Best Apps of 2013

Best Apps of 2013

Steve Dotto here. Thanks for joining me today.
Now on my weekly radio show once a month, we do a feature that we call App Thursday
where I get a bunch of friends together and we talk about what we think are the coolest
apps that we have on our mobile devices and every month we pick a winner and that winner
wins a prize. We basically look at cool apps through that.
Now once a year, we take all the coolest apps that we looked at all year and we create an
App of the Year contest. Now you’re probably going to be watching this video after we’ve
already decided who the winner is so you can drop by our website to see which app actually
won this year, but I wanted to show you a few of my favourite apps that we looked at
this year that I think you might be interested in.
Now regardless where you live, the Canadian Red Cross App is one that you might look at
having on your phone. If you live in Canada and you are in an emergency situation, they
will actually walk you through what to do in case of emergency if you’re dealing with
somebody in a potentially life-threatening situation. But for all of us, they’ve got
this great database on what you should be doing to help people in case of any of these
medical situations. So if you have a friend that was stung by a wasp and you’re not
too sure what you should be doing about it to help them out, you can go in and you can
navigate through, and they give you a little tutorial, on what you could be doing in how
you should handle that particular situation, as well as warnings and related items like
if somebody starts to go into anaphylaxis as a result, how to recognize the signs of
that, that sort of stuff. They have that for a huge range of situations that we can find
ourselves in. Now if we take a look down here at the bottom,
they also not just have this dialogue of things that you can do at the moment but there are
all of these preparation things, things that you should be doing in your home in case there’s
an earthquake, creating an emergency kit and all of those sorts of things that you can
do. Preparation, they’ve got information for here as well. Plus, I really like this.
They’ve got a series of tests so you can see just what your medical knowledge in the
case of minor medical situations, or I guess even major medical situations. It’s a free
app from the Canadian Red Cross. I think it’s one of the outstanding apps that we looked
at this year. Now let’s go from the serious to the more
fun. Let’s kind of jump around a little bit. The next thing I want to show you is
an app called Strut which is a game that all of my friends started playing. It kind of
hearkens back to the days of the computer games where as you explored worlds, the world
would kind of unveil underneath you. What Strut does is it takes a Google Map of where
you are and then it sets it against GeoLocation. As you travel around, it takes a second for
it to resolve because there’s a lot of processing going around but as you drive around or walk
around a bike around, it reveals tiles, it reveals the tiles under the areas that you
are in. So the whole idea is for you to uncover as many tiles as you can. And you can see,
it’s clearing up now in the area that I am.
One thing about this particular game, it’s free but it’s really resource-intensive.
When you use Strut as you’re driving around, your iPhone will get so hot because it’s
using the GPS in all of the different GeoLocation tools in order to find exactly where you are
and what you’re doing. So you can see there that in my community, obviously but fairly
I’ve exposed most of the tiles in my community. So there’s a little competition going amongst
all of my friends about who can uncover the most tiles and they have of course leader
lists and all those sorts of things available to you as well.
So Strut is just kind of a fun game. It’s a sort of a game that tells you where you’ve
been. You’ll see people actually trying to use it on airplanes and stuff like that.
Truckers have a big advantage because they can use this as they’re driving around on
their job. But you can see in the city of Vancouver, I’ve covered a lot of the city
but there’s still a lot of places in the city that I haven’t gone. So Strut is a
fun app that we looked at this season. It is one of our top competitors for App of the
Year. Next on the list is Songza. It is a music
streaming app which is really growing in popularity because a) it’s free; b) it runs on almost
everything. Now I first discovered it when I started to set up my Sonos sound system.
I’ve got a Sonos wireless sound system here in my home and Songza is one of the services
on it. I started to use Songza for streaming music and they’ve got such good playlists
that since we’ve set it up, and that’s over a year ago that I setup my Sonos sound
system, since we’ve set it up we’ve barely touched our own iTunes music library, which
I have thousands of songs in, because it’s so much work creating your own playlist in
iTunes or any music manager but they do a great job of creating playlists.
You see it here, I’m showing you it right now on an Android phone, but it also runs
on the iPhone. It runs on all the different platforms. And even on the web, there’s
a version you can run streaming from a web browser. So it is an app which to me, as far
as all of the different music apps that I’ve played with, Songza is the one that has stuck
with me, the free nature of it. They’re starting to add advertisement to it a little
bit so you get a little bit of advertising. I haven’t seen it myself personally. I haven’t
actually had any ads running but friends of mine have told me that they’ve had ads running.
Let’s take a look at it as well now on the iPhone because you’ve seen it now on the
Android phone. You’ve seen kind of the screen running through. You’ve seen it on the website.
