Unsolicited App Selections for Android 7.x (May, 2017) Part 2

Continued from Unsolicited App Selections for Android 7.x (May, 2017) Part 1

5. YouTube for Android - The YouTube app for Android is one of those apps that has largely been forgotten because it's used regularly and pretty much on everyone's device. However, the app becomes a surprising luxury if you're a FreeBSD, Linux, macOS user, or working in a country which bans YouTube videos.  YouTube has been the subject of controversy for Google and there are many things to hate about the service. Trump, idiotic gun owners, hate-crimes, overt racism, religious extremism, violence porn, and a generation of moronic egotistical vloggers reflect the many evils of the world.  One of  the worst things about YouTube is the comments section, which like most popular online venues has become a cesspool of hate, ignorance, self-entitlement, and the use of "free speech" to behave like a total *sshole.

On the other hand, it's easy to overlook that YouTube is used for education and independent learning. If you ignore the self-promotion that many YouTube users do (and defend), there are very serious uploads regarding programming and computer science, arts and crafts, STEM sessions (not those vacuous TED talks), and practical shorts for everyday tasks. Some people who upload videos are actually sincere and intelligent enough not to use the word "I" and place themselves in the background while discussing ways to fix a Linux bug, set up a Pi, or just clean a couch. Moreover, many MOOCs from respectable universities host their videos on YouTube.

The ads in YouTube adjust based on your location and are generally more tolerable than Flash ads in browsers.

Favorite Feature: YouTube's updates are largely under the hood and related to Google's privacy and ad features. Its design hasn't changed much from its original conception, despite numerous video streaming apps attempting to one-up the red-themed tabbed UI. I regularly use the History tab to check out previously watched Graham Norton Show interview, SNL clips, and enjoy the occasional 80s music video.

6. Coastline - Despite its syncing issues, OneNote for Android is great. However, old-fashioned note takers use .txt for writing code, making technical notes, and generally writing articles.

Favorite Feature: Coastline is a vanilla text editor, but like all mobile device text editors, there's something comforting about keeping a text file locally on a device, and exporting it using the Share option to another service only when needed.



7. WeChat - WeChat is a necessity in the Middle Kingdom and even expatriates have it installed to ensure they keep in contact with locals if they get lost, manhandled by the authorities, or suddenly seized with the urge to flirt with Chinese girls (which turn out to be robots advertising products). If you install the China-version or work around the restrictions for foreigners on the app, you can use WeChat Pay anywhere. WeChat Pay is so prevalent in China that even street vendors have a QR code next to their grill or cart so you can pay instantly.


Favorite Feature: You can make free calls when you're on Wi-Fi using WeChat. While this isn't a particularly unique feature, it's handy during the aforementioned emergencies. I tested this option and spoke to a Chinese co-worker on a business trip in Sweden while I was in Guangzhou, and while it probably won't be able to complete with Skype, my co-worker assured me the transmission was clear enough.

Banning your friends from viewing your WeChat Moments is a guaranteed way to make enemies.


8. BBC iPlayer Radio - I'm aware that plenty of users complain about the limitations BBC iPlayer has for foreign users, but the fact of the matter is, the free content on BBC Radio is pretty generous. Unlike the superficial, shallow, and outright self-promoting content found in American radio and podcasts, BBC has exceptionally well-written dramas, insightful educational series, and really funny throwback comedy programs. Yes, there are plenty of interviews involving smug, self-satisfied thespians, politicians, and "artists" harping about their talent and their life, but switch radio channels when it starts to grate on you.

Favorite Feature
: After years of consuming disheartening and depressing BBC World News podcasts, I've turned to BBC Radio 4 for 60s and 70s comedy shows. I'm embarrassed to admit I actually follow The Archers, too.

9. Euronews - You can partially escape the ignorant orange degenerate in the White House by keeping up with world events using Euronews. The app updates news content regularly and provides preset tabs for different content, though not as much as the excellent BBC News app.  With the UK leaving the EU, Euronews provides a different viewpoint if you regularly consume news from BBC Radio or BBC news outlets. Unlike aggregators such as News360, Euronews focuses on just news and not rubbish related to celebrities' incredibly uninteresting lives. Sadly, the amount of content regarding Europe only reminds you of how bad the world is today.

Favorite Feature: The videos include a transcript in different languages (including English) if you don't have access to high speed data.

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