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Showing posts with label apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apps. Show all posts

Friday, 8 August 2014

New Wearable Baby Monitor Is Like a Fitbit for Infants


A new wearable for babies is trying to give parents some peace of mind, and maybe a few extra hours of sleep.
Sproutling launched its pre-order campaign on Thursday, billing itself as the "world's smartest baby monitor." Designed by a team of former Apple and Google engineers, pediatric specialists and new parents, the product works as a kind of Fitbit for infants, measuring vital signs and providing insights on sleep patterns and mood.
Sproutling says its product customizes itself to each baby's habits, learning the child's sleep cycle and heart rate and alerting parents of any abnormalities. Parents can learn what's "normal" for each newborn, such as heart rate.
The Sproutling wearable band sits in its charging base.

The Sproutling wearable band sits in its charging base.
The Sproutling system is made up of three parts: a wearable band, a smart charger and a mobile app. The rubber-coated, hypoallergenic band is washing-machine safe and contains a sensor that monitors heart rate, temperature and motion. The device's battery lasts about three days and can be dropped into its base station for wireless charging. The third part of the Sproutling system is the mobile app, which relays the information documented by the device.
The app uses data to predict when the baby will wake up, and it tries to determine what mood the baby is in before parents even walk in the room. Access to the app can be granted to multiple people, including babysitters and other caretakers. Sproutling can also notify users in case of emergency, like if the baby's heart rate or skin temperature changes significantly, or if an infant rolls over.
a screen of an app says "austin is sleeping he will wake up in about 45 minutes and "it's a little loud, austin may wake up"
High-tech baby monitors are not new, with app-enabled devices like Belkin WeMo baby, BabyPing and iBaby providing parents with mobile audio and video of their baby. However, Sproutling wants to expand the scope of information a baby monitor can relay.
Although the product is not set to launch officially until March 2015, parents can pre-order online now for $249. Sproutling will retail for $299 when it hits the market.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Friday, 8 August 2014

Thursday, 3 April 2014

I Used the Internet to Quit Smoking


I started smoking for the same reasons most people begin the nasty habit: I was young and stupid.
Like many teenagers, I could care less about the negative aspects of smoking. Money wasn't yet a burden on my everyday existence, the long term effects meant little to nothing and I had myself convinced that quick spritz of spray deodorant and some gum masked the smell well enough.
The truth was that smoking, once a fun and social activity then began to control my life.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed smoking. In fact, I loved smoking.
Smoking was always there for me. It helped alleviate stress, introduced me to most of my good friends, it felt amazing and played a huge role in my daily routine. I would sneak a smoke break anywhere I could, and living in a city always provided a few moments to puff, when waiting for the bus or walking between destinations

The beginning of the end

At age 22 I was up to a full pack a day, sometimes more. My family begged me to quit, but you can't just tell someone to stop smoking — they have to hit rock bottom, they have to want it.
A few years later, at age 24 I was living in New York, the most expensive city in the United States, where cigarette prices are over $12 a pack. There was now no way for me to further delay my mountainous, six-figure student loan debt. I simply couldn't afford to smoke anymore, and quite frankly, I didn't want to.
Then a friend posted an Instagram of her Timehop app. The nostalgia-based app allows you to see your photos and social media updates from exactly one year prior. Someone with whom I had once enjoyed many cigarettes had made it a full year without smoking, and I desperately wanted the same.

After some encouragement from friends and family, I started to seriously consider quitting for real. I had tried a few times before, but I had never put any calculated effort towards it.
I began researching popular methods people use to quit, and stumbled upon an online support group on Reddit, r/stopsmoking. The encouraging community is a place for Redditors who seek motivation to quit, and is filled with stories, words of encouragement and advice. A yellow badge appears next to your username with a number, signifying the number of days since quitting.

Once I immersed myself in the subreddit, I found that the community extremely friendly and helpful. Unlike other places on the Internet, there were no trolls or hateful words toward those who sought advice.

I quit

Although I had yearned to quit, and had done some research in the method and practice I thought best for me, I never picked a specific time to quit. But when I awoke on New Year's Day with a splitting headache, reeking of an ash tray, I figured now was as good a time as ever. The hangover alone was enough to make me not want to smoke, so I knew the first day wouldn't be so bad.
Searching for methods to quit smoking on the Internet is like searching for weight loss tips — there are thousands of different approaches that all claim to be the best, but not all is right for you.

