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Top Android App: Cargo Decoder

Posted on Dec 8, 2010 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | comment

Cargo Decoder will let you identify what is being transported in any vehicle (e.g. truck, tanker, rail car, etc.) that displays the recognizable 4-colored, diamond-shaped placard with a 4 digit number.

  • Version: 1.9
  • Size: 1.72MB
  • Category: Reference
  • Price: Free

Quickly and easily enter the 4 digit number to see information from the Emergency Response Guidebook.  The ERG2008 was created through the joint effort of the US Department of Transportation, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico.

This reference app is ideal if you need to know anything and everything about a potentially hazardous material.  If you’re a truck driver, paramedic, firefighter, or work in transportation, you’ll surely benefit from having this information in a mobile format.

Details for each material include potential health, fire, or explosion hazards as well as public safety protocols for proper protective clothing and evacuation/first aid.


  • An essential reference for first responders
  • Search by UN/NA code or material name
  • Faster than pulling out a Haz Mat guide

Areas for improvement:

  • Additional placards
  • Enhanced organization of placard images

Conclusion: A safety reference app built for speed and reliability, whether used in an emergency response situation or for curiosity’s sake.

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Top Android App: U.S. Army Survival Guide

Posted on Nov 25, 2010 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | comment

U.S. Army Survival Guide is a complete reference Android app for any unknown or life-threatening situation.

  • Version: 1.2
  • Size: 6.75MB
  • Category: Reference
  • Price: Free

The U.S. Army Survival Guide app includes all chapters and appendices, including topics like survival medicine, shelters, and signaling techniques. The reference material is exactly what you’d want to have in your pocket when you’re out hiking, camping, or anywhere else away from civilization. All of the content is included in the app once it is downloaded, so there is no dependence on an internet connection. The guide, like any survival kit or drill, is one of those things you hope you’ll never need, but should have knowledge of just in case.

The guide is broken down into specific chapters which have their own subsections. The outline format of the guide makes the content surprisingly easy to read and understand. Even so, there is a ton of information supplied in the guide which could make finding exactly what you need difficult.


  • U.S. Army Survival Guide all in one app
  • Simple UI
  • Potential lifesaver

Areas for improvement:

  • Search feature is desperately needed
  • Subsection (intra-chapter) navigation could be improved

Conclusion: A handy survival reference guide rolled into a single Android app!

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Build Your Vocabulary w/ GRE Buddy

Posted on Sep 26, 2010 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | 2 comments

GRE Buddy enables you to master the essential vocabulary required for standardized tests like the SAT & GRE.

  • Version: 1.0 beta
  • Size: 238KB
  • Category: Reference
  • Price: Free

This solid reference app features 5,000 different words in a flashcard-format presentation. It is a learning tool great for tests like the GRE, SAT, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, ACT, TOEFL, and IELTS. Simply flip through the words to test yourself, then click on the flashcard to reveal the definition. For challenging words that you’d like to come back to later, star them and they will be saved. To access your starred words (as well as sort the database of words by beginning letter), tap the drop-down menu at the top left of the app.


  • Flashcard based presentation
  • 5,000 unique words
  • Simple, minimalist UI

Areas for improvement:

  • Add a bookmark to save your spot in the list of flashcards
  • Option to randomize words displayed (not just alphabetical order)

Conclusion: If you’re studying for any admissions type test that involves vocabulary, this app is a must. And even if you’re not, it’s a great learning tool to have in your pocket.

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FactBook Provides Country Data & Statistics

Posted on Sep 15, 2010 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

FactBook is a reference app with a beautiful interface that offers you easy access to the CIA World Fact Book and the United Nations data and statistics.

  • Version: 1.72
  • Size: 4.71
  • Category: Reference
  • Price: Free

FactBook is a great app for learning new things about our world. A wide range of data is provided for each country in different media, e.g. text, charts, graphs, and images. Right when you open the app you’ll find the “Did you know…” section at the bottom of the page. When I first used FactBook I definitely watched at least 10 different facts scroll across the screen. Then, you can find and break down the entire FactBook database by country, region, or relative comparison rankings.

For the purpose of this review, we’ll show you what type of information you can gather about the different countries. Categories include General Info, Transportation & Military, Economy, Population, Government, and Geography. Click the center of the wheel to access your chosen category. Flip your phone into landscape mode to see photos provided from Flickr.


  • Efficient user-interface and layout
  • Official reference material

Areas for improvement:

  • Click-wheel is clunky (list or buttons would be easier)
  • Needs Apps2SD functionality because of large size
  • Did you know… section should be clickable directly through to specific country info

Conclusion: A well refined reference app useful for anyone wanting to become a little more “worldly.”

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Top Android App: DroidLaw

Posted on Jul 2, 2010 in Reference, Top Rated Apps | 1 comment

DroidLaw is your “mobile solution to legal reference materials on Android.” This app is a must-have if you’re studying for Law School or addicted to Judge Judy.

  • Version: 1.1
  • Size: 1.24MB
  • Category: Reference
  • Price: Free (Add-ons extra)

Federal Rules included:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Appellate Procedure
  • Criminal Procedure

One of the great features of DroidLaw is that you can search the entire database of materials, and the articles will narrow down as you type. Additionally, you can keep bookmarks if you’d like to come back to certain material at a later time. Plus, you can write and save notes too.

All material is automatically saved to your phone’s SD card so that you can access the material offline.

This app is developed and organized very well. The ability to purchase add-ons allows you to get the information you need without being bogged down in everything else.


  • Comprehensive law reference
  • Organized and indexed
  • Search, copy, and share features
  • Save notes and bookmark articles for later
  • All material saved to SD card for offline use

Areas for improvement:

  • Allow ability to search within codes/articles

Conclusion: A thorough legal reference app you’re sure to need at some point. Know the (Federal) Rules!

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