zeZebra – Free, Fast and Surprisingly Useful

zeZebra is a new app that allows users to send and receive files over a peer to peer network. The app is being championed by its developers as a way to “Share photos, videos, documents & more––send digital media of any size, to anyone, anywhere––FREE!” The tagline, taken from zeZebra’s website, sounds too good to be true. It also takes a subtle jab at the competition and is relentlessly upbeat. But consumers are used to all of this, the only question that really matters is: does the app deliver?

That depends on how you look at it. If zeZebra was aiming to unseat Cloud storage giants like justcloud.com, Dropbox, and Google Drive and crown itself the new King of file sharing, then it is a colossal failure. Cloud usage is becoming incredibly commonplace. It’s trending, to the point where the only question IT companies really need to answer to find work is: “Can you set us up with a Cloud?” It’s useful for businesses, students, and most importantly it’s fun to say. No app like zeZebra is going to replace the Cloud that tech culture is fetishizing. Period.

zeZebra Screenshot

If, however, it was looking to provide a service that no Cloud has even tried, then it is a rip-roaring success. Peer to peer transfer is more effective in many ways, for many things, than Cloud storage is. Plus, it does not require massive banks of data servers so its services can and always will be far cheaper than Cloud storage. The caveat to this advantage, of course, is that many Cloud storage options are free until a certain arbitrary storage limit is reached. So assuming you don’t use your Cloud storage to send movies, entire photo or music albums, or obscene amounts of .pdf files, what is zeZebra useful for?

The app is very simple, for one. Managing your file transfers is incredibly easy, once you have built your network. It is simply drag and drop from a computer, select and send from a mobile device (zeZebra works for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android). Any files, of any size, to anyone that uses zeZebra, anwhere with internet connection. The only time when this app won’t seem especially useful is before you have used your silver tongue to convince your business associates, friends, etc. that its worth using. Building the network is annoying, but surprisingly easy. I found that simply emailing the file through zeZebra will usually convince the recipient to get the app, since it is free after all. The email prompts them to download zeZebra to receive their file, they usually do, and voilá, new contact.

Sending files with zeZebra

Once you have your network built, zeZebra offer speed that Cloud storage cannot match. Cutting out the storage server in a warehouse somewhere means your files is simply going straight to the person you wanted it to go to. This cuts out one whole data transfer, resulting in a much faster transfer.

Another feature that is negligible to many, but extremely important to some, is that of security. Since the data is not routed through even zeZebra’s servers, the only parties who can see that data are you and the person you send it to. It’s not encrypted, which would make zeZebra more attractive to the cypherpunk crowd, but perhaps a future version will add in that feature.

So, no. zeZebra won’t replace Cloud storage. What it will do is take up the slack, doing all the things that Clouds can be used for but really shouldn’t, and doing them easier, faster, and more securely. Besides which it, too, has a very fun name to say. Watch out Cloud.

Spice up Your Day with Syncrohearts Love Game

There are a lot of different love games on the market, but most couples know that you usually don’t need much for the ones that are the most fun. Syncrohearts Love Game is an app for the iOS platform (it works on both the iPhone and the iPad) that is looking to enter this swollen market. It is a simple app that lets a couple play a digital card game with each other. The cards usually are simple, and seek to encourage conversation, communication, and compliments between the couple.  The app is simple, so it does not have any real function issues. There are moments when the players wish that the cards had been a tiny bit more creative for a larger variety, but the app accomplishes its goal well overall.

Syncrohearts homescreen

Syncrohearts homescreen

The game is easy: the couple takes turns picking cards from four different categories. The game ends when one person gets their score to one hundred, but points are randomly awarded, so this is really just a timing thing. The fact that the competition is completely randomized is important, because if it pitted skill against skill some of the more competitive personalities would quickly start straying from the purpose of the game which is to feel good and increase conversation between partners.

The cards fall into four categories: 4Fun cards, Couple cards, Insight cards, and Hot Stuff cards. The cards vary in degree of intimacy, which makes the app a little more versatile in what it can accomplish. For a fun night with a relatively new flame, try and stick more to the 4Fun and Hot Stuff categories, with a few Couple cards thrown in to learn a little bit more about each other. If a more intimate night is desired with a long term relation, tread heavier in the other end of the spectrum, tossing in a few Hot Stuff or 4Fun cards to lighten the mood. Many of the cards are prompts to stimulate couples to really talk about a relationship. This can be awkward at first, but can be exactly what a relationship needs. This app can be a great way to stimulate that.

