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The 2013 Appy Awards are now closed. We'll be announcing finalists next week and awarding winners at SXSW on March 8th. Get your complimentary ticket to the Appy Awards Cocktail Party with any RSVP to OMMA Social or OMMA Mobile -- both happening on March 8th at SXSW.

Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures: Lions 

Kids. They're adorable. Especially when they're someone else's. But when they're yours, they canbe a handful. And there's nothing like an iPad to give you a little break by distracting and entertaining the little angel for as long as their attention span holds. All you need are the right apps. One of the best choices is the National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures: Lions. The app was created as a companion to NWF's new magazineRanger Rick Jr., spun off from 50-year-old kid-oriented magazineRanger Rick, and animated by award-winning Moonbot Studios, the app introduces Ricky Raccoon, a new character designed to guide kids through the grasslands of Africa where they will encounter among other things - you guessed it - lions.
The app is broken into three main sections: Explore, Play and Create. Given that we're dealing with the wilds of Africa, Explore is the best section. It leads kids on a lion's paw-print trail through the long dry grass, which hides many things - beautiful wildlife photography, videos, animations, fun facts, sticker prizes and links to the games that are housed in the Play section. There are five lion-themed games: Photo Safari, which uses thegyro in the iPad to present a 3D world visible only onscreen that you can navigate and photograph, while counting the lions in the pride; Hide and Seek, find the hidden cubs; What's Wrong? which asks you to find what doesn't belong in the picture and eliminate it by touching it; Jigsaw Puzzle, which uses an array of wildlife photos and lets you choose 9, 16 or 25 pieces; and Match Sounds, which asks you to match the sound to the animal that makes it.
In the Create section, there is a sticker board that let's you make a picture using all the animal stickers you presumably found in the Explore section. You can flip the images, add them multiple times to create a herd of zebras for example. Using familiar iPad gestures, you can enlarge, shrink, flip and rotate the sticker images. Before you know it you have a beautiful wildlife scene in front of you. If you're me, the centerpiece is a zebra on its side with a happy lion devouring its innards. Fun for the whole family. Animal piano arranges animal sounds on a keyboard, while Animal Builder will provide Junior with hours of delight making twisted beasts from half a dozen different animal's parts. There's also a collection of very short stories that function a bit like Mad Libs in which you choose a random assortment of words that are then spliced into innocuous animal stories.
I'd like to say I discovered this app, but in fact in the few short months it's been available on the iTunes store it's been written up,Parents.comand the New York Times, and named one of the Top 10 Kids' Apps of 2012 by Entertainment Weekly. Who am I to argue? Here's looking forward to more Ranger Rick Jr Appventures.
Available in the App Store


I wasn't excited about this iPhone-only app at first. Then I learned how to use it. Why, I thought, would I want to make a photo magazine of pictures from my phone? The answer is easy: the final product -- the photo magazine -- isn't for you. It's for the recipient. In my world, I would send the virtual magazines to the people in my life who would want bundled photos of things like my dog, the streets of NYC, my redecorated apartment -- think parents, grandparents, cross-country friends. The app is really easy to navigate and takes you directly into the photos already in your phone. From there you just tap the photos you want included in the "magazine," and voila! Since my dog and pictures of New York City comprise the majority of photos in my phone, I had two magazines in mind. Once I had chosen 5 or so photos of my dog, I clicked through and was able to edit the cover of the magazine. I chose a title (my dog's name), month and my name to be on the cover. Then I had the option of sending to anyone I wanted through a variety of means. My mother received the photos in her email, my old roommate received them via text and then I blasted it out to my Twitter feed for good measure. There is also the option to post to Facebook. Also, this app is free. Is there anything better? Available in the App Store

Jimmy John's Sandwich Cannon 

It will probably make users want a JJ sandwich -- which leads to the app's only problem: it doesn't include any information on store locators or a link back to the Web site. If you're looking for a goofy way to kill time and make your friends laugh, this app is a good choice. After all, if you know someone who doesn't like delicious sandwiches thrown at their face, then it's time to get new friends. Available in the App Store

CCFA's GI Buddy 

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's "GI Buddy" app for iPhone allows those living with an inflammatory bowel disease to better manage their symptoms and treatment. The app, which is a free iPhone download and also available via Web on your desktop, allows users to track their symptoms, interact with message boards that feature topics relevant to the disease, and generate reports based on the information input, among other features. The message boards include topics for young adults, women, symptom management, surgery, emotional wellness and treatments. Each topic has many threads where users can interact with and add to the discussions. One of the most interesting and useful features, however, is the reports section. Here, users can find a detailed daily log to take to their physician that includes information about how the user was feeling, what activities they had participated in and what they were eating on a certain day. There aren't many downsides to this helpful app, but they are worth pointing out. "GI Buddy" doesn't seem to be completely iPhone optimized -- there is no way to zoom in on message boards. Another frustrating feature is that the app is fixed vertically. Without the ability to zoom in on a topic or turn your device horizontally, users may find the technology slightly lacking. Overall, the app is a great tool for people living with Crohn's and colitis that should help users better organize their symptoms to manage their disease. Get the app here:

