apps

Next Great Apps are from Kids!

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Are kids these days really as hopeless and self-absorbed as we claim? Perhaps not.

The next wave of tech extraordinaires seem to get younger and younger, and the app-creating students mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg.

Check out the apps below from impressive, pint-sized developers, who’ve accomplished much more before high school than most people more than twice their age.

Chow Checker,

New Hampshire’s Hampstead Academy is a strictly peanut-free zone due to the relatively high number of students with nut allergies.

This inspired the school’s eighth graders to create the cleverly named Chow Checker app, which identifies food allergens to determine if certain foods, from grocery stores or restaurants, are safe to eat.

You can create a profile and select up to 12 allergens, and then search for a product name or scan a barcode. Either option pulls up a list of ingredients in that food, as well as nutritional content.

The app taps into the daily updated Nutritionix food database, which includes more than 300,000 food items. You can add notes about the food for future reference.

Hampstead students worked with the MIT Media Lab to write the app, which was a Verizon Innovative App Challenge winner in 2013.

Available for free on Android.

Bubble Ball,

When he was 14 years old, Robert Nay’s physics-based puzzle game, Bubble Ball, unseated the seemingly indomitable Angry Birds for the iTunes App Store’s top spot in January 2011. Not bad for someone who created his first website in third grade and already owns his own company, Nay Games LLC.

Nay wrote Bubble Ball with Corona tools from Ansca Mobile. It took him roughly 4,000 lines of code.

The app capitalizes on players’ creativity, prompting you to set up lengths of wood and metal, and activate various power-ups to manipulate your bubble for the sake of reaching the goal.

There are 144 official levels, and because anyone can create a new level, the game is constantly evolving. There are already more than 200 community-created levels to explore.

Available for free on iOS and Android.

Back Door,

David Singer’s app, Backdoor, removes a key component of communication — identity.

Backdoor, which launched in July 2013, is an anonymous messaging app that lets you reach your friends by signing in through either Facebook or Google+. The app gives you clues to learn more about the sender’s identity. In-app purchases provide additional clues, such as gender, likes, interests and more.

Cashing in on people’s desperation and curiosity? Color us impressed.

Singer, who considers himself primarily a UI designer, was 13 years old when he wrote the app. He’s the same kid behind YouTell, the popular website that allows you to post questions and solicit anonymous feedback.

Available for free on iOS.

Things To Thing About,

Second through fifth graders from Jackson County, Mich., worked with two high schoolers in the same district to create iPad app Things to Think About.

Its premise is to jumpstart and foster children’s interest in writing and critical thinking, as well as encourage dialogue about challenging ideas and issues.

The app asks kids to dream big, think through “what would you do” scenarios and expands horizons past kids’ environments.

The students brainstormed 100 writing prompts in 12 categories, including Friends, Family, School, Fun and Feelings. A student’s original hand-drawn illustration and the option of a child’s short voice narration accompanies each prompt.

Available for free on iOS. An Android version is under process.

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Web Apps to Hike Your Drawing Skills

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Drawing and sketching were once activities limited to pencil and paper, but for budding artists in the digital age, there’s a wealth of online, browser-based tools to let your creativity run wild.

It doesn’t just have to be a hobby or pastime, though — drawing is useful for brainstorming and problem-solving, and these web apps can aid in any profession.

VISIT ALSO: 3 Tools to Build Your Mobile Apps

We’ve picked 12 of the best drawing and sketching apps to suit any level of artist, ranging from professional-grade applications to simple tools for doodling. They’re all free, and since they’re all online, they can be accessed from anywhere.

Sketchpad,

Sketchpad is a browser-based drawing and image editor built in HTML5, combining WebGL effects with vector editing. Its rich, flexible feature set means you can create almost any image you want. It’s super simple to save your work — just click the disk icon in the top right of the screen, and the program displays your image as a PNG, which you can then save to your desktop.

The drawing tools include text, brush, shape, pencil, paint bucket, stamp, spirograph, calligraphy, marquee, crop, eraser and color-picker. Sketchpad also supports gradients, and the History palette allows you to review previous revisions.

