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Apple Watch and Iphone Activity

How Technology Is Helping People Live A Healthier Life

Thanks to a wide variety of technology, it’s never been easier for people to start making healthier choices in their day-to-day lives.

7 Apps Everyone Must Have On Their Smartphone

Smartphone purchases always seem to increase around the holiday season. Whether you’re getting your child their very first smartphone for having a great first semester at school, or maybe finally treating yourself to a much needed upgrade after a tough year, many are reaching for a new iPhone or Android device this year. Current smartphone users already know that there’s a multitude of standard apps one should download on their device to keep their lives balanced and organized, here’s a list of seven of the most popular ones available for all iPhone and Android models:

Pzizz: This app is the sleep-schedule assistant you didn’t know you needed. If you’re the type of person who may suffer from insomnia, and depend on taking a daily power nap to get through the day, this app is perfect for you. You can simply choose what type of sleep you want to achieve, quick nap, sleeping through the night, etc., and then the app will offer a ton of features, sounds, or passages that will help you relax and drift into a peaceful slumber. 

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LastPass: You’ve likely heard of this app or one that’s similar to it. When we’re setting up a new device of any kind, it can be so tedious to have to log back into our multiple social media, email, and streaming accounts. LastPass cuts out the middleman and stores all your passwords in one place for easy access. The app is also packed with security features to ensure that no one besides you has access to it. 

DropBox: One of the most popular apps and services on the market is Dropbox. Dropbox acted like the cloud before the cloud even existed by granting universal access to all of your documents, photos, files, etc. on any device that has access to the internet. You could go to a random library five miles from your house and log into Dropbox and automatically have access to whatever you decide to store on there!

Authy: Authy is another password-protection app that can also store downloadable documents, photos, files, emails, etc. The app uses two-factor authentication which is thought to be the “best way to protect yourself online.” The cyber security app guarantees to protect your information from any hackers or outside parties that you wouldn’t want having access to your information. 

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Freedome VPN: Speaking of cyber security, VPN services have grown in popularity a lot within the past few years. These services basically protect your internet connection to guarantee that outside platforms and individuals don’t have access to what you’re doing on your device. The app runs easily in the background while you use your phone to protect it from any and all data breaching. 

Speedtest: This app is more a necessity for tech-lovers and individuals who are on their devices/internet constantly for business reasons. Speedtest easily can test the strength of any WiFi connection and can help you better manage what services are using the internet in the background of your device and potentially slowing it down as a result. 

Tile: Finally, one of the most popular innovative apps that’s on the market right now is Tile. Users simply buy these small tiles on Amazon and then place them in anything that they tend to lose. You can place it within your luggage, laptop bag, wallet, and backpack. When you lose something you can simply go to the app on your phone and it will automatically show you exactly where that tile is located.

Woman on her Smartphone

10 Of The Best Smartphone Apps To Help Keep You Organized 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve all had to adjust to a new life of working from home, attending classes, and organizing our lives to adjust to this new normal of at-home living. Apps like Zoom, Slack, and Discord have made collaboration and remote work possible, but what about when it comes to personal productivity and lifestyle goals? Below are some of the most popular apps that individuals are using at-home right now to better organize their lives: 

FamilyWall: This App is Android and iOS friendly and is perfect for keeping in touch with your large family. The app itself connects you with your family members and allows you to share your weekly schedules with one another so that you can better coordinate when to do certain chores, errands and other family activities. 

Focus: This app is available for all Apple devices and is known for assisting users in managing their time. It structures your day into 25-minute working blocks with other small task/break times. You can use the app to further track the tasks you’ve already done around the house for a given week. 

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Kitche: Kitche is a great app for smartphone users who are teaching themselves the art of frugal cooking and working with pantry ingredients to create something delicious. Users can simply scan their supermarket receipts so the app knows what ingredients you have available. The app will then help you plan a meal based on what’s in your cabinets and can even warn you when certain products are about to expire.

