Posts from — April 2016
It’s the end, the last letter of the challenge. And hence appropriate I think that I’ve saved the app I start my day, everyday with for the end.
Alarms and timers are a very important part of my life, they help me stay on track, stay on top of things. Without my trusty alarm I’d miss many a morning and then slog through the day trying to catch up with time. And without that nifty timer, I’d burn many a dish and motor with my absent-mindedness.
What the Timely App’s supposed to do
Timely offers 3 options to keep you on time. The alarm section allows you to create as many alarms as you want. You can set the alarm as a one time or make it recurring. You can choose which days of the week it should ring on.
You can also set up a challenge in the alarm, based on math, a pattern or matches, that you have to complete before you will be allowed to switch off the alarm. It’s an excellent way to make sure you don’t switch the alarm off and go back to sleep.
There is also a smart rise option, that makes the alarm go off gently and slowly 30 minutes before your set time. With smart rise you wake up gently and are not rudely awakened by a loud alarm.
The other options offered are a timer and stopwatch. These work as standard and don’t have any special frills.
How I’m using the Timely App
The alarm and timer are my most used options. I have a variety of alarms setup to wake up in the morning. Mostly in summer I wake up at the same time everyday but in winter I wake up at different times on different days based on the days plan.
By setting up a variety of alarms I don’t have to worry about setting up an alarm every night. Based on the schedule I’ve setup Timely makes sure to wake me up at the right time on the right day. I also set up two alarms as i have a bad habit of snoozing. So, a back up alarm. And on days when I can’t allow a snooze, I setup a challenge to force me out of bed on time.
The timer is the other option that is my lifeline. I use overtime I have to do something that involves an interval. If I’m cooking something that needs to be left to slow cook or I’ve switched on the water motor, I put on the timer. It makes sure I don’t forget to switch things off (I have a history for forgetting and burning stuff).
My thoughts on the Timely App
When I said this app is an app I wake up to, I wasn’t kidding. Timely is one of the most important apps in my android arsenal, it’s an app I can’t live without and one of the apps I use the most.
A very useful app in day to day life. Timely is simple, clean and to the point. It’s pretty but it doesn’t have too many frills. What it does have as options and functions, work really well and are very useful. If you don’t have Timely, get it.
What do you use for alarms and timers?
App details and link
Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – Bitspin
Devices – Android
Size – 9.4M
Installs – 5,000,000 – 10,000,000
Link – Android Store
April 30, 2016 2 Comments
Che I are not big eating out people, we used to be but in recent years we’ve cut down a lot for various reasons, some in our control and some not. But we still do eat out, only now it’s quite an event, it’s given a lot of thought and it’s appreciated a lot more.
Most often when we eat out, it’s Che who does the choosing of where to eat. He’s good at it and his app of choice is Zomato but recently I got introduced to the Burrp app and now I think I’m going to try and choose.
What the Burrp App’s supposed to do
This app does so much that I’m not sure if I know all it does and it makes me wonder if it’s spreading itself thin and trying to do too much. But anyway… The app allows you to search for restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs nearby. You can also search based on type of cuisine. Search results are filtered based the distance from you, rating and price.
You can also mark places as favourites and want to try. Check-in, add photos, rate, leave a tip and writing a review is also offered. When looking for a place to eat you can view your favourites and call history to revisit a place.
You can also see places that are currently trending, hosting events or have offers running.
How I’m using the Burrp App
I haven’t use the app until now so this section is difficult to fill. 😀
My thoughts on the Burrp App
I quite liked what I saw of the app and it’s search results were tempting enough for me to want to try. There’s a lot this app can do but even at the simple level that I would use an app like Burrp, it works well and I think it would be really helpful the next time I’m trying to choose a place to eat.
There seems to be an attempt at community building around food that the Burrp guys are attempting, and for those who eat out a lot, review restaurants or use apps like Burrp and Zomato, this community might just offer good benefits and advantages.
Do you use food apps? Which one do you use? Have you used the Burrp app? Which is your favourite food discovery app?
App details and link
April 29, 2016 No Comments
Wikipedia defines a Habit as a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.
Habits are hardy things, difficult to make and break. Earlier in the #AtoZchallenge Glenda had posted about habits. Here’s what she had to say…
“We form habits through repetitive behavior. Often our habits attach themselves to our lives much like a ganglion cyst. Changing a habit requires behavior modification for many, concerted effort and cognizance of the habit for others.”
One trick to building a habit or making a certain behaviour a habit is doing it consistently for 7 weeks. That means tracking it everyday to make sure you do what is required everyday for 7 weeks.
What the 7 weeks App’s supposed to do
You create a calendar for each habit you would like to track and set a start date. You can also enter a reason for why you are trying to make something a habit.
