What’s the simplest way to boost your productivity? With December, the party month, right around the corner, are you looking for ways to finish work earlier than usual? Do you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines? Are you having trouble keeping track of the day’s tasks? Or are you working longer hours to clear that pile of work so that you can head out on that year-end vacation? Here are a few apps to help you get organized and finish your work faster.
Are you constantly on the phone, giving instructions to your team? Manage them with Asana, a business app that lets you assign tasks to team members and track if these have been done. You can set up tasks, to-do lists and reminders, and comment on items or send images to the team. In addition, you can integrate the app with Dropbox, Slack, Okta.Github, Google Drive and Chrome.
Freemium plans from $9.99 (around Rs643) per person per month. Web, iOS, Android. Asana.com
Shifting to a new city comes with its own set of hassles. You have to find a place to stay, haggle with apartment owners, disclose personal information like whether you eat meat, stay out late, and how much you earn. Then there’s Wi-Fi, air conditioning, cable TV and other services to take care of. And that’s just the beginning. From getting furniture to figuring out food and modes of transport while handling work in a new city, the process can bog you down completely. We list a few apps that can help ease the transition.
Find a place to stay
Do you eat meat? Are you married? How long do you plan to stay? Save yourself these and other probing questions by simply renting an apartment from an online home rental company like Nestaway (Android, iOS; Nestaway.com). Search a place, visit it, pay a token amount to book it and move in. The house is furnished, with a ready kitchen, appliances and Wi-Fi, so you just need to carry your suitcases. Nestaway is available in Bengaluru, Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai. Grabhouse (Android, iOS; Grabhouse.com), a Quickr company, provides services in these areas as well as Kolkata and Chennai. It offers what they call cocoons, aesthetically done apartments. Bengaluru also has the option of RentMyStay (Android; Rentmystay.com), which rents out furnished flats on a daily or weekly basis, for up to 11 months. Continue reading “Shifting? Get help from a smartphone”
If you wish to be involved with the process of your government, as any citizen should, you do not necessarily need to wait for the UMANG app. There are already many apps that allow you to ask questions, offer suggestions and get involved in government initiatives. Till the government comes out with UMANG, we suggest a few other apps you can try.
Participate in policymaking
Are you very vocal about government policies? If yes, head to MyGov (free on Google Play, Mygov.in), an online portal of the Union government where different departments seek suggestions and advice. Over the last year, the site saw discussion on ideas such as simultaneous elections and open data use licence and invited suggestions on a draft policy note on value capture finance. It also allows you to take part in logo-making and design competitions. If you want the Prime Minister to talk about an issue on his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ show, you can give your ideas on this site. So just log in and air your ideas.
Since its launch, the app has seen more than 500,000 downloads, though it is a bit slow to load and hasn’t been updated since 2015. The website offers the best experience.
Whether it’s finding a sports partner or places to play, your phone has it covered with smart sports apps. During college, Gururaj Upadhya was a badminton champion. But once he started working, he left sports behind. “After 10 years of work, I wanted to pursue badminton again,” says the 37-year-old chartered accountant from Bengaluru. Expensive club memberships would have been a waste, given that he was travelling a lot. This is when he came across Playo, an app that connects people who play sports. He not only found sports mates but also badminton courts he could book at an hourly rate. Upadhya now plays four times a week, hosts badminton matches and runs a 70-people badminton group within the app.
If, like Upadhya, you want to follow your passion for sports, here are some apps that can help you find a place and/or a partner.
Log out of your email and apps and keep your smartphone on silent mode to improve efficiency, concentration and sleep. Here are some benefits of keeping away from your smartphone at work.
You’ll get more sleep
Feeling fatigued or exhausted at work? Using a smartphone after 9pm increases the possibility of you being less engaged at work the next day owing to reduced sleep and anxiety, according to a study by the University of Florida, US, that was published in the Organizational Behaviour And Human Decision Processes journal in 2014. The blue light that smartphones emit interferes with the production of melatonin, a chemical that helps you fall and stay asleep, the study explains.
“Sleep is getting compromised because people sleep with their phone on the bedside, messaging, answering calls, constantly working their brain,” says Amitabh Saha, consultant psychiatrist at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in Vaishali, near Delhi, who does not own a smartphone. “At night, your body and mind are 90% switched off and so get servicing. If you don’t give them snooze time, you’ll get fatigued or burnt out.” He suggests keeping the phone away from the bedroom at night. Continue reading “Can’t sleep? Give your phone some snooze time”
Here are some apps to help you remember everything—from billion-dollar ideas to baby-diaper changes
Constantly juggling meeting schedules, travel dates and hotel stays on business tours, Mumbai-based Rajesh Nambiar, a business-to-business tour operator, was beginning to lose track— so he started looking for a solution.