Syncrohearts instructions screen

Syncrohearts instructions screen

Syncrohearts Love Game does not have a depth of function, which is good because it makes it easy to use and nearly impossible to malfunction. However, it can also sometimes fall a little short in variety within the cards. To really get the most out of the game, couples will find they need to get a little creative on their own. Syncrohearts Love Game encourages this, with a lot of the rewards and prompts simply being jumping points for longer conversations. If it is played too much, the different cards can start seeming a little repetitive. It is not hard for couples to make the adjustments though, making up little games within games that can really spice things up. The beauty of Syncrohearts Love Game really lies in what is brought to the table by the couple, which is as good a measure for a relationship app as it is for a relationship.

Syncrohearts Love Game does not try to do anything fancy or overwhelming, and puts most of the control in the couples hands as it should be. With a little bit of creativity couples will find an entertaining game that really does help them talk a little bit more about their relationship. And always remember, you can stop and resume the game whenever you want.

MewSim App Teaches the Skill of Nurturing

Are you fond of pets? Would you like to take up responsibilities and nurture a sweet little kitten? You can help it grow into a beautiful cat, by fulfilling all its whims. Buy it some food, ice creams and toys and I am sure it would grow really soon. As the simile goes: As playful as a kitten, the same concept is witnessed here in this gaming app by Dynamic Pixels. This fun simulating app is just perfect for someone ready to learn the art of nurturing.

The game begins, where you can choose the color of your kitten and give it a name. Not only this, you can also decide the sex of your cutie. You can buy a mouse for your new family member and help it learn hunting. If you have a female kitten, then buying a bear for her, would be a great idea. Gift your pooch a ball or a ball of yarn.

Adorn your female kitten with a beautiful red bow available at just 29 coins. Make her look her best. Design the perfect ambiance for her and give her the best nurturing. She will definitely enjoy your company and be faithful to you.

MewSim iTunes Image

MewSim iTunes Image

Buy a helicopter for your macho kitten and he will surely have ample of enjoyment with it. You can buy all this with the coins you earn from two in-between games. Purchase everything that can keep your kitten happy. Keep him / her in different rooms, for instance the sitting parlor, dinning room and kitchen. Give it a bath where he can sail through his / her bathing tub. Give it a new nice shampoo to keep away the fleas.

Allow your pet to go for holidays with your friends. After all, even it needs a break. Share your MewSim through the social network integration system. Remember to bring him / her back home when he returns from the vacation. This innovative app will definitely bring out the caring nature from you. Available in seven different languages, this gaming app by Dynamic Pixels can be enjoyed by people from all over the world.

MewSim iTunes Image 2

Although, the graphics of the app are a little confusing and everything leads you to a payment page where you need to spend your coins to buy stuff for your kitten. In short, you need to pay for everything to nurture this beautiful kitten. The only rescue is the inbuilt games where you can earn some coins and then spend them on your pooch.

The latest version of the MewSim app features an in-game video which can be tapped to watch. Can be supported both by an iPhone and an iPad with a minimum requirement of iOS 4.3 or later. You need to spend real currencies to purchase fish for your cat. You get 140 fishes at $0.99, 480 fishes at $2.99 and so on. Though a free app, you cannot help your kitten survive if you fail to make add-on purchases for it.

Nevertheless, you can try this gaming app and at least, build in yourself a sense of responsibility and care for living beings.

Indulge in Easy Gaming with Kumoku App

If you are one of those gaming freaks and enjoy indulging in some light board games, then Kumoku is the way out for you. Kumoku is a Japanese word made out of two portions. Ku stands for 9 and moku stands for pieces. So, here we know what the final aim of the game is. It is to get nine pieces in a row, column, diagonal or matrix. And thereafter, you beat your opponent.

Have you played Sudoku, where you had to accumulate 9 numbers in a row, column as well as in a box. The strategy is somewhat derived from Sudoku, but is much easier. You actually don’t have to use much of your mathematical skills to count those numbers down. It is a game involving only xs and os. Not that traditional Tic-tac-toe game! It is different. Few elements are borrowed from it, but the eventual gaming method is original. Instead of three in a row or column or diagonal, you need 9 in a row, column, diagonal or matrix. If you don’t understand these concepts, there is nothing to worry. A total guide is available to you, when you tap on the INFO+ button. Example button can also be clicked to know what all are the winning patterns.

Kumoku notification

You will certainly not find it boring, since each game is made unique by its developers, Peragames. The irony is that, though the gaming word is derived from the Japanese language, it is not available in the same. Only people literate in English can enjoy this app. This narrows the reach of the app. The developers must at least provide translated instructions in various languages, so that the concept can at least reach the mass.

