Can Smart Phones make you smarter?

Can Smart Phones make you smarter?

People with access to a smartphone or tablet now spend an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes on them each day, says digital analytics firm Flurry, putting phones ahead of televisions as time-sucks. However your phone is interactive and there are many apps out there to help you work out your brain muscle.

Luminosity: Sophisticated, scientifically designed brain training for anyone and boasts 60 million downloads. They transform science into delightful games. As a neuroscience PhD candidate at Stanford, Mike saw advancements in brain research that never made it out of academia. That’s when the idea for Lumosity was born.  When you first launch the program you answer a series of questions about what type of brain training you want to do and it creates your own personalized training program. Apple and Anroid versions are free with 15 games; purchase monthly or yearly subscriptions to additional games.

luminosity

Speed Reading powered by Spritz: Spritz has been working for nearly 3 years in “Stealth Mode” to perfect their reading methodology. Beware! There are several apps in the App Stores that look like Spritz (but aren’t). The only way to know for sure is by whether or not they use the ‘Powered by Spritz’ moniker in their “Redicle”. By streaming individual words inside of a special display Spritz calls the Redicle, the app helps the eyes position themselves precisely at the recognition point for each word. The word Redicle presumably stems from the inclusion of one red letter in each word, which is used to anchor the eye. Watch their video. Spritzing

spritzredicle

Watch Educational Videos:  We have just introduced Sawwit Videos which is a video sharing and viewing website.  Many of the categories are chock full of educational videos. Not only does it make you smarter but it makes you a great conversationalist.

sawwit_educational

 Increase your vocabulary with Word Games: Check out the appPicker’s list of Crosswords I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own personal favorite New Words with Friends released in 2009 and now it’s new.  It’s similar to Scrabble and it’s available on Apple, Amazon, Windows Phone, Android and Facebook.  Several years ago, the ad free version was  .99 cents but it’s up to $9.99 on Android and worth it!  Remember you can have too much of anything and for me it might be Words with Friends.

 

Best of 2014 Mobile App Picks from Apple and Google

Best of 2014 Mobile App Picks from Apple and Google

Apple announced its picks for the Best of 2014 apps (view-able in iTunes) from it’s iTunes store. Google has it’s own Android Best Apps of 2014 for it’s Play Store. Apple selected Elevate Brain Training as its iPhone app of the year, which has been downloaded over 5 million times since the “personal trainer for the brain” came out earlier this year.  Threes!, a puzzle game with a unique design was second  and Instagram’s Hyperlapse videography app and Leo’s Fortune, a platform game, were named runners-up.

Freemium game Candy Crush Saga was the top grossing iPhone app in 2014 ahead of rival Clash of Clans with the two games reversing those positions in Googles’s top grossing apps chart for the year.

I am still marveling at the success of Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood. The hit mobile app Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made $43.4 million for Glu Mobile in the third quarter, making up over half of the company’s profits. Kardashian could possibly receive $19.5 million from these earnings. Read more on the Hollywood app here.

Google Best Mobile Apps of 2014

Apple Pay and Google Wallet, mobile payments are not for everyone.

Apple Pay and Google Wallet, mobile payments are not for everyone.

I want my NFC!

 Unless you have one of the latest smart phones you won’t be able to cash out at your local store with mobile payment apps from Apple and Google.  It’s because your device has to be equipped with a Near Field Communication (NFC) antenna or chip so it can communicate with the NFC pay terminals.  Then you need a participating bank card to add to your mobile payment app.  Finally you must be purchasing from a participating merchant.

 

 Apple Pay AnnouncementApple Pay is available on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus.  It will be included with the Apple Watch which is coming in early 2015. These are NFC equipped devices. 

 

Apple Pay is super easy to use. You simply hold your phone up to an NFC terminal, and then press your finger on the Touch ID sensor.  You don’t even need to unlock your phone.


Apple Pay currently works with American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo; notably missing is Discover.  I counted 34 participating  stores on Apple’s website today with more coming.  Some listed are Macy’s, McDonalds, Chevron,  Panera Bread, and ToysRus.  CVS and Rite Aid pulled their NFC terminals over the weekend as they have partnered with another payment processor CurrentC.

 

PayPass and Google Wallet

 Google Wallet has been around for some time but doesn’t seem to have really taken off. Google and MasterCard have developed PayPass and  Tap and Pay. “Paying with a tap on Google Wallet?  Priceless”.  To see if your Android Phone has the NFC capability check this list here at  www.nfcworld.com

Google Wallet  offers some additional features like Send Money, Gift Cards and Loyalty Cards. Once again we see the short list of participating merchants for the Gift Cards and Loyalty Cards but I do use many of them; Regal Entertainment Group, Best Buy,  Old Navy and more.  Funny thing… if you still want to pull a card out of your wallet try the free Google Wallet card, yes it does exist.