PencilApp,

PencilApp is a recently released, simple, browser-based pencil application that is perfect for quick sketches and drawings. It features a minimalist interface with just a pencil, eraser and a text-typing tool. You can change the size of the text and choose from one of the five pre-defined colors.

While there’s no “undo” command, you can choose the eraser tool and edit out something you’ve drawn. The Save function allows you to save your artwork as an image.

PencilApp is built using HTML5, CSS3 and the (jQuery) jqScribble plugin.

AWW,

AWW (which stands for A Web Whiteboard) is an online whiteboard and drawing app that allows for basic collaboration with a group of people using a variety of devices. The simplistic nature of the interface and controls means there is a low learning curve and you can get started straight away.

It features a choice of seven colors, three sizes of pencil, an eraser and a text tool. To invite others to collaborate, just send them a link to your drawing board and they can join the project. You can save the drawing as a PNG image and upload, share or send through email.

You can embed AWW on your own site using the plugin or API.

Sumopaint,

Sumo Paint is a fully featured image editing and painting app, which at first glance feels like a browser-based version of Adobe Photoshop. You can edit existing images or start with a blank canvas, with a wealth of advanced features to make use of, including layering tools, blending modes, blur tools and the ability to make finite adjustments to an image to improve the quality.

Other options include contrast, color balance, brightness and more. Once you’ve finished your creation, you can save the image to your desktop in PNG or JPG format, or as a SUMO file that you can open and edit at a later time.

QueekyPaint,

QueekyPaint is a unique online drawing tool that allows you to create videos of your work while you’re painting. You can create your own speed paint artwork, or visit the galleries to learn from the creation process of other artists. It also offers you the ability to edit your photos, publish your artwork and collaborate in projects and groups to meet artists with similar interests. You can even create your own group for a specific topic and invite others to join.

Save artwork to your desktop or Queeky account, or export it as a JPG, GIF or PNG. You can edit images using the suite of tools provided, which includes generic tools, layer effects, filters and adjustment options such as contrast, brightness and more.

Pencil Madness,

Pencil Madness is a simple app that lets you draw and publish images to the Pencil Madness gallery. You can save Images to your desktop as JPG or SVG files once you’re finished. The app features a number of brushes and brush effects to draw whatever you choose, along with a range of colors. You can change the size and opacity of the brush, use the eraser, zoom in and out, and even undo and redo actions. Extract colors from an image to create a color palette to use within your drawing.

The app is also available on the Amazon App marketplace to use on your Android mobile device.

Sketch.io,

Sketchpad is a fun, feature-rich drawing application written in HTML5. It’s non-destructive and doesn’t limit itself to just drawing and sketching — you can even sign PDF documents and export them to your desktop, which is much more efficient than downloading, printing, filling in, scanning and so on. It features an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with many tools, including text, paintbrush, pencil, calligraphy, stamp, spirograph, crayon, arrows and more.

You can undo, redo and erase any part of your creation, and even take images using your computers in-built camera.

Sketch & Paint,

Sketch & Paint allows you to get creative and get started quickly. Its simple interface and variety of sketching tools include a paintbrush, color kit, zoom view, eraser and opacity. You can set the dimension of the canvas, set your color and brush properties (such as size, pressure, diffusion, scatter and shake). Multi-level undo and redo is included, and every line you draw is treated as an individual object and can be dragged and deleted separately.

Keyboard shortcut functionality is provided, which makes it easy to select and adjust tools and settings.

Draw Island,

Draw Island is a simple web-based tool for creating drawings and GIF animations, with the option of various canvas sizes, and featuring pencil and paintbrushes. You can increase the brush size and opacity level, or choose between the shapes available to create your drawing. There’s an undo and redo function, as well as an eraser to remove any unwanted parts of your artwork. You can use the color wheel to pick any color you want, or you can enter your own Hex code.

You can import images, easily create a GIF, control the animation delay, and add text to any drawing.

