Washington - Hayley Tsukayama reviews two new apps on the market, Typic Kids and Merlin Bird ID.


Typic Kids

Trick-out your pics

Sophisticated photo editing software is beyond the level of most kids (and, let's face it, most computer users) but that doesn't mean that they can't add some flair to their favourite smartphone snaps. Typic Kids is a photo editing program aimed squarely at children, which lets users pick filters to lay over photos, custom frames, text and digital stickers to customise pictures from a smartphone camera roll. You can also take a picture straight from the application, for an instant opportunity to get creative.

There are in-app purchases in Typic Kids, but buying extras require parents to not only enter their password but also do a quick arithmetic problem for authorisation. A full sticker pack costs $1.99 (about R20) , though there are still quite a few free options that come with the app. Typic Kids will require access to your camera roll. Free, for Apple iOS devices (7.0 or later.)


Merlin Bird ID

An eye in the sky

Developed by the Cornell Ornithology Lab, Merlin Bird ID is a great tool for casual bird lovers are just dying to know which feathered friend is outside their window right now. Users looking for a bird right away can search for birds based on their shape — sparrow to goose — and then further narrow down the choices by colour and location of the bird. Once you find your bird, the app gives you a little write-up and will even show you where it normally lives. The app only covers 350 birds, which Cornell's ornithology lab says are the most common, so it won't help you in exotic locales, nor does it record which birds you've seen. And the app won't look for locations offline, so if you're taking it on a hike, be sure to pre-load your locale.

The app will also let you listen to the songs of birds you see, though bird-watchers say that it's best not to play birdsongs near actual birds, as it can confuse them. Free, for iOS and Android devices. - The Washington Post