So here it is now running on my iPhone. We’re kind of getting close to Christmas now as
we’re doing this so I can take a look and I can just start playing through the biggest
Christmas hits like Classic Christmas song. It will stream on your phone. You can of course
send it to any of your devices. So you’ve got some really nice flexibility as far as
where it’s going to be playing and how it’s going to be playing.
I don’t know if you can hear that. It’s actually streaming through my– because I’ve
got my iPhone Air playing to my computer, it’s playing through my computer speakers.
It’s putting me in the Christmas spirit for sure. Songza, if you haven’t tried it
out yet, it’s worth exploring, especially if you’re using one of the paid for apps.
If you’re using one of the paid apps, it’s well worth taking a look at because it’s
one of the definite finalists for our App of the year. It’s, I think, one of the leading
contenders. Next up, let me show you what’s up next.
The next app that I wanted to talk about is another serious app and that is LastPass,
password protection and it’s a password manager. Now I’m not going to go into a
long demo here because we did a great demo of LastPass which I’m linking to right here
right now. So you can just click and watch this demo where I show you the whole ecosystem
of LastPass, from using it on your computer to using it on your mobility device. But LastPass
for me is one of the tools that I rely on every single day. It’s definitely a contender
as far as I’m concerned for App of the Year. Now completely out of left field is the next
app. It’s called TalkTo. TalkTo is an app that allows you to send text messages to retail
establishments in your area and ask them questions. So what it does it bypasses that phoning up
a retailer and it’s especially useful if you’re calling to look for a hard-to-find
item or one that’s selling very well or a unique size or something like that. So you
send a text to a retailer and then the TalkTo server, they actually have services that they
either deal with the people by texting and making sure the store texts you back or they
actually have real people that will call and follow up for you and then send you a text
on whether or not your items that you’re asking about are there. So it’s great for
an the evening as you’re going along and you kind of don’t want to go on the phone
and just wait on hold forever to find about that unique Christmas gift, the unique present
for your significant other. So I sent a couple of sample texts or samples
through. I just asked my local home depot and local Ikea if there were LED lights or
if they had them on sale. I’m thinking that I’m going to be renovating my house and
putting in LED lights and so I sent through in the evening. I got a text right away back
saying that they’ll get back to me when the store opens. They told me what time to
expect the text back and indeed I got texted back from both of them the next day, telling
me what items they had on sale and what they had in inventory and giving me advice. I don’t
know whether that came from the TalkTo people or from the stores themselves. I don’t really
care. I got the information I needed and it works for all local retailers and it works
both in Android and in IOS. It’s called TalkTo and that is definitely a real huge
time saver. The last app I’m going to show you is one
that I, I think is really cool. Unfortunately, I can’t do an actual demo for you but it’s
called DSLR Dashboard. Now DSLR Dashboard is an app that requires a special cable to
connect but once you get the app and the cable, you can connect your smartphone—in this
case only an Android phone, it doesn’t work with iPhone—you can connect to your digital
camera and then it allows you to manage all camera controls from your smartphone. So you’ve
got a cable so you can set all of the exposures, you can set all the settings, you can preview
it all on your smartphone or your mobility device, and you can control your camera with
it. It’s only available on Google Play. I think it’s 99 cents. It’s not incredibly
expensive but it does a great job of managing all the major camera brands and allowing you
to remote manage your DSLR using this app. There’s a lot more information here on the
website but bottom line, if you’re a serious photographer, this gives you a much larger
screen and a much more comfortable environment to work in managing the controls of your digital
camera. Those are the top apps that I think for this
year. We have a few more in our contest so the one that actually wins, if you drop by
and visit our site, might be a different one that I’ve shown you but we’ve got DSLR
Dashboard. We’ve got the Canadian Red Cross which is outstanding. I don’t care where
you live, download the Canadian Red Cross app. It might end up saving somebody’s life.
We have Strut which is just fun. It’s uncovering tiles as you travel around but make sure you
have an alternate power supply when you’re using that. In the car, I always plug in my
phone when I’m using it because it uses up juice like nobody’s business. TalkTo,
which will save you tons of time on hold, allowing you to text all of your local retailers,
ask them questions, and have them get back to you in a timely fashion. LastPass which
will create a much more secure environment and manage all your passwords, saving you
both time and making your life more secure. And finally, Songza, which just adds music
to your life for free. They do a phenomenal job on their playlist management. It is my
go-to music app. And that’s it for this particular video
from us. If you like this video, please give us a Like. Tell the world that we do a good
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videos. I hope that you find them valuable. I certainly appreciate you spending your time
with me today. I’m Steve Dotto. We’ll catch you soon.


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