Saturday, November 19, 2011

Welcome to the Smartphone Generation - Our First Apps

OK, I really should have made this change before we left home, but I put OFF the smart phone upgrade in large part due to the additional cost for bandwidth with my (or any) cell carrier. With this many miles to travel, so many places to explore, so much information to gather and so many potential weather issues, I really should have upgraded before the trip. It would have been fun to have (and likely beneficial) at Disney World, would have been less frustrating than those old, outdated Garmin maps in my "old" GPS, and would have kept us more closely connected with friends and family throughout the trek.

But we have it now, and we're making...er....good use of it. First thing? The girls took photos of each other with it, recorded each other and, of course, I found a few apps for them to play with during these long car days. (Why not? They sure earned some fun with all the patience they've shown these long days.)

So which, you may ask, was our first app? The all important FLASHLIGHT, of course! Great for those times when you don't have a flashlight handy but need a little burst of light (or, in this case, a strobe). After all, isn't this why we carry a phone?! (Technology - ain't it grand?)

Other first-round additions to our new toy essential travel tool:

Weatherbug: all things weather related - input your location and it will give you current data, forecasts and radar imagery;

GasBuddy: a free app that depends upon users updating gas prices as they travel; as you approach your next potential gas stop, click on Gas Buddy to find the least expensive fuel in town - broken down by grades (even diesel);

Skyview Free: a guide to celestial bodies - point your phone camera lens at the objects in which you're interested and it will name the bodies and constellations and provide links to additional information about those items of interest;

OregonTrailFree: a simplified, cartoon version of a PC game the girls have enjoyed for a few years now;

Presidents vs. Aliens (NOT to be confused with the violent Aliens vs. Presidents): learn about the U.S. presidents and earn credit toward the arcade-style fight against invading green men from outer space. The more you learn, the more games you earn access to play;

Finger Paint: a simple electronic version of a relaxing pastime for the creative set;

Stickman Cliff Diving: determine the rate of spin and angle of entry for the stickman and hope he doesn't flop as he plummets from a cliff to meet the judges' demands. I never thought I'd laugh so hard at watching a stick figure do a belly flop from 40 meters above the pencil-drawn water line;

Bouncy Seed: a "lesson" in angles and physics - mindless arcade style fun;

Fruit Ninja Lite: now we're talking mindless - slash the fruit to earn points but don't slash the bombs;

PlayHome: E asked for this one when she saw it as we perused the App store. It was free, and sometime, you know, you just need to watch the baby jump on the bed;

RushHourFree: an electronic version of Rush Hour, the popular board puzzle game;

Monorail: a close-the-path puzzle challenge also available in its older, internet form here;

Cut the Rope Lite: a super fun, cute, entertaining physics puzzle game - we may have to shell for the full version of this since we keep running through the early puzzle set;

and Stack the States: answer the questions about the states to earn a puzzle piece, then stack them to meet a goal line to earn badges. Collect state badges to earn access to additional games.

Some of you are well ahead of me on the smartphone curve. What apps have you adopted? Which can't you live without now that you've welcomed them into your lives? Which should we avoid entirely?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jen and Girls, glad you are home safely. I enjoyed living vicariously through you all while you were on your trip.

    I have a smartphone also. It's an android. Waiting to be able to upgrade to android bioic. these apps I use on a regular basis: navigator, places, pac-man, black jack, geocaching, flags of the world, youtube, scrabble, ebay, craigslist, flashlight,TuneIn Radio Pro, french wordpower, mathbuddy, mathwork out, hangman allrecipes amazon, groupon, places

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