Since not every company recognizes March Madness as a holiday like Boston software company, Backupify, this week we’ll explore a mobile app to help you embrace the college basketball teams you love. Now even if you’re stuck behind an office desk, you’ll have unlimited access to the 2014 NCAA Division games.
NCAA March Madness Live by NCAA Digital
Price: The APP is free, as is watching any of the CBS games, but please note you’ll need a TV subscription for games broadcasting on TBS, TNT and truTV. However, you can access a 3-hour live video pass.
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android
Should you get it? The app is a class-act. It's the heartbreak (Dayton Stuns Syracuse 55-53) I could do without.
Schedules and brackets are clearly displayed, and clicking practically anywhere provides more in-depth information about the teams, players and individual games including a breakdown of the apps Four Factors of Success: shooting, turnovers, rebounds and free throws.
The NCAA March Madness Live app also keeps viewers extremely connected to social, gathering a stream of real-time Key Moments and Fan Chats across Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for each game.
Fans can also participate in the NCAA March Madness Bracket Challenge by logging in to track picks and achievements, as well as schedule Notifications to stay up to date on the action.
But probably my favorite feature is the News section that houses a collection of beautifully produced short, shareable Video Recaps that provide highlights for each game - perfect for re-living that big shot!
Now to your Most Downloaded iPhone and iPad Apps of the Week.
Say goodbye to virus-prone torrent downloads or less than legal (and low resolution) YouTube copies of HBO shows and movies. With HBO’s online network, you can now watch the finale of True Detective from your iPhone nestled in your favorite coffee house club chair, or relive the last season of Game of Thrones on a long plane flight.
Price: The APP and online service are Free w/ HBO subscription (or if you have a password-sharing pal)
Platforms: Iphone, Ipad, Android*
Should you get it? Absolutely. Stellar programming combined with the convenience of mobile, on demand access.
Free with subscription, HBO offers unlimited access to HBO shows and movies online at HBOgo.com, and it’s paired HBO GO mobile app.
HBO launched the online service last year, which allows subscribers to stream and watch any HBO show live, anytime, from various online devices.
And according to HBO execs, users are allowed to share their HBO Go account with non-subscribers, for now.
In regards to password sharing, HBO CEO Richard Pleper said, “To us, it’s a terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers, and to us, it is actually not material at all to business growth...It presents the brand to more and more people, and gives them an opportunity hopefully to become addicted to it. What we’re in the business of doing is building addicts, of building video addicts. The way we do that is by exposing our product, our brand, our shows, to more and more people.”
For me HBO Go is “addictive” because I'm now able to watch the high quality entertainment and documentary programming I looked forward to each Sunday, wherever and whenever I wish.
By creating a customized Watchlist, I can start a show from my laptop while getting ready for work, then switch over to my iPad when riding the T into Boston. Now in the office, AirPlay allows me to stream the show onto my TV.
Plus, HBO GO's TIVO-like feature called Series Pass, automatically sends new episodes of my favorite shows to my Watchlist. A second screen feature allows pure addicts to watch new episodes simultaneously as they premiere on HBO.
*In addition to HBOgo.com, iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple TV, you can also watch HBO online on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, Kindle Fire, Google Play and Amazon Video, as well as on Dish Anywhere and Xfinity TV Go mobile apps.
If you weren't able to break out of Bean Town and head to the Big Easy for Mardi Gras this year, I'd like to introduce you to a lively app by EarthCam that lands you in the heart of New Orleans, delivering the Mardi Gras action LIVE to your iPhone and iPad.
Platforms: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Should you get it? Well, it's less expensive than a plane ticket, and the app has some fun photo and image side features.
While I generally don’t gravitate to apps that cost money to download given the great many free mobile apps on the market, EarthCam connects viewers to Mardi Gras with live web cameras streaming in real-time throughout the city of New Orleans - a destination and international attraction I wish I could experience in person, but one my schedule doesn’t allot for. I hope it’s worth it…
Now I can choose from Live Cams, Map View and Party. Let’s go for the goods and see what’s going on now.
Hey, wait a second! Only three cams to choose from? It appears EarthCam’s coverage only consists of a small cluster of Google Map pindrops on the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter Streets. The cameras are titled Cats Meow Karaoke, Bourbon Street and Cats Meow Balcony.
Clicking on Cats Meow Karaoke, it takes a short time to download and then there you are, as promised, inside a Mardi Gras karaoke party, complete with singing, dancing, t-shirt giveaways and of course, synchronized group shots. The camera is pretty clear, the sound is actually great, and the content is what it is - a crazy Mardi Gras karaoke party.
Now switching over to the Bourbon Street cam I see lots of foot traffic from a ground view. The Cats Meow Balcony cam, however, is positioned to cover the street activity from above, which could make this camera great for watching a Mardi Gras parade.
The Mardi Gras Live! app also checks the New Orleans time and weather, and offers some cute special features under the Party button, such as a virtual photo booth with several digital Mardi Gras costumes from masks to beads.
