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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Reboot and Rally

Welcome to the first edition of the Reboot and Rally Guide to Getting it On. Although the title might seem quite suggestive, remind yourself that you're reading a tech column and then remove your head from the proverbial gutter. I talk about technology, so this column is about "Getting it On" in the digital world. (Sorry to disappoint, but I'm also not going to write about internet porn.) "Getting it On" is my new term for getting the most out of your gadgets. We live in the "app" generation. Every device from your TV to your cell phone can be customized with hundreds of downloadable apps, widgets and programs.

Users today have more app choices than 50 Cent has illegitimate children and I've taken the responsibility of navigating the dangerous and untamed application jungle to bring you the best choices for your personal enjoyment.

Today's guide is all about the Google Android Marketplace. I've reviewed four badass Android devices this year and I decided that I will reward the loyal readers who purchased the devices I graded by recommending the best available apps out there. While I can't promise these apps will make you a better person, I can guarantee that you will be more productive and enjoy your phone even more.

Angry Birds: Free

If you haven't heard of Angry Birds yet, you're about as cool as Meg from "Family Guy." Don't worry though; all you have to do is download the app to regain your status as a socially acceptable college student. This game is the digital equivalent as cocaine it's incredibly addictive and extensive use may lead to a drop in productivity, a number of estranged friendships and interventions (Ke$ha and Lindsay Lohan are rumored to use both heavily). In the game, you use a sling shot to fire very angry birds at devious pigs protected by even more devious obstacles. This game is fun, challenging and expansive. There are over 200 levels and the developers have promised to release additional content. This is the perfect mobile game. Reboot and Rally Grade: A+GameBoid (GBA) Emulator: $3.99

If you only chose to buy one game on the Android Marketplace, make this your choice. Full games from any console are stored on files called Roms and you need an emulator to play them. Many Dartmouth students have already jumped on the emulator train most notably the row of students playing Pokemon on their laptops during Astro 2/3. This handy app brings every GameBoy Advance game to your Android device. Use the bundled Rom finder to anything from Mario to Final Fantasy. If your phone has a built in keyboard, you can use that to control the action but the touch screen controls are simple, accurate and responsive. My only gripe against this great app is that it suffers from random sluggishness and the occasional crash. Reboot and Rally Grade: A-Mint.com Personal Finance: Free

Now I have an app that reminds me how close I am to my credit limit and how empty my checking account is awesome. Don't let my own cashflow problems dissuade you; this is the best personal finance app in the marketplace. The app sycs to the Mint.com website and allows you to track credit cards, expenses, loans and bank accounts. It integrates your numerous online statements into one easy-to-read interface that shows you how much money you have and what you have been spending it on. Reboot and Rally Grade: A

Retro Camera: Free

This is a pretty cool app that transforms your phone's camera. It adds all sorts of cool image and background effects to make your picture appear as if it was taken on an old school film camera. My favorite effect is the Xolaroid 2000 camera that adds a Polaroid frame and tone to every picture taken. Reboot and Rally Grade: B

Flick Defense: $0.99

This is a simple tower defense game that will keep you entertained for a few hours every now and then. It's only a dollar and it has bloody/incinerated/dismembered stick figures. 'Nuff said. Reboot and Rally Grade: B+

MP3 Download Music: Free

You can use this app to search for and download free music from the internet. If you use your phone as an iPod replacement, this is the perfect app for you. With patient searches, you can find almost any song you want. Reboot and Rally Grade: B+

Kindle for Android: Free

You'd be amazed how many of your required text books are available at a cheaper price on Amazon.com's Kindle. If you're like me, you don't want to spend $200 on a device that will make you look nerdier than Steve Urkel: good news. This app gives you the mobility of a Kindle without the social ramifications. Although most phone screens are small, the variety of zoom levels allows for a comfortable reading experience. You can also browse and purchase new books directly from your phone. All books on your phone can also be viewed on your computer it even syncs your current page number on both devices. Seriously, try purchasing some of your books next term on the Kindle network. You'll be amazed at how much money and space you save. The only downside is it is much harder to read for hours on a digital screen when compared to reading on paper. Reboot and Rally Grade: B+

8,500+ Drink Recipes: Free

This is the essential app for any pregame/party. The interface is incredible; you can list the random alcohol and mixers that you found in your roommate's closet and this app will spit out every relevant cocktail mix. It's amazing what you can make with rum, ginger beer and lemons. It even has a random drink generator that spits out a different recipe every time you shake the phone. It's time for you to be the life of the party. Reboot and Rally Grade: A+