Slimber,

Slimber is a browser-based app that allows you to draw, replay and save your artwork. It’s easy to get started — just choose your canvas dimensions and begin creating. A palette of tools is provided, which includes a pencil, brush, line, shapes, paint bucket, eraser and color-picker. You can choose the size, spacing, shape, overlay and flow of your paintbrush and specify your preferred RGB color.

Once you’re finished, you can click “play” and it will rerun your artistic process. Then you can save and write a description of your artwork. Submit your piece to the gallery to see your creation and receive the URL address or embed code to share.

deviantArt Muro,

deviantArt Muro is an online HTML5 drawing application, released in 2010 as a celebratory offering for deviantArt’s 10th birthday. It’s perfect for both hobbyist doodlers and professional artists. Your work is saved automatically (to your Sta.sh account) from your first brush stroke, and you can share your creative process to be replayed, published and shared. There are more than 20 brushes to choose from, and you can specify brush opacity, size and fill opacity. You can add or remove layers and adjust brightness and contrast. Filters include blur, sharpen, high pass, emboss, noise and more.

Images can be exported as PNG, layers or saved to your Sta.sh account.

FlockDraw,

FlockDraw is a seamless collaborative drawing and painting tool that makes it easy to draw in real-time with other people (or simply create your own art). To begin, click “Create your session” and start drawing, and invite others to join by providing them with your unique URL.

Use shapes, text, lines, the brush tool and the provided color palette to create your own drawing. You change the size of your brush, and save your image to the gallery or share it on social media or via the unique URL.

 

Squashup Videoclips with Morzilla’s Popcorn Maker

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Have you seen this before: A web application that fuses Soundcloud, YouTube and Vimeo clips to help you create your own masterpiece? PopcornMaker by Mozilla has left us in utter awe because it does exactly that. The application is so well thought out and put together that it feel like it took all the components of iMovie and pressed it all into a web application for use with existing and popular web media outlets.

Just to test out the application we took our favorite commercial of the year, Chipotle’s Scarecrow and merged it with the “I’m So Fluffly” clip on Despicable Me to create an very scary rendition of the otherwise joyful and cute clip. And we did it all so quick and easily that Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker becomes to be creative. Controls are limited in comparison to editors familiar with After Effects, but layer panels, easy media insertion and loading, volume controls, and display options with run length makes for a more then useful application.

Helping you remix web video, audio and images into mashups that you can embed everywhere makes Popcorn Maker a place to be creative easily and quickly.

3 Tools to Build Your Mobile Apps

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Businesses in today’s world need to do whatever they can in order to stay ahead of the competition. Embracing technology is essential at this point, and mobile technology is becoming more and more important in the business world. One of the best ways to stay ahead of those who are providing similar products and services is to create a mobile app, and it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

A mobile app may help your business grow, as it’s an excellent marketing tool that is full of potential. In order to build a mobile app for your business, however, you’re going to need the help of a few tools.

EachScape,

The biggest fear that many start-up business owners have about creating an application for their companies is that they might need to have development backgrounds. While having a developer on-hand is never a bad thing, it’s not a necessity if you use software like EachScape.

EachScape offers a very user-friendly UI that features drag-and-drop capabilities, which means even those who have never even thought about getting into the world of developing can create an app that is both attractive and functional. That said, it’s an exceptionally expensive application, as its costs can range up to $2,500 per month. Still, businesses that can afford to shell out this type of money will have a hard time finding a better option for app development.

Buzztouch,

Clearly, not every business can afford to have the luxury of utilizing a service such as EachScape. If this is the case for you, it may be worth considering Buzztouch. Buzztouch requires a fair amount of learning in order to properly utilize, the results once you get all the information under your belt can be staggeringly professional-looking. It’s a development app, so don’t expect the drag-and-drop features in other, more expensive app-building tools.

This being said, you can use workflow software to help streamline the development process, not to mention create a more customized experience. At a price of just $29.95 per month, however, Buzztouch is an excellent option for businesses that need to stick to a shoestring budget.

