The Best Security Apps

From Target to Snapchat, and many businesses in between, the last few months have been wrought with what seems to be one security breach after another. It’s understandable that consumers would be more than a little leery about their online and mobile activity. Fear not. Here are a few apps that we think just might give you some peace of mind.

Isis-Mobile-Wallet-screenshotThe App: Isis Mobile Wallet
The Cost: Free
The Skinny: Isis, and other mobile wallets, are revolutionizing the way people shop. Ladies, don’t  tell your husbands, but gone are the days when you needed that fancy Prada wallet to match your Prada handbag. Now, you can do everything you did with your wallet, and more, right from your smartphone. And what’s more, it’s actually safer than your physical wallet.

Isis Mobile Wallet is a free app that allows you to store your credit, debit and loyalty card information and even make purchases directly from your phone. Now I know what you’re saying. “Why in the world would I want to do that?” It’s simple.  If your physical wallet is lost or stolen, you have to call the bank and each card company, make a trip to the DMV (and possibly Social Security office), monitor your credit for months, sometimes even years, and a myriad of things to ensure that your identity isn’t stolen and that your finances are protected. If you lose your Isis wallet, you can freeze your entire Mobile Wallet with one phone call or web entry. Furthermore, Isis sends a unique transaction ID with each payment transaction, making it more difficult to for hackers to counterfeit your card.

Available on: Android

*************************************************************************************

avast-screenshot_8The App: Avast
The Cost: Free
The Skinny: If, unfortunately, someone does happen to steal your smartphone, Avast will come to your rescue! Avast is a free security app that protects your mobile devices from online and off-line threats, such as viruses, adware and phone thieves. This app not only uses its built-in antivirus system to scan your phone for malware but also filters incoming calls and texts, allows you to add a firewall to keep cyber threats out and (our personal favorite) tracks your lost or stolen device! Avast also offers add-on premium options, for $14.99 a year, that allow users to prevent unauthorized access by enabling them to lock the device remotely. Probably the most exciting premium feature, however, is after three unsuccessful login attempts, the app locks access and takes a picture of the person trying to unlock your device.

Available on: Android

*************************************************************************************

 mSecureThe App: mSecure Password
The Cost: Free
The Skinny: Did you know that the most common password is actually “password?” I learned that tidbit from the news this week, and if I know it, and now you know it, it should be a given that people looking to do not-so-good things with other people’s accounts know it as well. But how do you come up with a really good password? And once you do, how do you remember it? That’s where mSecure Password comes in.

mSecure Password is a password management database that not only helps you come up with unsolvable passwords, but it keeps them safe and sound . The app can also auto-populate forms and log-in fields for you and has an all new mSecure browser that allows you to safely and securely browse the internet.

Available on: Apple and Android

Keep Your Resolutions with these Daily Apps

It’s mid-January already. Are you making progress on your New Year’s resolutions?  If you’re like most people (or me), you’ve already forgotten or given up. Don’t despair.  You just need a daily reminder of some sort.  If you didn’t even make a resolution, it’s not too late either.  Make self-improvement a goal and keep reading for three highly-rated apps that will inspire you, and make you smarter.  As a bonus, I’ve included a widget that can help you reach all of your resolutions. Good luck!

dailyquoteDaily Inspirational Quotes (Google Play); Inspirational and Motivational Quote by Steven Boynes (iTunes)
The Cost: Free
The Skinny: We can all use some inspiration. The Daily Inspirational Quotes app provides you with a new inspirational message every day.  Plus you can mark favorite quotes and share with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, Email or text messaging.  For iPhone users, the Inspirational and Motivational Quote app does the same thing.  Per the app creator, this ap “aims to provide you with a daily brief moment to reflect, or in times of adversity, inspiration to persevere.”

Available on your Android or iPhone.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

wordadayThe App:  Word A Day Visuals & Audios by Lafazi
The Cost: Free; $1.99 cents on iTunes
The Skinny:  Remember those “Word A Day” flip calendars? Now you can get that same benefit in a fun app that provides humorous illustrations and narrated audios.
By the end of year, you should learn 365 new English-language words and ace the SATs!