Right Now! Website Wonders with the Google Analytics Mobile App!

Why I love this app: Real-Time reporting lets you monitor user activity as it happens on your site.

As I continue in my quest to become “The App Lady”, I review mobile apps daily. I love this app! Access all of your Google Analytics web and app data from your mobile phone or tablet. Monitor recent changes with Real Time reports. Easily get your Analytics data anytime, anywhere with the mobile Google Analytics app from Google. Available both in the Android version and Apple iPhone/iPad version for free.

Anybody who has an active website will be thrilled to use this new app from Google and as mobile would have it – use it anytime, anywhere. It is packed with features yet easy to understand and navigate.
Once you setup a free Google Analytics Account and link it to your website the data starts flowing. Chances are you have the Google Analytics Tracking Code already and if you don’t there is never a better time than now to get one and integrate it into your website or mobile app. Ask your website developer or SEO master for the Google Gmail account and password for your Account/Property/View.


Acquisition reports monitor site traffic and help you evaluate performance of your website. They have engagement metrics such as visits, time on site, bounce rate and conversions.


Content section lets you explore how people find and interact with your content.


Audience Reports to understand the geographic locations and the mobile devices users use on your website.

How to Enable or Disable Mobile Phone Push Notifications

Push notifications let your application notify a user of new messages or events even when the user is not actively using your application. On Android devices, when a device receives a push notification, your application’s icon and a message appear in the status bar.

It is a way for an app to send information to your phone (via a badge, alert, or pop up message) even when the app isn’t in use. For example, if you have a sports app with push notifications enabled, that app can send you the latest score of your favorite team even if the app isn’t running. The notification will send you a message, and when you touch it, it will direct you back to the app for more information.

But ultimately, YOU, the user, are in charge of what notifications you do, or don’t, receive. So let’s review how you can control these alerts.

For more information view these videos:

Mobile Marketing and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

Mobile Marketing and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

It seems like every day, we as professionals, are required to add new products and terms to our vocabulary. One day, it’s marketing automation. Another day, it’s agile marketing.

 Today, it will be mobile marketing. Keep this word handy because not knowing about it could allow your competitors to gain an advantage over you.

Why mobile marketing?

Our world has shifted from what used to be a partially connected network.  Response times are growing shorter and shorter when communicating with others. Mail is now mostly reserved for direct advertisements and bills. Most of the information we receive now arrives in the form of data packets over large interconnected networks. The satellites that hover above the misty dust of our atmosphere make us more connected than we ever were.

 Electronic devices have gotten smaller. The processing power of the desktop computer, while still amazing, is now over-shadowed by smaller devices thinner than a pencil and respond quickly with the gesture of a finger .

 Today’s laptops, tablets, and smartphones are brilliant. They are sleekly-designed mini-machines – glassy and metallic, with a touch of sci-fi.

 Mobile is not new.

You probably own a tablet, smartphone, or both. The mobile medium is embraced by a large part of the world, and has been for some time.

 Though the mobile medium is not exactly new, there are great opportunities with endless possibilities every day. We are free from wires. Wireless. We can connect with almost anyone virtually. We can receive information based on our personal preferences and physical location.

 It was a natural progression that innovative technologists would make a stable, secure platform in which marketing and advertising could take place. What is new, is marketing on a mobile medium. It is new territory. Or, it could be considered territory with very few footprints. A potential for growth. A platform for reaching people that are connected and engaged.

 What does this have to do with my business?

If you are someone that is curious by nature and willing to explore new opportunities for your business, you must know about mobile marketing.  And, if there’s a chance – one chance that you could use mobile marketing to promote your products and services – take it!

 Your potential customers… your leads… are creating data right now that you could use to be more successful. For example, users of the mobile Twitter and Facebook apps on Android smartphones are very likely to be people you currently call customers. Users are sharing moments with their friends and followers. They are commenting on their favorite purchases. They are commenting about purchases they will make, or would like to make when finances permit.

 Everyone wants to be entertained, even your customers.

Owners of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices were entertained for hours on end in 2013 with a fun, but addictive game called, Candy Crush Saga. Games? That’s right. Your customers and clients are probably playing fun games on their smartphones between meetings. They are very likely to be jumping across broken stone bridges – leaping over thrusts of fire – running for their lives – as the Guy Dangerous or Scarlett Fox character in the game, Temple Run.

