Mobile Applications For Keeping Track of Important Stuff

I’ve been using a handful of applications to aid me in my productivity, especially now that I have a home-based job. These are some of the tools that I use to keep track of my stuff from shopping lists to task durations.

Keeping Track of Item Lists (ColorNote)

This compact application works like a virtual sticky note. You can create a plain text document or a checklist. I use the latter more frequently since it’s quite handy for easy-to-setup list which I can cross-out one by one like when I need to shop for some items, check the people who already paid for our movie nights, update accomplished daily tasks, and the list goes on. The notes can come in different colors so you can define your own color-coding scheme in organizing your notes. It also comes with a widget that you can pin in your device’s home screen so you can easily be reminded of the lists that you made.

Google Play: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.socialnmobile.dictapps.notepad.color.note

Keeping Track of Notes (Evernote)

Even though ColorNote can be used for note-taking, there’s a reason why Evernote can be a better choice. It’s most powerful feature is synching your notes between mobile devices, computers, and even web. Thus, maximizing your notes’ accessibility. It also comes with the basic formatting tools like font styles, bullet points, tables, etc. The notes are organized into notebooks so you keep similar or related info intact. You can also add tags for faster searching. I use this app to write some notes when I’m reading a book, when an idea came into my mind that I don’t want to lose track, and when I’m creating some meeting minutes.

Official Website: http://evernote.com/
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evernote&hl=en
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8

Keeping Track of Habits and Tasks (HabitRPG)

One of the best forms of Gamification that I’ve seen so far. As the name suggests, its primary goal is to build some habits that you desire to learn for yourself as well as other tasks that you want to be reminded on, all of it incorporated in RPG mechanics. Basically, you play a character that has different attributes and items. You improve your stats by gaining experience points and buying better equipment. The quests are represented as tasks, which are categorized into three types namely Habits, Dailies, and To-Do’s. In Habits, you can increase the point (if you succeeded to do the habit) rewarding you with coins and experience points or decrease the point, penalizing you with HP deduction. Dailies are repeating tasks that you need to allot to specific days of the week, you’ll get the same rewards as habits and your HP gets deducted for each item that you fail to complete for the current day. Lastly, To-Do’s are just like Dailies except that you have an optional deadline instead of assigning days. With this webapp, I was able to build the habit of drinking 8 glasses of water a day (it’s about time), create a more consistent schedule for working on my side-project, and list the things that I need to do for a particular trip.

Officiial website: https://habitrpg.com

Keeping Track of Work Time and In-Between Breaks (Breaker)

Usually, people tend to expect that they’ll accomplish more by working several hours straight with no break in-between, but actually, it’s quite the opposite. You have to take breaks periodically in order to be more productive. With this, you can use the application called Breaker to schedule work and break times. Save yourself from RSI, eye strains, and other potential harm brought by sitting in from of the computer for long hours. Better yet, do some stretching exercises during your breaks.

Official Website: http://davidevitelaru.com/software/breaker/

Maybe you’re wondering why personal financial budgets were not included here. Well, I already wrote an entire blog post about that, so if you’re interested, you can check it out. 🙂
As much as technology is giving us more forms of entertainment and more avenues for convenience, I highly recommend that we also utilize it to increase our productivity and aid us for self-betterment. Until next time! Wohooo! One new quest completed for my HabitRPG. (~^_^)~

 

My Tech Leap Part 2: From N70 to Play

I’m not fancy about mobile phones. If it can send a text message and make a phone call, then that would be enough for me. However, if entertaining mobile games and useful applications enter the picture, then it’s a different story. The features that mobile phones offer nowadays are too spectacular to ignore. With that, I have two options. An iOS or an Android phone. Looking at the price difference made it easier for me to decide which one to choose. Anyway, I’m not here to compare the two mobile operating systems. Like what I did with my previous post, I’ll just show you how much has my mobile device leveled up (or is it?). Before proceeding,  let me give a short back story.

Meant to Play

This article could have been entitled My Tech Leap Part 2: From N70 to Galaxy Ace if the said phone was not stolen in the MRT. The worst part is… it was only a month old. I learned how to be more careful with my valuables the hard way. I waited for six months just to have a separate budget for a new phone. I saw one of my officemates playing with  his Xperia play and I was instantly hooked with the PlayStation control interface. I just saw my target phone. The funny thing here is that like my laptop, I bought my Xperia Play cheaper than my previous phone (Xperia Play – 13,500 pesos and N70  – 14,000 pesos). Actually, the original price of Play was around 20,000 pesos, but since it phased out quite quickly, the store where I bought it sold it to a much cheaper price. It was the last stock that they have, so I didn’t have any second thoughts and quickly purchased the phone.

Storage Capacity

N70: 22 MB (internal) , 1 GB (external)
Play:  400 MB (internal), 32 GB (external)

Having 32 times the storage of my previous phone, what can go wrong?  Well, here’s the problem.  A lot of Android applications use the internal memory without the option to transfer it to your external card. Imagine how frustrating it is that you have this large external storage and yet you are forced to settle with less than a gigabyte of memory. I mean… c’mon!
With this, I decided to execute a hack that will link the applications to a partition of the phone’s external memory. This involves rooting the android phone. The process may be inconvenient, but if it lets me play more games and utilize my phone’s capabilities with more tools and applications, why not? Besides, I’m fond of tinkering stuff specially gadgets and software.

Speed and Memory

N70: 220 MHz
Play: 1 GHz  and 522 MB RAM

To be honest, both phones bog down when their storage space are getting used up.  I find it more noticeable in Play though. Probably, because android applications are more resource-intensive compared to symbian apps. Yet again, it’s a gaming phone, so I’m expecting more XD. The hiccups will be more noticeable if a lot of processes are running at the same time. I advise you to check your running processes in your settings if you experience some slowdown. You possibly need to free up some memory to run your apps at normal speeds.

Games and Applications

N70: Java – Normal Keypad
Play: Android and PS1 Port – PlayStation Controller Interface, Touch Screen, Gyroscope, GPS

Ah the real reason I bought an Xperia Play. All the amazing android games that can compete with the iOS counterparts can be played for a cheaper price. Not only that. Some of the games released are optimized specifically for this phone to take advantage of the PS1 controls built-in with this device. If you’re still not convinced, how about playing PS1 games on your phone? You can now play Crash Bandic0ot, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Battle Arena Toshinden among other classics in the convenience of a handheld device.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of symbian java games that are considerably fun like Zuma, Age of Japan, and Sim Babe. However, compared to the likes of Temple Run, Ingress, Anomaly Korea, and Logo Quiz, the java games didn’t stand a chance.
The Android Market now called Google Play also hosts a lot of useful applications like Evernote, Expense Manager, and Wisepilot which transform an Android phone into an ultimate resource and productivity tool.

Battery

This is where N70 clearly beats the Xperia Play or any Android device for that matter. Android is known for its high battery consumption, which sometimes makes it inconvenient for using it outdoors. The N70 can last around 42 hours while the Xperia Play can survive for barely 24 hours provided you only use it for text messages. Try to use it for wi-fi, GPS, and android apps for several hours, and you’re lucky enough if it can last for 16 hours. N70 can be fully charged for just 45 minutes while Xperia will take around an hour and a half to reach 100%.

As a miscellaneous comparison, let’s compare the camera of both phones.

XperiaPlay

Using N70 Camera

N70

Using Xperia Play Camera

Oh, did I mention that Xperia Play’s camera doesn’t have a zoom functionality? The camera for this device doesn’t use a lens that is capable of zooming. This is really a problem when taking pictures in events such as conventions, concerts, seminars, etc.

Xperia Play is a phone that can stamp you as a certified gamer, but if you’re looking for a phone with more power and storage space, then I suggest you consider the more recent models of Xperia instead. If you still insist to buy one, I wish you luck to find a stock, and hopefully you enjoy and utilize the phone’s features as much as I do (~-_-)~. Well then, time to resume my Crash Bandicoot gaming session!

Next post: I’ll take a break from tech talk and tell you about my experience on attending an art exhibit. ‘Til next time!