This app has been available on iTunes for a while but only became available for Android in 2013.   Some users have complained about the Android version having too many ads.  As an alternative, another popular, free app for Android users is the Word A Day app by INAPP.

Available on your Android and iPhone/iPad

   *          *          *          *          *          *          *

DailyArt-A-daily-dose-of-fine-art-delivered-to-your-phone2The App: Daily Art
The Cost: Free
The Skinny:   If you’re a more visual person, the Daily Art app may be right for you . The app sends you one classic piece of art every day along with a brief description.  It’s an easy way to familiarize yourself with masterpieces such as Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh. For those who crave more details, the app also links to a Wikipedia article about the piece  and artist.  Available on Android or iPhone.

 

 *          *          *          *          *          *          *

daybeforeThe Widget: TheDayBefore (D-Day widget)
The Cost: Free
The Skinny:   As a bonus, I’m throwing in a widget that helps anyone who has set a deadline for their resolution. The DayBefore widget counts down the days toward your goal or event.  For example, if you sign up for a marathon on September 20, 2014, you simply set the date and the app will calculate how many days until the event, or D-Day.  You can also use this widget to remember annual events like anniversaries and birthdays.  Available on Android. A similar Countdown app is available for $0.99 on iTunes.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

With hundreds of thousands of apps available, it’s hard to find the mix that best meets your needs. That’s why we created the “Get the Skinny” series.  We compile the experts’ picks in a variety of categories so you can choose your apps from only the best.

 

2013 Wr-APP Up

As 2013 comes to an end, and we take the time to reflect on all of the great things that happened this year, including hot new phones and exciting new technology, we thought it’d be fun to reflect on our favorite apps of the year. In no particular order, here are some great apps you should check out and download for your phone or tablet:

Bitstrips: This super fun app that allows you to create a comic strip version of yourself. These expressive cartoon avatars can be used to create greeting cards, add a little pizazz to your Facebook status updates or –my personal favorite–  engage in fun misadventures starring you and your Facebook friends.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Vine: Vine is a fun app allows you to “see and share your life in motion” by creating short 1-6 second looping videos that you can share with your friends, family….the entire world really.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Stitcher: Expand your knowledge or simply get a few giggles by using this app to connect to over 15,000 podcasts and live radio shows. Designed to help you manage your podcasts on iPhone and Android devices, Stitcher is user-friendly and definitely worth a look if you listen and download podcasts on a regular basis.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

GoodRX: Not only does  GoodRX allow you to easily compare prices of medications at different stores, it also has coupons that you can print out or send to your phone.  Show the coupon at any participating pharmacy, which includes Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target and more, and save big.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Wanelo: The Wanelo app (from Want, Need, Love) provides you with an endless stream of unique products available for online purchase.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Waze: Waze provides turn-by-turn directions with the added benefit of a large social-network that contributes crucial info like accidents and real-time info to other fellow users.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

**************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Duolingo: This award-winning free app uses mini-lessons to teach language on an intuitive level. The app functions much like a game with quizzes and challenges and with each wrong answer you lose a heart. Each right answer advances you closer to the next lesson.

Read the full review.

Available on Android or iPhone.

3 Great Apps For Holiday Shopping

We all know how to shop but do you have what it takes to be a “great” shopper? Elevate your shopping experience, and your gift-giving prowess, with these 3 mobile apps.  One will help you find  perfect gifts for everyone on your list. One will alert you when is the best time to buy. And one will ensure you always get the best deals at malls or local retail store.

wanelo-shopping-09-356x535The App: Wanelo
The Cost: Free
The Expert: Business Insider
The Skinny:  The Wanelo app (from Want, Need, Love) provides you with an endless stream of unique products available for online purchase. A few things make this app stand out.  First, all products are recommended by other users. Secondly, the Wanelo community is largely made up of trendsetting, savvy shoppers with very good taste, so it’s a great resource for gift ideas.  Finally, it’s easy to share your own wish list so that others can find you the perfect gift, too.

