The Best Offices Every Business Leader Should Tour

February 17, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Too often, the word offices conjures up images of drab, boring spaces with bad lighting, beige walls and a sea of monotonous cubicles. These spaces do little to inspire and spark creativity. But if you’re a business leader or you run your own company, your office space should be a direct reflection of your brand image - it should be a space that is unique and cultivates a well-rounded, motivated employee. If you’re seeking inspiration to jazz up your office spaces, here are a few high-powered companies that have created offices worthy of being emulated.

 Epic Systems Corporation

 Located in Verona, Wisconsin, Epic Systems Corporation is a tech company that produces electronic medical records. By definition, the business might sound humdrum and boring, but Epic has lived up to its name in terms of its office space. You can take a guided tour of its facilities which include, among many other themes, highlights like an Indiana Jones inspired tunnel, a hallway masked to look like the New York City subway and even a dry cleaning shop made to look like the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, Epic boasts various style conference rooms including a tree house space and futuristic designed rooms. The company’s boardroom even resembles a log cabin. And after you’ve toured this fabulous work environment, you can stay just outside of Madison, where you can rest up at Extended Stay America while in town. Chalk full of amenities, suites make anyone feel like a CEO of a high-powered company for a day.

Facebook

If you can score a tour of Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, you can experience a mini-community of creativity. Not only does Facebook boast loads of unusual wall art throughout its workspaces, but the company also appropriately outfits its employees. Employees can dine at the restaurants on site for free, take advantage of a video arcade or even go get their car fixed if they need a tune up.

Google Headquarters

Google Headquarters might not open up for tours, but if you know an employee, you are in for a treat. The site often referred to as Googleplex in Mountain View, California loads up the space with plenty of amenities for its employees. Volleyball courts, free campus bikes, gardens, tennis courts, soccer fields, a Frisbee golf course, nap pods, a bowling alley, slides and massage rooms put Google at the top of the list for being one of the best offices to work at across the country. Google Headquarters also has campus restaurants where employees can feast on breakfast, lunch and dinner without forking over a dime.

Microsoft

Microsoft has made its own small town in Redmond, Washington. Employees have the chance to use an onsite shopping mall, food courts, soccer fields and plenty of restaurants and eateries including a mini Pike Place, making it one of the best companies to be employed by in terms of work amenities. If you can’t score a tour of the offices, you can take a tour of the Microsoft Visitor Center. The visitor center boasts exhibits detailing the vision, products, culture and history of Microsoft. You can expect to see the latest Microsoft Research innovations along with the first personal computer. The Microsoft Visitor Center sits right on the Microsoft Campus.

These companies have hit the nail on the head, so to speak, when it comes to innovation and encouraging motivated, productive employees. So whether you’re a business owner or looking for a place to get your creative juices flowing, these companies are well worth taking a look at for inspiration.

 

6 Travel Apps you Need to Download

November 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Travel would not be possible it if weren’t for a little help from one’s friends, namely all of those apps in your pocket. In today’s world, you won’t have to worry about missing your flight or running out of gas thanks to many different travel apps. Before you take off on your next adventure, be sure to download these six essential apps.

 1.      Google Translate

The Google Translate app is practically a travel necessity if you plan on traveling to countries where they might not speak your local tongue. The app features over 70 languages where you can speak into the phone, type what you need translated or even take photographs of something you want deciphered. The Google Translate app is free to download and works on both Android and iPhone.

2.      Skype

When you want to stay in touch with family and friends back home but you don’t want the massive cell phone bill, you can use the Skype app. The app is available for Windows Phone, Android, iPhone, Nokia X and Blackberry. The Skype app allows you to make free face-to-face video calls as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. You can also send and receive messages for free on the app.