Slidebox: Slidebox is an app that will help assist photo hoarders better organize their phone’s photo albums so that unnecessary/unwanted images are no longer taking up storage on your device. It scans through your device for duplicate images and random screenshots and will then give you options to delete certain pictures while providing album organization ideas. 

Evernote: Evernote has been one of the most popular note apps on all Android and Apple devices for years now. Now, the app is completely upgraded and is one of the easiest note-taking apps to navigate and use in 2020. 

Cardhop: Cardhop is an app that assists users who are used to doing a lot of networking. This app works as a second contact storage list for your phone, and lets users write down specific notes and attachments to certain contacts in their phones to make some more easily recognizable. 

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Smart Receipts: Smart Receipts is the best app for compiling your receipts digitally for the year so that when it’s time to file for your tax returns/need your tax information for employment purposes you’ll have it all in one place. The data from the receipts is collected and compiled into various spreadsheets that can be formatted to be exported across multiple devices. 

Any.Do: This app has been reviewed as the “swiss army knife of productivity apps” due to its part calendar, part to-do list format. The app uses smart features for syncing up with other apps on your device to make your life as easy and organized as possible. 

GoHenry: GoHenry is the app made for parents with kids who now have their own bank accounts. This app allows parents to easily manage and monitor their kids finances so that they can add or remove funds with the click of a button. This way if your child was out and needed some money quickly for a train ticket or what not, parents can easily send them the funds in less than a minute. 

Otter: Otter is an excellent tool for workers who either talk to themselves a lot, are involved in a lot of meetings, are responsible for transcribing, etc. The voice-recording app helps users transcribe the memos they take to make it easy for them to search through in the future.

Apple Watch on Wrist

The Apps You Need On Your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has officially been on the market for five years now, and while the device itself was originally advertised as an “iPhone for your wrist,” the Apple Watch has truly made a name for itself as one of the best wearable fitness tracking devices out there. When the Watch first launched back in 2015, it had about 3,000 compatible applications available to download. Now, there’s over 20,000 apps, 21 of which are pre-downloaded onto the device itself.

“The watch is really about convenience. You’re not going to spend so much screen time on your watch. So I think the secret of building a good Apple Watch app is to think of it as an accessory in addition to something. Very few people use it as a standalone unless it’s for fitness or health, or some kind of monitoring.” said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research.

So what are some of the best applications for the Apple Watch that have been able to withstand the test of time/multiple generations of Watch upgrades?

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Noise: This application is available for anyone with an Apple Watch Series 4 or later and allows users to measure the ambient sound in your surrounding environment. This application is especially useful for those with hyper-sensitive hearing, or any other type of hearing impairment. If the decibel level in your environment has risen to a point where your hearing itself may be impaired, the app can notify you. 

Cycle Tracking: No not bicycle tracking, menstrual tracking. With this application, individuals who experience menstruation are able to log details about their cycle; including flow information, and what symptoms they normally experience. Using that data the app is able to alert users when it predicts your next cycle to begin, and allows them to track where they’re at every month. 

ECG: As previously stated, the Apple Watch has really made a name for itself as one of the best wearable fitness tracking devices on the market currently. If you have a Series 4 or later, there’s an electrical heart rate sensor built into your watch that works in sync with the ECG app. This app works like a traditional heart monitoring app and tracks your heart-rate as you do various activities throughout the day. 

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Breathe: The breathe app is a reminder to stop for a few moments every day and take a breath. This is an especially great tool to use during this time of constant uncertainty and panic. You can set breath reminders everyday, or just open the app itself when you feel like you need a break. You’ll see a calming animation that encourages you to sync up your breathing with its movements for 5 minutes. During this time, you can also use the app to check your heart rate. 

Remote: If you have an Apple TV, you can use your watch as a second remote using the remote application. If you already have an iPhone or iPad, you may be familiar with this application as it’s available for both those devices as well. 

Walkie-Talkie: The Walkie-Talkie app is definitely one of the most popular Apple Watch apps that has been around since the very beginning. This app allows you to use your watch like a real walkie-talkie for you and any other individual who also has the app. You simply press and hold the button to speak, and then you can listen to it back before sending it on its way, it’s basically like sending voice messages, but you’ll feel much more like James Bond. 