The patch seemed too weird for me, the gum made my mouth itch, prescription medication was definitely out; I had no insurance, e-cigarettes hadn't caught on yet, and reading a self-help book just made me feel like a drug addict, which I was.
Along with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without
One method that did peak my interest was appsAlong with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without, and now it was my only clutch.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
The app is geared toward information as motivation. You plug in the amount of cigarettes you smoke, cost per pack and the time you quit smoking. The app does the math and delivers you information based on your specifics.
The status screen tracks the amount of time since you quit, the money you've saved, cigarettes not smoked and the tar associated with that number. The app also includes a number of health goals, which monitors your progress as time continues.


Utilizing the app

Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Like most quitting stories, I did get a little sick, I was irritable and I felt terrible, but the most difficult part was the empty feeling I was left with. I felt as if nothing was ever going to be the same — any activity I had once enjoyed while smoking was simply never going to be as good as it was with a cigarette in hand.
My morning coffee just wasn't like it was before. I drank alone inside bars as my friends braved the cold weather for their vice, and even though my appetite did increase, meals weren't as satisfying without a cigarette for dessert.
Any time I had a craving, I would open the app, and track the progress I had made. If I had a craving while I was on the computer, I'd immediately go to r/stopsmoking, to read a success story, or to offer someone else having a harder time than me support. It was like complaining about a sprained ankle at the doctor's office when the person next to you doesn't have any legs at all.
After just a week or two, I started to notice a difference in my health and hygiene, especially in my mouth. Once the initial shock wore off, sleeping became easier, although occupied with strange, lucid dreams And I began to think about cigarettes less and less.
stopsmoking copy

The app worked for me because of its no-nonsense vibe. The ads are small and barely noticeable, it isn't overloaded with features and functions, it loads quickly and isn't a battery killer.
Other apps like Kwit use game design techniques to encourage quitting.

The app Livestrong which calls itself a "MyQuit Coach" combines game design, community and motivational information. It was a little frustrating to use, however, and the popups just made me want to smoke more.

A lot of apps also feature the humble, social media brag element, allowing you to connect your social media accounts to the app. For me, the thought of failure was worse once I boasted to my followers about how far I had come with my addiction.
Not smoking is still an everyday struggle, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Although myQuitIt app slowly moved from the home screen on my iPhone, to the third screen, back among other forgotten and hardly used apps, I have no desire to delete it. Still, the only time I ever open it is when someone asks how much money I've saved since quitting.
Answer: lots of money, and many years.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Thursday, 3 April 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

Build Your Own 'Flappy Bird' IRL With This DIY Kit

Flappy Bird: it's not just for phones anymore.
The mobile app phenomenon that ended abruptly in February has returned — but this time, in the form of a physical, do-it-yourself game kit.
Make Flappy Box is based on a prototype made by Arduino, an open-source, physical computing platform that aims to be affordable and accessible for anyone, regardless of their technical background. Other similar projects include a cardboard-box version of Super Mario Bros.
Make Flappy Box
"Technology has somehow trained us to take things as is, instead of asking the hows and whys," Fawn Qiu, who spearheaded the project, told Mashable. "I'm hoping to make technology more accessible through introducing electronics in a creative and fun way."
Users press one button to start the game and another button to control a character, as a continuously rolling background moves behind it. When the character hits an obstacle, the lid of the box closes and the game is over. As a default, the kit is stocked with a Flappy Birdbackground, but additional templates, such as a race car version, will be available on the Make Flappy Box website.
Qiu made the prototype right after Flappy Bird was removed from Apple's App Store, with the intention to empower people to create their own version of the game, and also so she could keep playing herself. Qiu drew inspiration from 1980s video games such as Frogger.
"The physical game is more intuitive and social. It makes the playing experience more approachable," she said. "It's no longer just one player and the phone, but people around you are also aware of the game which invites collaboration and curiosity."
The kit comes with a guide book, circuit board, and electronics pack that includes motors, a speaker and buttons to control the bird. It also comes with a construction pack, which includes items such as the background template and the box. Players can use the materials to make their own original creations if they get tired of the game. The open-source circuit-board design will be posted on code-sharing site GitHub.
Make Flappy Box's Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $5,000 of its $6,000 goal with four days to go as of press time. The game currently only exists as a prototype, but a final product will be made after the campaign ends. Qiu said a portion of the profits made from Make Flappy Box sales will go toward free engineering workshops for disadvantaged female high-school students in New York City.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Monday, 31 March 2014

