The Platter — 21 April 2013
Sundays are fast becoming our favorite days of the month. We love (and appreciate) the feedback we’ve been receiving for our platters and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s this week’s Platter for you.
We love coming across little projects undertaken by web developers to either showcase their skills or experiment with modern web technologies. Artem Polikarpov has put together this wonderful little project he calls Garmoshka. A Garmon is a sort of Russian accordion and he’s built a web-based one that you can play by resizing your browser window. Isn’t this just a fantastic way of building a responsive website? You should definitely check it out here.
No matter how good Calcbot once was, Tapbots have more than abandoned the app and we’ve been looking for a good replacement for a while now. A few days ago, we wrote about Llumino, a delightful calculator app that we, along with a lot of our readers, loved. Today, we have another such app to recommend — one that offers a toned down experience & is very gesture & feature-rich. Calzy is a calculator app that performs calculations very elegantly and as you type. It has sounds and a very likeable UI. It supports parenthesis for your calculations. If you turn your phone into Landscape, it spells out the result for you. You can swipe up on the keypad to reveal options for history, settings, sounds & rotation lock. Swiping down reveals quotes that you can tweet out. You can swipe left or right on the results display to undo/redo. Calzy is a Universal app and costs just $0.99 on the App Store.
Our favorite little messenger app that no one uses got a nice 2.0 update this week. hike messenger was updated with little tweaks and updates to the UI that make it a notch better than it already was. The update brings status updates and “moods” that you can set for your profile. There are also some lovely stickers to use in your updates, including team stickers for your favorite IPL teams, that your ‘Circle of Friends’ can view. The update also revamps the design of the profile view and adds a counter of unread messages when chatting. We were hoping version 2.0 would be a substantial update to the app, either brining iPad support or may be a companion Mac app. But this has been more of a evolutionary update to hike. It presently lacks a Blackberry app and hence almost 80% of my local friends cannot use the service. We really hope they bring in these improvements soon.
We can’t believe it has already been a year since Read It Later was rebranded as Pocket. Pocket has become one of our most used apps and we even included it in our Editor’s Choice of 2012. It received a major update a year after being rebranded. Pocket now has its own custom sharing sheet for services like Evernote and Buffer. You can also share articles with friends from within the app by email. Shared articles show up within the app with a push notification if the other person has the app installed and recent friends appear in the custom share sheet. The update is great and we kept getting more and more impressed by what they do. Pocket is available for Free on the App Store and Google Play.
Chat Heads by Facebook
Facebook isn’t known to be great with mobile apps. Their apps on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone have been more or less terrible since they weren’t native apps. Facebook recently announced and released a new launcher for Android phones called Facebook Home. They even released a Facebook branded phone made by HTC. The thing that stood out the most in their presentation was their chat head feature in Facebook Messenger. On Android in particular, it is pretty amazing. Instead of just getting a notification for a new chat or message, the senders head pops up in a circle on the side of the screen and tapping this reveals a quick reply window with your conversation. Animations are very fluid and the chat head feature in messenger is probably the best thing Facebook has done in a while. The iOS app has chat heads only within the app due to iOS restrictions. Facebook Messenger for Android is available for Free on Google Play.
Ever since Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo! as the new CEO, there have been huge changes taking place. The company has gone for a complete rebranding recently and with it comes new apps like Yahoo! Weather for iPhone. The iPhone has had an in built app from the start with weather information provided by Yahoo! so a stand alone app release was a little surprising. The app features crisp typography and a dynamic background that changes based on your location with stunning photographs from Flickr. Yahoo! Weather pleases the minimal weather app fan and the weather app enthusiast with both a minimal layout and great animations with detailed weather conditions. Swiping up at any time reveals a detailed hourly forecast for the next 12 hours and a summary of the weather for the next 5 days. There is also a map, precipitation measurements and an animated windmill indicating the wind conditions. There’s too much to love in this app and there are a whole lot of subtle animations like the blurring of the background as you swipe up among others. Our only real complaint with the app is the icon. Yahoo! Weather is available for Free on the App Store for iPhone.
Imagine Instagram for lines of code — that’s Instacodes for you. Instead of
artistic photos photos of food stuff, developers can paste some lines of actual code or just something funny in the web app and then proceed to add effects to it. Once you’re done, you can add an optional caption and publish it. The site also lets you browse the Top instacodes for today, the month and the best ever Instacodes. Some of them are really funny.
Know a website, app or something else that would look great on next week’s Platter? Let us know!