 In these gaming apps and other apps geared toward those who aim to be more productive are advertisements. These are not random ads. These ads are targeted. Advertisers are taking advantage of this opportunity to reach consumers, familiar or unfamiliar.

Your ideal customer is out there and could be increasing your competitor’s bottom line.

Data captured in this segment of the mobile medium is very valuable. This data gives analysts insight on trends, buying patterns, personal preferences, and favorability. Your ideal customer is providing other businesses with data that could be potentially increasing their bottom line and not yours. Should you ignore this? Probably not.

 Whether it be mobile marketing in apps, or on websites based on location, you should realize this still new and very fresh platform for promoting your business.

 Let me lead you as your mobile marketing guide.

I invite you. I’ll be your mobile marketing guide. I’m the App-Lady and I can give your website the “mobile makeover” it deserves.

 What the App-Lady delivers.

We create mobile apps with all of the cool features you know and love like sharing photos, getting news and notifications, and more.

Stars of Fox TV show Glee using local app Dumbstruck

Stars of Fox TV show Glee using local app Dumbstruck

Reprinted from the Albany Business Review

Photo by Donna Abbott-Vlahos

From left Michael Tanski and Peter Allegretti are co-founders of Doctored Apps, which developed the Dumbstruck photo and message-sharing app.

Article by Brian Bushner

Social Engagement Manager-Albany Business Review

Dumbstruck, an iOS app developed in Albany, New York has been busy raising capital and building brand awareness.

The app allows users to capture reactions to photos and video messages shared with friends. We’ve written about their locally based creators in the past.

The last time I checked in with Peter Allegretti, the team was just back from South By Southwest Interactive, an annual music and technology festival held in Austin, Texas. Their time at the festival helped to generate buzz about Dumbstruck, and the venture powering it, Doctored Apps. With that came the interest of investors, but Allegretti has turned down many of them.

“We want to focus on local fundraising” says Allegretti. “Fundraising is time consuming and takes away from the product development.”

Allegretti and the Dumbstruck team realized that they really needed to focus on the product and improving it, so they put those talks on hold to make some big changes (which are coming in June).

 “Albany gets a bad rap that it’s hard to raise money here,” Allegretti said. “When we got into this, we thought the money would come from San Francisco, New York City, and London, but then we realized there are significant capital resources here.”

 Part of that epiphany came after getting Dumbstruck out of the gestation period, and realizing the team had no intentions of leaving the area. Allegretti credits the spirit of tech valley for the decision to stay. “We like the idea knowing there are resources are here.”

 And Allegretti likes the idea of trying to build something in Albany.

 A major update to the app is not the only project on the horizon for Dumbstruck — the team is working with agencies that specialize in celebrity management to help push the app.

Mobile Makeover?

Mobile Makeover?

Sometimes people ask “Why did you name your company Mobile Makeover?”

In a recent study by Google  The majority of mobile users use “Search” in the shopping process. Their research influences purchasing decisions and if your website is not mobile optimized you could be losing business. More than 1/2 the websites I come across need a makeover for mobile so that they are easy to read and navigate.  Businesses need to makeover their intenet stategies for the legions of tablets and smartphones in everyone’s pocket, purse, coffee table and study.

There is a huge market for beauty makeovers. This super app Makeover Premium for $2.99 on Apple App Store and Google Play by Modiface.com is best in class. ModiFace was founded by applying academic (Stanford) facial recognition research towards the simulation of skin-care effects on photos. In order to truly make the simulations realistic, they invented technology to digitally analyze and understand skin conditions from images.  They are listed in INC Magazine’s 500/5000 fastest growing companies and as of this writing boast over 33 million downloads.

I was looking for an app that the business Girl on the Go could use to help them pick out wigs for cancer patients.  You can use a pre-existing photo or take one with your camera.  In addition to short, medium, long, and blond wig styles there is face, lip, and eye make-up as well. You can alter the shade and intensity of the shade of each of the make-up and hair updates. Modiface has several other productsMakeUp,  Facelift, and Photo Editor.  This app is best suited for someone in the beauty business. That being said if you need a new look for your Linked In or Facebook profile try one of these Modiface Apps.

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

I’ve always admired other people who seemed so organized when they whipped out their daily planner to check their calendar and make appointments.  I tried, but I never had my daily planner with me when I was out with friends and family. The planner seemed too much like work for me to bring it along and it was too big to fit in my small purse.

Then came the smart phone and we all carry them with us everywhere.  A few months ago I was organizing my Samsung Galaxy which allows you to put widgets or icons on your screen and ran across the monthly calendar widget. It’s fantastic! The whole month is displayed on your phone, tap to add appointments, email reminders, alarm reminders, sync with Google Calendar and more.  Search for calendar widget on Google Play.  So now when I need to Save the Date you can be admired for your organizational acumen.