In settings you can choose the theme as light or dark and also select morning or evening reminders. Each day mark the calendar with a not or cross based on whether you completed the habit or not.
Along with a calendar view of the 7 weeks for each habit, the app also offers statistics about your habit and performance.
How I’m using the 7 weeks App
I have been using the app to track my goal of reading the news everyday on the Inshorts app. (I spoke about this habit I want to form in my Inshorts app review)
I also use the app to track non-habit things like days when Cuckoo showed leg pain or Senti had a tummy upset. Not exactly tracking a habit but the app is great for showing trends/days at a glance.
My thoughts on the 7 weeks App
This is a very simple app but it’s really useful as it helps build a habit and makes you feel good everyday when you check off another successful day into the habit. A good way to get reminded and track a habit too!
App details and link
Stars – ★★★★★
Developer – 7 Weeks
Devices – Android
Size – 4.3M
Installs – 100,000 – 500,000
Link – Android Store
April 28, 2016 No Comments
I am an impulsive writer, I know I must train myself to write on demand and that I must be disciplined about it but I write some of my best stuff on the spur on the moment, when I write with emotion and the words just flow.
And these moments they come at all sorts of places, waiting in line to pay a bill, at the coffee shop, on a bus across town, as I sit watching and waiting for the dogs to finish eating,… At most of these times I don’t have a computer handy, and sometimes even pen and paper are difficult to find but almost always my trusty phone is with me. (I can’t believe I just said that, that’s how I felt and how I’m supposed to feel about pen and paper).
But to be able to write whenever, wherever and about whatever, all my writing needs to be readily available at all times. It should be accessible across devices and should constantly sync, and having a clean and easy to use interface is imperative.
What the Evernote App’s supposed to do
Evernote is a rather simple looking app that packs a punch. It syncs across devices and saves locally and on the cloud when internet is available. Inside of Evernote, many notebooks can be created, each holding a variety of notes. Notes can also be tagged for easy search.
In the edit mode, you can add and format text, attach (or create) an audio clip, photo, file, and video to the note. You can also add handwritten notes and scan a document into a note.
Notes created by you can be viewed and accessed from any device, as all notes reside on the cloud.
How I’m using the Evernote App
I use Evernote as my writing tool. Whether I am writing on my computer or my phone, I write on Evernote. When I’ve written an article on the phone, I can come back home, access the note, proofread and edit it and then post it up from a computer. It’s a great way to work across my phone and computer.
The notebooks option is another one I find very helpful as I can compartmentalise my notes based on topic. With it I can have a large number of blog posts and articles in work-in-progress mode and access them anytime anywhere.
My thoughts on the Evernote App
There are a lot of writing tools out there for serious writers but these tools are really expensive and are local. On the other hand Evernote has almost all the features from those tools in it’s free version and it syncs across devices and the cloud.
Evernote is an excellent tool for note-taking, documenting research and writing.
App details and link
April 27, 2016 No Comments
From way back when I realised I could record videos on a mobile, I’ve been looking for a video editor. An app that did a lot of cool stuff would be nice but one that even did the simple job of trimming and rotating would been enough. But I have never found one that I’ve been fully satisfied with.
For many months now I’ve been using VivaVideo. Saying I’m a fan of it would be an over exaggeration but until I find something better, it’ll do. The rest of this article is about VivaVideo but if you know of or use a video editor you really like, please let me know in comments. I’d be grateful.
What the VivaVideo App’s supposed to do
This app allows you to create and edit videos. You can put together photos to create a slideshow or edit and process videos you have taken to create a video.
The app allows you to trim videos, string together a collection of video clips, add music, choose a theme, clip videos, and add effects, stickers, text and transitions. There are a lot of free themes, effects, stickers and transitions to choose from apart from the paid ones.
Once the video is ready you can export it directly to a video sharing site like Youtube or save it as a draft.
How I’m using the VivaVideo App
I have used VivaVideo just a couple of times to edit videos. It does a decent job with editing and I guess if I spent more time understanding how it works, it would become easier to use.
One of the things I’ve noticed when using it, is that if I choose music from inside of VivaVideo, YouTube gives me trouble later on with the copyright of it.
Also in the free version of the app the videos have a watermark on the video after completion.
My thoughts on the VivaVideo App
This is a decent app and it seems like it has a lot of options and tools built in but I’m not video expert so…
Finding a good and easy app to use for video editing would be really nice, something like Snapseed for videos. Do you shoot a lot of videos with your phone? What do you use for editing the videos?
App details and link
April 26, 2016 No Comments
Things have changed so much over the years. I still remember a time when Mom would send me to the little store down the road to buy groceries and to buy in bulk, she went to the central market once a month. With time, the little stores got killed by supermarkets and those in turn by superstores like Spar.