The moves of the computer are not justified and thus, you may feel that you will always be defeated by the computer. So, for the rescue of these people, the developers have made the options of single player and double player available. You have the freedom to choose a human player opposite to you. A distant friend using the same app can compete with you. This would definitely be fairer!

Kumoku interface

The app takes a memory of 10.6 MB in your devices and so, extra space must be available so that the app does not hang while playing. Apart from a few glitches the gaming works well. Also, you do not have to save your last game manually, the device does it for you. Each minute is saved. This means you can start from where you left.

What if you make a wrong move? You can certainly undo it. With the BACK button you move one step behind. Also, if you cannot think of an appropriate move, you can tap the HINT button, this will ensure the best step for you. If you feel that you want to restart the same game, you can tap the NEW button. One drawback is that, you cannot move to a next level until you cross the levels gradually. So, there is no point being so inquisitive when you can’t play the game well.

The moves are made alternately, you make a move and then your opponent and then again you. This goes on until Kumoku or until all the boxes are full. The person who gets the Kumoku first wins otherwise, the one with maximum three in a row, or column or diagonal wins. The Kumoku app is compatible with all iOS devices having a version of 4.3 or later. So, though easy gaming, one ought to give a try and enjoy the new way of Tic-tac-toe with just a meager amount of $0.99.

Epic Evil Twins – A Devilishly Simple Game

If you are at all like me and use the thousands of iPhone apps available on the market to entertain yourself in the down times of life, then you are always on the lookout for new games. For me, I hate spending ninety nine cents (or sometimes even more) for an app that simply doesn’t have very much replay value. These are not gaming classics like Mario that can be played for hours and you will get nostalgic for and replay after a few years. So given that I usually have gotten everything out of a game after two or three days I like to get free apps for the simple reason that they are free.

There is the problem. Free apps are pretty often terrible apps. On the other hand of the spectrum, paying money for something to pass an hour or two isn’t the best bargain. Zombieville USA is a great app, but the gameplay is so straightforward that if I play it for more than fifteen minutes I get a headache. Plus it cost me a dollar and I don’t have much to show for it months later. Enter Epic Evil Twins––a devilishly simple, rather fun app made to pitch Trolli candies that is one hundred percent free.

Epic Evil Twins screenshots

Epic Evil Twins is a two player (you and a computer or you and a partner online) zombie murdering game that provides a surprising amount of gameplay. Unlike Zombieville and several other zombie apps, Epic Evil Twins is not a two dimensional side scroller, but offers the range of up and down movement as well. This helps make it more of a game of skill, I found. Instead of just marching down the corridor shooting when zombies appear you can avoid larger groups, dodging up and down in order to deal as much damage as possible while taking as little as possible. In other words, you get better, not just get better weapons. Epic Evil Twins still has those RPG elements that people are always looking for though. Every level you beat unlocks a new player to play as, every enemy you defeat drops coins that you can use to purchase upgrades for your weapons. Leveling works fairly well and the game doesn’t ever get too hard or easy as you play through. There are enough weapons and new characters (each with a different ability) to keep you entertained all the way through the play through.

Epic Evil Twins Game Screenshot

There are some issues though, primarily with the slightly buggy multiplayer. For me, it worked more often than not but it can be extremely frustrating when it glitches in the middle of a fight with a friend. Some people have said they have had problems with the movement but I have not noticed anything of the sort. One thing that was hard for me at first was understanding where exactly my gun was firing. Instead of detracting from gameplay, though, it ended up being immensely satisfying as I mastered it.

Overall, Epic Evil Twins is one of the better free game apps that I’ve played. It has a few hours of interesting gameplay, and thats saying a lot compared to the other free apps which stay engaging only briefly. It’s only been a few hours since I finished all of the unlocks and beat the game and I’m not saying I plan on returning to it yet but I think I might actually play through this game again. How many free apps can you really say that about?

Take Control of Your Life With LifeTopix

The app startup LightArrow just released a new organizer app called LifeTopix that has generated a lot of discussion online. LifeTopix aims to unite all of the various areas of personal organization that have previously been represented by several different apps. With twelve different sections, dubbed ‘Topix’ by LightArrow, for different areas of life, the real value added in this app is the ability of these different Topix to work together. With so many similar apps on the market, what (if anything) sets LifeTopix apart?

LifeTopix screenshots

The twelve ‘Topix’ of LifeTopix are:

Tasks and Projects: Helps to organize assignments for work or things you would like to get done on your own.

Shopping: Tracks shopping lists. Integrates with other Topix to show shopping lists for specific tasks or travel, etc.

