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Tag Archives: applications

Boost Your Reading Speed To Broadband Levels With Spritz

Spritz-2-820x420

Spritz is a new smartphone application in development that could dramatically increase your reading speed in as little as a few minutes. Instead of teaching you to silence your inner voice (which is a skill needed for effective traditional speed reading and is a common bottleneck), it presents the words to you in a completely novel format: flashing them one after the other at a preset speed. In this fashion, you don’t have to scroll your eyes from side to side; you just look at the same spot and the words come to you. Eventually, your inner voice ends up disappearing, and you simply understand the words without vocalizing them. It’s counter intuitive but extremely effective, boosting reading speeds up to 500 words per minute very quickly. Some people are even able to blaze at up to 1,000 wpm, allowing them to read an 80,000 word novel in less than 2 hours.

You can try it yourself at the link below. It’s really fun. And it’s a little different from other applications (like Spreeder) in its implementation. For instance Spritz “places each word at the “Optimal Recognition Point (ORP),” which is the placement in front of our eyes that’s best for reading comprehension of each individual word (multisyllabic words are read differently monosyllabic ones).” And it flashes a blank screen at the end of each sentence, preserving the essential rhythm of ideas.

It’s a great little program, but it’s not ready for primetime. The plan is to launch on Android first, although the company is working on iOS, web, and Microsoft phone SDKs. We’re not clear on the timeline, but keep an eye out: this one’s pretty awesome.

[ Try Spritz ] VIA [ DVice ]

EA: You Can Leave Any Rating You Want, As Long As It’s A 5-Star Rating

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 12.57.17 PM

In a world where an app’s success or failure often depends on its rating, EA isn’t taking any chances and has started using some dodgy tactics to boost its image online. In the Android version of the freemium game Dungeon Keeper you get an occasional prompt to rate the game, which is normal practice in most applications. However, this particular prompt gives the following options: if you’re thinking of leaving a 5-star rating, you’re directed to Google Play Store where you can leave your glowing review; if it’s anything less, pressing that button will open a window where you can “leave feedback”, skipping the Play Store altogether.

Sure, you could still leave a 1-star review, but you’d have to manually go to the Play Store, find the game, and leave a review. This obviously stacks the deck in EA’s favour, despite the company’s claim that this tactic is employed to “collect valuable feedback from players who don’t feel the game is worth a top rating.” Given that the wording on the prompt is “5-Star ratings from you help us provide free updates!”, it’s clear that content is being held hostage in exchange for an artificially inflated rating, and isn’t sitting right with gamers. It’s no surprise then that the company was voted Worst In America, 2 years running.

VIA [ TheVerge ]

Say Goodbye To Vertical Videos Forever With Horizon

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Ever read the comments on Reddit whenever some schmo shoots a video with the phone held vertically? Not pretty, right? Even worse is when they start holding the phone vertically, realize their mistake and rotate sideways… Then all you have is a video that forces you to tilt your head 90 degrees in order to watch. It’s stupid. The Horizon app promises to fix these problems forever. Using the phone’s accelerometer, you’re presented with an always-horizontal window that appears even when you’re holding your phone upright. It serves to remind you that the phone is in the “wrong” orientation, and also serves as the viewfinder. Yes, the shooting area will be smaller if you keep shooting while the phone is upright, but it will resize dynamically if you tilt. Actually, no matter what angle you’re pointing the device, the video stays horizontal.

There are multiple aspect ratios to pick from and even filters to play around with. It’s unfortunately iOS only at the moment and it’ll cost you all of $1.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Roadie Tuner Gets That Guitar Tuned In An Instant

roadie-tuner

There are those who can quickly tune a guitar by ear, and then there are those who can’t. Fortunately for the latter group, there’s a product like the Roadie Tuner to help. It’s a small handheld device that pairs with your smartphone and automatically tunes your strings. Just place it on each peg, pluck the string in front of your phone, and it’ll do the required adjustments. You can even choose from alternate tunings, or even create your own. Also, it’ll analyze the tonal quality of your strings and alert you when it detects it might be time to change them. As a matter of fact, Roadie Tuner isn’t limited to traditional guitars; it’ll tune any stringed instrument, with any number of strings. Currently on Kickstarter, a $79 pledge will get you yours, with a delivery date of June 2014.

