Freaky Friday – FountainDrink

Freaky Friday – FountainDrink

Jul 29, 2011

If, like me, you won’t leave the house unless you’re certain that a specific brand of soft drink is waiting for you at your chosen restaurant/slop hole, then this week’s Freaky Friday app could be just what you’re looking for. Unless you don’t live in America, in which case, please stick around for the misguided attempts at humour and the pictures at the end.

FountainDrink is an app that lists a few of the major brand soft drinks, and then tells you whether or not you can pick them up at major brand restaurants throughout the US. Instead of doing this in a way that’s pleasing on the eye, it decides that ugly menus and poorly designed user interfaces are the way forward.

It’s weird, because the app could actually be useful if it gave more useful information. No one ever got to a restaurant, sat down, looked at the menu and then decided to leave because they couldn’t get Sprite. At least, I hope that’s never happened, but I have been wrong before.

Few Freaky Friday apps have potential, but if FountainDrink offered a more comprehensive service, then it might actually become a useful tool. I, for one, like to know what’s on the menu before I head out into the wilds of the food world. Forewarned is forearmed. And having forearms is important.

As it is, FountainDrink is a pointless little thing, drifiting along in the highways and byways of the Android Market, unloved and ignored by most. Maybe, if you’re the sort of person who only drinks a specific type of carbonated beverage, you might find some use for it. Then again, if you’re the sort of person who only drinks a specific type of carbonated beverage, you probably already know which restaurants sell it. Because you’re weird.

FountainDrink is available now, for free, from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – InspireMe

Freaky Friday – InspireMe

Jul 22, 2011

If you ever need cheering up, head over to the “lifestyle” section of the Android Market and tap through to the “just in” section. Some of the apps you’ll find in that bizarre, half-dark, neon-lit back alley of Android ownership will make you laugh out loud. If you’re feeling brave, you could even read the item descriptions. Comedy. Gold.

Take this week’s Freaky Friday app, InspireMe. It’s one of those apps that tries to make your life better. It doesn’t do this by replacing an outdated tool or finding a new and easier way to perform a task, but by filling your brain with new ideas and new ways of looking at the world. Every day, you get a quote, a meditation and a few questions you should ponder whilst meandering through your daily doings.

For example, today’s meditation asks whether we should stand up and take control of our lives, or be a member of the herd and do what we’re told to do. In certain situations, I think the herd mentality might win over. Like when crossing roads. No one wants to be an individual when they’re crossing roads. Or driving. I suppose being an individual on the train will probably ensure you never have to sit next to anyone though.

You can even share the thoughts and meditations for the day with your friends and loved ones. Again though, don’t do it whilst you’re crossing the road, because that’s going to be dangerous as well.

If, like me, you’re a hopeless cynic, then you’ll find InspireMe hilarious and a little bit creepy. Just consider this – if you’re an individual and you’re special and important and free thinking, why would you need an app, that posts the same quotes out to everyone who uses it, to tell you that. Chant with me now, “We’re all individuals!”

I’m not.

InspireMe is available now, for free, from the Android Market

Freaky Friday – Ghost Radar Classic

Freaky Friday – Ghost Radar Classic

Jul 15, 2011

This week’s Freaky Friday app is one that could well be the difference between life and death. Or, more precisely, death and death. Or, even more precisely, it’s a lot of old nonsense that doesn’t mean a thing.

Ghost Radar Classic is a ghost radar; not quite sure why it’s classic, though. It displays a spinning, pretend radar dial, and can, apparently, detect the presence of paranormal phenomenon. You’ll no doubt be glad to know that there are no ghosts, ghouls or poltergeists in my house at the moment, although I’m keeping the app on just in case.

For some reason, the app also keeps saying words at me. It just said “was”. I don’t know what that means. Apparently, Ghost Radar Classic uses the technology in your phone to read the environment around you for the tell tale signs of the paranormal. Still no ghosts here, which is a bit disappointing to be honest.

There are plenty of numbers on the screen, and they keep changing, but the app doesn’t explain what they actually mean. Maybe I am surrounded by ghosts, maybe this post will be my last message to the outside world before I’m slaughtered by unseen terrors from beyond the grave.

If you’re the sort who wants to know whether there are ghosts in your vicinity, then Ghost Radar Classic is almost certainly the app for you. If you’re of a slightly more rational bent, then maybe you should consider downloading something more useful, like an app that just puts random numbers on the screen. Oh. Wait.

Now the app is saying “also” at me. There are still no blips on the radar though, so I think I’m safe. Wait. What was that? Oh good grief, it’s coming out of the walls! It’s coming out of the walls!

Ghost Radar Classic is available now, for free, from the Android Market

Freaky Friday – Good Fortune Cookie

Freaky Friday – Good Fortune Cookie

Jul 8, 2011

Some apps deserve their special place in our torrent of the terrible because they’re badly put together, others gain access by warrant of their uselessness. It takes a special kind of freakishness to manage to get on for both, but this week’s entrant has done just that.

Good Fortune Cookie is a fortune cookie simulator. So, if you’re one of the few who just can’t get enough of poorly written generalisations and numerical nonsense, then this is the app for you. Unless, like me, you think that the whole point of a fortune cookie lies in its communal reading after some good Chinese food.

Sitting on your own, shaking your phone, reading the random fortunes that pop up clunkily on-screen is hardly my idea of a good night in. The fact that the app is poorly built and clearly hasn’t been tested on enough phones to realise that not all Android models have the same screen resolution, is testament to just how unnecessary it is.

If they were comedy or bizarre fortunes, then I could see the point, but they’re not. They’re just straight up, “Good things will happen to you” platitudes. Good things may well be coming my way, but an app that’s pretending to be a weird, paper entrusted biscuit isn’t what you’d call a reliable source for that information.

Downloading Good Fortune Cookie is a waste of time and bandwidth. You’d be better off just thinking up something vaguely prescient and positive about the coming days on your own, picking a random number to be your lucky one, then realising that the whole things is a load of old nonsense and deciding to do something worthwhile with your time instead. As the old saying goes, “there’s no point in seer-like wisdom if it’s not encased in some sort of odd pudding-y substance”.

Good Fortune Cookie is available now, for free, from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Dreamboy Calculator

Freaky Friday – Dreamboy Calculator

Jul 1, 2011

Oh, calculations; where would we be without them? No doubt we would be spinning helplessly into the endless abyss of not really understanding things. That said, there are some things that not only don’t require calculation, but that, by their very nature, are incalculable. I’m talking, of course, about love.

Unfortunately, this week’s Freaky Friday app disagrees with me. It thinks that with the application of rigorous numerical tests, love can easily be worked out. All you need are a few statistics referring to your intended and a few statistics referring to your self and hey presto, Bob’s your uncle, love will happen. What a spectacular load of old nonsense.

When you add to that bucket of ridiculousness that fact that Dreamboy Calculator is obviously a straight, lazy port of an iPhone app, and you can see why it’s made it onto our whirlwind of the wrong.

The app allows you to keep track of your dreamboy matches, add them from your contacts and compare them against your own preferences. Say you want a rich boy with no sense of humour, then you rate your dream boys with sliding scales and see which of them is the richest and most boring. Yay, instant matches!

Of course, if they’re in your contact book, you could just text them and ask if they want to go and get a drink. That way, you can find out for yourself, sans calculations, whether or not they’re your dream boy. I mean, they’re probably not, but it’s worth a shot, right?

Dreamboy Calculator is stupid, vacuous and shallow and a fine example of everything that’s wrong with the world. All right, maybe not everything, but definitely the bits that involve love and relationships and common decency.

Or maybe I’m just upset because it said my dream boy match was only 19%. Dammit, I thought me and hypothetical Jonny were going to be together forever.

