Posts tagged Vine

Best Apps By Category Of 2014 – Photo And Video

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With smartphone cameras increasing rapidly in quality, demand for apps that display and enhance these photos is similarly growing. Tons of photo and video apps have popped up, many focusing pretty much on the same thing: filters. Filters have become almost globally used, making your photos more lively and colorful. That is if you choose the right filter. Another photo editing technique, that has become popular, is a feature where you can blur sections of the background of your photo, making your subjects pop out even more.

Whether any of these actually make your photo better or not, that’s your opinion, but the apps that provide these features have become very widespread. So, to offer some guidance, I have put together my favorite photo and video apps of 2014:

Winner: Clips

I recently discovered Clips, (or should I say “Columbus-ed” Clips) and immediately knew I would always use it. Clips is a video editing app, allowing you to easily import, shoot and edit videos, wrapping it all up in a nice bow with two great features: the ability to add music and do voiceovers, both of which I have been struggling to do in other apps.

Clips lets you create short, entertaining films in a contemporary style, narrated by you, and with cuts taken from throughout of your journey. For example, a filmmaker using Clips could take inspiration from Casey Neistat. Animation is pretty much excluded from Clips, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create great films or just even fun outtakes. The great part about the app is how easy everything is, from the UI to the design, all understandable and simple.

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Runner Up:

Camu

Camu is a photo editing app, and a great one at that. Recently undergoing a significant design change, Camu lets you add filters to your photos just with a swipe and increase the contrast of the colors, which is great for making your photos bolder. Along with that, if you select the menu button at the bottom left of the photo, you can make a collage of photos, add blur, split the screen in two, add a timer, change the ratio of the sides and more. An easy to use import and export system is also integrated into Camu, allowing you to immediately send your edited photos to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and if they’re on the app, your friends directly. With all these features, and the only real downside being the fact that you actually have to open the app to use it rather than just swiping up and accessing it like Apple’s built-in camera app, otherwise I’d say that this is the best selfie taking app on the market. (Yes, I’m cringing inside.) Also, it’s a great app for taking beautiful, artistic shots good enough to be taken by an average camera.

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Other Best Apps:

Instagram

Obviously, I couldn’t exclude Instagram from this list. The app practically grandfathered the whole online photo editing and sharing movement and subcategory, but I have to say that although I ranked it #1 as best social media app, I personally like the photo and video editing capabilities of Camu and Clips better than Instagram, though ironically those apps are mostly used for exporting to Instagram…

Anyway, yes, Instagram does have a very detailed editing software, my favorite feature of which is the feature allowing you to simply tap and hold your picture to see it before and after the editing changes you made. So, in conclusion: I would pick the previously stated apps above Instagram for editing purposes only, but if you are going to post it to Instagram anyway, just use Instagram for crying out loud. The editing system is good enough, one of the best photo and video apps ever, in fact.

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Hyperlapse

Hyperlapses, a creative new film technique, is where a special program takes a video, and then in post speeds it up to make an interesting sped view of the world, great for use on clouds, cities, conventions, and more. Hyperlapse, Instagram’s first app release other than Instagram, can do just this, in style. You can take these hyperlapses, change multitude of the sped up to 12x, and then easily share or download your creation. Also, if you take a standard 6x hyperlapse, and then afterward change it back to 1x, or regular, all external movement in the scene will disappear, almost as if your hands weren’t shaking in the first place, although you know they were. Despite the name, Hyperlapse had many more uses than just creating hyperlapses, even though that enough would make a great app and is certainly a deserved successor to Instagram.

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Honorable Mentions:

Vine

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Best Apps By Category Of 2014 – Social Media

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If the App Store is a library, and each app was a book, that would be a pretty dang big library. And unlike books, apps can be updated, social, multiplayer, and iCloud compatible. Even in their own category, apps can bring you a completely different experience from other apps. It’s only logical that something with the same enormity as the App Store would have some good apps, and that’s certainly the case. There are many top-class apps out there, but like I said, there are a lot of them. So, I will pick the ones I used, the ones I like, to review under each category for 2014. To start off, I’ve picked the Social Media category, probably the most used category on the App Store as a whole. Just be forewarned – I don’t use Facebook, so that won’t be on here.