Voice Memos: Speaking of voice messages and memos, this application is perfect for the individual on the go who’s constantly being inspired by the outside world. Instead of taking out your phone and opening up a note to quickly jot down, simply record your memo into your Apple Watch, and it will save the recording across all of your iCloud devices.

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.” 

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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. 

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“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. 

Google Android

Google Introduces “Ambient Mode” for Android Devices

Google is known for their constant innovations for their various products, most notably the Android operating system that powers most smartphones. The newest version of Android, Android 10, introduces features like a system-wide dark theme, more sophisticated UI navigation controls, and improved location and privacy tools. While Android 10 continues to roll out to devices from a variety of manufacturers, Google is also looking to improve the Android experience in other ways, most recently in the development of a so-called “Ambient Mode,” which passively displays information on the phone’s display while it is charging and allows the user to interact with the phone in a limited way.

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Google unveiled the feature in a Youtube video which shows Ambient Mode running on a Pixel phone and details the various features of the update. The video describes Ambient Mode as “Android’s proactive Google Assistant,” and Google Product Manager Arvind Chandrababu said that the goal for Ambient Mode is to anticipate users’ needs and allow them to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible. In doing so, Google hopes to move users away from an “app-based” way of doing things, in which users scroll through their list of apps and choose the one that matches what they want to do, to an “intent-based” way of doing things, in which the phone is intelligent enough to adapt to the user’s intent. This is part of Google’s broad philosophy of “ambient computing,” the goal of which is to make the integration of computing into users’ lives as seamless and invisible as possible.

While this philosophy is certainly very ambitious, the announcement of Ambient Mode represents only a small step towards that lofty goal. Though Google has said that Ambient Mode will be available on Android 8.0 and above, the number of devices that are announced to support the feature is limited, including relatively esoteric devices like Sony Xperia phones, Nokia phones, and Xiaomi phones, with no mention of more popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy line of devices or even Google’s own Pixel phones. Additionally, Ambient Mode in its current form is surprisingly limited, as it offers no customization features whatsoever, allowing users to adjust a limited number of quick settings, control compatible smart home devices like lightbulbs and thermostats, and view notifications like weather and calendar alerts. 

While the extent of Google’s control over the smartphone operating system ecosystem is impressive, a number of factors prevent the company from offering the highest-quality products possible. For years, one of Google’s most damaging problems has been the fragmentation of its software lineup. The company has released  — and discontinued — a large number of messaging apps, for instance, and each of these apps is mutually incompatible with others. The problem is made worse by the fact that many smartphone manufacturers build their own messaging apps for their phones; for instance, the Samsung Galaxy s9 comes with an app called “Messages,” which, confusingly, is not the same as the “Messages” app developed by Google.

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For this reason, text messaging on Android phones isn’t nearly as sophisticated or robust as iMessage, the app that comes standard on all iPhones and allows advanced features like read receipts and typing indicators, which are by and large absent on Android. In an attempt to correct this shortcoming, Google has recently announced that it would activate RCS compatibility on its Messages app for all Android phones in certain countries, which enables many of the messaging features that iPhone users have enjoyed for years. However, the problem of app fragmentation remains, as only people who are using an app that incorporates RCS compatibility can use these advanced features. As of now, Ambient Mode seems to be plagued by this same shortcoming, due to the feature’s limited availability and functionality. If the company’s prior conduct is any indication of future events, the likelihood of Ambient Mode being rolled out to most Android devices in a timely fashion seems low, as most Android smartphone owners are still waiting for the latest version of Android and other features to arrive on their devices.

Scooter

Is the Urban Millennial Lifestyle Sustainable?