3.      TripIt

The free version of the TripIt app frequently tops lists of must-have travel apps. The travel itinerary app keeps you organized on the road and prevents the traveler from having to bring all sorts of paperwork for their flights and reservations. The TripIt app allows the user to send all of their trip-related emails to the app. TripIt then organizes all of your travel plans and keeps them in a nice and neat place. The app is available for free for Android and iPhone.

 4.      Google Maps

To make sure you never wander around lost for several hours on your travels, the Google Maps app allows you to get directions and maps in 220 countries and territories. The app also provides live accident and traffic information so you know what routes to avoid on your travels.

 5.      Gate Guru

 One of the best travel apps for those going by plane is Gate Guru. This app, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, helps you manage your flight from departure to arrival. Gate Guru features flight notifications that alert you of gate changes, boarding times and other status updates. It is also useful if you aren’t familiar with the airport as it provides a listing of all the amenities and restaurants near you.

 6.      Gas Buddy

 When you are in need of a good road trip planner app, GasBuddy is essential to have in your pocket. If you are looking to save on gas prices, this app helps you find the cheapest gas near you. It also tells you where gas stations are located along your route. GasBuddy is available for free for Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

 

With all of the right apps in hand to make travel that much easier, you can make another easy choice with your accommodations. Extended Stay America offers roomy suites where the whole family can spread out and relax. 

Great Museums and the Great Buildings That House Them

August 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

People tend to visit museums for what is inside of them. That’s the idea, right? To see excellently curated collections housed in great spaces? Absolutely. People, though, tend to overlook the importance of the great buildings that house the exhibitions—the buildings that are the first thing you see when you arrive and that frame each exhibition during your visit. America’s earliest museums, like New York City’s American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art, were architecturally modeled on the great Neo-Classical European museums. But during the twentieth century, we broke off on our own with cutting-edge museum designs, such as that of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle. Both the old-world museum designs of the nineteenth century and the experimental ones of the twentieth century have their charm and interact with exhibits in unique ways.

American Museum of Natural History: New York, New York

The American Museum of Natural History opened its column-flanked doors in 1869. Not yet 100 years old, the country was still being weaned off of an affiliation with European culture. It was European plays that were hits on Broadway, European opera singers who serenaded us, and European architecture that housed our greatest treasures. Though this has been modified to a degree by the addition of annexes to the Museum of Natural History over the years (such as the Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Gems and Minerals, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space), the building’s rooms are firmly divided in that nineteenth-century way that represented the division between categories of knowledge.

Science in the nineteenth century was characterized by much cataloging and categorizing. In the twenty-first century, though, information moves much more freely—a fact that is reflected in more contemporary museum designs. The American Museum of Natural History (the name itself is anachronistic—“natural history” is a nineteenth-century term for biology), then, is not only a museum of science but also a museum of the nineteenth-century scientific mind.

Experience Music Project: Seattle, Washington

The Experience Music Project is the absolute opposite of the American Museum of Natural History architecturally. It is post-modern where the Museum of Natural History is Neo-Classical; it is fluid and kinetic where the Museum of Natural History is rigid and solid. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum, dedicated to youth music from the ‘50s through the present, itself feels musical. In the same way that the songs in a great band’s or a great DJ’s set flow seamlessly into one another, the rooms housing museum exhibits flow together. The design of the building emphasizes the connection of all popular music in our global community. The newest exhibition, Hear My Train a Comin’: Hendrix Hits London, typifies this fluid, global ethos. The exhibit tells the story of Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix, who cut his teeth touring as a guitarist with acts like Little Richard and the Isley Brothers, jetting over to London at the behest of a Brit named Chas Chandler, who was more of a blues and rock-n-roll fanatic than many Americans were at the time. Hendrix was a global phenomenon from the start—a border-smashing rocker. The museum that houses his exhibit reflects the Hendrix border-crossing attitude—which is the post-modern cultural attitude that defines our age.

After a day of checking out some of the country’s most interesting museums and experiencing the interaction of their architecture and exhibitions, you’ll be ready for a well-designed hotel. Look no further than Extended Stay America: an amenity-rich hotel designed to make you feel at home.  

