Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

August 13 2012

20:01

Add Scheduling, Tracking & Reminders To Gmail With This Fantastic Add-on

gmail remindersLet’s face it, Gmail is pretty much perfect. It’s not a coincidence that it’s now one of the most popular email providers, at least for those who prefer a Web interface. There are, however, several crucial features that are still missing from Gmail. First and foremost, email scheduling. How many times have you decided to wait with an important email until later, only to forget all about it when the right time came?

Reminders are another important feature you can’t find on Gmail. Email reminders enable you to get scheduled notifications when an email has been waiting too long, or when you haven’t received a response within a certain amount of time.  The lack of reminders means emails sit there forgotten, with no one to remember them. Famous add-ons such as Boomerang can add these functionalities to Gmail, but I’ve just discovered a new one which, aside from scheduling and reminders, can also track your emails. It’s called RightInbox.

What Is RightInbox?

gmail reminders

RightInbox is basically a browser add-on for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, which adds all these useful features to your Gmail inbox. RightInbox’s free plan lets you schedule, track, click-track and get reminders for 10 emails per month. If you don’t need these features often, the free plan would come in very handy.

If you do need something a little more bulky, RightInbox is still very affordable. All of RightInbox’s plans work with Google Apps, and you can choose to pay $4.99/month or $39/year for unlimited usage. Compared to Boomerang, which will have you shell out $14.99/month if you’re using Google Apps, that’s a pretty good deal, especially if all you’re looking for are the basic scheduling, tracking and reminders features.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and install RightInbox, or continue reading to find out more.

Scheduling Emails

Once you finish installing RightInbox and granting it access to your Google account, you’ll find several new buttons have been added to your Gmail interface. The first one we’ll focus on is the “Send Later” button.

gmail scheduling emails

You’ll find the “Send Later” right next to the “Send Now” (formerly just “Send”) button. When you want to schedule an email, click this button and choose when you want the email to go out. The email will sit in your drafts folder until its time comes, and you’ll be able to continue editing it while it’s waiting. Simply click “Save” when you’re done editing and the email will remain scheduled. RightInbox conveniently appends the email’s scheduled time to the subject line.

gmail scheduling emails

If you change your mind, you can either choose to send the email right now, or delete it altogether.

Getting Reminders

If you’re not using reminders for emails yet, prepare to get hooked. Personally, I have a bad habit of leaving emails I need to take care of unread, which of course leads to in a huge pile of them in my inbox. Eventually, I just get used to them being there, and forget that they are there for a reason. Sounds familiar? This is where reminders can save the day.

RightInbox lets you set reminders for outgoing emails, in case you want to make sure you received a reply, and also for any email sitting in your inbox. You can’t set reminders for an archived email, even if it’s sitting in a label folder you use regularly – it has to be in your inbox. In outgoing emails, you’ll find the “Remind Me” button right on top of the email.

gmail scheduling emails

Before setting the reminder, you can choose exactly how and when you’d like to be reminded (e.g., only if no one responds, return it to inbox and mark it unread). You can then set the reminder’s time and you’re all set.

If you need to set a reminder for an email in your inbox, simply check the box next to it. This will cause the “Remind Me” button to appear on top of your inbox.

Tracking Emails

The ability to track emails is a great RightInbox feature, but there are several things to note before using it. First of all, RightInbox’s tracking is more for personal use. This means you won’t get elaborate statistics and reports, as you would with a newsletter system. RightInbox simply sends you an email when your sent email is opened, or when the links in your email are clicked.

gmail scheduling

To track an email before sending it, click the “Track” button, which will then turn green. You will now receive a notification when your email is opened, which will look something like this:

gmail scheduling

If you included a link, you will also receive an email when the recipient clicks it:

gmail scheduling

But how does RightInbox do this? Tracking emails and clicks is a pretty straightforward business, and RightInbox is no different. In order to see if an email was opened, RightInbox inserts a 1×1 transparent GIF into your emails. When you send these tracked emails to new recipients, they will be asked by Gmail if they wish to display images, although there won’t be any visible images. If they don’t display images for some reason, the email will not be tracked.

As for links, RightInbox routes them through their own servers in order to track them, which is legit, but might appear somewhat fishy to your tech-savvy friends. As you can see in this image, I sent an innocent link to MakeUseOf, but when hovering over it, quite a different address appears.

gmail reminders

This is in no way harmful, it’s just a click-tracking method, but you might want to warn your friends so they don’t think you’re sending them phishing scams.

Bottom Line – Does RightInbox Work?

Yes, RightInbox does what it promises, and does so rather brilliantly. It integrates seamlessly with Gmail – you won’t even feel it’s there unless you use it – and scheduling, tracking and setting reminders worked every time without a hitch. I’m definitely keeping RightInbox installed, and might even get the paid account if I get too hooked on its features.

What do you think of RightInbox? Do you know of similar services I should try? Add your comments below.


August 03 2012

19:00

Track Your Diet And Get Leaner With These Web Apps

track your diet onlineBy the time you read this, the London Olympics would be on in full flow. If the athletes rippling their way across your TV screens give you an inferiority complex, don’t be too alarmed. I have heard that such feelings are quite normal. Any sporting event brings the fittest of human specimens in full public view. Then that paunch can’t even hide behind the TV remote. You just feel…unfit. But there’s another side to this health woe too.

The envy worthy fitness levels of these athletes comes from years of rigorous fitness regimens and healthy diets. If you aren’t a sportsperson, you won’t be able to duplicate it to that extent, but you can certainly do the small things. Get yourself off the couch…start exercising…and watch what you eat. All the help’s out there. From fitness websites and mobile apps, to online diet trackers.

Let’s look at a few web apps that help you track your diet and get leaner. And maybe, just maybe give Usain Bolt a run for his money.

Slimkicker

track your diet online

The site says – SlimKicker is all about learning proper nutrition, portion control, and acquiring important habits.

Start your weight watching with the hope that Slimkicker and its mix of calorie counting and fitness tracking can keep you on your healthy toes. SlimKicker is a free to use weight loss monitoring application that turns your health goals into point-based challenges. The calorie counter, fitness tracker and other community resources are additional tools.

Key Features of Slimkicker

  • Slimkicker sets up your personal fitness profile with an easy-to-fill wizard and recommends nutrition goals.
  • Log your food and exercises and rack up points. Get more points for eating healthy, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and unprocessed proteins.
  • Join fitness and nutrition challenges with other people. The harder the challenge, more the points. If you complete the challenges, you can even win things like a $100 Zappos gift card. An example of a challenge: No snacks after dinner.
  • Join the community for shared dietary and health goals. Example of a group: Rhino Runners is for men and women who love to run but do not necessarily fit the profile of a “traditional” runner.
  • Other resources: Food calorie calculator arranged in food groups; blog posts on nutrition and wellness; diet psychology; and healthy recipes arranged by type.

Mobile app: iPhone

 

MyPlate

track your diet online free

The site says – MyPlate is the flagship tool, a comprehensive food and fitness tracker leveraging the largest online food and fitness database.

MyPlate is a part of the very well regard Livestrong fitness site. And why not, as it is attached to the name of Lance Armstrong. Nearly 4 million members made this a strong community of health watchers. MyPlate’s calorie counter starts by giving you an easy interface to set your weight loss goals, track your daily caloric intake and log your fitness activities. Livestrong is not completely free as Gold Members have more privileges on the site like custom nutrition goals and daily nutrition charts. But the basic free service is feature rich too. Livestrong gives you a database of 1,715,200 foods and 1,500 fitness activities

Key Features of MyPlate

  • Set up a food diary and automatically log your daily intakes.
  • Charts, graphs, and figures help you track your diet and water intake per day.
  • Tap into meal plans from members or create your own.
  • Create Loops: map your running, cycling, walking and hiking routes and share it with friends.
  • MyPlate has a specialized diet tracking tool for diabetics and a quit smoking iOS application ($3.99).

Mobile apps: For iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. (Link)

 

My Fitness Pal

track your diet online free

The site says – We believe — and medical studies prove — that the best way to lose weight and keep it off forever is to simply keep track of the foods you eat.

You can sign-up for free and straightaway My Fitness Pal recommends your fitness and nutrition goals with your basic info. With that as a benchmark, you can start tracking your food in a personal food diary. The application also gives you an exercise diary to log your daily physical activity. Maintain your activity and use the Check-in tool to record your weight daily.

Key Features of My Fitness Pal:

  • The Quick Tool allows you to speed up your recording by copying the same data from or to other dates.
  • Recipe nutrition calculator gives you the nutritional breakdown of any food added to your food diary.
  • Gauge your optimal weight range using the BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculator.
  • Generate reports based on your nutrition, fitness levels, and overall progress.
  • Get into the message boards advice, motivation, and support.

Mobile apps (free): For iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. (Link)

Lose It !

track your diet online free

The site says – Lose It! uses proven principles of weight loss (tracking and peer support) to help people manage their weight and improve their health.

Lose It was originally created for the iPhone as a weight tracking app. The simplicity required of a mobile app is now reflected in the web version. You can sign-up for free and enter your current weight and goal weight and Lose It calculates a daily calorie ‘budget’ and a deadline. The interface is very neat and use-friendly.

Key Features of Lose It!

  • Auto-suggestions help you to enter data very quickly.
  • Match up your daily calorie intake with exercise to see the balance between both. Also, track your nutrients.
  • You can add custom foods and custom exercises to your account.
  • If you own the Wi-fi Withings body scale, you can connect it to your Lose It account.
  • Share your progress reports with email, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Mobile apps (free): For iPhone (& iOS) and Android. (Link)

Calorie Count

track your diet online

The site says – use Calorie Count to look up nutrition facts and view complete food labels for more than 220,000 foods.

