a, Science & Technology

App round-up: Restaurants, food, and texting

There’s an app for everything in 2016. Brilliant minds are continuing to create innovative concepts that simplify our lives in ways we didn’t even think were possible. But how good are all of these apps? And are they worth it?  

1. 10MinMontreal

If you’re like me, every month you come precariously close to going over your cell’s data plan.  When you’re out with friends, this can be a problem: Without a Wi-Fi connection it becomes much more difficult to find places to eat, study, get a quick cup of coffee or even go on an impromptu date. The app 10 Minutes in Montreal, by McGill U4 software engineering student Dan Crisan features different restaurants that are all within 10 minutes walking distance from a Montreal metro station, and it works entirely without any internet connection or data usage. Crisan’s main focus with this app was to make it entirely accessible to McGill students. 

“At the beginning, we were a bunch of friends talking about where we should bring our dates,” Crisan explained. “As a techie, I had a vague idea about a simple app where the first thing that shows up are ‘moods.’ ‘She likes Italian food?’ ‘Here are a bunch of Italian restaurants. It’s late and want to go for a drink?’ Here are some bars. I wanted something simple, and more than anything else, accessible.”  

Not only is this app convenient, but it has a sleek, simplistic, ad-free layout that makes it incredibly easy to use, with more student-targeted results than other vast databases like Yelp, for example. Two thumbs up.  Rating: 5/5.


2. ReeBee

Being a university student brings its own set of challenges, and shopping for groceries without going broke is one of the most difficult. Co-founders of ReeBee, Tobiasz Dankiewicz and Michal Martyniak, have created an app that allows users to intelligently shop for groceries without having to leaf through store flyers to find the best deals at the time.  This app has a simple design where you type in the product you’re looking for and get a breakdown of all the different price offerings at local stores near you. ReeBee allows you to save up to 40 to 50 per cent on groceries (and even other products, like those sold at stores like Future Shop), and it also lets you price match with major department stores.

“In just one second you can tap on a product, navigate to it, show it to the cashier and get the product at the discounted price,” Dankiewicz explained.  

The co-founders explain they’re looking to add a feature that allows personalization. For example, vegetarians won’t see ads for meat products. In addition, you can share your grocery lists with your roommates and family, and let others know what products you’re buying.  

Rating: 4/5. Useful, but a lot of students will still just go to the  grocery store closest to their apartment and not the one with the best prices.


3. Texi

Texi is an app that was released this past month by the Dilawri Foundation, the philanthropic sector of a Canadian automotive group, and is an initiative for their newly launched safe driving campaign. This app has a really cool concept. It creates initiatives for safe driving through a point system: The more miles you drive without texting the more points you obtain. Eventually, at the end of the month, you are eligible to enter different drawings based on the number of points you’ve received. The drawings have a wide range of prizes, from a new smartphone to a $500 travel voucher. Statistics show that about 20 per cent of Canadians will admit to texting and driving, and in some places, including Ontario and British Columbia, police officers have stated that there are more accidents due to texting and driving now than there are from drunk driving. Texi aims to stop texting and driving by rewarding safe drivers. 

“Clearly, this is an issue becoming major enough for our foundation to want to do something about it, and this is a solution that we think is going to work,” Galit Solomon, a spokesperson for the company, stated. 

Rating: 4.5/5. Super cool prizes, and for a great cause. 

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