Is Your Electronic Signature Legal Around The World?

If we needed to hand-sign every agreement we made online and offline, we’d have a bureaucratic nightmare.

We’d have to put pen to paper for every online service we signed up for, and any subscription we subscribed to. We’d waste forests of paper in signing contract after contract, agreement after agreement.

Fortunately, we have electronic signatures that can rescue us from this nightmare. But what exactly is their legal status?

What are Electronic Signatures?

Electronic signatures allow you to give permission quickly and easily, without needing to sign agreements by hand.

This type of signature isn’t just typing your name on the signature line of a PDF, or scrawling your initials with a stylus. It also includes clicking an Accept button on a website. An electronic signature is a marker, or a process, that indicates your intent to abide by the contract.

[An electronic signature is an] electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to, or associated with, a contract or other record and adopted by a person with the intent to sign a record. (U.S Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act)

Electronic signatures of this kind are generally seen to be legally binding (more on this later), but they are not to be confused with digital signatures.

Electronic Signatures Are NOT Digital Signatures

Despite most people assuming electronic signatures and digital signatures are synonymous, they are not.

Electronic Signatures

Digital signatures are sometimes called advanced electronic signatures. These are usually signatures generated by a computer. Using strong encryption methods (such as asymmetric cryptography), they can be used to secure documents.

Where electronic signatures can easily be forged, digital signatures cannot. A digital signature is embedded in that document and linked to the identity of the person who signed it. This makes them especially useful for verifying exactly who signed a document, and for ensuring a document has not been changed since it was signed.

On its own, a digital signature is not a sign of intent, and is therefore not always legally binding. But a digital signature can be used to verify, secure, and authorize a legally binding electronic signature.

For the average user, electronic signatures are easier to implement as we will see below. But the signature may not be secure. Digital signatures ensure the integrity of the data, and thus are combined with electronic signatures for ironclad documents.

The e-signature solution company Esignlive.com, uses a simple infographic to explain these crucial differences.

What’s Their Legal Status?

Let’s take a look at the legal status of electronic signatures in a few different countries. If your country isn’t in the list below, Adobe has a comprehensive list of the legal status of electronic signatures in a range of countries here.

Please Note: MakeUseOf is not a legal service provider, and cannot be held responsible if any of the below information is incorrect. Consult the documents listed, or a qualified lawyer if you need further information.Courtroom

Are They Legal in The US?

Rules around the legality of electronic signatures in the US are largely based on the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN).

47 states have based their laws on UETA meaning that electronic signatures are legally binding for almost all forms of agreements (provided all parties agree to accept electronic signatures). Exclusions include property transactions, some notices to consumers, and wills, which will still require a hand-written signature.

Are They Legal in the UK?

The UK treats electronic signatures similarly to the US, with rules being set out in the Electronic Communications Act 2000.

If you show your intent to agree to a document in any electronic form, this is legally binding (whether or not you used a digital signature for authentication).

As is the case in the US, you are advised not to use electronic signatures for property agreements, wills, and in other cases such as divorce and marriage.

Are They Legal in Canada?

As set out in Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c 5, electronic signatures are treated in pretty much the same way as handwritten signatures if all parties have agreed to accept them.

Again, exceptions include real estate contracts, and wills.

Are They Legal in Australia?

Laws around electronic signatures in Australia are based around the Electronic Transactions Act 1999.

Almost all electronic signatures are legally enforceable, apart from those relating to citizenship and migration. Different regions of Australia also have varying views on the legality of electronic signatures in relation to real estate, wills, and power of attorney agreements.

Are They Legal in India?

In India, electronic signatures are indeed legally binding (unless there is proof that the signature was used unlawfully). And so are digital signatures. The Indian government allows companies to choose which type of signature is best for them.

That being said, digital signatures have to adhere to strict standards to be seen as enforceable. More details on these standards can be found in The Information Technology Act 2000.

Exceptions to this include any documents that must be written on stamped paper, wills, and property transactions, among a few others.

Using Your Electronic Signature

Most times you provide an electronic signature, you’ll barely notice. When you click I accept while signing up to an online service, or when you agree to Facebook’s new terms, you’re electronically signing a legal contract.

Signature

For those times where you actually need to sign a document (such as a downloaded PDF), you can still do this electronically. Speaking with PCWorld, Dallas copyright attorney Bhaveeni Parmar, explains all the options in the article.

The “least bulletproof” option is to add an image of your signature to the document. If you’re signing a DOCX document, you can insert an image of your signature into the document within Microsoft word, or Google Drive. If you’re signing a PDF document, there are plenty of applications that allow you to edit these PDFs (i.e. inserting your signature). If you have a stylus, you could even sign a PDF “by hand” on your iPad.

The next class of signatures is typing your name within a form. In US states that have adopted UETA or ESIGN, this is a legal electronic signature. For “lower-priority” documents, typing your name in one of the following formats is:

Considered to be [a] legitimate signature under the Federal E-Sign act, and acceptable enough for the legal industry

  • For submissions to the Federal court system: /s/Angela West
  • For submissions to the Patent & Trademark Office: /Angela West/

Finally, the most secure option is to use a dedicated service such as Adobe Sign or DocuSign (among many others). These options allow you to sign important documents securely using high-end encryption technology. They also take into account the laws of the country for which the contract is meant.

The Fastest Ways to Use E-Signatures

AdobeSign and DocuSign are both industry leading tools for securely signing agreements. DocuSign even has a live demo you can try before you buy. But there are many more available.

SignEasy

To run through just a few of these:

  • If you’re happy just inserting an image of your signature onto agreements, Signature Maker allows you to scrawl your signature within your browser, then download the signature file as an image.
  • For something more secure, SignEasy (iOS, Android) is one of the most popular mobile apps for completing and signing a wide array of file types including PDF, Word, and Excel (see the image above). Once signed, you can share documents through a range of cloud services. If you only need to sign a couple of documents, the free version of the app will be fine. But if you need to regularly sign documents, you’ll have to upgrade to the premium version. 
  • CudaSign (iOS, Android) is a similar but slightly more advanced option than SignEasy. It costs from $1 per month, but there is a free trial available. Whoever uploads the document can specify the signatory. An email link is sent, and signers can then “sign from their computer, tablet or cell phone”.
The service you choose to use depends on your situation, how secure you need your signatures to be, and your budget. All of the above services have great reviews and, apart from Signature Maker (which simply creates an image), are known to be reliable and secure.
These will offer you an easy way to legally sign most agreements that come your way.

Yes, E-Signatures Are Legal

Next time you click an I accept, or I agree button, bear in mind that you are signing a legal contract. And whenever you come to sign any other form of document electronically, know that your sign of intent is just as legally valid as a hand-written signature.

Over to you: Do you think all these “signs of intent” should be considered as legally valid as a handwritten signature?

Image Credits: Courtroom One Gravel by Beth Cortez-Neavel (Flickr), Signature by Sebastien Wiertz (Flickr)

3 Pc Games Like Angry Birds That You Can Play Offline

pc games like angry birdsLike any popular game, Angry Birds has spawned clones. These games are often flash-based, and though most aren’t up to par with Angry Birds, they’re a nice diversion for someone who has slaughtered their fill of hogs.

Just one problem – most of these games require an Internet connection. So what are you supposed to do when you’re offline? Let’s have a look at a few indie titles that provide physics-based gameplay but don’t require a constant connection to the mothership.

World of Goo

pc games like angry birds

Did you forget about this game? It was an indie darling a few years back, but has fallen off the face of the earth recently. That’s a shame, because although this game pre-dates Angry Birds, the gameplay and graphical style is similar. Indeed, this is arguably the game that inspired the current breed of physics-based indie titles.

As the title suggests, you’ll spend much of your time playing with Goo. Not just any old goo, however, but rather goo that can be used to construct building and bridges. If you ever tried to make things out of Play-Doh when you were a kid, you’ll know what to expect.

The game starts out easy, but becomes increasingly difficult as the levels challenge you to build more complex structures. Eventually you’ll need to learn to exploit physics to create elaborate solutions, and when things go wrong, it all comes tumbling down in a gooey mess.

World of Goo is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and even the Wii. It is $20 on the developer’s website, but less than $10 on Amazon.

Crush the Castle 2

angry birds for pc

Available on Armor Games, the flash game site that posts a new game every nano-second, Crush the Castle 2 is almost identical to Angry Birds. Your goal here is to kill pigs – er, nobles – in a castle. You do this by flinging a variety of rocks and bombs at them.

Level design in this game is frankly not as solid as Angry Birds, but it’s better than most clones, and it is supported by a wide variety of ammo types that add spice to the game. Although the goal is to complete your task in as less shots as possible, it’s sometimes more fun to just plow through a castle’s walls with a barrage of bombs.

Now, you might be thinking “wait, isn’t this game web-based?” That’s true, but you can download it and play the flash file on your PC without an Internet connection, although you will need to connect if you want to use any of the game’s online features.

Crazy Machines 1 + 2

pc games like angry birds

The original Crazy Machines was a lot of fun, but it was a bit before its time. Launched in 2005, it received some praise but generally flew under the radar. If it had arrived in 2008, it likely would have been given as much attention as World of Goo.

Now the sequel has launched, but both Crazy Machines titles have similar gameplay. You’re given a series of challenges and some tools to solve them. Usually the tools must be used to knock something over or move an object. Beating the levels requires creative thought and familiarity with the concept of a Rube Goldberg machine.

Both games are available on Amazon’s game site. The original is only $6.51, while the second is $10.99. Do be warned, however, that Crazy Machines 2 is known for its demanding system requirements. If you don’t have a beefy PC, it is unlikely to play smoothly.

Conclusion

There are plenty of games like Angry Birds available, but once you exclude those that can’t be played offline, many of the choices evaporate. If you know of a solid physics-based game can be played without a connection to the web, let us know in the comments!

The Mountain And His Hound. Game Of Thrones Actor Loves His Tiny Pom!

Photo collage: The Daily Dot ---------------------------------

Photo collage: The Daily Dot
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“Game of Thrones’” actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is known around the world for his role as Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (and for taking Iceland’s Strongest Man title five years running, Europe’s strongest two years running) but he’s got a far gooier heart than his brutal Westerosian alter-ego.

And one of the things that melts it is Asterix, Björnsson’s tiny pomeranian pup.

