Student Life

Top 10 best time-wasting apps

If you have a smartphone you know that having apps basically comes as a packaged deal. Today, you can find an app for just about anything. Sadly, for a lot of us, we use these apps just to kill time. Here is a compilation of the top 10 best time-wasting apps out there:

Screen cap from Candy Crush Saga, available in the AppStore.

10. Snapchat: Take photos and videos and share them with your friends. The catch: you can only share them for up to 10 seconds. Talk about taking it all in in a matter of seconds. This app can help kill the time by getting creative in your conversations with friends. Show them instead of writing to them what you’re up to.

9. iBooks: Download and read books straight from your iPhone for free. It may not literally be a page turner, but this app will do the trick if you’ve got some free time while on the go. Catch up on some reading from a selection of bestsellers, classics, fully illustrated books and more.

8. Flow: This puzzle-like game has over 1,000 levels where the main objective is to connect matching colours with pipe. Pair the colours and cover the grid. This game starts out simple, but definitely picks up as you move on, passing the time while testing your puzzle skills.

7. Hanger:  This game app is very Spider-Man-esque in nature. Guide your stick figured buddy through 2-D levels by holding and releasing cables. Hit anything — I mean anything — and your buddy will suffer serious injuries, dribbling blood the rest of the way. But fear not, as long as your figure has a head and an arm to hold the cable you can still make it to the finish line.

6. Vine: These videos may only last a few seconds, but they get to the point of the message they’re trying send in a timely fashion. Vines, tending to last between five seconds to a full minute, display something either hilarious that everyone can relate to or instantly recognize, or merely capture a memorable moment.

5. Twitter: Thoughts and feelings expressed in 140 characters or less, Twitter has a whole world of opinions waiting to be noticed and retweeted. Short and to the point, Twitter tweets can be funny, informative, and sometimes downright weird or offensive. But with hashtags and trends forming every day, it’s an easy app to find exactly what you’re into if you need to kill time.

4. Buzzfeed: Get the stories and lists that interest you first on this app by customizing your own feed. Whether it’s 100 things you need to know or 25 things you must see, Buzzfeed will be a great source of news and entertainment to pass the time.

3. Instagram: The app that takes photos to a whole new level of creativity. Enhancements, frames, and focus capabilities offered with 20 different filters to choose from allow us to make our pictures that much more eye-catching. With hashtags as a key aspect of the app, people can search whatever they are intrigued to see.

2. Facebook: Let’s face it. Facebook is a never-ending story that you can easily get lost in for hours if you want to and even if you don’t. With more friends come more bios, pictures, pages, statuses, and — lest we forget — games. The time-killing capabilities of Facebook are truly endless.

1. Candy Crush Saga: If you aren’t already playing this game, know that you are saving yourself copious amounts of time. This addictive candy themed game is similar to the legendary game Bejeweled. The goal: line up three or more candies to either clear all the jelly or bring down the ingredients. You can also see how many you can line up in a designated time span. With hundreds of levels to play, this app is sure to keep you hooked for as long as your lives last you.


It’s all about the Apple

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan.

Watch out NYC, Apple products are now taking over the world, one product at a time.

Ever since the rise of the Mac desktops/laptops, iPods and the iPhones in the early 2000s, other electronic corporations have fallen behind in the race for consumers and have little or no chance to catch up.

The only option other corporations have left to do in order to stay in the game is to take Apple’s ideas, modify them to their own style, and paste their own logo on them.

Just look around. You see people open up Mac laptops in class and tune into their iPods on buses, metros and trains. When you pass someone on the street talking on the cell phone, chances are they are holding an iPhone to their ear.

Here’s something to think about: Apple possesses more money than some countries do. Apple has an estimated value of $626 billion U.S. as of September this year (which is more than Microsoft and Google combined). They’ve earned just over $5 million during their first weekend when their newest product, the iPhone 5.

When the iMac computers were first introduced, the products sold almost 800,000 units in their first five months. Later, when the iPod was revealed, it sold close to 100 million units in only six years.

Although the infamous touch screen wasn’t invented by Apple, they were the first to achieve an outstanding human interaction between the electronic device and the customer from its pre-programmed touch gestures.

Since then, many other electronic corporations such as Samsung, HTC, Nokia and LG have tried to re-vamp Apple’s idea with the touch screen. Other corporations now have their own variations, having their apps lined up in the same formation as the iPhone. Also, the sensitivity and the way you can flip from one screen to the next is the nearly the same as an iPhone.

In recent news, there have been many articles written about the lawsuit Apple has filed against Samsung for allegedly copying most of Apple’s products. However, the case is nowhere close to being resolved. ITWorld reported to the International Business Times that after winning a million dollars in damages in August 2012, Apple is demanding another $707 million from Samsung. On top of that, Apple is asking for a ban on the sale of 26 Samsung products.

After the release of the iPad, corporations such as Samsung and Blackberry released their versions of a tablet, mimicking some of the same structures and functions as the iPad. Another lawsuit was launched because Apple felt that the iPad and iPad 2 was infringed on by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Despite the dispute with the phones, many of the iPods were also copied by other corporations. In early 2004, most MP3 players worked on a shuffle basis, meaning you couldn’t pick the song you wanted. Apple was the first to invent such a useful tool that made it possible to select. It was only later that other companies copied Apple’s idea.

Apple continually comes out with new and improved versions of their products. Some clients believe that these are pointless and over priced, while numerous others think that it’s what keeps Apple so fresh and addictive.