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The Top 10 Android Apps of 2013

  • Duolingo

    1. Duolingo

    Duolingo works to add interactivity and customized lesson planning to the language learning experience by rewarding users when they achieve goals, giving incentive to return for more lessons -- something your high school's Intermediate Spanish course never did.
    Duolingo gives users the opportunity to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. You don't have to worry about being charged for the service any time soon, either. Co-creator Luis von Ahn told USA Today, "We're fundamentalists on the belief that we should not charge for language education."
    Price: Free
  • 2. Pocket Casts

    A one-stop shop for organizing your podcasts, Pocket Casts allows you to listen to, download and sync your podcasts all from one device. Audio playback is customizable, allowing you to adjust playback speed to whatever you're comfortable with. The "featured" and "popular" menus also help with podcast discovery.
    Price: $3.99
  • 3. Evernote

    Evernote, which has become more of a leviathan of productivity than just an app, received several updates in 2013, including a customizable home screen and image and PDF markup. With Evernote, you can take notes or photos, keep reminders, record audio and tag all of it to make it easily searchable. It's so vast, getting started may seem too daunting to some. We recommend our beginner's guide.
  • Pixlr

    4. Pixlr Express

    A powerful, customizable photo editor that's more than just filters, Pixlr Express comes packed with the ability to color-correct, blur or layer images and stickers on top of one another. Just taking up 7.2 M of memory, Pixlr Express is more than worth the small amount of space it'll take up on your SD card.
    Price: Free
  • Nova-launcher

    5. Nova Launcher

    With the release of iOS 7, Apple raised the bar for home screen design in 2013. For Android, Nova Launcher reaches the same bar. Fully customizable, performance-oriented and with a prime version at just $4, Nova Launcher is a great download for any android user.
    Price: $4
  • 6. doubleTwist

    Aside from being a great tool to sync your music between your Mac or PC and your Android device, doubleTwist is a powerful media player, enabling you to play multiple audio files, watch videos, stream radio and listen to podcasts. It certainly doesn't hurt that doubleTwist's album cover-centric design is beautiful to look at as well.
  • Reddit

    7. Reddit is fun

    Reddit is fun is our preferred way of browsing and using Reddit on our Android devices. Easy to navigate, the app more closely resembles the web experience of Reddit than other popular apps -- which seem to be more focused on browsing rather than posting or commenting. Frequently updated with bug fixes and small updates, you can count on Reddit is fun to continue improving with time.
    Price: Free
  • Feedly

    8. Feedly

    Now that our dear Google Reader has moved on from this world, we require a new RSS curation tool to fill our article-consuming needs -- and Feedly fits the bill. The app's design is heavily image focused, giving a reading experience closer to how we use the web than most news aggregation tools. Offering easy sharing tools and integration with Evernote, Instapaper and Pocket, Feedly is a fluid, fast moving hulk of a news app.
  • Sleepbot

    9. Sleepbot

    Whether you choose to use Sleepbot as a simple time log or a dedicated and powerful sleep tracker is up to you, but both options offer a rewarding experience for anyone looking to improve his or her sleeping habits. Sleepbot tracks your movement and noise levels, greeting you with a quiet alarm in the morning at your lightest level of sleep.
    Price: Free
  • Aereo

    10. Aereo

    Straight out of The Jetsons, the Aereo app -- currently in public beta -- allows you to access your cloud DVR on your Android device, meaning you can watch your favorite television shows on your morning commute (assuming you use public transportation, of course-- Mashable does not condone driving under the influence of Breaking Bad). You can tune into your local channels and save up to 20 hours of television in the cloud.
    Price: Free app; after free trial, subscription is $8 per month.
    Note: Aereo is currently available only in select metropolitan areas.
  • With the release of new operating system KitKat and the announcement that it hit both one billion activations and 50 billion app downloads, it's clear that 2013 has been a year of great news forAndroid.
    In the past 12 months, we've seen the release of some truly remarkable new apps on Google Play, while some old standards got a much-needed revisiting. Here, we list our picks for the top Android apps of the calendar year.
  • Our top choices for 2013 include a leviathan of productivity, a new breed of news reader and a sleep tracker. Check out these apps in the gallery above, and see if they're fit for a download