So beloved is the itty fluffball, Asterix has his own Instagram account, where the actor regularly posts photos of his dog wearing adorable outfits and looking freakishly small next to his ginormous sneakers.

The Mountain character is known for his adversarial relationship with his equally imposing brother, known as “The Hound,” but clearly the venom doesn’t translate to real life.

Björnsson stands a towering 6’9″ and weighs in at 400 pounds, which makes videos of Asterix tagging along on his cardio workouts exceptionally freakin’ cute. Take a peek at this Nerdist video for a one-two punch of athletic inspiration and near-fatal levels of heartwarming puppy love you’ll undoubtedly relate to.

Jedi-concentrate: Darken Inactive Windows For Better Work Focus

Working with multiple open windows can be very distracting, leading to a loss of productivity. Sometimes, all you need to do is focus on one window to get that one task done.. We have previously reviewed Hazeover. Now we have Jedi Concentrate, an equivalent Windows app that can help you focus on a window without having to minimize all of the other windows. This app will darken the area outside of the current active window with just a press of a hotkey.

darken inactive windows

To use Jedi Concentrate, run the app and simply press any of the following hotkeys: WIN J, F12, or CTRL+ to dim inactive windows. The app resides in the system tray and if you want to activate it automatically when you turn on the computer, you can always put it in the startup folder.

Jedi Concentrate is a zipped download and you do not need to install it to use it. If you are easily distracted, this is a tool that you should play with.

Features

  • Dims the area beyond the current active window so that you can focus on it.
  • Activates with three hotkeys: win+J, F12, ctrl+/
  • Free to download, open source app.
  • Similar Tool: Hazeover.

Check out Jedi Concentrate

Help! How To Find The Best Hair Color For My Skin Tone?

Finding your most flattering hair shade is not an easy thing, but don’t worry – we have found the best ways to find a perfect hair color for your skin tone.

Fall is the perfect time for a style refresh, and this includes your hair too! After a long summer, your color might be looking a bit tired and grown out from the summer months.

With the deeper color schemes coming back in season from a deep berry lipstick to gorgeous jewel-toned sweaters, you want to make sure that your hair doesn’t have you looking washed out.

But the most important question you may ask yourself is – How to find the best hair color for my skin tone?

The first step to understanding your most suitable shades is looking at your skin in its natural state. Before ever trying to determine your undertones or complication level, it’s time to take your makeup off.

This will prevent mismatches because sometimes we get undertones wrong with makeup too. In addition to makeup avoid any self-tanner as well. Think of this as a fresh start!

Find your undertone

Look at your bare face and notice what colors are coming through. What color do you see in the under eye area? Do you have redness?

Normally we hate the pigmentation found in the under eye area but today it will be very helpful in seeing undertones. These are key things to look at when understanding your undertone.

Cool – Blueish Under Eyes & Some Redness

If you have Blueish Under eyes and some redness on your cheeks, you are most likely cool toned. The veins on the underside of your wrist will also appear blue which is another way to tell.

The redness will occur most in a fair skin (think Zooey Deschanel) but cool toned skin comes in all shades. In very dark skin, the blue undertone may appear more grayish, but it will be striking against bright colors much like Lupita Nyong’o.

If you are more medium to deep toned you may notice more of a blue-purple under eye area and slightly more blue-purple veins.

best hair color for my skin tone
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Warm – Greenish yellow under eyes and undertones

If you’re warm, you’ll notice a more yellow under eye area with some greenish undertones. Warm skin tones typically don’t have any redness and will have a more green appearance to the veins on the underside of the wrist.

Warm undertones are most common in light, medium to dark complexions and are rarer in very fair skin. A celebrity who is a gorgeous example of medium warm skin is the one and only Jennifer Lopez.

best hair color for my skin tone
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Neutral – A mix of tones without distinction

If you’re having trouble matching your skin to blue or yellow undertones, you may be one of the lucky few with a neutral complexion. Neutral skin tones can often pull off all sorts of hair colors, which allows a big variety of choices.

Using highlights and lowlights is a great wait to achieve a mix of tones but you will also be able to pull off both with the neutral undertone. Cara Delevingne has a very neutral undertone and can pull off just about anything. Her skin does not have a big distinction in undertones which prevents any color clashing.

best hair color for my skin tone
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Look at your favorite celebrities

Now that you know your undertone, it’s time to get some ideas! Looking to your favorite celebrities is a great way to start because most starlets will have expert stylists at their disposal.

Celebrities and models will often change their hair color for a role or special campaign, so you won’t be hard-pressed to find a celebrity who hasn’t had two or more hair colors.

Using your new knowledge of undertones, find a celebrity with a similar undertone and skin tone as yourself and see if you can find a good history of their hair colors.

best hair color for my skin tone
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For example, Blake Lively is an actress that has light skin and warm undertones. Blake typically keeps her hair a warmer blonde shade but she has been a redhead, strawberry blonde, and a brunette in the past.

In all over her hair colors, she has always maintained a level of warmth in her hair which has made every color quite flattering. When she started adding reddish tones, instead of going for true blue-red she went for something more coppery and light that would keep a brightness to her complexion.

If you have lighter skin with warm undertones you could use Blake Lively as inspiration for your next shade.

