App Blaster From Killing Time to Saving Time, No App is Safe from the Blaster Sat, 03 Mar 2018 05:38:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 61288566 Mobile Apps for Environmental Stewardship Sun, 30 Mar 2014 15:47:24 +0000 Read More »]]> Not surprisingly, there are thousands of “green” apps out there that make it easier for people to find and share information to help us all become better stewards of the natural environment.

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air app shows live color-coded air quality maps for any U.S. location and includes both ozone and particulate pollution counts. The app also provides air quality alerts, short-term forecasts and opportunities to learn more about air quality risks and to contact lawmakers to push for more stringent pollution regulations. Another way to find out who’s emitting what nearby is via aMobileFuture’s Pollution, a free app that compiles information from various pollution databases around the world and then shows users which big polluters are emitting what near them. Coverage includes 1,380 cities, mostly in Europe and the U.S.

Ethical shoppers will appreciate the GoodGuide, a free app that shows how any of 120,000 food, personal care and household products stack up in terms of sustainability, fair wages and even health risks. Users just snap a picture of an item’s bar code to get the low-down on whether or not it’s a “good” buy. And the free JouleBug app turns living greener into a game, taking specific sustainability-oriented steps such as reducing energy use, recycling more or buying local and translating these small acts into positive “units of impact.” Embedded videos demonstrate ways once can green up daily life.

Adair Systems’ 99 cents GasHog app makes it easy to track a car’s fuel efficiency. Enter the odometer reading and amount of fuel added each time you refill the tank and the app calculates the fuel economy of the previous tank and compares it to historical averages. The app also offers tips for improving fuel economy. And Avego’s free CarmaCarpooling app matches nearby drivers with riders to share the commute and the expense. At the end of the trip, the rider can send a payment through the system to the driver to cover a share of gas and wear-and-tear.

PaperKarma is a free app to help reduce junk mail. Users input their address information once and then snap a picture through the app of any unwanted junk mail. Behind the scenes, PaperKarma’s automated system notifies the publisher to take the user’s name and address off their list.

Another popular app is Light Bulb Finder, a free app designed to help ease the transition from older incandescent bulbs to more energy efficient replacements. Users enter in their zip code—the app automatically inputs average regional electricity rates accordingly—and then choose which type of fixture, size/shape and wattage bulb(s) they are looking to replace. The app then suggests options that use less energy and shows how much money the user can expect to save with the newer bulb(s).

It’s nice to know that the little screens we’ve become increasingly dependent upon—and which otherwise tend to distract us from nature and the outdoors—can also be used for the betterment of the environment.

CONTACTS: State of the Air App, JouleBug, GasHog, CarmaCarpooling, Light Bulb Finder, GoodGuide.

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Interview with JoyTunes Co-Creator Yuval Kaminka Thu, 27 Mar 2014 17:01:04 +0000 Read More »]]> screenshot-joytunes-2Yuval Kaminka may very well be the face of music education in the modern world. Traditional music lessons are old news. In this electronic era, even learning to play piano can be done on your iPad!

Kaminka is the co-developer of JoyTunes, a company that creates apps to teach people how to play musical instruments. JoyTunes has reached number one in the children’s education section of iTunes and won multiple awards, a feet all the more impressive considering its extremely limited marketing budget.

The idea for the app started after Kaminka noticed children’s dedication and aptitude for playing games on electronics. After witnessing a child persevere through a video game, only to arguing with his mom about putting the time in to practice piano, he realized he wanted to combine this dedication kids are clearly capable of with the mastery of instruments. In his words, he set out to create “very fun, very addictive, very easy to use tools for people who want to learn to play musical instruments.”

Kaminka is a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces and comes from a computer science background. . He brought in a tech-savvy friend to work with him on JoyTunes.

Unlike many music apps which simply feature virtual keyboards, JoyTunes allows you to put your device next to a piano. It registers what you are playing on the actual, real-life keyboard and gives you feedback. For apps, the company has both Piano Dust Buster, named because it gets the dust off your unused household piano, and Piano Maestro, which is “a service for people who want to learn to play piano.” Despite its electronic nature, it is built so you can work with a teacher. Both apps have a large selection of books, song, and exercises.

The game tries to match up traditional game goals with music education. When you play well, you get stars, points, and new avatars like in any other video game. The game concept can incorporate many real musical instruments beyond the piano, including saxophones, violins, pianos, guitars, flutes, and recorders.

Kaminka says that one of the major struggles with the app is actually its uniqueness. Because it’s so unlike the other music and piano apps out there, it can be difficult to get people to understand what the app truly is and does. Thankfully, JoyTunes has a few aces in the hole in the form of its investors, which include both the former CEO of Steinway, the famous piano company, and the CEO and Co-founder of Harmonix, the makers of Rockband. Kaminka describes JoyTunes as sitting at the “crossroads” of these two worlds.