Take a Tech-Savvy Road Trip

June 12, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The future is now! People have been saying that for a long time—at least since the fifties—but now it’s really true. All sorts of technological innovations that were once just material for science fiction are now day-to-day realities. Remember Dick Tracy’s super futuristic video-chat wristwatch? We could totally have that now. We just don’t like wearing watches on our wrists anymore. But smartphones do everything Tracy’s watch did and more. Have you heard of the remote-controlled, cyborg-insect surveillance drones? If cyborgs aren’t futuristic, I don’t know what is. One could even make the argument that we are easing into being cyborgs of a sort, since we are becoming dependent on technology for absolutely everything we do. Who needs science fiction anymore? Science fact is just as boundary pushing now.

MIT Museum: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Much of our gee-whiz technology can be traced back to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). So you can bet they have the coolest tech museum around. It was at MIT that research into artificial intelligence (AI) really got its start—in 1959. The school is still all about AI and robotics. Its largest laboratory is the one dedicated to AI. The exhibition Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence at MIT at the MIT Museum opens up the results of decades of research to the public and makes it understandable to them. You’ll get an inside view of the cutting edge of robotics and see that all those apocalyptic robot attack movies miss the mark. The robots at MIT are forces for good. There are robots that perform surgery (reducing the invasiveness of surgical procedures), robotic legs (giving amputees the opportunity to be mobile like never before), and robots that know how to obey social cues in order not to be culturally offensive.

The Tech Museum of Innovation: San Jose, California

Appropriately enough, the Tech Museum of Innovation is in California’s Silicon Valley, the region that gave birth to the personal computer—which is responsible for the character of our technological age. In the Tech Silicon Valley Innovation Gallery, visitors get to explore how the technological innovations of the Valley are reconceptualizing our world. We live in a world where fusion is more possible than ever before, and it’s largely because of the minds of the Valley. The program Reface typifies the inclination toward fusion in the Valley. This computer program allows you to fuse disparate images into one. Have you ever wanted to see what a kid who has your eyes and your significant other’s mouth might look like? Then give Reface a whirl. Do you want to make a musical composition without putting in the time it takes to learn a traditional instrument? Then give the program known as Reactable a try. Just by moving cubes into unique positions, you can collaboratively create a composition with anyone else using the program. This software allows non-musicians located anywhere in the world to socially connect through musical composition. You can make a new song as you make a new friend. Now that’s music to my ears!

When your tech-filled day is through, you’ll probably want to take it easy with your family away from the hustle and bustle—but not somewhere that you’ll be cut off from technology. That’s why Extended Stay Hotels is perfect. You get the comfiest of on-the-road retreats, plus free Wi-Fi.   

A Recipe for a Tech-Savvy Vacation

October 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How many digital devices do you take along when you head out to work in the morning? By now, many of us will have counted more than one, and certainly no one answered none. When we go on vacation, this need for digital connection increases. You need devices to make sure you’re entertained when travelling gets tedious and to make sure you can document your trip in whatever medium you choose.

Vacationing is a technological feat however you look at it. Without advanced technology, like cars and planes, we wouldn’t be able to travel further than a horse could carry us. Cutting-edge technology ensures that, besides getting where you want to go in a reasonable amount of time, you are also entertained for the whole trip. And when you arrive, you have all the technological capabilities of home.

Eye-Fi Connect X-2 Memory Card

We’ve all met with the dreaded “memory full” message while taking pictures with a digital camera. Never end up needing to delete photos again in order to free up space with the Eye-Fi Connect X-2 Memory Card. This SDHC card, which can store quite a lot of pictures (about 2000), connects to Wi-Fi and sends your valuable pictures to the photo storage device, program or cloud site (including Facebook) of your choice. It’s like having a wafer-sized personal assistant with you.

