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Tag: app-of-the-week

App of the week: Headspace

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 22, 2015

3 min read

When asked the question “do you meditate?”, I used to be ashamed to think I’d need it or would claim that it’s the stuff of hippies and has all the stereotypes of scented candles, herbal tea and vegans.

Breaking down this stigma was the reason Andy Puddicombe (a former monk) created the app “Headspace” to give millions of people a chance to experience the benefits of meditation without all the fluff.

What it is

Headspace has been described as a gym membership for the mind. It recognises that a lot of people have different reasons for wanting to be more “mindful”, whether it’s to do with improving focus, stress or balance at work; or improving our personal approach to relationships, exercise, sleeping or eating.

For this reason the app has a number of bite sized meditations guided by Andy to help you through whatever aspect of your own wellbeing that needs attention.

How it works

To get started, users create a membership via email or Facebook accounts and can then get a free 10 day course, requiring just 10 minutes each day to learn the basics of meditation. Members can buy time-limited subscriptions to access additional courses as an in-app purchase – check the app for packages.  The app is available through the Apple App Store, Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.

Why it works for me

A Stanford study found that we average 60,000 thoughts per day, 90% of which are repetitive and the majority of these thoughts are often negative. This kind of gives some perspective to Einstein’s claim that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result! It was certainly the case for me as I often found myself becoming too caught up in my own thoughts to be effective during the day or switch off at night.

It was at a personal leadership course that I was first introduced to the concept of being more “mindful”, which led me to try the “Take 10” course after downloading the Headspace app – and I haven’t looked back since! After using Headspace I’ve found myself being more present in the moment and reduce the stress that often prevented me from focussing at work.

Of course these benefits have helped outside of the office – I still use Headspace to clear my mind before sleep most nights and earlier this year completed my first open water swim marathon. So yes it may sound cliché, but practicing a little mindfulness can change your life!

Note – The above is a personal post; any commentary on third party products and services in the post is not intended to be an endorsement by Telstra, which has no association with the mentioned products and services unless expressly stated otherwise.

 

App of the week: Inbox by Gmail

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 8, 2015

3 min read

Tired of not being able to sort your emails? Google’s new Inbox by Gmail might just be the App for you.

Let’s face it, the daily deluge of emails has needed a rethink for a while now.

If you’re like me, you’re probably juggling multiple email accounts: work, personal and, in some cases, a second personal email for a blog or a side business.

How many of us struggle trying to categorise using various make-shift filing systems? I’m always promising myself that I will look at all those saved emails later. But much like the sorting of my song playlists, the road to overstuffed inbox hell is paved with good intentions – and a lack of time.

But Inbox by Gmail is out to change all of that. After a week of using it, I admit I’m hooked. Not just on the rethink of form and function of the Inbox, but because unlike Google’s regular email app, this works across all my devices with ease and makes checking emails on my smartphone less of a hassle than previously.

What it is

A smart inbox that works with your Gmail . Only this one bundles similar messages so you can read them all at once (and get rid of them in one swipe). It allows you to PIN an email for easy access in the future, and you also can set REMINDERS so your inbox remains uncluttered. The SNOOZE feature is awesome and lets you put off reading messages for hours, days, week or, when you choose. Your emails come back when you have time, or are ready to deal with them. Then you simply hit DONE when finished.

Cool factors

Google’s promise is that Inbox will help you keep things more organised so you can get on with the things that matter more. It keeps its promise. The HIGHLIGHTS feature is my favourite. I can get most of the info I need without opening the message. The SEARCH feature is another bonus and saves me hours of looking through old emails. And admittedly, it does feel good to know I am more organised than I sometimes think I am.

Need to know

Like all email platforms, it’s not perfect. The DELETE function appears to be hidden. Messages will be only archived by swiping them. To delete you need to open the message. This is annoying and I’m hoping this gets fixed. But I’ll forgive this one quirk, since Inbox is built by the Gmail team and so comes with the spam protection of Gmail. And that along with its cool interface and colour scheme is awesome.