 

Winner: Instagram

Everybody knows Instagram. The 7th most popular social media app and site out there, the makers of Instagram perfected the photo sharing social media app. Literally there isn’t much more they could possible add. There is an easy direct messaging feature, easy integration with many third party photo apps, easy uploading and taking photos, and great aesthetics. The overall design is great, everything from the like button to the small orange semi-circle indicating you have a notification completes the look seamlessly. This app connects you to your friends, and lets them have a peek into your life and what you do, along with interacting with them via likes and direct messaging. Of course, the main thing that makes a social media app or site is the amount of users they have, and Instagram certainly isn’t short on those, with a current total of approximately 100 million. Great design, great user base, great app.

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Runner Up: 

Youtube

Although, in the current, popular definition of “social media”, Youtube is on the outer edge, I’ll still put it in here. With a incredible 1 billion average active users, Youtube has built such a following that it is one of the staples of the Internet itself, almost as much as Google. Which makes sense, as Google owns YouTube. As much as a website can, YouTube is a perfect site. And for this article’s sake, I should mention that the app is definitely as good, with a great mobile interface and design.

The ability to create media, such as video, and put it on a platform with so much attention that it makes, with enough hard work and good videos, it easy to become popular over the course of a couple years, is astounding. We live in an age of global information and sharing, and YouTube is just a great example of that. And besides all that, there is a gigantic wealth of information on YouTube in any topic, wether it’s educational, comedy, instructional, entertainment, music, vlogs, or whatever. It’s something that mankind has never had before, and should make full and deserving use of.

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Other Best Apps:

Vine

Unlike YouTube, Vine is definitely for pretty much entertainment only, as there’s not much you can say that’s educational in only 6 seconds. But, that time limit does make the app very addicting and appealing, as you can scroll for hours on end just watching these small clips of most likely comedy. At least, the 6 second limit gives it a unique quality of a definite social media, one that can be used by anyone, and even to communicate with friends.  My personal favorite feature is, although it is not unique to Vine, but that you can pause, start and easily edit your videos. This gives way to many more interesting possibilities, and you can search Zach King, someone who makes full use of that feature. Overall, although Vine isn’t my favorite of all social media, it does have it’s redeeming qualities that make it great for certain purposes.

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Quora

Quora, a smaller, lesser known social media site, is actually one of my favorite social media sites. The site and app is used as a social query platform. If you have a question that can’t be Googled, or needs the opinion of other people, you can put it on Quora. If it’s a reasonably good question, you can usually expect it to be answered. And if you know the answer to a question on the site, or just want to give your opinion, you can just as easily add your answer to the list of other people answers. Many fairly famous people are on the site, such as Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and some other celebrities that have sprouted in the Quora community. The amount of interesting opinions, real facts you wouldn’t have otherwise known, personal stories, and tons and tons of questions is what makes Quora a nice, quality social network.

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Honorable Mentions:

Twitter (follow us at @FFtechdotnet)

LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/amorganfftech)

Flipboard

 

 

Top 10 Apps Of The Year

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Top 10 Apps Of 2013

The time has finally come, when we at Fast Forward have to make the toughest decision of the year: the choice of the top 10 apps of the year. These apps that I have picked are my favorite apps from throughout the year, mixed in with the new, exciting, and most popular apps of 2013, year of the snake. Here they are:

#1: Waze

Maps and directional apps are becoming increasingly important in today’s society, especially since people are relying more than ever on smartphones rather than memorizing street names and how to get around. Waze definitely dominates, allowing users to post problems like bad traffic, police, fallen trees and more. This year, I have definitely used Waze more than even Google Maps, and was essential to living this year. All hail the Waze god!

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#2: QuizUp

QuizUp is truly the epitome of a great game. Trivia games don’t really have a high expectation, but with Quizup on the market, all the other apps have no chance at all. The very well designed and modern game allows users to play online users in a humongous variety topics, ranging from ancient history to dogs to Harry Potter. A social aspect allows you to thoroughly review your recent game, look at your stats and add friends which you can challenge. It’s so good, it would’ve done equally as good even if it was a paid app. This game certainly earns it’s spot in number 2.

