Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


RebelMouse Launches its iPhone App

Posted by JenThorpe at 6:25 PM on October 23, 2013

RebelMouse LogoIt was only a matter of time. About a month ago, RebelMouse launched its very first app. It was specifically for Android. At the time of the announcement, I suspected that RebelMouse was also working on the creation of an iOS app.

This time, my suspicions were correct. RebelMouse has now released its iPhone app. You can get it at the App Store for free.

The purpose of the app (either for iPhone or Android) is to make it easier for people who use RebelMouse to post stuff to it while they are away from their desktop computers. It gives you a more convenient way to post directly to your RebelMouse while you are out attending an event. The app is not replacing way you currently use RebelMouse. It just gives you more options on how and when to use it.

What can you do with the RebelMouse iPhone app? You can share or repost your favorite tweets, videos and photos. You can use the app to create a beautiful blog post from any photo, link, or page. The app can also be used to help you find interesting content on RebelMouse that was posted by other RebelMouse users in one stream that is easy to view.

How To Lose Weight

Posted by Andrew at 6:07 AM on October 23, 2013

You might be forgiven in thinking that we’ve moved from a tech blog into a lifestyle magazine but I wanted to share a little of my life from the past 18 months. In late spring last year, I visited my doctor and she pointed out that in the 20 years since I joined her practice, I’d put on over 20 kg in weight – about 44 lb – and that my blood pressure was up. All classic signs of a heart attack waiting to happen. I had to lose some weight, get the pounds off and lower that blood pressure or an early exit beckoned. Obviously I’m still here but did I shed the pounds and how did I do it.

First of all, let’s get over the fact that there’s no diet in existence that will make you magically lose weight; you have to work at it. However, the recipe for weight loss is very straightforward – there are only three ingredients really.

  • Eat less
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more

While the recipe for weight loss is easy, I’ll admit that following it isn’t. The good news is that you can have three square meals a day; the bad news is that it means no junk – no crisps (chips), sweets or late night peanut butter sandwiches. There’s no need to starve: just take smaller portions and if you are full, stop eating.

Wii Fit Balance BoardAs a geek, I also employed a bit of tech to help achieve my goal – a Nintendo Wii with Balance Board, a Fitbit Zip and food apps / web sites.

Most people will be familiar with the Nintendo Wii though sadly its discontinuation has been announced in the past few day. The Balance Board is bundled with WiiFit and WiiFit Plus, and while the associated programs are fun enough, I used the Balance Board as electronic scales to record my weight. Each morning, shortly after getting up, I’d weigh myself on the Balance Board. If my weight was down, I gave myself a mental high five. If my weight was up, it was a mental “you need to do better”. The Wii records your weight day by day and will show a graph of your progress.

Fitbit ZipThe second piece of gadgetry is the Fitbit Zip. It’s an advanced digital pedometer that will upload its data to your PC and onwards to Fitbit’s portal. I received this for Christmas and Fitbit tries to gamify the activity of walking further by competing against friends and awarding badges. While I don’t need any stinkin’ badges, I was quite chuffed to be awarded my 1000 mile badge last month. The Zip doesn’t make you fitter by itself, but it does make you aware of walking and now I often choose to walk where previously I might have taken the car. Every little bit helps.

Finally to help eat better, I used a range of foodie websites and apps to find new, interesting and low calorie recipes. I find the BBC’s offerings both on their main site and on the Good Food site are excellent. Many of the supermarkets, such as Tesco, have good recipes too. Look for sections on healthy eating. App-wise, there’s a Good Food app on Android too. It helps if the app and website cater to metric as well as imperial units and do the conversions properly as directly converting from oz to g doesn’t work terribly well.

A word of advice. When browsing the supermarket shelves, “low fat” is not a particular benefit when the product is laden with sugar to make up the taste so approach with caution any food which loudly makes those claims. Ultimately, I found that weight and calories were the best guides so read the nutritional information on the back of food.

Did I succeed in losing weight with help from this tech? Absolutely – I’ve managed to lose nearly 18 kg (40 lb) and 4″ in waistline. There’s still a few pounds to lose but I do feel tremendously better for it. It has been hard work even with the tech – it requires willpower to say “no” to food, and food is so very much part of Western culture. But you can do it as I did. Remember; eat less, eat better, exercise more. Take encouragement from your success and determination from your setbacks.

Bribe Your Way to a Date?

Posted by JenThorpe at 9:12 PM on October 19, 2013

carrot app logoHaving trouble getting a date? There’s a new dating app called Carrot that has a unique suggestion of something you could try. Bribe someone to go out with you. I’m not making that up. It literally says “Bribe Your Way to a Date” on the Carrot website.

Carrot is a mobile app that was created by Brandon Wade. He’s the founder of the SeekingArrangement.com website (which clearly is designed for people who want to find a “sugar daddy” or “sugar baby”). It appears that Carrot is using a similar concept.

Basically, it works like this. A guy joins Carrot and searches for a woman whom he wants to date. He then becomes the “Briber” (not kidding, it says that in the FAQ). The woman whom he is trying to get the attention of is now called the “Bribee”. The Briber “should pay for the Bribee’s half of the date activities including their own”.

Supposedly, that’s enough incentive for a woman to decide to go on a date with a guy that she doesn’t have any immediate interest in. (Or, so the Carrot website implies). There are five categories that a bribe can be sorted into: Dining, Entertainment, Gifts, Activities, and Popular (whatever that turns out to be).

Personally, the entire concept sounds rather creepy and sad. It reduces dating into little more than a transaction (that has no emotional content connected to it). Are there really that many single people out there who have flat out given up on finding a person who they truly are interested in (or who honestly does like them)?

RebelMouse Launches Its Android App

Posted by JenThorpe at 11:38 PM on September 25, 2013

RebelMouse LogoRebelMouse has officially launched its Android app. They chose to do this after getting feedback from RebelMouse users who wanted one. RebelMouse says it has noticed a lot of logins from mobile devices. It seems that this is where their inspiration to create an app may have come from.

RebelMouse started as a desktop product and it will continue to be accessible through their website on desktop. The app is not a replacement for the desktop version. Instead, the RebelMouse Android app is intended to allow people to post, curate, and publish content on their RebelMouse site while they are out and away from their computers.

Basically, the app would make it more convenient for RebelMouse users to post photos from an event that they are attending in “real time”. You can connect your RebelMouse to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Flickr, LinkedIn and more. The app lets you select what to feature from those forms of social media on your RebelMouse page through your smartphone.

You can get the RebelMouse Android App at Google Play. It requires Android 2.3 and up. At this time, there is no RebelMouse app for iOS devices. The Android app is being described as their “first mobile app” which implies that there could be an iOS version appearing in the future.

Apple Discontinued their Cards App

Posted by JenThorpe at 4:30 PM on September 15, 2013

Apple LogoApple has decided to discontinue their Cards iOS app service. September 10, 2013, was the last day it was usable. The service is no longer available.

If you were someone who used, and enjoyed, the Cards app this news may come as a disappointment. Apple says that you will still be able to view your previous purchases by opening the app and tapping “Saved Cards”. That is the only function that the app will continue to have.

What are your options for replacing the app? Apple suggests that you use iPhoto instead. In the announcement about the discontinuation of the Cards iOS app, Apple points out that you can order letterpress cards, customized with your photos and text, through iPhoto.

You place your order, and the cards will be shipped to you “through a carrier such as FedEx rather than through the United States Post Office”. I’m not sure why Apple has decided against using USPS, but there you are. Apple has a page with lots of information about iPhoto Print products that you can check out if you are considering using iPhoto as a replacement of the Cards app.

Catch Notes for iOS, Android, Web Closing Down

Posted by J Powers at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2013
Catch Notes Closing

Catch Notes Closing

Last year I reviewed Catch Notes, a way to not only take notes, but also tag and catalog those notes for quick reference. After a year and a half in production, Catch has decided to close the app.

The Evernote competitor had a small but good following to the app. It was available for both Android and iOS devices, along with a web interface. Catch had integration with Citrix Ready Worx Verified Program, amongst other partnerships. However, from their blog they wrote:

Catch has made the difficult decision to take the company in a different direction. As such, we will be terminating service next month. We value our users and have greatly enjoyed providing Catch to millions of people over the last several years, but it is time for us to move on.

Catch.com (formerly Snaptic) was founded in 2008 and had received $11.6 million in funding within the last 3 years.

If you are looking for an alternative to Catch, other notepad options include  OneNote, Simplenote or Springpad.

Day One: A Journal for the 21st Century

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:28 PM on July 31, 2013

day one iconDay One is a journal for the digital age. I decided several months ago to start keeping a daily journal. Many people were recommending Day One on the Mac and iOs but I resisted, thinking the price was too high. It is $9.99 for the Mac app and $4.99 for the iOs version. I tried a couple of free journals including vJournal, but I wasn’t satisfied. Finally I decided to put down the money for Day One on both iOs and the Mac.

If you are going to start a digital journal and are in the Apple ecosphere then Day One is well worth the price. The first thing you will notice when you open up Day One is that it is well made and designed app. Along the left hand side you have a plus button which opens up a new entry window. Below that you can pull up your previous entries either in list form or by calendar date. You can also find the post you have starred as important and also set a daily reminder. Across the top of the window , you can add tags, location and images.

You can use Day One this way and it is worth the price.  However by combining a script by Brett Terpstra called Slogger, with Dropbox or iCloud and IFTTT along with Hazel you can do so much more, including having any image you post to Tumblr, InstagramFlickr or Facebook go into your Journal. Drafts an iOs app will also work with Day One. To set some of this up does require working in the terminal and some work with a script. If you take your time and follow the directions provided in the links in this post, you should be ok. Once you have it set up though, you can have things sent to Day One automatically,personally I love this option.

As you can tell I have become a big fan of Day One. I use it as a personal journal, however I do know some people who use Day One as a business journal. There are some problems with Day One, first is there is no trial version, I think a lot of people stay away from Day One because of the price. If there was a trial version I think they would be hooked. The second problem is security. You can set up a password to lock down Day One, however you cannot encrypt the entries. If you are on a Mac or iOs and are interested in starting an electronic journal I would recommend Day One.

Sleep Time by Azumio Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 1:41 PM on July 26, 2013

Sleep Time I work from home, and although I don’t have a required schedule I like getting up around the same time each weekday morning between 5 and 6:00 AM. My goal is to get between seven and seven and half hours of sleep. Anything less than that I feel like a zombie all day and anymore then that my day always seems out of sorts. In order for me to get up this early consistently I need to use an alarm clock. The trouble with most alarm clocks is that they tend to jar you awake and you get “that where am I feeling.” It then takes several minutes to feel normal. The solution I found to this problem is an app call Sleep Time by Azumio.

Sleep Time is available both in the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store. With Sleep Time you set the time you want to get up and the alarm goes off by default within 30 minutes from when you set it. You can adjust the window of time under Settings then Wake Up Phase from thirty minutes down to zero minutes (which has Sleep Time working like a normal alarm). If you set the time period for anything other than zero then Sleep Time will wake you up during that window at a time when you are in light sleep status. This way you will wake up feeling refreshed and rested instead of like a zombie. Under settings you can change sound of the alarm or set it for vibrate only. You can also change or turn off the snooze time under settings.  Sleep Time measure your sleep status by using the phones accelerometer which measures how much you are moving. Sleep Time also keeps a record of how you have slept during the night, showing how much you were awake, in light sleep and in heavy sleep.

I like the Sleep Time app and have been using it now successfully for several months, however it is not without it’s faults. The first is that in order for it to work properly you must have it laying next to you on your bed. If you sleep with another person or animal Sleep Time will still work as long as you keep it close to you. It is also recommended that you keep the phone plugged in so the battery doesn’t go dead. So if you don’t sleep near an outlet you are kind of out of luck. Also some people may feel uncomfortable sleeping with an electronic device so close to their head. The second issue is if you are a restless sleeper there is a chance you could knock your phone off your bed. The final issue is that on rare occasions I have had the app freeze up on me, but this doesn’t happen very often. Despite these issues I like the Sleep Time app and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alarm clock.

30/30 Productivity App Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 3:34 PM on July 18, 2013

30/30 If you have seen the movie Up you know that the dogs that are in it are well-disciplined except when they see a squirrel. Unfortunately like a lot of people I have a lot of squirrels in my life: email, Facebook, and Twitter just to name some. I have been trying to become more disciplined and more productive by ignoring the squirrels. One of the applications that I have been using lately to help me in this effort is the 30/30 app by Binary Hammer. If you are familiar with the Pomodoro Technique the 30/30 app is built around this technique.

The 30/30 is a very nicely designed application. There is a time indicator at the top and then below a list of task for the day. Once you finish with a task, there is a sound and then the next task begins. You can schedule your whole day, even when it is time for coffee breaks, social media and email. Each Task is divided into 30 minute sections by default, however you can go into the settings and change the time period for any task. You can also adjust the alert sound and change the icon for each task. You can also set up more than one schedule if you need to. You can also have it show you the duration of each task and the time of day. The 30/30 app also sync with iCloud.

I like the 30/30 app, however I think it works best in conjunction with other apps or methods, like full screen mode. I am also still trying to figure out how to stop it from looping automatically back to the start. The biggest problem with an app like 30/30 is that you must have the discipline to use it. I think that a lot of people download it with good intentions, use it for a short period of time and then stop. If you are disciplined and use it I think that the 30/30 app can boost a person’s productivity. It is a free and available in the iTunes store.

IF This Then That Comes to the iPhone

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 10:42 AM on July 11, 2013

IFTTT Today If this then that (IFTTT) came to the iPhone. If you are not familiar with IFTTT, it is an automator tool for the Internet. For example I use Feedly and Pocket and I use an IFTTT recipes that sends any article I save on Feedly to Pocket. There are hundreds of recipes that users have created on IFTTT from the very simple to the very complex. If you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again on the Internet that can be described as If A happens then Do B then you need to take a look at IFTTT.

Previously IFTTT was only available through the desktop. Today it was released to as an application to iOs, specifically for the iPhone, although it will work fine on the iPad. The app has added Contacts, Photos and Reminders function to IFTTT adding more recipe possibilities. I have already set one up that sends any photo I put in a specific iPhoto album automatically to Flickr.

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The bad news per Gizmodo is the app has to be active on the iPhone for the recipe to work. Unfortunately Apple doesn’t allow apps to run persistently in the background. This means that if you want to use a recipe you will have to open the IFTTT app first and then proceed. This kind of removes the automatic part of the equation. This problem will not exist on Android which does allow apps to run in the background. Despite this I do think it is worth downloading and giving the IFTTT app a try.