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Mobile Internet Subscriptions to Triple by 2019


If it seems like everyone around you is constantly glued to their smartphones, you haven't seen anything yet. According to Ericsson's 2013 mobility report, the number of global mobile Internet subscriptions will triple by 2019.
In 2013, the number of mobile subscriptions around the world clocks in at 2.2 billion. Six years from now, that number is set to reach 6.4 billion.
Statista's chart shows the growth in subscriptions of smartphones, mobile PCs, tablets and mobile routers.


Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Saturday, 23 November 2013

Friday, 8 November 2013

Now Google Glass Knows Where You Live

Google Glass continues to expand its head-mounted toolbox: The wearable computer now has stronger ties to both Google Calendar and Maps, letting you navigate to your home or workplace with just a few spoken commands. Google has also updated the FAQ for the device, saying it won't deactivate Glass if you sell it.
The XE11 software update, announced on Google+ and automatically pushed to Glass Explorers, connects Glass to your Google Calendar better than before, allowing the wearer to use easy voice commands to see impending appointments. To see your calendar, just say "OK Glass, Google" then a calendar-specific command like "my agenda" or "what am I doing this week?" The only catch is you have to have private search enabled on your Google account.
Google also improved how Maps work with Glass, letting users get directions to Home or Work as long as the user has specified those addresses. The next time you want to get home, just speak the normal "Directions" command and then say "Home." This is great, although we'd still love to see Google introduce better in-car integration.
XE11 includes a usability tweak as well: Now a long press on the touchpad will no longer activate Google search. It turned out users were activating the feature by accident too often. Not a big change, but it shows that 
Google is continuing to perfect the user experience of Glass before commercial launch, expectedearly next year.
If you're pairing Glass with an Android phone, you get an extra bonus: You can now start a screencast right from your notifications window without having to launch the app.
Finally, Google has updated its FAQ for Glass, first reported byAndroid Police. Google's terms of service for the device says it's forbidden to sell the Explorer Edition of Glass to someone else, but it also says it won't "brick" the device if you do. A few desperate developers might be breathing easier now.
  • Google-glass-pov-01

    Google Glass POV

    The virtual screen that Google Glass shows you through the prism appears to be a display floating a few feet in front of you. Although it's obviously very tiny, Google says it's the equivalent of a 25-inch screen seen from 8 feet away.
    The message screen "ok glass" is the most common one you see, since it activates whenever you tap the side or tilt your head up. The screen lets you know Glass is on and actively listening to your voice.
  • Google-glass-pov-02

    Sports Scores

    The most recent sports scores are just a single swipe away.
  • Google-glass-pov-03

    Search Results

    The screen is big enough to display a single sentence or simple text feedback extremely well. The font gets smaller for longer results, although it maxes out at about two sentences.
  • Google-glass-pov-04


    Although photos don't look great on Glass, you can easily discern the content, and they look much better when exported to other displays.
  • Google-glass-pov-05

    Reddit Notification

    Most notifications involve both a headline and a photo, as with this one from Reddit.
    The multicolor "spectrum" effect isn't visible to the eye -- it appears in this photo because it was taken outside and some sunlight was refracted.
  • Google-glass-pov-06

    New York Times Notification

    The New York Times' notifications tell you how many articles are waiting. You can see them in a manner similar to the Reddit headlines by tapping the touchpad on the temple.
  • Google-glass-pov-10

    Twitter App

    Here's what you see when you want to share something via Twitter. GlassTweet is a third-party app.
  • Google-glass-pov-11


    When you ask for directions, Glass first confirms the address.
  • Google-glass-pov-07

    Active Navigation

    Here's the UI for navigating with maps. The arrow moves as you turn your head.
  • Google-glass-pov-08

    2D Navigation

    Navigation in 2D gives you a bird's-eye view of the map.
  • Google-glass-pov-14

    Speech Error

    Error messages are very clear.
  • Google-glass-pov-15

    Settings Screen

    The main settings screen lets you know if you're connected to Wi-Fi and how much battery power is left.
  • Google-glass-pov-16

    Settings, Alternate View

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Friday, 8 November 2013

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