Before attending the "This American Life" live show at a local Tucson theatre, I downloaded the mystery app to go along with it. Turned out, these triangles and squares (app screen pictured above) allowed me to contribute to a live musical performance. Everyone in the theatre had their part to play and we were directed by the lead singer of OK Go. Left arrow, circle and right arrow ran down the screen and we were instructed to hit the corresponding key when the shape hit a white line at the bottom of the screen (a la video game Guitar Hero). And it totally worked, the theatre became one big band. 

The app wasn’t the only cool part of the program. This American Life storytellers David Sedaris, David Rakoff, Glynn Washington and Tig Notaro totally delivered. And a short film by Mike Birbiglia (featuring a bank robbing Terry Gross!) and a dance performance by Monica Bill Barnes & Co. (bizarre but totally enthralling). My very favorite part of the night was the story of street photographer Vivian Maier’s, who wasn’t discovered until this young guy bought a box of her photos (after her death) for about 400 bucks. You have to see her photos

-Caroline Jackson

Here at BRINK, we specialize in mobile app design. And we know that a great app doesn’t just come falling out of a tree; designing an app people will use means an intuitive design, a touch of artfulness, and addictive features. So, with those in mind, here are some recently developed, or upgraded apps, that we thought deserved a little  extra attention:

Kaleidoscope is a fashion inspiration app that keeps you updated on the latest street-style trends. Kaleidoscope couples high-quality fashion photography and links to purchase items similar to the ones you find in the app. And of course, like most good apps, it lets you share what you love in just a few taps, with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. 

Stamped is a social app that lets you “stamp” your favorite things, and share them with the world. You can think of it as a Pinterest for real life, but with a local search function that lets you see nearby “stamps” made by both friends and strangers alike. 

Paper is a natural fit for the iPad: a digital sketchbook done right. Optimized for the new retina display, Paper blends high-resolution graphics with a simple design that tries to mimic the natural workflow of a real sketchbook. Free to use, Paper also includes purchasable upgrades that expand its capabilities to include extra formats and brushes. 

Camera Awesome takes the camera app to new heights. Tailored for a quick and easy experience, Camera Awesome has everything the iPhone photo-enthusiast might ever want, including grid-overlays, manual exposure and focus, hundreds of filters and presets (with purchase), 1-tap sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SmugMug, YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, etc. Plus you have the option to “awesomize” photos with a slider that automatically changes color levels to make your photos look, well, awesome. Did I mention it’s Awesome?

Pintley - Pandora for Beer. Rate your beer, share your beer and get recommendations on beer! With the recent growth of the micro-brew industry, and the following astronomic rise in beer varieties that came with it - sometimes it helps to have an app to keep it all in check. 

 - Alexsey Kashtelyan (Brinktern)

Following the App Game

Siri, Instagram, Words with Friends, Four Square, Angry Birds. There are all kinds of ways to stay connected or waste time on your new iPhone4S (or your old iPhone or Blackberry or Android) but new players are constantly popping up. At BRINKmedia we know a thing or two about making and using apps so I thought I’d share a few applications that have shown up and stood out in the last few days.  

(image from Facebook)

Find My Friend: The new ios5 operating system will make it easier for you to “get stalked like never before” according to Gizmodo BUT follow the etiquette they outline in this post and you’ll be fine. Don’t add acquaintances (who wants a hi-bye friend to know where they are at all times?) and if things get too creepy you can turn it off. I wonder how many fights between couples are going to start with this. That’s just a sign of the times though, remember the dude that assaulted his wife when she didn’t “like” his Facebook post?

(image from Social Gift’s video promo)

Social Gift: This is a plug-in for Facebook, not an outright app, but it is still worth mentioning. Social Gift allows you to ask friends to chip in on a higher dollar item for your special day. Think the money-raising power of Kickstarter paired with the social network of Facebook. Not a bad idea when you’re trying to turn those “Happy Birthday Bud!”s into dollars towards a big screen T.V. It’ll be easy for your friends to know what to do for your birthday and they won’t waste their money on the trinket you don’t need. 

LHSee: On the more sophisticated side of things, this app allows you to check out data being collected at CERN in real time. You’ll have to have an Android (for now) to see what is happening at the largest particle collider in the world real-time. 3-D visuals were called “eye-popping” in the Design Envy article (you can see one image above) and how cool would it be to see the data that proves the “God particle” exists as it is being discovered?

Hipster: An Instagram-esque application but with a few unique features. Instead of using different effects and frames to modify your photos, Hipster creates a postcard out of an image and marks the location where it was taken. You can tag friends, track their photos or look at what other photos originated at the location you are visiting. As slick looking as Instagram but it pulls in Facebook’s tagging features and FourSquares checking-in. 

(image from 110 Stories)

110 Stories: This app started with Kickstarter funding and allows anyone with a shot of Manhattan and GPS coordinates from their iPhone to superimpose a sketched out drawing of the Twin Towers. For 10 years there has been a blank spot in the NYC skyline but this app allows users to recall the buildings as they go about their business. Until the city can finish rebuilding, this is the next closest thing you can get to a replacement.  

-Caroline Jackson