Read the Full Review
Available on Android or iPhone.

***********************************************************************

ShopAdvisor-AppThe App: Shop Advisor
The Cost: Free
The Expert: Hongkiat.com
The Skinny:  If you are looking for a specific item at the best possible price, the Shop Advisor is a must-have download for your phone.  Simply add a product to a “watch list” and the app will alert you when the price drops. You can add hundreds of items as you come across interesting products   Each saved item will have a price history graph that shows the lowest available price online or at your local store.

Read the Full Review
Available on Android or iPhone

***********************************************************************

shopularThe App:  Shopular
The Cost: Free
The Expert: Venture Beat
The Skinny:  There are tons of coupon apps out there but the top-rated Shopular may be the only one you need.  Shopular covers sales for 1000+ malls across the U.S. including most large outlet malls as well as weekly ads and sales for major retailers like Macy’s, Kohls, Lowe’s, and many more.

Read the Full Review
Available on your Android and iPhone

***********************************************************************

With hundreds of thousands of apps available, it’s hard to find the mix that best meets your needs. That’s why we created the “Get the Skinny” series.  We compile the experts’ picks in a variety of categories so you can choose your apps from only the best.

I’ve Been Bit…by Bitstrips!

As an app reviewer I learn about new apps all the time. I get the special privilege of testing them out so that I can let you know which ones are worth your while, a job I take very seriously. Some of the apps I test are just ok. Many are actually pretty good. Every now and then, the heavens open up and send down an app so magnificent that it makes me wonder how I was ever able to survive without it. Well, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but you get my point. This week, that app is Bitstrips.

Bitstrips is a super fun app that allows you to create a comic strip version of yourself. These expressive cartoon avatars can be used to create greeting cards, add a little pizazz to your Facebook status updates or –my personal favorite–  engage in fun misadventures expiredranchstarring you and your Facebook friends. Jacob Blackstock, Bitstrips’ chief executive and creative director  explains, “Basically, it’s an app that turns you and your friends into a cast of cartoon characters. Then you can take those characters and put them into crazy scenes.” While the Facebook app has been around for a while, this quirky, fun time-waster has gained such popularity over the last couple of weeks with its recent mobile app releases for Android and iOS that the rush of users crashed the company’s servers!

Using  Bitstrips is simple and extremely intuitive. You start by creating a cartoon representation of yourself, or avatar. The system offers a wide variety of features, such as face shape, eye shapes and colors, hairstyles, clothing styles and accessories, to help you make your avatar look as much (or as little) like you as you want. I’ve noticed some of expiredingredientsmy friends have avatars that look exactly like them, while others…well, let’s say they see themselves differently than the rest of the world. I took the caricature approach and overemphasized my “short”comings. Standing at a whopping 5’0 tall in real life, I created a character whose legs dangle whenever she sits and who can barely see over the countertops in her cartoon world. My friends have gotten a real kick out it.

Once your character is created, the real fun begins.  Each time you open the app you’re greeted with a section called “Today’s New Comics” which are a series of comic templates of situations that you can edit and share with your friends. This section is comprised of the latest templates created (new ones are added daily!). You can also use the “choose a scene” option and search through thousands of scenarios for a fun story to share. Once you decide which scene you’re going to use, you can edit the caption below each comic to set up the scene as well as create dialogue for your characters. The app links to your Facebook friends so you can create scenes with any one of them who also has the app. In addition to posting your creations on Facebook, there’s also an option to share them through other channels, such as through a text message or even via Instagram. Another interesting feature offered by the app is the ability to create avatars of other people. If you have a friend who you’d like to include in a scene who hasn’t yet discovered Bitstrips, you can go in and create an avatar of them.

As if pulling virtual pranks on, and making fun of, friends wasn’t enough, what rshoppingeally made me fall in love with the app was their altruistic service. Bitstrips and Cartoon Network have partnered together to provide the app as an educational tool for teachers to help students learn to speak out against bullying. What a clever idea!

