Saturday, August 20, 2016

Marco Polo Video Walkie Talkie

If you’re always playing phone tag or being Face Timed at the worst time, the Marco Polo app is just for you! Marco Polo is a video walkie talkie that works on your time. You can start chatting with your friends now and they can respond right away or later when it’s more convenient. All the video chats are saved so there is never a rush to view.

The app is so easy to use even your children can participate. You simply tap a button and start recording. You can set up groups or chat with individuals. This app is a great way for families and friends to stay in touch no matter where they live. You can talk as long as you want and customize your video chats with a wide assortment of filters such as “movie star” or “nighttime”. Marco Polo helps staying in touch fun and personal.
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Name of App:   Marco Polo Video Walkie Talkie
Audience:  Everyone
Platform:  iOS and Android
What the app does and why we recommend it:  Allows you to stay in touch with family and friends in a fun and personal way
What platform we used to recommend it:  iOS
Cost (at time of review):  Free 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rio 2016 Mobile App -- Keep up with the Olympics

The Olympics is in full swing.  If you are like me, you don't have time to keep up with all the different events going on.  Well the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has just the app to help.  The Rio 2016 app lets the user keep track of how their favorite country or athlete is doing.  The user can search by sport, athletes or country.  They also have a nice section of photos and videos.  So if you have the desire to find out the badminton results, give the Rio 2016 app a try

Name of App:   Rio 2016 Olympics App
Audience:  Everyone
Platform:  iOS and Android
What the app does and why we recommend it:  The app gives the user results of the Rio 2016 Summer games
What platform we used to recommend it:  Android
Cost (at time of review):  Free 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Searching for a Way to Block Unwanted Spam and Robo Calls: TrueCaller

If you have a phone, you are no stranger to robo and spam calls. Towards the end of June things were getting so bad that I was having up to three calls a day. It was frustrating because I couldn't always tell the difference between valid, important calls, and the spam because some of them came from my own area code. Day by day it was getting worse. Finally, after three long weeks of this, I began to research my options.

First and foremost, if you are receiving a large number of spam and robo calls I recommend making sure that you are on the Do Not Call registry. There are actually two of these, state and national, I recommend covering your bases and registering for both. To register, or check your registration simply go online to these websites:

Both registries will allow you to register your cell phone numbers now, and don't require you to re-register unless something has changed. For instance, I kept my number, but switched Cell Phone Carriers. This caused me to drop off the list and receive more calls. Once I re-registered, those calls were cut significantly.

Keep in mind that these will not stop all calls. Many of the calls we get these days are from scammers, and since they are already breaking the law, the Do Not Call registries will not stop them. In the past I have tried blocking the scammers using the blocking options on my phone, but since they use so many different numbers it was impossible to block them all. So that's when I started looking for a technical solution--an app.  I researched a number of websites and the one the experts seemed to like best was TrueCaller, so I thought I would give it a try.

TrueCaller is supposed to identify spam when you get an incoming call and uses your contact list to filter out your friends and contacts. In a perfect world this would have been a perfect solution, but unfortunately it wasn't. My first call TrueCaller identified as spam was actually from my doctor's office, and trying to get TrueCaller to accept it as a legitimate contact after someone else has said it was spam was next to impossible. I actually had a couple of Spam calls come through that weren't identified, so I marked them as spam with TrueCaller. Overall, it has faults, and I wish it were easier to switch calls from Spam to legit, especially in the case of my doctor.  I am no expert on how the program works, but it seems to take input from all the users--if one user identifies a call as spam, it is that for all users. Still, with very little options out there for stopping those calls, this is definitely worth a try. Just remember, you may want to accept some of those Spam calls--especially if they have a local area code because they might be a call you are waiting for.


  • Name of App: TrueCaller
  • Audience: Adult and Teen
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • What the App Does and why we recommend it: The app will allow you attempt to identify spam calls, but keep in mind it is not perfect.
  • What platform we used to recommend the app: iOS 
  • Cost (at time of review): Free