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Monday, March 5th 2012. | Software News

apps-300x214It’s been more than a decade since IBM released Simon, the first-ever smartphone. Now, whether on the iPhone or iPad, an Android, BlackBerry or Palm, portable technology is finding its way into the pockets of students, and the battle between distraction and diligence spills over into the classroom.

Aside from the ongoing debate between professor and pupil over what is permitted in class, a more important question remains: What’s hot and
what’s not? Here’s a list of our favorite ways to produce or procrastinate.

Apps that distract:

Angry Birds: It seems like everyone and their grandmother has this running on their iPhone, Android device, Google Phone or desktop. For $4.99 users can hurl wingless critters at green pigs that have a predisposition to robbing the cradle. Rescue your unborn brethren today in Angry Birds: Seasons, Rio and, coming soon to a phone near you, Space.

Temple Run: This app has been blowing up in 2012, and for good reason. Gameplay is simple and highly addictive in this third person romp through the jungle as users take control of Guy Dangerous, treasure hunter extraordinaire. However entertaining, a free app such as this, restricted to iPhone and Android users, is the epitome of distracting, according to senior English major Christine Ritchie.

“Absolutely nothing about it could increase personal efficiency unless you count the efficiency of finger swiping techniques,” said Ritchie about this classic time-waster.

Tap DJ: Recommended for lovers of house parties, sampling and scratching. This gem, available from the Apple App Store at a reasonable $1.99, puts a working DJ setup in your back pocket. With the ones and twos at your disposal at any time, this app is a real winner for those looking to spin some records without breaking the bank.

“It is a crowd-pleaser,” senior marketing major, Trevor Campbell, said. “The party is not stalled, and you can continue to party rock until the sun comes up.”

Words with Friends
: The real question here is who doesn’t have this app on their phone? Zynga really brought it with WWF and their other “with friends” applications, including Chess, Hanging and Scramble. Words can be yours for $2.99 but a free version, cluttered with ads, is available for ballers on a budget.

Twitter: Oh Twitter, sweet, sweet Twitter, where would society be without thee? Social networking apps such as this one, and the almighty Facebook, can arguably be productive but the argument tends to fall flat when it comes to class time. With Ashton Kutcher, Mark Hoppus and Jimmy Fallon tweeting random nonsense throughout the day it’s impossible not to log on and share a laugh, or maybe even a cringe. Lucky for you the vapid, social institution that is Twitter is available free of charge and on any platform under the sun.

Apps that give back:

: For all you foodies and health freaks out there, this one’s for you. At the grocery store looking for a healthy option? Simply scan the barcode with your iPhone or Android device and find out what really lurks inside that bag of pork rinds.

“In a lot of ways it increases efficiency when deciding between two food products,” senior business major, Chad Maxey, said. “However, I spend a little too much time scanning every single item I’d even consider buying. So I’m sure it extends the overall time I’m spending getting groceries.”

: Whether it’s a hot date or an intimate outing with you and yourself, having a box office at your fingertips is likely to both impress that tall glass of water from your office and streamline your movie experience. For nothing more than diddly-squat, cell phone users everywhere can buy tickets, read and write reviews, check local listings and even watch trailers.

Yelp: No, this isn’t one of those obnoxious talking dog apps, and thank goodness for that. Yelp is a traveler’s dream; directions to and from eateries and opera houses are easily accessible, users can check-in and review their sought after destinations and nearby hot spots can be located with a single tap. For people constantly on the go, this free app is a must-have and is available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Palm Pre.

Pulse News: This free app, available exclusively for Android and iPhone users, channels all your news and mass media consumption into one easily navigable and colorful interface. Everything from the Skateboard Mag to the New York Times can be dialed and organized into this app, giving those eager to stay informed a one-stop shop for their informational needs.

The Weather Channel: Anyone that has used the weather app on their iPhone knows that it’s a poor excuse for meteorological consistency. Fortunately the all powerful Weather Channel has issued an alternative for those that don’t necessarily like being caught in the rain. The highs, the lows, snow and beach conditions and customizable weather maps provided by the app will certainly keep those storms at bay, or at least slightly more avoidable.

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