About the music education market, Kaminka said, “It’s very stable, it doesnt-it’s kind of slowly diminishing a little bit, very very slowly, and definitely not increasing….There’s nothing really new in it. Maybe some stuff on the hardware side, some audio stuff…on the side of education, not so much. And we set out to kind of change that.”

Kaminka hopes to expand the instruments included in the JoyTune apps and the platforms that they can be played on. After that, who knows where the company will go? The sky is the limit in this changing digital age.

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Facebook Buys Whatsapp For $19 Billion Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:45:47 +0000 Read More »]]> The text base service Whatsapp has been bought by Facebook for $19 billion in cash and stocks.

The world’s largest social networking company has made one of the companies biggest purchases in buying the texting service Whatsapp with $12 billion in Facebook stock, $4 billion in cash, and the other $3 billion in restricted stock going to the app’s 55 creators and employees. This transaction will be larger than anything Microsoft, Apple, or Google have ever done.

Whatsapp is a messaging service that allows users to chat one-on-one or in groups allowing them to send recordings, pictures, video along with messages. It is thought that Facebook will purchase Whatsapp to capture the audience of teenagers and young adults who have taken to using it for messaging over Facebook which has become used by their parents and grand-parents.

‘‘Facebook seems to be in acknowledgement that people are using a lot of different apps to communicate,’’ said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. ‘‘In order to continue to reach audiences, younger in particular, it needs to have a broader strategy…not put all its eggs in one basket.’’

Facebook has said it will keep Whatsapp as a separate service just as it did with Instagram which the company purchased in 2012.



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Rovio Announces Angry Birds Stella: BFFs – Most of the Time Thu, 13 Feb 2014 19:14:52 +0000 Read More »]]> Angry Birds creator Rovio has revealed the newest installment to the Angry Birds franchise due out this fall. 

AB Stella

Though they didn’t say anything concrete about the game, the announcement claimed that Stella would open the door to a never before seen piece of the Angry Birds universe. The developer also went on to describe the numerous tie-ins that would go along with the game: cartoons, books, toys, and, “other fun stuff.”

“Stella may be pink, but she’s definitely one of the Angry Birds, a fierce and a feisty character with a great group of friends. Of course no story is complete without some interesting (fr)enemies!”

Source: Rovio

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Portable Gaming Falls to App Store And Google Play In Game Spending During 2013 Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:51:48 +0000 Read More »]]> App Annie’s 2013 report claims the App Store and Google Play surpassed game spending for portable gaming devices.

By the end of Q4 of 2012 the amount spent by consumers for portable games was more than the amount spent in the App Store and Google Play. However, by the end of Q2 in 2013, Google Play alone surpassed spending on portable games. Despite the growth of portable games in Q3, mobile game were not able to make up the difference.

ioS graph


For portable games, these figures included both digital and packaged game sales. The figures also exclude add revenue.

The report also brought up some other interesting figures:

– Of all game app revenue, freemium based game models grew from 86% to 93%  with Puzzles and Dragons being the leading freemium title followed by Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.

– Candy Crush was the worlds most downloaded app game.

– EA had the most downloaded game apps followed by Gameloft, Rovio, and King.

– In October 2013,  Japan surpassed the US as the country with the most app downloading activity.

Source: <a href=”″> MCV </a>

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Candy Crush Developer Granted Trademark Publication Rights to ‘Candy’ Tue, 21 Jan 2014 15:17:48 +0000 Read More »]]> The US Patent and Trademark office has granted Candy Crush publisher, King, official trademark rights over the word ‘Candy’.

The request for trademark by Limited was filed on February 6, 2013 for exclusive rights to the term ‘candy’ in video games and clothing. They received approval on January 15, 2014 and almost immediately following approval, some companies were notified about possible trademark infringement.

One such target for infringement, and one of the reason King filed for trademark, is Benny Hsu, the creator of Candy Casino Slots – Jewel Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land whose App Store icon simply reads “Candy Slots.” When replying to the infringement notice, Hsu received the following reply from Sophie Hallstrom, King’s IP paralegal:

“Your use of CANDY SLOTS in your app icon uses our CANDY trade mark exactly, for identical goods, which amounts to trade mark infringement and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand. The addition of only the descriptive term “SLOTS” does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion.”

King has responded to this claiming, “We have trademarked the word ‘CANDY’ in the EU, as our IP is constantly being infringed and we have to enforce our rights and to protect our players from confusion. We don’t enforce against all uses of CANDY – some are legitimate and of course, we would not ask App developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so.”

Is King making the right move to protect their property? or is their move to trademark a fairly common word an overstep?

]]> 1 227 Apple Agrees to Pay $32.5 Million For In-App Purchase Complaints Thu, 16 Jan 2014 15:36:09 +0000 Read More »]]> Apple has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to pay $32.5 million in refunds for unauthorized, in-app purchases.

