Mid-January is upon us, and you know what that means... Tax returns! It's a lovely time of year, because we all love sitting in a phone queue for hours only to be hung up on or bounced around between departments. Or not, because that's the worst. Tax returns suck, and they're (probably) the reason accountants exist.
Anyway let's focus on something less Hulk-like-rage inducing, and take a look at all the little bits of software you can add to your phones and tablets this week.
Android: Musement: Tours & Activities (Free)
There's a lot to do in big cities, so much that it can be tricky to decide on an activity. So if you're stuck you might want to check out Musement, an app that lets you find ways spending in cities across the world, and book tickets without having to leave the app.
Big cities obviously have the most to do, but they're not the only places Musement includes. Just browsing through the app you can view and book stuff in places that I've never even heard of. Suddenly found yourself in Gouda in The Netherlands? There's something to do there! Well one thing, and it has nothing to do with the cheese.
Finding things is pretty easy. You just select the city from a very long list (or search), and pick the rough time you want to go. So if you want to go today, tomorrow, next week, or a specific date, you can see exactly what's available and what time they all start. Picking something shows you exactly what it involves, and exactly how much it'll cost you. Unfortunately all the prices are in euros, which kind of ruins the whole convenience factor a little bit. I'm not sure what that's about.
One little feature I did like, though, was the fact that each activity has a little compass with the distance. So if you were to find yourself without Google Maps, you could still roughly navigate your way there. Provided you don't end up faced with a mountain or something.
You should also try:
Apps: Not really a proper app per se, but if you're sicking of having to trawl through a bunch of rubbish mobile games to find Google Play's top apps, then it's worth a download. It's an app that's actually a link that takes you straight to the apps, skipping out all the junk. [Free]
Plex: (Update) A nice update to one of the most popular media server/streaming apps this week, coming with an updated video player, and new features that add related content actions to your apps. [Free]
PhotoAffix Beta: An app for combining your photos into various horizontal and vertical orientations, to create a collage of sorts.[Free]
iPhone: Jukebox (Free)
This one is rather handy, and lets you pull music directly from your Dropbox account onto your iPhone without having to deal with pesky things like iTunes. It a nice idea, but does it work?
Yes. In fact it works really well. All that's required to set it up is to link the app with your Dropbox account, and it will automatically search your account for any audio files. You get the choice of downloading them all onto your phone, or just a select few. Download is the key term there, since this isn't a streaming app. Any music in your Dropbox folders will take up space in your phone's storage, and will also be available without an internet connection.
The great thing here is that Jukebox is just like any other music app, so you can craft playlists, add or delete songs as you please, and play music whenever you feel like. There's even the option to reset the app, which will disconnect from your Dropbox account and wipe all the music from your phone. Best of all, all of this is done wirelessly, which means you don't need to go through the annoying process of connecting your phone to iTunes and copying the right files into your phone. As an added bonus, whenever you get the prompt to download more files, Jukebox tells you how much space they'll take up and how much you have left to fill.
There's not much else to it, but there's not much else you could want. If you're sick of the default Apple Music app, and dealing with Apple's annoying software, then this is ideal.
You should also try:
Olio: An app designed to ensure unwanted food doesn't go to waste, by connecting you with neighbours and local shops. It only works within Greater London right now, though. [Free]
Movesum: How much walking is needed to burn off that large pizza you had for lunch? Movesum will tell you the horrifying truth. [Free]
Laundry Day: Confused about those pesky labels on your clothes? This app will translate them for you, so you don't have to worry further. [£0.79]
iPad: Reverso (Free - with in-app purchases)
Translation apps are more than useful, but if you use them often you'll find that their usefulness only goes so far. That's because they translate individual words, rather than whole sentences, and means you end up with a fairly broken version of your intended language. Reverso aims to be a bit different, since it actually uses context to translate things in order to make the final result more understandable.
Reverso does show you a direct translation if you want to see it, but the main focus is offering up various different expressions that relate to the sentence or phrase you put into the input box. The results are a little hit and miss, though. For example, when I typed in the phrase "I enjoy eating cheese" and asked for the French translation, I ended up with three phrases that related to lobster and fast food. Hardly what I asked for. Still, having phrases and expressions could a long way in helping you memorise parts of a foreign language. Thankfully the main translation is always there to make sure you know what you actually want to say.
That's not all Reverso is about, however. It also includes a dictionary for translating individual words, vocabulary lists, pronunciation guides, and using the iOS 'share' feature you can translate things directly from the web browser.
There are only 10 languages to work with at the moment (Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish), but if you want something a little bit more than what the likes of Google Translate and Bing have to offer then Reverso is a handy little tool.
You should also try:
Proud: A productivity app designed to keep you working, as well as de-stressing you at the same time. [£3.99]
Interact: An app for simplifying the process of managing your contacts and organising group chats. [£3.99]
Dashlane: (Update) This password manager just got updated with a consistent cross-platform design, more effective ways to change passwords on hacked sites, automatic login on over 180 iOS apps, and more. [Free - with optional subscription]
Windows Mobile: 6tin (Free)
Windows Phone 8 might be on its last legs now that Windows 10 is here, but that doesn't always mean that app support is going to magically turn up. Case in point: Tinder, that dating app that all the kids love and all the grown ups love to hate. Or at least that's how the news makes it out to be. There is no official Tinder app for any Windows 10 device, but thankfully we still have the tireless efforts of 6tin to make sure you don't all miss out.
If you've used Tinder before then you're not going to find any big surprises, except maybe a few adverts here and there (removable with a 99p in-app purchase). It looks almost exactly the same, and the way you use it is identical. Swipe right for yes, swipe right for no, or swipe up for what is basically a "hell yes!" In fact, the only real difference is that 6tin tells you when someone removes you from their match list and a 'Last passed' feature that shows you people you rejected
If you're newly single and you want some way of trying to rectify that on your Windows device, then 6tin is a decent way to do it. It's simple, it's easy, and up to a point it's free.
You should also try:
Tweet it!: (Update) This premium Twitter client has a bunch of new features, including tweet translation, improved handwriting capabilities, lower RAM and CPU usage, gestures, and more. [£4.59]
Baconit: (Update) The premium Reddit client has also had an update, bringing with it improvements to commenting, the inbox, and a brand new user interface. [Free]