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Shazam App to Expand TV Identification


Shazam App to Expand TV Identification

Shazam, the makers of the popular smartphone app of the same name that allows users to identify a song from a short sample, today announced that it now has 250 million users worldwide.

Shazam also announced an expansion of its “Shazam for TV” feature, which allows users to identify TV shows the same way the app allows music identification. The expanded feature now supports any U.S. TV channel, 24 hours a day. Identifying a show will allow users to see cast details, photos, music from the show, trivia, tweets, and additional links. Users can also, of course, share the show to Facebook or Twitter.

“With more than a quarter of a billion people who have used Shazam worldwide, no other app has our scale when it comes to offering the opportunity to engage with the media that interests them the most, whether it’s music or television,” said Andrew Fisher, Shazam CEO. “And now, that experience is even better than before, enabling people in the US to engage with any show at any time,”

Different TV shows may have different results from Shazam. For example, a sporting event will include stats, scores and schedules.

“Over the last year, Shazam has been testing and learning what works by building dozens of custom interactive second-screen experiences for select television shows and events like the Olympics on NBC, American Idol, the Grammys, and the Super Bowl, as well as other live and scripted programming across sports, reality, dramas, comedy and awards shows,” said Doug Garland, chief revenue officer at Shazam. “We’ve applied what we’ve learned to our newly expanded service, and will continue to work closely with our network partners and show producers to build special, unique second-screen experiences for their tent-pole television events and many of the most popular shows on TV.”

Greater social media integration is now a part of Shazam as well. Users who use the “Shazam Friends” feature will be able to see their Facebook friends’ tags and tag their own content to their own Facebook Timeline. Sharing via Twitter and Google+ is also available.

Shazam App to Expand TV Identification

Tools For The Internet – This Blog Will Help You Explore Tools For The Internet


10 back-to-school mobile apps for university students

CBC News asks three app developers who are students themselves to recommend their favourite apps for school.

by David Thurton

With thousands of apps out there that students can download, which ones are the best for students?

With thousands of apps out there that students can download, which ones are the best for students?

Many students are heading back to school with smartphones and tablets in their backpacks, and there’s a host of free and low-cost apps out there that can make these gadgets even more useful for scholars who want to stay on top of their studies.

To sift through all these apps, CBC News spoke with three app developers who are students themselves and asked for their recommendations about software that can help people succeed in school:

  • Brennan McEachran is a fourth year commerce student at Ryerson University and is the CEO of Hit Send, a technology startup incubated in Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone that creates web applications for companies.
  • Hannah Mittelstaedt is a fourth year computer science from the University of Toronto. She has developed a number of mobile applications, including SoFit, a fitness app with a social media component.
  • Ben Docksteader is in his final year at the University of Prince Edward Island. He has created several apps, including Domain Hole that helps people find domain names. He is currently working on a medical application for stroke patients called StrokeLink.

Here are their top recommendations.


Price: Free



Platform: Android & iPhone

A social media app, Quora is still building an audience. McEachran said what’s really neat about this app is that the users can pose questions to a core group of people who are knowledgeable about certain topics, and receive answers. McEachran said students can use this as a first-hand source for research projects.

“There’s a huge knowledge database. And it’s not like a boring library version,” McEachran said. “It’s a social collaborative community of questions and answers. And you can get some really insightful research.”


Price: $1.99



Platform: iPhone

For students on tight deadlines looking for a quick statistic for essay or research, this app is another good place to start, McEachran said. Type in a question, and WolframAlpha can often provide the answer.

“Things like, ‘What the life expectancy of a 21 year-old male in the city?'” said McEachran, “And it will give you sources for that.”


Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

When it comes to organizational apps, there are so many to choose from. But this app that Docksteader recommends allows users to organize and set up their own or shared profile that allows students who are working on group projects or planning events to create lists, calendars, send files and even chat in the same app. It also syncs everything online at

“It’s not convoluted like a lot other platforms,” Docksteader said.


Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

An organizational app that Mittelstaedt finds useful is SpringPad. But the app does much more than let you jot down ideas — it can save articles, record voice memos, allow users to snap photos and take note of their exact location at the time, and more.

