Well would you look at that, it's Spring already. You know what that means, right? An increase in rain over the coming month or so, bugs, and the sun coming up before your alarm clock goes off. But misery aside, it also means being closer to days when you're able to go out without a coat, and not having to keep the heating on all the bloody time. Until the point when we need fans or air conditioning on all the time, but that's a completely different season altogether.
No Spring-themed apps for you this week, which I know must be a huge disappointment to many of you. We do, however, have some great picks for you to try:
Comic Relief's Swear Jar
We all swear. It's fun, liberating, and incredibly useful for those times we need to loudly proclaim something bad. Comic Relief is taking advantage of that this year, with a virtual swear jar that will donate all proceeds to the charity. We all know what swear jars are, but they tend to rely on other people making sure you pay up. This app can listen in on your conversations (in manually activated sessions, naturally), and every time it hears a bad word it'll add a donation into the pot. Hopefully you're not like me, though, if I had this on all the time I'd be bankrupt before lunchtime.
Disqus is probably the most popular commenting system on the web. An incalculable number of websites, including us, use it to power their comments, and now the Universal Windows app has left beta. The app has been rebuilt from scratch with a brand new design, offers login support for services like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, along with notifications, image uploading services, and more.
We all know that our apps use up data and system resources, but have you ever wondered which ones are taking the piss? Finding out isn't difficult. but can be a bit fiddly, and you're going to have to go looking in a bunch of different places to get the information you need. GlassWire simplifies everything by showing you what's what. It visualises how much data apps are using, whether they're slowing down your overall internet speed, and whether they're acting suspiciously (particularly if random apps start displaying unusual network activity). It's pretty basic, but if you want to keep on top of this sort of thing it's well worth downloading - regardless of whether or not you have an unlimited data plan.
In case you were bored of the mobile and browser-based versions of Twitch, it's gone and released a desktop version for you to enjoy. Since it's not in the Windows 10 App Store it doesn't quite match the modern-day criteria of an 'app' but whatever. But this isn't just a piece of software you open up and watch people play games on. It's also got built in community features that twitch clearly wants people to start adopting when they communicate. It's got voice and video calling features, support for community servers, and custom chat rooms.
Uber Driver (Update)
Everyone's always concerned with catching an Uber, but everyone forgets that the drivers have to come from somewhere - and this app is how they get started. The app just got updated with a bunch of new features including a night mode to keep the map screen from blinding you as you drive, colour-coded traffic alerts so you can pick the optimal route, and improvements to navigation that offer lane guidance and help you make sure you're prepared for any turns. UberEATS drivers will also be able to see if they need to park in specific food-delivery spaces.
If there's one thing I miss from my student days, aside from having seemingly unlimited free time and no reason to get up before noon, it's the discounts. Money off everywhere you go, and all you need to do was flash off a student card. Unidays is one of those companies that dishes out cards to students, and simply having one means you get access to a bunch of exclusive deals like a free McFlurry when you buy too much at McDonalds. The app has plenty of offers of its own, along with access to your own Unidays account. The iOS version also got a big overhaul, with a brand new design and improved navigation to help students save money with even less effort. There is an Android app, but the update hasn't arrived there yet. Typical.
So this one is pretty baffling, but what the hell. We've all heard of video calls, and we've all heard of livestreaming, but what if there was an app that merged the two? You know, just in case you wanted people listening to your phone calls that don't work for a government agency or some sort of nefarious group of hackers. It will livestream your group calls, and not only can people watch them online, they can send messages and join in on the conversation. So if you have no concept of privacy, or are a ferocious attention seeker, this is one app to try out.
This one seems a little bit gimmicky, but not in a bad way. This one is designed to analyse your sleep (yawn), but by doing so it's able to make a rough calculation of how tired you are during the day - and displays the information as a battery level. You know, just like the ones you have on literally every piece of tech that doesn't need to be plugged in constantly. So when that meter starts running out, you know it's time to go and recharge. In other words go the fuck to sleep. No word on whether there's a battery saver mode, though that would likely involve smoking crack or meth. You should definitely avoid doing that.
The Google-owned navigational app that somehow still exists separately from Google Maps had an update this week. It's not a major overhaul or anything, but it does mean that Waze users will be able to enjoy listening to Spotify without having hop between apps. This is kind of a dual update for Waze and Spotify on Android (no joy for iOS users), in that both apps now have subsections devoted to the other. You can control Spotify and see recommendations within Waze, or you can control your Waze directions from within Spotify. Of course these subsections aren't the same as the full app, which is why there's a button that lets you hop between the two in an instant, if you want to.
You will need both apps on your phone to enjoy these new features, however.
YouTube Kids (Update)
A very small update this week, but it's probably important given how many YouTube stars have said and done a bunch of stupid things that blurs the lines on acceptable behaviour. Parents can now sign into the app and block specific videos and channels, should there be anything they don't want their children watching. You know, in case Peppa Pig decides to take a leaf out of PewDiePie's book and start flashing signs that say 'Death to all Jews'.
The iOS version doesn't have this update just yet, but you can be sure it'll arrive in the coming weeks.