Ben Woods / The New Web

I Iove Android as much as the next non-Apple owning guy, but there are times when I get bored of using the same old operating system, and seeing the same boring old notifications.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of different ways to liven things up without having to root your phone, or in some cases, even spend a penny.

Sure, Facebook’s chat-head style notifications set a trend for a bobble-headed approach, but that’s not the only way you can modify how you get informed about new events, and for older handsets that haven’t been gifted with features like lock screen widgets (Android 4.2+) and album art (Android 4.4), these are a handy way to make things a bit more interesting. Read Article

This guest blog is provided by Julissa Swoyer, a Kansas-based mobile communications expert and iPhone/Android tester.

With software developers releasing new Smartphone apps every week, it can be hard to keep up with the latest updates, games and programs. However, there are a few in particular that you may want to give a try:

Disney’s Story

Disney’s Story app takes videos and photos that you currently have stored on your phone and creates a storyboard of an event using both location and time information from the photos themselves. Users can create and share stories through videos and an audiobook player by adding captions, themes, layouts and pages of texts to their stories.

Zynga’s Running with Friends

Part of the infamous “With Friends” series, Zynga’s new iPhone app takes players onto the streets of Spain where they are chased by bulls. Along the way, you must dodge police cars, bales of hay, barrels and, naturally, bulls. Users interact by swiping the screen in the direction in which you wish to turn, making it simple to play on both phones and tablets.

Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited by Marvel provides an interactive way for Android users to delve into over seven decades of the company’s greatest and most well-known comics. Users enjoy the digital subscription program as the feature allows fans to indulge in the comics using the app both online and offline.

Angry Birds Friends

Angry Birds has taken the world by storm, and Rovio intends to capitalize on its popularity by releasing an Angry Birds Friends app for Android users. Similar to traditional Angry Birds games, the app allows users to challenge their friends on Facebook to a round of the game while syncing the app to the users’ Facebook accounts.

Silver Dolphin Books

Silver Dolphin Books is always working to create the most entertaining, and educational apps on the market today. While they’ve already released the Little Critter app, there are more coming soon in the works as well. Available directly from their site, or from iTunes as well.

Once you have caught up with the latest apps, keep your eyes open; new apps are being created and released every week.

From games and software to business tools and audiobooks, you will not want to miss what is yet to come.

Follow Julissa Swoyer on Twitter

La Jolla Beach view 1

When I first found out about social media apps, Twitter and Facebook, I felt like a kid getting a new toy on Christmas or his birthday.

The excitement of using something new fueled my engagement with these apps practically every single day.

This is common thing among most social media users.

Once you discover the app you tend to fall into the group of being a highly-active user—engaging with the app at every free chance you get—or you fall into the category of rarely launching the app at all.

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Last week, after I finished editing my post “Need to Make a Decision? Get Instant Answers with Poutsch“, I struggled with planning out my week ahead.

It was late Sunday night and I battled with trying to find the time to research and write my next post.

The week ahead looked hectic because I needed to fit in my boss’s annual staff picnic, a birthday party and some extra freelance work along with my usual weekly routine of working out, family time, reading, and other side projects – all while working a full-time job.

After nearly a half-hour of trying to decide how I would fit everything in, I realized one of my bills had not been paid and it was now a week late.

I’m never late on paying my bills. So I immediately stopped the planning and paid the bill.

After that moment I came to the realization that…

I needed to hire an assistant.

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Decisions. Sometimes you need to make them in a split-second.

Recently, while making my daily, 55-mile commute to work in upstate New Jersey, I realized that it had slipped my mind to fill my gas tank the night before.

As I was about to begin my hour and ten minute trip, I noticed that the fuel gauge indicator was on, and the needle had just passed the “E” mark. This meant, that there was no way the amount of gas that I had would get me to work, and I was already running late.

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Dribbblers of the Week (DOTW) is back and I found some outstanding designs on dribbble.

With all the talk lately about designers considering changing their designs to be more “flat” so that it can fit more within the new iOS7 look, I was happy to see these app icon designs by Damian Bilski and Brian Lim.

I appreciate “flat” design like any other designer if that’s the look you’re going for but, I still think there’s a place for more detailed designs as well, and it’s the reason why I love what these guys have created.

Also, this week I’m highlighting some gorgeous UI/UX mobile designs by Josh Giblette, the Knock Knock Factory and Lenny Terenzi.

I like the range in design style from Josh’s clean product screen, to Knock Knock Factory’s social app and Lenny’s illustrative app concept for a local bakery.

Here are the 5 awesome Dribbblers of the Week…

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Recently, I had a mini-vacation getaway to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada and I started to think about how quickly someone can fall off the horse.

In this context the horse here represents your mental state you’ve set for yourself to reach your goals. The goals that you’ve been working on for months and months. What you’ve dedicated hours, days, weeks, of your life because you know it’s what you should be doing.

You and the horse have been galloping together. You’ve been continuing forward at a steady pace.

Then you decide to stop for water. Though if you stop for too long a sudden change can happen.

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Bad Treats

If I said that I started working out because of a girl would that be a surprise? It’s funny the affects a woman can have on a guy. What’s even funnier is that they won’t even realize it.

And It could be at any age.

I remember it being the first day of seventh grade. She had big brown eyes, wavy long dark hair. She was the girl that every boy in our class had a crush on. On this first day back from summer vacation I walked into the classroom to see my ‘crush’ squeezing the bi-ceps of one of my best friends.

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Disney Mobile continues to capitalize on the success of one of their most downloaded app games–Where’s My Water (WMW)?

The success of that game has spawned spinoff games, mini-cartoon series and merchandise. WMW has also been the inspiration for additional games such as “Where’s My Perry?” and now “Where’s My Mickey?”

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One of my favorite sites that I’m constantly on is

Dribbble is a community-based, invite-only site for designers to ‘show and tell’ what they’re currently working on.

It’s a great way for designers, illustrators, and developers to post screenshots of their projects to get feedback and spark conversation among artists.

Since its launch in 2009 by Rich Thornett and Dan Cederholm, Dribbble has grown to become a massive design community and is now one of the top resources for finding skillful talent.

I’m always looking to tweet great work that I find on and thought that it would be a good idea to do a “Dribbblers of the Week” post.

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