Customize your color

When you pick a shade that you want to try out, don’t be afraid to add a little more variation to make it a custom flattering shade. If you want to go deeper but are afraid of going too cool, thus giving your skin dull appearance, a great option is to add some warmer caramel highlights.

These highlights would add the right amount of warmth while still maintaining the deep shade level. Opting for multi-tonal styles will allow you to find something both flattering and unique to you.

If you are craving a lighter shade but want to take it slow, Bayalage-style or ombre highlights and lowlights are a great way to ease into lighter tones with less maintenance because you would be keeping the root deeper and fading into a lighter color.

For neutral undertones, highlights and lowlights can help give a more balanced look by using both warm and cooler shades to create a custom fit.

best hair color for my skin tone
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When looking for your perfect shade it’s not always as easy as sticking to something close to your natural color. Finding the best hair color for your skin tone can be transforming to your complexion and your overall look.

Your most striking shade will bring out your features and will make your skin look bright and vibrant.

What tips do you usually follow when searching for a new hair color? Who do you get your inspiration from? We would love to know!

Rescuers Save Dog Hiding In Underground Sewer System

An abandoned dog lived for over two months under a freeway, scared and running away from anyone that tried to help. Thankfully, the dog known today as Leah, survived all this time thanks to a family who fed her daily. Eldad Hagar with Hope for Paws was called to save the dog, and armed with  a camera, gentle snare leashes, his lucky leash and a friend/volunteer, the dog was saved. It wasn’t an easy task. Watch the video, share the video and lets help Leah find her forever home.

10 Best Offline Games For Iphone And Ipad To Play Without Data Or Wi-fi

With today’s digital age and portable pocket computers, we’re almost always online in some way. That is, until we’re not.

Most smartphone owners have a cellular data plan to go along with them. But sometimes, you just can’t get a signal, such as underground commutes on the subway or out in the middle of nowhere.

After a hard day’s work, we just want to relax. So we have games on our iPhones and iPads. And while there are a ton of gaming options to consider on the App Store, what if you’re looking for something that you can play even if you don’t have a data connection?

Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered with these great games that don’t require an internet connection to play.

1. Kraino

If you grew up in the 80s or 90s with great platformers and want some nostalgia, then Kraino is a perfect title.

best offline games iphone ipad

With Kraino, you get a blast from the past with the incredibly detailed pixel art style that’s clearly inspired by classics like Mega Man and Castlevania. The eerie music is sure to delight as well.

There are six castles with various environments to go through in Kraino, and each one is unique and hosts a variety of monsters. Even though you’re controlling a skeleton protagonist, there are many other castle baddies to hack-n-slash your way through, like slime blobs, bats, and ghosts.

best offline games iphone ipad

While six stages doesn’t sound like much, each one is lengthy with multiple checkpoints before you face off against a challenging boss battle. For those who are concerned about the touchscreen controls, worry not! These controls are fairly responsive, reachable, and rather accurate.

There are ads in Kraino, but only if you want to get a Continue after losing your three lives. Otherwise, there are no ads and no in-app purchases.

Download: Kraino (Free)

2. Super Stickman Golf 3

In the mood for some physics-based golf puzzles? Then Super Stickman Golf 3 is a hole-in-one.

Super Stickman Golf 3 is the third installment of the Super Stickman Golf series. Get ready to tee off in the most challenging courses yet!

best offline games iphone ipad

There are 20 brand-new courses in Super Stickman Golf 3. The goal is to complete each part of the course by getting the ball to the hole in as few pars as possible. It’s a test of both physics and skill. Plus, the controls are simple and make it possible for anyone to pick this game up and play right away.

As you play, you’ll find “Bux” scattered around on the courses. You want to collect these, since you use them to get card packs. These packs unlock powers, golfers, hats, and trails, allowing you to customize your golfing experience. The powers can change how your golf ball works, so it adds fresh new gameplay to the tried-and-true formula.

While you can enjoy all the single-player levels and modes without a data connection, there are extras that you can access once you’re online. This includes multiplayer mode, daily races and rewards, and more courses to download. Plus, if you want to get more Bux, there are in-app purchases.

Download: Super Stickman Golf 3 (Free)

3. Flipflop Solitaire

Solitaire is a classic card game that we’re all familiar with and probably played way too much of when we’re supposed to be productive. However, while the old formula works, it still gets stale.

This is where Flipflop Solitaire comes in. The developer, Zach Gage, has taken this routine game mechanic and turned it upside down, literally. The regular Solitaire is all about untying knots of unordered cards into clean and sequenced stacks. Flipflop Solitaire is the exact opposite.

best offline games iphone ipad

In Flipflop Solitaire, you take knots of cards and tie them into other, perhaps even better, knots. At some point, after shifting the knots around, they end up untied and go in the final stack of properly-sequenced cards.

For example, say you have a stack of cards containing K, Q, J, 10, 9, and 8. In regular Solitaire, you’d continue this stack in descending order, so the next cards would be 7, 6, 5, and so on. With Flipflop Solitaire, you can play the next set of cards as 7, 8, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 6, 5. To put it simply, the next card you put in a stack can be lower or higher than the previous one. Again, it pretty much takes the standard formula and flips it upside down, hence the name.

