7 Kinda Great, Totally Superfluous Apps to Get ASAP – Vol. 2

Tens of thousands of apps come out every month, but far fewer are worth the effort.

uselessSome, like the Useless Button app for Android, even take a great amount of pride in being useless. Google Play Store stats show that it’s been downloaded 1,000 to 5,000 times so, hey, there’s a market for everything.

Point is, there are a lot of apps out there.

And in producing the PC Mike segments for NBC-TV, this blog, and the podcast, we are constantly scouring for new apps to report about and make sure you get the most out of your smartphones and tablets.

As I wrote in the first edition of 7KGTSA, however, we see a lot of apps that are – at the very least – interesting yet can’t be classified with others. Here, then, is the second edition of 7KGTSA:

leafpprFoliage Leaf Peepr allows users to find and report on the changing leaves they see. Reports are not called reports – they are called Peeps, which allow users to post photos, write comments, and rate foliage status for any given location. The Peak Sliders allows users to rate foliage as Green, Turning, Moderate, Peak, Fading, or Gone. Input from users is then used to generate reports for any given location so you know when to head north – and when to head more north. The app is free for iOS and Android.

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Alarmy brags of being named time and time again as the “world’s most annoying alarm app.” It lives up to its name. The loud, obnoxious alarm goes off when you tell it to, but will NOT go off until you do what it tells you to – which is what you told it to do while you were still wide awake and this alarm seemed like the best idea ever. We’re not talking a snooze alarm. You take a picture of a room (again, when you’re wide awake and this is fun) and “register” it with your alarm. When it goes off (and is way less fun), you have to get up and take a picture of your registered room and it has to match or the alarm will keep going off. You can also set it so that you can simply shake your phone a set number of times. The app is for $1.99 for iOS or Android.

Speaking of annoying sounds coming from your device, there’s BeepApp! The makers say the app is designed with kids in mind, though perhaps not with their best interests in mind. The app sends out a super high frequency wave of 14,800Hz that the developers claim can only be heard by the youngest of ears. The purpose, by the way, is supposedly to be able to get the attention of large groups of “youngsters” and to allow them to communicate with each other without dumb adults knowing a thing. I, however, am happy to report I was able to hear the tone, which clearly indicates I am not officially old (and I included it here just to say that).

Yeah, there's a notification for that - with the Hooks app.

Yeah, there’s a notification for that – with the Hooks app.

Still using your device to only get important text messages or email notifications? Get with the times! The Hooks app allows you to get notified of just about everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) from weather and currency conversion rates to new episodes of your favorite TV shows or even when Tweets are sent about your favorite TV shows. Since you can set Hooks to send notifications for Tweets using keywords, I supposed you could theoretically get notified when the stars of your favorite TV shows go to the, uh, mall.

OfferUp is becoming more and more popular. You can see a story we did earlier this year about alternatives to eBay and/or Craigslist here. OfferUp connects buyers and sellers who live close geographically (relatively in some cases). It allows sellers to quickly take pics of stuff they want to sell and allows buyers to quickly look through a bunch of stuff that couldn’t be sold at the seller’s garage sale. It’s kind of a big mess, but nonetheless interesting to scroll through. I’m not saying you can’t find some interesting things (locally, I found an available pair of tickets to watch the Detroit Lions lose to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 3), but it’s hit and miss. Also, all transactions are done in-person and with cash – and I can’t figure out how the developers of OfferUp make money – so you have been warned. OfferUp is free for iOS and Android.

Facetune makes it so you never have to brush your teeth again.

Facetune makes it so you never have to brush your teeth again.

Facetune bills itself as the way to “perfect every photo or selfie.” It provides powerful tools “previously reserved only for the pros.” You know, like the ability to widen smiles, brighten teeth, change the color of your hair – even emphasize your eyes for the kind of “penetrating gaze” (developer’s words, not mine) previously only reserved for your crazy ex. It’s $3.99 in the App Store and there is a version for Android. The Windows version of Facetune is $2.99.

Listerine Smile Detector is another face-related app. It was designed to help people who are blind or have vision issues know when someone else is smiling, hence the tagline “feel the smile.” Using facial recognition software and a smartphone or tablet camera, the app can detect when a person is smile and then use the device’s vibration feature so that you know when the other person is smiling. Smile Detector is free for iOS and Android.

Any suggestions for the next edition of 7KGTSA? Send them along!

Posted in: Gadgets & Gear

About the Author:

Andrew is a writer and producer/content developer for Roadtreking.com and the PC Mike Techcast at PCMike.com. He has been a professional storyteller for 16 years, building a successful career as a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist. Andrew's work has appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business, The Oshkosh Northwestern, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Crain’s Chicago Business, Advertising Age, Automotive News, Waste News, Appleton Post-Crescent, and Real Detroit.