Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tracking Calories is Easy and Motivating with this FREE App

Dieting is just plain difficult. Here's a useful app that can do many things to help you achieve that weight loss goal. There are a variety of calorie counters and exercise software but I found one that is robust, easy to use and motivating.

Watch Your Weight Loss Trend

I'm only going to speak to the software here...nothing specific to dieting.

The app is called My Fitness Pal and it's FREE. It works on iPhone or iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8 and on the web. My Fitness Pal provides an easy method to enter food intake each item and show calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar and sodium you consumed for each item eaten. At the end of the day it shows what your weight will be in 5 weeks time.

None of us knows calories for everything we eat but My Fitness Pal does. The software has an extensive list of food items for you to choose from. Simply begin typing the food item and search. Choose the size of the serving and number of servings (sometimes you have 1/2 a serving or 2 servings). You can even type a chain restaurant name and hit search to see their menu items including calories for each. Even fast food stores are included. My Fitness Pal can even use the phone's camera to scan a package's bar code to record the item and calories. Amazing!

A day's worth of meals with calories, etc.
Search and select foods you have eaten.

My Fitness Pal allows you to track exercise and how they contribute to weight loss. It even has activities like general gardening, water skiing and exercise machines in it's database and the calories burned for every minute of the activity.

Enter Cardio Exercises

My Fitness Pal has you create an account with password so you can use it across different devices and on the web. Then, each day, enter all of the following:

  • Weight
  • Food consumed at each meal, including snacks
  • Water consumed
Now this is motivation!

The most motivating parts are how exercise contributes to weight loss. Even simple walking. Then, at the end of the day, My Fitness Pal shows what your weight could be in 5 weeks time if every day was like today.

Here is how to get started.

  • Install the FREE software.
  • Create an account and password.
  • Create a profile with your weight, goal weight and how many days you exercise.
  • It then establishes a daily calorie goal.
  • Start tracking.

Entering food items per meal is much easier than I thought. After two meals worth I had it down and now it takes just a minute or so for each meal.

I use My Fitness Pal to enter every meal, snack and exercise for each day. After dinner I can see if I have available calories for dessert.

Here are some more iPad and Android screenshots.

Entering with my phone is easy too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Need to straighten a picture? Don't go to the garage for a level, grab your smartphone.

Hanging a picture but need a level? Grab your phone to get a quick level. Check and hang that picture properly.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Some have a cost but most bubble level apps are FREE!
There were No fewer than a dozen iPhone Level apps with most being FREE. Just between you and me, don't pay a penny over FREE.
Heavens, there were even 9 Level apps for the iPad.
The Google Play Store, for Android phones, shows 27 level apps. Wow!
I'll bet there are FREE Level apps for Windows Phone too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wireless Speaker for your smartphone or tablet

Do you like listening to music from your smartphone or tablet? Well I've been using a terrific and small wireless speaker and I just love the sound.

Speakers on smartphones and tablets are traditional bad...well mostly bad. At least my 3rd generation iPad speaker just doesn't put out good sound at all.
Check out the Logitech Mini Boombox. It is truly wireless. It has a rechargeable battery lasting a whopping 10 hours and connects via Bluetooth. The sound is rich and full. Even with the small size, it is pure stereo sound as there are two speakers in the case. Don't be fooled by the small size either. I leave this little baby plugged next to the TV and let er rip. I can take it outside too. It even doubles as a speaker phone.

First time connection via bluetooth is amazingly quick for the smartphone as well as the iPad. Check out this review from Tweak Town on the Logitech Mini Boombox. Suggested retail price is $99.99 but I purchased it from for $85.78 and am very happy with the purchase.
Tell me about one of your cool gadgets.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You SHOULD (read must) backup your PC. This is what I use.

Everyone should have a backup plan for their data on their PC. In fact, experts say you should have two regular backups with one of them being stored off-site. Off site meaning either in the cloud or at some one's home or office. I do a backup to an external hard drive each month and I also backup to the cloud using SugarSync.

SugarSync works quietly in the background and it saves everything. That is, when the computer is not active, Sugarsync takes over and synchronizes to the cloud. Very easy and reliable. I choose the folders I want synchronized and let it go. Use Sugarsync to restore a PC whenever necessary.

To start, go to the SugarSynch (or choose the link below to get an extra 500 mb of space) and get 5 megabytes of FREE space. If you require more space, an annual fee is charged. I've been using the annual plan for over 3 years and feel very comfortable that my computer data is backed up the moment I change it. 30 gb of space costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Additional plans are available.

I also use this same Sugarsync account on my Android phone to, in the background, back up photos I've taken. Once it backs up I delete the photos from the phone. Photos go from the phone, to the cloud and then down to my PC. What a seamless way to get photos to my PC. No e-mail, no plugging the phone in to my PC. It just happens.

SugarSync is also available for iPhone and iPad. I can use my iPad to open Word documents or photos that have been stored on the cloud. I can even update those documents and the changes are saved in the cloud and then down to my PC.

There are other products that do the same things. Click here for a comparison. I use some of them but SugarSync is the final place for my PC backups.


I’ve been using SugarSync and think you might like it. With SugarSync, you get 5GB of free storage to backup, sync, and share your music, photos, documents, and more. SugarSync also lets you access all of your data right from your mobile phone.

Click the link below to join SugarSync. When you join, you and I will each get an extra 500MB of bonus storage!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Note Raking With an iPad is a Joy

Although note taking might be considered a lost art, we all scribble notes virtually every day. Can we take notes using an iPad? Of course we can and we can do it simply and easily.

I took cryptic notes when I went to meetings and still do at my local computer club meetings. I used to take a note pad but now use my iPad.

Let's define simple for a moment.

  • Screen is not crowded with feature buttons.
  • Instructions are easily understood by non computer people.
  • The average person can figure out how to use the app even without the directions.

My personal favorite note taking app is called Penultimate (say Pen and Ultimate). This very simple to use app does one thing, it lets you hand write notes. That's it. Penultimate's User Guide is hand written and only 9 pages. See 4 pages of the guide below.

Penultimate is 99 cents and, in my opinion,  worth every single penny. By the way, this is NOTE 99 cents per month--just 99 cents PERIOD.

The next note taking app is called Notes and included with the iPad. Off course this means it is FREE and it too is very simple and easy to use. Contrary to Penultimate, Notes allows note taking via typing. That's it. Just open a blank note by touching the '+' and start typing. Save and start a new note.

I know what you're thinking, can't we get a single app that does both handwriting as well as typing. Absolutely but that will be for another day. For now, I strongly encourage simple to use apps that provide common value and Penultimate and Notes fill that bill perfectly.

Please share your favorite note taking app or even your favorite apps. I'd love to read about them.