While all of us aren’t destined to get our heads buried deep in lines of programming languages, chances are that most of us, and especially our children, will benefit from knowing the basics of how the most ubiquitous devices in our world operate.
Despite the current backlash against the “coding for all rhetoric,” teaching kids the basics of programming can’t be a bad thing. Heck, teaching ourselves to code may be a fantastic lead in to a rewarding hobby, a new career path, or both.
That’s the idea behind the “Hour Of Code,” a national initiative set to run December 9 – 15, 2013 that’s designed to take kids through the basics of programming in their schools. This new app from Codeacademy is specifically tailored to the process, so even if your kids (or you!) don’t have a school that’s participating in the Hour of Code, they can still get the benefit.
I have reason to believe that some of the people reading this have some shopping to do. And if you’re looking for a way to organize what you need to buy, Shops! is here to help. It’ll let you set up individual lists for different stores, and then you can check them off as you pick them up. And if you’re feeling especially tech-crazy, you could even use it alongside BestRoute Free to make every part of the trip as efficient as it can be.
Other than that part where you have to park and be around all those people. We don’t have an app to make that suck less, yet.
If you need to know how how many inches are in a meter or talk to your non-American friends about the weather, Verticon can help you out. It’s a quick conversion tool that you can use to easily calculate equivalent values for weight, speed, length, time, temperature, and pressure, and it all happens inside a super clean and uncluttered interface. You just pick your units and enter a number for the starting figure, and it spits out the converted number at the bottom. You can also switch between the two with a single tap.
Plus, its name sounds like a Bond villain’s evil supercomputer or a new kind of Transformer, and that’s just straight awesome.
If you’re like me, you never go into a new building without knowing how to leave as quickly and safely as possible. I usually apply this skill at parties, which is why I don’t get invited to very many of them. But Emergency Exit wants to use that same thinking to get people out of airports, casinos, and other public buildings in case the worst happens. It uses Indoor Google Maps and your own location to show you all the ways you can get out, including those on other floors. The app already includes 100+ sites in 12 countries, and the developer plans to keep adding more.
The iPhone is a great travel tool, but making your smartphone travel actually smart isn’t about packing it up with dozens of apps you never use or that won’t get you out of the plane seat next to the loo on a crowded holiday flight.
Enter Cult of Mac Magazine. In time for your holiday travels (or maybe escaping from your loved ones for some beach or ski resort time?), we sounded out dozens of road warriors to learn what they really find necessary for the daily commute or continental flight. These black tees and easy-to-launder socks of the app world, if you will, include some surprising picks, many of them free.
If your travel is mostly of the four-wheel variety, you’ll want to read what happens when reporter Alex Heath took smart-driving app Automatic for a month-long spin. (Can it reform his gas guzzling, donut-making driving style?)
In our exclusive Ask an Apple Genius column, we answer your questions about how to get your Mac repaired on the road and how to handle assistance when you live in a town without an Apple store.
You’ll also find our picks for the best in apps this week and what’s really rocking the iTunes store when it comes to books, movies and music.
Sometimes the name of an app is a woeful understatement.
Cake Ideas doesn’t contain “ideas” so much as the most complicated baking projects I’ve ever seen. Some of the recipes contained within include lists of things you must pick up at a hardware store because the cakes in question are so badass that they have freaking skeletons. It won’t show you how to make all of them — instructions for the one shaped like a wedding gown would probably melt your phone — but if you’re planning a wedding or just like looking at fancy cakes, prepare to be impressed.
Brazenly calling itself the “ultimate defense” for protecting passwords, documents, credit cards and all your other private stuff, FaceCrypt is being advertised as one of the most secure ways of controlling access to your iOS device.
Instead of asking for an alphanumeric password — or even Touch ID — FaceCrypt requests that users take a “selfie” to prove they are really the person they say they are.
Owners of Sony products might want to check out its new mobile support app, which will hopefully save you from having to click around a website looking for the right troubleshooting or contact page. It contains links to forums, troubleshooting, documentation, and support areas, and it will take you directly to the page you need in Safari. It contains information for TVs, computers, cameras, software, and a bunch of other things. You can also get Sony news updates and press releases, if that’s your thing, but the app’s main value is preventing users from falling into bottomless Net-holes.
Like live music? Got an iOS device full of music? Songkick Concerts looks like the app for you, then, as it trawls your music library to find concerts in your area. Be the first one to grab tickets to hot events, all based on your own music preferences. Sounds good, right?
If you’re traveling to a new city, never fear, as you can use Songkick Concerts to search your destination for upcoming concerts from those very same artists. Want to see Kanye West in Madison Square Garden? I mean, who wouldn’t? Use this app to find out when and where he’s playing, and tap through to buy tickets right within the app itself.
Of course, you’ll want to use Songkick Concerts to bargain shop as well, since it lets you compare venues and prices for all the artists you must obviously want to go see, since they’re in your music library.
When you need to track stuff you need to do, it’s essential to have an app that can handle tasks and to-do items as well as a robust calendaring system. Time Planner does just that, and does it very well. It also adds a colorful palette, a nicely organized way of creating tasks and reminders, and a list of categories that really helps you focus in on what each task is about.
Choose to add a task to Home, Work, Rest, Lifestyle, and other categories to color the tasks with a visual cue. When you start looking at your schedule for the day, you’ll have a colorful reminder of the things you’ll need to focus on, perhaps noticing that you spend too much time at work, and not enough on restful activities.
You can have Time Planner remind you of stuff you need to do by day, time, or location, which is pretty much what all to-do apps should have these days.