The site surprisingly was created by two aerospace engineers. The site (now with About.com) is mostly free but also has a premium component where members can get professional guidance from registered dieticians.  The free account lets you track food, do a diet analysis, and track your activity. Calorie Count gives you your Body Mass Index as soon as you fill-up your profile and gives you a few recommendations on weight target, calories target, and a deadline date. The service has quite a few tools like the Burn Meter that tells you how many calories you need daily.

Key Features of Calorie Count:

  • Keep a food log and share notes with other members.
  • You can build up a support group with social interactions on the site and stay motivated.
  • Add your calorie intake from the food items and labels in the database or build your own recipes with the Recipe Analyzer.
  • Activity Expenditure nicely matches an exercise (calorie lose) with an equivalent eating activity.
  • The Analysis page is a snapshot of calorie changes, nutrient reports, and a summary of your fitness according to the food and exercises logged.

Mobile apps (free): For iPhone, iPad, and Android.

A few other good calorie watchers that can help you track your diet…

Health and fitness being a primary concern, there are quite a few web services helping you get leaner. Check them out for their free sides.

Diet and fitness depends a lot on the kind of lifestyle you have. As every country has a different food culture, these sites are more suitable for North Americans. Some of the sites on the list are overwhelming with their breadth of information, so I leave it up to you to pick the one you are comfortable with. A cautionary note: the right diet also depends on the current state of your health. Always consult a physician or a dietician before you start with one. Treat these sites as tracking tools and information resources and not absolute guides.

Which diet tracking website would you recommend? Is it on this list? Or do you prefer to go by your ‘gut instincts’ in your journey towards a leaner you?

Image Credit: Shutterstock


July 25 2012

22:31

Plan & Track Workout Success With Journal of Training

track workoutsWhen it comes to fitness, one of the things that always makes me give up over time is the inability to actually see progress. Not that I can’t drop 30 pounds if I try, but to feel as though that 30 pounds was something substantial can really give you that boost to continue on and lose the next 30.

Planning and tracking your fitness efforts is really the only way to get that feedback. You have to track the data every day so that you can see the big changes you’ve made over time. Here at MUO, we’ve focused plenty on fitness websites, fitness gadgets, and even fitness games to help get you motivated and out there working out every day.

The problem that I have isn’t so much getting motivated, it’s staying motivated. And unfortunately most of the websites and applications that I’ve tried over time always seem to fall short in one way or another. Some give you great workout tracking tools, but fall short when it comes to planning out your future workouts. Others give you the ability to monitor data from your fitness routines, but then don’t give you any decent tools to visualize that data over time.

Over the past six months I’ve got back into the mindset that if I don’t stay in shape right now, in my mid-thirties, it’ll take that much more effort later to get fit and toned. It’s hard enough in your thirties – but over those six months I’ve dropped thirty pounds, and so I started looking for a way to really start monitoring my daily fitness gains.

How JoT Can Help You Get Past a Fitness Plateau

The problem with the situation I’m now in is what many yo-yo dieters face – the initial loss can be a lot easier than the long-term loss. The human body tends to hit a point where it isn’t willing to give up any more fat or pounds, and you have to force it to surrender by kicking up your workout a notch. The problem? Well, if you aren’t tracking your workouts, how do you know how to kick it up a notch?

Luckily, I stumbled across an awesome free fitness resource called Journal of Training, or “JOT” for short. Sign-up is a one-page procedure that’ll take you under two minutes.

track workouts

As you can see, some of your information will help JOT tailor the main interface to your needs – putting tools for certain types of workouts right at your fingertips. And yes, it asks you for your fuel efficiency, because JOT even has a module that will help you track your carbon footprint. Walk rather than drive, and you’ve not only improved your fitness but you’ve reduced your carbon footprint.

The main panel of your JOT dashboard has everything you need to access in one place. It includes workout recording, planning, and it even lets you track wear and tear on your sneakers – and you can schedule an alert for how many steps you want to take with those shoes before being alerted to purchase a new pair.

For runners, that’s actually an important thing, because the quality of your shoes and soles can make a huge difference to the quality of your run and the impact to your ankles, knees and hips.

track workout program

When you’re ready to start either planning your workouts, or recording what you’ve done in a recent workout, just click on the “My Workouts” link in the top menu. To record a workout that you’ve just finished (or to plan a future workout), click on “Add a Workout“.

track workout program

This is where the magic takes place. From this one data entry form, you can add information about any type of workout, whether it’s hiking, running, playing a sport or weight lifting. You just select the activity type from the dropdown, and fill in details like how many minutes you spent doing it, how much distance you covered, calories burned, and even the quality of the workout.

track workout program

Here’s what the “Workouts” area looks after I’ve entered in workouts from the past week. This screen also doubles as the search window if you want to see past workouts, and it’s also where you can edit workout details, enter in what you ate on those days (if you want), and you can also enter in your health information like your heart rate, how you were feeling that day, and most important (to me anyway), your current weight on that day. This makes JOT also double as an awesome weight tracking tool.

workout log

Don’t want to take all of the time that’s required to enter individual workouts? You can also enter in an entire week’s worth of workouts in the weekly workout form. Just type in the workout description, the time that you worked out, and the distance if it applies. Within less than 5 minutes you can have all of your workouts logged.

JOT lets you graphically plot different elements of your workout over time, such as how much time you spent working out each day. I only have two days here so far, but as you can see JOT uses a bar graph to show you the daily totals.

workout log

My favorite part of this online service is the ability to plan out future workouts. All you have to do to make a workout a future one instead of a logged one is to click on the “Planned” save icon rather than the “Completed” saved icon when you’re in the workout entry form. Those planned workouts show up on your Workout page with a clock icon.

workout log

Speaking of icons, you can enter in health details by clicking on the heart icon, and what you ate that day by clicking on the fork and knife icon.

As I mentioned at the start of this article, other fitness sites or applications that I’ve tried never really had everything I wanted. They could track daily nutrition but not workouts, or they could track workouts but not weight. That’s one reason that I’m seriously blown away by JOT – they’ve thought of everything.

The health tracking page lets you enter in your weight for that day, % body fat, heart rates, blood pressure, and even some notes to describe how you felt that day. All of these details combined with logging what you ate can really help with understanding what activities and foods make you feel good, and which ones don’t.

Entering in your meals is just as easy and fast as entering in workouts. Just type in the time you ate, a quick description of what you ate, the amount, and most importantly how many calories were contained in the food. JOT does offer a nutritional lookup tool if you need it, but most of the time you can pretty much just look at the container of the food you ate and base the calories on that.

 Another cool area – and another hidden secret to making some extra cash online by the way – is the Workout Plan Editor. This is where you can create a workout regimen, complete with a planned out schedule displayed in a calendar format. It shows what days to work out, what workouts to perform, and other details that can help you stick to the “program”. Best of all, once you’ve created the plan, it can help anyone stick to the program. So, for members, JOT has allowed the sale of these plans – a great way to earn some extra cash if you’re particularly good at coming up with workout programs that work.

track workouts

As you can see, the JOT website covers nearly every aspect of health – from nutrition to exercise to health tracking. It isn’t easy to find fitness sites like this that cover everything – so I’m pretty psyched to use JOT as I enter into the final phase of my own workout/weight-loss program.

On top of cool features like “JOT Maps” and Reports, there is also a whole social networking aspect of the site to enjoy, with message boards and the ability to take part in JOT with friends. It really has everything you need to either get started with your workout routine, or to revitalize your weight-loss efforts.

Get started with JOT and let us know what you think of the website. Did you find some cool features that got you motivated to start working out again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Image Credits: Yellow Dumbbells via Shutterstock


April 22 2012

02:30

Monitor Usage Of Your Peripherals Competitively With WhatPulse

monitor peripheral devicesFor those of you unfamiliar with the word, don’t feel stupid. A peripheral is a device connected to your computer that is not actually required for your computer to boot up and get running. Any USB device is a peripheral. In this specific instance, your keyboard and mouse are the main peripherals you should know of.

In my 13 years of internet experience, I can’t even imagine how many keys I’ve pounded or how many times I’ve clicked that poor mouse. Using WhatPulse now, it’s not something I have to imagine. I can know exactly how much usage I’ve put on those peripherals. Why would I want to? Personally, no particular reason. It’s interesting to know and keep track of. It’s also fun as an idle way of “competing” with thousands and thousands of other internet addicts, as it ranks each user.

Download WhatPulse now!

WhatPulse is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux. It’s very simple. Download the application, create your user account, and it’ll begin closely monitoring your keystrokes, mouse clicks, and your mouse movement (unless you choose to disable the tracking of any of those in the settings). I know, the first thing that comes to your mind is, “Isn’t that unsafe?” WhatPulse is safe. Do your research on Google if you’re feeling paranoid at all. WhatPulse was, at one point, open source software until a fiasco came about where users were cheating keystrokes and clicks. I’ve used WhatPulse for nearly five years and I haven’t experienced a single problem. This isn’t the largest keylogging operation in the world.

WhatPulse’s options are quite configurable.

monitor peripheral devices

You’re able to configure a lot of activity with your tray icon, to notify when tracking is active and on other triggers. There’s also several different ways you can “pulse,” which is sending your current counts to the server for tracking. You can do that manually, by clicking the tray icon, by hitting a hotkey, or at a specific time limit.

peripheral monitor

As mentioned earlier, there are ways to selectively track only certain statistics.

