Guest post for Naznin Azeez – A girl’s guide to making the most of her smartphone!

Good morning readers. Today starts very well, very well indeed as I’ve just had my first guest post published on Naznin Azeez’s blog. Check it out!! 

There are so many ways our smartphones make our lives easier. But did you know that there are some apps designed for women? With our busy lives, these apps help us out in little ways that make a big difference. Here are our favorite apps for women on android phones.

Find My Phone

This app will help you locate your phone if it gets lost or stolen. Using GPS technology, the app will send you the exact location of your phone using a map and coordinates. All you have to do is send your phone a text message and the app will respond with this information. You can also wipe your phone if it has been stolen.

Circle of 6

A security measure no woman should be without, Circle of 6 lets you alert a select group of contacts, like your parents or emergency contacts, if you are in danger. Instead of taking the time to take out your phone and dial for help, the app will ping your six pre-determined emergency contacts with your location so they can get help.

Weight Watchers Mobile

If you’re looking to slim down, then this is the app for you. It will let you keep track of your calories and even suggests healthier food choices if you hit a craving. It also sends you health news and helps you connect with other Weight Watchers.

Stylebook

Do you ever have one of those days when you have a closet filled with clothes but you can’t decide what to wear? Stylebook helps you keep a record of all the things in your closet and then makes suggestions based on your favorite outfits and personal style taste so you never have to get stuck in a fashion rut.

Salaah: Muslim Prayer

This app aims to help you perfect your Salaah, with pictures and descriptions of all the different motions and steps involved based on the Quran and the Sunnah. It has been verified by prominent Ulema from around the world.

What are some of your favourite apps?. Do you use any of the above mentioned apps?. Sound off in the comments below!

Note from me: Thanks yous so much to Naznin for publishing my piece onto your blog. This experience has truly been a pleasure! Everyone, go check her blog out: http://nazninazeez.wordpress.com/

How your smartphone can monitor your health

Smartphones can be all kinds of fun. You can download games, music, TV shoes and even movies and enjoy them on your phone. But did you know that you can use your phone to keep you healthy too? Here are some of our favorite apps designed to help you monitor your health while on the go.

Weight Watchers Mobile 

If you’re trying to lose weight, then this is the app for you! Inspired by the popular weight loss program of the same name, the Weight Watchers app helps you stay on top of your diet by letting you scan barcodes to get nutritional information, suggests healthy choices, and keeps you up-to-date with diet tips, health news, exercises to try, and even success stories from others who have tried the program.

 Glucose Buddy 

The perfect choice for diabetics, this app lets you keep track of your blood glucose levels by letting you make a note of them in the app’s log. It will also help you keep track of your carbohydrate count, make a graph of your sugar levels, or even send you a reminder when it’s time to do another blood test.

Cardiograph

 This one lets you turn your phone into an instant heart rate monitor. All you have to do is touch the screen with your fingertip and the app will interpret the arterial changes, thereby determining the beats per minute. It will also convert the data to a graph so you can see your progress if you’re keeping an exercise log.

MyFitnessPal

 Integrating healthy eating habits with exercise, MyFitnessPal helps you craft a holistic approach to weight management. You can track nutritional information from your meals, maintain a calorie count, and factor in different exercises to get a complete picture of your weight loss. There is even a social component so you can do the program with your friends.

 Couch to 5K

If you’re looking to get fit, then you will definitely want to give this one a try. Couch to 5K is a personalized exercise program that helps you get off the couch and start running. Targeting those who feel uninspired by running, the app offers tips and exercises to build stamina and endurance without burning you out.

 A Final Note

While apps can be a great way to keep track of your health, they should not be used as diagnostic tools or treatment alternatives. If you see any abnormalities or experience any bizarre symptoms, then it is important to seek medical attention. These apps cannot diagnose or treat medical conditions.

What are some other apps you use to keep your health on track? Sound off in the comments below!

Enjoy the luxury of a proper 3D experience from your very own living room

The 3D viewing experience has gained quite a bit of momentum over the past few years. No longer reserved exclusively for the big screen, a plethora of TVs now offer viewers with a 3D experience. Get the scoop on everything you need to know about enjoying a proper 3D experience in your very own living room by reading the following article.

What Is 3D TV?

First, an important clarification: 3D isn’t a new type of TV, rather a new feature available on higher-end HDTV models. What this means is that viewers who own 3D-compatible TVs will still be able to watch 2D content whenever they want, but have the option of switching to 3D mode when they want to watch certain movies and programmes or play 3D-compatbile games. When the TV is set to 3D mode, it will display two distinct images of the same scene at the same time: one meant for the left eye and the other for the right eye. With the help of special 3D glasses, both images are fused together for the ultimate viewing experience.

Active vs. Passive 3D

If you’re looking to buy a new HDTV with 3D compatibility, you will likely encounter the terms “active 3D” and “passive 3D.” The simplest way to explain the difference between these two types of 3D TVs is to talk about the type of glasses you will need to view 3D content. Active 3D TVs require glasses that use liquid crystal shutters and run on batteries, while passive 3D TVs require glasses with simple polarizing lenses. Which type of 3D TV offers the better viewing experience is up for debate. It should be noted, however, that in addition to being cheaper than active 3D glasses, passive 3D glasses tend to be easier to wear.

Finding 3D Content

The major criticism lodged against 3D TVs right now is the shortage of 3D content. While a growing number of Blu-ray discs are being released in 3D each year, the majority of that content still falls under the category of children’s animation. TV channels that offer 3D content are rare as well: while the UK’s famous Sky 3D channel is holding strong, both the BBC and ESPN have made the decision to indefinitely suspend 3D programming as of this year. Perhaps the best selection of 3D content is offered by the makers of 3D TVs themselves, some of which provide 3D pay-per-view streaming services. For those of you looking for the ultimate gaming experience, 3D content is currently supported on the Nintendo 3DS, and will be supported on the Xbox One and PS4 when they are released this November.

Bottom Line        

There’s no denying that 3D TVs are changing what we expect from the home viewing and gaming experience. In the future, we may even see an affordable glasses-free 3D TV on the market. Until then, test out the 3D capabilities on current HDTV models to find the one that gives you the best at-home viewing experience.

Reblogged – 10 best words the internet gave English

Reblogged from 10 best words the internet gave English

My book Netymology: A Linguistic Celebration of the Digital World is about the stories behind new words. It’s a great reminder of how messily human the stories behind even our sleekest creations are not to mention delightful curiosities in their own right.

1. Avatars

This word for our digital incarnations has a marvellously mystical origin, beginning with the Sanskrit term avatara, describing the descent of a god from the heavens into earthly form. Arriving in English in the late 18th century, via Hindi, the term largely preserved its mystical meaning until Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash first popularised it in a technological sense. Fusing notions of virtual world-building and incarnation, it’s the perfect emblem of computers as a portal to a new species of experience.

2. Hashtags

 In 1920s America, the # sign served as a shorthand for weight in pounds (and they still call it the pound sign). It was first brought to a wider public thanks to its adoption by telephone engineers at Bell Labs in the 1960s as the generic function symbol on their new touch-tone phones and if you’re looking to sound clever, you could call it an “octothorpe”, the tongue-in-cheek term coined at Bell to describe it. It’s on Twitter, though, that hashtags have really come into their own, serving as a kind of function code for social interaction #ifyoulikethatkindofthing.

3. Scunthorpe problems

Computing can be as much combat as collaboration between people and machines, and the Scunthorpe problem is a perfect example. Entirely innocent words can fall victim to machine filth-filters thanks to unfortunate sequences of letters within them and, in Scunthrope’s case, it’s the second to fifth letters that create the difficulty. The effect was labelled in honour of the town in 1996, when AOL temporarily prevented any Scunthorpe residents from creating user accounts; but those who live in Penistone, South Yorkshire or people with surnames like Cockburn may be equally familiar with algorithms’ censorious tendencies.

4. Trolling

Although the archetypical emblem of an online troll is of a grinning bogeyman, the word can be traced back to the Old French verb troller, meaning to wander around while hunting. “Trolling” entered English around 1600 as a description of fishing by trailing bait around a body of water, and it was this idea of baiting the unwitting that led to the idea of online “trolling”, where experienced net users would simulate naivety in order ensnare the naive. The noun “troll”, meanwhile, does refer to a wide class of monstrous Nordic creatures: a sense that has dovetailed neatly with the increasingly viciously art of trolling.

5. Memes

Richard Dawkins coined the term “meme” in his 1976 book The Sefish Gene as a shortening of the Ancient Greek term mimeme (“an imitated thing”). He designed his new word to sound like “gene”, signifying a unit of cultural transmission. Little did he know that his term would become one of the most iconic of online phenomena, embodying the capacity of the internet to itself act as a kind of gene-pool for thoughts and beliefs and for infectious, endlessly ingenious slices of time-wasting.

6. Spam

The most enduring gift of British comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus may prove to be a digital one: the term “spam”. The key episode, first broadcast in 1970, featured a sketch called “SPAM”: the brand name used since 1937 by the Hormel Foods Corporation as a contraction of the phrase spiced ham. Set in a cafe where almost every single item on the menu featured spam, the sketch culminated in a chorus of Viking warriors drowning everyone else’s voices out by chanting the word “spam”.

