How to Use your iPhone’s Health App

It’s true.  You can now use your iPhone’s Health App (and equipment connected to your iPhone) to track many of your body’s functions.  For example you can track your heart rate, the Oxygen saturation in your bloodstream, or the number of steps you walk.  If you have the iWatch, it can also track how far you swim, how long you stand, and other activities.

How to Use Your iPhone's Health App with Sleep CycleActivity

The iPhone’s Health App will automatically track your steps, flights of stairs climbed, and how many miles you’ve walked, but you do need to always have your phone with you in order for the data to be accurate. If you synch your iWatch with your iPhone, you have access to additional data that is much more accurate.

Mindfulness

There are a number of apps that you can connect to your iPhone’s Health App to help you meditate and practice mindfulness.

  • Calm: Calm has a few options available for free.  Most of the meditations require a monthly, annual, or lifetime subscription.  Calm also has bedtime stories to calm you down and help you to get a more restful nights sleep. Calm is rated 5 stars with 1482 reviews.
  • 10% Happier – Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: 10% Happier also has a few meditations available for free, with an option to purchase a monthly or annual subscription.  It also has a meditation to help you wind down for sleeping.  10% Happier is rate 5 stars with 676 reviews.
  • Headspace: Guided Meditation: Like the other two apps, Headspace requires a paid subscription to gain access to most of the meditations.  It is rated 5 stars with 592 reviews.

Try them out and see which one works best for you.  You may find that you don’t even need to sign up for a paid subscription

Nutrition

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any great apps to track your food intake.  The iPhone’s Health app does allow you to manually enter data which is very easy to do.  If you take vitamin supplements, you can also enter the amount of Vitamin A, B, etc., that you are consuming. Don’t forget to drink lots of water every day!

Sleep

Getting a good nights sleep is very important to your overall health. And collecting sleep data is the first step in understanding how your productivity is impacted by your sleep.  I looked at several different sleep apps, but only Sleep Cycle seems like it will work well:

  • Sleep Cycle doesn’t require that you place the phone under your pillow.  Instead it uses the microphone on your iPhone to track your sleep sounds to determine when you are sleeping and how deeply.  It even records you when you snore!  Sleep Cycle is rated 5 stars with 1340 reviews

Have you learned more about tracking your health with your iPhone? If you found this helpful, please forward it!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission if you sign up.)

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I’m Addicted To My Phone!

Does anyone else wonder if they spend too much time on their phone?  Too much time using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites?  I know for me there have been times when I have picked up my phone to (gasp!) make a phone call.  After I enter my passcode, it opens to the last screen I had active.  If it is Facebook, I’ll check my notifications, completely forgetting about that call.  Does that ever happen to you?

Social Media Apps on your phone
        Social Media Apps on your phone

It turns out it is designed that way.  From this month’s Atlantic Magazine article “Tristan Harris believes Silicon Valley is Addicting Us To Our Phones”:

“Messages, photos, and “likes” appear on no set schedule, so we check for them compulsively, never sure when we’ll receive that dopamine-activating prize. (Delivering rewards at random has been proved to quickly and strongly reinforce behavior.)” 

Even I remember that from my Freshman Year Psych class!

And who even knew there is an “Information Overload Day”, let alone an Information Overload Research Group?  They state that:

“Information Overload causes people to lose their ability to manage thoughts and ideas, contemplate, and even reason and think.  It has resulted in work days that never seem to end, completely destroying work/life balance.”

Tips:

What can you do to help yourself be more present and not focus so much on your phone and social media?

  1. Set up a schedule for using your phone to check email and social media.  Set a timer to limit your time to ten or twenty minutes.  Keep your phone turned off otherwise, except when you are expecting a call.
  2. Change your notifications so that you don’t receive an alert whenever you receive a new email, or Facebook message, or when someone has liked your Tweet.  (With my iPhone I receive an alert whenever I get a new email to my business account.  I’ve set it up so that I do not receive alerts for new personal emails.)
  3. Remove some (or all) Social Media apps from your phone and only access them from your computer.
  4. Ask everyone to put their phones in the center of the table during meals.
  5. Charge your phone at night in a different room, not right next to your bed.

