All posts filed under “Lifestyle

Depicting things that have an impact culturally.

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Squawkin app is a fresh take on secured social networking

Social networking and instant messaging apps are nothing new to the mobile climate. Something inside us yearns to communicate, and yet we all want different ways to do it. Not long ago it was all based on aesthetics but that has gradually shifted to privacy.

The recently released Squawking app takes that wish for security and the need to communicate to the next level. Using a hand-built network, the service provides flexibility and control the likes of which have never been seen before. Information the user chooses to delete doesn’t just disappear from the users device but also Squawkins servers. The feel of the app isn’t new and that is a good thing. Anyone who has used Kik, WhatsApp or even Facebook Messenger should feel right at home. Content ranges from text to video to audio and it all just works.

An interesting feature to Squawkin is the Crowds messaging. The idea of group messaging isn’t new and to be honest usually poorly done. Crowds is different, it is more of a small social network than a group chat. The admin for the group can quickly add or delete members without jeopardizing the thread. Another nice touch is the ability to add someone simply by name or username, no cumbersome friends lists or tiring searches. This feature is a certain hit for families, clubs or businesses. Another nice touch is the ability to message all, some or one of your groups at once.

Visually, the app isn’t anything special. It is however easy to navigate and feel at home in. While I see it hard to replace many of the messaging apps that have been on user’s home screens for years, there is still a market for Squawkin and those who adopt it won’t be disappointed. Oh yeah, its FREE so you have nothing to lose.

iTunes | Android 

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Google reveals the Nexus 6 — A 6-inch phone running Android Lollipop!

Today Google finally pleased all the smartphone lovers out there by revealing its latest Nexus handset, the Nexus 6. The six represents the screen size of the device as it is officially listed to have a 5.96″ HD display that’s larger than both the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus.

I love the aesthetics, but this thing is insanely huge!

Other techie specs include a Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, a 3220 mAh battery, and two front-facing speakers. It also will come in a 32 or 64GB option with blue or white.

The Nexus 6 will be available to preorder on October 29th, and it’ll be available in stores beginning in November. You’ll be able to buy it unlocked for $649 or on a monthly contract, with the usual cellular provides such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

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BeerTab for iOS is the perfect app for craft beer snobs

Recently I started using DayOne, the uber popular diary/journal app to keep track of movies I’ve watched, books I’ve read, and beers I have enjoyed. Being a huge craft beer guy I love being able to discuss the beverages I have enjoyed and I also like to keep a running track of earlier brews for future comparisons. Thing is, DayOne isn’t built for just that and as easy as it is to search through hashtags I am a lazy heathen and I just want my beer all up in my face.

When I stumbled across BeerTab for iOS I quickly realized that my prayers were answered. BeerTab is, for all intents and purposes, the DayOne of beer apps. Where apps like BeerHunt and Untappd have gone the social route BeerTab has chosen to make the app about you. No bloated timelines. No Gamifying. Just you and your beer. Salute.

On first launch of the app I was blown away by how clean the design is. Apps like this show why Apple went the way it did with the design overhaul of iOS 7.  The clean design is welcoming and almost invites you to explore all sections of the application. One of my favorite features upon first launch were the themes. Straight up, the “Boston Brew” theme is incredible and something I will enjoy when I watch the Sox drinking a Sam Adams (try the Utopia if you can find it, it is life changing).

The core concept here is that you don’t need a social network to enjoy a good beer or to rate it. The input, rating and storing of your beer info in BeerTab is stunning. What shocked me about inputting beers was how many options I had. You can input it all manually,  search by name or scan the beers barcode. Another thing that really stuck out to me was how many beers were in the database, a nice touch for us craft beer snobs. Once you input your beer you can choose to add a picture and then get to rating.  As you slide the “appearance”, “taste” and “aroma” sliders over the overall rating goes up or down.

Honestly, if this was all this app did I would be very happy. Lucky for us there is more though. Once you enter the killer new IPA you and your hipster posse have enjoyed you have to share it with the world, right? BeerTab has you covered. Sharing your beer doesn’t lead to some cheesy app page but rather a unique web site with all the info you entered about said beer.  Also, you can change how the beers you have entered are sorted and searched.

If you enjoy a good beer and want to keep a running tab (see what I did there?) of the beers you drink this is the app for you. BeerTab is currently $1.99 in the iTunes App Store and worth every penny, even if it means you get one less PBR.

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Swingnow suite of apps helps maximize your workflow

As more of my daily life revolves around the data stored in my iPhone, I am constantly looking for tools to enhance my day-to-day grind.  I have settled on the amazing simple and powerful Mailbox for my email, Fantastical for my calendar, and shockingly the default contacts app for my contact needs. Each of these three components play an important part in my daily, weekly and monthly planning.

