App Reviews: Songify, Flipboard, Gardening Toolkit

John Moore is in for a real treat as I sing to him from a washing machine manual on this week’s show on Newstalk 1010. I also look at a great gardening resource to help you plant something new and how Flipboard will fetch you great audio content along with your daily newspaper.




Songify will help you sing even if you have one of those voices that should never be encouraged. It uses AutoTune, a technique that synthesizes your voice and then corrects it, to help you record songs with the proper melodic qualities. Let’s be clear, it’s not going to turn you into a pop star, but the results are fun, enough that 9 million people have already played with the app on iPhone and with the Android version now out, will no doubt reach 9 million more.

There is a small catch. The app works with a limited library of songs, none that you’ll recognize and most you’ll have to purchase. The few free songs included are enough to have fun with and the best results often come from recording yourself doing the most boring of tasks, such as reciting phone numbers or reading aloud a service manual for a washing machine.





Flipboard is your personalized newspaper. It connects with major outlets on the web, taking only the sections you’re interested in, and fits them together into a sleek, digital paper complete with flipping page animations and expanding articles. It lets you share articles over Facebook and Twitter while allowing your friends to send you links that might normally be outside your interests.

There are some major changes happening to Flipboard. An Android launch is mere weeks away and a new update brings audio content to the mix, allowing you to read your digital newspaper while also listening to online radio stations. You can connect with music from independent record labels, your favourite podcasts, and streaming content from SoundCloud, a service popular amongst DJs and podcast creators.

There are a number of apps competing to deliver the world’s content in the most comfortable form (Pulse is a good one for Android users), but Flipboard continues to lead the pack.


Gardening Toolkit



It’s never too late to grow something new. The Gardening Toolkit is a good, general resource combining an encyclopedia of plants with a digital journal for tracking your garden and a troubleshooting guide for common issues.

With more than 1,000 entries, the encyclopedia isn’t as large as some of the others in the iTunes store, but it does offer a good variety in the way it includes herbs and vegetables with the flowers and packages beautiful photographs with details on blooming cycles and water requirements. You can also add custom entries too.

The digital journal is pretty basic, which some may like as you can organize it however you wish, but it’s mainly useful for the reminders and to-do task lists.

The best feature is the option for you to select the Hardiness Zone (a guide on the climate conditions that effect which species grow where) for your area. The app will take that location data and combine it with the time of year to give you a custom list of plants you can add to your garden today.


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