Events: Keeps track of the home or work events with alerts.

Travel and Places: Helps organize travel preparations.

People and Services: Syncs with your contacts to keep a list of people and businesses that you may need for other plans.

Health and Activity: Provides a logging and tracking place for different health and physical fitness work.

Finances: Tracks and helps organize financial information.

Home and Assets: Helps manage assets and keep track of home maintenance tasks, etc.

Education: Tracking assignment due dates and project information for school.

Notes and Files: Organizes different notes and syncs with online files like Google Docs.

Media: Organizes video and audio clips so that they can be associated with other Topix.

Bookmarks: Keeps track of websites that you need to work on projects or organize travel, or just plain want to remember.

LifeTopix features

Since all of these Topix are a part of the same app they interact in a refreshingly original way. If you are planning on taking a trip up to your cabin, a shopping list can be stored for quick access while looking at the trip, a task can be created and contained within the same page to top off the tank before you leave, and alarms can alert you when you have to do all of these things. Since all of the information is shared throughout the app, none of these can be scheduled over other reminders you set for yourself, which means no more over scheduling your life. All of this is housed in a pretty effective user interface  that is a little hard at first, but soon becomes effortless to manage.

LifeTopix is brand new so third party support is limited. While you can sync things like Google docs and calendar, even a Facebook account, other apps may still outperform certain Topix. Another disadvantage of such a new app is that there may still be bugs and minor performance issues that haven’t been addressed by LightArrow. The silver lining to that particular cloud is that LightArrow will continue implementing new features that will make the app more useful as new updates are released.

LightArrow has taken an ambitious first project for a startup app programmer, improving on an already overworked concept yet again and releasing an app designed by nature to push a variety of competing programs off the market. It is a bold strategy that could reap huge rewards for LightArrow and many users of organization apps, and for now it looks strong. It will be interesting to see how the app fares in the market, but it is cheap, expansive, and certainly an intriguing new app.

Sleep by MotionX Lets You Sleep in Peace

Sleeping at the correct time, waking up at the correct time, being fresh when you wake up and having proper sleep patterns have always been difficult issues in everybody’s life. MotionX now brings out an app to bring you the perfect solution to all your problems. The new app called Sleep answers all these questions to get you the perfect sleep that you would want to experience. This app is the result of seven years of research on biomechanics, focusing on human motions. This app combines the effectiveness of sleep patterns, human motions and heart rate regulation to get you peaceful and sufficient sleep.

It provides you a cent percent solution to a number of problems. First of all, it detects your heartbeat using your fingerprints and the camera of your iPhone. This helps to track your heart beat when you sleep. Keeping your heart beat in check, this app can present graphs of the record of your heartbeat. With the record of your resting heart, this app in your iPhone can determine your sleep patterns. It can find out your times of deep sleep and light sleep. It puts you to sleep by playing your favorite music, and this music goes off on its own, just when you fall asleep. In this way, you can monitor your sleep cycles.

Sleep app screenshot

Sleep app screenshot

The app comprehends when you have had your full cycle of sleep and wakes you up when you have had the optimum amount of sleep and wakes you up with an alarm tone that is your favorite in all the music pieces in your iPad. This intelligent alarm sets off when you have had sufficient sleep and can be snoozed or stopped at your desired time. Moreover, this app keeps you active throughout the day. You can keep track of how many calories you lose and in case you remain idle for too long, you will be energized through an active alert. This regulates your body activities throughout the day.

Clock in Sleep app

Clock in Sleep app

So, with this new app, sold by Fuller Technologies, you can experience the optimum amount of sleep. You can wake up fresh in the mornings and have an active and energized day to make it perfect. This app is compatible with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It requires a minimum of an iOS 4.3 or even higher. This app is made available to you at a price of $2.99. It is suitable best for your iPhone 5. This phone, however, cannot be placed on hard flooring like a wooden surface when you sleep, since the app catches the sound of the vibration of the wood and records it along with your resting heart beat patterns. For this reason, an inappropriate result is obtained. So the user should be careful while placing the iPhone before going to sleep. Also, if a GPS system is continuously used along with this app, it leads to a loss of battery life.

With Sleep by MotionX, the user can be totally comfortable while sleeping and wake up fresh in the morning to have an active day.