But it didn’t stop at Spar and it’s likes either. From there it progressed to online stores where you could buy groceries and even ready to cook (cleaned and chopped) vegetables. And today it’s all doable on an app, you can buy all your groceries right on your phone.
I resisted this for quite a while, for over a year but I finally gave in and decided to try. The experience changed me into a regular on-the-phone-grocery-buyer. I now shop once a month for all my groceries online and enjoy having it all delivered at my doorstep.
What the BigBasket App’s supposed to do
BigBasket is one India’s first phone app grocery stores. Now a big name in this sector and a popular service, it boasts of Shah Rukh Khan as it’s Ambassador.
The apps a variety of ways to shop, you can go through the whole catalogue (which is a large one), see the catalogue based on category, use the Smart Basket option that offers products based on your previous shopping, create your own lists or look at Quick Shop which shows the most popular items in each category.
There are also offers, discounts, promotions and bundle packs offered. Once you have selected your items, you go through to the cart, recheck and place an order. You will then be asked for your preferred delivery slot and you can even choose express delivery for certain items.
That’s it. Now just wait for it all to turn up at your doorstep. While buying it seems like I do save money but I’m not sure about that, however I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience.
How I’m using the BigBasket App
I use BigBasket at least once a month, on rare occasions, twice a month. What I really like about it is the convenience of home delivery, the ease of comparing products and prices, and choosing a delivery time so I can plan my day.
My favourite feature though is the lists option. I’ve created lists for things I need every months, things I need to stock up on every so often, gardening stuff I need, etc. These lists make it easy for me to shop and make sure I don’t forget to buy something. I can also keep adding items as and when I notice the need through the month and they keep getting added to the cart.
Earlier I would make paper lists and go to the store and I always forgot to get something. With these lists I’m less likely to forget and since it’s on the phone and I’m at home, I can quickly check and see if I need a particular item on the list.
My thoughts on the BigBasket App
The app is well laid out and shopping on it easy and enjoyable. And with each update I see the app and service getting better.
I miss the small around the corner stores and going with Mom to buy the months supplies but I also enjoy the convenience of online shopping. It takes away the experience but saves so much time.
I’m learning to strike a balance between them all, once in a few months I take time to go to the central market, in-between in the month I buy from the local store and every month I buy the bulk of my supplies online. It seems like the best of all worlds.
App details and link
April 25, 2016 2 Comments
Max and My New Running Shoes
Some days I’m just grateful for the chance I get to sit down and put my feet up, to relax even if just for a moment and this week’s been filled with those days.
The week started with the maids taking unannounced leave, the washing machine packing up, the microwave walking out with it, and me just starting at it all, my week going belly up.
It’s been a maniacal week, one through which I’ve just about managed to maintain my sanity. Ok, I’ve seen worse, this wasn’t that bad but it was bad and nothing went to plan, but I survived and that’s the big thing, nah?
This week, the up’s were that I managed to hold onto my running schedule and ran an 8k, which is my longest ever, until now. 😉 We got a new washing machine and I can’t wait to start turning all those dials and playing with it. We also had our first decent rain, it didn’t pour but it did drizzle for 4 hours; heat’s back with a vengeance though.
I also held on to the #AtoZChallenge and didn’t miss a post. This week my android app selections were – Gardroid for Gardening, Player FM for Podcasts, Quiz Up for Productive Time-Pass, Strava for Running, Period Tracker – My Calendar and Todoist for those Pesky To-Do’s.
It’s the last week of the challenge now and I’m gearing up for it. Got to keep the ball rolling, right to the end.
Another addition to my #TBR
Another rather quiet week in this section. But I did find one book that caught my eye…
I Know What I’m Doing — and Other Lies I Tell Myself by Jen Kirkman
(All the books #49)
A memoir of her life, Jen shares her stories and talks about a myriad bunch of things. But what struck me when i heard of the book on the All The Books podcast was that she talks about having children, the choice of having or not having them and the dealing with people bit if you choose not to.
I’m also considering the book as an audio book as it is narrated by Jen Kirkman herself and she’s a stand-up comedian. It would be fun.
That’s about it from me here this Sunday. What have you been unto this week? How has it been – good, bad, ugly? What are you looking forward to next week?
April 24, 2016 No Comments
Decluttering the mind boosts productivity, the less you have stuffed in there and the less you are trying to constantly remember, the more you will get done.
Most of the time I have multiple lists running amok in my head. There’s the grocery list, the bills to be paid list, what the dogs need list, what’s to be cooked list, work to be done list, blog posts to be written list… you get the picture. And then all points on these lists are also weighted and moved around based on priority, criticality and significance.