“It’s a way to jot down a note and it just syncs it with your account,” Mittelstaedt said, “I use it at work when we have meetings.”

It also has commerce-related features that can enhance your notes with extra information, such as links to reviews and nearby theatres related to a notation you make about a specific movie.

Google Drive

Price: Free

Google Drive


Platforms: Android & iPhone

Mittelstaedt doesn’t use a native word processor anymore, she uses Google Drive. The app launched recently by Google integrates storage and its Google docs cloud-based word processor.

Hannah uses the app save documents for school and it automatically syncs on her computer, in her online account and on her smart phone.

“With Google drive everything is just there. I even have the Google drive app on my phone.”

Prey Anti-Theft

Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

At some schools, theft is a problem. Just in case that happens, McEachran recommends that students download the Prey Anti-Theft app and software on their smartphone or tablet (it’s also available for laptops).

The app allows users to track the whereabouts of a person’s device if it goes missing. It can also monitor who’s using the device by quietly snapping photos if the phone or laptop has a front camera, and can then send these details to the rightful owner. The app can even remotely command the device to issue an alarm or message notifying thieves that the device is being tracked.

“You don’t have to lose that two grand that you just spent [on a laptop],” McEachran said.


Price: Free



Platforms: iPhone

McEachran said that many banking apps don’t cut it when it comes to helping students plan their finances. But the fourth-year commerce student recommends Spenz, an app his colleagues designed at Ryerson and that encourages budgeting by asking users to log everything they spend daily.

It also gives people the option of adding their banking information through a twice-over encrypted connection.

“It kind of gives you extra incentive to pick up the cheaper thing and save an extra dollar, and go to Tim’s instead of Starbucks,” McEachran said.


Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

Twitter is a common app, but McEachran said students often overlook a really handy way of using it. He recommends that one of the most productive things university students can do is use their Twitter accounts to follow university staff and campus organizations.

Universities and colleges can be huge places and it’s easy for students to feel out of the loop, so he said he uses Twitter to get information that may not be readily available to students any other way.

“There’s a lot of inside tips that can save you a lot of time during your day if you pay attention to them,” McEachran said. That goes for things like finding classes and getting study tips, but he adds that another bonus is that when you’re in the campus loop, “You know where the free pizza is going to be.”

Penyo Pal

Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

Penyo Pal is a language app mainly developed for kids, but Docksteader said high school students and university students can use it too. It’s a quick and fun way to learn a little more about another language. So far the app is available in Mandarin and French.

“It’s cool because it’s not just a game, but it helps you learn,” said Docksteader. “Languages are the future.”

Flow free

Price: Free



Platforms: Android & iPhone

While there are apps for organizing your life and researching information, there are also apps that can help students unwind after a tough class. An entertaining app worth a download is Free Flow, Mittelstaedt said. The goal is simple – to get the highest score you have connect the dots with the fewest moves and mistakes.

“You have to connect these dots to fill a screen but it’s kind of addictive,” Mittelstaedt said.

Anti-distraction apps

There are a number of apps designed specifically to help people avoid distractions and concentrate on their work:

  • Anti-social: When it’s running, this Mac OS X app blocks access to social media sites, and any other sites you choose. Once activated, you’ll have to reboot your computer to unblock the sites. (Free trial, $15 to register it.)
  • LeechBlock: This Firefox add-on is designed to “block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day,” according to its website. You can choose what to block, and at what time of day. (Free.)
  • WAYD: WAYD is a program that sits in the Windows tray, waiting. After a set amount of time it will ask you: “What are you doing?,” using a big window that covers your entire screen. It’s designed to guilt you into concentrating on your work. (Free.) Alternatives include RescueTime(lite version is free, pro version is $6 a month),Klok (free trial, $15.99 to register), Slife (free) andManicTime (free).
  • Blinders: The Mac-based WriteRoom (free) and its Windows counterpart, Dark Room(free), promise “distraction-free writing” by paring your screen down to one function: Writing.
  • Pomodoro timers: A simple, effective time management technique: Choose a task to be accomplished and set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer). Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper. Take a short break. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break. There are lots of downloablepomodoro timers.