Choosing a colorful peacock feather mask to impose over my picture. I'm now given sharing options of text, email, Twitter and Facebook, so I'll saved the picture onto my phone to post to Instagram later.
Also under the Party tab is a section called Party Box. It houses audio clips to a few Big Easy sounds like the crack of a brew, Mardi Gras music and cheers for beads. Clicking back and forth between the sounds to create a little remix is amusing I confess.
To complete my journey, I just text my friend some virtual beads. Happy Mardi Gras!
More Mobile Apps by EarthCam, Inc.
Facebook Closes $19 Billion Acquisition of WhatsApp Smartphone Messenger
Facebook’s recent purchase of WhatsApp, a texting application company with roughly 450 million active users worldwide, is reported to be 19 times more than Facebook paid for Instagram in 2012. This bold move could reflect Facebook’s willingness to gather more successful mobile apps before rivals Google and Apple, especially given the WhatsApp’s expansive following in India as the companies all strive to continue growing overseas.
However some loyal users of the mobile messenger are already voicing concern the free app, currently void of advertisements, will transform into something much different after the buyout.
That said, Instagram users have more than doubled since Facebook’s takeover less than two years ago - even after Instagram’s introduction of ads.
"Our mission is to make the world more open and connected," Mark Zukerburg shared via Facebook post. "We do this by building services that help people share any type of content with any group of people they want. WhatsApp will help us do this by continuing to develop a service that people around the world love to use every day."
Price: Free to Download. $0.99 after the first year.
Platforms: Telephony App only for iPhone & Android
Should you get it? If you like being on the pulse.
The app works with your mobile number, integrating with your existing phone address book without the need for an additional account pin and username.
Push notifications also allow users to log in/out from other computers and devices seamlessly. Even if you miss a notification or your phone is shut off, WhatsApp will save your messages offline until you view them.
Unlike many other social sharing platforms, WhatsApp does not require you to add contacts. Because your address book connects to the app, contacts who are already using WhatsApp Messenger will automatically display under your Favorites.
Now you are in position to start layering content, broadcasting messages and having fun with WhatsApp Messenger. Share locations and places, exchange contacts, add custom notification sounds and wallpapers, as well as enjoy Landscape mode, message timestamps and the ability to access email chat history.
Currently the first year of WhatsApp is free, with the service costing $0.99 each year thereafter for continued unlimited messaging regardless of the amount of information sent or received, or how many contacts in a user’s profile and Group Chats.
Group Chats are conversations on WhatsApp with more than one of your contacts. There is no limit to how many contacts can join in a group chat, plus you can add or remove participants easily.
This includes anyone in your network sharing messages from overseas, which means there are no additional charges to send international messages. I feel this is what makes WhatsApp so attractive to Big Money Brands like Facebook as Zuckerberg continues his mission to bring Internet access to the remaining ⅔ of the world currently without.
Now to your Most Downloaded iPhone and iPad Apps of the Week.
Happy (belated) Valentine's Day! With many of you preparing for a special Saturday, I've decided to share with you a Mobile App designed to help you distinguish between Endless Love or The Heat of the Moment.
Platforms: Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
Should you get it? I feel the awareness the topics in this app may provide young minds is worth a download, especially for parents looking for a tech-friendly way to communicate with their children about intimacy.
The Horny Girl App was developed by Licensed Social Worker Pandora Maclean-Hoover as a way to help her clients at the Think-Diff Institute trust their own decisions. Whether in the heat of the moment, or just in thought about their relationship, this mobile app allows users to do a quick check-in with themselves to make sure the time is right.
"HGA fosters confident decision-making in the moment. Should I, or shouldn't I? That passionate feeling, or what we call 'the horny girl running away with the situation,' can impact our lives the next day. So this app helps you to stay present by guiding your decisions one question at a time," said Pandora.
Getting started you're alerted upon download, as well as when you first open the application, of its sexual content. Then the survey begins, asking you to please rate yourself from 1 to 7 on several self-awareness topics such as...
I am a good person
I can trust my judgment
Based on your answers you are now provided a summary as to whether you are insecure and unsure about your ability to make this decision, or a message confirming that you trust yourself, and that the decision is YOURS.
"I've worked with many teenagers and young adults, and have discovered a big gap in what parents are telling kids and what kids will listen to from parents, as well as what they get from educational programs and what they find on their own either from talking with peers or scanning the internet. Hopefully this app will help by aiding them to think for themselves," said Pandora.
Learn More: The Think-Diff Institute Fosters Awareness and Promotes a Fresh Way of Thinking
APPtitude Test Valentine's Day Specials!
In today’s consumer first digital age, where Content Remains King and the masses are always hungry for MORE, Facebook now offers a new mobile app that promises beautiful, seamless, immediate and integrated story sharing. So in this week’s APPtitude Test let’s review the app, while discovering who on Paper is sharing #Sochi2014.
