I’ve decided to move to London. I have no idea why — probably boredom. I just finished my end-of-year exams at college and have a whole summer to play with. The idea of moving country was fun until I decided to actually go ahead with it. Now it’s terrifying. Every morning I wake up, I remember I’m surrounded by 8 million people and that I know none of them. I have no family or friends in London. No job. Zero geographical knowledge. I’ve figured out the Oyster card though, so that’s good.
It’s dawned on me that my smartphone could be a good tool for getting around and avoiding awkward eye contact on the tube. So instead of researching bank accounts, national insurance numbers and other crucial information, I went on the Play store for apps to aid me in surviving my first few weeks in North London. Here they are.
A hungry horde of zombies is chasing me. It’s freezing out, pitch dark and my feet are soaking wet. I’ve given up avoiding the puddles in favour of avoiding them. Kasabian’s album Empire blares giving me the boost I need to lift my knees higher and move quicker through the woods. Overhanging branches slap me across the face. Deep down I’m glad it’s dark.
I imagine this looks hilarious.
Running is the most common way to get fit and the most common reason to quit. Most use the carrot and stick motivation system of rewards to drive themselves forward. It turns out having zombies, hungry for brains, hot on your heels is much better. Want to run faster and for longer? Run for your life with Zombies, Run!
I’ll never fully comprehend why we love managing the lives and businesses of virtual characters. The Sims and Theme Hospital stick out in my mind as the two games which were always installed, ready to go on my PC as a kid. On some level, there was arguably a desire to feel ‘grown up’ — managing a household, hospital or theme park is what grown-ups do.
Pocket Academy takes the managerial approach to things and drops you in the principal’s chair of a new school. A school with no reputation, no students and very few pixels. Shall we?
A year or two ago I was of the opinion that games for Android would never be more than a bad PSP emulation attempt. I didn’t believe touchscreen phones and tablets could ever allow a gaming experience beyond fun and quirky titles such as Angry Birds or Temple Run – only something to kill time on the bus. I was, rather obviously, wrong.
Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, which is developed by Gameloft, is one of the recent titles that helped me overcome my prejudice about Android gaming. The first person shooter’s (FPS) story takes place in the US during a fictional invasion by a combination of Asian armies. With enemy troops already patrolling major cities such as Chicago and LA, it’s up to our small crew of tactical fighters to turn the tide.
It’s Christmas day 2004, I’m slouched over the family budget PC, CRT screen and all. My blurry vision can’t tell if Flight Simulator is installing or has frozen. The computer’s tower revs and whirrs under the strain – barely possessing the required memory and processing power to handle such a beast of a game — stored on two disks if memory serves me right!
Flight Simulator gave me hours of joy. There was something invigorating about a virtual flight in snowy conditions from Heathrow to Keflavík. I’d often sit with a cup of tea – periodically adjusting course, checking fuel or praying autopilot would handle the turbulence so I wouldn’t have to.
The fact that I can now enjoy a similar thrill on my Galaxy Tab 2 thanks to the guys over at Laminar labs is a testament to their hard work on the X Plane 9 series and to modern mobile hardware. Thirteen year old me would nosedive at the sight of this bad boy. And no Joystick required!
Ah Rayman, my floating, physics-defying friend from my PlayStation 1, it’s been a long time! I heard you went to the Wii for a while but I’m glad to see you back on a real gaming platform. And I’m not the only one. Rayman has captured the hearts of millions of kids and adults alike with his non-stop running, jumping, flying, punching, psychotic ways. It’s like parkour except on acid.
However, when console games begin crossing over to touchscreen devices we wonder whether or not they’ll loose their magic along the way. This curiosity, as well as my nostalgia for the Rayman experience, pushed me to try Jungle Run, the latest release in the Rayman series that’s available for Android.
I will be moving soon to a place of my own and since an empty or single occupancy house is a signal flare for burglars, I’ve began to experiment with the notion of a home CCTV system – or more specifically an IP camera system. The benefits are threefold. First, I can check up on the place when I’m not there. Second, I can record any burglars to help a police investigation. And third, I can see if the person ringing my doorbell is a friend or an Avon rep.
The IP camera system can be set up using a cheap webcam or two that are accessed using any browser as the camera feed is streamed over the Internet. There are dozens of Android apps available to view IP cameras but I will be incorporating TinyCam Monitor into my home surveillance system because of its features and free price tag.
The humble infographic has gone from the boardroom projector to online viral fame in the last few years. There’s no easier way to represent data to interest a person than by making it look pretty. Good infographics are simple to interpret and often cross language barriers effortlessly.
InFoto aims to tap into this, by converting the hundreds of photos you undoubtedly have stewing on your SD card into a pretty infographic that’ll probably get more likes on Facebook than your original snaps.
When I first heard the idea I thought it was a college student’s half-baked end of year assignment he decided to throw up on the Google Play Store, but it turns out photos actually have a ton of data stored within them. The question is: does the app make impressive use of it?
I recently heard about a former mechanic in Maine who passed the one million mile mark in his 1990 Honda Accord. A car reaching half that distance would ordinarily be fit for the scrap yard. He put the longevity of the vehicle (which is still in working order) down to regular maintenance, using quality parts and safe driving.
He bought the car in 96 when it had 70,000 miles on it. Back then the world didn’t have smartphones. Hell, having a relative that knew a guy with a PC was a talking point for many of us.
These days cars can look after themselves to some degree with onboard computers letting us know when a tyre is losing pressure, when the engine needs a service or that you forgot to buckle up. For those of us who love to track data — like me — there’s another tool in the arsenal: aCar for Android.
aCar is an app for tracking maintenance, journeys, expenses, fill-ups and a bunch of other cool things. But is it worth it for the average motorist?