10 back-to-school mobile apps for university students


Saving texters from themselves

texting driving statistics

by Matt Brownell from in Personal FinanceInsurance

Texting and driving has been blamed for more than 100,000 car crashes a year , and according to one study it raises the chances of an accident by 23 times. And now even mobile carriers are getting fed up with it.

In recent weeks, AT&T has stepped up its ” It Can Wait ” campaign against texting and driving, including a renewed push for DriveMode, a free app the carrier developed to curb texting while driving.

The app allows users to temporarily disable texting and e-mail functions, thereby reducing the urge to fire off a quick text or read email at a stoplight. Calls to 911 are allowed. The app also allows you to set an auto-reply message to anyone who texts you while it’s activated, and it lets you set up a limited list of contacts whom you can call (or receive calls from) behind the wheel.

Sprint offers the Drive First app, which automatically kicks in when the phone’s GPS detects that it’s moving faster than 10 mph. When active, the app locks the home screen, auto-replies to text messages and sends any phone calls (outside of five allowed numbers) to voicemail. But the service doesn’t come free: After a 15-day free trial, it will cost you $2 per month per line.

T-Mobile’s DriveSmart is free in its basic versions; a premium app that senses a vehicle in motion and notifies parents of any override costs $4.99 a month.

Dozens of other applications are available for smartphone users, with varying levels of restrictions and functionality, at prices that range from free to monthly fees.

But all of them work only if you choose to use them.

It’s dangerous, illegal and expensive

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the major phone carriers are offering such tools. In addition to the increasing the odds of an accident, texting while driving is also illegal.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 39 states and the District of Columbia have outright bans on texting while driving, and five more ban it for novice drivers. Fines can be substantial. But only a few states treat texting as a moving violation — the kind that can hit your driving record and eventually raise your rates.

Get into an accident, though, and you will be lucky if you walk away with only a texting violation as a reminder.

An at-fault accident can raise your rates substantially: An analysis of 841,000 car insurance quotes delivered through’s rate-comparison engine shows that drivers with a single claim were quoted rates that averaged $300 more than drivers with no claims, an increase of about 17 percent. An accident surcharge could hurt your rates for years.

And even that pales next to possible criminal prosecution. Prosecutions of texting drivers under manslaughter or negligence laws have become distressingly common; in fact, a Massachusetts teenager was sentenced in June to jail time under the state’s vehicular homicide law. He also lost his license for 15 years.

How much technology do you want?

Few people will lock their phones away, however dire the consequences. Instead, apps try to make texting less tempting and less distracting.

There’s iZup (as in, “eyes up”), a third-party app that shuts down your phone’s texting and data functions except for the GPS, as long as you’re going over 5 mph., on the other hand, still lets you receive texts, but it reads them aloud so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. The free version will read messages up to 25 words in length, while a premium version for $14 a year has a larger word count cap and lets you dictate responses.

iOnRoad not only reads texts aloud, but also turns your phone into a collision-warning system. Mount it below your rearview mirror and the app uses your phone’s camera to monitor both your position in the lane and the distance to the car in front of you.

Despina Stavrinos, an expert on distracted driving and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Alabama, prefers those apps that totally shut down texting.

“Removing the whole element of distracted driving is the best way to combat the issue, but I’m not in support of the ones that do talk-to-text,” she says. Dictating texts or listening to them, she explains, is a “cognitive distraction” akin to talking on the phone, which is less dangerous than taking your eyes off the road to text but still a serious distraction.

The fine print at 60 mph

The rapidly evolving technology of text-avoidance still has some kinks.

For instance, apps that automatically activate at high speeds can’t distinguish between users who are moving fast because they’re behind the wheel or because they’re a passenger in a car or train. Some have a password-protected override in the event that you’re not the one behind the wheel. (Meanwhile, a team of engineers at Rutgers University has developed an app that uses the car’s Bluetooth speaker system to determine where the phone is located, providing a possible solution to the passenger problem.)

