Apps of the week: Find a craft brew, use your smarts and dodge a useless app

untappdUntappd

iOS, Android, Blackberry

I’m not judging you if you’re a devoted Bud Light fan – actually, I am – but if you’re ready to take the leap into the world of craft beers, it helps to at least sound like you know what you’re order­ing. The transition can be intimi­dating, after all.

Untappd lets you “drink social­ly” by combining a Facebook-es­que news feed with a Yelp-like rating system. The feed is split into three categories: friends, global and nearby. If you’re join­ing some friends for a night out, use the app to find out what they’re drinking. If you don’t trust your friends’ judgment, go with a tried-and-true beer reviewed by the global Untappd community (and maybe consider making new friends.)

Untappd is also great if you’re travelling for the weekend and want to know what’s popular in [insert destination here]. For ex­ample, I was in Revelstoke over the reading break, and I found out that Mt. Begbie Brewery’s “Tall Timber Ale” is trending in the local pubs there. Speaking of local breweries and pubs, Untap­pd also helps you find them, al­though I’m pretty sure this task already comes easy to the average college student.

If we all start tapping into the power of this app, does it still warrant the name “Untappd?” I’m not sure but you should try it any­ways.

trivcrackTrivia Crack

iOS, Android

This is one of the latest games to blow up the app stores. Trivia Crack pits you against your Face­book friends and other randoms from the internet as you race to outsmart each other.

The main interface is a wheel that you spin – it wouldn’t be out of place in a board game – and stops on one of six categories: ge­ography, science, history, art, en­tertainment or sports. You land on a category and answer a related multiple choice question. These questions are all user-submitted – this feature keeps the game fresh and is a good idea in my opinion.

Unfortunately, Trivia Crack overzealously asks you to rate the questions after you answer them. Every. Single. One. An otherwise rapid-fire trivia spree becomes slow and choppy as a result. Worse yet are the ads if you’re too cheap to buy the “no ads” version. They will interrupt you occasionally and slow your experience even further.

Trivia Crack also integrates ag­gressively into Facebook and your phone’s operating system. It tries to publish your scores to Facebook unless you opt out, and I found I got a lot of unnecessary notifica­tions on my phone until I disabled them.

The concept behind the game is great, but I feel the user experience needs to be refined. It’s still play­able though, and it’s a welcome, intellectually stimulating change from mental junk food games like Flappy Bird or Crossy Road.

acadAutodesk 123D Catch

iOS, Android

The idea behind this app is am­bitious and seems like something out of a sci-fi film. You use your phone to take a series of photos of a subject – ideally revolving around your subject – then this app stitches them together into an interactive 3D model that can be shared online and even 3D print­ed!

Or that’s what it promises to do. When I tried it, I snapped about 25 photos then spent the next half hour waiting for my phone to stitch them together before get­ting impatient, realizing I had bet­ter things to do with my life and giving up.

As it turns out, the app sends these photos to a cloud-based server that does all the heavy lift­ing so your phone doesn’t have to. This makes sense in theory, as our phones probably aren’t ideal for the heavy-duty computing associ­ated with 3D modelling, but you better have a Wi-Fi connection if you use this. It will waste a lot of data!

There’s also a PC version of this app, which might work better. I’m not sure, but the mobile app doesn’t seem to be worth it, not on Android, anyways. Maybe it works better on iOS.