Cool Devices

WebMD Review

No matter what the diagnosis, WebMD has been a source of information for patients and doctors alike ever since it first appeared on the internet. Its user friendly format helps the layman find the latest articles and information about any medical condition, and now the mobile application takes that accessibility even one step further. Users can utilize the app to learn basic first aid, find drug or treatment information, or look up symptoms. In fact, whatever health concerns users have questions about, WebMD mobile likely has the answers.

What Can it Do?

The Symptom Checker lets users touch the part of the body that is troubling them and determines any possible conditions or issues that may be happening. Once they have an idea of what is ailing them, the information can be taken to the doctor to help with a medical diagnosis. This application is also extremely useful in an emergency situation to show what to do in such situations. Whatever the problem, the medically reviewed content can help, and there are even visual guides demonstrating how to perform CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and more.

Benefits

Going to the doctor without knowing what is wrong can be an expensive and frustrating experience; it can also be quite frightening. While the WebMD mobile application does not replace a physician’s diagnosis, it can give them a starting point and help increase communication between the doctor and the patient. In addition, by entering age, location, sex, and symptoms, this program recommends medical doctors who may be able to help with treatment if necessary. It also gives drug, vitamin, and supplement information that includes usage, side effects, warnings, and interactions.

Operating System

The WebMD mobile application was originally designed for the iPhone operating system, which was somewhat problematic. However, it is now available on the Android, Blackberry, and Windows operating systems as well, allowing it to reach a much wider audience. With over 2.5 million users who have downloaded this tool, it is one of the top applications on the market. It is also one of the first mobile web applications to use trusted privacy protection program TRUSTe’s mobile website privacy certification product that is now compatible with all major mobile operating systems.

Future Upgrades

WebMD recently upgraded their mobile application by redesigning some of the key features, such as making sure that the first aid essentials are now available anytime, even when offline. There is also now a pill identification tool that can help identify medications by the shape, color, and imprint. The database is constantly updated and information can be sent to an email address for more research. Users can also take advantage of the local health listings, which help them find the closest pharmacy, physician, or hospital.

This on-demand mobile application lets users make the most of their health care plan. While it is not designed for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, this tool is a springboard for learning about what may be wrong or learning more about a recent diagnosis. Its comprehensive database provides solutions for anything from an insect bite to a broken bone and how to handle emergency situations. In addition, users will never again have to search for that pharmacy slip that came with their medication to find out about drug warnings and precautions or to try to determine which pill they are taking.

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WaveSecure Review

WaveSecure is a mobile phone security application which protects important information stored on the phone; it can be used with Android and some Blackberry phones. This kind of application is especially useful if a phone has been misplaced or lost and the user cannot find it. By utilizing WaveSecure’s technology, a user can prevent data such as contact lists, call logs, and SMS from being accessed by someone finding the phone. In addition, this mobile application is incorporated with an online tool that allows users to “tell” the phone to enable WaveSecure from any computer in the event the phone has been lost.

Setting up the WaveSecure

With an application size of 600 KBs, WaveSecure is installed directly into a smartphone’s memory system and runs in the background of other software. After a user has installed WaveSecure, the application will perform an initial setup, during which it asks for a PIN password and a contact number for several individuals whom the user trusts. This enables the application to send a message to one of these people in case the phone is lost. A variety of options are then displayed on a main-menu screen, such as tracking, secure phone, media uploading, and backup data.

Options

With WaveSecure, a user never has to worry about losing priceless data, pictures, or other information. The backup option allows the user to send any data to WaveSecure’s online server for immediate backup or retrieval. When uploading media, these files can also be sent to the server, where they will be backed up and made accessible in case the phone is lost. When using the “lock down phone” feature, the user is essentially “locking” his or her phone in its current condition, while “wipe now” means erasing everything except email and account credentials; the phone never reverts back to its original factory condition. Also, all of these features can be remotely enacted from any computer.

Tracking a Lost Phone

Tracking with WaveSecure allows the owner of a lost mobile phone to know if a SIM card has been put into the phone. When a strange SIM card is put into the phone, WaveSecure will send a message to the contacts listed on the phone, along with an alert to the web interface. Using the web interface will also allow a user to track the phone’s location. In the event that a lost or stolen phone cannot be taken back, the user has the option of using the remote “wiping” command so that no personal information can be accessed. In addition, WaveSecure has conveniently installed a “restore” function in case a phone is recovered; this function will restore the phone to its previous condition.

While WaveSecure will have a definite appeal to most users who would like to remotely track or lock their phone in case it is lost or stolen, it may not be as useful to those who input highly sensitive data into their Android or Blackberry. The “wipe” function doesn’t complete delete everything on the storage card, nor is WaveSecure able to restore all settings and information to another smartphone. Since McAfee owns WaveSecure, it was expected that this application would reveal more sophisticated performance ability in preventing data theft or unauthorized data access. However, the next generation of WaveSecure is anticipated to be improved on the previous model.

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TrueCaller Review

Aggravation from receiving too many sales-oriented or spam calls can make the average cell phone user wish cell phones had never been invented. Fortunately, True Software Scandinavia AB has created an application (now compatible with Android phones) called TrueCaller. The application allows users to block unwanted calls, identifies callers, and permits the user to search for all public listed phone numbers published in 25 countries, such as Canada, India, Italy and the United States. TrueCaller also provides a simple blocking method which allows only specified calls that are important to the user to get through.

Functions

TrueCaller is equipped with some useful functions, such as name display, reverse number lookup, location and number of the caller, and a social website feature that notifies followers when the user is on the phone. What this application is most coveted for, however, is its ability to support a list of callers the user blocks in order to prevent unwanted calls, whether from salespeople or individuals with whom the user no longer wants to speak. In addition, TrueCaller also notifies the user of spam calls that are being received and tagged by other users who utilize the application’s database.  This particular feature helpfully allows a TrueCaller user to block spam before they even receive it.

TrueCaller Step-by-Step

After installing TrueCaller on an Android, Symbian, iPhone, or Windows phone, a main screen will pop up showing the three main options: call filter, search, and update phone book. The search function lets users search for public numbers, which can be saved to the phone book instantly. Call filter also has a database of phone numbers which have previously been tagged as spam by other users and will notify you when a blocked number is attempting to access the phone. Of course, a user can always put any number they want into the call filter data bank and avoid talking to individuals to whom they do not wish to speak.

Social Functions

One interesting and convenient aspect of TrueCaller indicates just how important social websites have become in everyone’s lives. Fortunately, the makers of TrueCaller realized this when they decided to enhance their application with features that allow the user to connect with their Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. Besides being able to post status updates or messages, users can also view updates made by friends in real time. In addition, if it is available, a profile picture of who is calling or texting the user is viewable on the screen, which lends even more security to the user in knowing exactly who is contacting them.

More about TrueCaller

When a cell phone that utilizes TrueCaller application is turned on, it will begin immediately and run silently in the background; from there, numbers associated with all incoming calls and text messages are checked by TrueCaller’s data bank. If the database discovers that the number is in the user’s contact list, it will not do anything. If, however, the number is not found, then the application will quickly connect using WiFi or 3G to a server and search for the phone number. Also, TrueCaller will allow the user to specify which country is being searched for a specific number in order to speed up the process.

Trial Application

TrueCaller offers a seven-day trial application in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Canada, Italy, and the U.S., after which users can directly purchase the application from their phones or from TrueCaller’s official website. Due to privacy laws, TrueCaller was previously not  available in the United Kingdom but is now operational in that country as well. In addition, this application will work properly as long as the user has an EDGE, 3G, or WLAN internet connection installed in their cell phone. As a method to avoid any unwanted or unwelcome calls, TrueCaller is a helpful device for those who must handle a high volume of calls each day.

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Swype Review

Typing on a smartphone QWERTY keyboard can sometimes be awkward and result in misspelled words or unreadable messages. For heavy-duty smartphone users, there is now a virtual keyboard called Swype, which allows someone to type much faster, without worrying about making mistakes. With Swype’s innovative technology, typing a message can be done without taking your finger off the keyboard. By literally “tracing” certain letters of a word on the “keyless” keyboard in one continuous motion, users can inform Swype of the word want to type typed without actually typing out the whole word.

Predictive Technology

The intuitiveness of Swype’s predictive technology rests in the developer’s ability to manufacture a virtual keyboard that can guess the words a smartphone user is trying to type out according to choices of previous words. For example, instead of pressing each individual key, users simply slide their thumb and finger over keys that spell out a certain word. After lifting their fingers from the last letter touched, Swype associates the traced letters with the words included in its own dictionary. So, if someone types the word “right,” he or will move his or her finger over the “r,” “g,” and “t” keys in order to generate the word “right.”

Correct Spelling

Swype will also correct any spelling errors committed while someone is “swyping” a word. If someone quickly slides their over fingers the letters “melow,” Swype automatically recognizes this spelling mistake and corrects it. However, there may be some confusion with certain words that are similar in spelling, like “son” and “soon,” but users can amend this by adding more letters to a word by performing a circular motion on the appropriate key with their finger. In addition, spaces are automatically placed between words, and users can adjust the traced line seen on the keyboard so that a letter can be capitalized.

Smartphones Using Swype

Currently, Swype is preloaded on ten devices available in the United States, including the four major carriers of popular smartphones and most Android phones. Swype is proficient in 50 languages and can even operate on the Wii gaming console and tablets. However, this ingenious key “screen” is not yet available on the iPad or iPhone, although a Swype spokesperson has stated that the company is talking with Apple about installing the item on their devices in the future. Also, if a smartphone or tablet has been preloaded with Swype, a tutorial video will play when it is first used.

Adjustment Period

For some long-time users of the standard QWERTY smartphone keypad, getting used to Swype’s unique method of typing may take a little time. It may seem more like a game than anything, especially when deciding which letters to slide over when constructing a message, or becoming adept at using distinct swiping gestures in order to add punctuation and capitalize words. Accuracy is not necessary with Swype, as long as some of the letters swiped contribute to a recognized word stored in Swype’s databank. It is almost like having numerous “shortcut” keys to use that are utilized by certain word document programs.

Fun and Fast

Swype can be taught to learn the most frequently used words by tracing the word one time and then touching the space key. However, this word must use all letters and include no numbers to be installed as a commonly used word. Alphanumeric combinations such as email addresses have to be added manually to Swype’s dictionary. The tutorial video included in the software demonstrates all of Swype’s functions to the new user, and is an effective introduction to a fast, fun and advanced method of typing on smartphones.

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Paypal Review

Paypal has been an industry standard for sending money nearly since the internet really boomed, and certainly since its inception. Now, an increasing number of people are using the service for all their banking and monetary needs. Their mobile application was an original offering on the iPhone App Store when it began mid-2008 and they have gradually been improving the service over time. Now, with the release of a 3.0 version and the addition of Bump Technologies, they have added a mobile application that makes sending money even easier.

What Can it Do?

It is currently even easier to send a money request to contacts or to withdraw money from the account and deposit it into a bank account. The Bump integration even lets money change hands by simply tapping two phones together and entering the dollar amount of the transaction. Users will no longer have to worry about lending money to friends and not getting paid back quickly. With the PayPal mobile application, getting money is only a few clicks away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Benefits

There is no longer a reason to wait for the banks to open or a need to drive to the nearest ATM at the last minute. PayPal provides easy access to money, and an integrated tip calculator and bill splitter makes this application even more functional. Parents will also enjoy the “PayPal for Kids” program that lets them sub-link their accounts to their children’s, which provides an easy way to transfer funds. Parents can set spending restrictions, access online purchases, and even view all transactions their children make – and the option of a debit card makes it ideal for adults as well.

Operating System

The Paypal mobile application was originally created for the iPhone market and has expanded to include the Android marketplace and RIM’s Blackberry operating system. They partnered with Appcelerator to create a mobile commerce application that uses one code base for a simplified platform. The benefit of this simplified interface is that it provides the most access for all users. The hope is that eventually merchants will be able to use this technology in place of credit cards by using a simple, secure, two-click checkout process.

