everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Beware the addictive app

A confession – I think I am addicted to an app. It all started out innocently enough – I was talking to my 7 year old niece about my new favourite game, Jewel Mania. (You have to match coloured jewels to remove them from the screen and win points – I assure you that it’s way more fun and challenging than I just made it sound.) Anyways, as I showed her, Ells said that they had found an even better game – similar to Jewel Mania, but with lollies. Sounded pretty perfect to me, so I searched the App Store and found what she had been talking about. And that was the beginning of the end.

Candy Crush is a brightly coloured game filled with jelly beans and a heap of other lollies, including – if you’re very lucky – chocolate freckles that can magically destroy all of one colour on the screen. I know, AMAZING, right? At first, it’s easy and you can fly through the levels. Then, the challenges get harder and since I am unwilling to pay money to play the game (I have some limits, see!) it can take a while to get through a level. If you’re willing to pay real $ for your fake candy, you can accept the advice of the patronising prompt that appears from time to time – something like “You seem to be struggling with this level. You can buy a [insert crazy sounding candy weapon here] for only $12.99!” But I’m old school, so I’ll save my money and take my sweet time (see what I did there?!) to get through the game using just my wits and my broadband data allowance, thanks very much.

Don't be fooled by the bright shiny candy - this game is brutal.

Don’t be fooled by the bright shiny candy – this game is brutal.

When I say I’m addicted, I don’t mean that I have my phone out all the time, playing the game. Mostly because I just can’t do that – if you don’t pay any real world $, you can only make five attempts at the level before you are ‘locked out’ and have to wait some hours before you can play again. So, I can still function in the real world – go out to dinner, work, see a movie, drive the car. I could stop playing any time. If I really wanted to stop, I could. Just like that. Truly.

One of my favourite features of the game is actually the soundtrack – there is some kooky background music and occasionally a voice that sounds eerily like Barry White compliments you on your moves, cooing sweet nothings like “Tas-ty“,”Sweet” and “Divine”. He’s very encouraging, if a little creepy, that Candy-Barry-White.

Anyways, I wanted to share the good news that this morning, I finally passed Level 34, on which I had been stuck for at least a week. I had come close before, but after an embarrassing number of attempts (thankfully, they don’t tell you how many), I finally made it. Now, I’ve never run a marathon or won a Nobel Prize, but I imagine that’s pretty much what it feels like. It’s going to be a good day!

(As an aside, my sister S currently runs a very successful virtual farm, my sister Jo used to run a fancy and very busy virtual clothes shop and I have successfully managed some very challenging virtual restaurants, diners, hairdressers and hotels. Still trying to find the best way to detail our extensive business experience on our CVs, though.)

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That’s miPhone

With the number of people sporting iPhones these days, it can be tough to know which is yours. If, say, you are in the habit of turning your phone upside down and putting it right next to someone else’s. And the standard black or white colour scheme can feel somewhat limiting to people like you and me, who kinda like to stand out of the crowd, march to the beat of a different drum, or fly in the face of convention. Or maybe it’s not even that deep, maybe it’s just nice to personalise your phone as you would any other accessory that you’ve chosen to fit your style/mood/look. I’m not an iPsych, so I’m not digging any deeper – but here are some of the more intriguing iPhone covers that I have discovered…

For fans of Tiffany & Co, Audrey Hepburn, New York City, presents, or ribbons – this would surely be the cover for you. Although you would probably have to watch out for people who like to steal expensive trinkets. And people who like to untie ribbons. And those girls who have always wanted something from Tiffany & Co – you don’t want your phone to be their something. That would be disappointing for both parties, really.

Or for geeks with a slightly evil sense of humour, who want to giggle every time that a non-geek panics that they’ve splashed water and ruined the geek’s exposed iPhone circuitry. LOL.

The warning in the product blurb makes me think that someone has bought this next cover to recreate their childhood farming memories of ol’ Bessy, and been sadly crushed by reality. Peeps, “this is a photo of a cow hide – not a real hide.” Although I’m sure if it’s real cow hide that you’re after, there’s a phone cover shop somewhere that caters for your taste.

And in case your thing is vases shaped like vintage shoes and stockings, filled with roses and strapped in to old-fashioned roller skates. Here you go, champ.

If you’re a romantic, you might like this cover. But I think it’s worth remembering that this message goes out to everyone who sees your phone. So, you might want to think about that. Not just to your beloved, or family and friends, but to the smelly guy on the bus, the annoying lady at work, and the cranky neighbour. Tho’ it is nice to spread a message of love – like a random act of kindness that you’re throwing out to the world. And, if your phone gets stolen, who knows but the thief may turn it over, see this cover and think about giving it back to its lovely owner. Or at least think about getting a new cover for their hot phone.

And last, but by no means least (unless you’re a vegetarian), here is the “Juicy Steak Design”. Unlike that cowhide cover, there is no warning here saying, this is a photo of a steak – not a real steak. So I do hope there are not people trying to order the cover ‘medium rare’ or ‘well done’. For me, this cover goes with many others into the BUT, WHY? file – though perhaps it makes more sense if you’re a steak lover. In which case, you can snap it up for less than $20!

So many covers to choose from to pick just the right hat for your phone. If none of these have spoken to you, there are plenty more to check out at the Wallsparks shop. Like, brain scan images (uh huh), old school typewriters, flags, donuts, robots, light switches, animals and pretty much anything you can imagine. The etsy shop is here if you’d like to have a look.

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Draw Something. Anything.

I think I’m very late getting on the bandwagon, so you’ve probably already seen the Draw Something app. Essentially, it’s online Pictionary with random strangers. Or, Words With Friends in picture format, if you like. And I’m hooked. I can’t really draw – a fact that is becoming more and more apparent with each game that I play – but there’s some satisfaction in your scribble being identified as your intended image. Basically, you choose from one of three options to draw (for your team mate to guess). And then you get awarded coins, depending on the alleged difficulty of what you chose to draw. An everyday plodder drawing equivalent – say, HAT – will get you one coin, while the nimble Russian gymnast drawing equivalent – say, PETSHOP – will get you three coins. (For the record, I have drawn both hat and petshop and they have been identified correctly by the person on the other side. How, I do not know, but that is beside the point.) You can use your virtual coins to buy additional virtual paint colours to brighten up your drawings, or to buy additional virtual bombs to blow up some of the letters that you choose from to name what the other person has drawn. People use bombs to help them decipher my drawings quite frequently – but I like to think that, like Picasso before me, the hidden depth of my work is not immediately obvious to everyone. I am also comforted by the fact that Picasso never had to try and produce a masterpiece using a canvas half the size of a phone screen, with an index finger as a paintbrush. The virtual artist’s life is not an easy one, I tell you.

However, there are some amazing people out there and I am regularly in awe of the quality of their drawings. Others, and I include most of my own drawings in this number, are either intentionally or unintentionally comical and I find myself shaking with laughter as I look at them on my way to work or waiting in line at the supermarket. For an app that is either free or upgraded to a 99c version, Draw Something definitely gives me my money’s worth in entertainment on a daily basis. Judge for yourself…

     (Ok, that last one is mine. CMM4. See what I mean?)

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