Best Apps for Back to School

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on August 4, 2016.

It’s that time of year again–the dreaded Back to School! If you’re like me, when August rolls around and the store shelves are lined with backpacks, highlighters, composition notebooks, and other school supplies, you start having that familiar queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. For many of us August means our kids are (finally!) getting out of the house after a long summer and heading to school, while for others it’s a time to start fresh with a new school year. For some, myself included, it’s a bit of both. Wherever you find yourself this August, we have some apps that will help you transition smoothly into the back to school grind.

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Are Mobile Devices Healthy?

It’s easy to see that mobile technology has vastly changed the way we all connect over the last few decades. Today, we can connect with nearly anyone across the globe in just a few moments, and we have easy access to more information than we could read in a whole lifetime. As our world becomes more and more interconnected through mobile devices, many people have questioned the effects of this interconnectedness on our mental and physical health as well as the health of our relationships. On one side, people praise mobile technology for making everyday tasks much simpler and faster, and making it easier to stay connected to loved ones. On the other side, many people wonder if the pervasiveness of mobile tech is making us more anxious and disconnected than ever.

This debate is multifaceted and complicated, so to help you sort through your own relationship with mobile devices, we’ve rounded up a selection of books offering different perspectives on mobile devices, how we use them, and how they’re affecting us.

Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers

At a time when we’re all trying to make sense of our relentlessly connected lives, this book presents a bold new approach to the digital age. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, Hamlet’s BlackBerry sets out to solve what William Powers calls the conundrum of connectedness. Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose an enormous burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave. Hamlet’s BlackBerry argues that we need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. To find it, Powers reaches into the past, uncovering a rich trove of ideas that have helped people manage and enjoy their connected lives for thousands of years. New technologies have always brought the mix of excitement and stress that we feel today. Drawing on some of history’s most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, he shows that digital connectedness serves us best when it’s balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness.

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The Best Apps for Managing Stress

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 4/27/17.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In the short-term, low level stress can help us focus and improve our performance. It can give us the boost we need to finish a big project or make an important decision. However, I think we can all agree when we say that an overabundance of stress is the absolute worst.

First, a quick primer on stress: Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life.  When your brain perceives a threat (anything from a fast approaching deadline to a fast-approaching wild animal), it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This “fight-or-flight” response fuels you to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Once the threat (or stress-inducing trigger) is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. However, given the nonstop complications of modern life,  many of us rarely return to that relaxed state, merely hopping from one stressor to another.

It’s easy to get stressed out from day-to-day demands. Luckily, there are healthy ways to manage your stress.

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Top 5 Apps for Spring

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 4/6/17.

Spring is here and it’s time to clear out and simplify our lives. To make your lives easier we rounded up some cool apps that will help you de-clutter, shape up, and get organized. Let’s do this!

 

FileThis app

1. FileThis

Voted one of the top 12 apps you should be using (but aren’t!), FileThis is a bill organizer and money manager to help you finally get those pesky receipts under control. FileThis can create bill reminders and track all of your account balances. Even better, it uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to automatically label and tag all of your documents, receipts, and statements, making them searchable. It will automatically create and name searchable PDFs that you can store where you choose, including Dropbox.

Free for iOS and Android

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Apps to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions!

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 1/5/17.

Happy New Year! Ready to grab the New Year by the horns? If you’ve made a few resolutions for the new year, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are tons of apps out there that can help you on your way to success. To help you achieve your goals, we’ve rounded up apps that will support some common resolutions that people set.

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Tech Talk Thursday: Apps & Gadgets Bonus Edition!

This Monday the library hosted its annual Winter HSL Info Expo. As always, our Apps & Gadgets segment was a crowd pleaser. Because there are so many great apps and fun gadgets out there, it’s hard to cram them all in to a 15 or 20-minute presentation. Inevitably some of these don’t make it to the final Info Expo. But because we know how much everyone loves Apps & Gadgets, for this month’s Tech Talk Thursday, we’re bringing you four bonus apps and gadgets for your perusing pleasure!

Read on  for more apps & gadgets for your holiday shopping lists

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Tech Talk Thursday: The Best Apps for Better Sleep

The end of Daylight Savings time, another tell-tale sign that we are swinging into the autumn and winter months, is this Sunday – don’t forget to reset your clocks! My favorite part about the end of Daylight Savings (besides the fact that it means the holidays are coming), is that we get an extra hour of sleep as the clocks fall back an hour on Sunday morning. I personally always can use an extra hour of sleep, and chances are, you can too – according to the CDC, more than a third of American adults are not getting at least 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, causing chronic sleep deprivation. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress. To encourage you to focus on getting better sleep, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sleep apps to help you track your sleeping habits, fall asleep faster, and sleep more soundly.

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Tech Talk Thursday: Say Hello to the New iPhone(s)!

By now you’ve probably heard about the new phones Apple has announced this year, the Apple iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus,  and the Apple iPhone X.  The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have just been released, while the iPhone X  is available for pre-order. If you’re in the market for a new phone, you may be wondering about the differences between the devices and if it’s better to buy one over the other. Today, we’ll break down the options with an overview of some key similarities and differences in Apple’s latest iOS mobile devices.

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Best Apps for Back to School

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on August 4, 2016.

It’s that time of year again–the dreaded Back to School! If you’re like me, when August rolls around and the store shelves are lined with backpacks, highlighters, composition notebooks, and other school supplies, you start having that familiar queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. For many of us August means our kids are (finally!) getting out of the house after a long summer and heading to school, while for others it’s a time to start fresh with a new school year. For some, myself included, it’s a bit of both. Wherever you find yourself this August, we have some apps that will help you transition smoothly into the back to school grind.

Continue reading