WhatPulse also offers the “geek window,” which is an optionally-transparent overlay that you can dock at one of the corners of your monitor to keep track of your WhatPulse statistics in realtime. I think it’s overkill, and I’m not that obsessed with where I stand in the rankings, but have at it.

Key frequencies are also a very cool feature. I’m on my gaming desktop right now, and here’s what a gamer’s key frequencies might look like after about 2 weeks:
peripheral monitor

There’s a little under a million keystrokes, with lots of WASD and other directional buttons. What can I say? It’s an interesting thing to monitor.

Every user is given their own online profile. You can access your profile easily by the tray icon. My profile link is as follows: http://whatpulse.org/stats/users/227470/
Here’s what your profile will look like, if you can’t be bothered to click:
monitor peripheral devices

Should you decide to give WhatPulse a spin and find out that you like it, why not join the MakeUseOf team on WhatPulse? The team ID is 20178 and you should be able to freely join in over at the Teams page.


April 12 2012

22:31

Kickstart Your Summer Fitness & Weight Loss With FitBit

fitbit reviewsWith summer approaching, many of us are starting to think a little more seriously about our weight. In particular, it’s that time of year when people worry about how they’ll look in those summer outfits. If this is you and you’re looking for a new way to keep track of your health goals, then it’s time to check out Fitbit.

Fitbit is best known for their premium step-trackers and other such intelligent devices. However, they have also built a comprehensive fitness-tracking system as a website and mobile applications. The free version is impressive as it packs in more features than most other fitness tracking applications, plus it’s very intuitive and versatile. Without spending any money at all, the Fitbit health tracker will help you to reach your weight and fitness goals.

Track The Basics

For many people, keeping track of calories, exercises and current weight is the best way to track how well you’re doing towards your health goals. Fitbit ensures this is simple to do, by allowing you to document measurements in metric and imperial units. It also offers a wide variety of activities for you to enter your exercise, including several active occupations and Wii games.

Track Sophisticated Statistics

Along with the basic tracking, Fitbit lets you calculate your heart rate at various states of exertion, your blood pressure, glucose levels, water intake and even your sleeping habits. There is also a journal for you to record specifics, including prompts to document your mood and allergic reactions.

If you need to track anything else, there is the ability to add a custom tracker where you can choose the title, measurements and units yourself. You could use this to document your medication, waist measurement, dress size, or whatever else is useful for you to track alongside your fitness and weight goals.

fitbit reviews

Your Food Plan

If you’re serious about losing weight, it can be very useful to calculate your ideal calorie intake for each day. Fitbit lets you calculate a food plan which accounts for your current weight, desired weight, proposed intensity of regime, height and activity levels. Once your food plan is in place, Fitbit will update your remaining calorie intake for the day according to how much you have eaten and how much energy you have burned.

So, if you go for an extra long run in the morning, your food plan will allow for extra calories for the rest of the day, while still keeping you towards your goals. A glance at your dashbard will tell you whether your daily food needs are being met appropriately or not.

fitbit tracker

When logging your food intake, Fitbit keeps track of your most-logged items in order to make it easy to add them again later. You can even log your favourite meals by pre-recording how much of each ingredient is used to make it.

Mobile Applications

The Fitbit applications for Android, iOS and the mobile site incorporate all of these tracking mechanisms and food calculators, making it easy for you to watch what you eat, record things as you go and generally track your progress and stay motivated.

fitbit reviews

Share With Friends

Fitbit lets you connect to Facebook to find friends, or join groups to help your find the motivation you need to help you keep going. There are a great number of public groups, plus a community forum which makes it easy to track posts you’re interested in.

Comparisons

Obviously, Fitbit offer even more value to those who purchase step trackers or premium plans, but this is overall a very usable system and there is a tremendous amount of flexibility and customisation available in the Fitbit free tools. Fitbit certainly compares well against other leading fitness trackers such as Fitocracy, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and other mobile weight trainer apps.

How do you like Fitbit? What do you track in the custom fields?


March 18 2012

18:31

3 More Ways To Track Your iPhone & Other iOS Devices

track my iphoneHaving just received notification of my 4G iPad shipping, I decided to look into some better ways of tracking my mobile devices. Right now, I’m a steadfast user of Find My iPhone - both my wife and I use it to log into each others accounts and figure out when we’re coming home, or where we are when trying to meet up in town. But what’s the best way to track multiple devices?

Find My iPhone is perfect for when your iPhone is stolen – you can easily lock, sound an alarm and message, or wipe the phone. In fact, we used it to successfully get my wife’s iPhone back after it was stolen from her workplace. But for daily use with multiple devices or user accounts, it’s far from ideal. You need to be able to access the other person’s iCloud account for a start – something your spouse or children may not be happy with. You have remember quite a few passwords; and you can only track one device or user at any single moment.

Find My Friends

Though written off by most iPhone users as a bonus Apple app that no one uses, Find My Friends [iTunes link] allows you to track multiple people effectively once you’re in their circle of trust. You needn’t access each others accounts; on the downside, it’s easy for users to disable tracking so it might not be what you’re looking for in a family situation.

There are however some really nice features offered in Find my Friends that distinguishes it beyond a simple extension of Find my iPhone :

  • Links to message, FaceTime, or get directions to the friend’s location from where you are now.
  • Ability to show all your friends on the same map – great for organising an impromptu meetup (though I really doubt if anyone actually does this in the real world).

If you’re worried about your own phone being stolen and the thief being able to track your children, the app requires you to log into your own iCloud account upon launch.

track my iphone

Sosumi – Find My iPhone for The Desktop

Sosumi (named after the default system alert sound on OS7) is a free and open source desktop app for tracking multiple accounts and multiple devices. The app remembers your passwords too, so you need only authorize your iCloud account once. There are no fancy social features like FaceTime integration, but you can send a message with optional alarm. You can’t shut down devices or lock them though – that feature is reserved for Find my iPhone only.

One handy function not offered elsewhere though is some additional status information displayed for each device – notably the device type, charging status, and battery level.

track iphone

Life 360

I’ll be doing a full review of the Life 360 free app and all its advanced features next time, but in terms of basic family member tracking, this is an excellent (did I mention free?) solution with online web app version too. In addition, it can run on both Android and iPhone devices – that alone might be the deciding factor for you.

Unlike the other two Apple-only methods, this doesn’t require an iCloud account (you need to register a separate Life 360 account).

track my iphone

One thing to consider is that the app needs location services to be permanently enabled which may drain the battery life significantly. You disable background tracking, without which you can either request a status update from a family family (“James wants to know if you are safe”), or the family member can check in themselves once they reach somewhere (one button click).

UK users – this is very much a US-centric app and contains details of sex offenders that may give a false positive in your area, apparently matching by street address only.

Summary

Find my Friends is adequate in my Apple-only family for just tracking the wife’s and my mobile devices; and the desktop Sosumi app is certainly handy to have around – but Life 360 certainly offers a lot more functionality for family safety. Stay tuned for a full review of the advanced features, or download it now to try it out yourself.

Let us know in the comments which app you prefer to keep tabs on your iOS devices, and why.


March 08 2012

18:00

Follow Your Favorite Teams With Score Alarm [Android 2.2+ & iOS]

You have to admit, some of us are die-hard sports fans. Nothing is wrong with this, and there are plenty of tools to help out with your sports cravings. However, not all apps are easy to use, and others are plainly not worth your time. So what app is? Give Score Alarm a shot.

About Score Alarm

Score Alarm is a very simple application for Android and iOS where you get score alerts whenever one should be issued, depending on the sport. In other words, if you’re following a soccer game, it’ll give you alerts after every goal. On the other hand, if you’re tracking a basketball game, it’ll give out alerts after every quarter, as you’d get way too many alerts if one was issued after every point scored. Simplicity is the theme here, where you don’t need to do anything else other than subscribe to the game you’d like to follow.

Installation

Installation is a piece of cake. Just search for “Score Alarm” or follow this link if you use Android (Free) or this one if you use an iOS device ($2.99). Go ahead with the download and installation, and you’ll be ready to go.

Live Events


Using the application feels simple as soon as you start it. You’ll be greeted by a nice fade-in effect to an initial screen of some current games of the default sport (soccer I believe) that are being played. Of course, if you wish, you can subscribe to any of these if you wish. You can also tap on the button in the top right corner and change the sport that you’d like to look at.


Score Alarm offers soccer, basketball, hockey, handball, water polo, tennis, volleyball, and American football, so your choices are wide open. Under each sport, you’ll find games from every country, so you’re not just limited to American games or those of your home country.

Today’s Events


Moving on, you can look at games that are scheduled for today. If you’re looking at a sport which is played in many countries like soccer, you’ll find that all games are organized into their respective leagues. The leagues themselves are organized in alphabetical order, so finding the game you’d like to follow shouldn’t be hard.

Categories


Finally, if you tap on “Category” you can choose which country you’d like to select, and then see the games for that league from a few days back all the way to a few days ahead, so that you can already follow them in case the game isn’t being played today.


Again, don’t forget that you can change the sport for any of these pages to find the exact game you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Score Alarm is a pretty handy, low-resource app that keeps you updated on the games you’re most interested in. Its simplicity and the total selection of possible games may make it more attractive to a good number of people, especially non-Americans, compared to other apps like ESPN’s ScoreCenter. Either way, it’s a great way to get updates on your games quickly and easily.

