I'm not mentioning names, but it seems to me as if my ISP's service is getting worse every single day. At the same time I couldn't be happier with my mobile network, and I just wish I could tether that connection to everything else I own without any limits. I'll be honest, it still baffles me that our home broadband/fibre relies on cables that come through the ground. It's 2016, everything else is wireless so why isn't this?
Anyway, you can put your own internet deals to good use right now, by downloading some of these apps.
Android: Mimicker Alarm (Free)
Getting up isn't easy for lots of people, and there are plenty of apps out there designed to stop you from just switching off your alarm and going straight back to sleep. Mimicker Alarm is one of those apps, coming straight from the Microsoft Garage Project. Rather than forcing you to do maths problems or walk into your bathroom, it has you completing some silly tasks with your phone.
Tasks like taking a picture of yourself with a certain expression, finding something of a particular colour, and so on. It's a game called 'Mimic', so you have to do whatever your phone tells you to do in order to turn off your alarm. Obviously the idea is that you'll be wide awake by the time you're done and not roll over and go back to bed. You get a different task each time, and if you don't complete it in a minute or so then it'll reset and the alarm will start ringing again. You can also customise what kind of tasks you have to do (based on three different categories).
The major problem with Mimicker Alarm is that you can easily just throw your phone into snooze for another five minutes. It's certainly much harder to turn it off and go back to sleep, but it's not entirely the best way to stop yourself from lying in bed for too long. That said, if you want something a bit more interesting to get yourself up in the morning then this is a pretty handy one to have on your phone.
You should also try:
Gigbloc: An app for finding live music performances from up-and-coming musicians in your local area. Just remember that it's not universally available just yet, and in this country you'll need to be in London. [Free]
Chroome Keyboard: A third-party keyboard with loads of customisation options and lots of useful features. Change the keyboard layout, the colours, swipe to type, and more. [£1.19]
iPhone: Waffles - Be An Anchor (Free)
Thanks to smartphones, it's a lot more difficult for newsworthy events (and, admittedly, an awful lot of bollocks) to go unnoticed. Thing is, though, regular people don't get much out of that other than a few extra Twitter followers. Waffles wants to change that, encouraging people to get working as citizen journalists by giving them the chance to get paid for sharing news-worthy events.
The idea is that you record videos of something that happens, and everytime someone watches it you get a small amount of money. The stuff that's up there at the moment is more personal vloggy-type stuff, rather than major world-changing events, but the principle of the matter remains the same. It's no different from uploading stuff to something like YouTube or Vine, the only difference being that you don't have to sign up to any separate affiliate programmes.
Using it is very simple, you sign up with Facebook or Twitter, and can start uploading videos there and then at the tap of a button. It takes a few seconds to publish and you're good to go. You can even upload stuff you've filmed before, if you feel like it. Everything is laid out much like your average social network, with your own profile, timeline, and so on. I can't seem to find how much you get per view, but don't expect more than fractions of pence per viewer.
One thing that bugged me was that just creating account has you following a range of random people. Twenty-three people to be precise, and it's a bit of a pain to unfollow them all. There might not be many people using the app, but it's a bit much to force people to follow people as soon as they sign up.
Still, if you fancy your hand at earning money from videos this is worth a try. Just try not to record anything too long since there is a timer on the recording screen.
You should also try:
Little Voices: Tired of the cluttered official Twitter app with all the features nobody needs? Give Litte Voices a try. It's a cut down version of Twitter that only keeps the basics around. Tweeting, favouriting, retweeting, and so on.[Free]
Booyah: WhatsApp doesn't have video calling (for some stupid reason), so if you want to do that you'll need Booyah. Quite simply, it's an app that lets you video call your WhatsApp contacts hassle free. [Free]
iPad: CornerTube (£2.29)
Unlike your main computer, which has windows to play with, watching YouTube videos on your iPad can feel a little bit counter-productive. It takes up all that screen space and prevents you from doing anything else productive. These days the iPad's multitasking mode lessens that, but it still takes up a lot of screen space. The solution? CornerTube which, as the name suggests, sticks that video in the corner of your screen while you do other things.
How it works is simple, CornerTube lives in the Notification Center automatically detecting when a YouTube links ends up in your clipboard. Once it does, your video becomes available at the tap of a finger. If the link isn't easily available to copy, then you're not out of luck. You just need to tap and hold the video before selecting 'Open in CornerTube'. Obviously that makes the video pop up in the corner of your tablet's screen.
The app itself also has a search function, just in case you don't like using the official YouTube app for some reason.
You should also try:
SignEasy: (Update) Documents are all digital these days, but signing on the dotted line isn't always so. Forget printing stuff out and scanning it in again, use SignEasy. This latest version even lets you save drafts. [Free]
Scanner Pro: (Update) For those times you do need to scan something in, but can't be dealing with the flat-bed variety. This turns your iPad's camera into a scanning device. The latest update has new features, and even supports the iPad Pro.
Windows Mobile: Ringtone Maker Beta (Free)
The days of paying a ridiculous amount of money for ringtones is over, thank god. In our modern world you can set any old song on your phone as a ringer, but only the entire thing. Usually you have to go into some editing software to cut down the audio if you want to use a specific section. Thankfully Microsoft's own Ringtone Maker is here to make that process easier than ever.
Don't get me wrong, you still need to cut down the audio file, but it's still much more convenient. Just press the big '+' button, select the song you want and it'll load up on screen for you. Finding the part of the song you want is as simple as scrolling through audio visualisation on the screen, then using the little toolbar to get the size just right. Then you just need to save it and you're good to go. Simples.
It's just worth remembering that the app is still in beta, so you might end up facing a few glitches here and there.
You should also try:
myTube!: (Update) The premium YouTube apps got a boost this week, offering you the option of changing the speed of video playback, and support for the 'My Mix' music recommendation feature. [£0.79]
Audiobooks for Audible: (Update) The latest update to Amazon's audiobook service now lets you stream those books to your device – no need to download them first. It also has background playback. [Free]