Dreamboy Calculator is available now, for free, from the Android Market

Freaky Friday – AR Shooting

Freaky Friday – AR Shooting

Jun 24, 2011

This week’s Freaky Friday game is a polarizing one. Some see it as a bit of harmless fun, an app that can fill some boring spare time with a brief giggle. Others see it as a slightly evil, worrying sort of an app that may bring about the end of civilization as we know it. So depending on which side of the line you find yourself on, yay! Or boo!

AR Shooting is, as you’d expect, an AR shooting simulator. If you’re unfamiliar with AR, or augmented reality it basically means your phone uses its camera to place objects onto the world that aren’t actually there. In this case, those objects are guns.

Ever felt like shooting an annoying sibling, or pumping a few shotgun rounds into that annoying work colleague who never puts the milk back in the fridge? Well now you can, and without getting sent to jail for it. You can even have shootouts with your friends, without the embarrassment of having to make gun shapes with your fingers.

Alternatively, this app is an evil plague on society, spreading the message of acceptable gun violence and endangering the lives of children, adults and old people the world over. If you download this app, then you’re basically admitting you’re a few steps away from being a psychotic murderer and you should probably take yourself off to the local police station and hand yourself in.

So there you go, you’re either going to love or hate AR Shooting. It sort of depends on whether or not you like fun, I suppose. I’m pretty sure no one ever became a loony spree killer just because they got to try it out on their phone, but I could be wrong, heaven forbid.

Oh, and for the record, you might just not care about the app at all. In fact, that’s probably the most likely outcome.

AR Shooting is available now, for free, from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Can You Drive?

Freaky Friday – Can You Drive?

Jun 17, 2011

Some apps make it onto our countdown of the kooky because they’re scary, others make it because they’re performing a task that no one ever thought needed performing. This week’s makes it on because it could quite possibly endanger lives. That’s not something you read every day.

Can You Drive? is an app that calculates whether or not it’s safe for you to drive. You tell it the different drinks you’ve had, it does some working out and then decides whether or not you’re legally permitted to jump in the car and head on home.

Of course, it doesn’t take into consideration the driving conditions or anything silly like that, nor how long you’ve been driving for, how long the journey is, how familiar you are with your vehicle. It also doesn’t take into consideration the old adage, “don’t drink and drive”.

If the app simply told you not to drive if you’d had a drink, then it would be a perfectly legitimate piece of anti drink-driving propaganda. Instead, it tries to pretend that a simple calculation is a legitimate form of decision making.

We don’t need an app for this, we need common sense, a degree less selfishness than some people display and a change in the culture that sees drink-driving, in any form, as acceptable. How would you feel if all a pilot had to do before flying a plane was check in on their free app that that last brandy hadn’t pushed them over the edge? I expect you’d be slightly more hesitant when you stepped onto the plane.

My advice is, instead of downloading this app, write the word “no” on a piece of paper and then place that paper inside your wallet. When the time comes to decide whether you’re sober enough to drive home, check that piece of paper. Then order a taxi.

Luckily, on closer inspection, Can You Drive? is no longer available from the Android Market. It was once though, and the point still stands for anyone else who wants to try and make an app similar.

Freaky Friday – SWORD!

Freaky Friday – SWORD!

Jun 10, 2011

This week’s Freaky Friday entrant is a break from the norm – or at least it would be if this column had any concept of the norm – in that it’s actually quite good. Not good in the conventional sense, because convention has no place in our wandering around the wacky, but it’s good in the sense that you might actually want to use it more than once.

Except “use” isn’t really the right term. You don’t use SWORD!, because that would suggest that it actually does something useful. What it does do is turn your phone into an almost perfect sword simulator. Almost perfect, because fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on your point of view – the app doesn’t extend a metal blade from the top of your handset.

After you’ve tapped into the app, you can select one of six different blades, from the classic sword to the scimitar and katana. Once you’ve chosen, you swing your phone around and it makes swordy noises. Schwing, clang, slash. You know the sort of thing.

