30 Awesome Apps for the New Year

Did you get a new phone for Christmas? After you set it up, the next step is to download the apps. The challenge is finding the cream-of-the-crop apps that truly take advantage of all that an iPhone or Android phone has to offer. I have put together a list of some of the best apps. You will find a bit of everything: top 10, news, finance, cloud storage, reading, photo editing, travel, etc. I use most of these apps so I can give you an insight from a user’s perspective.

Apps covered:
Lastpass
Evernote
Outlook
Maps
LinkedIn
Retailmenot
MyFitnessPal
Kayak

And more!

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Use Skype Translator to Reach Globally

skype

Instant messaging may be dying, but Skype is still going strong. I have used a number of IM clients over the years, but it seems the only one standing is Skype. It is still useful to reach people in a number of ways.

  1. Skype integrates with Microsoft’s Hotmail or Outlook.com email websites. Even if you don’t have the Skype client installed (for example, you are on a public computer), you can communicate with other Skype users.
  2. If you have a webcam or smartphone, you can make free video calls. This could be useful if you need to reach someone outside the country. Skype lets you get a group of friends together at the same on the video call. Caution: video call quality may vary.
  3. Speaking of smartphones, the Skype app is available on iOS and Google Play, so you can make calls on the go.
  4. The new feature that just rolled out is Skype Translator. According to Skype blog, “through voice-to-voice translation, all of our Skype for Windows customers can now speak in seven languages: Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.” Awesome! You will need to update your copy of Skype and enable Skype Translator in the app itself. The blog explains how to turn it on.

Check out Skype’s features here!

Search Anonymously on Web with Startpage.com

StartPage

You are probably aware that many service engines keep track of your search behaviors. Both Google and Bing do that.

I stumbled on Startpage.com which I learned has been online since 2005 with a focus on privacy. A unique feature about Startpage.com is that it uses a proxy so that the user is invisible to all web sites that he visits. It used to be that when the user left the search page, then other web sites can keep track of the search.

The downside is that since the query has to go through Startpage.com before the results are displayed, the pages load more slowly. I don’t notice any significant delays while I use Startpage.com.

I like Startpage.com for 3 reasons:

  1. It still uses Google as the backend engine, so you are getting Google results, without being tracked.
  2. The page has a Chrome addon to make the search easier.
  3. The page lets you save your preferences without using cookies. This means the preferences are not saved on your computer. Instead, it offers a different method, where you save your preferences via a specific StartPage URL. You can share the URL with your other computers and see the same preferences. Pretty cool.

If you are worried about Google keeping track of your search behavior, I would say Startpage.com is a strong alternative.