Category Archives: Android

Using rescue time to keep track of: a review

I recently discovered a great little gem of a pc program(and app), that helps me keep track of where me time on the pc and phone actually goes.

Their blurb is: find your ideal work-life balance, and it does this with style and decourum. (the application stay in the background and does not get in the way or require much attention at all. and i forget that it even exists. all the while it is mining data which is then output to a new and beautifully styled website.

The PC app is tiny and uses very few resources. and requires next to no input from the user.

windows app

windows app

The web front end looks and handles very well both on mobile and PC. There are an almost infinite ways of viewing your data, by hour, day or week. or by category, or by application/website directly.

it also keep track of when your ‘best’ and ‘worst’ days were, which can be usefull for motivational purposes.


There is also a new (to me) feature which allows users to create targets which are prominently displayed on the home page. this is great and i immediately set up two (less than 4 hours distracting time per day, and more than 4 hours per day of productive time). I would like to point out that i meet these targets most days although my worst day I did log a shocking 11:59 or distracting time, and that doesn’t include this summers insane AC:BR splurge that I went through while off college, in which i spent about 18 hours in game each day for a week.

Because rescue time manages to slip into the background so effectively the most used feature i think is the weekly summary email that is sent to my inbox. this allows me to quickly and easily see how much productive time I logged during that week.

while I Primarily use rescue time to log what i do in the background there seem to be some  new features in the android app that allows you to start a certain type of offline activity (such as meeting,food, family or excercise) and start recording time as this activity, but personally i prefer to simply monitor my screen time with very little input from myself.

 

 

YouTube Remote: a review

This little known free app by google is great, and adds some really useful features to youtube.

I discoverd youtube remote recently while browsing googles own apps on the play store. what this does is allow you to control an instance of youtube in chrome or firefox (on pc/mac untested) from your phone and build playlists from your mobile device. This is similar to chromecast except that you dont need a dongle. simply point  browser to youtube.com/tv and select the gear icon (top left) and pair device. I believe this also works with smart tvs that have a built in youtube app.

adding a screen

Youtube Remote: adding a screen

This is great as it allows you to sit back and watch youtube videos in even more comfort. and it alos utilises the new(ish YT tv interface which has a larger video screen and less white areas which reduces eye fatigue). this works great in conjunction with “f11” (full screen) for an even better experience.

you dont even need to log in for this to work although this helps with finding relevant videos through subscriptions and the “videos for you” feature.

playlist/search

 

While this app still feels rough round the edges i still think that it is well worth getting.

For those that still dont think this is tv enough for you. theres always XBMC.

Gtasks: a review

I thought I would write a quick review for Gtasks (paid, free one here) android todo manager. I have been using this app for a well over a year now and have been very satisfied indeed with its performance. While it is not the be all and end all of to do managers, I prefer it to the likes of wunderlist (which I also run as people I collaborate with use it and it make sharing lists much simpler).

 

Once logged in using your Google account. You are greeted with an overview of your tasks ( if you already have some). Notice pink checkboxes for high priority tasks. In the top left is a drop down list to select a specific tasks list. When viewing a specific list tasks can be dragged into each other to form sub lists. Master tasks can be checked off and all sub tasks will be marked as done (greyed out and struck through).

gtasks_1

Gtasks list view

 

On the top right is the standard menu key, this this allows you to edit tasks list, search as well as adjust setting and batch add tasks (limited in free version). At the top there are also buttons to refresh your lists and add a new task. Swiping left and right allows seamless switching between lists.

 

Gtasks Menu

Note: when viewing all tasks no tasks are indented.

 

Widgets: one of my favourite features are the widgets, which include various sizes, scrollable list views, and an undone tasks counter. These are great as they allow a quick view of any one (or all lists) without launching the main app. They even include an add tasks button right there (which wunderlist does not include). Also when viewing through a widget sub tasks are not indented, I have just noticed that when viewing all task lists through a widget there is a narrow bar on the side that represents the colour of the list that task belongs to.

 

gtasks widgets

widget selection

Creating lists.

 

Creating lists  is rally simple. Press the menu key, or tap the menu button in the top right corner and tap on edit task lists. Then tap on the plus in the top right corner. This  brings up an interface with a text box for the name, and a colour picker underneath. There is also a check box to show all unchecking this means that any tasks in this list are not displayed in the all lists view. At the top of the window are three options. Ok, delete and cancel. Gtasks also has a couple cool shortcuts, such as quick add and list view, (great for crouded homescreens where there isn’t enough space for a fully blown list widget).

 

List Creation

 

Verdict:

Overall i think this is a great app, lightweight fast and feature rich.

The free version limits some aspects such as the batch add tool. But this shouldnt get in the way of a normal user on a regular basis.

Personally, as a power user i would love to see programmic interface to allow tasker or similar to add tasks.