Squrl – Watch Online Videos on iPhone

For iOS users familiar with applications like Flipboard, an RSS reader that turns your feeds into the digital equivalent of a glossy magazine, curated content provides an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, wading through the ever-growing sea of digital content to find the few pieces of media that actually interest you can be daunting and time-consuming. Content is sometimes restricted to certain sites and full access will many times require a paid subscription. On the other hand, many sites that claim to grant access to a wide array of content inevitably lack access to something you didn’t know you wanted until you found out you couldn’t have it. Netflix doesn’t have television shows that are currently airing. Hulu requires a paid subscription to view older episodes of your favorite series. So, you end up splitting your time between apps that seek to bring everything to one place, and the web at large where you have to search for the specific content those apps inevitably leave out.

Squrl video gallery

Squrl video gallery

Squrl is a video search engine that allows you to view and search for videos on YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, as well as other online content providers like CBS, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal. While using Squrl to search for videos from content providers whose apps you probably already have running on your device may seem redundant, Squrl hopes to endear you to its platform by virtue of its channels which provide curated content.

Since you need a Hulu and Netflix account to access their content on Squrl, users probably won’t be deleting those accounts anytime soon. Still, having everything in one place can be nice. Search “Family Guy” and Squrl will pull up everything. Free clips from YouTube, interviews with the creators from Vimeo or Daily Motion, and full episodes from Hulu and Netflix. Play a video and you can still browse the other clips that your search pulled up, or open the sidebar and scroll through videos in an entirely different channel.

Squrl channels

Squrl channels

But this is where Squrl’s focus on curated content becomes a bit of an issue. This app works a whole lot better when you browse through the content it offers rather than trying to search for specific videos on your own. Family Guy clips from YouTube had ridiculously distracting, and infuriating, banner ads for Hulu, where the clips must be originally hosted. Want to watch a full episode on Netflix? Well, now you have to leave the app to login to your account in Safari. Of course, why go through all of that when you can just use the free app which, while not without its own peculiarities, is obviously the better choice for viewing Netflix content?

Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t even begin to sum up what’s wrong with the Squrl app. While clips from E! Online loaded quickly and played in beautiful high-definition, as of the time of this review, clips from Funny or Die loaded without the video, playing only the audio portion of the clips. Videos from some channels were in high-definition, while others played at a terrible resolution even though the bandwidth was the same. And without the option to set the quality of the video, users with slow connections will have to wait for large high-definition videos to load, while users with great connections will have to watch low-quality videos from several of the channels for no apparent reason.

Whatever Squrl was trying to bring to the already saturated video player app market is overshadowed by its few simple, but significant, flaws.

Discover New Places with Facearound

Facearound, an app developed by a team of Italy’s Business Competence is a platform for social networking, for a viral reach of exchanges among friends in the networking arena.  An app built to cater to the need of being connected with the world, provides an opportunity to promote a local deal or an activity. Its sharing mechanism plus the huge extension of the Facebook database is an interesting concept, a new idea for extending your customers. Testable for free until the end of 2012, the deal tailor-made Facearound app will be available on subscription quarterly, semi-annually or annually, starting from 3 to 5 Euros, per month.

Facearound an app conceived for iPad and iPhone users provides a platform for sharing reviews and discovering the high and lows of the places around you. Following the advices of your Facebook friends and other users, you can be judgmental in your opinion about the shops, bars, restaurants and others.  Take advantage of the offers, deals, events and discounts laid by shopkeepers and your service providers, be the first to enjoy the unique deals provided.

Facearound reviews section

Facearound reviews section

Are you at head logs with your companion on an outing trip regarding a conflict of choices? Read the tips and comments of your Facebook friends and other users. You can also write your own reviews and publish ratings. Facearound lets you explore everything around you, i.e. besides the shops and restaurants, it also fills you on the nearby florists, cobblers, a stationary or a gift shop to buy a present for a friend. Thanks to geolocalization, it knows about your location and serves as an ideal guide to places and things. Also, you can just scroll the map if you want to explore a different zone or city. Ratings and tips by others prove as an excellent resource for sightseeing and updated information on places in a foreign land. Highlighted with different colors, it brings to your notice the different aspects of your field of interest, like locating places on the map proves to be easier and efficient with this unique feature.

Facearound Maps

Facearound Maps

The app works based on the following mechanism: – when you select a location or type it in the search box, you will be provided with all the nearby venues like shopping malls, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. You have to tap on one of them to discover the details about it. It may also be a discount offer like a 10% off on a piece of clothing in reputed merchandise. Accordingly, all the places will be marked with different colors symbolizing a discount tag or a review.

With a space requirement of 18.8 MB, Facearound requires iPhone and iPad with iOS 4.3 or later. It supports English, German, Spanish and Northern Sami. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. This app is a geo location service, similar to Google maps, one on which you can count on, as a reliable guide.