Jawbone Jambox Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

I know I’m not the only one who misses beach parties with boom boxes. That little iPhone speaker just doesn’t cut it. You need something with real muscle. That’s where the Jawbone Jambox comes in. It’s small. It’s light. But it’s still undeniably a super-stylish boom box. It comes in a variety of colors and grill designs to suit your personality and your unique style.

iPad Motomount

The kids aren’t satisfied with singing songs and playing punch buggy during vacation drives anymore. They’re used to the constant entertainment of home. With the handy iPad Motomount, you just connect an iPad to the back of your vehicle’s seat, and ka-zam, the kids are entertained. And when they’re having a good time, you’re having a stress-free time. The iPad also stays still when the car meets with turbulence.

Coffee Cup Power Inverter

Your car’s cigarette lighter supplies DC power, and your electronic devices want AC power. There’s a handy-dandy solution to this problem: the Coffee Cup Power Inverter. This device, both stylish and utilitarian, fits firmly in standard coffee-cup holders. It looks just like a to-go coffee cup, yet it is actually a device supplying much-needed AC power to you through two outlets and a USB jack. Your devices need energy as much as you do. Get the Coffee Cup Power Inverter so that they can get their “caffeine” fix, too.

Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter

If you’ve got your kids in the backseat watching a movie (one they’ve likely seen many, many times before), you may not want to listen to the sound. A solution to this allows all the kids to listen to sound from the same movie on headphones using the Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter. With this useful little device, five separate sets of headphones can listen to the same audio source.

After a day of tech-savvy vacation, you’ll want to kick back at a comfy, tech-friendly hotel—one with free Wi-Fi, so you can send those photos you took with your X-2 memory card to your storage device or the cloud. Extended Stay Hotels have everything you need to satisfy your tech needs and your family’s needs.

Modern Travel Devices for the Modern World

September 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

We live in a tech world. The future is now! All those science fiction movies our parents and grandparents watched were about our present. Leaving your house without your digital devices is pretty much unthinkable. You would certainly never dream of going travelling without your gadgets. You absolutely need them for work and fun in the modern world. But it really is quite a big hassle taking your home tech gear on the road with you. It can make you feel like a touring rock band or carnival, toting all that bulky gear. Unless you have roadies or carnies to carry your stuff for you, it’s a wise move to have separate home and travel tech gear—stable, workhorse gear for the home and sleek, portable gear for the road.

Organization

First off, you need a case to put your tablet computer and other small digital devices and power cords in when you’re on the road. You don’t want this stuff taking up space in your suitcases and getting lost in them. The Grid-It Wrap is the perfect solution. Its grid of elastic bands holds tightly onto all your small devices and power chords, and its neoprene pocket holds your tablet computer as snugly as a kangaroo holds its baby. Because the Grid-It Wrap is an open field of elastic bands layered over one another, you can arrange your devices however you like. There are no pre-determined slots here telling you how to organize your life. This Grid-It is 100% personalizeable. It’s 100% you. This sleek and efficient tool can be slipped into your laptop case when it is loaded up. Then all your tech gear is in the same place.

Power

Does your laptop always run out of juice on long flights? Then you’re forced to watch VH1 Classic for two hours. Well... I guess that’s really not that bad. But if you’ve got work to do, it’s very frustrating not to be able to do it with all that free time on your hands. The solution to this problem is Apple’s MagSafe Airline Adapter. Apple’s air- travel adapter plugs into the power outlets that many airlines have on their seats. And since this is the MagSafe power adapter that many of us have come to know and love, you don’t have to worry about clumsy people knocking your computer to the floor on their way to the bathroom. The chord, with its magnetic tip, will release if tugged on hard enough. The Airline Adapter does not charge your laptop’s battery, but it will keep it running during your flight so you can work (or watch YouTube videos of kittens).