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#3: Vine 

The Vine sensation has been sweeping the world, a social network dedicated to showing 6 second videos, which anyone can take right from their phone. This type of video has been popular for anyone to make a short film, topics ranging from art, experimental, cats, and most popular, comedy. Funny and incredible Vines have been topping the charts, such as a prank or someone throwing a basketball off a 60 story building and making it. The giant amount of users and videos makes what the app what it is, and it really is a great social network.

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#4: Duolingo

Duolingo has really sprouted into the big leagues in the past year, becoming the best and most popular language learning app. The unique social aspect of Duolingo’s approach to teaching sets it ahead of the rest, even the famous Rosetta Stone (the app, not the artifact). The app itself is also amazingly designed, allowing the user to surf through languages and lessons with ease. Learning languages has never been easier.

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#5: Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga. Who hasn’t heard of this sweet game that has taken over it’s category. The addictiveness of Candy Crush and it’s achievements, rewards, Facebook integration left everyone thinking “just one more level than I’ll go back to work”. Candy Crush is so immersive and addicting you could easily play for 10 minutes, then look up from the game and it turns out that it’s 2045. This is the ultimate game for wasting your life away, and has adults and kids global under it’s spell.

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#6: Snapchat

Taking pictures on the fly is really something phones excel at, and people (especially teenagers) like to take advantage of that by using Snapchat. Snapchat is essentially a social network that’s a mix of What’s App and Instagram. The great design lets you take a photo, then draw on it, add a caption to it and send it to another Snapchat user. But when it gets there, the other user holds their finger on it and only gets to look at it for 1-10 seconds, then it disappears forever, erasing the need to go back and delete texts or photos because of limited space. Snapchat is a very practical and fun social network, and it’s amount of downloads and users show that it’s idea is a success.

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#7: Clash Of Clans

It’s in our nature as a human being to want to control more and defeat our enemies. It’s called REVENGE. Clash of Clans is a village building strategy that lets us get the satisfaction of beating our opponents and stealing their gold. This multiplayer online game allows you to build up your village and grow in technology and land. The layout of the game makes it easy to run your village and at the same time chat with your Clan members in a social aspect. Tons of people all over the world are roughing it out with Clash Of Clans, and it has become very popular and a classic game.

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#8: Plague Inc.

The strategy category of games have recently exploded with a bunch of great apps, one of which is Plague Inc. Plague Inc is a hyper realistic game where your goal is to, well, kill the world and everyone in it. You start out with a basic bacteria and your goal in a game it to spread to all the world and kill everyone, but not too fast or your hosts will die but not to slow or the cure will be discovered. Plague Inc brings out the villain in everyone, showing you a world, with amazingly realistic events in a newscast above, where you can collect DNA points and evolve your disease. Definitely the best strategy game of the year.

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#9: Drafts

Many productivity apps are only useful to the overworked and people in need of organization, but Drafts places its uses right in the perfect spot. Everyone could profit from using Draft’s easy interface and it’s ability to distribute information. All you have to do is customize the settings, and when you, say, need to send yourself a quick reminder or post something to Facebook and Twitter at the same time, Drafts is your solution. You can quickly type something into the top section, then send it to one of Drafts many options, such as markdown, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Email, Text, Email to _____ (customizable), and many, many more. Drafts can serve you in many more ways than you could imagine, and is definitely a must need app.

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#10: Spotify

Pandora has been dominating the music services apps for years, now, but the time has come when a new option has arrived. Spotify. Spotify is a music app that you can download or play almost ANY song you could think of. There is also a radio, with no advertisements, unlike Pandora. You can make unlimited playlists and radios, but there is one small catch: it has a small monthly fee. Still, it is definitely worth it for those of us who spend ridiculously big amounts of money on iTunes, and is a very useful app for on the go music.

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And that’s it. If any of you don’t have any of these apps, I would highly recommend getting all of them. Below I have given out awards to three different apps; best design, Most Popular App, and Most Practical App. Watch out for my top tech and top app posts for 2014.

Best Design: QuizUp

Most Popular: Candy Crush Saga

Most Practical: Waze

 

 

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