“All my time was being spent in checking my flights, informing clients and vendors on when I will be in their city and coordinating,” says the 42-year-old, who travels as frequently as eight times a month, both domestically and internationally, on tours, as well as for negotiations and business meetings. That’s when he came across WorldMate (freemium on iOS, Android and Windows phone), a travel app that automatically creates an itinerary after you feed it your flight and hotel details. All Nambiar had to do was forward his travel and hotel bookings to WorldMate’s email ID and get a chronological itinerary for the whole year.
“Now if someone asks me when I’m reaching Dubai, I just check my WorldMate and tell them. I can also access what time I’m travelling, where I’m staying, the address of the hotel, the PNR of my flight and other details one tends to forget, all with a single click,” he says, adding that he liked using apps for schedule reminders so much that he has synced his personal and office calendar with WorldMate updates using Google Calendar (free on Android and iOS). “The Google Calendar app has replaced the need for a personal secretary for me. All I have to do is open it and I know my meeting times, travel time, dates and all the things I have to do in a day,” he says. It gives him the feeling of having a few hours extra each day.
Something similar happened to Bengaluru-based Nimisha Bhadauria Shivam, a mother of two, who wanted to organize her life. She decided to use Feed Baby Pro (Rs.100 on Android, free on iOS), an app that tells her when it’s time to change her child’s diapers, feed her, track her weight and growth. “When my first child was born five years ago, I did the same thing in a diary, which was much more cumbersome. An app makes it simpler,” says the 37-year-old, adding that she has also installed Water Drink Reminder (freemium on Android), an app to remind her to drink water regularly. “My friends make fun of me, but with two children to manage, it’s hard to remember to do things for yourself,” she says. The self-confessed app addict also uses Google Calendar for bills and payment reminders and has recently been looking for a good money-tracking app. “It’s less stressful if you know what all is needed to be done in a day,” she adds.
Mumbai-based author Samit Basu likes to key his “billion-dollar book ideas” into his phone or laptop. He uses Evernote (free on iOS, Android, Windows phone and Web). “I just add in random ideas, article links, research points and reviews to my Evernote, which then syncs this information to all my devices,” he says. Every few months, he scans all his ideas to see which ones he would like to turn into a book. Except that he cannot decipher his own notes sometimes. “Now I’m waiting for a reminder app that will explain to me what I meant when I wrote the billion-dollar idea a few months ago and hopefully can also write the book,” he says with a smile.
While Basu waits, we have listed some apps for you to remember the things you need to do.
Multitasking on the go
Make checklists, add tasks and sync them across all devices, all with simple gestures of swipe and click. You can set alarms to tasks, share tasks and lists, choose to get time- or location-based reminders, set recurring tasks, attach notes or attachments to your tasks, even add a to-do by sending an email. You can print, export or share your lists and add in sound recordings or photos. There are many apps that offer these features. Choose from Any.do (Any.do), Wunderlist (Wunderlist.com), Todoist (Todoist.com) or Evernote (Evernote.com), most of which have apps for iOS, Android, Windows phone, Kindle Fire and the Web. The smartphone apps are free to download, with optional in-app, or additional feature, purchases.
Remember the toothbrush
Packing for a trip can be stressful—you will invariably forget something as important as a toothbrush. PackPoint (freemium on Android and iOS) makes an automatic checklist after you tell it where you’re going, and why. You can share this list with fellow travellers and help them out too. Apps like Tripcase (free on Android and iOS), Tripit (freemium on Android and iOS) and WorldMate make your itinerary automatically once you forward your hotel, flight, car rental and restaurant confirmation emails to them. You can view the itinerary, tweak it or even save it offline.
Never forget the pill
Take the stress out of daily medication with Medisafe (freemium on Android and iOS), which not only reminds you when you have to take medicines but also tells you which one to take when, and sends you a reminder if your parent or child has missed theirs. You can also track blood pressure, weight and other parameters and get reminders when you need to buy new medicines. Lady Pill Reminder (free on Android) can remind you to take birth-control pills. Install Aqualert (free on Android) or WaterMinder (free on iOS) to remind you to drink water. Then there are Clue (free on Android and iOS) and Glow (free on Android and iOS), which can keep track of menstrual cycles.
Do you remember what you did last summer? Now you can relive your past, one photograph at a time, with these apps
Take a deep breath and try to recollect what you did last year—which flower you photographed, how a mundane Saturday became beautiful because you sighted a sparrow, or that dessert you ate at the restaurant whose name you don’t recall. Now you can relive your past, one photograph at a time, with these apps.
Free on iTunes and Google Play
Delve into digital nostalgia with Timehop, which shows you what you were doing this day, exactly a year ago. Once you’ve downloaded the app and connected it to your social networks, Timehop plods through your past photos, status updates, tweets, check-ins and posts. Every morning, you wake up to a new photograph or memory from a year ago that you can also share on your social networks.
Windows Phone users can also try the Time Travel ! app, which is the same, though not so sleekly designed.
Rs.133 on iTunes
Collect is about recording one moment every day. So you feed it one photo of yourself, your children, your garden, pet, anything really, daily. You can have multiple folders, but can only upload one photo per folder. The app allows you to include a detailed note along with the photograph and save it with tags. You can import a photo from your camera roll or take it from within the app. A month later, it creates an automatic, hi-resolution collage of those 30 days, one that you can share with friends and family.
Automatic backup to iCloud is available, but costs Rs.190 extra.
Free on iTunes
Memoir displays your earlier photos when you revisit the same place or meet the same friend. It almost seems serendipitous, though it uses the data you have collected through your smartphone—when you click a photo, check in at a restaurant or update your social network. Once you’ve downloaded it, you connect Memoir to your phone and social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Dropbox, and then let it do its job.
Memoir tracks the photos on your phone, connected social networks, status updates as well as location check-ins and then notifies you about these old memories on the basis of where you are, what you’re doing or who you’re with. If you’re having adosa, for example, it might tell you the last time you had one, and who you were with at that time. Or show photos of the same hotel you were at years ago, or the people you were with. You can annotate the old memories by adding new ones—like adding a new photograph with a note.
Free on Google Play and iTunes
Attending a party and want to see it from every angle? Ask your friends to download Flashgap. Once everyone has created a profile, you can create a shared photo album in which you can all upload photographs using the app. No one will be able to see, modify or delete the uploaded photos while the party is on. As soon as you take a photograph, it will show in the app for 3 seconds before disappearing. All this “evidence” becomes visible in the app at noon the following day, when you’re probably dealing with the hangover of the night before. Once the shared album is available, you and your friends can chat about the evening, relive the moments, laugh out loud at all the unfiltered visual documentary you’ve collected, comment on photographs, even delete the ones you don’t like.
Free on Google Play, iTunes and Web
In August, Google Photos rolled out a walk-down-memory-lane feature. Now it’s reached a phase where it automatically feeds you enhanced photographs, collages from the past, and videos of a day from your past. All the images come as cards within the Google Photos app and list the people and places you’ve visited. You can choose to share through email or on social network, or show it to the person next to you.
ON THIS DAY
Free on Facebook
Built by Facebook, On This Day sends notifications to your Facebook timeline about what you were up to on a specific day, a year or a few years ago. Memories include posts, other posts you’re tagged in, major life events or when you became friends with someone on Facebook.
Had a break-up and don’t want to see the memories with your ex? You can control that by going to the app page. Click on Preferences, choose the Edit option next to the People tag and enter the name of the person whose memory you don’t want to see. The app also lets you filter by date—which days you don’t want to be reminded of and which ones you wouldn’t mind.
Free on Android and iTunes
Imagine, you and your friends go for a brunch and each of you ends up clicking a lot of pictures through the day, with multiple devices and smartphones. At the end of the day, when you go home, you want the pictures that your friends have clicked of you on their smartphones. Instead of asking them individually, you can download and install Moments.
This app automatically groups your photos with the people who are in them, either by event or day. So, for example, if you went to a wedding and all of you clicked pictures, Moments will make a Wedding folder for you to share, suggesting the friends you should share it with. All you need to do is add some photos the app might have missed and send those to your friends. It will work the same way for your friends too. Once you see all the photos taken by everyone, you can tap on the ones you want to save on your phone. Your friends need to have the app to be able to share and download too.
The app lets you choose an avatar for your personal assistant. It gives you news, and lets you search for specific terms and phrases on Google, find locations through Yelp, open the calculator, ask general knowledge questions and get answers from Wikipedia, make calls, send texts and emails and update the calendar and tasks list. If you want some entertainment, it can update your Facebook and Twitter pages, and play music and videos too. In addition, it can also navigate, translate and open other apps installed in the phone, and can be customized as well.
Holler “Ok Google” into the microphone of your phone and the voice search feature will find what you’re looking for. This includes quick translation to other languages, searching for an item or nearby places, calculations, weather information, flights, songs, navigation, asking general knowledge questions, setting reminders, and more. It also lets you track packages, and book event and flight tickets. If you ask for a restaurant’s location and then wish to see the menu, the assistant will show you the same restaurant’s menu. The Now feature provides information such as traffic conditions on the route to your office, weather updates, and meetings and news you might be interested in.
Siri converses with you through voice to send messages and emails, schedule meetings, make phone calls, and analyse your requests to open other apps. It can wake you up, play your favourite song, tell you the scores of matches or the prices of stocks you are following, and give you directions and reminders. It can take dictations in English and Hindi and post notes, emails or social media updates. If you say something like, “Tell my husband I’m running late”, Siri will send him a message. Apple is working actively with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into their car’s infotainment systems.
Medical apps are proving to be a win-win for both doctors and patients. They provide immediate help and appointments as well as recommendations
In May, Shwetha Narayanan, 33, had a severe throat infection and urgently needed to see an ENT specialist. “I didn’t have any recommendations from friends and when you can’t speak, you don’t really want to wait,” says Bengaluru-based Narayanan.
She opened Practo, a doctor-appointment app, on her phone, read reviews of doctors close to her home, and booked an appointment with an ENT specialist within minutes. Since then, she has used the app multiple times to find specialists, such as a paediatrician for her daughter. “I’ve just taken another appointment with a doctor who has close to 100 reviews on the site,” says Narayanan. “I’ve not had a bad experience till now. If I do, then I might think twice on booking through an app.”
Want your followers and friends to see what you are seeing? Here are some apps for livestreaming.
At a music event and want to show friends who couldn’t attend what’s happening on stage? Or travelling to a new place and want to share the sights with your spouse? Or just want to capture different experiences live as you talk to friends?
Whatever your need, new apps make it easy to stream live with smartphones. A few higher-end models of Sony, HTC and Samsung even let you stream directly from their camera app to YouTube Live (1080p quality at 60 frames per second). Others can download apps that let you live-stream just about anything—what you see in your phone or what you see from your phone. Get online, then, and show the world what you’re up to.
Can’t get enough of Twitter? Then download Periscope, the Twitter app which can feed live video to your followers. You can broadcast immediately, in real time. As soon as you go live, Periscope creates an auto-tweet for your followers on the broadcast so they can join, comment and send you hearts while the video is running. Once the broadcast ends, it’s available for replay to your viewers. The best part of the app is that it doesn’t require your phone number to register and lets you broadcast to specific people using its Private option. It makes discovering easy too, with a map-based search for streams and suggestions tuned to your taste. The app comes in 32 languages in Android, 29 on iOS and 37 on the Web.
Now here’s a unique experiment that is meant for a niche segment. Would you want complete strangers to watch what you’re doing on your phone, in real time? Unicorns lets you do just that. Play a game, text, swipe through Tinder, and all the while, all your mundane, tiny moments are being seen by strangers, unfiltered, raw and unedited. Launched in May, Unicorns broadcasts your phone screen and lets you connect to others, friends or random strangers, and chat. It was started as a hack by Swedish start-up Lookback. Once you connect your Mac (you will require the desktop for this) to your iPhone and click stream, you get a unique URL which you can share either publicly or privately. Viewers visiting the URL can watch live while chatting with text and emojis. The only drawback is that so far, users can watch only on the Mac, not on their phones.
In August, YouTube released a dedicated app for gamers who want to live-stream their play and earn off it as well, and viewers who are addicted to other people’s gameplays. YouTube has collated a whopping 25,000 game pages and channels that connect with each other.
As a viewer, you get personalized gaming recommendations based on the games, live-streams of other gamers, as well as their older gameplays. As a gamer, you get a dedicated page for every game as well as gamer channels, reviews, even notifications of the latest updates of your favourite game or a gaming event.
Want to live-stream but don’t have high-speed Internet? Or want to put a vintage filter on your live-stream?
Developed by two Indians, InstaLively is a live-stream app which lets you do both. A single swipe lets you start a stream and share it instantly over Facebook or Twitter, as a link on WhatsApp, or via SMS and email. Since it uploads on YouTube, the videos you record can be replayed on your YouTube channel and monetized by you as well.