Flipflop Solitaire includes four game modes for free, which is the number of suits included in a round. It’s recommended to start with one suit, and then work your way up after you get the hang of the rules. There are always four empty slots at the top to stack your cards in sequential order from Ace to King. It’s the getting the cards up there that’s a puzzle.

This is one of those games that may sound weird and confusing at first, but you get the hang of it after trying it out for a few moments. And then it becomes incredibly hard to put down. If you want even more Flipflop Solitaire, there is an in-app purchase of $2.99 to unlock the full game, which includes two more game modes (five suits and extended one suit) and cosmetic customizations.

Download: Flipflop Solitaire (Free)

4. Threes! Free

The developer of Threes! describes it as a “tiny puzzle that grows on you.” And mathematically speaking, it literally does grow.

Threes! is a popular little puzzle game that has a simple goal in mind: slide the number tiles around and merge like-numbered ones to get the next multiple of three. Sliding your thumb in one direction moves all tiles at once in that direction.

best offline games iphone ipad

You repeat the process until the board fills up. Your score depends on how high of a multiple of three you get, as each tile is worth a certain number of points. The more high numbers you have, the better.

There’s only one game mode in Threes!, but believe me — this is a game that’s hard to put down. Once you see your score for the first round, and after you’ve mastered the concept, you’ll keep trying again and again to beat your previous best. Leaderboards let you see how you stack up, so if you’re the competitive type, you’ll definitely want to beat your friends’ scores.

To top it all off, each number tile in Threes! is its own character. These numbers become their own beings, with unique designs and even personalities. The higher value you get, the more distinctive they become. Threes! also has delightful and endearing sound design, which you’ll fall in love with immediately.

Threes! Free grants you the full Threes! game, but with limited plays (about 10), and you must watch an ad (internet required for this only) to get more. If you prefer an ad-free experience, then you should pick up the regular Threes! game. There have been many knockoffs of Threes!, but none are as good as the original.

Download: Threes! Free (Free)
Download: Threes! ($2.99)

5. Mekorama

Are you a fan of relaxing puzzles and cute robots? Then Mekorama is a must.

best offline games iphone ipad

In Mekorama, you’ll meet an adorably short, one-giant-eyed robot who’s lost and trying to find its way home. The robot’s found itself in a beautiful world of detailed 3D architectural structures that look like something you’d build in Minecraft. Your goal is to help the robot navigate through these stages from the starting point to the end point.

Sounds easy enough, right? However, Mekorama focuses on shifting perspectives and physics. For instance, interactive parts of the environment require you to toggle a switch to reveal hidden paths. Rotating the structure can also reveal new solutions.

While the initial free download contains 50 levels, there’s a level editor so you can create your own dioramic puzzles and share with others. This is also reciprocated, as you can scan “cards” from others to download and play their own creations.

Mekorama is a true hidden gem mobile game, and you can enjoy it at any time, anywhere.

Download: Mekorama (Free)

6. You Must Build A Boat

Need a match-three RPG fix? You Must Build A Boat will satisfy all your cravings.

This pixelated adventure has you assuming the role of an unnamed protagonist who must build a boat and set out to explore various lands with comrades. Your ship starts out small, and you must complete quests in order to recruit NPCs who can enhance your weapons, spells, and defenses in order to make the journey easier. And as you go, you’ll capture monsters and mobilize them for further enhancements to your character’s skill.

best offline games iphone ipad

The actual match-three part is fast and frantic, so you’ll need to stay on your toes. There are several different game pieces: swords, staffs, shields, keys, muscle, and thought. To do basic melee attacks to foes, you match three or more swords. Matching staffs lets you cast spells, and shields prevent you from getting knocked back. The keys unlock treasure chests, and the muscle and thought are for drafting monsters onboard your boat.

In order to make matches, you must slide entire rows and columns so that the pieces align with what you need. At the top part of the screen you can see your character running along and encountering monsters and finding chests. If you aren’t fast enough at taking out your foes, then they can knock you back. When you’re too far behind, that run ends and you can reap your rewards.

Before you embark on a run, you’ll want to add quests to it. These increase the difficulty but can net you fantastic rewards. Plus, you’ll need to complete them if you want to move on to the next area.

You Must Build A Boat is one of the most addictive and challenging match-three RPGs that you’ll come across on mobile. It’s well worth the cost, because it’s incredibly difficult to put down once you start. If you enjoy it, check out the first game, 10000000, for the same price.

Download: You Must Build A Boat ($2.99)

7. Pair Solitaire

Solitaire is a classic, but you have plenty of new ways to make it feel fresh. If the aforementioned FlipFlop Solitaire isn’t enough for you, then Pair Solitaire is another fun one to consider.

With Pair Solitaire‘s tasteful skeuomorphic design, you’ll feel like you’re at the casino with the textured green table and attractive card decks. And the life-like sounds of shuffling played cards just adds icing to the cake.

best offline games iphone ipad

If you’re used to traditional Solitaire, then Pair Solitaire is a breath of fresh air. Your goal is to match pairs of cards in the deck until there are no cards remaining.

What makes a pair? It’s simple: if two cards have the same suit or number, with another card between the two, then they’re considered a pair. Just tap on the card in the pair that you want to clear out. Repeat the process until you either have no more cards remaining in the deck or you’re out of moves.

Your score is dependent on the number of cards you managed to clear. This awards you with a gem multiplier, and each card is worth a certain value. If you want the best scores, then some careful planning is required in Pair Solitaire. The moment you learn how the concept works, the game becomes hard to put down.

Pair Solitaire is a refreshing new approach to a classic card game. The game mechanic is simple but does take some time to get used to.

Download: Pair Solitaire (Free)

8. Ridiculous Fishing

Whether you’re a fan of fishing in real life or not, Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption is one you don’t want to miss.

Ridiculous Fishing features a kitschy art style that’s packed with charm. There’s also a quirky, relaxing soundtrack. This great visual and sound design is not surprising since the game comes from Vlambeer, a developer well-known for other indie hits like Super Crate Box.

best offline games iphone ipad

In Ridiculous Fishing, you follow along with Billy the Fisherman, as he seeks redemption for his uncertain past. And the only way to get redemption is to sit out in the middle of the ocean and fish while contemplating life.

The game itself is simple. Just cast the line, and as it drops, see how far you can get the line while avoiding fish. You tilt your device to move the line horizontally. The moment the line gets a bite, Billy will reel it in. While this happens, you’ll want to tilt your device to get as many fish on the hook as possible.

After Billy pulls them up above the surface, the fishy haul gets thrown up into the air. Now you must shoot the fish to cash in. Each species of fish is worth a different value, with bigger and rarer ones netting more dough.

But when you’re out in the middle of the water, what do you do with that cash you earn? Don’t worry, as Billy’s equipped with a phone that can order the best new fishing gear on demand.

You’ll find many upgrades to purchase, including longer lines to go deeper in the water, better guns, chainsaws to hack through the fish instead of avoiding them, and more. These upgrades are necessary to progress, as you must catch a certain number of species to move on to the next area.

Ridiculous Fishing has been around for a while, but it’s still an App Store classic that you can play anytime, no data required.

Download: Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99)

9. Alto’s Adventure

Want to hit the slopes but can’t quite do that in reality? Then Alto’s Adventure is the infinite runner that’ll help you get your skiing fix.

best offline games iphone ipad

Alto’s Adventure is a popular title well-known for the minimalist art style that’ll pull you in to its beautiful, snowy world. While retaining a simple aesthetic, Alto’s Adventure features dynamic weather and lighting that reflects your progress in the game. And the music and sound effects are top-notch too.

Players take control of Alto and his friends while they ski and snowboard their way to rescuing the village llamas and race the Elders. The endless odyssey involves steep slopes, chasms, rails and rooftops to grind on, realistic weather changes, and plenty of magnificent sights to see while you race down the mountain.

best offline games iphone ipad

While Alto’s Adventure is peaceful and relaxing by design, there’s still much to do. The one-touch controls allow you to perform jumps and backflips, which you’ll need to get across those deadly pits and over rocks. But doing flips and tricks also nets points, plus you’ll see coins to collect.

Hold onto those coins, because they’re used to purchase boosts and the almighty Wingsuit item, which drastically changes the gameplay. There’s also a quest system, and once you complete all of the goals, you gain a level. Reaching certain levels unlocks new characters, who have their own unique traits that affect gameplay.

Once you get beaten by an Elder, crash into a rock, or miss your landing, the run ends. Scores are determined by your distance, trick score, coins and llamas collected, chasms jumped, and completed goals.

With all of that in mind, it can be pretty hard to beat your best, but it sure is addictive. There’s also a Zen mode where you can just play to your heart’s content without worrying about everything else.

Download: Alto’s Adventure ($4.99)

10. Campfire Cooking

Whether you love the great outdoors or not, Campfire Cooking is a puzzle game that everyone can enjoy without the minor annoyances of being outside.

best offline games iphone ipad

When you go camping, chances are you’re cooking meals over an open fire. Campfire Cooking is just that, except you find some puzzling issues about cooking with sticks. The goal in Campfire Cooking is easy enough: prepare all of the food that’s on a stage. But it’s easier said than done.

The puzzles in Campfire Cooking all involve sticks and skewers. Players need to twist, rotate, and jostle the wooden and metal skewers around and over the fire so that all the food cooks evenly. But you need to cook marshmallows evenly on both sides, keep soups on a fire, and can only rotate the wooden skewers. As you can imagine, preparing your food gets challenging.

best offline games iphone ipad

Plenty of new foods and mechanics get introduced as you play, but everything moves along gradually. While some puzzles are trickier than others, it’s still super relaxing, especially when you have the realistic sounds of an open, crackling fire and toasty food. Plus, it’s hard to resist these delectable treats when the game looks so good too.

While the magic in Campfire Cooking lies in the puzzles, there’s a charming story of a vacationing family. This family is doing the typical storytelling around the campfire while cracking jokes with each other. It’s relatable for many, and a delight to play.

Download: Campfire Cooking ($3.99)

What Are Your Favorite Offline Games?

While we’ve covered some of the best games you can enjoy offline on iOS, these are just the start. Mobile gaming’s great, but it’s even better when you can play games without having to use up your data, or needing to worry about having a connection to begin with.

