What the Tech?! Summer-friendly apps
Brandt Ranj, Staff Writer
May 3, 2012
Filed under Arts & Leisure
With summer soon upon us, our cell phones become even more vital to keep in touch. I thought it prudent to shed some light on a couple of apps I’ve been using that may help in this regard.
The first app — a free one — is called Number Guru. If you’ve ever been suspicious of a random number calling your phone and not leaving a message, this app is essential. Simply type the aforementioned number upon opening the app and you’ll be greeted with two important pieces of information. The first is to whom the number belongs.
Typically, this will show the name of the person who’s billed every month, so if your friend has their number changed and calls you, the number guru might display their parent’s name. However, as this sort of information is becoming more and more private, this usually won’t be the case. Number Guru only reports information that would be publicly available through a white pages search.
The second piece of information given, though, is far more important. Upon punching in a number, you will be given its “scam score.” I’ve only seen two figures displayed as the scam score, zero percent or 100 percent. If the scam score is zero percent, you can feel safe calling that person back (presuming there’s nobody you’re trying to dodge), as it means it’s an actual person. A scam score of 100 percent, however, means it’s likely a telemarketer or some other useless service contacting you even if you’re on the “do not call list.”
The second app I’m recommending costs a dollar: it’s called SayHi. This is the translation assistant all sci-fi geeks have been clamoring for since the early days of “Star Trek.”
Here’s how it works: upon opening the application, you’re asked to pick a primary and secondary language. The primary language will be what you speak and the secondary language is what your speech will be translated into. For those traveling outside of the country with a smartphone, I would dub this app invaluable. In both French and Japanese, I was able to assess its effectiveness with an almost scary degree of accuracy.
With 33 languages to choose from, including separate settings for different dialects (e.g. French vs. Canadian French), it’s likely that wherever you’re traveling to, you’ll be covered.
That said, in order to make all of this work, you’ll need an Internet connection, which is fine when you’re checking your grammar at a hotel or hostel but not if you’re trying to review a necessary question about a train schedule when you’re already headed toward it. Outside of the sphere of travel, this application can be a killer study guide as you can go back and forth between speaking your primary and secondary language seamlessly and iron out little glitches within sentences.