soundhound

ARRRGGGG!!!! What is that song!?!?!?!
How many times have you heard a song and could not recall the artist or title? Or you hear a new songs and love it but the artist and song title are never shared? Apps like SoundHound and Shazam are the remedy (both have free and pay-for versions). These two apps recognize music by listening and searching their archive.

soundhound spotifyThey both work in a similar way. With SoundHound
Launch the app
Press the orange “tap here” button
Wait.

Hopefully you are not in a noisy Starbucks, bowling ally, or near a NASA rocket launch because the noise factor around you can be an issue. If SoundHound can get a decent listen, within a few seconds it will identify artists, songs, and even show you lyrics. You have always been given the option to buy the song it sound for you (smart way for SoundHound to create constant cash flow) but now those who are Spotify users have the option to “Play Free in Spotify” and I think that is pretty cool. I am a Spotify user and this helps separate SoundHound for all the other apps. On the rare occasion SoundHound does not find the song I am having it search for but over all it is a great app.

Are you using SoundHound or Shazam?  Which one and why?

Best Free Apps

Brandon Early —  February 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

photo[1]I grab a lot of apps when they drop their prices to FREE, some are great and others are worthy of being free. But how do you know when a great app is available at a discount?

There are some good app searching apps and sites that help, like appadvice.com, iosnoops.com, and bestappsales.com , but these do not give many details and they are not as simple to use as I would like.

appshopperMy favorite app store listing, news, and price drop site and app is appshopper.com. There are probably other great app finding sites on the web, but this one does a few things well and is pretty simple.

Here are some highlights:

  • Appshopper.com’s home page has a running list of current apps with price drops.
  • Has great search filters (iPhone or iPad only, Free, Paid, etc).
  • Shows the Top 200 apps, and you can sort by rating, price, and more. My favorite sort feature is by “Change.” Change shows you apps that have made jumps, big and little. A big move on the change list usually means the app is new or the price dropped and people love it.
  • You can create a wish list if you register on the site. If you like an app but think it is too expensive, add it to your wish list and if the price drops, you will be notified via email when anything happens to the app (price drop, or increase).

How are you finding great apps?



photo

I would prefer to get behind my computer, open Photoshop, and crank through a design project, but sometimes I am on the move and only have my iPad. Just last week I needed to create a background for a talk I was doing, and I was away from my MacBook. I browsed through the app store and found a few apps that were pretty cool. These apps (and a couple I had on my iPad) could do things I am not sure I could ever do quite as well in Photoshop…and they were done in seconds.

Quick disclaimer: These apps are not going to replace Photoshop. There are limitations to each app, but overall they are pretty sick and for a combined $10-ish they are totally worth checking out.

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Phoster: $1.99

Phoster is almost as simple as it’s name, it is a simple poster, card, and cover creator. There are several templates and slick finishes (textures, stains, and colors) to help you make an interesting event flyer/poster. I mostly use Phoster for creating notebook covers for apps like Noteshelf. I grabbed it from the app store a last year when it was free, but I would say it is worth the $1.99 they are asking.

004
Tangent: $1.99

Tangent is another app I picked up when it was free in the app store but is totally worth the price. If you get stuck while thinking of creative design elements Tangent will help you crank through. This app takes a photo from your camera roll and turns it into a work of art.

 

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Fragment: $1.99

This app is like shredding your image through a hipster kaleidoscope on steroids. Upload an image and tweak the color, shape, and size of the different colors, shapes, and sizes. I know that last sentence might not have made sense but it is true…you just tweak the tweaks. Creative, fun, and customizable.

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LoryStripes: $1.99
This app adds all sorts of strips or ribbons to any image. Sounds kind of lame right? Not at all, these are not just friendly lines, they are visually appealing in a way that adds to the image. You get color, you get shading, and you get a really cool depth effect in LoryStripes. Take a peek at some of the screenshots in the app store, you definitely get a unique look and feel.

