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Tech Benefits

Nike+ iPhone AppTry These Cool Apps

Computers initially were built to solve complex equations. but spitting out pi to the 15,000th digit doesn’t do much for most folks. Now computers and their progeny—smartphones and tablets especially—have evolved to offer big benefits in nearly every aspect of your life, often for free or at low cost. Here’s how technology can help you to get more from exercise, manage your ideas and money, boost your creativity, and even save that neglected garden project.


Runkeeper or Nike+: [iPhone/Android app]
Map your outdoor runs by keeping your smartphone with you, but also track your indoor exercise. With either app, you’re motivating yourself not to break the chain. [runkeeper.com, nike.com/nikeplus; RunKeeper offers free plans, Nike+ occasionally free, works best with separate shoe tracker]


EvernoteEvernote: [iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Desktop, Web]
Throw your images, notes, scribbled drawings and great ideas into a big Web catch-all, then instantly search it out later. Personal testimony: It’s a great way to track gift ideas—snap a photo, type, upload. [evernote.com, free with paid upgrades offered]


HomeRoutines: [iPhone, iPad]
Break down your insurmountable, self-replicating household chores with this smart app. Bring it up when you have time to clean, and it directs you to what still needs doing and gives you “zones” to focus on for larger jobs and seasonal work. It’s a cold, robotic mother, but one you still can silence. [homeroutines.com, $3]


Adobe Photoshop Touch Apps: [iPad apps]
Use your iPad like an easel, or create a palette for Photoshop on your computer, with a few cheap, creativity-boosting apps. Color Lava lets you mix colors, dab and swirl. Eazel is more straight-ahead finger painting, with wet and dry paint options that actually “dry” over time. [iPad App Store (on device); Eazel, $2.99, Color Lava, $2.99]

EasyBloomEasyBloom: [gadget]
Technically the “Black & Decker PlantSmart,” this device goes into the ground, monitors soil and sunlight, then tells you what would best grow there or how the plant you have there is doing. Experienced gardeners need not apply, but blackthumbs can shorten their trial-and-error time and earthly guilt. [easybloom.com, $46.99 on amazon.com]


Mint.com: [Web application]
This free, multi-account, tracking tool lets you visualize, monitor and make sense of all your money—credit cards, checking and savings, investments, and even real estate. Intimidating? Yes. But it uses the same security back-end as your online banking. Even when you’re offline, Mint can text you when accounts get low or your spending gets a bit hefty. [mint.com, free]


Stand or Die!: [website]
As you might have read recently, sitting at a desk all day is doing nothing great for your health. This simple but effective online timer tracks your time sitting, reminds you to stand every so often and can track your total sitting over time if you log in with a Google/Gmail account. [standingclock.com, free]

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