Available for use with Google Chrome on Android and iOS.

This is a personal post and does not imply any relationships between Telstra and the above mentioned products and services, or endorsement of those products and services by Telstra.

App of the week: Yahoo Weather

Tech and Innovation

Posted on June 1, 2015

3 min read

Tired of getting caught in the rain? Check the weather forecast on your smartphone.

Okay, it’s cold. Yup. Winter’s here. Still, we’re pretty lucky since we don’t have the same extreme cold climate as our friends experience during winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

Australia however, can have some very changeable weather patterns, including Melbourne’s legendary four seasons in one day.

Used to be that we relied on the weather updates on TV or the radio, but now, thanks to technology, it’s not just budding meteorologists that have access to real time data.

If you’re like me and obsessed with the weather –the right weather app is a must. I don’t know how many umbrellas I left behind last year because I got the weather wrong and didn’t feel like carrying them around. So this year I’m on a mission to get the weather down pat.

Say ‘hello’ to Yahoo Weather.

What it is:

Yahoo Weather’s claim is that whatever the weather it’s still beautiful. And it is, thanks to the app displaying your local forecast along with information on wind speed, rainfall and of course radar.

For me what makes this app exceptional are the Flickr photos showing gorgeous shots from each location chosen. These pics also change regularly for extra ‘appyness.

How it works:

Download to your smartphone, select the location you’re at (or where you want to check the weather) and get ready for your weather report.

The interface is simple – scroll left-to-right o move between locations, tap to add up to 20 cities. You can also see animated sunrises and sunsets, as well as wind, and pressure modules.

Why install it:

It doesn’t claim to be a professional meteorologist’s tool, but the smart interface and the interactive maps showing radar and satellite make this a cool must-have for amateur weather watchers.

The forecasts are accurate, so it’s great app for anyone needing to plan what to pack when travelling, or making sure the kids are rugged up warm for school.

It’s also a fun and interactive way to teach kids about how the weather works.

Cool factor:

You can submit your photos to Yahoo Weather by joining #projectweather on Flickr.

Perfect for when you travel as you can still use Celsius instead of having to try and convert to Fahrenheit.

This is a personal post and does not imply any relationships between Telstra and the above mentioned products and services, or endorsement of those products and services by Telstra.

App of week: Snake ’97

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 19, 2015

2 min read

The story behind how this simple yet genius app was created would be familiar to most of us.

Snake ‘97’s designer, Willem, damaged his smartphone and had to revert back to an old feature phone, which is when he realised that his high spec’d smartphone had one important thing missing… Snake!

150519-TEX0394-App-Of-The-Week---Snake-97_6Panel

You’ll be pleased to know that the app features:

– Old school controls – which will be harder to use than you remember without actual buttons!
– An old-school dot-matrix display
– Original monotone sounds – think ‘bleep bleep’
– 5 Classic game modes so you can go back to your Nokia day

As soon as I installed it the memories came flooding back and with more than five million downloads, it’s clear this one is an oldie but a goody.

Snake ’97 is available for download from Google Play or iTunes

The above is a personal blog entry and part or all of it is based on third party product descriptions, without further research; any commentary on third party products in the blog entry is not intended to be an endorsement by Telstra, nor does this blog entry imply any association with the mentioned products or their manufacturers.

Photo credit: Ben Tyers using imagery from Snake’97 app.

80’s gaming gets Telstra-fied

Tech and Innovation

Posted on March 23, 2015

2 min read

App of the Week: JobJam

This week we’re doing something a little bit cheeky and featuring one of our own games as our App of the Week – and we hope you love as much as we do!

Job Jam is a fun, old-school way to engage with some of the amazing careers that we have here at Telstra.

Based on those classic 80’s arcade games we all know and love, you can tap, swipe, shake, balance, trace – and connect with a world of possibilities. (more…)