What are your favorite iOS games that you can enjoy offline? Did we miss any of your favorites?

How To Fix Major Damage To Your Spine From Gadget Overuse

Many of us use our phones, tablets, and computers day in and day out. Unfortunately, the postures we hold when we’re using these devices are contributing to serious problems for our spines.

While it’s unrealistic to suggest we stop using our electronics entirely, there are some easy changes out there. By taking a load off your neck, shoulders, and back, you’ll see immediate improvements in your posture and health. Not only that, but you will also be saving yourself from tons of musculoskeletal problems down the road.

Why does posture matter? Which gadgets are causing real problems? And, most importantly, how do you fix the problem?

Keep reading to find out!

Benefits of Good Posture

Basically, the better your body’s alignment is, the better your body will work! Sitting or standing in correct posture allows your muscles to move at the exact angles and forces they are supposed to.

Sadly, the reverse is also true. The moment you throw any positioning off, your body has to compensate with other muscles or joint positions. This compensation is when you will start to notice tight muscles, sore joints, pain, and reduced function.

The benefits of good posture go far beyond your physical health (although that should be motivation enough). Good posture can also help you to look taller and thinner: your head goes up, your belly goes in, and your shoulders go back.

Not only that, but many people find that good posture can also help you to both feel more confident and seem more confident to those around you!

Is My Posture Really That Bad?

Chances are, even if you’re someone who always stands up straight, your posture is still modified when you use electronics. If you think about it, most of our gadget use occurs with our arms coming towards the middle of our bodies, and involves us looking down.

These movements cause internal rotation of the shoulder joint and put a lot of strain on the neck and shoulders. Both postures, even if only used temporarily, can have serious implications for your spine over time.

girl with posture
Image Credit: nikitabuida via Shutterstock

If you want to improve your standing posture, follow the image above from head-to-toe:

  • Eyes should be looking straight ahead.
  • Ears should be in line with your shoulders.
  • Chin should be tucked in.
  • Shoulders should be pulled back.
  • Spine should be straight.
  • Hips should be under your shoulders.
  • Weight should be evenly distributed on both legs.

For more posture suggestions and corrections, the NHS website has a great guide with additional images.

Which Gadgets Are Affecting Your Posture?

1. Texting on Your Phone

When you look down to send a text or scroll through social media, you pull your head forward and out of alignment. This is an issue because heads are heavy — the average adult head weighs about 10 pounds! A 2014 study by Hansraj found that “Text Neck” causes up to 50 pounds of forces acting on your neck.

Frankly, the muscles and vertebrae in our necks weren’t designed to withstand that kind of pressure. If left uncorrected, this posture can lead to pain, stiffness, permanent changes in your muscles, and maybe even surgery.

The Solution

To avoid text neck completely, try holding your phone up at the level of your eyes. This will maintain proper spinal alignment, and keep you from looking down at the screen.

If you’re at home, you can also achieve this by lying on the ground while holding the cell phone up in the air. Just be careful you don’t drop it on your face. We’ve all been there.

2. Talking on Your Phone

Talking with your phone cradled between your ear and your shoulder may make you feel like a high-powered businessperson, but it’s doing some serious damage.

Maintaining that posture for any length of time causes one side of your neck muscles to shorten, while the other side is stretched out. This posture also results in you hiking your shoulder up towards your ear. These movements can cause serious neck and shoulder pain if left unchecked.

The Solution

Thankfully this is one of the easiest postural problems to fix. Instead of cradling the phone with your ear and shoulder, use headphones with a microphone, a headset, or speakerphone. In a worst-case scenario, at least ensure you are regularly switching which side you are using to hold your phone.

3. Curling Up With a Tablet

The portability of tablets is great, but can also lead to some less-than-ideal postures. One of the most common postures for tablet users is to curl up on a couch, looking down at their tablet, with their knees bent.

text neck
Image Credit: jehsomwang via Shutterstock

Unfortunately, this causes a whole host of problems. Looking down causes similar forces with a tablet as it does with a smartphone. In addition, curling up affects your whole spine, and generally prevents your back from being supported by the couch or chair that you are sitting in. Last, bending your knees without support underneath them can cause wear and tear.

The Solution

While curling up on the couch may feel comfortable, it definitely isn’t good for you long-term. Experts agree that the best way to use a tablet is to place it on a table in a stand that props it up. You can then sit at the table with your shoulders back and access it without negatively affecting your spine.

If you want to stay on the couch, try supporting your body with a pillow at your lower back and/or behind your neck. Then, rest the tablet on a pillow supported by your knees and use it with your shoulders back and your head upright. This additional support can make a world of difference in preventing pain or discomfort.

4. Sitting at Your Computer

Most people have heard lectures about the importance of sitting properly at your computer desk.

Improper positioning at your desk (where you may spend upwards of six hours a day) can lead to significant musculoskeletal problems. The effects include tight hamstrings, pain in your lower back, or tension in your shoulders. These problems can in turn lead to compensatory pain in other parts of your body, affect your regular posture, or cause tension headaches.

The Solution

For long-term computer work, having a workstation set up properly for your body is key. Joel covers several tips in his article about proper workstation setup (below). Ergonomics.com also has an in-depth ergonomics guide for work or home.