Connectivity

Have you ever found yourself sitting in a charming café on a beautiful day? It’s the perfect situation to get work done. Coffee and sunshine do magic for motivation. Then you discover, to your utter dismay, that the café has no Wi-Fi? The solution really is to carry your own WiFi hotspot with you. And why not look hot while you do it? How can you look hot and be a hotspot at once? With Brookstone’s WiFi/2GB USB Cufflinks. The sort of thing that Q would give to James Bond, these silver cufflinks contain 2GB Flash drives (for your espionage, of course) and come with software that will enable your computer to connect to its very own hotspot when one of the cufflinks is plugged into a USB port.

Comfort

After a day of travelling around in the modern world, you’re probably just going to want some good old-fashioned relaxation. Extended Stay Hotels offers you just that, without sacrificing modern technological conveniences—like free Wi-Fi.

The Microsoft Surface: Should We Believe the Hype?

July 20, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

From GPS to iPhones and other technological conveniences, Road Warriors everywhere benefit from these nifty gadgets. The latest shot fired in the tablet-computer wars is the Microsoft Surface—Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPad.

The questions beg to be asked: Can the surface make more than a surface wound in the massive iPad market share? Will history repeat itself? Will Microsoft again dominate Apple (and the world) with a system based on one that Apple developed? I am, of course, referring to the Windows PCs’ (which used a graphical user interface, very-much based on Apple’s Macintosh and Lisa operating systems) domination of Apple computers in the 90s.

Hewlett-Packard, one of the super-powerful makers of PCs that dominated Apple in the 90s, and Research in Motion, maker of the popular Blackberry smartphone, have both tried to take on the iPad juggernaut, and both have failed to make more than a dent in its market share. So will Microsoft fare any better?

Microsoft has a mixed record when it comes to introducing its own hardware. The Xbox was a smash hit and is now the world’s best-selling personal-gaming console—by no means, an easy accomplishment. When Microsoft released the Xbox in 2001 (which was its first foray into the personal-gaming-system market), it was entering a market with already entrenched, dominant players—Nintendo, Sega and Sony. So Microsoft has experience gaining dominance in a market already solidly dominated by other firms.

However, its attempt, in 2006, to launch a pocket-size mp3 player to compete with the iPod, the Zune, was a smash flop. So Microsoft also has experience (very recent experience) being dominated by an established firm—and that firm just happens to be Apple.

International Data Corporation has forecast that the iPad will account for 62.5% of the tablet-computer sales this year, which is up four percentage points from last year. What does the Surface have in its arsenal to slow down the Apple steamroller, which is just gaining more and more momentum? Well, unfortunately, we really don’t know what kind of heat the Surface is packing. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tried to replicate the excitement of an Apple product release at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on June 8th.

While an Apple product release tends to pull back the curtain and let us collectively drool over the product’s creative capabilities, the release of the Surface was all surface. Many of the substantial details about the product were left out.

First, we don’t known when we’ll be able to lay our hands on a Surface. Ballmer did not give all the loyal PC-users a release date to circle on their Windows calendars. We have been told that the cheaper, more portable, but less powerful model, the Windows RT Surface, is going to be released three months before the more powerful Windows 8 Pro Surface. But when will that be? Maybe by the back-to-school season? Maybe by the Christmas season? No one knows for sure.

Second, we do not know the technical specs of the Surface. While we were told that the consumer-model Surface will have an ARM processor at its core, and the more professional model will be powered by a 3rd generation Intel processor, we do not know which ARP processor and which Intel processor Microsoft is talking about.

Five Years from Now: What Our Technological Future Will Be

April 6, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Just five years ago, the technology landscape was quite a bit different than it is today: The now-ubiquitous iPhone had just been unveiled. There was no iPad, no Google Docs; and MySpace was at the top of the Internet social-networking heap. With everything moving so fast, what new technology—improving our businesses, travel abilities and lives overall—will we be using in just five years?