Proposal Pro 

I've been seeing their commercials on TV for weeks -- this 100+-year-old company is officially on my radar -- and probably that of everyone else in the NY area. Helzberg Diamonds has made their presence known just in time for Valentine's Day, the helpful holiday that reminds men to be romantic (and maybe some women too!). In the romance reminder category, Helzberg also created a FREE iPhone app the "Proposal Pro" to help plan the perfect proposal. Being a newlywed, I decided to test this out to see how it compared to my now husband's proposal. The app stacks up pretty well from a female's perspective. It includes a timeline for choosing the date, the ring (I'll take one of each, thanks!), getting the blessing of the parents, finding the right location (powered by Yelp), a proposal generator and the ability to share the news by connecting with Facebook (because of course she'll say yes after you did all of this work). This little helper also features a learning section to understand more about different ring types, the 4c's of diamonds, starting prices, and a store locator. This app is straightforward, easy to use, provides great information and a cool integration with Yelp -- the use of Facebookconnect is also a nice touch because it makes sense! I was also surprised because the proposal generator came up with some short and sweet proposals that I think any gal would be happy to hear. While I thought my husband's proposal to me was perfect, if he used this app to do plan it, I would have never been the wiser! Available in the App

Great News!! 

hAPPY Friday! Great news, the APPY Deadline has been extended until February 15th!! You have an extra two weeks to up your chances of winning a trophy at SXSW! BUT -today is the last day to SAVE $50 on each entry, so get going & good luck!!

Forever 21 

Who needs a schmancy fashion mag, when you can download the FREE Forever 21 app from the iTunes Store (available for both iPhone & iPad). Clearly 1 million fashionistas have seen the light! Fashion lovers can swipe their way through beautiful glossy editorial photos in the "lookbook" section curated by the company's top stylists. These looks (and more, of course!) can be purchased online via the app's interface or in store (via the store locator function). The super social user can go the extra mile and enter the barcode of their favorite F21 tog and share it out with friends on their favorite social network. The app also pulls in content from the Forever 21 blog, which includes some great Instagram snaps, interviews with fashion bloggers, runway news (for big budgets too!) and fashion trends. Deals and customer exclusives are offered via push messages. Every time a unique message is deployed, a 500% increase in traffic is seen on the Forever 21 shopping experience. Rated 4.5 stars in the App Store, the Forever 21 app boasts over 2000+ reviews from fans calling the app their "favorite fashion app" and an "easy shopping experience." The app itself is free, the clothes are not (but we can dream, right?). Available in the App Store

YP - Local Search & Gas Prices App 

Sure you may be able to find your dentist's phone number 87 different ways using your smart phone or tablet, but can you find a the best gas prices nearby and then plot the most efficient way to get there?? Probably not unless you have downloaded the FREE YP - Local Search & Gas Prices App. In case you didn't realize, YP is the modernized name for Yellow Pages. Thank you rebranding. This app brings the Yellow Pages into the the modern world. In addition to finding the best gas prices, you can search for local businesses, restaurants, bars, theaters, etc. The app itself organizes over 18 million local business profiles neatly in an easy to access way. The app furthers the opportunity for savings beyond just gas prices, it also provides information on local deals. Users can find the deals they like, save them within the app and be reminded about the deal's expiration. How many times have we all let an awesome Groupon deal for chocolate underwear filled with bees slip away, just because we have ADD and forgot! This will never happen with the YP app - and since these deals are local they are WAY more relevant.   Available in the App Store

ColorStrokes HD for iPad 

ColorStrokes HDIn 24 hours I will be laid out and down for the count. Many Americans will join me, tryptophan-stuffed and glassy-eyed, deciding whether to brave Black Friday or ride it out on the couch. If you choose the couch, I have an app for that. ColorStrokes HDYou're patiently working your way through the holiday season, but family and friends have gathered, food has been devoured, and the children are running amok. It feels like millions of photos have been taken - of the food, the family and the pets, so now what? Enter the holiday savior ColorStrokes HD for iPad and iPad mini. While your Uncle Bob is comatose on the couch, open the app, snap a pic of him, then start editing. The entire rainbow is available for you to draw, shade and doodle on your photo. Add colors, effects like sepia or soft light, and adjust the size of your brushstrokes. When your uncle comes to, you can show him your one-of-a-kind, original Thanksgiving masterpiece that features his glistening drool and turkey wattle. ColorStrokes HDThe app is so easy to use that the fun should be shared. Pass the iPad to the kids and let them edit the photo of Granny bent over and half way in the oven. You can take photos through the app, upload existing photos, or login to Facebook and use that photo of your dog that everyone is sick of looking at, but you refuse to backdown that Tuxford is most certainly cuter than Boo, and just because Boo is better trained to take a photo, that doesn't mean he's actually more photogenic.....but I digress. After you've perfected your photo, send it as a postcard, upload it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr...or click print for an old fashioned kind of holiday memory. ColorStrokes HD rings in at $1.99, but we all know funny photos and laughs with family and friends are priceless. Happy coloring. Available in the App Store