What do you think about Score Alarm? Do you have other similar recommendations? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: zachstern


01:31

Use DataMonitor To Keep From Going Over Your Data Plan Or Getting Throttled [Cydia / iPhone Tweak]

Lately, there has been a huge crackdown on unlimited data users in the United States. In fact, as I write this I am sitting on a throttled data speed on my iPhone because I use too much data on my unlimited plan. That is right, too much data on my UNLIMITED plan. It is frustrating and annoying, but I have to deal with it, as I am sure many of you do too. My phone is jailbroken, but none of my data usage comes from anything illegal. In fact, most of it is listening to Spotify, which is a completely legal use of my data.

As annoying as it is, if you do not want your speed to become throttled, you need a good way to monitor your data usage. That is why the jailbreak called DataMonitor exists. It allows you to track every detail about your data usage, as well as a slew of other information about your iPhone. DataMonitor is a free tweak that helps you keep track of everything you ever wanted to know about your iPhone.

Set Up

DataMonitor is available free from Cydia’s BigBoss repo, which is one of the default repositories on Cydia. That means you will simply need to search for DataMonitor, click install and you will be ready to start tracking your data in much more detail.

You will want to go to the settings of the tweak in order to customize some things before you get to track your data. The first thing you will need to customize is the billing cycle. The application needs to know when to reset your data for each month, so you know exactly what you used. This is especially important if you are not on an unlimited data plan because you will be charged for going over your allotted quota.

Next, you will want to set your limits, if you have one. This is also available under the settings tab. For example, if you are on a 2GB plan, you will want to let the app know so that it can alert you as you approach your monthly limit. You can also set a daily limit, to keep yourself on track and not going over day by day.

What Does It Track?

I could make this section incredibly short and say that it tracks everything, but that’s no fun. The most important thing that it tracks is your data usage. It tracks how much data you have used for the month, and for the current day. It breaks your data usage down by cellular data and Wi-Fi. It tells you how much data you have uploaded and how much you have downloaded. If you click on the month, it will give you a breakdown of how much data you used each day. If you click on the day, it will break down your data usage minute by minute.

For the data tracking, it also shows you the previous month and previous day, which gives a nice standard of comparison. Just as with the current cycle, it breaks this down by Wi-Fi and cellular, so you know exactly how your data is distributed.

Besides tracking data, this application will provide you with all kinds of information about your device. It lays out your current battery status in a clean and visually appealing way. It also shows you the memory usage of your phone in terms of RAM. It lets you know much of your memory is being sucked down by the apps you are running.

The application also breaks down your CPU usage on your iPhone. It shows you how much each core is working, and how the data is being used currently. DataMonitor also provides system info such as uptime, last boot time. You can also view all kinds of network information such as your public IP address, MAC address, if you have an active data connection over cellular or Wi-Fi and so much more.

If you click “Detailed System Info” under the system info section, you will be able to see even more information about your device. Everything from the model name, name of the phone, the type of CPU and so much more stuff about your iPhone can be found in the this section.

Conclusion

If you want to know more about the inner workings of your iPhone, or monitor your data usage in an attempt to keep yourself from paying a higher bill or getting throttled, than DataMonitor is a Cydia tweak you need to have on your device.

Did DataMonitor keep you from getting your speeds throttled? Do you think it is ridiculous that unlimited plans are slowed down for using too much data? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Slow traffic sign with clouds via Shutterstock


March 06 2012

20:00

3 Free Android Apps That Help To Remind You To Take Pills On Time

The days of simple diagnoses and simpler one-pill that cures all is long gone. These days it’s a cocktail of pills that addresses every illness one is unfortunate to encounter.

The low-tech solution could be to fall back on the prescription again and again and trust your memory to have (or serve) the right medicine at the right time. The middle path could be to order up one of those medicine boxes from eBay or elsewhere that comes with color tags and partitions for the dosages.

The geekiest option is of course, to turn to a trusted mobile app…in this case, any of these Android apps which can help to remind you to take pills on time. 

Med Minder – Free (1.5+)

This app is a little install with a small footprint. The only peeve you can have with this pill reminder app is that the free version is ad-supported. Though that doesn’t come in the way of its functionality. Operation is simple: you key in the medicines individually and also save their dosage times and days. You can enter multiple medicines and multiple dosages. You can also enter details like – quantity per dose, quantity per refill etc. and any other prescription details for the particular medicine.

The app will set off an alarm and a pop-up when the appointed time arrives. The free app does not give you a choice of alarm sounds though and you have to work with the default one.

AnyTimer Pill Reminder (2.1+)

At the onset, you can create two types of timers – Interval Timer (based on time intervals between dosages) and ‘Times of Day’ Timer (based on clock times). The above screenshot is based on an interval time. The time picker is cool, though the app gives you an option to default to the one used by the system.

You can also set different alerts like – flashing the LED, setting a persistent alarm, vibration, or simple sounds (choice of two). You can sort the med list by creation time, name, or by next alert time. Though primarily for reminding you about pills, you can tweak the app for other scheduling tasks too.

Med Helper (2+)

This colorful app is full-featured when compared to the previous two simpler ones. The key feature is that you can set up medication logs for multiple people…for instance, your entire family. Though the number of data entry points seems large, it is actually quite simple. Here are the details you can key in:

Schedule: All the reminders are displayed here as per the prescription. You can go into the Preferences and set up reminder sounds by picking on any from the ones in the system.

Take as Needed: This is for recording medicines that do not fall under a fixed schedule. For instance, a sleeping pill that has been prescribed for one-off use.

Med Log: This records the doses which have been taken. The information is fed from the schedule.

Prescription: Prescriptions are where you set up reminder schedules, track inventory and refills. The prescription is what you should fill first. The tabbed view displays the place where you can set up schedules plus the doctor and pharmacy information if needed.

Notes: Jot down related health info. For instance, history of any allergies.

Doctors: You can use this to set a prescription to the prescribing physician from a drop down list

Pharmacies: You can create a list of pharmacies and link it to a prescription.

Appointments: Record appointments and link them to a doctor or pharmacy

Reporting: You can select a report (or multiple ones) from the list, select a date rage, and specify an email address to send it to. The report goes as an HTML attachment. You can also send an Excel spreadsheet,

This link will take you to the developer’s website where a well-documented manual helps you through the configuration steps if needed.

There are quite a few more pill reminder apps in the Google Android Store. I picked up two simple and a full-featured one that covers all aspects you would expect a medicine management tool to do. How do you manage your medicines and doses? Do you rely on a well-established system, or are you willing to trust out these kinds of apps on your smartphone? Tell us…and here’s hoping you always stay healthy.


March 02 2012

20:00

6 Best Apps To Use When You’ve Lost Your Android Phone

It’s amazing how even the most organised individuals, that is those who regularly back up documents and always plan ahead for future engagements, can occasionally find themselves up that notorious creek without a paddle. Take for instance when someone loses their phone. Not enough people have prepared themselves for this. The best applications to help you find or wipe your phone need to be installed in advance. There is at least one notable exception, which could well save your phone.

Plan B is the application to install when your phone is already missing. However, if you’re really going to get prepared for that lost phone scenario you might like to install a few other great applications too.

Plan B

Plan B is the perfect application to use when your phone is already missing and you realise you never installed any of the nifty apps which would have helped you find your phone. You can install it remotely by going to the Android market and it will use GPS or an SMS to find your phone’s location and email that to you. If you need a location after this, you can send an SMS to your phone from a friend’s phone saying “Locate” and the application will send another email with the new location.

On this note, if you were to install Plan B and set up some filters in Gmail to forward to your partner or parents (or if you are a parent, do this to your child’s phone and email), they could potentially use this to find you if you go missing. It’s a little paranoid, but could easily be effective.

Lookout

Lookout Labs are the makers of Plan B. Obviously they realised that not everyone gets around to planning ahead. However, if you’re thinking ahead they have an Android application which gives you the tools to remotely wipe your phone and offer some security against malicious code.

Android Lost

Android Lost lets you find or wipe your Android phone remotely. It allows access to your phone via a web interface, which can also let you trigger your alarm, read your SMS and offers many other useful features.

Phone Found – Owner Info

The Phone Found application lets you leave your email address and phone number visible even when your phone is locked. This way, if someone friendly finds your phone they can email you and let you know they’ve found it.

Where’s My Droid

Where’s My Droid lets you trigger an alarm when you send your phone an SMS with a special code. It can also send you a Google Maps location of where your phone is.

Mobile Defense

Mobile Defense is only available in the US, but it’s a pretty useful application. Once installed it hides from view and does not look as if it’s installed, meaning whoever’s stolen your phone won’t realise it’s running. Meanwhile, you can use the Mobile Defense website to control your phone and find out where it is.

More Reading

You might also like to read these articles on tracking tools and apps:

 

Have you ever lost your Android phone? What did you use to find it?


February 29 2012

18:01

Accurately Keep Track Of What You Do On The Computer & For How Long With RescueTime

track computer timeIf you spend a considerable amount of time working at your computer with no Corporate Big Brother to monitor what you’re doing, you may find yourself spending a bit more time than you should be tweeting, Facebooking, and procrastinating your day away. While there’s nothing wrong with good old leisure activities, the adage “time is money” means a lot if you’re reading mentions on Twitter instead of dealing with a work-related project deadline.

In this regard, a very useful program called RescueTime can act as your own little time tracking service, clocking what you do on your computer.

How It Works

All RescueTime requires you to do is a site registration, and to download and install its Mac Data Collector, which will monitor, in the background, all the applications you use, the websites you visit, and the files you work on throughout the day.

track computer time

RescueTime works like a sneaky spy taking notes of how much time, for instance, you spend on Facebook, how long it takes you to finish writing a report, and the amount of time you spend reading and responding to e-mails.

track computer time software

Knowing this type of tracking information may mean facing some hard truths that you’re only spending say two hours a day actual doing productive work, or it can be a great way to figure out which parts of the day you are most productive – the morning, afternoon, or evening. If you’re a freelancer, RescueTime could be useful in helping you keep track of how much time you’re spending completing projects.