I hope these tips are helpful!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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3 Tips to Creating a Secure & Strong Password

Last week, I wrote about the DDoS attack which occurred on October 21st.  That attack shut down many websites and apps, especially for users on the East Coast.  I recommended that you use a very secure and strong password. Please don’t use one of these most common passwords!

Use a Strong Password! Not these Common Passwords Source: http://i.imgur.com/FImcPiG.png
The Most Common Passwords
Source: http://i.imgur.com/FImcPiG.png

How to create a Strong Password:

It occurred to me that you may need some guidance to create a really secure and strong password. Here are some tips:

  1. First, the more characters in your password, the more secure it will be. According to mSecure, a four-character password can be cracked in under a minute, while an eight-character password can be cracked in five months.  A nine-character password can take up to 10 years to crack.  Notice I said “up to”.  Just using lots of characters doesn’t work if the password is easy to guess.  That’s why you also need:
  2. Next, think Complexity. Using a eight-character password like “password”, “Password”, or even “PasswØrd”, is too easy to guess.  Even a nine-character password like “password1” is relatively easy to crack.  The same goes for “Admin”, “administrator”, and “12345678”. These are common passwords that a lot of people use.  In order to make a password more complex, add symbols, capital letters, and numbers.  Using symbols or numbers in exchange for letters makes the password easier to remember.  For example swap out your “o” for an “Ø”, your “a” for “@”, or your “e” for a “3”.  You can even use a password generator like passwordsgenerator.net to generate a truly unique password.  I like this one because I can set the number of characters and whether or not I can use special characters like @#%& for a particular website.  Above all, when you go to enter your log in credentials:
  3. Finally, you must remember that very strong password!  Some ideas include a favorite book, your best friend’s name from second grade, or your grandparent’s street address. Just remember to add some additional complexity to make it even more secure.  For example, “Newport” can become “517Newport”, “NewpØrt”, or “Newport100”.  If you must write down your passwords, keep it in a secure place.  I use a password protected spreadsheet.

Please make it a point to use a secure and strong password on all of your internet connected devices.  Change it today!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Olympics!

Will you be following the Olympics?  More and more people I know don’t have cable or satellite TV service anymore and are wondering how to keep up. Here are some suggestions:

2016 olympic logo

  • If you do still have a TV with an antenna, tune your set to NBC.  If you are near a large city that still broadcasts, you should be able to pick it up.  (Unless you’re in Colorado’s Foothills!)
  • Your second option is to view it via NBC’s live stream:  Note that I had to reload the page a few times before it would start playing.  I’m guessing their servers are busy!
  • You can also try Sling.com.  They have a one week free trial.  Remember to cancel before the free trial ends though, or get ready to pay $25 per month.
  • You can also download the Olympic app on your phone:  Note that it’s not very intuitive and takes a while to figure out how to navigate it.  If you’re just looking for results, though, this is a good place to start.You can also get information about the upcoming Olympics in PyeongChang, Tokyo, and Beijing.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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5 Good Things to Know about Pokemon Go

Have you downloaded the new Pokemon Go App yet?  Are you playing it?  It seems to be taking the nation by storm! You can find out all about it at the Pokemon website: http://www.pokemongo.com and you can download it from the iTunes store or, for the Android from Google Play.

If you are playing, make sure you appropriately manage your security settings. (In fact you should always be careful with how much you share from your phone with game developers.)

pokemon_go_logo

Pokemon sure has been getting some bad press though. Consider some of these stories:

  • Veteran Memorial overrun by Pokemon players
  • Pokemon Go players go mad.
  • Falling, tripping, and other mishaps.

The Good News:

But it’s not all bad news.  There have been several good things to come out of this new craze.  For example, people with anxiety, autism and Asperger’s are finding the Pokemon Go helps them get out and be more social.  According to this article in Inverse:

 “… the game is reportedly helping people overcome anxiety and other mental health issues, bringing an array of players together under one common passion. Such has been the case for a few parents of autistic children, who have been sharing stories about the game easing their children into incredible social interactions.”

 Pokemon has helped people find things:

According to one story, two women found a toddler: “Looking for new Pokemon Friday night, as they’d done before, the two stumbled upon a little girl who looked to be no older than 2, crossing a busy street by herself.”

