Skip navigation

Ting Staff Picks: Chi’s top five


I’m just going to put it out there: I like pretty things, and the iPhone does “pretty” really well. With my iPhone 5s, I’m one of the few iPhone lovers in a pretty big sea of Android fans at work. I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 for about a year, but didn’t find the Android universe to my liking.

Don’t think that I’m discounting Android – I just find that the iPhone meets my cell phone needs perfectly, and looks good while doing so: I email, text, browse the web, snoop around in the social media world and take lots of photos. And that’s pretty much my cell phone modus operandi.

So here are the apps that I can’t live without – they are pretty standard, but function perfectly.

photo 1-1Aviary

I love the stock camera app on my iPhone. It takes beautiful photos, and allows me to capture the special moments that pop up everywhere. The last thing I want to do is fiddle around with filters and settings, and risk missing out on that moment. Instead, I rely on Aviary to help me enhance the photo – after I cull the 30 near-identical shots that I just grabbed, of course.

Aviary has great adjustments that control the brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation and sharpness of the photo. Controls are very sensitive, and that helps to prevent blowing out your final product. While I generally stick to those basic adjustments to help lighten a dark photo or saturate a washed out one, there are some other fun free functions available, such as blemish banisher, meme generators and teeth whitening. With affordable prices, you can buy a ton of frames, effects and stickers as well.

Aviary is available on Android and iOS.


We live in a city of commuters, which means that I rely solely on subway trains, buses and streetcars to get all around Toronto. Sometimes the transit system decides to stop working, and all of a sudden, I’m stranded at point A and really need to make it to point B in time to make it to the 7pm production of Wicked. Have I mentioned that I’m also carrying no cash around?

Enter Hailo, the taxi app that changed my life! Hailo allows you to hail the first available cab, based on your GPS location, and you can watch it arrive in real-time to your pick-up spot. Besides not having to wait in the cold or rain, the fare (including a custom tipping option) is then just charged to your credit card on file. So at the drop-off destination, you can just walk on out of the cab, without having to worry about finding an ATM or fiddling around with a portable (and never functional) POS system. Hailo emails you a receipt with all your details, including cab number and driver name. So for those times that I forget my phone/wallet/keys in a cab, I can actually track the driver down, pronto!

Hailo is available on Android and iOS


photo 5Have I mentioned that I like pretty things? That, combined with lots of commuting time, has made Pinterest my number one source of entertainment. Remember when you used corkboards to pin up magazine cut-outs of the latest fashion, postcards of where your friends travelled, and recipe clippings? Pinterest does exactly that, but for the entire world wide web. You create different boards, depending on theme, topic, or whatever your heart desires. Then, you can either browse through other people’s pins to re-pin them to your board, or you can pin photos from websites in your browser.

Each pin (i.e. photo) links to the exact webpage that you were on. So that cookie recipe that you stumbled upon 15 pages deep into the new blog you discovered? Pin any photo that’s on that web page, and voila! You can access that recipe when you have a hankering for something sweet. I use Pinterest for a variety of things: collecting baking recipes, planning my wedding, putting together my new wardrobe list for the winter, and hoarding hilarious Harry Potter memes.

Pinterest is available on Android and iOS.


I used to carry around a calendar/agenda up until last year. Then I discovered Wunderlist, and my purse became just a little bit lighter. Wunderlist allows me to put together lists for pretty much anything, and gives me the satisfaction of checking things off once they are done. I can share these lists for other Wunderlist users, too, so that it’s a team effort to get those tasks done.

I use it at work, for group projects, and at home for groceries. I recently moved, and Wunderlist was a lifesaver when it came to tracking the 1001 things that needed to be done before, during and after the move.

Wunderlist is available on Android and iOS


I’m not a big gamer. I have seven games on my iPhone, and only ever play one: 2048. The premise is basic: reach tile 2048. You move the tiles up, down, left or right. When two tiles with the same number value touch, they merge into one. So, if a 16 tile and another 16 tile touch, they become a 32 tile. The game is fun, and it’s impossible to stop playing it: I’ve reached 2048 once, am desperately trying to get to 4096….and have missed my subway stop plenty of times.

2048 is available on Android and iOS

What are your essential apps? Let us know in the comments!