The Dashboard

The Mac Data Collector icon rests in your menubar, which is a convenient way to click to the Dashboard of your RescueTime account page. There you will get an overview of all your related computer activities, which times of the day you are most and least productive, and an “Efficiency Summary” that reports a measure of the ratio of your productive time to distracting time.

track computer time software

All your computer activities are categorized under such items as E-mail, Design/Composition, News/Opinion, Business, Entertainment, Reference, etc..

track computer time software

Time Reports

You can dig deeper into Dashboard reports to get more detailed information for individual categories, productivity measures, individual activities, personal goals, and what time of day you are most and least efficient in your work.

keep track of time spent on the computer

Monitoring Yourself

While RescueTime may label your time spent on Twitter or MakeUseOf as a distraction, you can indicate otherwise. After you have spent several hours using RescueTime, you can click on Categorize Activities, under the Settings menu, and set which activities you deem as “very productive,” “very distracting,” or somewhere in between.

keep track of time spent on the computer

So for example, when I visit MakeUseOf, I want RescueTime to report that time is always “very productive.” Likewise, when I’m working in TextEdit and Dragon Dictate, those activities count as +2 productivity. However, when I’m chatting away on Yahoo! Messenger or spending time on TweetDeck, that time is counted as a “distraction,” though both activities break up the monotony of my day.

keep track of time spent on the computer

Some activities you will indicate as “neutral”, and that time will not be counted for or against your productivity efficiency rating.

Likewise, you can also manage and customize assigned categories, labeling exactly what you’re doing when you’re using particular applications or visiting particular websites.

Productivity

Under the Activities page, you can also select to delete individual activities or have RescueTime completely ignore a monitored and reported website or application all together. For example, I have RescueTime ignore Facebook (which Rescue, by default, labels an “distraction”) because I never visit the site, but my daughter does.  To locate the delete/ignore button, you have to hover your mouse cursor near the listed time for the activity in order for it to appear. It can’t be seen otherwise.

track computer time

The developers of RescueTime are very generous with their offerings in the Lite version of its online service, providing some very significant and useful information about how you spend your time on the computer. The Pro version of RescueTime however offers specific activity details that give reports on specific documents, webpages, chat windows and much more. It also provides other features for tracking offline time, receiving time alerts related to productivity goals you set, and helping you block distracting parts of the Internet. Based on my first week of using RescueTime, I plan to subscribe to a few months of the Pro version just so I can home in on how effectively I’m using my time management better.

RescueTime is similar to a formerly popular time tracking site called Slife.com, which is still running on my Mac, but the site itself no longer seems to be updated with new features and services. And it is not as detailed in its reporting as RescueTime.

Let us know what you think of ResecueTime and how you’re using it. For other ideas about time tracking services, check out “6 Useful Desktop Time Tracking Software.”


February 25 2012

00:31

6 Apps To Keep Track Of Time-Related Events & Activities [iPhone]

iphone time tracking appI love iPhone apps that solve little problems which can often be worrisome if not addressed. How many times have you needed to know when the warranty ends on a product you purchased, or when was the last time you visited the dentist? Usually we have to second guess this type of information, or locate receipts to find these dates. Even using a calendar can be a hassle if your keyword search doesn’t deliver the answer you’re looking for.

But now there are some handy iPhone countdown and reminder apps that can help you keep track of time-related events and activities. Some are free while others are only a few dollars.

Countdown Calendar

Countdown Calendar is the app I’ve been loading up with all sorts of dates I want to remember. It’s easy to use – simply add a date and title for the reminder, and Countdown will calculate the days, months and years since or until the date you assigned.

iphone time tracking app

With Countdown, it’s easy to know when I last changed the oil on my car, when my iPhone contract will end, and even job related information I might need to know, such as when the iPhone 4 was released.

Reminders can only be saved to one of two folders – Important and Fun. It would useful if the developers could add other categories, similar to the categories of repository countdowns that you can link to within the app.

iphone time tracking

The repository includes reminders for US Holidays, movie release dates like Star Trek XII, and sports events dates like the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

You can add hyperlinks and notes to reminders, as well as mail countdowns to other Countdown Calendar users. This email feature is great, but it would even more useful if Countdown could automatically mail countdowns based on a specified time before or after a recorded reminder.

School Countdown

If I were a student, I’d definitely have School Countdown on my iPhone. This smart class timetable gives you a countdown for the school year, the number of classes in the semester/term left for each course taken, and the number of days until school starts back up.

iphone time tracking

Big Date Lite

If you want a countdown app with more visual appeal, Big Day Lite and Big Day ($0.99) enables you to add a background photo to your events. The Lite version, however, allows for only one event, and the paid version enables multiple events.

iphone time tracking

The drawback to this app is that it doesn’t include the a months or weeks countdown, only days.

Wedding Countdown

After you set your wedding date, you can now get the precise year, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds before you tie the big knot.

iphone time tracking software

The app also includes a feature for automatically switching to anniversary countdowns after you’re married. In addition, you can add custom images and background music.

Expecting Baby

After that big wedding day, you know what typically happens next. So for you expecting parents out there (expecting dads, I suggest you download this app too), Expecting Baby provides a personal countdown of the remaining days until a baby’s arrival, development facts for every week of your pregnancy, a contraction counter, and much more.

iphone time tracking software

Countdown+

Countdown+ ($1.99) seems to be the most comprehensive and feature rich app in this category. After downloading this app, I’ve decided to switch my dates to it. Countdown+ enables you to categorize and tag reminders and countdowns, customize icons and backgrounds, or choose from over 40 preset icons; set alert notifications, create custom calendar rules, and much more.

iphone time tracking app

A big time saver for Countdown+ is that you can selectively import scheduled dates already on your iPhone’s iCal calendar.

Each of these countdown and reminder apps are useful for helping free your mind from thinking or worrying about upcoming dates. They can be motivational tools if you want to count how many days it’s been since you stopped smoking, started a diet, or kept up with a new year resolution.

There are dozen of other similar iPhone time tracking app like the ones listed above. Let us know what you think of these or your own favorite countdown app.


February 17 2012

01:31

2 Great Ways To Track Your Twitter Analytics & Learn To Tweet Effectively

I love statistics and analytics. No, I don’t mean statistical analyses and finding what the mean and standard deviation of things are, I mean seeing statistics and analytics of things I actually use, such as websites and social networks.

In the social network department, the most interesting one is definitely Twitter. Believe it or not, I’m fairly new on Twitter, and using it seems like a constant process of learning from what has already been done. Basic stats can help you tweet more effectively, and also understand the reach of your tweets a lot better. Here are two different tools which can give you some insight into your Twitter usage, and help you see where you stand and how you can improve.

Buffer’s Analytics Dashboard

Buffer is a service we’ve covered in the past, which lets you buffer your tweets and post them at the best times and intervals in order to get more clicks. You can use Buffer as an add-on in your browser, as a mobile app on your Android or iOS device, and there’s also a web app, where you can find Buffer’s analytics dashboard.

Buffer only gives you analytics on what you tweet through it, so if you’re only just starting to use it, you won’t see any analytics yet, but Buffer is a very effective tweeting tool, and once you start tweeting with it, you can immediately access your Buffer dashboard and click on “Analytics” to see some stats.

buffer-5

In the analytics tab, you can see a list of all your tweets, with information such as clicks, potential exposure, retweets and favorites for each tweet.

buffer-1

This gives you a nice overview of which tweets did well and which didn’t do as well. If you want to see more details, click on the block you’re interested in; you can do this with the retweets block, the mentions block and the favorites block (if there are any). When you click, you will see a list of Twitter users. Clicking the “retweets” button, for example, will shows you who exactly retweeted your tweet, and to how many followers.

buffer-2

The same way, you can also see a list of anyone who favorited this specific tweet. As you can see in the screenshot, you also get a neat row of all the profile pictures of those who retweeted/favorited your tweet.

buffer-4

The dashboard also gives you a quick and easy way to follow these users or reply to them. By clicking on the “Reply” or “Thank” button, you can write your reply right from the dashboard, and then choose whether you’d like to post it now or add it to your buffer.

buffer-3

There is one glitch worth mentioning: Sometimes, when several people share the same link through Buffer, the number of clicks which shows on your dashboard is the total number of clicks for this link, not just for your specific tweet. As you can see in the screenshot below, this tweet registers 384 clicks, but was tweeted to only 38 followers, with no one retweeting it. The developers assure me this little bug will be fixed in future updates, though.

buffer-bug

TwitSprout

TwitSprout gives you a whole different look on Twitter analytics. While Buffer gives you an in-depth look at each tweet by itself, and is mainly aimed at personal use, TwitSprout is a powerful analytics app which analyzes your whole account and can be used by large companies as well. TwitSprout offers a free option which lets you add up to 3 different Twitter accounts.

