Tag: apps

The Right Tech To Propel Yourself Out Of Bed In Record Time

Earlier this year, China’s Sleepace successfully crowdfunded and shipped a 2 mm thick smart strap that lays on the bed and monitors a user’s sleep time, heart rate and breathing, body movement and sleep cycles.

The RestOn then sends the collected data to a companion app running on a Bluetooth-paired smartphone for analysis.

Now the company has added a smart light to the system called the Nox, which works in conjunction with the RestOn to help monitor, track and improve sleep quality.

The new Nox Smart Sleep System is made up of three parts.




There’s a RestOn smart band that’s slipped between the mattress and top sheet, the Nox light that’s plugged into a wall outlet and placed on a bedside table, and the Sleepace app running on a user’s smartphone.

The RestOn and the Nox both transmit data to the app via Bluetooth. The Nox uses a combination of light and sound to ease a user into a restful sleep.

The light part of the equation makes use of red wavelengths, which the company says can raise the secretion of melatonin, a naturally-occurring hormone that’s used medically in the treatment of some sleep problems.

The Nox also emits soothing sounds to help the would-be dreamer drift into slumber. When the RestOn’s sensors detect the user has fallen asleep, the Nox light is instructed to switch off.

The Nox light hosts built-in sensors that keep track of room temperature, humidity and CO2, as well as ambient light and background noises, and the Sleepace app uses this data – together with information supplied by the RestOn smart strap – to help users understand what’s been going on during the night.

The app then makes suggestions for improving the bedroom environment to help ensure better quality sleep and healthier sleeping habits.

The Nox displays the current time or temperature under the light to the front, and includes a USB port for charging a smartphone or tablet while the user gets some shut-eye.

When it’s time to wake up, the RestOn sensors will let the Nox know when a sleeper is entering the lightest part of the sleep cycle, and the Nox will be instructed to wake up the user 30 minutes before the time set for the alarm.

Sleepace says that this ensures a user is awoken at the right time, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Best “Lite” Versions Of Your Favorite Android Apps

If you’re looking for a good way to speed up your phone or cut down on your data usage, there are a lot of official “lite” versions of popular apps like Facebook or YouTube.

These are generally less feature-rich than their full-powered counterparts, but they’re often a great middle ground between features and function.

What Are “Lite” Apps?

Big companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter want as many people as possible using their services. But not all phones are powerful for their full-featured apps, and some data plans are heavily limited.

So, they’ve created “lite” versions of their apps for those audiences.

This is not to be confused with the hundreds of makeshift lite applications out there that are just containerized versions of mobile web sites, the apps on this list are official applications provided by the original developers.




This is an important and noteworthy mention, because there are a lot of “fakes” out there—we recommend using the official lite apps whenever you can.

These official “lite” versions are generally designed for use in countries with less powerful Android devices and slower mobile internet.

They keep the speed up and data usage down by omitting the superfluous features that people on slower connections wouldn’t be able to use anyway.

The Best Lite Apps

Alright, now that you know what lite apps are and why you’d want to use them, it’s time to look at the best options for the apps you’re probably already using.

Facebook Lite

Facebook is one of the most popular apps on the Play Store, but the full app is notoriously big. The primary app is nearly 65MB in size, where the much smaller lite version only tips the scale at a measly 1.6MB. That’s a huge difference.

Facebook Messenger Lite

Similar to Facebook Lite, there’s a lightweight version of Messenger available too.

It’s lacking nearly all of Messenger’s more robust features, like video chat, Facebook calls, SMS integration, and chat heads, but it’s pretty solid if all you want to do is text chat with Facebook friends.

As a result, Messenger Lite is about a fifth the size of the full Messenger app (11MB vs. 55MB).

Twitter Lite

Twitter Lite is arguably the best lite application on this list, as it’s almost as robust as its much larger counterpart.

It’s essentially a packaged version of the Twitter mobile website, which has undergone some major upgrades over the last several months—as a result, you’ll get a killer lightweight Twitter client that offers almost everything you need.

YouTube Go

Look, everyone loves YouTube. But if you’re finding the stock YouTube app to be a bit bulky and slow, YouTube Go is the answer.