 Another teen found a missing man who had recently died.

Businesses have realized they can use Pokemon to their advantage.  In fact, this Forbes article is full of ideas that businesses can use to lure in more Pokemon players – and potential buyers!

“Instead, take a cue from this local indie clothing store, which got into the spirit of the game by saying, “come get your PokéBalls and previously rocked threads. Gotta catch ‘em all in style!” That’s bound to leave a positive impression, get people talking and, with the overwhelming media attention this game is getting, potentially get your local business some exposure in the press.”

And players are accidentally getting more exercise!  One friend posted this on her Facebook a few days ago:

“I’ve walked 26 miles this week playing Pokemon GO. This is the weight loss plan I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”

In fact there’s even a guide for people who want to do interval training!

“Interval training … is a workout where you push yourself as hard as you can in short bursts, rest, then repeat. … This kind of stop and go activity is perfectly suited for the walk-and-stop play of Pokémon Go, and knowing that you get to play while you exercise can be a huge motivator. You’ll collect items at PokéStops (like eggs that only hatch if you walk or run), hatch said eggs with the massive number of steps you rack up, wear down rival gyms so you can take over, find wild pokémon to catch, and get fit all at the same time.”

Is it all just a mad scheme?  How long do you thing this craze will last?

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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12 Smartphone Apps

There are some great applications out there for your smartphone – and a lot of them are free to download and use.  No matter who your carrier is, or which phone you have, you can find apps that appeal to your interests.  Here are some that I use, or that have been recommended to me.  I’ve also included the links so you can add them to your smartphone!

Any.Do – Organizing your life – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

Cocktail Flow – because not everyone still has a copy of Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide in their liquor cabinet – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

Dropbox – connect all of your devices (laptop, tablet, phone) and access all of your files in one place!  (Did you remember to backup your data today?  Dropbox does it for you.) – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

FxGuru – add special effects to your boring home video – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

Google Translate – This app translates text, symbols, and speech! – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

IMDb – Best place to find out what your favorite actor/director/producer is working on this year – Apple/ iTunes  or  Android

NASA – lots of archives, links, pictures, and video – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

Peppa’s Paintbox – because you’re still a kid at heart – Apple/ iTunes or Android

Shazam – you’re listening to a tune, but can’t remember the title?  Shazam it!  – Apple/ iTunes  or  Android

SwiftKey Keyboard – “super-accurate autocorrect and intelligent next-word prediction”.  I’d like some of that!  – Apple/ iTunes  or  Android

Twickets – lets you buy and sell extra tickets at (or below) face value.  Scalpers go elsewhere! – Apple/ iTunes   or Android

Weather Underground – one of the best weather apps out there – Apple/ iTunes  or  Android

Which apps are your favorites?  Let us know in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at www.GeekForHireInc.com. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides (Tier 3) onsite service to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

iPad Games For Your Cat

I’ve been hearing about games you can play with your cat on your iPad.  I decided to try a few and see how Dot (our cat) liked them.    I started with this article on MacLife.com.

I have a silly rule about applications for my phone and iPad.  All apps (except for the ones required for business) must be free!  Most of the free apps I found were published by Purina/Friskies.

If you don’t have a screen protector, I’d recommend getting one before letting your cat play with your iPad!

First we tried Cat Fishing 2.  Dot seemed interested in the fish swimming around the screen and watched them intently.  But she never tried to catch them or attack them in any way.  The game makes two sounds.  Dot didn’t seem to notice the fish bubbles, but when the iPad meowed at her, she jumped about a mile!

Cat Fishing 2
Cat Fishing 2

Next we tried Nifty Cat Games.  It showed a fly buzzing across the screen.  Before Dot could express an interest one way or another – a mere fifteen seconds later – this nifty screen popped up:

Time Out!
Time Out!

Next we tried Game for Cats.  I’m starting to think my cat just is too cool for the iPad.  Here’s a photo of her with the laser tag game:

Yawn....
Yawn….

I think we’ll just stick to the old fashioned cat toys!

Dot vs. Cat Toy
Dot vs. Cat Toy

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.