Alto mail by AOL

Alto mail from AOL Inc

Some email clients have cleaner user interfaces and others add more functionality.

Alto mail does both.

It is an incredibly simple layout and I am a huge advocate for simplicity.

Alto doesn’t overwhelm you with tons of irrelevant features.  It has the basics with a few extras which is nice.

Developed by AOL Inc, the app just seems to glide through transitions like a knife through butter.  It seems incredibly well-coded and I have yet to have any stutters or issues with the email client.

Alto mail can log into a maximum of seven email accounts which is more than enough for most users.

Definitely an email app on iOS and Android that I’d try first before the competition.

You can download Alto mail on the App Store here or download it on the Google Play Store here.


ASTRO file manager

ASTRO File manager

ASTRO file manager is one of the first apps that I always install on an Android device.  I love it.  With 50,000,000-100,000,000 installs from the Play Store (free version) I’m not the only one.

It is just a great file manager.  I have used it for years and really haven’t found one I like better than ASTRO.  The layout is very intuitive and the app has a ton of features.  Mainstream and power users alike will get a lot of use out of ASTRO file manager.  Uses such as looking for where your picture was stored to, moving music from internal storage to an SD card or killing background tasks are just a few of ASTRO’s benefits.

It can even connect to and search your Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and Facebook for files.

ASTRO offers a free version with unobtrusive advertisements at the bottom of the screen and a paid “Pro” version for $1.99 that removes the ads and helps support the Metago devs.

You can download ASTRO file manager by clicking here


[Google] Authenticator

Google Authenticator

We live in a world where almost every service that we use online requires some sort of account.  When it comes to securing our accounts most of us think that we have two options.  We can either have unique passwords for every single account, but risk forgetting them or we can have the same, simple and easy to remember password to use for every account.  With the second option we risk hackers gaining access to our entire digital presence and identity.

This is where Google Authenticator comes in to play.

If you do decide to have a password that is easier to remember and use that same password for every account, you should really have a secondary layer of protection like Google Authenticator.

If your service allows 2 Factor authentication such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, WordPress, Facebook, Dropbox, Amazon, etc you want to enable it as soon as you’re done reading this.  You can never have too much protection.

2 Factor authentication works by requiring your login to have not only a password that you have to personally remember, but also a randomly generated code from a secondary source.  When you install Google Authenticator on your device and link it to your account, it will cycle through random codes every 30 seconds.  When you’re about to login to your account, you use one of these codes on your device.

Google Authenticator makes it wicked easy to setup your account.  It takes probably less than 20 seconds to do and you can have multiple accounts on the app.

It’s not full-proof for security, but it certainly ups the ante.

You can download Google Authenticator on the App Store here or download it on the Google Play Store here.


Google Chrome

Oh Google Chrome.  Probably the gold standard of web browsers.

It’s got a ton of features, relatively easy to use, and is compatible with just about everything.  Oh and it syncs to your Google account so you can be reading an article on your laptop, walk to the subway and continue reading on your phone, and then open up the same page on your desktop at work.

There are other options such as Safari (on iOS), Firefox mobile, Dolphin browser, etc, but none of which really come close to Chrome in my opinion.  It’s about convenience and Chrome is the cream of the crop.

Chrome on mobile is definite download.

You can download Google Authenticator on the Play Store here or on the App Store here


Flickr is a must have app

Flickr right from the get go gives you 1TB of storage to backup your photos.  Yes, ONE WHOLE TERABYTE.  One thousand gigabytes.  That’s a lot.

There are a few reasons I prefer to backup my photos on Flickr.

First of all it’s free.

Another reason I like using Flickr is for the peace of mind that all of my data or personal files aren’t in one central location.  If, for whatever reason, my Google account were to be hacked or locked-out, I wouldn’t be able to access my photos.  Maybe someone was feeling extra vile and deleted all of my photos.

Along with the storage comes their own social network where you can share your best captures with like-minded people.  You can find some amazing photos on Flickr that can be downloaded in their original quality to use as wallpapers.  The community is very welcoming by nature and easy to get constructive feedback from.

You can download Flickr on the Play Store here or on the App Store here



here maps2

HERE Maps gives you access to entire states or even an entire country… fully downloaded… completely available offline.

You won’t have to worry about chewing through your data plan while traveling.  You also won’t have to worry about losing wireless coverage when venturing out into no-man’s land.

Finding a route offline is incredibly fast and accurate.

If you happen to have a phone with an SD card you’re in luck because HERE Maps gives you the option to save maps to internal or external storage.

With Speed Alerts you can set warnings for when you are going over the speed limit.  One limit for speeds up to 50 mph (80 km/h) and speeds over 50 mph.

Going over the Speed Alert will result in a loud obnoxious beep telling you to slow down.  I really think it’s useful and can help with safer driving.

It’s a no-brainer to use HERE Maps as your daily driver navigation app.

Download Here Maps for Android here

Download Here Maps for iOS here

Download Here Maps for Windows Phone here



My favorite app on iOS.  Seriously this one got me through college.  Quite possibly the best note-taking app that I know of.

You can do everything from uploading your class PowerPoints, to marking up a PDF, or recording a lecture with the microphone and taking notes along with it.  It is fantastic.

Organize your notes or projects into different categories and assign category colors to them.

One of my favorite features is being able to copy/paste.  It is fast and very intuitive.

Once you’re done with your note you can upload to Dropbox or Google Drive so you never have to worry about losing them.  Or maybe you start a project in class and need to finish up in the computer lab or back in your dorm on your desktop.  Seriously, go download Notability now if you want to be more productive.



transmission revised

The entire premise of Transmission is to connect certain elements together with “signals” that transmit little blocks of information to complete a puzzle.  It’s basically a connect the dots game for the 21st century, but with more freedom…and more misery.  “Connecting to communicate” as they put it.

Transmission can be wicked fun, but also extremely stressful.  If you are a hardcore gamer that likes challenges, this is it.  Why?  It offers absolutely no help on the levels.  Other than the quick tutorial for each new transmission type (i.e “world”), it gives you no hints on how to solve the puzzle.  None.  It really makes you think and I love that.

So is Transmission worth the difficulty?  A thousand times yes.

While the app is free I’d be more than willing to pay at least $1.99 for it due to the replay value.

Oh and did I mention that despite it being a free app, it hasno advertisements AND there aren’t any in-game purchases.  Seriously this is how you make a quality game.

Download Transmission for Android here

Download Transmission for iOS here

Frequently being updated!  Check back for more!




Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.