MoodBook – Chart Your Mood with a Fun Little App

Using 80’s style retro graphics, MoodBook makes “keeping a diary” easier and more fun. Gone are the days of picking up pencil and paper, only to have to sift through words and extract the emotions you were feeling as you penned your feelings for the day. MoodBook allows you to make notes of feelings, and does so electronically. That means every entry you make is saved and can be viewed in different ways, so you can see patterns and triggers for different types of emotions.

Simple in design and somewhat easy to use – once you figure out how to use it – this app lets you quickly make note of an emotion, be it large or small, happy or sad, in an instant. You can even attach words and a picture to go with it, giving it more meaning, and allowing you to remember it better when you look at it at a later date.

Here is how the app works. When you first download and open it, you will be at the main screen, from which you can choose a mood to record. The mood is represented by the iconic yellow smiley face we all know and love. Swipe your finger up and down the screen to reveal the different moods you can set, of which there are nine in all. They range from extremely tearful to absolutely ecstatic, and are fun to use.

This mood can then be attributed to a category, of which there are five: Outward Things, Business, Friends, Love and Health. By tracking events in your life with emotions, this app will help you analyze the triggers that render different emotions, so that you can spot sticky situations fast and dodge them if need be. It also helps you makes sense of why you react to things the way you do. As you record emotions, you allow yourself to neutrally view them as an outsider and hopefully understand them better.

MoodBook screenshot

If you are an avid fan of Facebook and Twitter, this app allows you to connect and share emotions, by the day or by the week. Sharing in social media is allowed through a button you can select when you rate an event. As you build your history of emotional events, the app collects and displays them in a colorful rainbow under the Summary Chart. The chart can be viewed on a daily, weekly or monthly scale.

The only downside to the app was the lack of information or help on how to use it. Every time I initially rated an emotion, it would not save. Then, I saw the Rate button at the bottom of the screen, which I tapped to save it. However, I still have issues, because under my Summary Chart, I do not see all the different moods I have created in each of the five categories. Not sure how to make that work.

Nonetheless, MoodBook is a fun app that helps you at least stop and take note of an emotion you are feeling; and even if you cannot get the charting to work, you can at least stop yourself and look at what is going on to help you take control of the situation.

ccPing – Protect Your Pings from Prying Eyes

The face of communication has changed immensely over the last decade with the advent of the mobile phone and its continual climb in computing power. Back in the day, mobile communication consisted of a pretty large device compared to what we are now accustomed to, but it packed a powerful punch in terms of accessibility and mobility.

Today, we don’t have to say a word when we communicate. Instant messaging is the way to go when you need to shout out news, or exchange a few thoughts with someone. You can even send to a single recipient, or to a group. However, what you send is not always viewed by just your recipients’ eyes.

Most IM apps do not protect the information they transport for you. However, there is one app, called ccPing that allows you put locks on individual messages so you know the only person who will read that message is the one you invite to a securely-defined chat session that you create.

The app is very easy to use and offers many neat features. Once downloaded, you create an account using your iPhone number. Go into Profile and add what you want to share about yourself. Next, to engage in conversations with others, you must build up your contacts list. You can either give the app permission to view and import your iPhone contacts, or you can opt to add them in manually. I chose the manual option, because not all of my contacts have ccPing. I basically only added those friends who were ready and willing to use the app.

ccPing screenshot

Once you have an account setup and a few contacts defined, you are ready to chat. Chatting can be with or without security. If you wish to secure a conversation, you must create as so. In this case, you will provide the chat session a title and passwords. You also indicate who the recipient is. You must then share the password to this recipient in order for him or her to receive encrypted messages and be able to decrypt them.

If you do not wish to use the secure message system, there is another way to make things somewhat secure. One of the neatest features of ccPing is the ability to destroy messages. You can do this manually, or you can set up the app for automatic message destruction. In auto mode, messages are destroyed between 60 to 300 seconds after being delivered or read. You choose the timing. It almost adds a spy-like feel to the whole experience. You can also securely send photos if you wish.

The only feature I feel the app lacks is the ability to secure an entire chat message. It seems to only secure or lock individual messages. This would make things easier and makes chats go faster. Yet, as is, this is a very nice way to message in a secure way; and know that unintended eyes will not get hold of what you have to say without your permission.

Possession – Soccer Scorekeeping Fun

With the 2014 World Cup soon on its way, soccer fans are scrambling to get in as many matches as they can to see who makes the cut, and who does not. Why not make the journey to Brazil even better by keeping track of the games you follow with a simple app that allows you experience the game and keep your own stats, at the same time.

Possession is an iOS app that is simple to use but delivers in value. It lets users startup a stat-collecting timer for a match that also allows for easy updates on scores, corners and shots, all with the tap of one finger. No more wondering what you just saw last week, you can pull up the stats from a game and compare them to previous ones, as well as stats you will be collecting for weeks to come.

This could literally take your soccer fan experience to a new level where you can extenuate from the numbers and make predictions on what’s to come for a team. The app is simple and easy to use. At first thought, you may think it will get in the way of watching a match, but it will not. Once you download, you will be placed on the main page. From here, you can initiate stats for a new game by selecting New Game. This page will allow you to keep time of possession by each team in play. 

Possession slider

The next page, accessible by tapping Stats at the bottom bar, takes you to a screen where you can tap + or – to keep stats on Goals, Shots, and Corners, for each team. Tap on Report and enter details on each team, such as team name, age grouping and gender. If this is for professional, you may not care. If you are keeping stats for your kids, this may prove vital.

Next, tap on Mail to specify email recipients. Why, you ask? Well, now you can take all those stats you have collected on a game, or games, and send them to the ones you love, or those you want to harass. Either way, it’s a way to share what you have been up to while watching a match. Emails can even be sent automatically by selecting the “Auto Email Match Reports” option.

Finally, each match on which you collect stats can be saved and kept in History. You can view these older sets of stats so you can see trends, or just prove friends wrong. This app has no bounds, and for as simple as it interface it, it is amazing what it can do. It would have been nice to be able to send screenshots of stats via Snapchat or Facebook. Maybe that is yet to come.

However, for the meantime, Possession is just a fun way to fully engage in a soccer match, keeping you actively in the game, rather than passively watching. Each tap takes you closer to the game and further entrenched, so you won’t miss a kick.

Artistic App Brings Alice’s Wonderland to Life

I am not a big fan of reading e-books simply because I cling to the old ways and languish in feeling crisp paper between my fingers while listening to the rustle of paper as I turn pages to reveal more about a story I’ve become entrenched in. However, for lovers of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” there is a book app available in the iPad that makes you forget about all that and literally transports you into Wonderland alongside Alice, as if you are dreaming.

The Alice App, created by Emmanuel Paletz, is literary creation that takes the well-known novel of “Alice in Wonderland,” surrounds it with imagery and interactivity in a way that engages, whether you are reading it or entranced by the enchanting narration. Follow the reader as he guides you on the path that Alice takes, down the rabbit hole, to a tea party, at the Red Queen’s Palace, and on the lookout for the Cheshire Cat.

The app is a easy download and comes with instructions, although these may not be needed by younger users. Simple by nature, but ornate in appearance, the app presents itself as a book in landscape mode. The very first page, or main page, allows the user to choose whether or not they wish to read the book or hear the narrator. You can also set the sound level of the music and narration and learn more about how to use the app under the Instructions page.

The Alice App screenshot

As a default, the app is setup for narration. Tap on Start and soar through the pages. The app displays two pages at a time, with some pages being full illustrations. These illustrations are like paintings that come to life. Tap away on the screen and see what moves or jiggles. Reveal puzzles and brain teasers to make the story stick better and take it to a new level. Kids these days need more than just words. Technology feeds into our five senses helping us to actively experience rather than just passively receive.

As you pass through the story, try tipping the iPad this way and that. This action also reveals new actions in the illustrations to keep the young ones engaged. Flipping from page to page is done by swiping upward from the bottom corners, either the left or right, depending on which direction you want to go. Need to skip to another chapter? No problem. Tap on the green satin bookmark that rests at the top center, nicely nestled between the two pages, and it will present a window with pages you can swiftly tap to.

This app knows no bounds. It has taken a classic story, maintained its richness, and added an new level of value by making it interactive, filled with animation, activity, and audio. I cannot say much in terms of what it lacks. The only thing that took a while to understand was how to navigate back and forth to the main page, but by being a bit inquisitive and tapping away, I found, by accident, the power of the bookmark. This led me to the navigation window and the ability to “get out” when need be.

If you are looking for an e-book that takes you back to the days when you enjoyed Alice, and you wish to share it with your young one, or just experience it in a whole new way, The Alice App is a must to download.