There’s a deeply engrained, childlike joy inherent in swinging and swirling your phone around like a mad-person. You could pretend to be a knight, a pirate, a ninja, a samurai, even just a common or garden sword wielding lunatic. And all without breaking any of the more dramatic laws.

SWORD! makes its way onto our wall-mounted rack of the reasonless because it typifies a style of app that fills such a minuscule gap in the market, you have to wonder why anyone thought it needed filling. Still, it’s a good job they did. SWORD! Might be silly, but it does exactly what you want it to do. Nothing beats pretending you’re not drowning in the miserable drudge of real life, and if you get to add sound effects to your make believe, than that’s even better.

SWORD! is available now, for free, from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Golf Photo Taker

Freaky Friday – Golf Photo Taker

Jun 3, 2011

The thing with hobbies, is that once you get deep enough into them, you just can’t help yourself. You have to buy the right shoes, the right hats, the right equipment, otherwise your hobby engaging friends will laugh at you and call you names. Nowadays, that list includes having the right apps too.

Of course, it’s all a con. Merchandisers slap names and logos on any old tat and, because you’re desperate to keep up with the trends, you buy them. And yes, Golf Photo Taker, I am very definitely looking at you when I say that. For shame.

Golf Photo Taker does exactly what you’d expect an app called Golf Photo Taker to do. It takes photos of people playing golf. Well, actually, it doesn’t take photos, you do, it just adds a frame. A golfing related frame. And that’s it.

Except, that’s not it. The app also sends you text messages, from yourself, recommending other golfing, picture taking and entirely unrelated apps. Which is so annoying that it resulted, in my case at least, in an instant uninstall.

Golf Photo Taker is a stupid app, with no redeeming features. It makes it onto our driving range of despair because it’s hideous, pointless, and for some reason has a picture of someone’s Facebook profile as one of its screenshots on the Android Market.

The sad fact is, people are going to buy Golf Photo Taker. About a hundred people already have. Someone has even given it a five star review. Five stars for what is, to all intents and purposes, a digital version of holding a bit of cardboard in front of your camera.

Don’t buy Golf Photo Taker, don’t even think about buying Golf Photo Taker. If you want to take photos of yourself or other people playing golf, then by all means, do so. There’s a camera on your phone that will do a lovely job. Or buy a camera. Just avoid this creepy, intrusive, utterly useless sham of an app.

Golf Photo Taker is available now from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Your Rhythms

Freaky Friday – Your Rhythms

May 27, 2011

For this week’s Freaky Friday app, not only have we ventured into the far flung reaches of the Android Market, we’ve also strode out into the realms of utter nonsense. You see, some apps make it onto our rundown of the ridiculous because they’re weird, some make it because they’re scary; Your Rhythms makes it because it spews out unrelenting gibberish.

Your Rhythms is an app that calculates your biorhythms. For example, today my intellectual rhythm is at -8%, but my aesthetic rhythm is at +92%. Yay? Your Rhythms never troubles itself with explaining what biorhythms are, or what the calculations mean – it just gives you numbers and an interchangeable graph.

Want to know how spiritual you’re going to be today? Then just type in your date of birth and Your Rhythms will let you know. Except it won’t, of course, because it’s just peddling a bunch of made up statistics and claiming that they will have some sort of reference to your real life.

According to the app, my awareness is very high today, which is good, but in the next few days, it’s going to reach one hundred percent. In my head, that means I’ll become some sort of super hero, with awareness so acute that I can predict disaster before it strikes. Unfortunately though, at the same time my emotions are going to hit rock bottom, so I’ll be a sad super aware hero.

The suggestion that anything at all can be calculated from a person’s date of birth, except their age, is frankly ludicrous. Add to that an app that is on the hideous side of ugly, does nothing to explain or ingratiate itself and is, to all intents and purposes, nothing more than some wiggly lines, and you’ll understand why Your Rhythms has earned its place amongst the parade of the perplexing.

That said, my intuition is pretty low at the moment, so maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about.