Future Upgrades

PayPal mobile application recently upgraded to increase its functionality, so now there are adjustable push notification features, a new beta feature, and additional assistance available. Users can determine how long they want to be logged in to the application and be informed whenever money is sent, requested, or received. They can even keep track of purchases that are made. There is even a Frequently Asked Questions Help Center that gives answers for PayPal basics for new users, as well as a new PayPal Local feature that helps users find nearby store and services that accept PayPal.

The use of smartphone technology has soared over the last few years, and in a short time, smartphones will rule the telephone market. Just in the last six months, PayPal has doubled its mobile application’s volume with over half a billion dollars in money flowing through the system. This free mobile application is a proven valuable tool for consumers, and with recent upgrades, PayPal continues to listen to what is needed in the market. The app is already revolutionary in terms of monetary transactions, and may soon replace banking altogether.

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IMDb Review

Nearly everyone has suffered through a visit to the movies, only to discover that they forgot to check movie times and have no idea what’s available. Now, finding the latest movie reviews, show times, and locations is easier than it has ever been before. With the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) app, users can get complete information on what’s playing while they are on the go. This exemplary application divides information into three easy to search sections: Movies, Television, and People. There is something for everyone and it can all be linked to social media through a ‘like’ button.

What Can it Do?

With so many offerings on the market, deciding which movie to see can sometimes be a complicated decision. The movie section not only shows when the movie is playing, it gives reviews, box office results, and the highest and lowest rated movies currently in theaters. It can even separate movies out by genre, while the television section tells what is going to be on TV and recaps all your favorites. For those who follow celebrity gossip, the people section gives information on the stars, personal information like birthdays, and even bits of trivia.

Benefits

Users can get all the information they need on the latest movies or television shows; they can find trailers, release dates, plot summaries, and casts quickly and easily. Profiles also show actor’s bios and filmography for a more in-depth view of their work. There are over 1.5 million movie and TV titles available and over 3.2 million celebrities, directors, and crew members on IMDb mobile. Users can even purchase DVDs and Blue-ray discs directly from Amazon through the application or share any of the information with friends through email, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Operating System

IMDb is available worldwide in several languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese. It was originally designed for the Apple iPhone, but has recently released a version for the Android operating system. It is also being developed for a number of other operating systems, which should be available soon. Designed with Webware, this is one of the top movie applications on the market due to its optimized user interface, which gives it all of the functionality of its web based originator in a portable version.

Future Upgrades

The newest upgrade of the IMDb application makes it even more user-friendly. With Retina support, voice search, and multitasking capabilities, users can jump between applications without ever losing their place; the redesigned home screen also makes it easier to find information. In addition, the Showtimes feature now gives movie listings in 13 different countries all over the world. Several of the bugs from the previous version have now been worked out, making this free application even better.

Not only will users never miss a must-see movie again, they can even enjoy movie trivia while waiting for the movie showing to start. This innovative application lets customers engage site content from anywhere they are and share their information with friends through social media applications. Amazon’s IMDb mobile application is a unanimous winner for those who enjoy a day at the movies. This all-inclusive program provides detailed information for movie buffs, in addition to being a one-stop shop for everything in the entertainment industry.

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Cooking Capsules Review

For anyone who has ever felt incompetent in the kitchen, there is now the Cooking Capsules mobile application to help them attain new levels of culinary skill. This useful tool contains “watch,” “shop,” and “make” options that provide a beginning-to-end experience for budding chefs. It has easy to follow directions and videos which make creating a meal simple, while customizable serving sizes eliminate waste. Users can learn how to cook exciting new dishes with this fun, informative mobile application.

What Can it Do?

Cooking Capsules is designed to break down the cooking process into easy to digest pieces that help users create a masterful culinary dish. They simply need to scroll through recipes, find one that looks tasty, and tap on it. The screen will show all the tools that are necessary to make the item and give an in-depth description of the recipe. The application will then create a shopping list with the necessary ingredients, although additional items can be added to suit the chef’s tastes; the user can then watch the short video and prepare to enjoy a delicious meal.