Elephants Never Forget, We Humans Need Help

Elephants Never Forget, We Humans Need Help

One of my favorite home screen icons is the grey Evernote elephant head on a bright green background. It always pops out of my screen when I am looking for it and I am thankful for that. As a web designer and mobile app builder I often find myself on the road and in my customer’s offices.  I use Evernote to make notes on my phone and then when I get back to my office I can call the same notes up on my PC and vice versa. Yes, I still sometimes have the occasional piece of scrap paper with a scribbled note but as time passes my handwriting keeps getting worse and one of these days it just won’t be legible anymore.

Evernote is easy to use and full of helpful suggestions on how to get the most out of the app.   In addition to saving notes it allows you to save images, snapshots, audio and collaborate with others by sharing notebooks.  Evernote is a free download for all your devices with a Premium version reasonably priced packed with additional features.  Evernote

Bored? Discover Meetup

Bored? Discover Meetup

I was very surprised when a girlfriend of mine recently announced  “I’m bored”.   Being semi retired she had some extra time on her hands.  I think actually she was missing human companionship and I instantly thought of Meetup.  You can see why by reading their mission statement: Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

Meetup.com has a great website and companion mobile apps. They all  integrate with Calendar, notifications, and GPS feature on your phone or desktop.  Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups.  They facilitate groups of all kinds Arts & Culture, Career & Business, Health & Well Being, Pets, Parents, Tech, to name a few.  You can find groups within a specified radius of any given town or start your own.  I use it to find Networking and Tech groups and I have a listing of my Meetups  here.
If you haven’t checked out Meetup you don’t know what you are missing!

Yard Sale Treasure Map

Yard Sale Treasure Map

People who know me well know I love to go to yard sales. I have a collection of collections to showcase all my bargain buys.  For a while I could never pass up a vase, after that it was blue glass, then country style pictures, and … well you get the idea.   I was trying to come up with the killer app where I could make millions and it was no surprise that Elaine suggested “Why don’t you make an app for yard sales? People are riding around in their cars going from yard sale to yard sale.  It’s a  perfect app for a mobile phone.”

I did my due diligence and found Yard Sale Treasure Map   YSTM launched in February of 2009 and has since become the most popular garage sale mapping tool on the web.  The value of YSTM comes in the intuitive way they show you the ads posted on Craigslist.  I just look for the ones near my house however you can also design routes and then select the “Google Maps” button on the “Planning” tab to send this data to a google maps page.  It’s a free download on Google Play and Apple App store,  $2.99 for the commercial free version.  You can also use their website to plan your route and sync it later with your iPhone or Android.

Enlighten U

Enlighten U

Guilderland High School graduate Eddie Pierce has just launched start-up EnlightenU.  During his sophmore year at Boston College he took a course called Tech Trek and had the pleasure of visiting with over 20 firms, including Google, Apple, Facebook as well as several start-ups and venture capital firms in the “Other” Valley . From that point on he knew he was destined to become an Entrepreneur.

“We are living in a different world than our parents did. We need to use the tools of today. Learning through video is powerful as we have evolved to learn by watching others. The Internet allows us to connect and share infectious ideas.”

EnlightenU is a crowd sourced educational video platform that helps students build a democratic approach of uploading and voting on the best videos.  The focus is on learning via the most engaging and important ideas. It uses some gaming mechanics so the more videos you watch the more features you unlock. There is a back-end hiring service that is based on the premise that the more educational videos you watch the more it shows what a hard worker you are and makes the job seeker stand out from the rest as the best candidate.

After watching all the videos in Karma 1 and 2, I found myself motivated to want to do more with my life and career and to do something I had a passion for and founded

.   Here are a few of the videos on Karma 1 you can watch when you download the mobile app EnlightenU  from Google Play or view them on the web at www.EnlightenU.us

  • GZA Raps About Science

  • Hero’s Journey

  • Mental Illness: What You See / What You Don’t See

  • TED Founder Can’t Stop Learning

  • The Scientific Power of Thought

What’s App?

What’s App?

Right about the time I decided to start this blog the tech news feeds were buzzing with Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of mobile-messaging start-up WhatsApp Inc  Interested in a new job? Send them your resume: jobs@whatsapp.com – all jobs are located in Mountain View, CA, USA.  STOP! Don’t click, forget about the “Other” Valley.  We want to keep you right here at home, in New York’s Tech Valley,

This blog is dedicated to everyone who lives in and around the Albany, NY Capital District and will feature mobile apps I use and mobile apps whose developers who have grown up here, gone to college here, or have founded their businesses here.