Your Rhythms is available now, for free, from the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Pocket Girlfriend

Freaky Friday – Pocket Girlfriend

May 20, 2011

For this week’s Freaky Friday column, we’ve plumbed the very deepest depths of the Android Market and found an app that does almost exactly what you’d expect an app called Pocket Girlfriend to do – it puts a girlfriend in your pocket. Except it doesn’t, because real girls don’t fit in pockets. Trust me, in the interests of fact checking, I tried.

Pocket Girlfriend instead turns your smartphone into a dull peep show, that shows the same girl writhing around “erotically” on a loop. You can change the costume she wears, depending on what sort of “date” you’re “taking” her on. One of the costumes has nipple tassles. Exciting.

Of course, because this is Pocket Girlfriend and not Pocket Pervert, you can also talk to your digital better half. She’ll reply with any one of a number of toe curlingly misogynistic lines about sport or beer or sex or how wonderful a boyfriend you are. Maybe Pocket Ego Massager would be a better name.

In a bizarre twist of inter-dimensional wizardry, the app also gives you a link to the twitter feed of the model who “plays” your “girlfriend”. It’s at that point that things start to get ever so slightly stalker-y. Bored of watching a woman you’ll never meet wiggle around provocatively, then why not go find out what she had for breakfast this morning…

If you’re the sort of person who thinks that interpersonal relationships are a massive chore, or who finds themselves incapable of talking to anyone due to crippling shyness, then you still shouldn’t download Pocket Girlfriend. In fact, if you’re anyone, you probably shouldn’t download it.

Even if it wasn’t for the creepy overtones, Pocket Girlfriend would deserve its place in our breakdown of the bizarre; the word girlfriend has never been so utterly misused. If the developers had been honest and called it Pocket Gyrating Model That You’ll Look At Once, Be A Bit Disappointed With And Then Uninstall, then it wouldn’t be quite so upsetting. Maybe that name was just too long, who knows?

Pocket Girlfriend is available now on the Android Market.

Freaky Friday – Proud Jobs

Freaky Friday – Proud Jobs

May 13, 2011

In this week’s Freaky Friday, we’ve delved deep into the dark and dank recesses of the Android Market and pulled out a real gem, the sort of app that people are going to be talking about for years to come. Seriously, one day your kids are going to ask you; “Dear parent, when did you first use a Proud Jobs app?”

The Proud Jobs series, developed by Softdyssee, offers users a unique experience and exclusive access to some of the manliest jobs in the whole wide world. That’s right, avid app consumer, for the throwaway price of nothing whatsoever, you can turn your phone into a window onto the world of firemen, policemen, commandos and lifeguards.

Well, sort of. What the Proud Jobs apps actually do is show photos of sweaty men doing their jobs. Proudly. You phone becomes a juddering slideshow, guiding you through images that are at best bland and at worst bland. Proud Jobs: Fireman, for example, is like doing a Google image search for “bored looking firemen”, then scrolling through the results whilst shaking your head from side to side.

The other apps fare little better in terms of quality, but in terms of hilarity, they’re almost unassailable. The fact that someone thought that these apps had a legitimate reason for existing is a spectacular joke in and of itself, but when it’s coupled with a cumbersome UI, jerky scrolling and terrible pictures, the apps start to skirt dangerously close to parody.

If you’re looking for an app that shows pictures of jobs happening, then best of luck to you in all of your future endeavours, but might I suggest that you just use a search engine like a normal person. The Proud Jobs series earns its place on our cavalcade of the curious by being utterly unnecessary, fabulously broken and unintentionally hilarious.

Look out for the next release in the series, Proud Jobs: Android Writers, which will feature pictures of coffee soaked men (Ed. Note: Mountain Dew is this Android writer’s caffeine of choice. with bloodshot eyes, hunched over computers, proudly typing rich and fulfilling content for the benefit of you, our beloved readers.

The Proud Jobs series of apps is available now, for free, on the Android Market.