Posts

Microsoft To Do App

6 Apps To Help You With Your Time Management

Managing our everyday lives and time can truly be a struggle. Between working, maintaining relationships, paying bills, making meals, and finding time to rest and relax, fitting everything in can seem next to impossible. Luckily, we’re living in a digital age, and our smartphones basically have an app for everything we could ever possibly imagine, including organizing our lives. 

When it comes down to using our cell phones for schedule making and time management, we need to think about what we need and for what. For example, if you’re looking for an application that takes on the “To-Do” list format, you need to find something that can group up your needs categorically, and remind you at a fixed rate when certain events are coming up. One of the most popular versions of this is “Microsoft To Do.” 

Embed from Getty Images

The application itself is available for iOS and Android devices and is also desktop compatible as well. This means that you can sync up your daily To Do reminders to all of your devices. For example, say you have a categorical list on your page entitled “Things To Do For Work,” and one morning your boss texts you about a phone call that you need to make for them at some point during the day. From your phone, you can set the reminder within that category to remain organized, and it will remind you on your work computer later in the day to make the call, depending on when you set it. 

Going along the same guidelines as “Microsoft’s To Do, “”Any.Do” is an application also available for any and all smart devices (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.). “Any.Do” offers a subscription service that equates to about $60 a year, however, what makes this application so unique is that it integrates itself with any and all of your pre-existing  reminders and calendar events on your device. It then uses smart technology to give you location-based reminders, meaning if you have “get more cereal” on your list of things to do, your phone can set that alarm off when you drive past a grocery store. Additionally, the app offers productivity reports on how often you’re sticking to self-care habits such as exercise, taking medication, walking your dog, etc. If you’re an avid smart-home fan, “Any.Do” also easily connects to AI assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo devices, and Google Home Pods. 

Productivity apps go beyond just reminding you what you have to do throughout a given day. Maintaining focus on your daily goals and work is important, but in an age where the media is constantly circulating and we’re given unlimited access to it, focusing can be tough. “Forest” is an app that’s main function is to keep your attention where it’s meant to be maintained every day. When you open it, it will prompt you to begin a timer for the amount of time you’d like to spend off of your phone. Once the timer begins, a virtual tree will begin to grow on your screen but will only survive if you stay off of your device for the amount of time set. If not, the tree will die, reminding you of all the real trees around the world that are actually dying. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Edison Mail” is a free app that’s main function revolves around the chaos that is our email inbox. The app itself will organize your inbox into categories (such as bills, entertainment, order information, etc.) based on the subject and sender. The app also easily displays “unsubscribe” buttons on all email chains you’re unknowingly still subscribed to, making your junk mailbox much smaller. It also displays the most relevant information in every messages preview, such as reservations, overdue notices, shipment notifications, etc. 

“Pocket” and “Google Alerts” are the final two applications that have more to do with the media that’s constantly being updated on all of our feeds. “Google Alerts” has been around for ages, and allows Google account holders amazing synopses on the types of news that they find the most relevant. All you have to do is go to Google’s Alert page, enter in the key terms/words that pertain to the topics you want to receive updates about, and Google will automatically compile research and send you an email with a newsletter format on that subject. 

“Pocket” also has to do with finding the information on the web that you specifically are interested in. Pocket is only available for Chrome or Firefox, and is a browsing extension that allows users to bookmark certain stories, websites, pages, etc. and keep them saved in one spot. Once installed, every web page will have a little “save” icon in which you can click to save the page in your pocket account. You can also create certain categories/tags on your account so you can easily compile all websites that pertain to that particular tag. 

Time management is one of the most common struggles all of us can relate to, however, with a little help from the devices that were literally created to make our lives easier, it no longer has to be. 

Tinder App

New Study Proves Popular Dating Apps Are Selling Your Data To Advertisers

One of the universal complaints that most have with technology, social media, cell phones, etc. is the lack of clarity regarding privacy. Certain apps and services often say that they keep your information confidential, but how much of that is actually accurate? How many times have you been scrolling through your Twitter feed and seen an ad for a product that you haven’t even searched for on your device, but you were thinking about it? The lines of confidentiality have always been blurred when it comes to our phones, and now, according to a new study, we have even more facts to back that up.

An advocacy group known as the Norwegian Consumer Council recently conducted a study in which they analyzed the logistics of 10 apps, a majority of which were dating apps. The results found that these applications alone were distributing personal information to at least 135 companies. 

Some of the apps tested included Grindr, a popular gay dating app, OkCupid, Tinder, and then beyond the realm of dating apps they also analyzed some of the most popular period-tracking apps such as Clue and MyDays. They concluded that these services were sharing personal data, including users’ birthdays, ID numbers, sexual orientations, religions, etc., with advertising companies. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Because of the scope of tests, size of the third parties that were observed receiving data, and popularity of the apps, we regard the findings from these tests to be representative of widespread practices,” the report states.