Operating Systems

Cooking Capsules was the brain child of Mary Ann Cotter in response to the 2008 Google Android Developer Challenge. She had already shot a few pilot cooking shows and was looking for a market to distribute them to home cooks. After partnering with a developer in India, she created the concept of providing mobile users with the tools necessary to create exciting culinary dishes. By combining the user experience with a user friendly interface, they came up with an award winning solution for the Android platform.

Benefits

Many people do not learn by reading; rather, they do much better with a hands-on demonstration; as a result, traditional cookbooks can fail to inspire great chefs. By having a multimedia option available from the convenience of a mobile device, users are more likely to learn how to cook from the experience, and their endeavors will be more successful. In addition, they don’t have to worry about forgetting a key ingredient at the store with the handy shopping list feature. By downloading this interactive application, there will soon be a variety of delicious recipes available in their repertoire.

Future Upgrades

Currently, one of the major problems with Culinary Capsules is the lack of recipes available. Originally, the application only came with eight recipes: four French recipes and four Indian recipes. However, they recently released eight additional, eagerly anticipated brunch recipes for the program and more are expected; it is anticipated that new recipes will be released as specific collections for a small fee. In the future, the cooking instructions should be updated, in conjunction with the serving sizes, to make it less confusing when preparing a recipe.

Culinary Capsules is a wonderful idea for those who enjoy cooking or those who are learning the process; by breaking down how to cook dishes, the app makes it an easy and entertaining way to learn. However, until more recipes become available, this application has limited functionality. With creators promising new collections available soon, though, this application may soon become a go-to guide for how to make tantalizing treats. This unique approach to cooking makes it a stand-out winner in the application market today.

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Cab4Me Review

Everyone has experienced a situation where they are alone in a strange place, and they cannot find a taxi cab anywhere. With Cab4Me, it is easy to find a cab from anywhere simply by setting the pickup location. Users can locate the nearest taxi stand and call local cab companies with the touch of a button. This must-have mobile phone application uses GPS to locate taxi services in any city around the world; any consumers who travel frequently will find this service indispensable, efficient, and extremely helpful.

What Can it Do?

With Cab4Me, users can find the nearest free cab available right from their current location and link directly to the corresponding service to get the fastest dispatch time. The extensive database of cab companies has been pre-screened to ensure that only quality cab companies are used. Customers are also able to add new companies to the review process with a single click. This application can even help determine which companies accept credit cards and which companies are handicapped accessible.

Operating Systems

Cab4Me is currently available for the iPhone and the Android operating systems in a light version and several other platforms are currently in development. While the service is still limited in suburban and rural locations, this should improve as more companies are added to the list. The simple user interface is easy to use and features a fully integrated mapping system. Even when the system is offline, favorites and recently called companies are remembered and can be accessed.

Benefits

This award-winning application means that there is no longer any need to stand on the street and flag down a cab. With Cab4Me, users can get cab service anytime, anywhere and can even share the information with friends by copying the number to the menu clipboard and sending them the cab company’s phone number. The user-friendly format includes public cab companies, private hire companies, and limousine services in their database. After using a cab company, users are encouraged to vote on the service to help make sure that only valid taxi companies remain in the database.

Future Upgrades

Viewers can read company reviews, ratings, other important details with Cab4Me. The database is updated daily and cab companies can easily register and create a free company profile with a defined service area to increase traffic. For areas that are not already covered, the application will provide a web search to find any cab companies available; this will only improve as more users access the service. Cab4Me continues to work within the industry to standardize automatic ordering for users and cab drivers; as the technology becomes available it will be added to the service too.

Users will never again experience the frustration of not having a cab available when they need it. By simply pressing a button and making a phone call, a cab will arrive directly to the desired location. Soon, in fact, with automatic ordering, even the phone call will become an obsolete step; users will be able to simply order the cab through web access on their phones. Finding a cab from any location or manually entering an address for a future cab order has never been easier, due to Cab4Me.

