For those interested in saving (personal) energy and yet keeping up to date with the torrent of NEW that pours ceaselessly across our weary eyes, MBF Blogs bring some apps that may help.
First, there is Snapchat
Not heard of it? That’s understandable, even though it’s apparently on 1 in 4 UK smartphones. It has brought its inventor, Evan Spiegel, at least $3bn.
Snapchat takes and send 400m pictures a day between users, each one up to 10 seconds long and deleted as soon as seen.
The strength of it is that it doesn’t retain content. Spiegel told Matt Warman of The Daily Telegraph that ‘the mass of material gathering online makes it hard to curate or find what’s special.’
He believes that ‘deletion should be by default.’
The weakness of it for some commentators is that it lends itself to what Warman called ‘insatiable teenagers’ using it to send each other explicit ‘sexting’ messages/images which are handily deleted once seen.
For Spiegel, digital and physical worlds are now one and the same.
For users, 10 seconds is ideal in a world where attention spans of great length are not admired.
Second, there is SelfControl
For those who are caught in what The Sunday Times (10 November 13) called ‘cyberloafing’, or ‘in full internet spiral, swirling down the cyberplughole’, distracted watching America’s Next Top Hedgehog on YouTube … there is a way to cry for help.
SelfControl is a free app for Macs that lets you ‘block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites — even if you restart your computer or delete the application.’
Users report it an effective way of stopping you drifting to Facebook, Google, Candy Crush or anything else you know is not your main purpose.
Third, there is FocusBooster
Along similar lines, FocusBooster is another free app where users work in 25 minute bursts or slogs before taking a break.
It is built on what is known as the Pomodoro time-management technique and comes with a countdown timer that some have found distracting in its own right.
Pomodoro is 5 principles:
- decide on the task to be done
- set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
- work on the task until the timer rings; record the task status
- take a short break (5 minutes)
- every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15-20 minutes)
They are trying to extend the reach of it and have launched a crowd-sourcing exercise.
Four, there is Time Out
The Sunday Times helpfully suggested a ‘less regimented’ app, called Dejal Time Out.
The blurb reminds us that our bodies aren’t built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard. Dejal Time Out ‘gently reminds you to take a break on a regular basis.’
They say, ‘Time Out has two kinds of breaks: a “Normal” break, typically for 10 minutes after 50 minutes of work, so you can move about and relax, plus a “Micro” break: a very brief pause of typically 10 seconds every 10 minutes, so you can remember not to tense up too much for long periods.’
They allow you to disable either kind of break, and the breaks are automatically paused when you go away from your computer, and can be reset when you come back. You can determine the lengthy of breaks, as the screen slowly dims for you, you can change colours and transparencies on screen, you can read on during a break.
But for those who need that kind of support, this is an easy one. Easy on the eyes and on the pocket (free).
Fifth, there is an app for lazy people
AirRun is, as described by them directly, a fresh iPhone app designed for those who enjoy spending time on their butt, or those with money to burn/efficiency seekers.
The idea is that you can put out odd jobs for people to do, as part of a practice known as ‘crowd commerce.’ Users (Seekers) post a job and/or task on the app and set a price they’re willing to pay to have it done.
Somebody else in the area then checks their app to see what local jobs have been posted, and what the going rate for those gigs is. The people looking for jobs are known as “Runners” because, well, they can run the task for you.
And finally for those of you who are not just lazy but lazy in a physical exercise way, there is Moves.
This is described as, ‘the beauty of the physical activity app called Moves is how little physical activity it requires.’
Appy hunting for your preferred apps!
Other blogs of interest, if you want to have a look:
Compulsive, Addictive Behaviour Is the Price of the Device, 23 April 2013
How the Appy New Year Fills the Void Left by Christmas Now Past, 30 December 2012
Image: A dazed memory