Sunday, October 2, 2011

There's an App for that ...

I have always loved new technology and ways it makes my life easier. And as my brain gets less reliable for storing important data (pick a cause ... age, MS, Fibromyalgia ...) I am turning more and more to resources that support my day to day  STUFF so I don't need to fret over forgetting things so much.

Since getting my HTC Android phone earlier this year, I have been able to explore the world of phone apps that just weren't there for my old Blackberry and as many of these also sync across with my laptop heaps of life is automated and making my life easier. However finding these is often a matter of trawling techie sites and blogs (I am a big fan of Mashable) so I thought I would list some here for my friends who might not stumble across them as I have.

(Of course you can use a pen and paper to do all these things - I just choose not to anymore!)

Out Of Milk: is a nifty little shopping list app which you can divide up into all the different stores you visit and also has a handy To Do list incorporated. As well as the phone app there is a website which auto syncs. I love this for the random thoughts that come to me, often in bed at night which I can add straight to the appropriate list. You can tick them off as you get them and untick them to add back on next time round. Reduces my vague standing-in-the-pharmacy-trying -to-recall previous method! Comes stocked with basic pantry supplies etc already loaded, including an extensive spice list: I keep my phone nearby as I cook and can just add stuff as needed.

Plan to Eat: how much do I love this? Enough to have a direct payment of $4.95 taken out of PayPal each month to use all the features. And now it has a decent mobile interface (not an app yet but planned) I not only have the auto-generated shopping list in my phone whenever I want it but I have the recipes easy to access without lugging my laptop into the kitchen (obviously, a tablet would be even better!). My only complaint is it cannot always import recipes from blogs, which is where I stumble across a lot of them but you can manually add them.

WomanLog: Gone are the days when I could work out where I am in my cycle without a calendar - these days time seems to pass so fast I am never even sure which month it is. So this little phone app helps keep me in the loop and prepared!

My Net Diary: Now I am trying to keep track of my nutritional intake each day this web and phone app is essential. By simply added everything I eat and drink through the day, I can see how I am going for essentials such as iron etc in my diet. It also tracks calories/kilojoules and you can log physical activity and it crunches all the numbers for you. The phone app means I don't have to recall later, making it more accurate.

mapmywalk:  I did a little happy-dance when I stumbled across this on a friend's Facebook Wall, because it is exactly what I had dreamed of! I need accountability for my exercise and being able to log my walking routes as well as auto-track them via my phone while I walk really appeals! Have only had this a couple of weeks but can see it being a huge part of my summer kit.

Medhelper: Taking medications is only one thing to remember - for me keeping current prescriptions with enough repeats and remembering to get them filled before I run out is an important stress-reducer. This is just what I needed and has the added bonus of keeping all your doctor's contact details appointments etc in one place and reminding you about them. Love it.

Xobni/Smartr: I have used Xobni for ages -both attached to Outlook and more recently Gmail. Well, the Gmail interface just got a new name, Smartr AND a phone app and my life just got even easier! It now syncs all my contacts between the three places I use them - mobile, laptop and "cloud" and it has an even better interface with all my social media contacts as well, eliminating redundant email addresses and showing my Friends smiling faces (or more obscure profile pics!) alongside their emails, contact profiles and with a feed of Facebook Twitter or Linked in as I choose alongside. Yes, Big Brother is watching you - and helps me stay in touch!!!! It also syncs my calendar appointments across all three, so hopefully I will not forget the Myotherapist again!

Goodreads: I have raved before about my love for GoodReads, where I list my entire library, track current reading and more. But the phone app - well - just adds to the love. I can scan the barcode on books and add them into my list automatically! Sigh! Gets odd looks in the bookshop, as I build my wishlist as I go, but I get odd looks anyway (I think it is the hair!). Does create stress when used-bookstores (like savers, where my daughter works and I do the bulk of my book buying) put their own stickers over the barcode, but at least the library don't - meaning I can scan as I borrow and start tracking!

So, next time you see me texting away on my phone, don't assume I am checking Facebook - I might be planning my dinner, writing my shopping list, checking my meds or adding the page number of the book I a reading!!!

Or I might be on Facebook ;)

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