Tagged With smartphone apps

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Carrot Weather, the famously mouthy weather app for iOS and Mac, is now in beta on Android. The app reports the weather with sarcastic patter, doing a mediocre impression of the abusive AI from Portal. Thankfully, you can switch to "professional" mode and enjoy a sophisticated, customisable weather app without distractions.

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We're all probably a little more addicted to our phones than we'd like to be. I know that I instinctively pull mine out whenever there's a break in the action of the day be that when I'm on the train, between meetings, or even waiting on food at a restaurant. It's easy to take your phone out and get absorbed in what's happening on Facebook or Instagram.

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iOS: Making GIFs yourself has always been a pretty involved process either made too simple to suit my desires or too complicated to be intuitive. GIF Toaster blends the best of both worlds, offering more than enough control over the GIFs you're trying to create in an interface that's simple to use and free of ads (if you pay).

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I already know I'm addicted to my smartphone, and if you've ever absentmindedly reached into your pocket and switched on the screen without realising it, you're probably just as hooked as I am. These devices have become so ingrained into our lives that it's hard to tell how often we check them, but a new Android app lets you dig into the data to see exactly how much time (and battery life) you're wasting on a daily basis.

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I learned how to play the piano the old-fashioned way -- by being dragged by my mother to weekly lessons taught by an elderly woman in the neighbourhood, and yawning at the sheet music as my kid-fingers played a clunky rendition of Für Elise. Since then, music instruction has evolved. There has been a crop of video game apps that introduce children to instruments such as the piano, guitar, drums and ukulele and through fun challenges, get them to practice -- willingly.

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iOS/Android: I hate mobile browsing. When I open Safari, I'm usually trying to google something quickly, then go back to my other apps. Lately I've been trying the mobile browser Cake, publicly released for iOS and Android today and it's made searching much faster.

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You're standing in line at the grocery store, so it seems like a decent time to scroll through Facebook. But then you do it again while you're stuck in traffic driving those groceries home, and then again waiting on dinner to arrive. Before you know it, you can spend cumulative hours on social media over the course of the day, hours you're never going to get back that could arguably have spent, at least a few of them, doing something a little better.

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Dear Lifehacker, My daughter's primary school is in the midst of a musical.ly craze. All her classmates use the app on their parents' phones to create duets and share music videos. My daughter doesn't want to be left out, but I have read disturbing reports about the safety of the app, particularly when it comes to online predators. On a scale of one to ten, how dangerous is musical.ly for kids?

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Podcasts have become one of the best forms of entertainment around, but it's tough keeping track of the ones you like, ditching episodes you're not interested in, or even managing what you want to hear. Pocket Casts is one of the best apps for helping you organise your podcasts, but you'll need to experiment with it a bit to get it to work for you.

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Infinity Blade II is not the freshest game available on the App Store, but when the price drops from $11 to free, can you really complain about its age? Even though it came out late-2011, it still looks amazing and if you have a recent device, it'll run great as well.