Archive for the ‘ Lifestyle ’ Category

Sleep As An Droid – No That’s Not A Typo, It’s Actually Called That

Sleep As An Droid

 

"Good Night" the app displays when you go to bed. Awww ain't that nice.

Sleeping is ace! I can never get enough of it. The only problem I have with sleeping is with the whole ‘waking up’ part, it’s horrendous. I could not-get-up all day long if it were up to me (and it isn’t). Sleep As An Droid is an app the claims to help with that problem by gently waking you up when you are in a period of ‘light sleep’. According to the spiel on the creator’s website…

Common alarm clocks ignore your sleep cycles, they wake you on schedule no matter your are currently in your deep sleep. Waking-up from the deep sleep is very unpleasant, it makes you tired and it may negatively affect your productivity during the whole day.

 

In contrast Sleep as an Droid tracks your sleep during night and given a time range, it chooses the optimal moment to wake you up (ideally in light sleep). Waking up in light sleep is natural, gentle and it may only be compared to the experience of waking up without any alarm clock.


So does it work? Well, I guess… but more on that later. All the light/deep sleep business aside S.A.A.D. is actually a pretty comprehensive alarm clock app, you can set multiple alarms for different days, you can choose to have music soothe you to sleep or have an alarm gradually increase in volume to gently wake you up. You can even setup a catchpa that you have unlock before the alarm will switch off.
The sleep measurement side of things seems to be pretty effective, the idea is that you lay the phone on your bed and the accelerometers in the handset will track any movements as you sleep; in theory the less you move the ‘deeper’ asleep you are. At the end of your snooze the app generates a graph of your measured movements which you can save and these stats can be shared with your friends via Facebook although they may not stay your friends for long if you keep posting updates about your sleep patterns. The theory of using accelerometers to track your sleeping pattern seems sound enough although I wonder what happens if you share a double bed. Are your partner’s movements going to get picked up too and will that mess up how the phone handles your sleep data? If graphs aren’t enough you can also use the ‘recording’ function which will activate once the noise in the room reaches a certain db level, at last you can prove whether your loved one is a chronic snorer.

This week I have mostly been sleeping THIS much.

 
You can also set a window before your desired wake-up time to allow the app some breathing space with regards to choosing your optimum moment to be woken up. So again, does the light sleep/dark sleep aspect actually work? To be honest I couldn’t really tell and this is no fault of the app, it’s purely down to the fact that I have kids and as any parent will tell you, when you have kids you don’t need an alarm clock. Kids aren’t worried about the important things in life such as whether you’re in a light or deep sleep, they’ll just wake you up whenever the need rises so unfortunately I couldn’t fully test that side of the app which is a shame.
The app comes with a generous two-week free trial before it becomes unusable on certain days of the week, I’ve been using it for about 7 days and as a tweak-able alarm app I think it’s a great piece of work, it’s well made and loaded with all kinds of well thought out features.

Links : Install via Appbrain, Official Page

Bottom Line : ‘Sleep As An Droid’ is a unique and intuitive alarm clock app. Well worth a try for all you heavy sleepers.

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How To Videos from Howcast.com – …And That’s How, For Now*

How To Videos from Howcast.com

Remember that bit in ‘The Matrix’ when Trinity needed to learn how to fly a helicopter and had the necessary skills loaded into her brain within a matter of seconds? Well now you can do EXACTLY that with your Android handset and by EXACTLY I mean not really anything like that at all but if you do find yourself in a situation when you need some knowledge fast then the Howcast app is a pretty good place to start.

I wish I had this app two weeks ago, ALL of these things happened to me that week.

Howcast.com is a website stuffed full of handy ‘How To’ videos ranging from ‘How to make a mojito’ to ‘How to cut off your arm and save your life’ whilst covering everything in-between, Howcast.com pretty much answers every kind of ‘How Do I’ based question and now they’ve made that goldmine of handy hints directly available on your Android handset.

Considering the plethora of content available the Howcast app does a good job of getting you where you need to go and quickly. From the main screen you can access recently added or top rated videos as well as a random choice of video and the list of all twenty-five categories. Best of all is the ‘Favourites’ functionality, you can bookmark any video and have it added to your Favourites folder, this adds a very useful level of personalisation to the app effectively giving you the chance to build your own tailor-made fountain of knowledge.

I swear I am only watching this video for screenshot purposes. I am actaully raelly veary gud at typieng.

The UI is clear and informative, each list of videos includes thumbnail images along with info on duration and how users of Howcast ‘rated’ each video; Menus scroll smoothly and quickly making getting around the app a breeze.
The content itself can vary, some videos can be zippy and to the point with a cheeky ‘tongue firmly in cheek’ style of delivery while other videos can be a bit droll and over-long. Whichever style you end up with you can at least be sure that you won’t get short-changed on the knowledge front (depending on the video topic of course) and that’s the whole point of this app.
The only downsides are the lack of HD videos and no option to store favourite videos locally, so if you find yourself stuck somewhere with no wi-fi or decent 3G signal then you’ll need to start asking yourself the big question ‘What would MacGyver do?’.
Howcast isn’t for everyone, some people may get annoyed by the more frivolous topics (How To Talk To Your Cat for example) but it’s worth an install just to have a quick look around. You never know, you may even learn something in the process.

Link : Install via AppBrain

Bottom Line : A world of knowledge in your pocket, and all for free. Worth a try.

*For non-UK readers ‘That’s How For Now’ is a nod to the classic kids TV shows ‘How’ and ‘How2’ hosted by the legendary Fred Dineage.

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