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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Gadgets-Reviews

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Apps to wake you up!
Gagandeep Singh Sapra, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 31, 2012
First Published: 22:53 IST(31/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:20 IST(1/1/2013)

A New Year has dawned, and brings with it so many targets, so many things to do, and so much stuff to track. Whether it is about organising your day better or seeing all your appointments at a glance, or keeping yourself abreast of the world at a single click, here are applications that know what it takes for you to get your day started on the right note.


Please note that the three applications serve different operating systems, though. At least one of the applications given below should work for you.

Day One for Mac (iOS: Rs.270; MacOSX: Rs.550)

In this day and age, lugging a diary around may not be really practical. Especially when digital replacements are dime-a-dozen. If you are an Apple groupie, the application for you is Day One. Besides acting as a daily diary, Day One helps you capture moments, pictures, weather information and location information from your GPS (geographical positioning system), and enables sharing information over social media networks with your friends and family or simply over the email. The best part is that you don't need to carry any additional stuff:  wherever your iPhone or iPad goes, it follows!  You can come back and edit stuff on your Mac at your convenience, when you want - never risking leaving your 'diary' behind.

Day One also has an integrated calendar, so you can go back to past dates and make notes, maybe build your own journal, scrap book, or a digital chronology as you like.

All of this backs up to iCloud (internet storage) or your compatible independent Dropbox account. It synchronises across devices, and can even be password-protected.


Chameleon Launcher (Android Tablets: Rs. 217.60)

When at home, I check weather updates, appointments for the day and social media updates. At office, I like to be greeted with a list of to-dos, a clock and my RSS (really simple syndication) feeds. When on the move, YouTube videos and Instagram photo updates are my staple,while I also keep an eye on Twitter updates. Typically, all this means multiple applications and a change of screens. That was before I got my hands on the Chameleon Launcher dashboard app.

Designed as a home screen replacement for Android tablets, it lets you create multiple home screens with widgets and preferred layouts. You could have a home screen for office, one for home, and even one for the gym. Developers have made widgets for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, RSS readers, clock and calendar to go with this, and more widgets are in the pipeline. (A widget is a software app that can be installed or executed in a web page by a user. )

With the app, you don’t need to change home screens manually. Programme the GPS location or wi-fi network ID and the homescreen changes automatically when you move from one zone to the other. You can also make a customised app tray made up of shortcuts to most-used apps and navigate without scrolling through that long app list on your tablet.

Some more widgets, like a mail app or a stock chart would be welcome additions. Even as it is, the Chameleon Launcher is guaranteed to transform your Android tablet into a mine of rich information.


News Bento for Windows 8 (Free)

When Microsoft launched Windows 8, it really set the ball rolling for touchscreen-friendly work from the world's most famous desktop operating system. It is an emerging platform, and with laptops and tablets set to go mainstream all through 2013, is beginning to look very interesting.

Having seen the technology that Microsoft is building around Windows 8, I can promise that it is set to go places, and soon. What Windows 8 really lacked was a single news consolidation app. Then, News Bento happened.

News Bento makes your news updates fall in place. You can select sources - such as mainstream sites like hindustantimes.com or off-beat ones such as www.freakonomics.com. As long as the website can serve an RSS feed, this app will put together an interesting collection of articles. And News Bento even has a Google reader integration.

The app gives you the latest news at your fingertips, served to you fresh in bed in a beautiful magazine view, and has a feature to make additional secondary tiles if you are unhappy with one tile for the application. Such applications give you the advantage of packaging the kind of news feeds you like with features that make you feel there is an editor or publisher working specially for you.


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