saga. We at b*different, like everyone else are addicted to it. Candy Crush Saga is a fun puzzle game that is available for free on Android and iOS. Produced by King.com Limited, The app can be integrated to your Facebook account where you can send and receive extra lives from your friends, see their scores, real time progress and compete to not only beat the tricky puzzles but to beat your friends scores too.

The aim of Candy Crush Saga is to work your way through hundreds of levels completing different tasks, some levels require you to reach a certain score, others to clear jellies, more to bring fruits down to the bottom of the screen but all levels have one thing in common, a limited amount of moves. You complete tasks by matching three or more jellies in a row. Run out of moves and you lose a life, having to wait thirty minutes or rely on friends to give you a life if you want to retry as five lives are the maximum you can have at any one time.

So this is where the Freemium elements come into play, and they are not cheap. Examples include:
• Jelly Fish (€1.79): Adds jelly fish to candy, then clears three pieces of jelly when matched.
• Extra Moves (€0.89): Adds five extra moves to a puzzle.
• Lollipop Hammer (€1.79): Smash candy to remove it.
• Charm of Life (€14.99): Increases your lives from five to eight.
• Charm of Stripes (€35.99): Allows you to change a candy to a special piece once per game.
• Charm of Frozen Time (€21.99): Allows time to stand still when you are planning your moves in time trial games.

Top Ten in App Downloads according to itunes are:
1. Extra Lives0,89 €
2. Extra Moves0,89 €
3. Lollipop Hammer1,79 €
4. Color Bomb0,89 €
5. Unlock Next Episode0,89 €
6. Unlock Lollipop Forest0,89 €
7. Striped & Wrapped1,79 €
8. Unlock Next Episode0,89 €
9. Unlock Next Episode0,89 €
10. Jelly Fish1,79 €

King.com say it is possible to clear all 335 Candy Crush Saga levels without purchasing any additional charms. After over a week stuck on level 29, we can easily see how tempting it could be to get out the credit card, buy the Charm of Life have three extra lives at a time and complete the levels catch up with our friends and feel like we are making progress at a game that is impossible to put down.

To download on Android: click here To download on iOS: click here

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Examie: Access Past Exam Papers on the GO!

Dylan Varian is an 18 year old leaving cert student from Cork. Recently he released an app for Leaving Cert and Junior Cert students for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app, “examie“, allows the user access to all the past exam papers and marking schemes for Leaving and Junior Cert.

Dylan’s main aim for the app is make it cheaper and easier for students to get access to papers and marking schemes. Currently publishers are charing around €5 for each paper. Considering every Leaving Cert student is doing seven to eight subjects that price quickly escalates to €40. However Dylan has priced his app, examie, at just €3.59. Even less than 1 paper from a publisher.

We are big supporters of Dylan and think his app is very innovative and we wish him the very best of luck in his upcoming exams. 

 

To download the app CLICK HERE

To follow Dylan on Twitter CLICK HERE

To vist his website CLICK HERE  

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Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion

In what was really a surprise move, Facebook announced on Monday (9th April) that they had acquired the photo-sharing app ‘Instagram’ for…wait for it – $1 billion dollars.  

It was announced on Mark Zuckerburg’s Timeline, before being released as a press release by the company. 

The company says that they Instagram will remain independent but within minutes, users took to twitter to voice their concerns in terms of privacy with many stating that they would be deleting their Instagram apps straight away.  

 

 

Instagram itself is a relatively new company only having been launched 551 days ago.  An interesting tweet suggested that Instagram made $1.8 million dollars each day since they started.  Wow!  

Instagram recently launched a new Android app to compliment it’s iPhone app.  It has a base (so far) of 8 million users but with Facebook coming on board, this is likely to increase significantly.  

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