To start, go to TwitSprout and create an account. You can then add up to three Twitter accounts you want to analyze.

twitsprout-7

Since TwitSprout analyzes all your recent Twitter data, it can take up to 6 days for it to create your analytics. You will get an e-mail notification when it’s done.

twitsprout-2

Once it’s ready, TwitSprout will continue updating each hour, so you won’t have to wait 6 days ever again (unless you add a new account). Your analytics include several graphs, such as follower growth per day, daily tweets, hourly change in followers and historical account growth.

twitsprout-4[1]

As you can see, these graphs are colorful and easy to read, the text is color-coded and they all give you some insight on what’s happened to your entire Twitter account over the past week.

twitsprout-4

Over on the right side, you can change the date you’re looking at to any date in the past (after the analytics were created), or export your analytics to a PDF or CSV file. If you want to understand the graphs better, click on the question mark.

twitsprout-8

This will enable the metrics help, which will appear next to your graphs as you move your mouse cursor around. These are detailed explanation about each and every provided metric.

twitsprout-5[1]

You can see how everything is calculated and get some tips on how to use the stats along the way.

twitsprout-6

The Power Of Stats

Buffer’s analytics dashboard and TwitSprout are two very different tools, and while they both provide statistics, you can probably make the most of them by using both at the same time. From Buffer, you can learn a lot about clicks and retweets, see exactly who retweeted your tweets and interact with them, and from TwitSprout, you can get a general picture of how your account is doing, what times are best to tweet on (you can then change your Buffer preferences accordingly), and more.

Do you know of more cool ways to get some Twitter analytics? Do you even find these analytics useful? Share in the comments!

Graph Image via Shutterstock


January 28 2012

01:31

Ski Tracks – The Skiing & Snowboarding App That Will Make You Say….Holy Crap! [iPhone]

Every now and then you come across an application that blows you away. Recently, I wrote an article about applications for skiers and snowboarders, and this one flew under my radar. Recently, I decided to spend the $0.99 to try it out, and I must say that Ski Tracks completely blew me away. This application offers so much for skiers that it is staggering. I just got into skiing this season, and I absolutely love it. As if it were not fun enough, this application actually finds a way to make it better.

The purpose of this app is to keep track of your stats while skiing. I hate to quote a line from an infomercial, but with this application, you really just need to “set it and forget it”.  It sits in your pocket while you ski or snowboard and keeps track of everything you do, from your speed, to your slope and everything in between. If there was anything you were curious about in your performance while on the slopes, chances are great that this app will have you covered.

How It Works

Ski Tracks uses GPS to keep track of your statistical information while skiing. It is able to find your location using the phone’s built in location service. The thing that is incredible is that you do not need to manage it manually. It knows when you are on a chairlift. This means it is able to start a new run automatically. You do not have to pull your phone out and fuss with it each time you ride to the bottom of the mountain. It is incredibly impressive.

Since Ski Tracks uses GPS, it can also track where you are on the mountain. This is awesome if you need to see what runs you have missed. In all honesty, the fact this app works as well as it does seems like some sort of voodoo magic to me. I am certainly not complaining, because it has made skiing even better.

Stat Tracking

This application’s main selling point is its ability to keep track of your performance on the mountain. To get it to track your stats, you simply need to open the application on your iOS device and click the start button on the bottom right corner of the screen. From there, you can just throw your phone into your pocket and it will keep track of everything automatically.

I suppose saying it keeps track of “everything” is a little broad and perhaps I should narrow it down. To start with, it keeps track of speed, which was the statistic about which I was most excited. It tracks your top speed throughout the day as well as your average.

Another of my favorites is distance. It lets you know how far you have skied and how far you have ridden on the lift. This gives you an amazing feel for how much ground you have covered throughout the day.

The complete list of stats the app tracks is as follows:

  • Speed
  • Distance
  • Ski Vertical
  • Altitude
  • Number of runs
  • Slope
  • Duration

It will also break all of this information down run by run, so you can see how you compared on each run down the mountain. It is impressive just how much this application can tell you about your ski day.

Social Features

After you finish skiing, click the ski icon on the top right corner of the screen to edit the name of your day and give it some information such as the current weather and the snow conditions. Click “save” and the track will be locked in.

After you save the track, you can click the share button on the bottom right of the screen to email it to a friend, upload it to Facebook or send it to your computer with iTunes document sharing. This is an awesome way to show you friends how well you killed it on the slopes on your last trip.

The app will create an album in your Facebook photos and add all of the images there. It will add your charts, maps and any photos you took during that ski trip for all of your friends to see.

Of course, you can also access your ski tracks at any time from the application. This way, if you wanted to see how you did last time at a particular mountain, you can do so quickly and easily.

Other Features

Ski Tracks has iPod controls built right in. You can control your tunes while on the slopes without ever exiting the app. It also features a camera, so you can quickly take photos from the mountain.

They also added a proximity sensor that works similarly to using the phone. It will automatically turn the screen on when you remove the phone from your pocket and turn it off when you place it back. The app has surprisingly low battery drain. I was able to have it running for about 7 hours straight before my phone died. That is impressive considering it is constantly using location services.

On top of these cool features, you can also choose to have the app measure in metric or imperial units, depending on where you live.

Conclusion

This is without question the best ski application I have ever used. It keeps very accurate stats that make skiing a lot more fun. For example, you can try to beat your best speeds or cover a greater distance that you did on a previous trip. This app allows you to take the act of skiing and make it into a competition with yourself. The data it provides is awesome, and it is so useful for any skier or snowboarder.

iTunes Download Link

Image Credit: Shutterstock


January 24 2012

19:01

Safeguard Your Device With Lookout Mobile Security [Android]

mobile security androidLookout Mobile Security is one of the top antivirus and device tracking solutions for Android. It has a proud spot on our Best Android Apps page, and we’ve given it some coverage as part of our MakeUseOf directory. However, today I’d like to take you deeper than ever before, and really show you the different parts of the app and how it takes care of your device security.

I have a subscription to Lookout’s Premium version ($2.99/month), but we’ll be looking at the free version, both via the Android interface and via the website. If you don’t have a solid device tracking solution installed on your Android smartphone, you owe it to yourself to read this post.

The Android App

mobile security android

That snippet you see above is one of the most important things Lookout offers. Whenever you install or update an app on your Android device, Lookout will scan it to make sure it doesn’t contain malware. As iOS fans like to remind us, malware is a very real problem on Android devices. Using Lookout can mitigate the risk, much like using an antivirus on your desktop computer.

Now, let’s look at the app itself:

mobile security android review

You can clearly see what features Premium users get, and we’re not going to get into those. When you hit the + button next to each feature, it expands to show just a bit of status information:

mobile security android review

Next, let’s look at some of the settings the app offers:

mobile security android review

In addition to live scanning, Lookout scans the entire device on schedule. You can set the frequency (off, daily, or weekly), as well as the days and times you’d like it to scan on.

One other important setting you should know about:

lookout mobile security

This option lets you set Lookout as a Device Administrator. One of its side effects is that screen lock can’t easily be toggled on and off, which is the main reason why it’s not switched on for my phone.

That’s pretty much it for the app itself. The free version offers virus scanning and missing device functionality, which is a big deal but doesn’t expose much of an interface on the device. If you lose your device, you’re going to want to use the Lookout website, which is what we’ll look at right now.

The Web Interface

lookout mobile security

As you can see, the Web interface offers several tabs. The Security tab includes a summary of scans done on your device, and is basically a boring logfile. The Backup tab offers remote backup, but I consider the solution offered by Titanium Backup to be vastly superior to anything Lookout has to offer, so we won’t spend any time delving into that. But the Missing Device tab… that’s what we’re here for.

lookout mobile security

The Locate and Scream options are available for free. Let’s look at Scream first:

lookout[17]

This option is handy if you misplace your phone somewhere in your apartment or office. You know it’s in there somewhere, but can’t find it, no matter how hard you look. “Why not just call it?” you ask. Good question! If it’s not on silent, you should go ahead and call it. But what if it’s in silent mode, or doesn’t even vibrate when you call? In those cases, you need Lookout’s Scream functionality.

When I tested Shout, it took its sweet time. It’s definitely not an instant feature, and I had to wait for several moments before my phone started sounding a siren and blinking the screen like crazy. If it were lost anywhere in hearing range, I am sure I would have heard it.

Locating A Lost Device

When you click the Locate button (and the Scream button, for that matter), Lookout sends an SMS to the device to initiate a connection:

mobile security android

If you’re using anything like SMS Popup, that SMS message will be displayed just like any other message. This means if someone actually stole your phone, they now know you are trying to locate it. That’s a potential downer, but it’s unavoidable, given how Lookout works.

After a few moments, Lookout displays your location on an embedded instance of Google Maps. I won’t share a screenshot (for obvious reasons), but it is remarkably accurate in my case, even indoors and without a GPS lock.

Final Thoughts

Getting infected with a nasty bit of malware can be a serious problem, and losing your device is no laughing matter. Lookout Security is a free and simple way to stay safer from such threats. Use it, or, if you prefer another antivirus/device tracking solution, tell me about it in the comments (don’t forget to say why!).


January 19 2012

23:31

Track Your Weight The Smart Way With Libra [Android]

Today I’d like to tell you about an Android application I have been using every day since March 16, 2011. That’s over 300 days of use, day in, day out. It’s a free application called Libra, and it’s used for entering your weight every morning and then getting a picture of where you are going. Libra is so good, that it is one of the applications hand-picked for our Best Android Apps page.

If you care about your weight and health even remotely, read on. As you will see, Libra will not solve all of your problems, but it makes it easier to get a clear picture of where you stand.

About Tracking Your Weight

libra[3]

Above is a screenshot of my own personal weight graph, extending back from May 27th, 2008. That’s over 3.5 years worth of data, more than 1,300 data points in all. That is not a screenshot from Libra: Android didn’t even exist when I started this graph. It is my own home-brew weight tracking solution. I coded the first version with AutoHotkey, and the next one with Ruby, and I use it to this day, in tandem with Libra. But the idea is certainly not my own, and it’s the same idea Libra uses.

