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App Toolbox

Marvel Turns Your Napkin Sketches Into App Prototypes

We’re not all app developers around here, so it’s nice to have options when it comes to product pitches, app concepts, and just everyday tech tinkering. To get started, take a napkin or any scrap of paper. Draw out your schematic diagrams for some buttons, user interface, and menus. Next, let Marvel turn it into a tappable, interactive demo. No coding required.

What’s not to like? It’s free!!

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‘Facebook’ is Leading the Top Free Android Apps List This Week

Facebook EngineersFacebook is dominating the Android app marketplace with the social app permanently staking a home at the #1 position as the most popular free app. In the #2 position this week is Facebook Messenger followed by Pandora and then Facebook’s other app, Instagram. New to the List this week: Cut the Rope 2 and Super Bright LED Flashlight.

Below, we’ve listed the top free Android apps of the week and two video demos of Cut the Rope and LED flashlight. The list links to Google Play’s research about the individual apps, including user reviews.

We spotlight the top free apps every week–helping our readers discover, enjoy and analyze successful content. Read more

Gralbum: An iPad Mashup of Graphic Novels and Music Albums

Musicians who are talented storytellers, check out Gralbum – it’s an iPad app dedicated to narrating your acoustical narratives. The name comes from the term ‘album’ and ‘graphic novel,’ both abundant with visuals and poetry. We think it’s a great way to experience art:

A combination of animated graphic novel, art book, and music album, Gralbums enable musicians to meld their music with artwork and deliver an interactive experience on touch devices. They are a new creative medium for collaboration, multimedia art and immersive storytelling.


Google Glass Live-Steam App Helps Doctors Get Instant Advice

remedyGoogle Glass, despite its social awkwardness, is getting a lot of attention in the public service sector – firefighters and doctors alike. With the wearable interface, doctors can use it to quickly access patient information during critical periods, and now, they can also use it to ask for a second opinion.

The technology comes from Remedy, a Google Glass platform that allows doctors to live-stream sessions to other professionals in order to seek advice. Created by Noor Siddiqui and Gina Siddiqi, the sisters bring medical school experience to the health profession via emerging wearable technology. Read more

Artificial Intelligence Being Used to Count Calories in Food Photos

ceresSRI, the makers of Siri, have developed an app named Ceres, that’s capable of counting calories based on image recognition. So, basically, it goes like this: snap a photo, share it to Instagram, review your calorie count, get depressed, eat chocolate.

In the future, the app would be able to cull data from anything like your location in a restaurant to the conversation you’re having at the table – all to determine exactly what is in your meal. If you’ve got food habits, it will remember those as well, unlike your server or boyfriend. Read more

Google Removes Fake ‘Virus Shield’ App

virus shieldOn Sunday, Android Police cracked down on a fake app that rose prominently to the #1 position in the Paid Apps category of Google Play. Virus Shield has since been removed from the Play Store, but not before over 10,000 users paid $3.99 for an app that did essentially nothing.

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Fast Customer – Never Wait on the Phone for Customer Service Again

Here’s a classic app that’s worthy of adding to your arsenal of mobile apps: Fast Customer. It’s a free app that allows you to make calls to most customer service phone numbers without having to wait for a representative. You can put your phone down and wait until there’s a real live person that will talk to you.
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Uber Expanding From Moving Passengers to Moving Parcels in NYC

uberushUber announced an extension to its New York City services today, a courier service that delivers packages for a minimum of $15. The pricing increases based on designated zones – each additional zone traveled gets an additional charge of $5. It’s currently available to all of Manhattan below 110th.

Messengers are not allowed to buy items for users, so don’t expect to ask a courier to pick up your lunch unless it’s already paid. Further, they’re going to be on foot or bikes so oversized packages are not doable. The folks at VentureBeat reports that the messengers are making approximately $20-$30 per hour. If you’re interested in being a messenger, you must go through an interview process that involves a background check.  Read more

FTC: Credit Karma & Fandango Apps Pose Security Threats

fandangoFandango and Credit Karma apps have both settled with the FTC following allegations that they “deceived consumers by failing to securely transmit sensitive personal information. Both companies knowlingly disabled SSL encryption, or secure sockets layer certificate validation. By removing the default security measure, the app makers left personal information vulnerable to hackers capable of intercepting the data to and from the apps. These types of attacks are known as “man-in-the-middle” attacks that are particularly dangerous in public wi-fi locations like coffee shops. Users who have used these apps should check their credit reports for fraud.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, “Consumers are increasingly using mobile apps for sensitive transactions. Yet research suggests that many companies. Our cases against Fandango and Credit Karma should remind app developers of the need to make data security central to how they design their apps.” Read more

Android Lockscreen App Cover Joins Twitter in Latest Acquisition

tumblr_inline_n3o3qfu2lP1spj4tqAndroid lockscreen app, Cover, has only been in the app store since October, but it’s already been swallowed up by Twitter. The small startup will be joining Twitter on mobile development and the app will remain in the Google Play Store for the time being. Cover is self-described as a tool that can identify and learn apps users need and placing it automatically on the lockscreen for easy access.

In an announcement about the acquisition, Cover describes the venture as a way to expand on Android technology:

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