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AndroidScan Review

Barcodes provide a lot of information to retailers about a product, and now consumers have access to that knowledge through AndroidScan. Consumers can get automatic barcode recognition by using the built-in camera available on Android phones along with this mobile application. It allows them to find pricing and detailed information about CDs, DVDs, books, and other products from Amazon.com. This is a great way for users to keep up with what they are spending, which is one of the big draws.

What Can it Do?

To use AndroidScan, users simply take a picture of the barcode on an item and it will pull up the product with detailed reviews from Amazon.com. The application will also search traditional brick-and-mortar stores for the product, giving users the option of calling the store or getting driving directions to the location. For those who prefer to purchase the product immediately, links to online stores are also available. Music lovers will enjoy the option of playing sample tracks from CDs directly from their phones as well.

Operating Systems

AndroidScan was developed for the Android operating system as part of the Google’s Android Developer Challenge. The challenge was developed as a way to compete with the iPhone application market, and it awarded $25,000 to the best 50 applications created. Developer Jeffrey Sharkey found himself up to the task when he noticed store employees using scanners for inventory and realized mobile phone users could have that kind of power as well. Thanks to this epiphany, this application won a spot in the top ten mobile applications entered and became a standard in phones everywhere.

Benefits

Barcode scanning gives users the secure knowledge that they are paying the best price and know about the product that they are purchasing. Users will no longer get home with a new CD only to discover that the track that they wanted is not on there. In addition, they will be able to read book, CD, and DVD reviews, and scan local libraries to see if there is a copy available. With the online purchasing option, users will be also be able to obtain instant gratification, since they no longer need to search for the best place to purchase a product

Future Upgrades

Recent upgrades have even made it possible to quickly build shopping lists and wish lists, which can then be shared with friends. In the future, AndroidScan may be able to get information about a much wider range of products. Users may soon be able to scan high ticket items, such as jewelry and LCD televisions. They can then determine which products are the best and where to get the lowest price from the convenience of their mobile device. This could also be used for retailers that offer price-matching opportunities to consumers.

The AndroidScan mobile application revolutionizes the way the users will shop in the future. By being able to view all of the facts about a product, where it is available, and what prices are offered, shoppers will no longer have to search multiple locations for the information. They will never have to suffer from buyer’s remorse again with this simple, functional mobile barcode scanning tool. This application is also available under the name Compare Anywhere in the Android Market.

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Health Insurance Website WordPress Plugin

We know we are a mobile review site, and this review does not talk to our focus. However, we bumped into the creators of a WordPress plugin called Visual Sticky Footers at last year’s South by Southwest Conference. After becoming mates with these fellows we decided to try one of their plugins on our website.
We choose a plugin called Visual Sticky Footer (VSF), which allowed us to create different sticky footers on different pages. You might have noticed that we have the VSF on both our Latest App Reviews page and our Cool Devices page. You  also may have taken note that these sticky footers are using different icons and different colors for the bar, which is great. A lot of the other plugins we looked at only allowed for site wide or single page use.
Another great feature is that the plugin has over 100 plus icons already built into it, but what makes it really robust is that you can add your own icons…very well done! For many blogs acquiring lots of icons just doesn’t make sense.
However, it is not all beautiful rose petals with this plugin, there are some thorns to it. A couple things we feel they could improve upon is the visual side of the footer bar and the ability to add real time advertisements.
The actual bar itself is a little too big for our site. We would like the option to have the bar and icons be smaller. We also don’t care for the gradient coloring. Maybe it is the love for design on our team, but we strongly feel that having the ability to better design the bar should be a must in their next plugin update (you are going to update it Dan, right?).
The second gripe we have is that the bar is not to friendly with banner advertising. It can be done, but the banner shrinks when attempted. Also, it would be nice to have an expiration date on the advertising. That way the ad could be setup and forgotten about.
Other than these concerns, we would give the plugin an eight out of ten for its functionality and usability. If you are using WordPress than definitely take a look at our friend’s VSF plugin.

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