Let’s take a closer look at how the graph works:

libra[5]

As you can see, there is a trend line, and dots which go over or under the line. The dots are individual data points, while the line is a moving average. Having a trend line is extremely important, as it is the only real way to see where your weight is going. The trend line is calculated according to a formula from The Hacker’s Diet, a book by John Walker, founder of Autodesk. The Hacker’s Diet is a classic reference for geeks trying to lose weight, and that’s the graphing system Libra implements.

Looking at the graph above, it is easy to see that I’ve been gaining weight over time. The lowest point on this graph is September 2009, and since then it has been going up in fits and starts. Despite all this (actually, because of it), I remain confident that graphing your weight is essential to losing it. I will tell you why later on, but first let’s look at Libra itself.

About Libra

Let’s look at the same period within Libra:

libra[7]

As you can see, the principle is exactly the same, only Libra adds a bunch of vital information. It knows my height, so it can tell me I am considered overweight now according to the body mass index. Overweight, by the way, is 25.0 and above – so I am just barely above normal. It also shows me I am actually gaining weight at a rapid pace, which is why it is “unknown” when I will get to my final weight goal (62.0 kg, which is about 136 lbs). I know this post would have been more dramatic if I could show you an impressive weight loss, so here is a screenshot of a real one from my past:

libra[9]

This is a period of several months during which I am steadily losing weight and tracking it with Libra. Note that the stats down the bottom don’t change, because they reflect the current situation and project the future.

Entering Your Weight

libra[11]

Every morning when I wake up, I enter my weight using the screen above. The date is automatically selected, and the tape scrolls smoothly when you flick it left or right. It’s a beautiful way to enter your weight, and it sure beats fiddling around with the keyboard. Libra lets you create a shortcut that launches you right into the “Insert value” screen, for maximum speed.

Statistics

libra[13]

Apart from the graph, Libra lets you see numeric stats showing your trends over various periods of time, as well as “records” of highest and lowest weight/trend values. Libra also offers a homescreen widget showing three quick stats:

libra[21]

Why Tracking Your Weight Is Important

libra[17]

Now we go back to the big question – why even do this in the first place? Well, because it is usually easy to gain weight, and it is easy to ignore the problem until it is way too late. Tracking your weight on a daily basis and graphing it is crucial, because that way you know where you stand. And as they say, knowing is half the battle.

I know some people who are overweight, and are actually afraid to know how much they weigh. But if they can’t face even that simple number, how will they be able to face the slow process of weight loss? I think that without tracking my weight, I would be much heavier right now, and would feel more hopeless about it.

Of course, once you do begin losing weight, tracking your losses is an essential part of staying motivated.

Why Tracking Your Weight Is Not Enough

libra[23]

Above is a period of several months when I was tracking my weight daily, but also gaining a lot of weight. So, sadly, tracking your weight may not be enough. You need to make some lifestyle changes to lose weight, as well as some public commitments. We’ve featured social fitness websites before, as well as 8 Websites That Help Couch Potatoes Take Up Running For Fitness & Fun, and I feel these are an important part of the equation. The idea is to care, and not give up.

Tracking your weight is the first step – once you take it, it may be easier to take the next one, but you will need to do something more. I’ve recently started exercising again – maybe next year I will be able to share a different-looking graph. At any case, I will probably still use Libra to plot it.

Let us know what apps and methods you use to track and lose weight.  What do you think of Libra?


19:01

How To Track What Others Do On Your Computer With iSpy

track others on your computerHave you ever been in a situation where you suspect someone has been using your computer, but you just aren’t certain who is doing it and what they’re actually doing when they’re logged in? This situation comes up more often than you might suspect – whether it’s a shared computer in a dorm room, a home, or an office. The computer use may be completely innocent, or the person may actually be trying to poke around your personal files to discover private information about you. You really don’t know.

There are lots of solutions for PC usage monitoring and logging, and we’ve covered a lot of them here at MUO. We’ve even offered a giveaway of the Elite Keylogger before, and I’ve written a few articles on ways that you can monitor how your employees or your family members are using your computers. They are still good solutions, but after coming across iSpy, thanks to Matt’s awesome review of the free webcam surveillance software, I realized that there’s an even better solution than anything I’ve ever covered before.

Use iSpy to Track What Others Do On Your Computer

Why is iSpy the best solution? Well, if you’ve followed how most of the webcam surveillance systems that we’ve reviewed work, they typically watch the camera area for movement, and whenever any activity takes place, the system jumps into action in whatever manner you’ve told it to. This can include recording the video, sending an email, or even launching an application.

The iSpy Camera Security Software does all of that – just as Matt described. However, there is something else that it does that I’m very excited about – it provides a powerful feature where you can set up a remote view of a computer desktop, just like you’d remotely view a webcam, and capture all movement on that screen.

To do that, once you install iSpy, just click the “Add” button and select the “VLC Camera Source” option.

track others on your computer

You’ll need to choose from a variety of camera sources. The magic one is the “Desktop” tab on this screen. Choose the display that you want to monitor, the frame interval and what view size you want to resize the desktop to when you view it remotely. To set this up on remote PCs that you want to monitor, you’ll need to install the iSpy Server software, rather than the full-blown version of iSpy.

track computer usage

So, here I’ve installed the desktop camera to monitor all activity that takes place on the other monitor that I have set up. Here’s that monitor displayed in my “webcam” view inside the iSpy software. As you can see the live screen is marked at the upper right with the current date and time.

track computer usage

You could simply watch the screen remotely if you want to see what the person is doing there, but obviously that would take a lot of time and patience. And, if you’re more interested in seeing what’s going on at your PC when you’re gone, then you’re going to want to set up iSpy on a different PC to monitor your computer when you’re not around.

When you add the desktop webcam, you have to go through a few steps to set up that automatic “motion sensor” monitoring feature. The first tab is the camera tab where you’ll set up the recording frame rate. If you don’t have a lot of space to save recordings, just cut back on the “when recording” framerate. If you want to hear what’s going on as well, then yes, you can even activate the microphone (using the add button) and then “pair it” on this tab.

The Motion Detection tab is where you set up the sensitivity of motion when you want to start recording what’s going on at the screen. Also, if you want to monitor the motion over just a smaller portion of the screen, you can create a “detection zone” by drawing a box around that area.

track computer usage

The “Alerts” tab is where you’re going to configure the behavior of how the application monitors motion. Change mode to “movement” and then select how many seconds of movement there should be before recording begins.

track activity on your computer

That screen is also where you can select a program to execute in the “Execute file” field.

Then, on the “Recording” tab, you set up exactly how the app records. This is where you set how many seconds inactivity will last before recording stops.

track activity on your computer

The coolest part of this application is its ability to automatically FTP the files to any FTP account you have set up. This makes it easy for you to monitor the activity from anywhere at all. The software will FTP the files and you can access them from anywhere.

track activity on your computer

If you don’t want to focus on the motion feature, but instead want to see what people are doing on your PC during certain times of the day, you can enable the “scheduling” feature of iSpy on the “Scheduling” tab. Just set the days and the times you want to record, and let iSpy go to work recording all activity on that PC for you.

The videos are all stored in mp4 format. Here’s a 10 minute video I captured of someone using my computer to search YouTube for “crazy stunts”. Those silly kids…

track others on your computer

As you can see, iSpy goes well beyond your typical keylogging or screenshot applications that most people use to monitor computer usage. iSpy actually lets you record a screencast of every movement and every action that the user makes on that PC.

Give the screen recording feature of iSpy a shot and see what kind of interesting things you capture on your computers. Did you catch anyone trying to do anything they shouldn’t be doing on your computer? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


January 18 2012

23:31

Play The Game Of Life & Get To Your Goals With Mindbloom

mindbloom life gameWhat exactly is Mindbloom? Is it a mind mapping application? Is it a goal-setting motivational tool? Is it a social network? Or is it a game? By the time we finish this article, let’s hope we can swap all these questions with a few exclamations.

Mindbloom is actually a bit of all these, but primarily the concept of the Mindbloom life game seems to follow the old adage that a giant oak grows from a tiny acorn. Mindbloom believes that the journey of life or at least its planning should be fun. Mindbloom says it’s a fun, simple and effective way to improve the quality of your life.

The Metaphor of a Growing Tree

mindbloom life game

Mindbloom uses the image of a tree to symbolically show that like a tree which grows from an insignificant seed, life improvement is the result of continuous actions – little by little. Each positive step nourishes our life and fills it with passion and purpose. Thus the building blocks of life growth can be set with goals and goal setting exercises.

But all this need to be an exercise in drudgery; it can be turned into fun with motivational boosters like music, images, social support, and a little bit of play. Mindbloom is designed to be an interactive platform for such life building activities. Just how it does all this is the moot reason for this article.

Grow the Life You Want With the Step By Step Animated Game

Start growing the tree of your life by choosing an area that you would like to improve. You can just as easily choose multiple areas. Each area of life (for example, health) is represented by a young sapling. Music and the super cool interface help to make this an exercise in fun.

mindbloom app

Just like a real sapling, you have to nurture this too with the right ingredients like sunlight (music, images); and water (simple actions). The music and images are the motivational boosters for simple actions.

