Maintaining your new habits

picture1We are now 4 weeks into the New Year, how are your resolutions holding up?
Fitness and changing diets tend to be most common choice for New Year goals, and it’s easy to become discouraged or distracted, especially with the recent wet weather… but don’t despair!
If you are looking for some help to stay on track, you may find these apps helpful:

Exercise Apps:

These apps will help you track your activities. From walking, running, to wrestling, and many other workouts. You can set goals, create routines, and track your progress.

Google Fit
fitandroid
Monitor your progress through the app and online, connects to MyFitnessPal, LoseIT, Runkeeper, Runatastic, MapMyRun, MapMyRide. Aggregates info from other apps to track fitness, nutrition, sleep, and weight.

Runkeeper
runkeeperandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Spotify. Tracks workouts through GPS and provides maps, pace, and previous records to motivate you to push harder!


Jefit

jefitandroid, iOS
Large exercise database, lets you create custom fitness routines, and manages stats. It does lack connection to other apps for tracking, but it comes highly recommended for weight training.


Diet Tracking Apps:

Track your calories and nutrients. These come with databases of food, food importers, and custom food entry. Import exercise data from many other apps to get a complete view of your progress. All of these apps have great base features available, without subscription.

MyFitnessPal
mfpandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper. I found their food database is the largest, and it was easy to connect to Runkeeper. You can manage your entries through their website in addition to the app.

 

MyNetDiary
mndandroid, iOS
Works with GoogleFit and Fitbit. I like the interface much better than MyFitnessPal. It is app only though and I’ll occasionally need to add new items to the database for future use.


LoseIt

loseitandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness. App is available on more phones and tablets, as well as through the website.  I haven’t personally used it, but it comes highly recommended.


And lastly, Habits!

The key to long-term success is turning your goals (whether to get into shape, lose weight, remembering to floss etc.) into small manageable tasks that you repeat until it becomes habit.
I am no good at that.
I am however, an avid collector of shiny video game rewards.

Habitica is a free habit-building app that plays like a game. It lets you break down those big goals into small tasks that you can easily track. You are rewarded for completing good habits immediately, with gold and experience points. Indulging bad habits or not completing a task yields immediate consequences by losing health points. With your earned coins you can “purchase” gear, pets, mounts and other game items.tasks-page

And best of all, if you rope your friends into the game, you can compete with them or join together to fight bosses!

basi-list

The terrifying Basi-list!

habiticaHabitica is available on android, iOS and PC. I’ve managed to floss every night for three and a half weeks now, Habitica has been far more successful than my dentist. Try it out!

 

-AB

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Top 10 iPhone Apps – Part 2

The continuation of “Top 10 iPhone Apps – Part 1”.  Instead of boring all of our readers with a long introduction paragraph I’m going to just dive right in.

6. Genius Scan+ – PDF Scanner – Price: $2.99

Genius Scan+ is a great easy way to quickly scan documents on the go. Genius Scan+ allows for you to quickly scan any document using your iPhone camera and save it as a PDF or a JPEG. The great thing about this app is it also allows you to email the documents that you have scanned. I have used this app more than once, I love to cook and it’s a great way to grab recipes on the go. There have been many occasions where I am at a family members house and spotted a couple of recipes that I wouldn’t mind taking home with me. Instead of me writing the recipes down or having my family member run copies for me, I just whip out my iPhone and scan the recipe and instantly it’s saved onto my phone. There have been a few occasions where I actually needed to send the recipe to someone via email. This app is pretty handy for a person on the go, especially if they like to cook.

7. PlayerXtreme – Price: Free

PlayerXtreme is another iPhone app that I use a lot, and I think everyone who owns an iPhone should at least have this app. PlayerXtreme is a way to store and play non-compatible iPhone videos. If I remember correctly, I believe the iPhone only plays videos in the .m4v, .mp4, and .mov format. With PlayerXtreme you can pretty much play any video your heart desires on the iPhone. Different videos such as: .3gp, .asf, .avi, .divx, .dv, .dat, .flv, .gxf, .m2p, .m2ts, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .moov, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpeg1, .mpeg2, .mpeg4, .mpg, .mpv, .mt2s, .mts, .mxf, .ogm, .ogv, .ps, .qt, .rm, .rmvb, .ts, .vob, .webm, .wm, and .wmv. I use this app all the time, especially when friends send me videos from their Android phone. >_<

8. Ringtone Designer Pro – Price: $0.99

Ringtone Designer Pro is a great way to make your own ringtones from songs you already own. Instead of buying different ringtones at 99 cents a piece I chose to buy one app for 99 cents that allows me to choose which songs I want to make ringtones out of. I basically paid 99 cents for an unlimited supply of ringtones. The great thing about Ringtone Designer Pro is you can pick whatever song you want to use that is already on your iPhone, you can also choose what part of the song you want as the ringtone, and also how long the ringtone will be. This app also allows you to make ringtones for your text message alerts. This app is great simply because when someone calls I can jam to my favorite tune, and I can select specific songs for specific contacts. Now every time someone calls my phone I can jam to “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix. Let me stand next to your fire!!!

9. Smart Office 2 – Price: $0.99

Smart Office 2 is basically Microsoft Office for the iPhone/iPad. I haven’t really used this that much, but once I get an iPad I know I’ll be using this app all the time. I have used it a couple of times recently, to do some last-minute editing on some word documents I had in my email. You can not only view, edit, and create Word documents, you can also view and edit Excel and Powerpoint files. This app is also compatible with many other file types such as PDF, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, WMF, and EMF. I think the best part is though, you can print your document wirelessly, the app comes preloaded with software which allows you to print from thousands of different printers from 34 different manufacturers. This app is normally $9.99 so get it while it’s still cheap!

10. OverDrive Media Console – Price: Free

 OverDrive Media Console is a great way to check out books from your local library. With the OverDrive app you can checkout many different books from your library and you can choose a checkout date of 1 or 2 weeks. This is great if you are an avid reader and hate paying high prices for books. The books can be easily downloaded to your iPhone through the OverDrive app. Check with your local library to ensure that they have a subscription to OverDrive before you download the app.

That’s it for the Top 10 iPhone Apps. Please comment and leave your top 10 list, so I can check some new apps out that I may not know about.

-J-

Top 10 iPhone Apps – Part 1

Many people have smart phones in today’s world. Many of the smart phones come with an App store. Whether it’s Android, Apple, or Windows most of the smartphones now give you access to many different Apps that you can purchase or sometimes get for free. I currently own an iPhone and this short concise list will go through a few Apps that have helped me out and that I think others would enjoy.

1. MovieScanner – Price: $2.99

 

By far MovieScanner is the number one App that I use. I thought $2.99 was kind of pricey at first, but this App has paid for itself. I am a big movie buff and have so many different movies that I wanted a way to catalog all those movies to keep track of all the different titles. This App is great because you can not only manually enter movie titles, you can scan the UPC code and it will fill in as much information about the title that it can. I use this all the time because if I am at a store I can always see what movies I own, just in case I see a title I want to purchase. I also use it if a friend wants to borrow a movie from me, with this App I can mark any specific title as Lending and I can make a note as to who I have lended it to. Entering a lot of movie titles in can be time-consuming, but once you have your movie collection already in there it’s always easy to add new titles. So far I have 227 movies added, but I still have a lot more to go.

 2. Kindle by Amazon – Price: Free

 I am constantly using my Amazon Kindle App. I already have about 50 titles and I am getting new ones each day. This App has been great because of all the good books that Amazon releases. The best part is I haven’t paid a cent for any of the books that I have on my Kindle App and I didn’t have to purchase an expensive Kindle either. Amazon releases free books daily in their “Best Sellers” section of the Kindle store. They list the 100 top paid best sellers as well as the 100 top free best sellers. I always look everyday, because one day a book might be free and the next day you might have to pay for it. I have many classics as well as many cook books. I love looking through the cook books, many times I can get great recipes out of them.

 3. iLlumination US – Universal Flashlight – Price: Free

 I was very skeptical about downloading this app, I was unsure if I would ever want to use my phone as a flashlight. Believe it or not I have used this app more than I ever thought I was going to. The app comes with four different flashlight functions: Flashlight, Tap Mode, Strobe, and Morse Code. Flashlight is basically just a flashlight, it uses the light that is the flash for the iPhone camera, except it stays on for as long as you need a handy flashlight. Tap Mode is basically for signaling, if you know Morse Code you can actually tap your own message to signal someone. Strobe is exactly what it sounds like, you can set up your phone to act as a strobe light. With the strobe feature you can set the speed at which the light will blink on and off. Last is the Morse Code option, it’s just like Tap Mode but instead of the user having to know Morse Code the user can just type a quick message and the light will blink in Morse Code according to whatever message you have typed in at that time. This is a very handy app if you need a flashlight right away when no one else has one.

4. FlashDrive – USB&Bluetooth&Email File Sharing – Price: $0.99

The FlashDrive App has saved me more times than I can count. There’s been so many times that I have been over at a friend’s house and they wanted to give me some kind of awesome program or video, but I never had a flash drive on me. All I would have to do is plug my phone into their computer and if they had iTunes installed I could have access to an instant flash drive on my phone. I have used this so many times at work also, there’s always some kind of file I need to bring home from work and of course I never have a flash drive handy, all I have to do is hook my phone up to a work computer and I have an instant flash drive storage right on my iPhone. The FlashDrive App allows you to use any free memory on your iPhone. This app also allows you to transfer files via email, USB, or Bluetooth. This is a great app to have for a person on the go and doesn’t carry a flash drive with them.

5. SoundHound – Price: Free

 SoundHound is one of my most favorite Apps, next to MovieScanner. I am not only a big movie junkie, I like various types of music also. SoundHound is great for identifying songs that you hear that you might not know who the title or artist is. SoundHound will find the information for you just by “listening” to the song and it can give you the artist name, the title of the song and album, where you can find it on iTunes, as well as the lyrics so you can sing along if you want. I have found so much more music with this App, just recently I was at a graduation party and heard a remix of a song I like and was able to find out the artist that did the remix as well as the song title and the album that the song was on. This App has been very useful and I use it all the time.

The Apps that I listed are the ones that I use all the time, pretty much on a daily basis. Please keep reading our XmeetsY blog to see part 2 of Top 10 iPhone Apps.

-J-

iPhone (Coming to Verizon) or Droid?

Update:1.11.11 It’s official. Verizon iPhone will be here in February! This is an exciting day for many Verizon customers who have waited YEARS!

Just a quick note, I still stand by my Droid X. I’ve had it for 4 months and am very attached to it. A few of my iPhone-owning friends played around with the Droid and commented that it was easy to use, moreso than the iPhone, and that the internet connection for browsing was FAST. Whichever you choose, I am sure you will be satisfied.

iPhone vs Droid X

On November 9, Verizon is supposed to announce an iconic phone that customers can purchase. Will it be the iPhone or new Droid Pro? After hearing similar rumors in the past about the iPhone coming to Verizon, then not happening, I had to decide what to do when my two-year contract was up. Should I switch to AT&T and finally get the coveted sweet, sweet iPhone? Several of my friends have them and it is such a fantastic phone (toy). I was going to take the leap. Around that time, my cousin had switched and her calls kept dropping. I remember at least twice in a 15 minute conversation. She said she wasn’t happy about that since she was sitting in her living room while this happens. Another friend of mine had just gotten the Droid 2. (Similar to the Droid X, but has the actual keyboard instead of touch screen) She was so happy with it, she proclaimed her love for her phone 3 times on facebook during the first week that she got it. I started looking at the Droid 2 and Droid X online.

I was starting to sway. I decided when I could get the rebate and discount for the upgrade because my two year contract was fulfilled. I saw the Droid X in person. Yes, it’s bigger than the iphone, by about half an inch on top and half an inch on the bottom. But I like that screen. I didn’t mind since, hey I wasn’t going to have both phones in my hand at the same time. (I have to say, after getting used to the size of my phone, when a friend saw it she repeated, “That’s big, that’s really big.” I thought the opposite, those iphones look a bit small to me now) So, I went with it. I am happy that I did.  I love being able to check the internet, facebook, twitter, email, and more from my phone. There are tons and tons of apps! I have had my Droid X for almost 2 months and I am still discovering new things to do. I recommend searching the internet for questions you may have because there are forums out there and someone probably has had that same question and answered it. I like to watch youtube videos for even more tips and tricks. I do get asked about the touch screen keyboard. Do I like it? Is it hard to use? I haven’t had a problem with it. A smartphone guesses what you are trying to type and you can select the correctly spelled word. There is a “Swype” keyboard feature that you can change it to, that you can drag your finger to each letter instead. I haven’t tried yet, but watched that feature demonstrated on a video.

Another co-worker, Chris,  got his Droid 2 yesterday. He wanted to use web functions when on the go, especially email and gps. He chose the Droid 2 because of the physical keyboard. He said it’s easy to use and there’s a lot to learn. He’s happy with it!

If the iPhone does come to verizon, I will consider it after my contract is up. I went back into the store after I got my phone and talked to a manager who had the Droid X as well. We were talking about what apps we like and how much we liked that phone that there’s a very good chance that we would stick with our Droids. I am aways looking for fun apps. Mashable has listed 60+ Awesome Android apps, including top camera apps, health apps, and more. Personally, I asked my friends and fellow droid owners and here is what they are using:

  • FourSquare
  • SparkPeople (for keeping track of diet and exercise)
  • Cardio Trainer
  • Aroundme (good for finding restaurants,banks,movies and more)
  • Camera Apps: Vignette and/or Retro Camera

For fun, check out the Evolution of Cell Phone Design Between 1983 – 2009.