“There’s always something to look forward to,” said Sabrina Marchei, a second-year human resources student at Concordia and an Apple client.

Whether you like it or not, Apple is the clear leader in this particular brand of products and will continue to be so for many years to come, until the next big thing, that is.

Student Life

Skip the line with LEX-IT

“Pre-order, prepay, pickup—it is as easy as that!” explains Charles Azrak, recent Concordia finance graduate, about his latest business venture. The company he co-founded with his other business partner, Richard Btaiche, a graduate of Concordia’s computer engineering program, is called LEX-IT.
LEX-IT is an ideal solution for busy students or business professionals, too famished and far too impatient to wait in a long line for their lunch or dinner. Once you visit, you can access a list of LEX-IT partner restaurants from which you can order food for pickup at a specified time in the future. Food can be ordered through the LEX-IT website or iPhone app. Other smartphone devices are on the way too.
Once food has been ordered, LEX-IT partner restaurants prepare it to your specifications for you to pick up at an indicated time. All you have to do when picking up the food is to tell them your PIN, which is provided when you order through LEX-IT. You can do all of this while sitting and waiting for class to finish, or on your way to your morning class, or in the shuttle while switching between campuses, all conveniently at your fingertips. “Students can pick up their breakfast on the way to the class or a snack during classroom breaks, something that they usually have no time for,” said Btaiche.
Some of the LEX-IT partner restaurants include: Subway, Liquid Nutrition, Thai Express, Gourmet Burger, Al-Taib, Chateau Kabab, Lunchbox and others. Many more are on the way, explained Azrak. “It took us months to build relationships with restaurant owners and to find out the best way to work with them.”
But what’s the best thing about LEX-IT? It’s free—the price that you pay is the same that you would pay if you purchased your food at the restaurant. The way LEX-IT makes money is by taking a percentage of the sales through an established contract with the restaurants. “This [service] is a new concept that we are certain will be used by many Concordia and other university students,” said Azrak.
The idea for the name “LEX-IT” was inspired by Azrak’s friend who, during the period where they were brainstorming to find a company name, had a baby and called her Lexia. “We realized that there was a good definition behind it because the Latin term lex mercatoria refers to a system of custom and best practice. We also wanted for people to view LEX-IT as a way of being, a system of established norms and behaviour. It all really came together,” said Btaiche.
Azrak and Btaiche teamed up on this project in October 2010. “From day one, Richard and I clicked,” said Azrak, beaming as he explained how both of them are similar in their ambition and hard-working attitude. “In addition to us working so well together, we must also give a lot of credit to our board of directors, who provided an invaluable help on our business strategy and legal matters,” said Azrak.
“He is a machine,” said Azrak of Btaiche. “Richard has the best memory, he is a perfectionist, he likes to balance everything in his life. If a pixel is missing in a picture Richard will stop everything and fix it.”
Btaiche spoke highly of Azrak too. “He is very patient, and he is a very positive and creative person, a machine too,” said Btaiche.
Btaiche was one of four students who received a co-op entrepreneurship award during his last year at Concordia. He was born in Lebanon, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and came to Montreal in 2007 to complete his studies at Concordia. Even in Lebanon, Btaiche could not turn off his entrepreneurial extinct, as he started creating small businesses, such as an Internet cafe. “Even when I was very young I was an efficient person, always thinking of ways to save time and to optimize whatever there is,” he said.
Azrak, on the other hand, took a less direct path. Originally from Syria, but born in Montreal, Azrak moved around from Saudi Arabia to Dubai and back to Montreal. “I never really knew what I wanted to do, I switched programs a few times [between MIS, finance, marketing and one semester of law at the Université de Montréal], but I knew whatever I decided to do it was going to be interesting.”
This is not the first start-up idea that Btaiche and Azrak have embarked on. While Azrak was studying finance at Concordia, he teamed up with Btaiche to start a charity that would raise funds to purchase laptops for orphanages.
Btaiche explained to me that starting a business is not as easy as it seems, specifying that they work 12 to 14 hours a day on perfecting their product and growing the business. “People don’t understand the drive and the energy that we have. When it is 1 a.m. on Saturday and you are shooting business ideas to each other through texts and emails, something is wrong,” joked Azrak.
In the beginning, LEX-IT struggled finding technical talent to help build their product, invested large amounts of money, and Azrak took the risk of quitting his job to dedicate himself to their creation.
Many young student entrepreneurs may have their fears of not having enough money, being afraid that the competition would be overwhelming, or that the product won’t sell. For them, Btaiche offered some advice. “I think that Montreal is a really good place to start a business, there are a lot of resources and support that you can benefit from and you should follow your gut and don’t be afraid in venturing and investing some money, because the experience that you get from it and the journey that you go on is really priceless,” he said.
Azrak emphasized the importance of keeping your eye on your goal, maintaining focus, avoiding distractions and choosing your business partners wisely. “If you will ever have business partners, make sure you’ve worked with them before. Being friends with someone does not mean that you will work well together, it is completely different. Also, I suggest reading biographies and books of interesting entrepreneurs to give you ideas and a better understanding.”
Ambitious plans lie ahead for the LEX-IT team. “What we are focused on right now is making sure that Concordia students love LEX-IT. We want them to just LEX-IT every day! It takes a lot of work, often through trial and error, to come up with the best experience, but with the support of the students, university community and our partner restaurants, we are certain to get it done,” said Azrak. “Our plan is to revolutionize the way people order food, one order at a time.”

For more information, visit and just LEX-IT!

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