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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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald