Category Archives: Computer Apps

The Best Budget Planner

Easy Envelope Budget Aid (EEBA) is a mobile application for iPhone and Android  to keep you on budget and manage your money.  It is a very useful and free finance app for anyone who is looking to keep track of where their cash is going whether it be groceries, loans, transportation, or other expenses.  Throughout the month Easy Envelope Budget Aid tracks your spend, takes money our of your envelopes, and ensures that you never overspend again.

EEBA is easy to use and you can balance and enter transactions from anywhere, with or without cell signal or WiFi.  You can also share budget envelopes with your household so that you are all on the right track.  The budget application supports monthly, semi-monthly, weekly and bi-weekly budgeting. Plus annual and irregular expenses.

View your budget and expense reports on the web by syncing your mobile device and even upgrade to a plus or premium plan to have EEBA sync to your bank account and track your spending automatically!  Your checking, savings, cash and credit card spend can be monitored in a safe and secure environment once you start taking advantage of EEBA.

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The Best Transit and Driving Directions

When you’re traveling to an unfamiliar place, or a big city with overwhelming public transportation, there are many websites and applications you can turn to for directions and online maps. But which directions and mapping service provides the best route? Google Maps, MapQuest, HopStop, Bing Maps…which is the best trip planner?

Google Maps is the industry standard, and probably most people’s go-to application for directions. In many ways Google Maps has earned this reputation, delivering accurate and simple driving and walking directions. If you have a smart phone such as an iPhone or Android, Google Maps serves as a GPS navigation system, and really becomes a life saver at times. MapQuest is a thing of the past.

However, for subway directions I always turn to HopStop. HopStop is reliable in always accounting for service changes and planned work for the subway, bus and train system. I have had most of my experience with HopStop in New York City, but I am told that it is as consistent for many other cities as well. Many times HopStop and Google Maps provide the same subway route, but I rather stick with the more reliable and thorough service.

Manage Your Social Networks with HootSuite

If you have several different Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare accounts, HootSuite is a necessary tool.  You can also connect to your WordPress, MySpace, Ping.fm and Mixi accounts using HootSuite.  I originally started using HootSuite as a web application to manage all my social networks, and have since installed the application on all my mobile devices including iPhone and Android.  With HootSuite I am able to constantly update and monitor all of my social streams, both at work and on the go.  I can monitor keywords, Twitter searches and trending topics all within the same easy-to-use dashboard.

My life has been made so much easier thanks to HootSuite, as it allows me to organize all my accounts into specified tabs where I can update my profiles, statuses, schedule posts in advance, and send messages across multiple platforms simultaneously.  Another bonus to HootSuite, which really sets it apart from all other social media managers, is the app’s analytics.  I can measure the performance of all my tweets and posts by tracking my shortened URLs (ow.ly).  I also think owls are really cute, so that’s a plus.

Fruit Ninja Critical

Fruit Ninja might take the (Bakery Story) cake for most addictive game in the app store.  There is something very satisfying about slicing a juicy piece of fruit with a virtual blade and watching it splatter against various backgrounds.  With just the swipe of a finger you become a Fruit Ninja warrior, dodging bombs and slashing fruit combos for extra points that bring you one step closer to beating your high score.  I dream that one day I will be half the ninja that wise ninja Sensei is.

The Zen mode removes the sizzling bombs from the game, so players can cut their fruit without care.  An Arcade mode is also available where the gamer has sixty seconds to collect their points, and super bananas are thrown onto the screen that grant slicers special bonuses.  I rotate between classic and arcade mode, and slice all the rare fruits and pomegranates that appear on my iPhone to get the most critical hits, combo blitzes and achievements that my finger will allow.  I only wish that Halfbrick would let us start with more than three lives!

Unlocking special blades and backgrounds with Fruit Ninja Achievements makes all that lost time cutting fruit worth it.  The game has sharp graphics on the iPhone and Android, and is enhanced even more for iPad users.  Fruit Ninja Kinect is available for Xbox and Fruit Ninja Frenzy is available for Facebook.  Multiplayer gameplay gets crazy as you try to avoid your opponent’s fruit, and very competitive too I might add.  It’s a good thing Fruit Ninja does not require a real samurai sword!

Best CD to MP3 Ripper – FreeRip

If you’re an audiophile, and I am, you need a good CD to MP3 Ripper as much as you need a great amplifier or speakers. Maybe more… You see, if you don’t get a perfect lossless quality rip from your CD’s, you are just listening to digital junk. And maybe you aren’t needing quite the lossless rip I require (meaning you would sacrifice some audio clarity for lots of file size reduction), but you still don’t want to hand your CD ripping job to any software other than a pro… And that is what FreeRIP CD to MP3 Converter is the granddaddy of doing.

FreeRip has been around for over a decade. Every six months or so it gets its regular update and gets better like clockwork each time. It is one of the most downloaded applications of all time – and it does one thing very well: It will rip your CD’s into most any digital format you like (MP3, WAV, WMA, Ogg Vorbis or Flac). As of this writing, I have over 44,000 songs on nearly 3 terabytes of hard drive space and I don’t download my music – it is all purchased so that I get a perfect recording. And iTunes doesn’t rip my cd’s into a FLAC format (which you kind of need) – so my digitally inspired world is heavily dependent on FreeRip’s simple masterpiece. It’s easy, powerful and I love it almost as much as my Brick (which delivers those sweet digital sounds into a my McIntosh amp… (I just turned up the volume…)

VideoSlurp – Free YouTube Downloader

VideoSlurp Home Page

VideoSlurp Home Page

So the world has opened up and created seemingly endless volumes of “video” for us to enjoy.  Whether you like user generated video, Hollywood box office creations, moving images put to music or animations previously distributed via the flip-book, today you can get almost all of it online and in seconds from YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/).

Now this is great for those of you with nearly constant Internet connections and a penchant for casual content consumption (video wrapped in an ugly YouTube page), but for those of us with a more fickle web connection (say in an underground visiting VJ booth in Manhattan) or more discerning consumption standards, you might find a burning desire to download and save your favorite videos from YouTube to your hard drive.  Or, perhaps you just need to physically possess that Jonas Brothers video no-one knows you love, or that three girls and pitcher (what?) video you tell people you’ve never seen.   Well, in this case there is now a solution for you and it gets my highest level approval for ingenuity.  Meet VideoSlurp (http://videoslurp.com).

VideoSlurp comes in two flavors.  First, it is the granddaddy of websites providing online video downloads -meaning no software required.  Simply visit: http://www.videoslurp.com/download_youtube_videos.php and paste in the URL of the video you would like to secure and watch as this handy little application saves a copy of your favorite laughing baby vid right to your hard drive.  Second, perhaps you want to download your favorite 20 videos at once, or are too lazy to visit the online download tool and would rather have the ability to download YouTube videos directly from your web browser, well VideoSlurp has that problem solved too… Just head directly to http://videoslurp.com and click “Download.”  Very shortly you will have a brand new application that makes the process of downloading and saving your favorite YouTube videos as easy as pie (which, incidentally, never actually seemed all that easy… VideoSlurp; however, is easy).

Thank you VideoSlurp – you’ve made my VJ dream a reality and my hard drive full of George Michael videos worth their weight in digital gold.

Coolest Web Applications

I come across cool applications all over the place – I even build some myself. I’ll update frequently on the coolest applications from my personal collection and tell you how I use them. Enjoy!