Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Tech and Apps of 2013

It's time for our favorite/best tech/apps/sites/stuff of 2013!

This year I made it a point to steer away from games on my devices. Nowadays I only keep one game on my iPhone. This is because I get addicted to games really easy. The one game? Ridiculous Fishing. It is fun and cute and frustrating and addicting. It's also the Game of the Year in the App Store for 2013.

Other apps I love are:

Duolingo - See Patrick's section.
Lumosity - Games that are proven to increase your memory and focus.
Audible - Part of the reason I was able to read more books this year is that I listen to them on my commute. I think that this has made me a happier and more well-rounded person.
Spotify - I don't use this app too much in my car anymore since I listen to books 90% of the time, but I do listen to it using the app on my laptop at work. Music is a huge part of my life and this gives me access to almost anything I can think of to listen to as well as helping me find new bands/artists to enjoy.

The best piece of tech I got this year was the Bose Solo sound system. We had been getting by with our TV's native volume controls which, when you watch a movie on DVD or BluRay, meant turning up the TV to its max. For some reason that is 63. Now, we have great sound for our movies and we don't have to have the closed captioning on anymore. And the sound quality is just perfect.


Well, I don't know much about technology or science books or the french I took, but I know that I love the apps on my phone. Here are my favorites!

Akinator: It's an amazing genie that can guess any person you can think of! My kids love it, and I secretly play it when I'm bored.

Buzzfeed: 2013 was the year I stopped reading my facebook news feed. So many things irritated me about it. But now what was I supposed to read to kill time? Thank you, Buzzfeed. You saved me. I love humanity again.

Fandango: I buy movie tickets and do everything by my phone! It's space age! You guys have probably been doing this for years.

Flixster: Speaking of movies, I'm a snob. I won't go see anything with bad reviews. And I actually trust rotten tomatoes. So it's all here: movie descriptions, reviews, upcoming and show times.

Life Reminders: It literally runs my life. It's a boring little app, but man - it's changed me.

Runpee: So I know when the boring parts in movies happen and I can take a leak.

UDOT Traffic: It's all the 411 on I15. I know about accidents and stuff before I get on the freeway. And can thus plan accordingly.


Right now I'm real into Duolingo:

So I love to play word games on my phone on my break on my job. This app is a bunch of games, but it's teaching me French. So I have to translate what my phone is saying or I have to type it out in French. It feels like I'm playing a memory game or a spelling game but in the end I'll be buying and selling stocks on the champs de elysees!

I'm playing Letterpress but not with you.

In 2014 I am going to get super skinny, so I am on the look out for a great weight loss app...but not one that tracks how bad I'm doing, rather I would like an app where I stick my phone to my "Trouble Areas" and it sucks the fat strait into my would be nice if it then sent my fat to my enemies as a voice mail.


I'm pretty confident in saying that I am the least technologically savvy person in the group. For most things technology, I text Josh with all my questions. (I DO know how to text. And I don't do it while I'm driving, so save the hate for somebody else.)

2013 was the year of the podcast for me. The year I started listening to stories or conversations on my commute. I generally listen to NPR's This American Life and Pop Culture Happy Hour. ALSO, for movies, I listen to my entertaining friend Eric D. Snider and his Movie B.S. podcast (with his friend Jeff Bayer). (Get it? B=Bayer and S=Snider. That's the kind of genius you come to expect with Movie B.S.)

Apps: I am still a bit of a novice with phone apps. But I do love the Flixster. It provides the Rotten Tomatoes %s and tells me movie times and even has previews! Sometimes, for funsies, I like to look up my favorite movies from my youth and see what the Rotten Tomatoes %s are. (Really, Splash? 92%?! Impressive, Tom Hanks. Apparently even more impressive than your Forrest Gump's Academy Award winning 71%. But not as good as Toy Story's 100%.)

And the thing that makes me feel like I AM tech-savvy? My Apple TV. I've had it for several years now, but I still love it. I can stream Netflix through it as well as digitizing all my movies and putting my DVDs in storage so it's at least more difficult for my kids to scratch and destroy them.

What were your favorite apps or pieces of tech this year?

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