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Top iPhone Apps I Couldn’t Live Without

iPhone-4s-appsConfession: I am one of those compulsive people who will routinely closes out apps on my iPhone so that only the most used apps are there. Yes, it can take time to double-tap the home button, long press one of the most recent apps, and then hit that little red circle with the line. But I do so that the apps I use the most are easily accessible and not cluttered among other ones.


So below are some of the most used apps on my phone with a brief snippet as to why. Please note that they are not listed in particular order. Also, basic apps like Phone, Music, and Messages have been excluded from consideration.


Facebook: self-explanatory.


Twitter: Also self-explanatory, but I use the default app because it provides the ability to add more than one account so everything can still be done in one place.


Mailbox: Been using this in place of the default Mail app. Mailbox takes an innovative approach to email and turns your inbox into a to-do list with the goal of reaching “Zero Inbox” or no current messages. You can easily push things back to later and mark items complete so you can focus on what’s important right now.


Tempo Smart Calendar: I’ve also been using this in place of the default Calendar app. I don’t have any qualms with the latter but Tempo provides more info and context for each event along with the current weather. Tempo allows me to easily see a map of the location and message/email the other participants if I’m late. Very useful.


iTunes U: I have a commute to work each day and I take public transit. I enjoy listening to podcasts from colleges and universities on very diverse topics that are of interest to me. Currently listening to a course on evaluating information from the University of Michigan.


Data Usage Pro: I have a limited data plan at 300mb in order to save money. This handy little app helps keep me from going over that limit and provides alerts and projections on use along the way. This is the only paid app on the list and it was worth it all the way.


Wunderlist: My to-do app that syncs to the online site and app on my computer. I can easily share lists with others and set reminders and due dates. Very smooth and intuitive.wunderlist-2-iphone-ios-570x580


IMDb: Often my wife and I are watching a show and recognize one of the characters but don’t know where we’ve seen them before. IMDb always comes to the rescue.


Into the Dead: I don’t play a lot of games on my phone but this is my current favorite. Very simple premise in that you run as long as you can without being eaten by zombies. There are weapons along the way to help you along.


LDS Gospel Library: This is the official app from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). I’m able to use this app to study my scriptures on the go along with other church materials. It lets me plan lessons and syncs the data to my online account at so all my notes and highlights are up-to-date.


Dropbox: I love Dropbox and its service is invaluable. This is my go-to source for cloud storage.


Circa: I love their approach to news and breaking the story down into quick, easy snippets.


Zite: I like Zite and how it “learns” what kind of news I like and put into my feed. Convenient sharing options are a plus.


Honorable Mentions: WordPress, Hootsuite, Soundcloud, Lemon Wallet, Yahoo Weather


Quote of the Week

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not why ships are built.

Listen to the woman and keep that instinct to provide advice in check

Optimism to the Extreme

I’m a huge fan of optimism, positive psychology, and the overall looking on the bright side of things. So much so that this is my lockscreen image on my iPad:

The glass is always full


But then I came across this quote which has the same basic theme but is much cleverer:

The glass is only half full until you pour its contents into a smaller glass.

“Location Boxing”

I came across an article from Lifehacker about a concept called “location boxing.” It refers to changing your physical location (home, work, coffee shop, etc.) according to the task at hand so your brain in more attuned with the environment. An example from the article was the author only responding to email from a nearby cafe and then ignoring them once at the office. This way he was better able to focus on what he did at each location. Compartmentalizing in a sense.

I remember other similar examples from college. In my Cognitive Psychology class the professor discussed how studying for tests can be more effective if you’re able to study where you’ll actually be taking the test. This way, as you review and learn (hopefully) the material, that knowledge is being associated with the physical environment you’re in on some level in the brain. This way when taking the test, your brain can more easily retrieve the needed information from environmental triggers.

This concept also applies to why its advised to not do anything in your bed apart from sleeping. So no eating, no reading, and definitely no TV. This way your body isn’t confused when you lay down at night and its easier to fall asleep.

Here’s a link to the original article from Lifehacker:

The Many Faces of Influence


I came across this infographic not too long ago and it was definitely share-worthy. Original source: Traaker (@traackr):

Quote of the Week

Words, like nature, half reveal and half conceal the soul within.

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Workplace Firewall

The firewall at my work is so weird. It does something funky with how it accepts cookies that leads to unpredictable behavior across different sites. I know its the firewall and not the browser because I experience the same issue with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I know enough to configure the settings on each browser but nothing does the trick.

Here are some of the problems I’ve come across with some hoops I have to jump:

  • will log me in but will tell me that I’m not logged in. I can’t access my reader or dashboard. Occasionally it will give me setting before realizing what it did and then lock me out. If I go to someone else’s page though, it have my header bar at the top and it will allow to follow someone.

  • Blogger: will not let me log in if I go straight to the blogger website. If I log into my gmail first though, and then click on Blogger from the menu at the top, then I get in no problem.

  • Tumblr: completely blocked.

  • LinkedIn: cannot log in or access anything.