While the Facebook Council of People Against Everything Fun seem to be annoyed by the emergence of timelines filled with comic strips, this one seems to show no signs of slowing down. Bitstrips is currently the fastest growing app in both iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Have you tried Bitstrips yet? Share your favorite strip on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wirelessneighborhood.

Work Smarter with 3 Top Business Apps

You know what they say about “all work and no play”.  While apps can’t turn every office into a party zone,  these business-related apps will certainly make work life easier.

Bizzabo ScreenshotThe App: Bizzabo
The Cost: Free
The Expert: Business Insider
The Skinny:  Currently used by more than 3,000 conferences worldwide, the Bizzabo app is designed to maximize your time at work-related conferences and trade shows.  If you’re attending a conference that is working with Bizzabo, you simply have to download this free app to their phone.  Not only will you have access to speaker bios, schedules and other event information, you can use Bizzabo to make contacts at the event. Attendees can network on the app before the event and then check in when they arrive at the conference so that others know you are physically in the building.  If you use LinkedIn, the app will cross-reference your profile with other event attendees and will give you suggestions about who you should meet.  It also offers a messaging service that lets you set face-to-face meetings on the spot.

A Bizzabo representative sent me a short list of conferences that have utilized the app at their events. This includes CE Week, ad:tech London, S.H.E. Summit, CloudBeat & Mobile Beat, eTail East, Dublin Web Summit and the European Pirate Summit (not kidding..).  The next time you attend a conference, make sure to check if the organizer is using Bizzabo.

Read the Full Review.
Available on your Android, iPhone or iPad.

*******************************************

dropboxThe App: Dropbox
The Cost: Free (2GB storage)
The Expert: Forbes
The Skinny:  Dropbox is one of the best-known and reliable cloud storage companies around.  The free Dropbox app allows you to save and access all your important data anytime from your phone, computer or tablet.  This means you can work anywhere, anytime!

Read the Full Review.
Available on Android, iPhone and Windows devices.

*******************************************

speaktoit-assistant-android-appThe App: Speaktoit
The Cost: Free
The Expert: Forbes
The Skinny:   Looking for the perfect assistant? The free Speaktoit app is a highly-rated virtual assistant that lets you make requests, send text messages, browse the web and more, using your voice instead of typing.  Every morning, it will remind you of your day’s agenda as well as any related tasks. For example, if you live in Los Angeles and have “Meeting in New York” on the calendar, the app will remind you to make travel arrangements.

And in case you were wondering, you  can customize your assistant’s appearance, too!

Read the Full Review
Available on Android, iPhone and Windows devices

***************************************

With hundreds of thousands of apps available, it’s hard to find the mix that best meets your needs. That’s why we created the “Get the Skinny” series.  We compile the experts’ picks in a variety of categories so you can choose your apps from only the best.

Free Games for Verizon Customers

VZW_AppsGameIf you’re the lucky owner of select Android devices like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, you can get a free Games app courtesy of Verizon Wireless.  Once you get this app, there will be close to 200 games available to download and play instantly.

While the Verizon Game app itself is free, the games available for download include both free and premium (paid) games.  You’ll also be responsible for any data charges.

The Game app has several stand-out features. You get easy access to all your games in one location, saving you the hassle of searching through thousands of game apps.  You get access to hundreds of popular games, including Blackjack Live, Galaxy Chase, Gametanium, Cut the Rope, Zombie Smasher, and more. For many, the coolest feature is “Social Play” which allows you to keep up-to-date with your friends’ favorite games and even challenge them to a game or two!

To get this app, all you have to do is:

1) Call ** Games, or

2) Visit My Verizon Mobile, or

3) Access the Verizon Apps storefront

This app is not available on Google Play and is only available for these devices:

  • HTC One (pre-loaded)
  • Kyocera Hydro Elite (pre-loaded)
  • HTC Droid DNA
  • Motorola RAZR HD
  • Motorola RAZR M
    Motorola RAZR MAXX HD
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
  • Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Samsung Galaxy S4

Additional devices will be added in the future.