Another issue is that few of the available text-shutdown apps work on the iPhone, which doesn’t allow apps to run in the background and affect basic phone functions like texting. (The iPhone version of, for instance, apologetically explains that reading text messages aloud “is not technically possible on iOS devices.”) The best bet for iPhone users is to dictate texts using Siri, though apps like JustDrive can at least be used by parents to monitor their teens’ behavior.

Finally, it’s worth noting that texting is hardly the only thing that can distract you on the road. As Stavrinos points out, “we pick on text messaging, but anything can take your attention off the road, even a child crying in the backseat.”

Anybody got a crying-child app?

Saving texters from themselves

The Top 30 Education Apps From 2007 To Today

The following is an excerpt from the August issue of the Edudemic Magazine for iPad. The full article lists off the top 50 apps (rather than just the 30 here). The app is free and issues are just a couple bucks. Cheaper than a cup of coffee but a lot more informative!

When I graduated from high school, my class advisor gave a commencement speech. In it, she shared words that I often think of, and I find that they ring true in many aspects of life.

“The days go so slowly, but the years just fly by!”

It’s true, isn’t it? Maybe you’re not a morning person and you dread that early morning wake up call each weekday, just plugging through so you can get to your ten a.m. (eleven? noon? Bueller?) wake up call on Saturday morning. And boom – you’ve done it- your week is gone and the weekend arrived, but suddenly…some YEARS have passed. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m still twenty-five.

But I digress. Technology, too, can sometimes seem to move slowly. We feel like we want faster downloads, more cloud storage, apps that do more, better hardware at lower prices – we’re all chomping at the bit for the newest, best stuff. Your nearly year old iMac might as well be new. But three years later, or worse, five (!!) , that old thing might as well be a dinosaur. When new things are released, we seem to breeze from one piece of technology to another, leaving the older stuff in the dust.

Since most of you are all wrapped up with the back-to-school season and all its accoutrements, we thought it would be fun to take a quick trip down memory lane. Looking at what was big a few years ago, you can really see how Education 2.0 and Back-To-School have changed over the years, and we’ll let you in on what’s new for 2012.

Quick side note: many of the apps from earlier years are no longer available or have evolved into a different app with a different name.


  • Sketchcast
  • Footnote
  • Voice Thread
  • Google Earth


  • Book Glutton
  • Posterous
  • Flowgram
  • Evernote (app)


  • Wallwisher
  • Proprofs
  • Blerp
  • Google Voice
  • PodOmatic


  • Sitehoover
  • Meeting Words
  • Flisti
  • Fotobabble
  • Google Timeline


  • Educaplay
  • Tildee
  • Webdoc
  • Caffien


  • Evernote
  • Paper
  • GoodReader
  • Bamboo Paper
  • iA Writer

To check out the top 50 apps from 2007 to today, download the August issue of the Edudemic Magazineand continue your walk down memory lane. Enjoy and thanks!

 The Top 30 Education Apps From 2007 To Today

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

by John Koetsier

This just may be a blinding flash of the obvious, but apparently we like ads that don’t suck. And fit into our current context. And give us something we want.

Whoda thunk?

MediaBrix, the app ad company, ran a survey to discover what people like and don’t like about advertising in apps: Facebook apps as well as mobile apps. I spoke with chief executive Ari Brandt yesterday to get the details.

The first result? We like ads

Well, I’ll qualify that.

We like ads more than paying for apps. On smartphones, 61 percent of us want free apps with ads, while 39 percent would pay to avoid the ads. For the cheapskates on Facebook, those numbers skew to 83 percent free, 13 percent paid.

That’s a consumer trend MediaBrix has embraced. But the company, which started out building marketing campaigns with standard Facebook ads, was looking for something better than a banner ad or a sponsored story.

Instead of interrupting apps, Brandt says, he wanted to integrate into them.

“In-app advertising needs to acknowledge, embrace and respect the user experience,” says Brandt. “Standard pre-rolls and traditional ad banners don’t really work in this space.”

So the company, which works with major game developers such as EA and King, and brands like Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola, started looking for alternatives.

