Try these apps for all your computer needs.
It’s an exciting time in the tech world. Virtual reality is growing, augmented reality is integrated into our apps (looking at you, PokémonGO), and it’s never been easier to share and access information. The app store is filled with apps that can track everything from your heart rate to the number of times you have fed your pet, and if you wanted to, you could control your entire home from your tablet. There are a lot of options out there and you probably have your go-to apps, but here are a few tips on how to use your daily apps in a new way and incorporate a couple new ones to your arsenal:
Hopefully, you are using calendars to keep track of that internship, coursework, and job that you are balancing (If not, Google Calendar is a great place to start). Consider using the toggle feature of your calendars. For example, you can create a separate “Office Hours” calendar with recurring events with each professor’s scheduled office hours. Toggle it on and off whenever you need it – and avoid digging up your syllabus every time you want to visit them.
Interesting calendars are also super useful. Whether you’re trying to keep up with the Kardashians, the Presidential Debates, your preferred sports team, or the latest rocket launch, Google’s interesting calendars have you covered. To add one, open your calendar on the web, and in the sidebar, click the dropdown next to “Other Calendars” and select “Browse Interesting Calendars.” You can also add any calendar you find on the web by clicking “Add by URL.”
Your browser’s best friends. You can add a grammar checker to double check those pesky homophones before you send out your next tweet (see Grammarly below) or add a password vault like LastPass to keep track of your passwords, automatically populate username and password combinations, and generate new ones to keep your information secure. Scrible’s toolbar extension is great for annotating web pages for research, and Right Inbox allows you to schedule your emails, add private email notes, and set email reminders.
There are too many comma rules to keep track of, and prepositions? Don’t get me started. Grammarly is not just going to make sure you are using ‘your’ correctly on Facebook, but it also will ensure your term paper’s introductory phrase has a comma exactly where it belongs. It integrates with your browser, can give you suggestions for word choice, and can edit right along with Word on your desktop.
IFTTT (If This Then That)
How awesome would it be to receive an email with the latest news articles right to your inbox, have your phone automatically create a file to back-up your contacts, and receive a notification of what weather to expect every morning before your alarm goes off? IFTTT does this and so much more! The beauty of this program is its ability to take simple tasks and automate them. You can choose from a variety of apps that have adopted the services of IFTTT (Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote, to name a few) and pick from the tasks that people have programmed called “recipes.” Alternatively, you can create your own “recipes” and make sure you never miss the latest Netflix releases.
Take care of your eyes!
If you want to avoid loss of sleep and vision from looking at the blue-hued light from your favorite devices at night, take a good look at F.lux. This program allows you to adjust the color hue of your screen to a warmer setting – great for those late night papers! There is a lot of flexibility on how warm you want your screen to look, and F.lux automatically adjusts the screen based on the position of the sun and your preferences. Of course, you can easily disable it for an hour if you are doing photo/video editing or graphic design that requires true-to-tone colors.
I could dedicate an entire blog to everything that is out there – but luckily, others already do! The Verge is a great source for all things tech. Technology and apps are made to simplify our lives and provide peace of mind; they have changed the way we engage with our devices. Whether in the form of the latest game or a productivity program, new apps will emerge to meet the current consumer demand, and it is up to us to determine what can be useful for our daily routines and our lifestyles.
Raquel Baudrit is the Vice President of the NSCS National Leadership Council and a student at American University. The NLC can be found on Twitter at @NSCS_NLC and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/the.nscs.nlc.