[ Kickstarter ] VIA [ TheAwesomer ]

3D Printing App Makes Object Creation Easier For Windows 8.1 Users

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The ecosystem around 3D printers gets a little more mature each day. Just last week we were reporting that about the Smithsonian launching a set of 3D files of their exhibits that you can print at home. And now comes news that Microsoft has released an application for Windows 8.1 called 3D Builder. It’s meant to make it possible for people with no experience with CAD software to easily create objects to print. Aside from containing a catalogue of items that you can use immediately, the app allows you to modify them and even to import your own external ones, of course only as long as you have the hardware to do so. It’s free and you can give it a spin at the link below.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Print You Own iPhone Keyboard On A Piece Of Paper

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Maybe you find the keyboard on the iPhone a tad too cramped? Your big meaty fingers make a mess of everything? Maybe you’d be better off giving this application a look, then. It’s called Paper Keyboard and involves you physically printing a special keyboard on a piece of paper. You know, like people did in 2006? Print stuff in 2D? Right, so once the keyboard is printed, you place your phone in the specially designated area and its front facing camera takes care of the rest. Its “sophisticated algorithms” track where your fingers are and register the key presses. You’re then free to use that text in other applications.

Now… we’re not sure about this one, cool as it sort of sounds at first. If you’re able to print something, there’s a good chance there’s a full computer nearby, no? So why not just use that? Like, this could be useful if you have to type a really long email and don’t want to stare at a tiny keyboard for the whole thing. But if there’s a computer nearby… what’s the point?

In any case, it’s free to download and try out, though they’ll ask for money if you want to use the in-app chat application.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Tired Of Passwords? Knock App Unlocks Your Mac With Knock On Your iPhone

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We live in an age where the seemingly mundane task of entering a password can become cumbersome enough for some to compel them to develop an app that helps you bypass that altogether. Knock, for instance, is software that lets you unlock your Mac just by tapping on your iPhone twice. The app doesn’t even need to be running. Think of this scenario: you’re at a cafe, you leave to go to the restroom and lock your Mac, while keeping your phone in your pocket. As soon as you’re coming back to your laptop just tap twice on your pocket and it’ll be ready for you to use before you’ve even sat down, no need to enter any password. It works brilliantly; I just downloaded and tested. The app uses low-power Bluetooth 4.0, so it won’t drain your battery. It will, however, cost you $4 to own. The Mac application is free, it’s the related one on the iPhone that costs.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

New App Gives You Access To Cash At ATM Without Your Card

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Taking money out of the ATM doesn’t take a whole lot of time, but it’s once you start adding up all those seconds that you realize a little improvement can go a long way. Three banks in the US are testing a new application called Cardless Cash Access (CCS) that would grant you your paper bills with a simple swipe of your phone. The way it works is that you launch the app up to 24 hours in advance and specify how much cash you want. It’ll generate a QR code which you then just need to present at the machine to unlock the goods, without having to go through the usual steps of getting cash. A transaction with CCS takes about 9 seconds, compared to 30 to 40 for a card withdrawal. And it’s presumably reasonably safe, even if someone steals your phone, because the thief would have to go through several security layers before being able to generate a one time use QR code (such as your phone’s lock code, the application’s password and PIN number). It even eliminates the danger from card skimmers. The three banks in question are Wintrust (IL), BMO (Chicago), and City National (Los Angeles). If this catches on, maybe it’ll spread from there.

[ CNN ] VIA [ DVice ]

You Gonna Eat That Stapler?…. You… Wanna Share It?

leftover-sharing-app

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get the Family Guy reference (from its long gone golden years…). But reading about the LeftoverSwap application above made us think about it. See, some fine folk seem to think it a good idea to spend resources creating a smartphone application that allows you to share your leftovers. Yes, really. Ordered too much food? Take a picture of what’s left and upload it. You’re hungry and don’t mind eating someone else’s half eaten burritos? Fire up the application and browse nearby selections. Press a few buttons to arrange pickup or delivery, and you’re done. Yes, this is serious, and no it’s not a joke.

There’s some relatively sound reasoning behind it. The application developers assert that 40% of the food we produce goes to waste, 25% of us don’t know our neighbors’ names, 70% of us are overweight, 16% of Americans lack enough food for a healthy lifestyle and 99% of us don’t need a second helping of beef lo main. LeftoverSwap solves all these problems at once, encouraging you to eat free, save potentially wasted food, meet your neighbours, and prevent them from getting too fat. It’s not a bad idea, if only people manage to get over the idea of eating someone else’s cold, potentially unsanitary food. But hey, thumbs up for making at effort at tackling some problems.

Still under development, you can visit the website and leave your email to be notified when it’s finished.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geekologie ]