10 Fun and Useful Tech Products to Try This Week
Are you on the lookout for the latest app you won’t be able to put down, the next gadget you’ll be itching to get your hands on, or the slickest new tools to make your work day more productive and your downtime even more fun? Then look no further than our favorite site for finding the latest and greatest tech products.
Each week, we review the crowdsourced links posted to a website called Product Hunt, where a community of tech-savvy users post their best finds and discuss the latest with a growing community of developers, investors, founders, and tech enthusiasts. The d etween 600 and 800 reportedly use the site — a great testament to its ability to surface products that would otherwise fly under most people’s radars.
We took a look at all of the apps, gadgets, and services posted on Product Hunt last week and chose 10 forward-thinking tech products that can help you stay ahead of the curve and get the best out of the devices you already find indispensable.
Alfred is an Android app that enables you to turn an unused smartphone into a home surveillance camera. To set up the system, you install the Alfred app on two phones (one to use as a camera and the other to use as a viewer) and log in to each with the same Google account. From there, you place the camera in the desired location in your home, and Alfred’s motion detection feature can alert you with push notifications and surveillance photos. The app supports multiple cameras and multiple viewers, automatically adjusts video quality depending on network speed, and enables two-way audio.
Black is an iOS app described as a black and white analog photo film emulator. The app enables you to apply any of 10 accurate, precisely generated filters to make your iPhone photos look like some of the best black-and-white analog films such as AGFA apx 400, FUJI Neopan 400, and Kodak TRI-x 400. You can swipe to choose a filter and manually adjust the image with the Curves, Fade, and Vignette tools.
Cheddar is a mobile-first checking account that is “one part debit card” and “one part mobile app.” Your Cheddar account puts your outside bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts in one place. With the Cheddar app, you can view activity, set up transfers, and make payments without leaving the app. Cheddar enables you to access your accounts exclusively through your phone, and saves your credentials on your phone instead of on the company’s servers. Cheddar is fee-free, and doesn’t charge in-network ATM fees, monthly fees, or overdraft fees. Cheddar also features smart notifications, measures to protect against fraud, deals from retailers and brands, cash back, joint accounts, top-level encryption, and FDIC insurance.
Hushbook is an iOS app that enables you to clean your Facebook News Feed by unfollowing people (but still remaining friends and without notifying them). With Hushbook, you swipe left to unfollow a user, or swipe right to keep their posts and updates in your News Feed, and the app asks your permission before unfollowing anyone. William Falcon, co-founder of HAC Studios, notes on Product Hunt that his initial research showed that people preferred the option of unfollowing friends rather than unfriending them, but adds that for those who want the option to unfriend, “I guess we can give the choice on the next update!”
iTagged is an iOS app that enables users to use augmented reality to tag places they’ve been; add videos, conversations, and photos; and share their experiences with other users around the world. You can create tags, add content to tags, and drop or search for tags anywhere in the world. You can use iTagged’s augmented reality view to see all of the tags around you in the real world, or use secret tags to create private groups to share videos, photos, and conversations. The app enables you to discover new locations, events, and experiences using Tag channels, or find out what’s going on anywhere in the world with live mapping. The app also features dynamic notifications and direct messaging for video, photos, and text.
Makeovr is a web app for the iPhone 5, 6, and 6 Plus, enabling you to “set your home screen free” with invisible icons. To set up your new home screen, you first choose a background. You can download one of Makeovr’s background images or take a screenshot of your current background. Then, you can use Makeovr to cut icons out of your background image and add them to your homescreen. Makeovr founder William Stoy tells the community at Product Hunt, “We’re a group of hackers and artists who were so bored with the same old icon grid layout, so we created Makeovr to patch the iPhone’s biggest missing feature: homescreen customization. After 15,000 user uploads and 25,000 custom art downloads in the first week, we are starting to work with brands to create funky backgrounds to help them engage with customers right from the home screen.”
Sirius is an open-source speech- and vision-based intelligent personal assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Amazon’s Echo, developed by Clarity Lab at the University of Michigan. Its functions include speech recognition, image matching, natural language processing and a question-and-answer system. It was built by University of Michigan engineering researchers to accept voice instructions and questions, interpret them, and answer in spoken words. But unlike its commercial counterparts, Sirius is free and can be customized. The source code of the project is available on GitHub, and is released under the BSD license.
Tether is an app for iOS and Mac that secures your Mac automatically as soon as you move away from it. Tether enables users who have an iPhone with them at all times to leverage that behavior to ensure that their Mac’s files and data are kept safe anytime they walk away from the computer. When they return, Tether will automatically enter their password and unlock the Mac, enabling them to pick up where they left off. Tether uses Bluetooth Low Energy to link the iPhone and Mac while using very little power. The password is never shared over Bluetooth or WiFi, but is saved to the user’s iCloud Keychain. Tether supports OS X Yosemite 10.10.1 or newer, and requires iOS 8.0 or newer on an iPhone 4s and up.
9. The Weeklypedia
The Weeklypedia is a list of the most-edited Wikipedia articles and discussions from the past week, and is delivered every Friday by email. Subscribers receive a weekly email with the top 20 Wikipedia articles, and the top five Wikipedia discussions from the past week. The project retrieves a list of the week’s changes using Wikimedia Tool Labs, and the code behind the project is available on GitHub.
Wunderlist is a popular to-do app that was recently refreshed with folders, quick add, and other features. Wunderlist enables users to share lists and collaborate with family and friends, stay in the loop with conversations, discover others’ public lists, and sync lists across devices. Wunderlist’s update enables you to organize your lists with folders, quickly add to-do’s and reminders on the iPhone, and get an updated version of the app for Android Lollipop. Wunderlist is available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, and the web.