That’s a lot of stuff going on in my head and so I do what I do best, grab a pen and paper and write as much as I can down. But paper lists take me only so far, as only some of it gets written, the paper gets lost, the list can’t be reused, items can’t be moved about,… But if this were an app? I could do it all, couldn’t I, and have it all accessible all the time too!
What the Todoist App’s supposed to do
Todoist allows you to make to-do lists that are simple or super complex. At a basic level a to-do have the activity detail and a date for it to be done. This basic to-do can be assigned to a project, it can be labeled (pro feature), priority can be set, links can be added and sub-tasks created.
To-do’s can also be made to reoccur on specific dates or every so many days (every 2nd or every 30 days), so you don’t have to keep recreating repeated tasks. Tasks can be filtered based on priority or assignment. If family and colleagues also you use todoist you can assign tasks to them from your app.
And this is all just the simple stuff, this little nifty app can do so much more. Ah, also the app has a home screen widget and quick add option, and it syncs across devices and browser.
How I’m using the Todoist App
I’ve created a variety of projects on Todoist, each project is a to-do list, so I have one for the house, for the dogs, for my blog, for books, etc. I’ve added almost all that I do to the list and the ones that repeat are marked to reoccur. E.g. Every two days I’m reminded to water my plants and once a year in April I’m reminded to file my taxes.
There are no to-do’s that are too trivia for my list, everything goes in there. I even mark my emails as to-do’s so I am reminded to follow-up or close them on the appropriate date. The add link option makes adding an email or website to a to-do easy-peasy.
My thoughts on the Todoist App
Over time I’ve gotten better at using todoist. I’ve also come to rely on it more and more and having all that data written down, means a decluttered mind. I don’t have to-do’s swirling in there any more and that makes me a happier person, more productive, more peaceful.
App details and link
April 23, 2016 1 Comment
Save the Date: Period Tracker – My Calendar App Review | 26 Android Apps in April for the #AtoZchallenge
“The great mother whom we call Innana gave a gift to woman that is not known among men, and this is the secret of blood. The flow at the dark of the moon, the healing blood of the moon’s birth – to men, this is flux and distemper, bother and pain. They imagine we suffer and consider themselves lucky. We do not disabuse them.
In the red tent, the truth is known. In the red tent, where days pass like a gentle stream, as the gift of Innana courses through us, cleansing the body of last month’s death, preparing the body to receive the new month’s life, women give thanks — for repose and restoration, for the knowledge that life comes from between our legs, and that life costs blood.”
― Anita Diamant, The Red Tent
I read the Red Tent by Anita Diamant 10 years ago, and it changed the way I looked at my period. I stopped being shy, embarrassed and ashamed of it. I accepted it. It became a part of who I am, a part I was proud of, one I would never be shy about ever again. (If you haven’t reads it, you should)
Knowing your body and it’s cycles, is the first step in understanding it, and understanding your body will go a long way to keeping it safe and taking care of it. It’ll help you know why you feel a certain way, where the moods are coming from, when is it a good time to conceive that child you want or prevent it, and many more things.
I have been tracking my period from almost the first time I got it. I would mark it back then on a calendar and then look for trends through the year. What delayed it sometimes, what caused a heavy flow, but most of all the trend help me always be prepared for it.
With technology today, I don’t need the paper calendar anymore, Now I can use an app that tracks and gives me lots of analysed data.
What the Period Tracker – My Calendar App’s supposed to do
The Period Tracker – My Calendar app is deceptively simple and yet it does a lot of things. Based on your updates it reminds you 2 days before your period is due. It predicts your ovulation cycle so you know when you are most fertile.
You can enter daily details about the quality of flow, your mood, any symptoms or even additional notes. You can also track your weight and temperature. Intercourse can also be tracked with details about the number of times, protection and orgasms.
All this data can then be seen as charts so trends are immediately visible. It predicts fertile days and ovulation day so you can plan conception better. And once your pregnant, the app will help your track you due date, the trimesters and all other details that would help your doctor, like moods and symptoms.
How I’m using the Period Tracker – My Calendar App
I use the app to track my period and it’s flow. Knowing when it’s due helps me be prepared for it, for e.g. I have a lot of pains on day 1 so, I don’t plan big activities on those days and I even tweak my exercise schedule accordingly.
I also use it to track intercourse, quantity of blood flow, my weight, my moods and symptoms. All this data comes very handy when I fall sick or need to see a doctor. There is so much I can tell them.
My thoughts on the Period Tracker – My Calendar App
I have been using the app for a couple of years now and with time it has gotten better at it’s prediction. It has also become more feature rich and user friendly with each update.
This is a very helpful app and one I consider a must have. And it isn’t an app just for the ladies. Men, you can use it to track your woman’s period, so you know just when to tread carefully and not get your head bitted off. 😀
App details and link
Image credit – Simple Design Ltd.
April 22, 2016 2 Comments