A satirical indictment of British culinary monotony, it took on a second life during the early 1980s, when those who wished to derail early online discussions copied out the same words repeatedly in order to clog up a debate. Inspired by Python, the word spam proved a popular way of doing this. “Spamming” came to describe any process of drowning out “real” content and the rest is repetitive history.

7. LOLs

If you type “LOL” or “lol”, you’re not literally “laughing out loud”. You’re offering a kind of stage direction: dramatizing the process of typing. It sounds simple, but this is part of a radical change in language. For the first time in history, we’re conducting conversations through written words (or, more precisely, through typing onto screens). And in the process we’re expending immense effort on making words and symbols express the emotional range of face-to-face interactions. Yet it’s all, also, performance; a careful crafting of appearances that can bear little resemblance to reality.

8. Meh

There’s a special place in my heart for the supremely useful three letters of “meh”, which express an almost infinitely flexible contemporary species of indifference. In its basic exclamatory form, it suggests something along the lines of “OK, whatever”. As an adjective, it takes on a more ineffable flavour: “it was all very meh”. You can even use it as a noun: “I stand by my meh.” Apparently first recorded in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, some theories trace meh back to the disdainful Yiddish term mnyeh. Its ascent towards canonical status, though, embodies a thoroughly digital breed of boredom.

9. Cupertinos

Also known as “auto-correct errors”, a Cupertino error occurs when your computer thinks it knows what you’re trying to say better than you do. The name comes from an early spell checker program, which knew the word Cupertino – the Californian city where Apple has its headquarters – but not the word “cooperation”. All the cooperations in a document might thus be automatically “corrected” into Cupertinos. Courtesy of smartphones, Cupertinos today are a richer field than ever a personal favourite being my last phone’s determination to transform “Facebook” into “ravenous”.

10. Geeks

“Geek” arrived in English from Low German, in which a geck denoted a crazy person; in travelling circuses, the geek show traditionally involved a performer biting off the heads of live chickens. By 1952, the sense of a freakishly adept technology enthusiast had appeared in science fiction maestro Robert Heinlein’s short story “The Year of the Jackpot” (“the poor geek!” being the phrase) and by the 1980s it had become a common label for socially awkward children obsessed with new technological devices.

As this generation of tech-savvy youngsters provided the first generation of internet millionaires, and then billionaires, the unthinkable happened: geeks became cool (not to mention chic) and ready to inherit the earth.

Guardian News and Media 2013

5 apps to help you in the kitchen

With hundreds of thousands of apps available to download to your smartphone, deciding which ones you need can be a real effort. When it comes to the kitchen, you really can get a lot of help from apps, and even though you run the risk of a sticky phone, here are five apps you need at your fingertips when cooking!

Betty Crocker Mobile Cookbook – This free app creates recipe ideas for the ingredients you have. All you need to do is enter some of the products you have, what type of food you want to make and you receive ideas. With more than 2,500 recipes on offer, this easy to use app has great features including step-by-step recipe instructions for making dinner.

Dinner spinner – You don’t need to gamble on what you’re having for dinner with this app. It is a popular app that makes cooking a more enjoyable and relaxing experience. Choose from the categories  (including cooking time, nutritional content and specific ingredients) and spin to find out what you’re having for dinner! With a scanner and syncing option, you can scan and add ingredients to find new recipes.

Kitchen Calculator PRO – Ever struggled knowing your litres from your pints? Kitchen maths can be a real pain during cooking but with this app measurements are now much, much easier. From conversions to scaling up, this paid app works with everything from volume to temperature to distance to weight and allows you to build a database of certain ingredients.

Toca Kitchen Monsters – Do you have kids who want to help but you’re not sure how much you should let them yet? Ease them in slowly with this app that is very popular amongst children under 10. Allowing for creativity, this is an educational app that is a lot of fun. You feed monsters and kids learn about the time it takes to prepare meals and why some things taste different.

Jamie’s Meals – Of course the TV celebrity chef has an app. His charming personality mixed with functional recipes, have made him a global name. Not only that but he’s worked on various humanitarian projects. With this app you get tools and inspiration at your fingertips. The app itself is free but most of the useful features are paid for. There are videos, a responsive shopping list and a library of recipes for your every need!

These are five of the best for help in the kitchen. Other apps that are worth a mention include the ‘Serving Sizer Recipe Converter’, ‘Food on the table’ to organise groceries and ‘Green Kitchen’ which is all about healthy recipes. Now it’s time to start downloading, find ideas and get cooking up a storm in your kitchen thanks to these awesome apps!