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Deco Sketch: $2.99
Allows you to draw shapes on an image. I would say this is more of an accent app than a core app, at $2.99 it is the most expensive app in this bunch and might not be worth it if you are only looking for a couple apps to start with. But if you are looking for an app or two to make a “final touch” then Deco Sketch and LoryStripes are pretty cool to finish off your collection.

 

Quick Tip: I have all of these installed and I rarely use one at a time. I often take one image and run in through multiple apps. For example, I might take a picture of the sky, run it through Tangent, save it and run the saved image through LoryStrips. I think I used three of these 5 apps to create the opening image for this post.

Come check out one of my tech workshops at #SYMC, I will demo these for you!

What design apps are you using on your iPad?

Brandon
@uthguy9

Advent-AppI just found this great, totally free, Advent devotional app from Saddleback Church Retreat Ministries. If you are looking for a devotional for you, your family, your team, or to recommend to families in your ministry check out and share “Advent Devotions” app for Windows, Android, and iOS.



cellphonedrawSLIDE2

Here’s another free game you can use in your ministry setting.  Cell Phone Draw is pretty simple…

  • Show the graphic
  • Explain that the 5th caller (or any number caller you choose) wins a prize (make sure you have a prize)
  • Show the slide with your cell number and let the ringing begin
  • Answer your phone…make a Big Deal!!!
  • Give Prize
  • Done

We have 2 graphics here (Click Here To Download); a TITLE slide and a BLANK slide. The title slide is to show as-is announcing the game and the blank slide is for you to add your cell phone number to (if you do not have photo editing software try http://pixlr.com/editor/ and just do it online). To download the font I used, click this link or go to dafont.com and search “western.”

If you do not want to make your cell phone number public, consider getting a free number from Google Voice or paying for a disposable number with an iPhone app like “Burner.”

Have fun!

Brandon

@uthguy9

PlugBug Mac Adapter

Brandon Early —  November 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

I am trying to get some work done in an airport lobby, I need to plug in a couple of devices (so my batteries are full for the ride), but there is no room to plug in two devices.

Good thing I have my PlugBug from TwelveSouth. PlugBug is a USB wall charger that attaches to my MacBook Power Adapter. It allows me to charge my MacBook Pro and iPad or iPhone at once. If you do not have a PlugBug, you could just trickle charge your USB device from your Mac, but the PlugBug provides more power for a quicker charge.

Check out this short video and click over to TwelveSouth for the details!  It’s a great buy at $35!

PlugBug from Brandon Early on Vimeo.

Enjoy!

Brandon

@uthguy9



flip-it-Title

This week we played Flip It! This is a super simple game of heads or tails…but better.

Rules:

  • Ask the crowd to choose either heads or tails publically by either grabbing their head… or tail.
  • Then the game host flips a coin. If the coin is heads, all those who choose heads are still in… same with tails.

That is all you need.

Coin-Flip

Now…Here are a couple ways to make this a little more techie.

  1. The graphic above is free, click here and download the 720p version. Now you have a slide to introduce your game.
  2. Instead of a coin I used the app “FlipANickel.” It has a free version and a $.99 version.  I mirrored the app from my iPhone to our video screens using AirServer.  Everyone was able to see the coin flip and know if it was heads or tails on the big screen.

Using the app was great, it was visible and built good anticipation.  I looked at about 15 coin flipping apps, and this was the best (if you know if a better one please add it in the comments). The free version is good, but I am not a fan of ads in my apps… especially when I am screen mirroring to an audience so I dropped the 99 cents like a boss!

Keep up the good work,

Brandon

@uthguy9

 

Quick Tip: Phone Mount

Brandon Early —  September 3, 2013 — 4 Comments

This is a super cheap, uber practical DIY phone mount. This is practical for your own vehicle but also a great idea for trips in a church van or even on the back of an airplane seat. iPhone car mount, Android GPS mount, or Blackberry hood ornament.

Command Medium Picture Hanging Strips…they come in black and white.