apps

I got a Moto 360 a few weeks ago and have been using it daily since. See the watch review here, the Android Wear review here and a comparison between Google’s and Apple’s implementations here. And now, the final look of this mini-series: third party apps.

Here’s the bottom line — they’re not very good.

I downloaded a bunch but will only talk about three that I ended up keeping, sorta: OneNote, RunKeeper and Wear Mini Launcher.

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There’s a social network called Ello that’s buzzing. I’m not sure why.

Ostensibly, it’s because it’s seeing rapid growth, though no one can cite actual numbers. The narrative is that some are unhappy of Facebook requiring real identities, and so are migrating en masse; mostly from the LGBT community according to the Washington Post. People are migrating to Ello because, unlike Facebook, the social network doesn’t require real names.

Hmmm.

You know what other social networks don’t require real names? Google Plus, Twitter and Instagram. Which are just a little more well known than Ello. The point is that if all people wanted is a social network which doesn’t require real names, there are plenty available.

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Today we review something you probably already use: Gmail, but in a specific context. Let me explain.

I have active Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook accounts as well as three IMAP accounts from my start-ups. If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have a similar set-up. I used Outlook to manage all these inboxes.

The problem was that spam became uncontrollable, specifically for my three IMAP accounts and for Yahoo. I tried putting spam assassins on the server level; local filters on the local level; all for naught. I continued to get abused by Viagra pills, Nigerian despots, lonely women and all the other clever variations spammers use. It was overwhelming.

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Windows Phone users often look to iOS and Android owners with envy when this or that app isn’t yet available for Microsoft’s platform. How often does the reverse happen, when iOS and Android users lust for something on Windows Phone that’s not available on their own?

Office Lens is a new app from Microsoft that I wish was on Android and iOS. Or the Windows app store at least for my Surface Pro 3.

Office Lens is a cool app where you snap a photo of something, and the app then automatically converts it into an editable Office document. How amazing is that right?

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I’ve only recently discovered this, but it’s already one of my most favorite things on the phone: it’s the Freakonomics Radio podcast and it’s awesome.

The podcast is by the same group behind the Freakonomics book, and the show is in the same vein. It tries to answer questions like “Why do restaurants give free bread?” and “Are people who tithe to church happier?” with data, research, economic theory and guests who specialize in the subject.

The show is produced — it’s not a bunch of guys riffing off their thoughts — and it’s not only educational, it’s downright entertaining. I can’t recommend it enough.

I’ve tried podcasts before and never found them compelling enough to make part of my routine. Freakonomics is the first.

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The creator behind the enormous hit Flappy Bird recently released its spiritual successor, Swing Copters. So how’s it doing? Apparently, very well on iOS, currently ranking #2 overall on the US app store. Surprisingly, it’s not faring as well on Android, at #299 overall and actually a decline from a peak of #176 on the US Google play store.

Is this another sign iPhone users are more clued in? Or are there simply better alternatives on the Google play store? Given the enormous attention Flappy Bird and the mainstream press coverage Swing Copters both received, I would guess the former.

So is the game any good? Swing Copters retains a lot of Flappy Bird’s charm, the only question is whether you still find a game like Flappy Bird charming.

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