However…

What if all three of these apps could be connected? iOS and Android have tried but the default calendar and email apps for almost every operating system suck. Yup, I said it, they flat-out suck. This is where Swingnow steps in. In releasing three separate but integrated apps they help to connect your world and data in a way never fully visualized before.

Swingmail, the companies email app is anchored in the idea of being focused on the past. Email is, for all intents and purposes, communication that is constantly in the past. By putting email in its place and taking it a week at a time more time is freed up for living in the now. The layout of the app is absolutely gorgeous and its minimal style gets out the way of usage. The app is simple but not in a way that diminishes power.

Swingbook is phase two in the master plan. Your contact book is important even if you don’t open it daily like you do a calendar or email client.  I find myself opening Swingbook often as it is no longer just a list of contacts but rather a running log of the people I have communicated with recently. Having the option of opening an app, that just like Swingmail, is esthetically pleasing is always a bonus. Knowing that I can quickly text, email or call the people I am working with in some capacity is also another nice touch.

Sadly, I don’t know if we are ready for that kind of work flow. I like my chaos and I prefer to manage it and not conquer it.

The last part is Swingcal. Swingcal’s focus is on eliminating clutter to allow for focus. This app maybe too minimalistic for most though. Being connected to the other apps gives it a good backbone but the lack of information presented left me wanting more. I live in my calendar and I want the things that Fantastical does so well available.

The Swingnow suite of apps is refreshing. If you want a way to maximize your workflow and aren’t already set on a certain email or calendar app this is for you. It’s also free so even if you are like me and swear by an email or calendar client it doesn’t hurt to give it look over.  The power of the Swingnow suite is as promised, it consolidates, filters and ranks the things that you need in each app when you open them. Sadly, I don’t know if we are ready for that kind of work flow. I like my chaos and I prefer to manage it and not conquer it.

The apps are beautiful, the apps have potential and even if you don’t want to change how you do things they definitely call for a look.

You can download all three apps here:
Swingmail: http://appstore.com/swingmail
Swingbook: http://appstore.com/swingbook
Swingcal: http://appstore.com/swingcal 

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The Marksmen EP [Review]

New bands are a dime a dozen. Everyone wants to tell you about some new band you have to listen to; and for me, that was the case with The Marksmen.  I found myself thinking, “do I have time to listen to another up and coming band?” For me the answer is usually no, but when I read the bio for The Marksmen they had my attention. Describing themselves as “the bastard offspring of bands including “The Subliminal Girls”,  “Rhesus”, “The Inevitable Pinhole Burns”, “The Microdance’ & ‘Heapy.” I found myself intrigued by the edge they displayed in something as simple as a bio.

The Marksmen are an alternative rock band based out of London. Taking a different approach to the release of their music. They aren’t releasing an album or singles but rather an EP that is full of angst, catchy hooks and just a little punk rock attitude.  Some bands do it for the money or the fame, I don’t get that feel from The Marksmen though. You can tell they enjoy making music and it makes me want to enjoy their music.

“Sapphire” is throwback to days past. It sounds like it could be at home on an 80’s movie soundtrack. The lyrics are addicting, the guitar is blaring and my feet found themselves stomping to the beat. The song made me feel young and free and rebellious.

“Fashionably Unninvited” takes it down a notch. The sultry female vocals are warm and the synth line is hard to ignore.  This song takes the angst in a different direction. It finds me reflecting on the long drives I used to take on the crowded California freeways, free but wondering how free one could really be.

“Subway” comes at you hard and aggressive. Unlike the first two tracks this song flat-out rocks. The guitar is heavy, the vocals are sexy and drums drive like they have somewhere to be. The punk rock influence of this song is hard to miss. When the solo comes in it’s as if a melodic high point has been reached. The best way to describe this song is raw and powerful.

While there may be a million new bands for you too listen too few set themselves apart like The Marksmen. They aren’t peddling a product but rather inviting you into their art, and it’s a place that is warm, inviting and full of toe tapping goodness.

Listen to the The Marksmen EP below.

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Women read more eBooks than Men, both like Kindle and iPhone more [Infographic]

Everyone knows that technology is taking the world by storm, changing the way we do things day-to-day. Nothing represents that change more than mobile technology such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and etc. A survey conducted by Publishing Technology, an Infographic shows the way women and men satisfy their e-book appetites.

The infographic shows that women read far more e-books than men, and that the preferred devices of choice is Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPhone. Samsung smartphones came in second behind Apple.

What’s your go to device to read on?

TECH mobile reading infographic-page-001

Feature Image: Karin M (Flickr)