As Apple has been at the vanguard of developments in personal-computing technology and style in the last thirty years, what we are all dying to know is what Apple will do in the next five years. But Apple, probably the most secretive of the technology companies, is not in the prognostication business. So we have to turn, for predictions, to the wizened granddaddy of the Silicon Valley technology companies: IBM. In late 2011, Big Blue made five grand predictions of life-changing leaps in technology that will take place over the next five years.

  • “I Sing the Body Electric” will no longer be just a poetic phrase.

IBM predicts that five years from now, the dynamic energy created by the physical activities that we undertake will be harnessed by devices and transformed into electricity to power homes, offices, vehicles and even whole towns and cities. Your steps on your morning run, your pedals on your bicycle commute to work, your son’s annoying booms and bams on his drum kit—all of these movements create energy—energy that we only use once. This energy can be recycled, just as physical resources like bottles and cans are, and used again. IBM predicts that in five years, we will not need solar panels in order to give back to the grid.

  • Passwords will become truly individual.

Isn’t it annoying having to remember ten different passwords (at least) for all your separate accounts? We do it without thinking about what a hassle it is—just like we used to memorize many phone numbers and rewind VHS tapes without being bothered by the extra work. Luckily for us, the folks at IBM (and at other tech companies, no doubt) have been working on eliminating this nuisance.

IBM predicts that in the next five years, we will log into our e-mail, social-networking and bank accounts biometrically—that is, computer systems will recognize us and allow us access to our accounts based on our individual physiologies (the way our faces look, our eyes look, our voices sound, etc.).

  • The elimination of technology poverty will help end actual poverty.

Because, IBM says, smartphones and tablet computers with access to the Internet through satellite networks will become broadly and affordably available to all the world’s people, rich and poor, over the next five years, healthcare will improve, and people’s ability to get their products to markets, remote and near, will improve.

People in isolated rural areas will be aware when the travelling doctor is coming to town, and they will no longer have to waste time waiting for her arrival day after day. People who produce products that have no market in their local village but that would sell quite well in wealthier parts of the world will be able to make arrangements to get microloans to fund production of their products and arrange to have them shipped to remote locations via their smartphones and tablets.

  • Junk mail will be thrown on the junk heap of history.

We are already getting personalized advertisements on some web pages we view based on our browsing histories. IBM predicts this will carry over into the sphere of e-mail. We will no longer get spam—strictly speaking. We still may be annoyed by the amount of advertising that lands in our inbox, but the advertising will be for items we have expressed interest in.

Improvements in our technological future will greatly benefit our businesses, our economy, our ability to travel more efficiently and our lives in general. Technologically, we’ve travelled far, but we have even more exciting destinations in our future.

To Buy or Not to Buy: Is the New PlayStation Vita Worth the Hype?

March 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PlayStation has been a busy beaver in recent months, and with the recent release of its new PS Vita, markets around the US and Europe have finally gotten a chance to play with the new “revolutionary” handheld gaming console. This new gaming console is supposed to revolutionize the way that gamers play, especially while they travel across the country. If you are considering investing in a portable gaming option, then this might be the new toy for you.

The Advantages of the PlayStation Vita

The Japanese gaming markets made it apparent that this new console is preferable to the PlayStation 3, and it has even sold three times more than its larger, stationary counterpart. It still is still yet to be determined whether the PS Vita is going to outsell the Nintendo 3DS or the PSP, which have been selling very well in past months.

So what’s the big deal with the PlayStation Vita, and why should you invest in it? Why would this be considered the end-all for gamers to enjoy while they travel and while they enjoy their free time at home?

  1. All the Extras

Firstly, it will boast dual analog sticks. Add that on top of motion sensors and front and rear cameras, and you will not be lacking any element of the gaming and social media. Even social gaming is easier with various forums for individuals to chat about games and to form groups for team play. There are also apps for gamers to download to make the system even better.

