Appy Monday – AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia

On this weeks Appy Monday we will be looking at AmpliTube and its hardware interface iRig by IK Multimedia.

AmpliTube and iRig allow you to turn your iPhone or iPad into a mobile Guitar and Bass Sound Studio.

iRig

iRig is a small device that lets you connect your guitar or bass to to your iPhone or iPad. The iRig is very simple to use; it connects to your iOS device with the attached cable and has a cable interface for your instrument and another for headphones or for connecting to a sound system. Once your instrument is connect you can open the AmpliTube app.

AmpliTube

This review will focus on the free version of AmpliTube for iPad. AmpliTube is also available for iPhone but is much better suited to the larger screen on iPad and iPad mini.

Once the app is running you are presented with the main panel which shows you your amp and chosen effects.

The free version gives you one amp and two stomp boxes (delay and noise filter). This doesn’t give you a huge range of sound to play with but enough to get up and running and an idea how the app works.

The interface is intuitive and easy to use; want to increase volume or treble? Just tap and drag the knob as needed. As most users of this app will be bedroom rockers or musicians it’s safe to say that they will be familiar with the hardware that the app emulates and will feel right at home using it. Extra amps, effect pedals and a studio feature for mixing your recorded tracks can be bought individually as in-app purchases.

The app also gives you the ability to play a song from your library to play along with or to play a drum beat for practising to. Again extra drum beats can be bought as in-app purchases. The ‘tools’ tab gives you a metronome and very responsive tuner and a recording interface lets you record your licks and riffs. One cool feature of the app is the ability to let the app keep working in the background to allow multitasking which I found great for listening to songs on Spotify or YouTube to play along to.

AmpliTube offers good sound for its price. If you’re a guitarist who already owns an iPad or iPhone then investing in the iRig is a no brainer and a very small investment for all you get when you consider the price of AmpliTube’s bigger brother for PC/Mac which will set you back over €150.

iRig currently sells for €15 – €25 depending on retailer with AmpliTube available for Free, with prices ranging €10.99 to €13.99 for the pay versions which include extra amps, and effects but in-app purchases are still present and at this time it doesn’t seem possible to buy an ‘all-in’ app that contains all those extras for a once of fee.

Despite this iRig and AmpliTube offer excellent value for money and is a highly recommend for the beginner just learning or the veteran musician as the app offers a lot in a very small package for a very small price.

So plug in your guitar, plug in your headphones and turn it up to 11*.

*Obligatory Spinal Tap reference.

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Appy Monday – iMotionHD

iMotionHD is a time-lapse and stop-motion photography app developed by FingerLab for iOS.

What are Time Lapse and Stop Motion Photography?

This is probably best explained by the app developers themselves:

“Time-lapse is a cinematography technique which accelerates movement. It can be used to photograph cloudscapes, plants growing, crowds… Stop motion is an animation technique which makes a physically manipulated object looks like it’s moving on its own. “

Viewers of the Netflix series House of Cards would be familiar with time-lapse sequences as the opening credits were created using this technique and stop motion photography would be familiar to fans of The Wallace and Gromit franchise.

How it works?

Without going into too much detail, this is an app review after all…

Time-Lapse sequences are created by taking a series of photos at a set interval and then playing these back at a user defined rate to give the effect of movement.

Stop-Motion works in much the same way, though the images are usually taken manually after the object has been moved to create the desired look.

Using iMotionHD 

The interface is extremely easy to use and a total novice will be creating visual masterpieces in minutes. Upon launching the app you are given the option to create a New Movie with definable options such as movie title, and the recording mode such as time-lapse, manual, remote, or mic. Though not exclusive to this use; the latter 3 options are more relevant to creating stop motion videos.

If choosing time-lapse you can also define the interval that the images are record at ranging from 0.1 seconds to an entire day (though I would recommend having your charger handy if recording sequences at that rate!).

Videos are recorded at 1080 x 1080 pixels if using the device in portrait orientation and 1920 x 1080 pixels in landscape orientation giving you full high definition videos which look superb.

Other useful features of the app are the ability to control focus and exposure controls as well as a grid to allow you to get those landscape shots straight before you sit back and call Action!

The free version of the app only allows you to save your completed video to your photo library or to your iTunes sharing folder whereas the full version gives you email, Facebook, and YouTube interfaces direct from the app.

The app offers an in-app purchase to upgrade to iMotionHD Pro, though it’s hard to see if the Pro version offers anything extra besides the unlocked sharing options mentioned above.

In Summary; iMotionHD is a really fun easy to use app that lets you see the world in a different way or gives you a reason to play with some toys and bring them to life.

iMotionHD and iMotiondHD Pro are available from the App Store with the Pro version setting you back only €2.69. It is compatible with all camera equipped iOS devices (though the developer states some features are only available to newer devices).

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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 – 5 Apps For Entertainment On The Go


Away at a meeting but fancy some Game of Thrones action? or perhaps there is nothing on TV tonight that takes your fancy, fret not because we have put together 5 must have apps for entertainment on the go. All Apps picked are available on IOS from the App Store and Android from the Google Play Store. Enjoy! 

RTÉ Player: 

RTÉ player allows users to stream programmes shown on RTÉ for up to 21 days after transmission, as well as watch selected shows live. This app was a god send when I was visiting family in the UK last year and was set to miss the Toy Show #LifeSaver You can search for shows by a-z, most recent, most popular, and category. The App is free and there are no subscription fees, download today and you will never have an excuse not to catch up with Tommy & Co in Fair City again.