  • Facebook: will tell me it was unable to log me in, but then I can access limited uses if I jump directly to a page.*

  • Twitter: no issue unless I need to allow a third party permission and then that’s 50/50.**

  • Hootsuite: cannot log in.

  • will let me log in, but have to input password often because it forgets that I’m logged in.

  • Pinterest: will technically log me in (I can see my avatar) and I can see pins, but I cannot like or pin anything.

  • New York Times: I cannot read a single article from them.

*I rarely, if ever use Facebook at work.

**I always use twitter at work. I like to justify it by saying I follow business/psychology related accounts.

The New “Xbox One”

So the next generation Xbox was announced yesterday, called “Xbox One.” Its name is a little confusing, since, well, this is the 3rd generation console and the 4th model design. I think its code name during development, “Durango,” is better than what they ended up with and that’s saying something because even Durango is a stupid name for a

Name aside, there are also some other troubling things I read about Microsoft’s next generation video game console. For example, its design. The thing is a big black boxy piece of ugliness. It looks plain and boring. Many have compared it’s look to a VCR. I think someone dropped the ball on that one because if its being compared to a piece of technology that was around in the 1980’s is not a good thing.

It was also announced that due to the type of processors it would have, the Xbox One would not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games. I would have hoped that Microsoft could have figured out a way around this because this is a huge drawback. But no worries, approximately half of original Xbox games should be compatible via emulation with hopefully only some hiccups (please note the sarcasm here).

Before you think it couldn’t get any worse, the Xbox One will also have a built-in system to prevent t wide sale of used games. Per my understanding, once a game is purchased the Xbox One will require you to download the game to the console’s hard drive. If someone else tries to load that game to the console from that disc, they would be required pay an unspecified fee (in addition to however much they purchased it for at the store). It is also rumored that once you sell that game and someone else pays to load it to their system, your copy is removed.

I should note that I’m not mentioning any of the advantages of the Xbox One, and I’m not going to. These shortcomings are too great and outweigh any advancements it makes. For me, I’ll stick with my Xbox 360 and skip this generation Xbox or wait until Microsoft fixes these drawbacks.

Are You Damaging Your Kids’ Self-Esteem?

You’re a Pimp
Your doorbell rings and there are your parents, all crouched down and ready for a big hug from their very own pint-sized flesh and blood. But your kid doesn’t rush over. Perhaps she’s busy playing. Or maybe she needs some time to warm up to them. For whatever reason, she’s not feeling it.

And you can’t help but wish she was. Can’t she give them something? They’ve come a long way and a cuddle would mean so much. Feeling the pressure, you whisper to your daughter, “Go give Grandma and Grandpa a hug and kiss!”

But as soon as those words come out of your mouth : BOOM! You’re guilty of prostituting your kid to perform acts of affection to satisfy your parents’ desires. Make no mistake about it: You’re the pimp. Your parents are the johns. And the currency you’re using is the single most powerful in the world: parental love and approval. Just because the affection isn’t sexual doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong with it. Each and every time your child performs an act of “love” at your behest, her innate drive to genuinely express love takes a pummeling.

You’ve also set her up to believe it’s her responsibility to use her body to satisfy another’s desire, regardless of how she feels about it. So even if you’ve explained to her a million times that she has the right to say “no,” your actions, particularly when ingrained at an early age, speak much louder than words.

Physical affection when not given freely is wrong. Full stop.

My recommendation: Stop asking for a kiss goodbye. Stop asking where your hug is. Be loveable and your kids will want to love you – in the way they want to, when they want to.

The above is a selection from an article my wife came across the other day and wanted me to read it. She was taken aback by the advice that was given. So I read the article and I was also taken aback.

The article is featured on and is written by Jennifer Lehr/Schlosberg. It covers three items of advice she provides to parents based on observations she has made that could negatively affect the self-esteem of the child. After reading the article I went to her website to see what were her qualifications for making such assertions since none of them hold any weight with me. She does have a masters degree, but it appears to be a Masters of Fine Arts degree that does not specify her concentration. Ms. Lehr’s work is listed as interior design and she has written a book about sex advice.

Given this, I will consider her post to be her opinion on a blog and not professional advice. My opinion on this blog is much the same. Currently, that opinion is her post is bupkus and should not be heeded. That’s my opinion. But I also have a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in counseling, and am a licensed and certified counselor who has facilitated parenting classes. I would be extremely reluctant in that capacity to espouse any of the views expressed in that post and would not devalue the level of parenting of any mother or father who did the things that she mentioned.

My wife and I recently watched the movie "Parental Guidance" with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. Great movie and a great comedy. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. Apart from some bias from being set in Atlanta, we both loved the movie because Crystal’s and Midler’s characters are grandparents who clash with their daughter on parenting styles and we agree with the former. Sometimes a little tough love is needed. I won’t ruin the movie or go on a diatribe about the merits of tough love, but its great and is a must-see.

That being said, feel free to check out the full article in question by Ms. Lehr. It can be found here.