  1. Advanced Internet Capabilities

Some critics are calling the Vita an “almost smartphone” for its handiness. For example, you can have 3G coverage added to your Vita that would give you Internet access wherever you go. In addition, the Vita also allows you to see who of your friends are playing nearby you through the GPS, and it allows you to find the cheat codes you need on the browser. The only thing this product can’t do is allow users to make phone calls, but you can console yourself with a movie from Netflix, if you so choose.

  1. A Variety of Games and Purchase Options

Sony also brought along some of the top franchises in the gaming industry to make the purchase even better. For example, you can play Marvel vs. Capcom 3, or you can also enjoy FIFA soccer. A bonus about this new gaming system is that you can either purchase your new games for Vita through a retail store or through the online store on Vita.

  1. Bigger and Better

It’s nice to have a gaming system that is handy and portable, but it is also nice to have a clear screen. If your son or daughter is using this gaming system while on the road, he or she will want to be able to see things clearly. That’s where the five-inch screen in the middle of the console comes in. Be aware: the Vita is not a small device; it weighs over half a pound. In addition, the system stands at 3.2 inches, and it boasts a 7.2-inch width.

This is definitely an impressive toy, and if you are considering purchasing one, you might want to spend a few hours fiddling with it until it’s mastered.

The Best of the Best: Wired’s Top App choices

February 13, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wired magazine has been the online go-to guide for technology lovers and Internet addicts alike, especially when there are new electronics and gadgets coming out. Now, the team at Wired has reviewed 400 apps for iPhones and Androids alike for their App Guide, and they have selected a few of their favorites and must-haves. Some are useful for everyday life, while some are for sheer entertainment. Regardless of what purpose they serve, these apps are worth the few dollars you spend on them.

Wired covered hundreds of apps, and we have picked a few of our favorites to show you. To read the rest, check out Wired.com’s app catalog.

Top Social Apps

1. Foursquare – Free

If you are unfamiliar with this app, then you’ve been missing out on other people’s opinions of the world around you. Meant to help you track where you go on a regular basis, Foursquare can also introduce you to new restaurants, new clubs and new businesses in your near proximity. People can create lists of their favorite things to do, and you can access them to see what you want to do as well. People also leave tips for newbies.

2. imo Instant Messenger – Free

There are a lot of social chat websites available for phones and tablets. However, imo offers not just messaging services, but it also offers group chats, voice IMs and video and photo sharing. Unlike other messenger services, users can easily choose which messenger accounts to have on and off at any given time with the simple push of a button.

Top Lifestyle Apps

1. Grocery iQ – Free

This is ideal for individuals who are constantly forgetting their grocery lists. Users can search for their favorite brands of foods from the database, and they can also select their favorite grocery stores and products for the app to remember. If you’re out of something at home, use the smartphone to scan the barcode, and the app will add the product to your list. This app can even be so fine-tuned that you can narrow down the aisles that products are found in.

2. My Tracks – Free

This Android app is for those looking to keep track of their exercise progress. Using Google Doc and Google Maps, hikers, runners and walkers can track their routes as they progress, or they can save it for later to compare with other trips. Purchase an external strap, and you can even add heart rate monitoring to the app’s abilities.

The Essentials

1. Flipboard – Free

This is ideal for those who constantly find themselves in between tasks with idle time on their hands. Flipboard prides itself on being a “pocket-sized social magazine,” and has all the mainstream magazines you want to read available at the touch of your fingertips. You can also find your favorite blogs and websites on here so that you can jump easily from medium to medium. Of course, you want to still keep on top of what your friends are doing, so be sure to check out the Facebook and Twitter feeds on the app as well.

2. StreamToMe – $3

This app is one that is worth every penny paid for it and more. Made for Mac users with an affinity for music, this app converts various file formats and allows you to live-transcode and then stream the content onto your iPhone or iPad. This means that the old videos you couldn’t play before are suddenly Mac product friendly. It will feel just like having the content copied onto your mobile device.