Monday, February 6, 2012

In the Mix Monday--Yes there IS an App for that!!

Awhile back our lovely Ladies Holiday contributor, Christine, wondered warily if there was an App for her phone that wouldn't just keep track of her "holiday" but would send pop up notifications warning her of the impending dangers of PMS mood swings. While I still await such an ingenious invention, I do have a number of Apps that I have come to LOVE and really cannot do without. Why keep these gems to myself? Here is my ultimate list of...

Top Five Fave Apps:

1. The Cozi Family Organizer. This little beauty has literally transformed my family life. My partner and I used to share a Google calendar to keep track of each others appointments, the kids activities and community events that we might like to attend. That was great and all, but its usefulness pales in comparison to the Cozi. The Cozi has a ridiculously easy to use interface, a clean, simple, and cheerful design, and is versatile in that you can use it as an App on your smartphone, plus access it online. In fact, because of the online access you can use this calendar even if you don't have a smartphone. Share the log in info with your partner and you can both access and edit the same Cozi. The Cozi is more than just a calendar, it is a shopping list, a to-do list, a menu planner and more!! You can even set it up to text you your shopping list or calendar reminders. It is truly awesome. Cozi was voted the #1 mobile App for moms and is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smartphones.

2. Kik Messenger - Texting for Smartphones 
This is a FREE mobile App for FREE texting...did I mention how awesome the FREE part is?? KIK is an especially great value for those who have to pay for every text they send, as this App allows you to do it for...you guessed it...FREE. It is via KIK Messenger that The Ladies and I have an ongoing text chat that started months ago and is unlikely to end any time soon. Messages appear in "conversation bubbles" between yourself and the person or persons you are texting so it is easy to have a conversation with a group of friends if you like. KIK holds a special place in my heart because it is there that much of the ideas for this blog began. :) KIK is available for Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, as well as for smartphones running the Android operating system, Windows phones, Blackberry, and OVI. Get it!

3. I can't mention great Apps on a blog of this nature without mentioning iPeriod and WomanLog
both Apps are attractive, easy to use, and make keeping track of your feminine cycle simple and possibly even a little fun. These can also be great tools for keeping track of ovulation if you are trying to get pregnant...or if you are trying not to! Check 'em out ladies, you'll be glad you did.

4.  Amazon Kindle you can get this FREE App for a ton of devices. I will admit that I covet my partner's iPad and for the entire month of December I had my fingers crossed that Santa would bring me a Kindle Fire, but alas all this Lady has for now is one device...my beloved Android enabled smartphone. BUT that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy the benefits of eBooks on the go, thanks to the Amazon Kindle App. There are a ton of FREE books to download through the Kindle store, and the other books are reasonably priced. I still love the feeling of holding a good book in my hands, but for those times when I am on the go and want to travel light, an eBook on my phone does the trick.

5. I will nickname this The Best App to Obsess Over. What is it? Words with Friends by Zynga. Aside from the KIK Messenger, this is my next favorite way to connect with my friends. A little healthy competition, a little way to keep your brain working, a LOT of fun. This App is available on smartphones and can be played on facebook as well. There is even a little chat icon so you can razz your friend while you play ;) I find myself checking back throughout the day to see if it's my turn to play another word. I have not won a single game yet, but it's so much fun!!! This is a great way to add a little moment of fun for yourself throughout the day. Come on, hop on the trend...it's so fun!

So there you have it, my top five fave apps, some of which you can use right from your PC even if you don't have a smartphone. For those of you who don't yet have a smartphone or are looking for a cheaper option, I am a BIG fan of the many no-contract mobile options available today. Why be locked in? My beef with contracts is that even though you can often get an awesome phone for a super low price, you end up paying for the phone and then some over the course of a long contract, not to mention taxes and fees. I was stuck in that rut for a long time and it was very bad for my wallet!

Currently I use MetroPCS, I pay a FLAT rate of only $50/month never any more than that. For that one price I get unlimited talk, text, and web a great Android phone and NO CONTRACT.  Call quality is fantastic too. You do have to buy the phone outright, but the monthly savings makes it all worth it. You can get a decent starter smartphone for as low as $39 or one of MetroPCS's top of the line 4G LTE Android's with the faster processors (recommended by moi) for between $99 and $199 right now. Other carriers like Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and T-Mobile offer similar deals and plans without a contract.

Smartphones and cool Apps for the masses, yay!!

Yours in Tech-Love,
Tamar
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