Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are done with, we only have two major holidays left in 2016: Christmas and Black Friday. One is a holiday where people are encouraged to spend money they don't have on useless tat, with lots of arguments and possible violence. The other is Black Friday.
But those are a little while away. To pass the time, make sure to check out this week's dose of apps.
Free (with subscription): Android
In 2016, it's possible to get work done without having to drag yourself into a dreary office every single day. The only downside is, the higher-ups generally like to have meetings in person. Thankfully technology is to the rescue, with something a little bit better than a mere video call. Blizz lets you take part in your meetings without having to be in the office or at your computer, functioning as a web conference tool and instant messaging service. There doesn't seem to be a video chat function, but it does have VoIP to ensure you always have your say.
On top of that there is a Blizz app for Windows and Mac, which actually lets you share parts of your screen with other users (regardless of which device they're using) and create a digital whiteboard for everyone to see.
Enhance by Hootsuite
So you have an image that you want to use or share on social media, but you need to make sure everything is the right size to ensure people get the most out of it. You could look up dimensions, ratios, and all the other things you'd need to sort that out manually, or you can download Enhance - from the people who made Hootsuite. It has all the tools you need to optimise your images, without having to go to extraordinary lengths to get everything playing nice.
Microsoft's answer to IFTTT is finally out of beta, letting you create automated workflows between your files, web services, and data stored in the cloud. It's designed for business users, rather than us lowly consumers, but it still means you can get things sorted out automatically - saving you time and effort in the process.
This one is a social network of sorts, all based around books. Lovely books. ReadFeed has a vibrant community of book lovers, discussing their favourite titles and willing to help other people with their literary-related questions. ReadFeed also functions as a digital library of sorts, letting you keep track of the books you own, have read, and where you're up to in your current title. You can also find info on books by searching for it (by title, author, ISBN, and so on), and get served recommendations based on your in-app activity.
Remember the episode of Family Guy where Peter had his very own backing music? What if you could have something similar, without pissing off everyone around you? Staywalk is an 'adaptive music platform' that alters the tunes you're listening to depending on the intensity of your motion - be it running, walking, sitting in a car, and so on. It's all original music, unlike, say, Spotify's own adaptive running playlists, which should mix things up. It also works offline, but if you want to save tracks for your own personal use you'll have to cough up an extra 79p.
This one has been around for a while, letting you remotely control Windows, Mac, and Linux computers - for whatever purpose you had in mind. Now, though, the latest version is compatible with Windows 10 phones - meaning you can remotely control your phone from a different machine. Too lazy to get up and answer your texts? Teamviewer can do let you do it without having to move a muscle.
This one got different updates on iOS and Android this week (no love for Windows, as usual), which enhances the existing crowd-powered caller ID and spam-filtering systems.
The iOS version has been optimised for iOS 10, with over a hundred numbers added to the automatic spam identification systems and the option to block (not just report) nuisance numbers. The Android update is less spectacular, but includes integration with numerous popular VoIP apps and better customisation options.
This is a nice little app that improves the customisation options available to Windows 10 users, letting you set custom wallpapers, add widgets to your lock screen, and lots of other smaller features. Win Screen also seems to be able to let you download the daily Bing images, and keep copies for yourself.
Sometimes work does need to be done in the office. But at the same time, working at home comes with inherent distractions. To compromise, it is possible to go out into the real world and get your work done there. But which particular location is best? Workfrom helps you find the best alternative workspots in over 1,200 cities worldwide. It showcases all the different amenities you may find in a particular spot, be it a coffee shop or a hotel lobby, including passwords for the good wi-fi.
Our final addition on this list is a little bit silly, but it's a handy option to pass the time on the tube or just to relax. It's the digital version of fingerpainting, an activity you probably haven't done since you learned how to write. But unlike the messy canvases you worked on in nursery school, Zen Studio only lets you paint on a geometric grid - so there's some order to the final result. The app has 14 colours, a grid with customisable sizes, an algorithmic-based soundtrack, and plenty of tutorials in case you (or your kids) forgot how fingerpainting works.