If you walk into any major urban center in America, you’re bound to find young people glued to their smartphones. But they’re not always just texting or checking up on social media they’re also taking advantage of a wide range of lifestyle apps, which offer everything from ride-sharing services to online shopping to rewards for engaging with local businesses. Most of these apps, which are generally available cheaply or for free, are created by businesses started in Silicon Valley, where implementing a unique idea and cultivating an audience is often considered more important than generating profits. These consumer tech companies are generally funded by wealthy investors looking to capitalize on the explosion of technology present in the everyday lives of millennials, effectively subsidizing the products in question and enabling an artificially low cost for the consumer. But the venture capitalists who make this app-centric lifestyle possible are effectively placing a bet on the long-term financial viability of the innovative businesses they invest in, with potentially disastrous consequences for everyone involved.

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Any number of examples of these apps, produced by businesses that are not currently making a profit and perhaps never will, come to mind. Casper, a mattress company that operates online and ships compressed mattresses directly to customers’ homes, is expected to lose money this year, as are the tremendously popular Uber and Lyft ride-sharing platforms. DoorDash, a service that delivers food from a variety of eateries, is not profitable, and neither is Seated, which gives discounts to restaurant-goers. Perhaps most notably, the platform WeWork, a business that rents out office and living space to small businesses, recently attempted to go public, a disastrous decision that resulted in financial turmoil for the company after potential investors raised concerns about the company’s path to profitability and its’ CEOs questionable antics, which included smoking marijuana on a private jet and serving tequila shots to employees after discussing layoffs. Amidst this controversy, Adam Neumann stepped down from his role of CEO of the company, and WeWork’s future remains unclear.

In general, companies such as these provide non-essential goods and services, offering their customers convenience for an affordable price rather than the necessities of life. This convenience is made possible by technology, as smartphones are always connected to the internet and provide companies with information such as a user’s location and other details that are used in innovative ways. Nevertheless, they are built upon attractive and enticing ideas, which capture the attention of investors who rely upon their trust that the companies’ ingenuity and creativity will eventually lead them to make a profit.

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Ironically, the most popular online businesses tend to be the least profitable, in what is likely to come as a surprise to their millions of daily users. The well-known Blue Apron, for instance, spends roughly $460 to recruit each of their customers, despite making only around $400 on each customer, as they are likely to cancel their subscriptions after only a few months. As a result, investors quickly realized that the meal-kit company had no viable path to profitability, and the company’s valuation dropped by over 95% since they went public. Because Blue Apron refuses to increase the price of their services, they are unable to demonstrate value to investors, leading to serious financial problems for the company. While Blue Apron may be considered an extreme example, the underlying business model, wherein companies supported by venture capitalists reduce their prices in order to generate an audience, is prevalent throughout entire industries.

The artificially low prices of these new businesses perhaps explains the extremely-connected and online relationship millennials have with tech-savvy startups. But, as companies like WeWork and Blue Apron fail spectacularly despite their large audiences, business leaders are starting to take note. One of the solutions to this inherently problematic business model is simply to raise prices for services in an attempt to generate profits for increasingly impatient investors. But competition is fierce, and millennials are a fickle demographic. Companies that raise prices of services, even if just to break even, risk alienating their base of consumers, who may be drawn to particular products or services for their low prices rather than for their practicality. For instance, if a company that lets customers rent bicycles with their phones raises their prices, consumers may realize that it becomes more economically viable for them to simply purchase their own form of transportation. As income inequality rises and wages remain stagnant, particularly among the millennial class of workers, companies are faced with the difficult choice between continuing to operate at a loss by benefiting from increasingly-wary investors, and raising prices for non-essential goods and services that their consumer base may increasingly be unable to afford.

Healthy Lifestyle App

Finnish Study Reveals Potential of Apps to Inspire Healthy Lifestyle

A study conducted by the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, through its StopDia program, and published by Science Daily showed promising results when it comes to using apps to promote healthy lifestyle changes, particularly in people who are susceptible to developing type-2 diabetes.

On Phone

Glued To Your Phone? There’s A Reason…

Parental controls have been around for a while now, however, as technology has continued to grow and expand, it seems these restrictive tools have done the opposite. Focusing specifically on the popular brand Apple, in 2018 they released their own feature on all of their phones and tablets that would allow parents or an individual to set limits on how long they spend on their devices or a certain app/program.