Their analytics concluded companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google were among the largest common company names that were receiving the personal data, along with more unknown tech companies who are in business with larger corporations. These companies use your information like a registry, and match you with products that they assume you’d enjoy based on your internet history, dating information, and hobbies. 

The NCC recently uncovered dozens of privacy violations in Europe once they enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an act that works to protect users’ personal information online. The biggest culprit was actually Grindr, which sold data including GPS location technology to advertisers to inform them about what retailers were within the vicinity of a particular user. The GDPR has been quite successful in Europe so far, but in the United States we don’t exactly have the same type of privacy regulations. 

Embed from Getty Images

“There’s no reason to think these apps and countless others like them behave any differently in the United States. American consumers are almost certainly subjected to the same invasions of privacy, especially considering there are hardly any data privacy laws in the U.S., particularly at the federal level,” says Katie McInnis, policy counsel at Consumer Reports.

More often than not, these apps do let the users know that they share their data with third party advertisers, however, that clarification is often made in the fine print of these apps’ terms and conditions, which we all know none of us are actually reading. Technology users are able to adjust their privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook and Google by limiting what applications are allowed to have access to our personal information. This section is typically found in your account settings under the “security and privacy” tab. In the meantime, plenty of advocacy groups are currently trying to work with the Federal Trade Commission and Congress in general to pass more specified cyber-security/privacy laws.

For more information on how to easily protect your information and personal data from third parties, click here.

iPhone

How To Organize And Speed Up Your iPhone

If you own an iPhone then you know about the struggle of keeping your phone updated, organized, and fast as it gets progressively older and newer models hit the market. It’s so easy for text messages to build up in your archive, useless screenshots from months ago to remain hidden and take up storage, and for pages upon pages of apps to grow. It’s important to go through and clean up your iPhone every couple of months or so to keep everything running smoothly. As long as you do the same general clean-ups, your phone is more likely to remain fully functioning until you’re ready for an upgrade. 

To start, go to your iPhone’s settings, hit “General” and then “About.” This page will give you all of the stats about how many songs, photos, videos, documents, apps, etc. are on your device, as well as how much storage is being taken up by each specific item. Just by looking you’re able to tell what in your phone is slowing it down the most, and from there, you can begin to make some clean-ups. 

One of the easiest and most common solutions to freeing up some space on your phone would be to upload your photos to your computer, another personal device, or my personal favorite, an external hard drive. Photos can take up so many gigabytes of storage on your phone and more times than not you probably have pictures that you don’t even remember are there. 

Embed from Getty Images

By going through your library as you upload the pictures onto another device, you can easily see the hundreds of photos that you most likely won’t even want to transfer, so you can just delete them. Once uploaded, you can delete the pictures off your phone knowing they’re in a safe spot. An external hard drive is great to transfer photos from a computer, this way in case your computer is damaged or breaks, you know you have yet another backup of all of your memories saved. 

Like photos, messages can also build up without you even realizing. Messages themselves don’t necessarily take up a lot of storage, however, the data that’s exchanged via text message (photos, videos, actual documents) can build up. You can actually set your phone to automatically delete messaging threads after a certain amount of days. By going into Settings, Messages, and then Keep Messages, you can choose anywhere between 30 days and 1 year for how long you’d like your phone to keep your messages. For example, if you choose 60 days, your phone will automatically delete any texts that were sent or received 60 days prior.  

Emails can become a huge pain when it comes to storage. It’s so easy for spam emails to build and build and build in your inbox, especially if you don’t have your notifications on. Apple has a feature that actually tells you when an email is being sent to you because your username is on a mailing list. When you open the email a little message on top should appear that states “This message is from a mailing list” and right under it should be an option to “Unsubscribe.” 

Embed from Getty Images

Dedicate some time, and go through the beast that is your inbox. Unsubscribe from the dozens of useless mailing lists you’re on and wait and see how much less frequently you find yourself clearing out your mailbox. 

Like the first option, you can see your iPhone’s storage broken down even more specifically by going into Settings, General, and hitting the iPhone Storage option. This section of your phone will show you every piece of information on your phone that’s taking up storage, no matter how small. From this window you’ll also see options such as “review large attachments” and “offload unused apps.” These sections can help show you the content that’s on your device that’s remaining fairly untouched, but taking up some pretty serious storage. Free up that space and clear out any and all old apps in general that you barely use. 

Clear out your notifications by swiping down and hitting the “X” next to every pop-up that appears. Make it a habit to quit your apps when your done using them, when multiple apps continue to constantly run in the background it can slow down your phone a great deal.

In addition, go through your Contact list and make some serious cuts; you’d be surprised how many people who you haven’t talked to in years are most likely on your list and slowing down your phone. Do the same with the “notes” app and delete every old grocery list. Close every tab and window on your chosen internet app, as well as clearing out the cookies and data from settings. 

As your phone grows older, it doesn’t have to completely break down. Keep up with these tips and techniques on keeping your phone up to speed and upgraded and make it a habit to clean up unwanted and useless content. This way, you won’t have to keep breaking your bank every time a new model comes out.