It’s super fast and light, and offers some of the better features of the stock app—like the option to save videos for offline viewing.

It even asks what you want to do (save or view) each time you select a video and offers various quality levels. Very cool.

Skype Lite

There are a lot of good video chat apps out there, many of which are arguably better than Skype—but if your grandma uses Skype, you’re stuck using Skype too.

Thankfully, there’s a lite version. This app actually leverages Google Play’s testing feature, as it’s technically an “unreleased” app—at least on an official level.

Like it’s bigger brother, it offers voice and video calling, text chats, and even SMS integration.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Complete Guide To Breaking Your Smartphone Habit

Smartphones are magical.

A device that’s small enough to fit in your pocket, allows you to instantly communicate with virtually anyone on earth, take breathtaking photos, and access humanity’s collected knowledge. Amazing!

But like any magical implement, the smartphone’s power can be so consuming that all you want to do is stare into its comforting, glowing, little screen.

Unsurprisingly a growing number of people feel disconcerted with the insatiable pull their phones exercise on them, and are unhappy with the amount of time and attention they give to these devices in return.

Below are such a game plan with all the tools and techniques you might consider implementing in order to get a handle on your smartphone habit.




The Negative Effects of Chronic Smartphone Use

For many folks, checking and twiddling with their smartphone has become a habit boarding on addiction.

Yet research shows that heavy smartphone use can also have a deleterious effect on several different aspects of our lives:

  • Loss of empathy and connection with others
  • Loss of sleep.
  • Loss of focus and the ability to do deep, meaningful work.
  • Loss of the ability to be fully present in your life.

How to Break the Smartphone Habit

Are you tired of being unable to really engage in conversations with your friends because you’re always checking your phone?

Do you feel guilty about how often your kids catch you staring at a screen when you should be interacting with them?

Are you sick of ending each day bemoaning your utter lack of focus and productivity at work, and how little progress you’re making on your goals?

While the bad news is that chronic smartphone use can have a negative impact on your life, the good news is that research demonstrates that the restless, distraction-producing itch they exercise on us can be reversed.

It just takes some work and discipline to get a handle on your habit. Here’s how to do it:

  • Perform an Audit on Your Cell Phone Use
    The first step in breaking the smartphone habit is to measure how much time you’re actually spending on your phone throughout the day.Just seeing hard numbers on how much time you’re spending on your phone can affect your use.
  • Going Nuclear, or Getting a “Dumbphone
    It’s been a week, and you have a good idea of how much you’re using your smartphone and what apps you’re using.Maybe you’re so appalled by the results of your smartphone audit that you decide the best course of action is to completely chuck your smartphone altogether and downgrade to a rudimentary “dumbphone” that just allows you to make calls and send simple text messages.
  • Making Your Smartphone Dumber
    After seriously considering ditching the smartphone, you’ve decided owning a dumbphone just isn’t going to be a viable option for you.Maybe your work requires you to answer email from your phone and use other apps. Or maybe you like being able to snap high-quality pics of your kids using your phone’s built-in camera.The question then becomes how do you take advantage of all the benefits that come with your smartphone while not getting sucked into the smartphone-checking habit? The answer is to make your smartphone dumber.

  • Turn off notifications
    The easiest thing you can do to instantly reduce the itch to check your smartphone is to turn off notifications.One of the things that makes these devices so irresistible to check are the pings, buzzes, and flashing lights that go off whenever you get a new email.You can curb this technological salivation by getting rid of notifications. You’ll be amazed how this one little change will dramatically reduce how often you check your smartphone.
  • Turn off cellular data and wifi
    Let’s assume you’ve turned off notifications, but you still have the itch to pick up your phone to check email or other apps.You can change the settings on your smartphone to make it temporarily dumb for certain periods of time.  All you need to do is turn off your cellular data and wifi.When you turn these services off, you’ll still be able to make calls and send simple text messages.

I hope this guide will help you get a handle on your own smartphone habit, so you can use your phone in a way that maximizes its benefits and minimizes its drawbacks.

Give these apps and techniques a try if you’re looking to be a more productive, industrious, and successful man.

Be the master of your technology, not its slave!

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Pass it on: Popular Science