4OD:

The 4OD App is full of great content from across the companies network including Channel4, E4 and More4. The app is free and there are no subscription fees. From a usability point of view the content is well laid out, the search features are impressive, and some content is grouped into categories which is handy if you have specific interests. The ads can sometimes be choppy when loading but the content generally streams well. Another point to note before downloading is that because of the ability to download some shows, the app will not work on rooted devices. 

Sky Go:

I only recently discovered the gem that is the Sky Go app. This app requires access to an active Sky login and subscription to work but is well worth downloading if you have Sky at home. The available content on the App varies depending on your sky subscription. With the most basic Sky package, I have access to box sets including Game of Thrones, 24, and Sherlock on the go. Shows can be streamed over WIFI or downloaded to watch on the device for up to 7 days. Again, because of the ability to download shows, the Sky Go app will not work on rooted devices

Netflix:

The Netflix app is great, I love it, it’s easy to use, and so addictive. Every time I decide to cancel my subscription I get addicted to another show. While the app is free, Netflix comes with a price tag of €7.99 per month. Sign up online for a free one month trial, and you won’t regret it. The Netflix app is loaded with a host of original series including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Lily Hammer. It also has classics such as 24, Breaking Bad and for the geaks amongst us Battlestar Galactica. 

Youtube:

Having the YouTube app gives you access to all the entertainment you will ever need and then some. Catch up on the latest viral videos, music videos, and vloggers, Watch unboxing, the boxing, or learn how to draw a box. Youtube has it all and for free. 

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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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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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Appy Monday – Phlok

Phlok – Connecting Local People with Local Business.

Phlok is all about connecting local people with local business. It’s a unique Irish social media platform that rewards you for shopping local, it’s also a free app available in the app store and Google Play.

Every merchant and business that you see on Phlok, gives you the availability to collect Phlok points. These points are a virtual currency and worth real money (1,000 points = €1). Just from signing up, you receive 2,000 points! Phlok points are unique, in that you can collect and spend them in any participating Phlok store by simply clicking on your points total at the top of the screen and follow the simple instructions.

You can collect Phlok points by checking into locations, following Phlok businesses and making purchases in Phlok stores. It is quite addictive building up your Phlok points and you can also collect points by inviting your friends to join! With the app, you can check out where your friends have checked in and see how you compare with their phlok points, it has most certainly has brought out that competitive streak in me!

Phlok is very much a social media platform with a focus on shopping local. When you sign up with Phlok you set up your profile and it gives you the option of signing in through email or facebook. Once logged in, the app uses your GPS to locate business using Phlok close to you. Your mobile will even automatically alert you when you are near an offer! It also has a map option, so that you can search locations and business to see what other offers are in place. You can see a live feed of people who have checked-in and received points in doing so. There is also the option to send group or private messages to people in your ‘Phlok’.

Each business also has a profile, with information such as address, phone number, website and what their latest offer is etc. and they can also update their status with relevant information to their customers that will appear in your news-feed/activity page.

Phlok has numerous different local businesses signed up to bring you a wide variety of different categories that will benefit all users of Phlok. There are local businesses from bars to motoring to butchers to clothes shops all signed up, wanting to pass on the reward for encouraging you to shop local. Phlok can only grow stronger and in the coming months you will see it rolling out into more counties across Ireland and abroad. Recently is has landed in the UK and only last week gained press coverage in Ilkley.

Another great app to come from the Emerald Isle, definite one to download and watch this Phlok grow! 

 

Check out Phlok’s blog here.

 

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Appy Monday – Publin

It was only a matter of time before Publin released their app after the success that they have received with their facebook and Twitter following.

Publin is the new free app to find pubs and drinks promotions that are on in and around the city. The app gives you the option of searching for a particular pub or you can use the GPS on your phone to locate pubs close to you and give you information on those pubs such as drink prices, offers, wifi, opening hours, disabled toilets, craft beer etc. You can also search pubs by amenities, for example beer gardens, handy for those (rare) sunny Sunday sessions! All this information in one handy app.

The app is also linked with their facebook and twitter feeds, so that you can keep up to date with the daily deals that are currently going on in the city. Publin seem to have a good relationship with the different pubs around the city, who will contact Publin about their offers.

The creators have plans to further develop the app to include deals from pubs, event listing and other entertainment. 

 

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Appy Monday – PhotoGrid

It’s a well know fact that Google Play and the App Store are overrun with different photo apps to choose from. Which, if you are/were like me in the beginning of my smartphone days, found the app store a little daunting with all the choice of different apps/tools to edit your pictures. So when I came across this little gem I had to share!

PhotoGrid – the best collage maker’ is an absolute beaut of a collage app! Not only is it the only go-to app to combine your photos into paneled, framed collages, is has a very easy to use interface, which ensures that when you are creating your collage you get to have fun in doing so and not get bogged down with the technicalities!

First, you choose which mode you want to use for your collage, they have several options here available: Grid HD, Free HD, High, Wide and Single HD. Secondly, you select the pictures (max 9) you want from the gallery on your phone or the cloud -facebook, Instagram, Flikr, Dropbox or google image. PhotoGrid lets you choose a layout or it will select one and if you are not happy with it all you have to do is shake your phone to rearrange the layout!

What I really love about the app is that you can hone in on each of the images and move them around to fit as you wish, and rotate and flip each picture, add filters, borders, frames and text. You can be as creative as you like!

Once you are happy with your collage, you can download it, save it and share it on all social platforms!

 

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