Posts Tagged ‘apps’

App review: Lift and the quantified self

Life hacking, self tracking, the quantified self; call it want you want, using technology to help track and improve your health and wellbeing is one of the fastest growing areas in digital.  Many respected bloggers are starting up blogs to cover this subject, like Stephen Davies’ Bionic.ly and Drew Benvie’s bodydata.

One of the most highly anticipated launches in this area was for lift.do, mainly because two of its backers are twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone.  They have a lofty stated aim to “push the envelope of human potential through positive reinforcement”.

I’ve been using the beta app for a few weeks now and wanted to share my initial thoughts.  Firstly, it’s a great concept, and the app itself is, as you’d expect from a team this experienced, simple and intuitive to use.  You essentially decide on which ‘habits’ you want to track, like sleeping for 8 hours, doing more exercise or eating healthier (you can add your own, more random ones, if you like) and then every time you complete a habit, you check-in.  Over time you can see how you’ve performed with each habit.  You can see when other users check-in to a habit and you can give people ‘props’ for completing a habit.  There are a few other features, like the fact that you can add a commentary when you check-in but that’s essentially it.

The biggest question mark I have with the app in its current format (and obviously it’s only beta) is that there’s not much motivation to encourage you to keep using it. I open it, check-in, close it.  Not sure what their longer term plans are but for me there needs to be more of a connection between what you’re doing and what others are doing. You don’t have a community of friends/followers as with other networks and so it’s hard to build up a sense of relationships with other users.  Without this the app is a little bit, well, dull.

Hopefully the next version will address this.  There’s definitely something in lift but it needs more to motivate me to keep using it beyond it being a simple record of healthy/positive things I’ve done.

 

Top 5 favourite tools & apps

A quick post to share my current top 5 favourite tools & apps (this isn’t a post about new apps, more those tools I’m using a lot):

*ifttt – With the tagline: ‘Put the internet to work for you’ – is a brilliantly simple yet clever idea which automates your use of the web.  For example every time I post to Instagram, ifttt saves it to Evernote for me.  Every time I favourite a tweet, it plugs it into Instapaper.  There are some fantastic ‘recipes’ from other people you can use or you can create your own.  Which bring me on to….

*Instapaper – Save web articles to read offline.  Brilliant on the iPad and equally useful on the laptop.  I constantly come across interesting stuff on twitter and elsewhere, now I tend to store them up and read them in a bunch, and (obviously) you don’t need wifi access.

*Feedly - I still use RSS loads, to catch up on new stuff.  Feedly remains my favourite way to sort through my google reader subscriptions (although yes, Flipboard is very pretty), particularly as I can switch between views – from ‘latest’ to individual topics ‘history’ or ‘saved’ stuff.

*tweetbot – twitter client for the iPhone.  Very slick and intuitive UI.  Miles better than official iPhone (although who remembers how much we loved tweetie?)

*Evernote – Note taking on steriods.  After years of persevering, I’m finally starting to get real value out of this.  The more you use, the better it gets.  Although I still feel like I’m barely scraping the surface of all the ways I could be using it

What are your current favourite tools & apps?

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/indiamos/

Categories

Archives