App Reviews: Tom Hanks’ Electric City, Vyclone, circleof6

This week on Moore in the Morning we explore the violent, animated stories of Tom Hanks. The Hollywood actor is experimenting with what can be done in the mobile world and the results are more Road to Perdition than You”ve Got Mail. I also review an innovative movie-making app that will turn your friends and family into a location crew plus showcase an emergency app that offers a very intelligent and well thought-out response to sexual violence.


Tom Hanks’ Electric City



Tom Hanks created this animated series in which he plays a secret agent working for a conspiracy of little old ladies who plot and plan murders during their knitting sessions. It takes place during a dark future in which electricity is in limited supply and radio technology becomes a source for power and revolution.

This is a really violent science fiction story and interesting because it comes from the mind of Tom Hanks. While it can be a bit convoluted at first, the characters are well-defined, the dialogue is good, and the animation can be quite beautiful.

You can buy the episodes using the app or watch them for free at Electricity.Yahoo.Com. There’s also a collection of digital comic books and behind-the-scenes featurettes and galleries. Here an app takes the place of a DVD or Blu-Ray release.

The first of two video games based on the series, Electric City: The Revolt, can also be found in the app stores, but it’s a mediocre puzzle game in which you must guide a character through a city to collect radio components. Watch the series, but skip the game.





Vyclone lets you and your friends work together to make a movie. It connects each of your phones wirelessly so it can keep track of the video being recorded. When you’re done it gathers the video clips from each phone and automatically edits them together into a short film you can share on Facebook or Twitter.

Its amazing how little input is needed. As long as everyone involved has the app running, each person merely has to point their camera and press record. Vyclone uses a combination of the time and GPS to coordinate the clips and software analysis to work out how to edit them together. In most cases the results work well.

You can further customize the results by editing them yourself with a simple mixer that lets you put the clips in order and trim them. Once you get used to the app you can also turn on filters and other effects when you record. At this point you’re limited to making sixty second movies and only with footage recorded at the same event using Vyclone. You can’t upload clips from other sources or other apps, not yet. The app has only just been released, but even at this stage its impressive how something that should be complicated by nature has been made so very easy to use.





Circleof6 is a clever way for women to disentangle themselves from situations that feel bad, but have yet to get to the point where calling the police is needed. You’re at a party and there’s someone who has had too much to drink and is showing an unhealthy interest in you, or perhaps you’re on a blind date and they won’t take no for an answer. This app allows you to reach out to your friends for a quick intervention on the sly, using just a few taps.

The idea is that you choose six reliable friends in advance. People who you are close to and can depend upon. When you feel that things are getting out of hand, you can open the app and with just two inconspicuous taps send out a pre-made message for assistance. You can ask for any of the six to simply call you with an excuse you can use to get away or if you need more help than that, you can send out your current GPS location and ask for someone to come get you.

When one of the six responds, the other five are notified that help is on the way, and you can use the app to let everyone know when you’re free and clear and things are okay.

Circleof6 was designed as a response to issues of sexual violence and I think it’s a highly intelligent one. It doesn’t try to address serious situations where using 911 would make more sense and avoids sending out messages of panic. Instead it offers a focused and preventive cautionary step, encouraging you to respond to a situation before it gets out of hand. By simply getting six friends to agree to be logged into the app, you’ve recruited allies you might overlook later.

For a better understanding, check out this TED Talk from circleof6 creator Christine Corbett Moran:


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