Paper - Stories from Facebook by Facebook, Inc
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch & Android
Should you get it: Let the Games Begin!
Two days into the Winter Olympics and after last night's breathtaking Opening Ceremony, combined with Snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg's GOLD, I'm delighted to turn the discussion from no toilet paper to Paper - Stories on Facebook.
Described by Facebook as, “A deck of animated cards that gracefully weaves together text, photo, and video from your friends and the web’s trending content,” I agree that Paper’s design is visually spectacular with the stories elegantly organized by topic and personalized to your interests, which in my case today is the U.S. Olympic Team.
Paper starts with your Facebook news feed. This is where you’ll find stories from friends and sources you follow. Next, you can check out other sections and drag the stories you like into your feed. This makes Paper a customizable and shareable social platform of community voices.
There are several section topics including Tech for tomorrow’s innovators, Enterprise for savvy investors and Score, “Sport news and commentary from journalist, fans and the athletes themselves.”
Similar to the Facebook app, you can still post status updates, like images and message friends, but Paper’s high-resolution photos, unfolding stories and news shares make this app a step above the rest, especially when you get to conveniently engage with the athletes themselves thanks to Paper’s seamless and immediate integration. Truly a great way to view Facebook.
I hope all these storytellers are following the official Olympics Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines.
The Seattle Seahawks are in position to battle the Denver Broncos today, Super Bowl Sunday. In celebration, Fox has taken down its paywall, offering a live-stream of the game to all through their Fox Sports Go iOS app. The stream starts at 10 a.m. ET with the Fox Super Bowl Kickoff show and continues into the game at 6 p.m.
Coverage of course to include all the infamous Super Bowl commercials, but I used our featured mobile app of the week to watch some of the 2014 ads in advance, as well as browse the best commercials of our yesteryears (see McDonald's ad from 1993 featuring Bird vs. Jordan).
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch & Android
Should you get it: Touchdown!
Whether you live for the sport, or you’re in it for the beer-infused chili, everyone gathers around the watercooler come Monday to discuss the Super Bowl commercials (and the Puppy Bowl).
Since I fall into the ‘eats’ category, I’ve decided to pregame with Super Ads, an app that displays over 200 Super Bowl ads, including a few NEW 2014 commercials and trailers.
While all of these videos are hosted, played, and therefore available on YouTube, Super Ads did a great job of gathering together the Super Bowl commercials from 2006-2013, as well as highlight the most popular ads from over the last four decades.
Given the amount of content, Super Ads is well-organized, allowing users to search for a specific showstopper, browse fan favorites by year, or scroll through designated sections based on company and brand names.
Users can also share ads via email, Facebook or Twitter. My professional share? Apple capturing stories with the new iPad Air. My 'not so professional' share? Doritos “Finger Cleaner.” I won’t ruin it for you...
Now to your Most Downloaded iPhone and iPad Apps of the Week.
By Eric Bauer
We're all sick of campaign ads.
But let's face it, for the next few weeks you won't be able to avoid them unless you disconnect your TV, radio, computer, and phone. Your best defense against this political blitzkrieg is to be aware and informed.
Or so believe the makers of Ad Hawk, a free app that identifies the campaign ad you're listening to and tells you who's behind it, where their money comes from, and where they stand politically.
It relies on technology similar to Shazam, the hall of fame app that identifies the song you're listening to, and using it couldn't be simpler.FULL ENTRY
By Damon Kiesow
Reviewing: NBC Olympics Live Extra
Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android
Tested on: iPhone 4G / iPad 3
Should you get it? Maybe, if you are a cable TV subscriber.
As stories of #NBCFail bounce around Twitter, it is fair to point out that the broadcaster is at least trying to provide comprehensive live coverage of the Olympics.
The good news: if you want to watch the "Men's Skeet Final" live on your tablet or smartphone, you can with the NBC Olympics Live Extra app. In fact, this morning I counted 20 different live streams available on my iPad - from basketball to volleyball and everything in-between.FULL ENTRY
By Zuri Berry
Should you get it? Depends on your level of voyeurism or how much you like to track B-list celebrities.
Of the standard apps that come with any iPhone or iPad (think Google Maps, Calendar, Reminders, etc.), there are ten-fold of that which try to improve upon the idea behind each.
Whether it's MapQuest, Google Calendar, or Remember the Milk (tasks), a good quantity of the apps vying for your attention are often some variation of those that already come with the device. For goodness sake, you can bypass your regular joe-blow mail client and get the GMail app you've always wanted nowadays. There are apps up the gazoo that do anything and everything the standard apps do - sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.
But the thing is, a lot of these apps don't necessarily build off a social experience while at the same time challenging a heavyweight in the app store ring. That's where Socialcam comes in. Socialcam is a free video-sharing app built for the iPhone that is slowing eating away at the YouTube market, thanks to its mobile-only approach.FULL ENTRY