CloudSpokes,

Perhaps the most interesting option of the three, CloudSpokes allows you to get in touch with a network of developers who can help to bring your project to life for you. Business owners who don’t have the time or simply don’t choose to deal with creating their own apps will find this to be the perfect solution. It’s customizable and, best of all, you don’t have to have a huge amount of capital in order to get a project in gear via CloudSpokes.

A mobile app will help to take your business to the next level, and it’s right around the corner if you know where to look.

Now travel made easier by Google Map’s Features

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Even as Apple has been trying to rework its maps efforts — with a radical new redesign for iOS 7 and Hopstop acquisition — Google has been consistently adding features in its Google Maps app after it came back on iOS in December 2012 and quickly surpassed 10 million downloads. Google has since rolled out update after update, like live traffic alerts and transit updates in major cities. It bought traffic navigation app Waze in June.

Now, it is adding four small features to the new beta of Google Maps (launched three months ago) that hints at its strategy in travel, beyond its main search additions:

Directions for multiple destinations: This seems like an obvious feature to have, and after stripping it out initially, it is back. And it is available for driving, walking and biking directions.

Multiple destinations for city attractions: A subset of the above feature, this allows users to add museums, historic squares and other attractions by dragging and dropping in the order desired, and it adds the Views carousel in the bottom right corner, a way to preview Street View, Photo Tours and other imagery.

Seeing pre-booked flight, hotel and restaurant reservations right in Maps: This is potentially the biggest out of the four, and it’s borrowed from Google Search. Users can find their existing flight, hotel and restaurant reservations right in Maps, using airport codes or names of dining destination, and it’ll instantly show your upcoming plans. This info is only available when a user is signed into Google, and only they can see it for privacy reasons. This feature is currently rolling out to Maps users in the U.S. and is available in English only.

Search for upcoming events: Adding events information based on venues. For example, searching for Radio City Music Hall or the O2 Arena and clicking on the Upcoming Events card shows a schedule of concerts, sports matches and other events happening near the users. Or users can start with a more generic search like “music venues.”

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Now Your Photos are Into Paint Chips with Google Glass Apps

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Sick of the stacks of paint chips and countless shades of beige? A new Google Glass app can help.

Powered by paint retailer Sherwin-Williams, ColorSnap Glass lets users turn photos of design inspiration — a favorite piece of art, a scene from your backyard — into a custom palette.

First, a Glass user snaps a picture of their inspiration, which is sent to Sherwin-Williams’ server. The photo’s primary colors are translated into a set of paint colors, so a snapshot of flowers in a garden is reduced to a palette of pinks and reds; a specific shade of green is extracted from a photo of your mint ice cream.

Users can share photos and colors with friends and find Sherwin-Williams stores through the app, too.

ColorSnap Glass is the latest in the Sherwin-Williams family of apps. The app is available foriPhoneAndroid and Blackberry.

ColorSnap Studio, a version optimized for the iPad, lets you change the color of your walls in photographs of your home — a virtual experimentation of colors before committing.

ColorSnap Glass was developed by Resource, an independent marketing agency, as part of Google’s Glass Explorer program, according to a press release. ColorSnap Glass is still in beta,download it now.

VISIT ALSO: Chip it app makes selecting colors easy as pinning

Access Your Google Glass with Remote Control

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Google has added a MyGlass update that allows Android users to turn the companion app into a remote control.

The update comes after some users noted the interaction behind the Glass technology wasn’t as smooth as anticipated. They reported awkward transitions among the swipe bar, head nods and voice commands.

The MyGlass app, which can be used as a remote control for the headgear, fixes this issue. It allows users to “touch/swipe/tap” to control the Glass user interface through the screencast experience, as described on Google Play.

The Verge noted that the update should also make it easier to take photos and video surreptitiously.

Some Google+ users have reported the remote control update doesn’t work yet and may require a matching Glass update. As its Google Play page states, “If you don’t have Glass, then downloading this will be a waste of time.”

Browse Also: Google’s Upcoming Glass Apps Store

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