Back again this year, the official Santa tracking app and web site from the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Every year, since 19___ the Air Force base in Colorado has kept a close eye on any sleighs and reindeer that make their way across the radar screen...now you can too!
The new and improved web site isn't just for Christmas Eve...it has plenty of games and videos and songs to keep the kids entertained all year long. But the big draw is the tracking of the big man's trip around the globe on Christmas Eve.
(you can also follow them on Twitter, @NoradSanta)
Blocky Xmas: This is a puzzle game that sort of reminds you of Tetris and those “one empty space” puzzles from your childhood. Your goal is simple: Build a Christmas Tree shape from the blocks provided. The game tells you where to build it...and sometimes other blocks are in the way, sometimes you have to maneuver the blocks around objects on the game board. Its a fun time waster.
Mister Bounce: This game is reminiscent of FlappyBird. Santa is a bouncing ball, advancing across the screen. To make him bounce, tap the screen. Aim him at presents to collect, but don't accidentally make him impale himself on a pointy Christmas tree!
Now that the world has experienced the summer of augmented reality, thanks to Pokemon Go, Washington figures we're ready for more...and we are! Last week, the White House Historical Association launched a new app that shows a year at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Open the app and aim the camera at a one-dollar bill. The app then transforms that bill into a 3D White House. It plays through various scenes that happen at the capital, from the President's Marine 1 helicopter landing in the back yard, to the annual Easter egg roll, to visiting dignitaries. Its all there in an animation that, if you move the camera around the dollar, will follow and change along too.
This app came out a couple weeks ago. Simply put, it's a way to back-up your old photographs. Not your old digital selfies...the old pictures of Grandma as a baby, or your family's 1975 Christmas card. The app is way faster than putting the photographs on a flat-bed scanner, and more permanent than storing them in a shoebox.
When you open the app, it provides a frame. Center the photograph in the frame. Then four dots appear on the screen. Aim the camera at each dot until the progress bar is complete. Once you've connected the dots, the phone is done scanning, and you have a digital, glare-free version of your old photograph.
The pictures don't come out as crystal clear as they might if you made a reproduction from a negative, but they're still pretty good.
Earlier this week, Apple Watch wearers were issued a challenge by Apple to complete a walking, running, or rolling 5k on Thanksgiving Day. If you complete the challenge, you get a medal in the Activity app.
Keep in mind, you don't HAVE to be an Apple Watch wearer to complete a 5k tomorrow...you just won't get a picture showing up on the screen on your wrist...you will, however, feel better about all the food you'll be packing away later in the evening.
Amazon has updated their app to add some pretty awesome new features!
1) Snap n' Search Camera: Take a picture of something and search for it on the Amazon website. For instance, if you're at a friend's house and see a great pair of boots, snap a pic, find it on Amazon and order it right from your phone.
2) Barcode Scanner: If you're an avid Amazon shopper, you no doubt have numerous boxes piling up on your front porch. Which one is the box you really need to hide from the kids? Just use the barcode scanner to tell what's inside each box, without having to open it.
Amazon's Black Friday sale is going on all month, though the best deals will be on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
With the election behind us and, depending on how you voted, the stress of the results ahead of you, here's an app that was voted the Top Mind and Body App of 2014 by doctors. Relax Stress and Anxiety Relief.
It leads you through deep breathing exercises and guided meditation. It has soothing music, pictures and animations to help you shed the stresses of the world and spend a few moments relaxing.
Here's an app that is intended for carpenters, engineers, designers, handymen, and cooks...but...it wouldn't be a bad app for some students too. Quickly add fractions so you can stop using your tape measure as a slide rule. The keypad is set up like a fraction. A set of numbers 0-9 on the left as whole numbers, a second keypad of numbers in the top right for the numerator and a third keypad in the bottom right of the screen for your denominator.
Click in the fraction and add, subtract, multiply, or divide with a second fraction and your answer is spit out in both fraction (in its simplest form) and decimal form!
Makes 12-16 servings
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (such as King Arthur brand)
2 tablespoons Instant ClearJel or cornstarch
¾ cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups water
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1½ cups peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup milk
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
1 1/3 cups chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9-inch pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
Mix the sugar, peanut butter and vanilla till crumbly. Add the milk and mix till smooth, adding more milk if necessary to make a spreadable filling.
Divide the cooled cake layers in half horizontally, to make four layers.
Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.
Combine the chocolate chips, cream, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave till the cream is very hot, and the chips are soft. Stir till the chips melt, and the mixture is smooth.
Spread the icing over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.
Adapted recipe from P.J. Hamel, baker and blogger for King Arthur Flour.
If you want to stream the World Series, you have two options: Look for someone streaming their TV on Facebook Live or Periscope...OR...use Fox Sports Go. The official Fox Sports app allows you to watch the game on your mobile devices, but there's a catch. Its no good for cable cutters. Why? You have to have a cable subscription.
*This is also the app to use if you want to stream Cavs games from Fox Sports Ohio.
Makes 2 Quarts
1/4 lb. Bacon, diced
2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups Clam juice
1 cup water
1 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 bouquet garni (parsley thyme black peppercorns Bay leaf)
1 cup potato, diced
1/2 cup cooked clams, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy bottom soup.pot render bacon until crisp. Sprinkle in flour and stir to toast flour and make a roux. Gradually stir in Clam juice and water to make a smooth base and allow to simmer. Add vegetables and bouquet garni and allow them to simmer until soft. Add clams and heavy cream and allow them to cook 3-5 minutes. Season to taste.
If you feel like you're in a funk, here's an app you might find useful. Daylio is a mood tracking app. Every day, select the mood that best describes you (from “rad” to “awful”), and take notes about the activities you did that day, like biking, work, out with friends, or cleaning. Then, at the end of the month, you can look back and see how your moods tracked. Is there a pattern? What was your average mood for the month? Do certain activities lead to certain moods? Are there days of the week when you're more productive or more stressful?
You're also able to keep a daily diary, set reminders and events on the calendar and back it all up on your Google Drive.
¼ cup Port wine from Portugal
2 cups light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 9 by 9 pan and set aside.
In a small, non-reactive saucepan, bring the port and cherries to a boil. Reduce liquid in half and allow cherries to plump. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract. Add cherries with remaining port and mix together.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Fold dry ingredients into wet until mixed.
Placed into pan and bake in oven 30-40 minutes. If you insert a toothpick, the brownie crumb can bemoist but not runny.
Cool before slicing.
There are crowdsourced apps that track the weather, traffic and the news...now here's one that tracks and maps the cold and flu season. SickWeather scans social media and user accounts to determine what illnesses are showing high numbers in your neighborhood. The map shows areas in town where people are sick, a home-screen widget for Android users shows a sick-o-meter with color coded warning signs, Apple Watch users can also install a companion hand washing timer app. Sign up to receive alerts when the Flu, Norovirus, Pink Eye, and 20 other illnesses are in your neighborhood.