The basic tutorial continues and you are then introduced to the Enlightening Bug who helps you through the registration and log-in process with your first ‘tree’. Careful attention to detail and the fun element marks this life tracking app out. For example, check out the following screen which selects your gender. Isn’t that a bit different from the humdrum!

mindbloom app

At every step, you can choose to get inspired (nourish the tree with sunlight) or take an action (remember, water). Just like a real tree, proper nourishment will require a balance of both. If you decide to start off with a bit of inspiration, you didn’t do wrong as the browser fills up with beautiful high-resolution images related to the life area you had chosen. In my case it was health, and I got this to perk me up:

mindbloom app

You can personalize the slideshow with your own images too.

mindbloom review

Now, Take Some Actions

The little helpful bug says that you can create your own actions or get some help from the community. Every action you complete helps to water the tree and unlock points. Earned points give you new stuff to look at and play around with. For instance, I earned a few points and unlocked for myself a package bundle of images and action packs. A typical action pack looks like this:

mindbloom review

And this is how you can get inspired:

mindbloom review

I hope you understood how Mindbloom balances action with inspirational tidbits to help you along the path of self-improvement. Better still you cannot just waltz through as you have to use your actions to unlock the advanced stages. The rewards of achievements could lead to more discoveries at Mindbloom. You can even buy “seeds” and unlock more inspiration packs.

The Circle of Life…and Friends

Self-improvement need not be a solitary exercise. That’s where Mindbloom’s own community and your friends who are on other social hangouts like Facebook come into the picture and form the “forest of friends” around your growing sapling.

mindbloom life game

The community serves two purposes – Firstly, it introduces social accountability and secondly, it builds your support group when you need a push up the motivational path. For example, you can post inspiring images in the gallery and invite comments over it.

The Mindbloom Life Game Is Fun

Mindbloom is sheer eye candy but beneath the beautiful design everything comes together, well – beautifully. It is a mind mapping application but a zero effort one. It is a goal setting tool but one which forces you into a fun game. And yes, it is a social community too, one which you have to ‘answer’ to for motivation.

Join in and tell us if you think that the Mindbloom life game is one of the best personal development tools out there. It certainly is the most fun. I haven’t been able to cover all the interesting sidelights of the application, so do explore it and tell us yours.


January 10 2012

01:31

Secretly Check Out Your Reddit-Using Friends Using Reddit Investigator

A few of us here on MakeUseOf like Reddit, and apparently so do quite a few other people out on the Internet. Some of those people like it so much that they even create their own web apps and phone apps to use the site in much more creative ways.

Once again, we have another unusual way to use Reddit, and this time, it comes in the easy-to-digest form of the Reddit Investigator, a covert web app for all you Internet snoops out there. So grab your binoculars and your notepad (and maybe a first aid kit), for today, we’re jumping into the Reddit Investigator.

Get To Know Someone (Better)

I’ve seen several instances on Reddit in which people say that they have met other users of the site, and although the chance of meeting someone is probably better than I think, it at least seems rare. This almost makes the online world “real”, and it’s at that moment when you go to these sites that you realize you are dealing with actual people. With that being said, since we’re in the social networking era, I believe it can be safely assumed that everyone still stalks their friends online on at least some level – don’t deny it.

The issue here is that Reddit isn’t so of much a social networking site as it is a link aggregator with many users. However, at the same time, it builds up quite a bit of discussion and sometimes even friendships. So there certainly is a social element, and for those lucky few whose friends are also Redditors, it can be assumed that social element is kicked up a few notches.

But let’s say that you just met someone and found out they are a Redditor….well, in this hypothetical–not–likely-gonna–happen situation, Reddit Investigator is a great way to creep up on them.

Discover Their Interests

It’s fairly simple to figure out someone’s interests with Reddit Investigator. Simply plug in their username on the front page of the site, and the web app will lurk the corridors of Reddit, peeking into every hall and scouring each electronic scroll in which the searchee has written their thoughts upon. It’s interesting that it’s able to do this, and although I’ve harped about privacy before, you have to understand that this is Reddit – it’s a rare instance if anyone knows who you really are.

Basically, on the left side of your Reddit Investigator results, you will see every single subreddit that the user has commented in since the beginning of time itself (except not really). Furthermore, you’ll be privileged to find every single subreddit that they have submitted items to, as well.

Check Out Their Stats & Data

Some of you are number crunchers (for those of you that can figure out the chances of meeting another Redditor, please do). With Reddit Investigator, you jump on those crazy little things called stats that some of you crave. Here are just a few of the things you can unravel:

  • Most Active Hours Timeline.
  • Link Karma Timeline And Data.
  • Comment Karma Timeline And Data.
  • Activity Timeline.
  • User Data.
  • Word Data.
  • Fun Guessed Data (stuff like location, political stance, reputation).

For those of you that noticed the timeline that covers the Redditor’s most active hours, I can only hope that your boss doesn’t know your username. At least you could probably figure out how to best manage your time with this web app. Always a silver lining, right?

Conclusion

That’s pretty much all there is to it, ladies and gentlemen. Honestly, there isn’t any tool quite like a functional tool, and that’s what we have here. You really can’t beat that. Granted, I don’t know how legal your intentions are for Reddit Investigator, but in the meantime, I’ll play dumb.

What other tools for Reddit do you use besides Reddit Investigator? Did you find anything interesting about this one? Have you ever met someone from Reddit?

Similar Stuff


January 08 2012

21:30

3 Tactics To Really Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

New Years Resolutions are generally well intentioned attempts to kickstart ourselves into learning something new, losing weight, or saving money. Realistically though, they’re exceptional if they aren’t forgotten by February.

In fact, we’re now one week into the new year and how many of you actually stuck to your goals (or even bothered with them at all this year)?

But seriously now, let’s make this year the one where we really stick to our well made plans and finally achieve something worthwhile. Agreed? Read on for 3 solid ways to make those resolutions truly stick and make a difference in your lives.

Actionable Goals, not vague nonsense

The trouble with most of our New Years Resolutions are that they tend to be rather vague:

  • Save $10,000
  • Learn some Chinese
  • Work out everyday

As any entrepreneur and serious self-improvement guru types will tell you, these are useless. They don’t describe anything about the steps needed to get to that goal, and things like “learn some Chinese” don’t even define a specific endpoint. Although specific goals such as “save $10,000” are admirable, they sadly aren’t actionable – meaning there isn’t a specific, defined action you can take to work towards that goal (other than say, moving $10,000 from your checking to savings account, in which case you probably don’t need to make that a resolution anyway). No, no, these will never do. Instead, make your goals into smaller daily or weekly actionable items – like these:

  • Save $200 every week
  • Complete one full Rosetta Stone Chinese session everyday
  • Do 20 wall push-ups everyday
  • Do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise everyday

Can you see the difference? We’re still saving $10,000 a year, but it’s something we can check the action for every week, or tick off every day.

If you’re having trouble thinking of some specific actionable items for your vague goals, check out anti-resolution from MeYouHealth. It’s a simple web app that’ll present you with some real, actionable items after you’ve selected your vague goal.

Now, you should have a much better resolution list consisting of many small, finite actions that you can check off as you complete each day. The next step then, is to track your progress.

Tracking Progress

Tracking your activities, or how much progress is being made in the case of weight loss etc, is in itself a huge motivator. In fact, it’s often said that simply measuring your waist every day is a great way to lose weight as it makes you eat more consciously. Here’s a mixed bag variety of tools that I think might help you, but remember that a trusty Excel/Google Docs spreadsheet can work just as well sometimes.

EpicWin (iTunes Link – $1.99)

This is my personal tool of choice, and can be summarized as a comprehensive to-do list with RPG game elements. After having created your character and added some repeating actions with associated point value, you hold the action for a few seconds to trigger some battle music and complete the item, thereby adding the points, maybe levelling up, and possibly even finding some loot!

Ok, so there is no actual roleplay ‘game’ in that there are no real fights or adventuring, but it’s a lot more fun than simply ticking off a daily item, and you could even compete with friends if you agreed on point values I guess. Check out the awesome video:

1daylater.com

If your goals revolve around spending time on a task or saving money daily, this might be the perfect tool for you. The interface is incredibly simple and allows you to track multiple projects with ease.

DailyTodo.org

A single purpose web app that would be great for your homepage. Unfortunately, it literally only tracks daily actions, so if you have weekly or monthly actions then forget it. Very simple, very fast.

GoalBot

We covered this in the directory before – it allows you to break down large goals or projects into a number of smaller steps, rather than a repeating daily task, as well as having social features. The interface isn’t exactly friendly though.

Still Got No Ideas?

If you’re in the mood for some change but really don’t have anything specific in mind, try the Daily Challenge. Saikat covered this in depth last year, but basically the system will email you random challenges every day which you can either skip or complete in one click.

Get Motivated!

Even with specific small steps to our goals, it’s often easy to forget to do them for a day, then another day, until ultimately we just don’t care anymore. No amount of web apps is going to help you there, but it does help to be in the mental state of constantly thinking about self improvement. Sign up to some newsletters or RSS feeds from motivational speakers and self improvement experts to keep yourself on track and motivated to complete your goals.

When I was first into self-improvement, Steve Pavlina was a big influence and motivation for me, and while his blog is still active it does seem to have moved away from the core teaching lately. I highly recommend the old podcasts and article archives though.

TheChangeBlog is a great general-purpose self improvement blog with a fantastic zen design to help you focus on the fantastic advice within (like learning how to set specific goals!)

That’s all from me today, as I’m busy sticking to my rigorous new daily action schedule! Don’t forget to check out all our other Self Improvement tagged posts too. Here’s wishing you all the best – happiness, health and prosperity this year! If you’ve found some other great tracking tools or motivational podcasts etc, do please share with us all in the comments – or maybe you’re brave enough to tell us your new year resolutions?


Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl