Apps

Why We Need To Ignore Emails After Work

Stop – read on before opening that message from your boss. 

February 29, 2016

How Online Dating Is Turning Us All Into Bigots

There’s a niche dating app for everyone.

February 19, 2016

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

Parents can’t be expected to remember everything, especially those who have recently had a child. If you have a smartphone, which you probably do – apps are a great to integrate all parts of your life into one compact device. Here are just five apps that every mum needs on her phone, and for good reason!

RELATED: Tinder, Fancied, and Grouper – 3 Best Mobile Dating Apps

Tasks

Keep your to-do-list all in one place with this helpful app which is quick and easy to use. It also translates voice entries which is ideal for busy parents who are constantly buzzing from point A to point B. The best part? It’s free.

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

The best way to access popular website allrecipes.com without leaving your browser. The search functions are are divided by relevance, rating and popularity so you always have a yummy dish.

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

RedLaser

Simply compare prices by scanning barcodes from your favourite shops, and the app will tell you where to find the best bargain. It’s just like a personal shopping system!

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

Mint Bills

Finding it difficult to keep up with all those bills? This handy app keeps tabs on bills, when you need to pay them, and links all of your accounts into one secure place. You can even pay online!

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

Key Ring

De-clutter your wallet from all those loyalty cards and keep them in this simple app right on your phone. Here, the shop assistant can easily scan the barcode straight from your phone. Simply search for the shop, and you’re ready to go.

5 Apps Every Mum Needs

What are some of your favourite apps?

Image via Martini Mum

July 16, 2015

Try Before You Buy: The Virtual Makeup Kit

Wouldn’t you love to try your makeup on from home before actually buying it? YouCam is a fantastic new app that acts like a virtual makeup kit and allows users to test out new types of products. All you have to do is hold the phone up to your face – selfie style – and you can click through a bunch of different types of makeup to see how they would look on you… Genius, right!?

RELATED: How To Use An Illuminator

Inspired by international makeup trends from Chanel, M.A.C, Covergirl, and more, it can be used to test out various makeup looks from the comfort of your own home.

Try Before You Buy: The Virtual Makeup Kit by YouCam Makeup

Whether you want a pouty lip like Kylie Jenner, a signature smokey eye like Kristen Stewart, or simply want to try black lipstick without actually trying it, hating it, and going through the pain and heartbreak of removing it!

Try Before You Buy: The Virtual Makeup Kit by YouCam Makeup

YouCam Makeup automatically saves your final makeup styles and offers a variety of sharing options – including sending to your favourite social networks, online galleries, cloud storage and more.

Share with your friends or keep it for a laugh in your own personal records – the choice is yours!

Available now from Google Play and iTunes

June 16, 2015

Stalking: Pray You’re Not The One!

It’s reported that 7.5 million Americans are stalked each year. That’s Americans alone! Around 75 per cent are women and a majority are stalked by an intimate partner, ex, boss or someone they know. Stalking by a stranger on the other hand, is much rarer than people anticipate.

RELATED The New App That Helps Women at Risk

During a person’s life time, US statistics indicate that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men will become victims of stalking. Aussie figures are similar – the ABS reported that 18.5 per cent of ladies and 7.8 per cent of men are stalked in Australia.

So for lack of a better phrase, there’s far too much stalking going on. Plus, let’s not forget, not all stalking cases get reported – actual figures are thought to be considerably higher.

Now, stalking has been considered a domestic violence issue for many years. It effects victims physically, emotionally, financially and is strongly linked to family violence. Of women abused, murdered or killed by intimate partners or ex’s, stalking has played a major role. The fact that technology has made it so much easier to stalk is what has authorities, women’s groups and DV advocates so worried.

How technology is involved has been a focus for some time. The Safety Net Project recently surveyed victims, service providers, police and other persons of interest and the results were staggering – 99 per cent of stalking victims reported their stalker had abused technology, with social media, text messaging, computers and emailing being the most widely used.

The following tables from the Safety Net Project give an overview of the problem.

Abuse of Technology in Stalking

stalking, cyber-stalking, stalking victims, stalker

While many of these are self-explanatory, let me explain the significance of computer software and apps: They run undetected, monitoring a victims every move. Even deleted items are saved for the stalker to view at their leisure.

Marketed to parents to protect their kids and employers to monitor computer and productivity abuse at work, these apps are a stalkers wet dream. For around $200 they get all the information sent directly to them. There are no checks required to purchase and all the stalker needs is access to the device.

stalking, cyber-stalking, stalking victims, stalker

Facebook takes the lead here because of a victims need to stay connected with loved ones – the abuse even extends as far as impersonation so they can catch their victim unaware. If they decide to meet in person, you can imagine how dangerous it can really become.

stalking, cyber-stalking, stalking victims, stalker

stalking, cyber-stalking, stalking victims, stalker

Now, kids are also a popular tool for stalkers, especially of the ex variety. They can tap their kids phones, laptops and get to their victim via their child’s social networks. The aim of instilling as much fear as possible through using a victim’s kid is not something they consider off limits.

Stalking Victims

Some people down play what victims endure and believe their fear is often unwarranted – this belief is naive and exceedingly dangerous. The following is just a glimpse of how stalking impacts their lives:

  • Stalking victims have a greater account of severe depression, anxiety, insomnia and social dysfunction than the general population.
  • Victims often feel vulnerable, unsafe, mistrusting, suspicious, paranoid, confused, anxious, irritable, impatient, depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, angry, frustrated, isolated and obviously exceptionally distressed. Plus many have trouble concentrating, sleeping, remembering, eating and sleeping.

Stalking, therefore, effects their entire life – why should so many people have to live in fear? I suppose the question that really needs answering is: Why should access to technology make it easier for stalkers? Around a third have terrorised a victim before, so surely this knowledge is vital and much more can, and should, be done.

So, do advocates need to petition Facebook and ask them for tighter control? Is legislation needed to catch up to technological  stalking? The victims surveyed in the Safety Net Project have put forward their proposals:

stalking, cyber-stalking, stalking victims, stalker

It seems they feel prevention is the key – if they were more aware they could protect themselves more effectively. Here’s some suggestions if you’re feeling a little uneasy:

  • If smart phones or cell phones are playing up and not behaving correctly, this could indicate a program running discretely. Either have it checked, or reset factor default settings. Don’t back it up and reinstall it. You could reinfect it.
  • Change your phone numbers often. A stalker will continue to try and gain access, so only give it to select people. If, or when, you get strange calls or they discover it, change it immediately.
  • Block Facebook users from personal information and images and only ever befriend close friends or family. Better still, delete your account – now knowing that 99 per cent of stalkers prefer Facebook is a damn good reason to opt out.
  • Check your phones settings and make sure they are set to private. If installing a new app, don’t enable the location tracker.
  • If relocating because it’s gone too far, don’t give people the address and get a post office box. You never know who the stalker has on their side.
  • Get an apprehension order out on the stalker. This will give you legal power and quicker response by police if you need them. Report and record EVERY incident no matter how small. Many police officers take tech contact as seriously as physical contact because of the escalation of violence thereafter. If they don’t sound interested speak to another officer, tell them how serious it is, or find one who gets it. You may need to enlist support services to work with them on your behalf. They also have access to services which you may end up needing.

Lastly, the overall aim is to make it harder for the stalker both on and offline. Be pro-active in your self protection and seek legal help and police support. Also, consider getting counseling depending on the severity of the disruption caused by the stalking. Remember, above all, don’t keep a stalking incident to yourself.

Tables via techsafety.org Image via familyarrested.com

March 25, 2015

5 Creativity Apps To Get Your Ideas Flowing

Are you refining your business idea or looking for a creative solution to an everyday problem? Here are a few apps to help you turn your mobile phone into a creative toolbox.

Ideas Blitz

This app is based on Ken Hudson’s speed thinking approach to creativity. It gives you two minutes to generate 9 ideas and it offers prompts when you get stuck. You can then save, enhance and share your ideas with others. I love the simplicity of this app, but the 2-minute challenge is a real stretch for my slow one-finger mobile typing. I’m getting better at it as I practice! This app is only available for iPhone.

Unleash Your Creativity

Unleash Your Creativity takes you through a process of generating ideas, refining them and then getting ready to present them to others. It can look overwhelming at first, but remember that you don’t need to use every single prompt from each section. You can just do a couple of the suggested activities to get your creative juices flowing. Available for iPhone.

SimpleMind

This is an easy-to-use mind mapping app to let your idea take a visual form. Mind mapping can be used in a variety of ways beyond idea generation – it can help you gain clarity, organise a presentation and learn easier. SimpleMind gives you access to different visual styles and unlimited page size. You map can be as big as you need it to be! Available for iPhone and Android

TED

Pablo Picasso said, ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’. How can you adjust other people’s ideas to your own situation? Watch some of the best TED talks and let yourself be inspired. Available for iPhone and Android.

Evernote

Evernote lets you keep track of all your ideas in one place. You can create simple notes, use a voice feature, add useful links and images, tag and share your entries. You can log on from both your phone and your computer to access or update your ideas. This is by far the most flexible note keeping tool that I know of and it is available for iPhone and Android.

Technology is there to help you, but your creativity cannot exist without you. Play with possibilities, let yourself be curious and make time for your creative process, and the ideas will come.

Image from deathtothestockphoto.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

August 2, 2014

Top 5 Meditation Apps

While meditation began as a spiritual pursuit, it has become an exercise of many non-religious practitioners as science and medicine continue to champion its benefits.

Meditation helps relieve stress and improve mental clarity. One of the most common types of meditation is the practice of “mindfulness” – focused attention on a singular aspect in the present, such as your breath or a particular body part. Meditation can help lower anxiety, maintain focus, assist creativity, improve your memory, and just generally lift your mood.

However, not everyone has the time and money to attend meditation or yoga classes. Instead, I prefer to take a few minutes out of my day, whether that is before bed, on my lunch break, or on the train, to plug in my headphones and practice guided meditation with the assistance of one of these mobile apps.

Simply Being – $0.99

Simply Being will help you relax and settle into the moment, by encouraging you to “simply be.” You can select long or short meditations (ranging from 5 to 20 minutes), and listen to your guided session with optional background music or nature sounds. The app is easy to use and great for beginners, especially those who have trouble sleeping.

 Headspace – Free

Headspace founder, Andy Puddicombe, is a former Buddhist monk and a minor meditation celebrity. Headspace was built on the principle that dedicating just ten minutes per day to mindfulness practice can have miraculous effects on your wellbeing. The Headspace ‘Take 10’ program serves this philosophy, offering ten minutes of meditation over a ten-day period. An engaging, friendly voice guides the meditations, which are also accompanied by a fun animated video.

 Buddhify 2 – $2.99

Buddhify is the most popular app of its kind and, not coincidentally, also the most expensive on this list. However, what is a one-off $2.99 in comparison to ongoing class fees? Buddhify has custom meditations befitting whatever you are doing in that moment. You can select an activity or mood from a colorful wheel of options, such as “walking”, “can’t sleep”, or “work break”. On top of a brilliant design, Buddhify also offers a stats page, social media sharing opportunities, and solo meditation for the more experienced practitioners.

Omvana – Free

Omvana claims it is “more than the Spotify of meditation.” It offers thousands of tracks created by musicians and authors from around the world, which you can add to your personal library and customise to your liking. There are all types of meditations that will help you sleep, lose weight, or just feel great. While the app is free and comes with some sample tracks to start you off, you will have to purchase any extras from the iTunes store.

Transform Your Life – a Year of Meditation Practice by Cheri Huber – Free

Transform Your Life is different from the other apps on this list, as it does not provide guided meditation clips, but rather written meditations for you to contemplate over the course of each day. You can set a reminder on your phone to receive a daily assignment in “awareness practice”. The ultimate goal is to help you see past the social and cultural conditioning that might limit your happiness and mental clarity. It is great motivation for those seeking a long-term exercise in compassionate and mindful living.

Image via  globalone.tv

July 26, 2014

L’Oreal Launches Genius Makeup App

L’Oréal will soon launch Makeup Genius, an app that allows you to try on 300 colour cosmetics from its virtual shelves by turning your iPhone into a mirror, according to Women’s Wear Daily. It basically uses a snapshot of your face and can apply your selected shadow, rouge or lipstick in all the right places by recognising the difference between the skin on your eyes, lips and face. It works on all ethnicities, allows for 400 lighting situations, and you can tilt your face backwards and forwards as if you’re looking in a mirror.

This allows you to try before you buy. Up until now, it’s only when you get home and test your colour wares that you’ll find out if you suit a colour or not. 

WWD says in the US, beauty stores will be installing L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius app on what they’re calling digital terminals, so you can try the app before you download that, too. The price is yet to be confirmed but we think it’s worth the investment.

L'Oreal, makeup, mobile phone, mobile app, apps, makeup tips

May 25, 2014

The New App That Helps Women at Risk

We love any technology that helps women protect themselves, so we were really excited to hear about a new app – created by an Australian grandfather! – called GotU, which is the new essential app for all women.

GotU turns the table of attackers by capturing and transmitting photographic evidence of any threat or attack, within seconds to only the user’s chosen trusted recipients. The message received includes a tamperproof image of the situation, a map and GPS co-ordinates, date, time and other data.

And it couldn’t be easier to use. Just one touch, and the photo and data are recorded and sent.

GotU was conceived by Keith Jolly, a 72-year-old semi-retired IT professional, and a grandfather of five from rural New South Wales. In 2011 he and his wife witnessed an assault on a Sydney train. As the attack took place in front of horrified passengers, Mr Jolly realised he needed an app on his smartphone that immediately transmitted evidence of a crime to secure locations, before any offender had time to take or destroy his phone, and without becoming a target himself.

Mr. Jolly said GotU is also intended to record, and potentially deter other harmful incidents. These include alcohol induced violence, bullying, sexual harassment, workplace and campus harassment and assault, taxi violence, racial crime, stalking, abduction, rape, mistreatment of the elderly and disabled, assault and institutional persecution. GotU can also be a useful tool for witnessing violations of restraining orders and AVOs.

We think GotU is an essential app for any smartphone user, and at only $1.99, it’s a no-brainer. Download it for yourself, your kids, or gift a friend.

Mr Jolly and his colleagues are donating a percentage of proceeds to global anti-violence organisations. GotU is not an alternative to calling the emergency services but an app Mr Jolly says he wished he had had on his smartphone that day on the train in 2011.

GotU was launched globally to coincide with the UN’s 16 Days of activism against gender violence, and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. According to the World Health Organisation’s first global study into the prevalence of violence against women released in July, nearly 30% of women globally have suffered sexual and/or physical violence, often at hands of their partner.

Visit www.gotutech.com to download the app now.

December 10, 2013

Tinder, Fancied + Grouper: 3 Best Mobile Phone Dating Apps

Meeting your match in real life or online is so 2012. If you’re not addicted to Tinder, Fancied or soon-to-launch in Australia, Grouper, chances are you’re not Gen X & Y, single or looking to become so. Hailed as the ‘straight’ Grindr – are Tinder, Fancied and Grouper all about one night stands or long-term love?

Dating through apps is just the thing for those with short attention spans, very short attention spans.

If hanging out with friends in bars or at parties or combing through online profiles is just all too tedious for you – a tap or a swipe of your phone could be just the thing between you and meeting your one, true love. Or, at least, your one ‘you-look-pretty-alright-for-tonight’ hook-up scenario.

Tinder

What’s it all about? Tinder links to your Facebook page and notifies you, via profile shots, based on your Facebook mutual friends and interests, who is single and looking for love nearby. You like what you see? Swipe right to the green heart to register your interest. Not floating your boat? Swipe left to the red cross to say ‘not in this lifetime.’ If you both give each other a ‘green heart’ light, a conversation via the app can begin.

Tinder is the fastest growing dating app. The company is reluctant to release figures but since Tinder launched in September last year, Forbes says users have rated each other’s profiles 3.5 billion times and have been matched up 35 million times.

According to Tinder’s Australian brand manager, Joshua Metz, the app is downloaded more than 1000 times a day in Australia alone.

Pros: The app saves you from potential romantic humiliation by letting you anonymously ‘like’ or ‘reject’ your nearby suiters/users. Only if they ‘like’ you too will Tinder make an introduction and you can start communicating via the app. You can’t be randomly messaged by people you don’t know or don’t want to know.

Got some down time waiting for the bus to arrive to meet up with friends? You could potentially line up a date (or several) for that night.

Cons: By trawling through your Facebook to look for folk nearby with mutual friends and interests, the chances of stumbling across your ex; your best friend’s ex or even your second cousin is more than likely.

Your picture – and their picture – is your only chance to make an impression. Dangerous territory for folk clinging desperately to a flattering snap taken 5 years ago, especially if you actually plan to meet up in real life, at some stage, there’s going to be that awkward 3 minutes of non-recognition.

What if you accidentally swipe ‘no thanks’ when you meant to ‘green heart’ someone? You’ll never get that person back on screen. Imagine, it could’ve been your one true love…

Good for: Wanting to broaden your social circle slightly in a comfortable, non threatening way.

Not so great for: Someone who desperately believes in soulmates and hopes they will magically appear in the palm of their hand via their phone. Whilst some will be more legitimately looking for love than others, the very nature of the app makes random hook-ups and bragging rights very easy. But if that’s what you’re looking for, good luck to you.

Fancied

What’s it all about? Fancied is an Australian-based dating app launched 4 weeks ago and already boasts thousands of ‘fancies’ nationally. Aimed at the 18-35 demographic, the app is gaining popularity with users sharing the app with friends via Facebook.

Founder and CEO of Fancied, Christie Sharpe explains, “We are thrilled with the results and have 60% engagement on the app, this is mainly because users are getting matched by people they mutually like.

Like Tinder, Fancied links to your Facebook page and offers up profile shots, names and ages of potential matches who are nearby and looking for love. You can either play the ‘fancy’ game and search profiles nearby or check into a venue listed as a ‘hot spot’ for singles ready to meet.

Again, like Tinder, liking or not liking someone is kept anonymous until two ‘likes’ become one.

Pros: Using the geo-location ‘hot spot’ allows the user to know where all the fun-loving singles are mingling close by and can join accordingly.

Cons: Like Tinder, by trawling mutual friends on Facebook, the chance of your ex, your best friend’s ex or your cousin is again, a dating possibility.

Good for: The ‘push-to-maps’ feature is great for users geographically challenged to find their way to the right bar to meet their match.

Not so great for: Similar to Tinder, those looking to find their soulmate may be in luck but also exposed to some of society’s not so romantic idealists.

Grouper

What’s it all about? Originally launched in New York as a three-on-three blind dating service, Grouper is a dating app available in 20 cities across the US that will soon launch in Australia.

You sign up for Grouper, pick a specific date and time or choose the on-demand feature, choose two wingmen/besties, pay an up front yet-to-be-determined fee per person for the date and the app automatically sets you up with three others of the opposite sex.

The fee paid pays for the first round of drinks and ensures everyone actually turns up. And then it flows (or not) from there.

Grouper Director of Operations, Kristen Badal, says “We’re launching in Australia in coming months so I encourage single Aussies to sign up at joingrouper.com to find out when and where we will be happening.”

Pros: Grouper sees itself more as an app for meeting people than a dating service. In the US, it is more popular with women and has a roughly 60/40 split between women and men members.

Expanding your social circle and going on a ‘blind date’ with two of your besties takes the intimidation and safety issues out of the blind date equation.

Cons: What’s the etiquette? Do the six of you interact as a group or do you make a beeline for your favourite and start to pair off?

What if no one wants to talk to you or you get left with the third party that wasn’t really ‘into’ the blind date in the first place?

Good for: Folk who need a concierge for their social life. Can’t think of a new bar to visit? Grouper can sort that, and the company you keep, out for you.

Not so great for: If you go on the ‘blind date’ with three friends with similar tastes in the opposite sex. Bestie biffo over a bloke at the end of the night is never a good look. It gets worse if only one of you gets an SMS asking for a second date. Oh dear.

Have you tried mobile phone dating? What are your favourite dating websites or apps?

September 19, 2013