The second result? We like the right ads, at the right time

Perhaps iAds had it right, partially. As many as 72 percent of Facebook app users prefer immersive, interactive ads to standard banner ads. The numbers for smartphone users: 60 percent versus 40 percent.

That might sound crazy, since an immersive and interactive ad demands more of your attention. A banner ad, after all, can be ignored.

But the key factor is the right offer at the right time. Here’s how Brandt explained it to me:

“Imagine you’re playing a game, and you need a power-up. So a message pops up and says: ‘John, your power is low. Interact with this Coca-Cola ad and receive five free power-ups.’”

The user is in charge: she can decide to accept the power-up or not. If she doesn’t, she continues playing the game as before. But if she does, the ad unit is engaging, built specifically for the game, and immediately rewarding. And that, apparently, is the key.

“We’ve seen amazing performance,” Brandt says, “including engagement rates as high as 20 percent.” MediaBrix’ click-through rates are high, he told me, as much as 2000 percent higher than Facebook promoted posts … which can have click-through rates of a fraction of a percentage point.

The third result? We hate pre-roll videos

Unsurprisingly, 63 percent of Facebook users don’t like pre-roll ads. And for once smartphone users are almost completely in agreement: 62 percent would prefer to have a choice to play the video or have it shown during a natural break in the app that they’re playing or using.

So MediaBrix created an interstitial-type product for session-based games.  One example is the popular app Fruit Ninja, says Brandt:

“When you complete a level, you get a message: ‘Congratulations, you just slashed 100 pieces of fruit. The next level is loading — please watch this message from our sponsor.”

The message, the art, and the entire ad is customized — integrated into the game experience.

The point for you?

If you’re an app developer, design custom ad experiences into your apps that are innovative and integrated into your user experience. And if you’re a marketer, don’t settle for interruption marketing or annoyance marketing.

Give something to get something.

In-app ads: How to get 20% engagement and 2000% higher click-through

Newton Coull Videos – We are a video performance network.

Apple’s new iPad hits the streets

Apple’s next-generation iPad goes on sale, while Yahoo goes on the patent offensive against Facebook. Also: the homeless hot spot controversy at South by Southwest.

by Steven Musil

week in review Eager iPad shoppers mobbed stores around the world in hopes of getting their hands on Apple’s next-generation tablet, which is already sold out online.

Wal-Mart’s 24-hour stores in the U.S. got the jump on Apple by selling the tablet a full eight hours before Apple stores even opened. There was limited supply, however. For example, dozens of people lined up at a Wal-Mart in Union City, Calif., which had 40 iPads to sell. And many left disappointed.

At Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York City, hundreds of iPad fans waited in the cold, damp weather, but the first iPad went to a man who had been in line since Monday. Protesters from were also there with a petition asking Apple for fair and ethical treatment of workers.

About 300 people braved the weather and construction in San Francisco to get the new iPad. To avoid blocking the front of neighboring stores, the company rented out a nearby parking lot, where about 100 shoppers were snaked into a line.

20 apps ready to go for the new iPad
Why most apps won’t be ready for the new iPad
Who should buy the new iPad
Apple offering up to $320 for iPad 2 trade-ins
Apple shares hit $600 ahead of new iPad release

Tools For The Internet

Apps Rush: Barefoot Atlas, Flight Control Rocket, Sky Gamblers, Little Fox Music Box, My Little Geek & more

What’s new on the app stores on Friday 16 March 2012

A selection of 19 new apps for you today:

Barefoot World Atlas

Book-app publisher Touch Press is back with an innovative atlas app for children, based on the Barefoot Books World Atlas. A spinning 3D global can be zoomed in on to check out animations, photos and historical objects, with text and narration from BBC presenter Nick Crane. It’s optimised for the new iPad’s Retina display too.

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy

Namco’s Sky Gamblers dogfighting game was one of three app demos at Apple’s launch for the new iPad, so it’s hotly anticipated. Its spiffing 3D visuals show off that device’s Retina display, but it runs on older iOS devices too. Expect 40 jets to fly, and a combination of solo and online multiplayer modes.
iPhone / iPad

Scramble With Friends Free

Zynga has ported its Boggle-like social game Scramble With Friends from iPhone to Android, opening up even more potential for competitive wordplay between friends. It involves finding words in a 4×4 letter grid in two-minute rounds, with players taking their turns at their leisure.

Flight Control Rocket

Now an EA studio, Aussie developer Firemint has launched an interstellar sequel to its hugely popular Flight Control game. It sees you guiding 15 different spacecraft into base safely, with robots chipping in to boost your score. It’s fully Retina-friendly for the new iPad too.
iPhone / iPad


EA has taken its latest FIFA football game to Android, with the usual big licensing stats (22 leagues, 500+ teams, more than 15,000 players), and silky-smooth gameplay.

Little Fox Music Box

This is a real work of craft: a “sing-along app” for iOS that teaches three songs to children using beautiful visuals, before letting them create their own tunes by tapping on objects in a fox’s treehouse. It’s the work of German developer Shape Minds and Moving Images.
iPhone / iPad

Mass Effect 3 Live Wallpaper

Nvidia and Bioware are making… live wallpapers? Yes indeed: this promotional download on Android kits your smartphone out in full Mass Effect 3 branding.

Qello – Watch HD Music Concerts

Live music website Qello has launched its first iOS app, which offers a large archive of gig videos from the likes of Jay-Z, Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, U2, Mumford & Sons and other artists. It’s free to download but costs £2.99 a month via an iTunes subscription.
iPhone / iPad

Dora’s Rhyming Word Adventure

There’s a definite increase in the number of rich apps for kids launching on Android, after a long time where iOS was the platform of choice for children’s apps. Dora the Explorer stars in this educational app from MTV Networks.

Zombie Jombie

Japanese social mobile gaming company Gree is setting its sights on western markets, with Zombie Jombie its first game on that score. It’s a card game that sees you battling zombies, while using in-app purchases to boost your prospects.


Another big EA franchise makes its way to Android, as 30 NBA duos do battle on the court with big dunks, tricks and a local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth multiplayer mode.

Read More!

Tools For The Internet

Apple Reaches 25 Billion Downloads From Its App Store

By Christina DesMarais

Apple is raking in huge profits on record smartphone and tablet sales, it’s become the world’s most valuable company based on its stock price, and now it has achieved another staggering feat: 25 billion apps have been downloaded from its app store, an average of three for every person on Earth.

Visit Apple’s home page and you’ll now see a huge banner announcing an incredible milestone. It’s a mind-boggling number, especially when you consider the world’s population is now at 7 billion.

Clearly, people love their apps. You have to wonder at what point app usage will overtake Web browsing, considering smartphone usage is at an all-time high.

According to Pew Internet, nearly half of American adults now own a smartphone. That’s an 11 percent increase in the number who owned one last May. The study also found that of the people who own a mobile phone, more are smartphone users than non-smartphone users.

Another factor that’s contributing to ever-increasing app usage is how well and fast many apps work compared to the experience users have when they access a site using a regular web browser. Take a look at ebay’s mobile app, for instance. If you’re at a store and find an item you’re interested in, you can open the app and in one click scan the barcode of the item. If the item is for sale on ebay you’ll have instant access to the auctions selling it. It’s the same thing with Amazon’s app as well as many others that make shopping, connecting or gaming super slick.

According to AppleInsider, Apple has paid developers more than $4 million and offers about 600,000 apps in its store. According to recent figures extrapolated by Aysmco, Apple has sold an estimated 410 million mobile devices as of the end of 2011. So if you take 25 billion downloads and divide it by 410 million you get about 61 apps per device.

Currently the top three best selling free apps in the App Store are Draw Something Free, The Simpsons: Tapped Out and Camera Awesome, although highly popular choices such as Temple Run, Pinterest, and Jetpack Joyride make the top 20. And you can always find perennial favorites such as Pandora Radio, Twitter and Facebook in the top 30 apps people are downloading.

The 25 billion download mark ends a promotion Apple had been touting in which the person to hit the milestone by downloading an app would win a $10,000 App Store gift card. No word yet on who the winner is.


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