The settlement will be used to refund customers who were subjected to unauthorized in-app purchases from Apple’s App Store. Apple has until the end of the year to refund customers and if the minimum is not met, the remainder will go directly to the FTC. Apple also has until March 31 to change it’s app features to require consent for all in-app purchases.

The problem arose with Apple’s 15 minute window that allowed users to make purchases without requiring a password. The intent was to make purchasing less of a hassle for users; however, kids were able to use the time to buy apps or in-game purchases without parental consent.

The kick-start to the complaint came in February 2011 when Stephanie Kay received a bill for $1,400 in Smurfberrie purchases for the iPad game, Smurf Village. A game Kay’s daughter, Madison, had accidentally built up not knowing the free-to-play game’s in-app purchases cost real money.

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: Whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez

Source: The Escapist

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RoboCop Film Gets Smartphone Tie-in Game Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:10:53 +0000 Read More »]]> The upcoming reboot of RoboCop features a free-to-play smartphone game from Glu Mobile.

Currently available for iOS, the game features cover-based shooting and puts Alex Murphy, the Detroit police officer turned robotic bad-ass, in a training simulation.It is currently available on iOS with expected Android release on January 15th.

RoboCop is a reboot of the 1987 movie of the same name. The original featured two sequels and TV series. The newest film hits theaters February 12 in the US.

Source: MCV

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Pizza Hut Sells $1million in Pizzas Through Xbox 360 App Thu, 09 Jan 2014 18:13:10 +0000 Read More »]]> In just four months, Pizza Hut manages to sell over $1 million worth of pizza over their Xbox 360 app.

PizHut App

The ability to order pizza through gaming consoles has been met with great success as the pizza ordering app booms in the short four months that it has been available to Xbox 360 owners.

In a conversation with Polygon, director of public relations for Pizza Hut Doug Terfehr explained, “Just the explosion of people who wanted to download it, experiment with it, play with it with Kinect. As soon as we did one, everyone was contacting us to do the next [one].”

Terfher went on to explain future plans of bringing the app to other consoles thought they plan to wait until the current generation (Xbox One) gains larger download base before bring the service to those devices. Additionally, Pizza Hut is focusing on improving their smartphone apps for iOS and android.

Though there is no timeline for the service to be expanded, the immediate success of the Xbox 360’s pizza ordering app should indicate this to become a regular and expanded feature in the near future.

“When you talk about a sweet spot for the pizza category it’s definitely gamers and gaming. We’re not done in that space,” said Terfehr.

Source: Polygon

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Top 10 Apps for New Tablet Users Thu, 09 Jan 2014 14:55:57 +0000 Read More »]]> Top 10 Apps for New Tablet Users

The vast universe of apps can be overwhelming for first-time tablet users.  Not to worry – here is a simple list of the top 10 apps for new tablet owners.  They can all be found through the App Store for iPad, Google Play for Android devices, and Windows Store on Microsoft tablets.

1. Bank Apps

All major banks have their own apps – find and download yours today!  Banking apps simplify every aspect of finances.  No longer will you need to run to the bank to deposit a check or make sure you’re in front of a computer to transfer money between accounts.  This can all be done right from your tablet.

2. Pocket

Pocket is a reading app that allows users to save articles, videos, and other content they find online onto their devices.  This is particularly useful for times when you will be without Wi-Fi or mobile connections – simply open your stored content in Pocket and enjoy.

3. is made for efficiency.  It keeps all your to-do lists in one place with a sleek design.  One of its best features is called “Moment,” which provides a daily triage of your tasks.  Download this app and start crossing things off your list.

4. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts lets you message friends on their computers, tablets, or smartphones.  It is the texting equivalent for your tablet.  It also features fun video and picture aspects.

5. Netflix or Hulu

One of the best things about a tablet is the ability to take the device wherever you go.  With a Netflix or Hulu app, you won’t just be carrying your tablet with you, you’ll have your TV too.  Entertain yourself with countless movies and TV shows.  Netflix requires a streaming subscription while Hulu has some free content as well as a subscription service that opens up a larger library.

6. Yelp

Yelp can make finding new places to eat or shop as simple as can be.  The app contains data about local shops that surpasses that of any other company, including opening hours, full menus, and user reviews.

7. Pandora

Pandora is as good as it gets when it comes to Internet radio.  Users simply select a song or artist that they like and the app will create stations with similar musical styles.

8. Google Drive

Google Drive lets users create and save documents, slideshows, and spreadsheets.  It also functions as an online data storage service, making it easy to access your documents no matter where you are.

9. Skype

Skype allows you to video chat with friends and family across the globe for free!

10. Google Keep

Google Keep is the tablet equivalent of Post-its.  Anytime you have a quick thought to jot down, you can quickly store it in this app.  It includes to-do lists, location reminders, and fast searching.

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