If you’re just working temporarily, and don’t have an ideal workstation, there are still some things you can do to protect yourself. Try sitting in a good chair or against a wall (with pillows added as needed). Then, place your laptop on your lap (it’s best if you place it on a laptop tray if you own one) and keep your arms and shoulders relaxed.

Another great solution is to switch to a standing desk. While this might not be possible for everyone, if you have a chance to use one you could see some serious benefits!

5. Carrying Gadgets

A final influence that our gadgets have on our posture comes from the work we do carrying them around! For example, my 15-inch MacBook Pro weighs 5 pounds — and I can feel every ounce of it after my walk home from class!

Every pound we carry (whether in our arms, a purse, a messenger bag, or a backpack) places stress on our body. This is especially true for cross-body bags like messenger bags and purses, which place uneven forces on the spine.

A study at the University of Michigan found that those using messenger bags caused the spine to move laterally away from the weight of the bag, while the neck moved towards the weight of the bag. Over time, the uneven distribution of this weight can have awful effects on your spine health.

The Solution

Messenger bags may look cool, but they definitely aren’t a good choice if you want to maintain good posture.

The same study found that backpacks had much less influence on spinal alignment and muscular stress. When choosing your backpack, be sure to select one that fits you properly and ensures an even distribution of weight. The National Posture Institute features a great guide to fitting your backpack properly.

Promoting Good Posture

Even with the best positioning, our use of electronic devices encourages some bad habits. To counteract the influence of these positions, it’s a good idea to work some posture-enhancing stretches into your day.

Chin Tuck — This stretch helps to bring your chin back into proper alignment, which is a huge issue for many of us. To do this stretch, simply pull your chin backwards like you’re making a double chin. Be sure you’re moving your chin back, and not just pointing your head down.

Scapular Retraction — This stretch will bring your shoulders back and help to strengthen the muscles that keep them that way. Imagine you are trying to pull your two shoulder blades together. Your shoulders should come up and back, and you should feel muscles tightening in the middle of your back.

Neck Mobility — Your neck has to deal with a lot of stress! However, because it is such a delicate part of your body, I’m hesitant to recommend any specific stretches. Search YouTube for a few neck-focused stretching routines, or speak with your doctor or physiotherapist to find a stretching solution that will work best for your needs!

Pectoralis Minor — This is a final simple stretch that can make a world of difference if you have rounded shoulders. Rounded shoulders often come from shortened/tense pectoralis minor muscles and this stretch helps them to release, allowing you to maintain an upright posture more easily.

Do you struggle with your posture? If you have any questions or suggestions for improving posture with gadget use, let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: CREATISTA/Shutterstock

Dropbox’s Mobile Website Gets New Look [news]

Dropbox’s Mobile Website Gets New Look [News] dropboxnewsthumbAlthough it’s no longer the talk of the town – er, web – Dropbox is still frequently used by MakeUseOf as a means of sharing files and remains one of the best tools for that task. Using the service on mobile devices has now become a bit more pleasurable, thanks to the updated mobile site.

A number of new features have been introduced including search, a new “file quick action” menu, share, delete, and account settings. All of these have been a part of the service for some time of course, but the mobile site redesign makes them more readily accessible on a smartphone or tablet.

Dropbox’s Mobile Website Gets New Look [News] dropboxnews1

Support for this new version of the mobile site is limited to the iPhone, Android 2.1+, and Windows Phone 7. In other words, most mobile devices should be compatible. Dropbox did not specifically state that Android Honeycomb is compatible, but judging from the design of the mobile site, those with 10-inch tablets would likely find the normal site a better choice.

You may be wondering why you’d use this instead of the app. If you’re using your own device, the app is likely a better choice. If for some reason you are not using your own mobile device, the website will be easier to access, and now offers functionality almost identical to the app.

Source: Dropbox Blog

Google Search App For IOS Gets Push Notifications And New Card-Based Interface

The iOS version of the Google Search app has been updated with new features and a fresh design. Google’s 15th anniversary was probably a red-letter day for the company as it invigorates things with a few design and functional changes. Tablet and mobile users will now see a new card-based user interface with their search results. The card-based UI is more in line with the consistent design seen first in Google services like Google Now and later adopted by Google+. The objective behind the design changes in the iOS app remains the same – a more unified design that’s cleaner and simpler.

The new design is also optimized for touch-enabled browsing. The results are clustered on “cards”, and as Google explains, you can thus focus on the results of your search. You can expand the cards by touching the arrows to see the information grouped on it. The new look is now being rolled out to the iOS version of Google Search, following its launch on Android. The iOS app also includes reminders and cross-platform push notifications. If you save a reminder in iOS, it will also show up on Android when you access the search app (and vice versa).

Google-App-iOS

Behind the mobile search interface, Google has also made significant changes to the Knowledge Graph. A filter has been introduced that helps to drill down into specific types of searches. When I tried it, the filter worked with the example given on Google’s announcement post, but not with all searches.

Voice search has been made more natural and Google demonstrates it with a few comparison searches. Google says that is adding to the type of searches you can perform on the apps.

Have you tried the updated Google Search app for iOS yet?

Source: Google Inside Search

Image Credits: iPhone Via PlaceIt