Gift help is as close as phone or tablet

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There are fewer than two shopping/night-out planning days until Valentine's Day. But instead of losing hope, just turn to your phone or tablet, because there are plenty of creative apps that will get you through this.

• For those who haven't bought a gift yet and don't have a clue where to look, Flipp can save time -- and money. Flipp delivers digital versions of advertising circulars from major retail chains such as Target, Best Buy, Macy's, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart, giving ideas on gift possibilities at more than 150 retailers and steering buyers to the best deals. It's searchable by item and store, and the user can clip items directly to their shopping list. (iOS. Free. An Android version is in the works.)

• Give your Valentine the iWish app, which lets users compile a bucket list of things they want to do and places they want to go. Somewhere on that list might be inspiration for a memorable Feb. 14. (iOS, Android. Free.)

• The photo-sharing app Reactr keeps the connection alive for those long-distance relationships. The user can send someone a photo. When it is received, the app snaps a picture using the recipient's phone camera. The receiver has the option to send the reaction photo back to the sender. (iOS, Android. Free.)

• Sending virtual flowers can be a sweet gesture. The Send eFlowers app sends photos of flowers via email or Multimedia Messaging Service for mobile devices, along with a personalized message. (iOS. 99 cents.)

• Or send real flowers quickly and easily with the ProFlowers app. It offers a selection of fresh flowers and plants. Senders can create personalized messages. (iOS. Free.)

• Windows users have less in the way of fun apps, but here's one: Valentine has a countdown with days, hours, minutes and seconds, and offers gift and romantic ideas, wallpapers and a collection of text messages. (Windows. Free.)

Love Scanometer is one of those "for entertainment purposes only" apps. Both parties enter their names and birthdays, and then both touch the screen. The app then delivers info on how compatible they are. (iOS. Free. Pro version 99 cents.)

And then there are those people who don't even have a date yet.

• The Aligned Signs app is designed to connect people looking to meet someone with a compatible personality. It uses criteria drawn from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment tool often used in business, and principles of the Chinese Zodiac and Western astrology. App users set up an account and can browse lists of members and send messages. (Android. Free. iOS version will come out later this year.)

Valentine's Day Recipes Cupcakes has cupcake, cake and cookie recipes and decorating ideas for those who want to create their own unique treats. (Android. Free.)

• If you're looking for a soundtrack, Valentine RADIO offers a choice of 40 digital stations with lounge, chill out music and smooth jazz. (iOS, Android. Free.)


Adrian McCoy: amccoy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1865.

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