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Someone said to me, “I may have a smart phone, but it doesn’t make me smart!” That made me laugh but it also made me think about the fancy applications (apps) many of us have downloaded on our phones. What can we do with them? How can they make us smarter? It’s time to check out what’s available in the App Store and download our phone with tools that can help us. Following are just a few helpful and fun apps – all tested by me and free to boot!

Lumosity
This app helps improve your cognitive abilities – and who doesn’t need that? It enhances your attention, memory, speed, and problem-solving capacities with a personalized brain training program. It’s a fun way to help improve your brain functioning.

The Weather Channel
Get accurate weather forecasts by the hour, for the upcoming weekend, or the next ten days in Darien or any other location.

TED Talks
Listen to inspiring talks from today’s brightest minds with access to hundreds of recorded video talks.

Pandora
Find the music you love.  Enter the name of an artist or a song and listen to songs from that artist as well as songs in the same genre.  You can vote on each song which allows Pandora to fine-tune your music to give you a personalized music experience.

MagLite
Hold your phone over something too small to read (a menu, paperwork, etc.) and your phone turns into a magnifying glass with a light to help make the text easier to read.

BBC News
Get all the latest breaking news – political, business, entertainment, sports and technology – from the BBC’s global network of journalists.

Insight Timer
Calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, sleep more soundly, and improve happiness through meditation.

WebMD
No app can take the place of a physician, but this is a trusted source for medical information.  You can search symptoms and conditions and stay up-to-date on the latest health news.

There are thousands and thousands of apps – from old time radio, to pill reminders, to audio books – you name it and you can probably find it. I hope you try a new app and that it helps make you smarter.  If you have an app you love that you want to share, please tell us in a comment below!