Jan 31, 2012

Logging Food by Scanning Bar Codes in Lose It!

When I originally wrote about Lose It!, a free (and fairly awesome) weight and exercise logging iPhone app, there were a number of things it had to make the entry of foods quick. For example, you can do any of the following to speed entry:
  1. Choose from your recently logged foods rather than searching it's huge database of foods.
  2. Enter a meal by finding a previous where you had the same menu and selecting that meal.
  3. Create a "recipe" from several different foods that you eat together and give it a name. Later, simply choose that recipe and you get the total calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. of all the foods in that recipe.
  4. If you're sitting in front of a computer, use the Lose It! web site, where you can take advantage of a full-sized keyboard.
Some time after I wrote that post, Lose It! added another feature to speed up logging. This feature was its best yet and one that I only recently started using: the ability to log food by scanning a bar code using the iPhone's camera. Obviously this only works on packaged food--which is sometimes not the best for you--but it's a real time saver. It even found foods that were not in it's own database by searching. I'm not sure why that is but it even found my Buffalo Rock Diet Ginger Ale, a local favorite here in Birmingham, which you'll never find by searching foods in the app.

So, if you are looking to lose weight this year, using Lose It! to stay within a calorie budget is a great way to go. Now that you can log foods by scanning bar codes, I've taken away your excuse that you don't have time to log your foods.

Jan 24, 2012

Tornado Safety Via Your iPhone

I talked with someone today who lives just a few miles from some of the devastation from the EF-3 tornado that struck Jefferson County, Alabama near Birmingham just two days ago. She didn't hear the sirens and I was surprised to find out that, despite the warnings by local meteorologists she didn't have a weather radio.  Another person nearby also didn't have a weather radio. They both, however, had iPhones, which gave them a cheap solution.

I wrote about an app called iMapWeather Radio right after the Super Outbreak of 2011 in my post entitled You Need a Weather Radio: Your iPhone Can Be That. This app will alert you with several beeps and the words "The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning" if there is a tornado warning. It also lets you decide which other watches and warnings you wish to be alerted for.  It also includes a radar map in case you don't have another app for that. (I personally like RadarScope for radar because it makes it possible to see tornados.) The iMapWeather Radio app, at $9.99, sounds expensive next to many of the $0.99 and $1.99 apps out there. But for the potential life-saving value, it's more than worth it...and it's cheaper than a dedicated weather radio.

Jan 17, 2012

Using Twitter to Follow Your Favorite Apps

You may look at the title of this and wonder: Why would I want to follow my favorite apps on Twitter? As I wrote in my Twitter: Why Should You Care post, Twitter is good for a multitude of things, including keeping you informed on the things you are interested in. But why apps? You use apps on your iPhone, or perhaps your iPad, but why keep track of them on Twitter.  Here are a few reasons to follow your favorite apps, or I should say, your favorite app developers:

Jan 12, 2012

Sharing To-dos with Orchestra on the iPhone

My memory isn't good enough to remember all that I need to do. I have to keep a to-do list or a lot of things just don't get done. As I wrote around this time last year, the one I use all the time on my iPhone is Appigo Todo, which I have synching automatically with Toodledo, a free, web-based to-do app. Although I've found this combination of iPhone app and web app to meet my needs for keeping up with my tasks, a new to-do app has caught my attention.

Orchestra is that new app. It was the top productivity app for 2011 in iTunes and it's easy to see why. It has a beautiful user interface and is a pleasure to use. Also, if you've followed my blog for long, you know that having a web app accompanying my iPhone app is important to me. Orchestra has that also. With it, you even have the ability to add tasks by simply talking to the app (which worked perfectly every time I tried it). It's killer features, however, are all social. It has the ability to share lists and, more importantly, to assign to-dos to other users.

Jan 5, 2012

Using an App to Track New Years Resolutions or Goals

One of the ways to help yourself achieve your resolutions or goals for the new years is to track your progress.  At the end of last year I went on a search for something to use on my iPhone to track my goals.  After searching the app store, reading reviews, and looking at features, I bought The Habit Factor when it was on sale of half price.

The Habit Factor is built on the idea that you set goals, decide what habits you want to develop to achieve them, and track those habits until they truly become habits.  With the app you can also track a percentage achievement of each goal, a feature common on most of the goal apps in the app store.

So far, the app is doing what I need it to but it's early in the year. There are a lot of goal tracking apps in the app store so this may or may not be the best. I'd encourage you to look around, read the reviews, and decide yourself. However, the bottom line is that you have a better chance of achieving your goals if you regularly track your progress toward them. It's easier to regularly track your progress if the means of tracking it is always at your fingertips.

Do you use an app for tracking goals or resolutions? If so, which one?

Jan 3, 2012

Reading Through the Bible with Your iOS Device

Many Christians make new year's resolutions to read through the Bible.  Some just take several chapters, starting at Genesis and reading through Revelations. Others find a plan, print it out, and keep it in their Bible, checking off each day as they go.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, there's an even simpler way using YouVersion for the iPhone or iPad.

YouVersion has hundreds of different reading plans, from reading through the Bible chronologically (which, if you haven't tried, gives you a new perspective on the history), to reading a few verses a day along with a devotional. Once you start a plan, you simply open the app that morning, or whenever you do your reading, and you are presented with the passages to read. Click them and start reading. The app keeps up with your progress and always shows you the right passages of Scripture for the current day.