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Instagram Beta Review: Exciting but It’s Missing Something.

Platforms: Windows Phone (also on iOS and Android)

Price: Free

On November 20th one of the Apps that Windows Phone users asked for the most to come to their platform finally arrived: Instagram. Well that is not the whole truth as the app that is listed currently is called Instagram Beta. Having spent time with the app on my Windows Phone over the weekend there was one thing that stuck out at me. That was that this was not the same Instagram that I’ve enjoyed over on other platforms. Instead, as the name of the app suggests, this was a true Beta version of Instagram because we while Windows Phone user get most of the features of Instagram, not all of the features are readily available as of yet.

What did arrive on Windows Phone with Instagram Beta were the core features that made the social media platform so popular. The user interface is a bit different than on other platforms, with the Home, Liked Posts, Explore and Profile located at the top right. One ‘major’ change is that Instagram has given the Search and Explore function dedicated buttons on the UI.

These UI differences aside, it was great to have the ability to take the pictures I’ve taken with my Nokia 928 and post them on Instagram without jumping through hoops. Even though it has been rumored that you can’t take pictures within the app that rumor is not true as I was able to take pictures directly on the app and then use the filters provided just like on other platforms.

All that said it is disappointing that Instagram Beta lacks photo tagging and video recording. This may cause some confusion for users because Instagram is advertising the video recording feature on their app listing, as of Nov. 25th, even though it is not yet available. In their blog post Instagram had the following to say:

“We wanted to make Instagram available to people with Windows Phones as quickly as possible, so we focused on creating an awesome experience with Instagram’s core features. We’re not finished, and our team will continue developing the Windows Phone app to keep releasing features and bringing you the best Instagram possible.”

Hopefully once more Windows Phone users download the app it will push Instagram to release updates that will make their app have all the features that are on other platforms

Positives

-Easy to use UI

-Photo Filters

-Great way to share pictures

Negatives

-Beta version missing features on other platforms.

The beta version is available for download from Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store, or by searching for Instagram on your phone. We haven’t heard when all the missing features will become available, but for now Windows Phone users can enjoy the core features that many Instagram users on Android and iOS have enjoyed.

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5 Apps to Get You Through Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is around the corner and there is always a lot that goes into getting ready for that day. Whether it’s cooking, planning family events or making sure you know when the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade there is a lot to do. To help you make things a little less stressful here are five helpful apps that will get you through this Thanksgiving weekend.

1) Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (Android, iOS)

For most the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the kickoff to the Thanksgiving festivities. Now you can begin the kickoff a little earlier by downloading Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade app. With this app your able to immerse yourself into the parade festivities even more with up-to-date news about the upcoming parade, create your own virtual parade balloon and behind the scenes glimpses of balloon prep.

2) AllRecipes Dinner Spinner (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

You don’t have to break your brain with having to decide what to cook for Thanksgiving dinner with the handy, dandy AllRecipes app. This is one of the apps that I discovered while testing out the Windows Phone OS a few weeks ago and have already found some great recipes for sides to make for Thanksgiving. The added shopping list feature to the app is also very helpful in finding exactly what you need to cook certain dishes.

3) thnkfl (iOS)

Thnkfl challenges you to think of three things to be thankful for each day. Once you have those three things you’re thankful for your encouraged to write a note, take a photo, draw it, or use all three. Once that is done you drop whatever you did to show your thanks into your glass. Afterwards you can review your thankful moments and share them with your friends and family whenever you want.

4) Cookie Dozer Thanksgiving (Android, iOS)

Looking for the next great time waster with a Thanksgiving flavor to stick with the holiday? Than Thanksgiving Cookie Dozer is the app you’ll want to download. It has all of the addicting qualities of another popular bird game. The point to this game is to add new cookies to the table while pushing the existing cookies off of the end of the table in to the prize basket without pushing them off the sides, unless you want to lose the points and prizes that is.

5) Food Network In the Kitchen (Android, iOS)

Taking the Food Network addiction into the kitchen with the official Food Network in the Kitchen app. This app will give you great cooking tips from the likes of Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri. The navigation is simple and broken down to what kind of food you want to cook this Thanksgiving or on a regular Tuesday night.

What do you all think? Any surprises in the study? Be sure you follow GoWireless on Twitter and Like GoWireless on Facebook to let us what you think of this study.

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Study: The Dos and Don’ts of Smartphone Use

We’ve come a long way since the Zack Morris brick phone was what people thought of when thinking about cell phones. With cell phones, specifically smartphones, becoming a normal thing to see everyone around you using a basic set of socially acceptable rules has been evolving around their use.

Now we have a new study from University of Essex detailing what people would and wouldn’t do with their smartphones. While the study only polled 100 people it did have some interesting findings as a result of this study. In the study it was found that 50% of millennials approved of texting during a meal, while only 15% of people 30 and above approve of that same action. Similar results occurred that showed that younger people are more accepting of using smartphones in a way that go against traditional etiquette.

What do you all think? Any surprises in the study? Be sure you follow GoWireless on Twitter and Like GoWireless on Facebook to let us what you think of this study.

Source: Mashable

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How to Draw Cartoons Review: Basic and Nothing More

Platform: Windows Phone

Price: Free

It takes practice to get good at a craft. That’s where the “How to Draw Cartoons” app comes in. This new drawing tool for the Windows Phone provides the user with simple step by step guides in how to draw some of the world’s best known cartoon and video game characters.

The downside of this app is that it does not show you every way to draw the characters. While it will show you how to draw basic versions of cartoon characters such as Pikachu, Homer Simpson, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog it doesn’t do more than that.The figures that the app does show

As a free app it’s hard to knock it for this fact completely because what “How to Draw Cartoons” is doing is giving you the basic tools to get comfortable with drawing.

The Good

-Teaches you the basics in drawing iconic cartoon characters

-Instructions easy to grasp even when you don’t have pen and paper available

The Bad

-Limited number of cartoon characters

-Some figures look like crudely drawn versions of the characters

-Poses do not stand out as dynamic

Overall Impressions

“How to Draw Cartoons” won’t make you a master artist. What it will do is give you the foundation to understand how to draw basic cartoon figures on your own. Once you get comfortable enough you can move on to another more advance art teaching tool that will use the basic tools you learn from “How to Draw Cartoons.”

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CamScanner Review Turning Your Smartphone Into A Scanner

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone

Price: Free

Sometimes you need to scan a document but you don’t have a scanner nearby to get the job done. That is where the CamScanner app can become a life saver. The CamScanner app, available on various platforms, uses the camera on your phone to take a picture of a document and its surrounding area. Once the picture is taken the app will quickly identify the document borders automatically. If you aren’t happy with the borders the app automatically identified you can align the borders yourself before turning it into a PDF.

In all the tests that I ran with this app it worked almost every time. The app was very quick to auto-focus though I did find that the auto-focus suffered depending on the lighting in the room at times. But this was a small problem that was lessened thanks to Camerscan automatically adjusting the lighting once you finish cropping the document.

Positives

+Quick to take pictures

+Automatic and manual border identification

+Automatic lighting adjustment after assigning the border

Negatives

Auto-focus is sometimes is affected by room lighting

Overall Impressions

If you need a scanner app on the go then CamScanner is the app for you. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s easy to use, ensuring that all of your scans look good even in lower lighting or on documents with light text or handwriting.

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