Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Merry Happy Novelty Apps: Explosions, Alarms and Fortunes Told

Ho ho ho. The latest and greatest in silly phone apps have arrived just in time for the holidays.

This one is probably the most fun: Take short videos and overlay explosions and other disastrous effects with the new Action Movie FX app for iOS from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Interactive.

Action Movie FX is missing a few features I’d like, such as sharing on Twitter and YouTube, and also the ability to add effects on videos taken outside the app. But it’s free (extra effects like a tornado and an airstrike cost $0.99 for a pack of two) and destructive, and only slightly likely to bring out the sociopathic tendencies in your little ones.

Next, Jimmy Fallon will wake you up with a variety of silly alarms, each featuring a wacky ringtone and the voice of the late-night TV host cracking jokes told directly to you.

Keep in mind, it’s Jimmy Fallon, so the jokes are more goofy and cute than funny — but they’re better than the awful default iPhone alarm clock sounds. Jimmy Fallon’s Wake Up Call is only for iOS and costs $0.99.

The Onion also wants to be of service. The comedy gods created a gimmick app, called “Onion Magic Answer Ball,” that responds to shaking with informative answers like “No, and stop tweeting about it”; “You’re one stabbing away from all that you desire”; and “You will continue to make everyone miserable for many years.” A good party trick, I suppose, but it also costs $0.99 and is only for iOS.

What’s a holiday app list without a mention of NORAD Santa? Better grab it quick, before Mr. Claus makes the full global circuit. Available for both Android and iOS.

Lastly — and this requires no other device than whatever you’re using to read this post — Watch an African bullfrog play the app Ant Crusher (well, that’s according to the description; I think it might actually be Ant Smasher for Android). Best video I’ve seen all week.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik