Tuesday, November 26, 2013

App of the Week: The Impossible Line

This week's app is a game called The Impossible Line by Chillingo. If you play games on your mobile phone, you've probably already heard about this game. It's highly addictive and you may find yourself playing it for hours. It's a total time sucker. Consider this your official warning.

The object of the game is to draw a line from an arrow to a target while avoiding obstacles. Easy enough, right? The catch in this game, however, is that as soon as you tap your finger to begin drawing a line -- the obstacles disappear and you must rely on your memory.

This feels a little like walking through your house in complete darkness except you keep bumping into walls! Naturally, the puzzles get more challenging as you progress.

I love playing this game on the subway during my commute. I have a personal rule about not spending real money on games though, so I can only get so far with the power-ups. (The only time I broke that spending rule was for Can You Escape? and that was an accident... eh-chem). 

The only issue I have with The Impossible Line is their use of advertising. I completely understand the need for monetization in mobile games. I worked in the industry so yeah, I get it. It's essential for most apps. The difference with The Impossible Line's ads is that they are absolutely non-stop and actually become distracting from the chalkboard gameplay. Also, the ads are never about anything I'm even remotely interested in purchasing. In fact, if you watch this gameplay video by lonniedos, you'll see how truly invasive the ads really are:

I would definitely appreciate The Impossible Line more if their ads were less frequent and more organic. That said, I will probably keep playing, at least until I can get beyond some difficult levels.

What's your favorite mobile game right now?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

App of the Week: AnyList

Since I've been working in the mobile industry for almost 10 years, I think it's about time that I start blogging about mobile apps. So, welcome to my very first App of the Week post!

Me at the supermarket: 
Wait... What was I supposed to buy?

If this sounds like you, welcome to my world. I think of myself as having a great memory but for whatever reason, I feel like a lost puppy when I'm in a grocery store. Chock it up to my lack of cooking skills and never knowing which ingredients I need for a certain recipe I'm attempting that night, or perhaps it's because my husband barks some last minute requests to me as I'm walking out the door. Whatever the issue is, it suddenly occurred to me that there might be an app for that! Although I've been working in mobile, I never really thought I needed a grocery app... that is, until now.

For months, I've been reading tech news about Remember The Milk, so I tried this app first. This app is actually available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry 10, and the web. It also integrates with your Siri, Outlook, Gmail, Evernote, and more. There are also other services that offer RTM integration through their API, but I digress.

Remember The Milk has a cute little cow icon and that was very appealing to me.  Wow, talk about judging a book by its cover!

Believe it or not, RTM was just way too complicated for me. Here are a couple of screenshots:

I'm pretty darn tech savvy so it wasn't difficult to use per say, but it just wasn't exactly what I was looking for in this particular case. I already create calendar reminders for my personal tasks and I really just needed help at the grocery store!

Dear app developers, please just solve my problems, make my life easier, and stop adding other features that you think I'll love but probably won't ever use, thanks.

So, I did some more research and downloaded Yummly. Cute app name, right? Plus, their website is awesome. It's colorful, organized, fun, and made me feel (for a few moments) that I could be an amazing cook if I just followed these recipes!

Unfortunately, I felt overwhelmed by their iPhone app. :-(

Discovering recipes is fun because the photographs are visually stunning and frankly, make you hungry. I love pinning recipes on Pinterest and this was similar. You just hit that orange "Yum" button and all of the recipes you think are yummy go into a special section which you can access later. The problem is that when you try to access the recipe directions, you're brought to a different website each time (since these recipes are being funneled in from a variety of other sites). I'm still an amateur chef so I need directions to be consistently clear, and hopping from site to site where your cooking abilities are expected to be rather high just frustrated me. And again... I need an app for grocery shopping!!!!

Yummly does offer a grocery list aspect but it's tied to their recipes and I was looking for something quick and easy. For Yummly, I'll probably just keep browsing their pretty website.

Finally, I found AnyList! Cue the violins! The screenshots shown below may look simple but hey, that's what I need! The best part of this app is that I can share my grocery list with my husband. I can just hit "Share" which will prompt a push notification to his phone, or I can simply send it via email or text message. Once I found this feature, I was hooked. I can create an entire full grocery list and poof- he'll get it with one quick tap so he can pick up everything on his way home from work. AnyList also organizes your list into sections that match your grocery store so you won't forget to pick up the eggs in the dairy section when you're already buying that milk.

The app automatically pre-populates items when you begin to type them.

They also offer up a few free recipes which are super easy for beginners like me!

AnyList is free but there is a one year subscription version for $9.99 called AnyList Complete which allows you to attach photos to list items and choose list themes with new fonts, textures, and colors. The paid version also gives you a passcode lock so you can keep gift ideas secret from family members. I'll probably just stick to this free version but it's nice to know that they will be adding new features to enhance the app. Like Yummly, AnyList is only available for iOS devices but let's hope they're building an Android version too.

What app have you been tinkering with lately?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ooVoo Named Honoree by 2014 CES Innovation Awards

I feel incredibly proud to announce that not one but TWO of the awards submissions I helped write and edit were recognized today by the 2014 CES Innovation Awards, produced by the Consumer Electronics Association.

To be specific, ooVoo was named an Honoree in the "Technology for a Better World" category as well as the "Software & Mobile Apps" category. This is a highly competitive awards program that thousands of technology companies from around the world enter each year. Guess those submissions were mighty persuasive! ;-)

Thank you, CES Innovation Awards!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Introducing... Furry Wiggle Butts (yes, seriously)

As many of you know, I am an active volunteer in the dog rescue world. This week, I've started a brand new blog called Furry Wiggle Butts. (Yep, that's a double r, double g, and double t). On that blog, I'll write about all things dog including rescue stories, product reviews, great deals, and some dog news too!

Starting a new blog will enable me to keep this one more focused on my writing career and my love of technology. At some point, I may choose to merge both blogs but for now, it feels great to keep them in two separate spaces. If I review a tech product related to dogs (which is entirely possible), I may just have to include the post on both blogs. Until then, if you're a lover of furry wiggle butts and four-legged friends, please follow me over in my WordPress world. WOOF!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


A few months ago, I discovered Snapchat and although I'm way out of their target demographic, I must admit I'm a little obsessed. Luckily, I found people young enough to be on Snapchat too (hello, office interns) who are willing to converse with me on the app.

Why am I addicted?

Snapchat allows me to take photos and draw on them. This feature alone means I could spend hours having fun with it.

Exhibit A

I can even create single image stories with the app!

Exhibit B

Then, there are images that are meant to confuse people.

Exhibit C


So... What are you Snapchatting about?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ooVoo Me

Do you like to video chat? I do! More specifically, I like to ooVoo and that's the reason I haven't blogged in such a long time. In July of last year, I began working as ooVoo's Editorial Manager and my days (and nights) have been filled with all things video chat.

One of the projects I've been lucky enough to be involved with was a scary Halloween video that appeared in the ooVoo app and also on YouTube. Lucky for us, the video went viral and earned over 200K views in a matter of days. Check it out:

Yep, ooVoo's the cool place to hang out with your friends and has surprises around every corner. Download the desktop app today at www.oovoo.com, or get the mobile version at Google Play or in the App Store. Then come back and leave a comment here to tell me what you think of it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I've redesigned my website! Horray!

That's just a sneak peek. It was time for a big update and I wanted to showcase more of my portfolio, so in about 72 hours it will be LIVE. Please visit www.tammyblythe.com in a few days to see the full site and let me know what you think. Woo-hoo! :-)