The holiday season is a fun time filed with special moments spent with family and friends, creating lasting memories. For many of us, in order to get to family and friends to commence memory making, there's a lot of traveling involved. And that means there will be a lot time spent waiting. Waiting for a plane to board or land, waiting for the long drive to finish, waiting for the slower members of your clan to get ready, waiting for dinner, for others to finish dinner, in short, lots of waiting.
In fact, the average American can expect to be waiting for something or someone a bit more than 3 years in his or her lifetime. That's a lot of time wasted. You could attempt to use that time for stuff like learning a new language or quitting bad habits, but where's the fun in that?
What you need is a set of really god time wasting apps, stuff that don't require a lot of brain power and very little care and feeding, but it should also be engaging and at least fun. And of course it should be absolutely free. (Yes, even Freemium apps count.)
Here are 3 iOS apps that fit the bill.
Instapaper [18.1 MB, all iOS devices iOS 5.1 or later, Maker: Instapaper, LLC]
When you prepare for a trip you pack things to cover most situations you'll likely encounter. How about taking some reading material along to occupy those random moments of waiting? Instapaper can help with that.
The app will take a selected web based article and strip it of all the fluff, leaving the text nicely formatted for your iPhone or iPad screen and saved for offline consumption. You can save up to 500 articles that way.
Instapaper lets you save it for later
Not only is it great for saving articles, it's excellent to read them on. Instapaper sports adjustable fonts, text sizes, screen brightness. It'll even automagically switch from light background to dark at sunset and back again at dawn!
No in-app ads and it's entirely free. What more can you ask from an app? If you don't have Instapaper, get it.
Monopoly Slots [50.1 MB, all iOS devices iOS 5.1 or later, Maker: Electronic Arts]
Ok, you've read through about every article you've saved and they've just announced that your plane is delayed due to bad weather. Sounds like it's time to fire up a bit of virtual Vegas and play Monopoly Slots.
As you may well have guess, this is a slot machine game that has a Monopoly theme, and it's a hoot to play.
You get the standard modern slot machine controls, Max Bets, Spin, and of course you can bet as much or as little as you want and you can win many different ways. What's cool though is that it has Game Center hooks so you can challenge friends and keep track of your standings among other players.
Winning virtual buck is almost as much fun as the real thing. Almost.
There's also a component that allows you to level up to more challenging plays and unlock other slot games.
This is a Freemium game so there are in-app coin buys and other enhancements available, but you really don't need to buy a thing. Should you lose everything your cash stash will get replenished periodically.
Monopoly Slots is mindless fun that takes the sting out of gambling, as long as you don't buy anything.
Angry Birds Go! [50.1 MB, all iOS devices iOS 6.0 or later, Maker: Rovio Entertainment Inc]
Rovio is on a roll (pun intended). After several versions of Angry Birds and the hit release of Bad Piggies, you'd think these guys would take a break. You'd have thought wrong, because now they offer Angry Birds Go!
It's an Angry Birds themed race game that tries and succeeds at being fun to play.
Run piggies of the track!
Pick a car then head for the tracks. As you advance you get to complete challenges, all of which earns you credits that you can use to upgrade your car. You can also get credits by driving through coins strategically placed on the track.
Running time trials and driving through fruit delivers its own satisfaction, but the game is best when you drive against players.
Of course there are in-app purchases to be had, but you don't need them to have fun. Angry Birds Go! is an excellent time waster.
And that's a wrap for this week.
I had selected Instapaper as a featured app long before Apple decided to feature it as this week's Free App of the Week. So, instead I'll point you to MomentCam, an really interesting app that lets you make cartoons of yourself. And in keeping with the Holidays season, Apple is featuring Kelly Clarkson's Christmas tune, Underneath the Tree as this week's Free Single of the Week.