Apps That Made My Week: Polyphasic Sleep, Photo Sketches, and More

A few days ago I got that little notification that draws a sigh from any Android user. Not a low battery. Not a low signal. But a low disk space alert. I felt like I was nine all over again, being told to clean my room. Much like when I actually was nine, I tend to go overboard when I’m having fun. It’s open season when it comes to downloading apps.

I cleaned it out, hastily (old habits die hard), so I could get back to my fun. Of course playing is always more fun when the room is clean because the best toys stand out.

It is now Sunday night and a few apps I’ve selected are in fact so good that I’m still energised to write about them . So if you want to find out about astronauts sleeping, better video playing, a FourSquare rival and a camera made of paper, read on.


For the past few months I’ve been sleeping polyphasically. It’s the third time in my life I’ve entered into spells of doing this and I recommend it to anyone who need another four hours work time every day. Astronauts do it on the ISS. Anyone interested in polyphasic sleep (which obtains high amounts of REM sleep in short bursts) should check this out. My phone is what wakes me up and tells me to sleep – and this first app worked a charm the past few days.

Countdown Timer and Different Power Nap Allowances

Countdown Timer and Different Power Nap Allowances

This app has helped me get up from my naps when every instinct tells me not to. There’s something about a countdown time that is more demanding than the regular set-time alarm clock.

‘Why not just use the standard countdown timer?’, you ask. Simple, this one is made for the power napper with pre-set nap types and a quick, easy to use interface.

There is no snooze button. There are no second chances. You’re an astronaut – now act like one!

Paper Camera

So Instagram for Android. That’s pretty neat. Anyways, moving on; Paper Camera is the most fun to use photography app I’ve ever used on my droid hands down. What it does it fairly simplistic – it sketches and cartoonises what your camera’s seeing.

Designed Brilliantly and Fun to Use

Designed Brilliantly and Fun to Use

How it works it where the fun starts. First off, there’s no lag or even a jitter. Secondly, the UI is so simple yet good looking it’ll put a smile on the face of any Android user.

Paper Camera had me running around my house, arm extended, camera in my eye line whilst taking photos of random junk. It might not be groundbreaking, and I doubt it’s worth a billion dollars. But I can guarantee you’ll have more fun and feel like you’re contributing to DaVInci’s sketchbook every time you take a snap. Most fun I’ve had for €1.50 in a long time.


No this isn’t a weather application. I’d sooner review passages from the Old Testament. This is a recent offering from our good friends at FourSquare, the check-in social media game where you earn points just for leaving the house!

Works like FourSquare and Looks Great Too

Works like FourSquare and Looks Great Too

A major falldown of FourSquare was that you had to be there to be square. Sadly, unless you were at a Starbucks, the odds of anyone else being there (especially a friend) were slim to none.

Now with Forecast you can send out updates about where you will be so that friends can be there too. It’s just as powerful as the original app and is integrated really nicely allowing you to see check-ins and notifications from friends.

As an aside, I think this is an interesting development in social media. It seems to me that it’s encouraging off-line social interaction in a way that Facebook ‘events’ simply can’t. Casual meetups, run-ins and caffé lattés shouldn’t be planned. But there’s nothing wrong with increasing the odds!

Movie Player Vista

Until VLC player for Android arrives we’ll continue to find ourselves with a mix-and-match motley crew of media players to cope with the dozens of formats thrown at us. With luck, Movie Player Vista will go some way to solving this problem.

Simple Interface and Plays Almost Anything.

Simple Interface and Plays Almost Anything.

It’s simple and easy to use, and can play dozens of different video formats. Just a handful include AMV, AVI, TTA, RMVB, RM, and HLV along with the regular suspects such as AVI, MP4 and MOV.

The home screen brings up a list of locations where you have playable media stored; for me it’s either phone memory or SD card. Individual files and folders can be tapped once quickly to bring up options such as ‘play’ and ‘delete’. It handles videos really well with no pixelation or discolouration such as I’ve had occur with other ‘premium’ media player.

The lack of a ‘next’ function suggests that this app is geared for heavy users that watch entire TV shows or movies as opposed to twenty second camera clips. MPV is arguably one of the best video players I’ve used and a must have for any phone.


I’m still waiting for this little guy to make an appearance. Until he does I’ve a 5kg monster living beneath my bed that takes care of my printing.

Print Almost Anything via the Internet, Google Docs, Bluetooth or WiFi

Print Almost Anything via the Internet, Google Docs, Bluetooth or WiFi

I never bothered to check out mobile printing apps, largely because I assumed they’d suck. But PrinterShare has totally reversed my opinion. Within just a couple of minutes I was easily sending emails, documents, PDFs and pictures. You can customise which way you want your document to be printed to in just the same way you can on a PC, with options such as orientation, margins and selecting certain pages.

It also works with Google Docs. By selecting Google Cloud as your printer, whatever document you were going to print is converted to a high quality PDF and uploaded to your Docs account.

In order to use all the features and to continue printing after a few trial pages you have to purchase the unlock key which I feel is overpriced at €8.95 – so think before you buy: make sure you’ll actually get use out of it when the novelty wears off. This app made my week because I love reading hard copies and enjoy laughing at those who predict paperless offices.

So what apps have you downloaded lately? Anything worth sharing? If so please let me know so I can continue clogging up my phone’s disk space!