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9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

9 More Apps to Help You Get More Out of Your Android Phone

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    With new android phones just out and even more on the way, I thought it would be a good time to release another list of neat-o Android apps. My last Android post (part 1 and part 2) focused on apps specifically for increasing your productivity; this post includes all manner of apps. Some will help you be more productive, some will just help you have more fun.

    (Note: Some of these are paid applications. As with iPhone apps, an initial rush of free applications in the Android store seems to be giving way to higher-quality, low-priced applications that allow developers to devote more time and effort to upkeep and support.)

    1. AK Notepad

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    AKnotebook

      AK Notepad is a basic memo pad for Android, with a few niceties. The interface color and text size are nicely customizable, and it can be set to automatically convert email addresses and URLs into clickable links (useful for remembering websites you see in ads or magazine articles while you’re out and about). Since Android doesn’t sync to a desktop the way Palm and Apple devices do, there’s no direct way to get notes off your phone, but individual notes can be sent by email (or other programs that allow it) and all your notes can be exported to the SD card and opened from the device when you plug into your PC’s USB. (Text files from your PC can also be placed on your SD card and opened in AK Notepad.)

      2. Dial Zero

      dialzero

        Route your calls around pesky (and slow) voicemail systems with Dial Zero, a database of workarounds for hundreds of companies. Each entry includes the company’s main phone number (which it will pass to the dialer if you press the green “phone dial” button), a description of how to reach an operator or agent, and comments from others who have used the app.

        3. Hi-Hiker

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        hiker2

          Meant for wilderness explorers, Hi-Hiker also functions as a great fitness app. Functions include a GPS tracker, pedometer, stopwatch, weather information, maps, an altimeter, a compass, a flashlight, and a quick-dial button to call for emergency help. Most of the functions use the GPS, so make sure you have a full charge before leaving “home base” for too long!

          4. Greed

          greed

            Greed is a Google Reader application for Android phones, which does a much better job on the small screen than Google’s web interface for Reader. One important feature is the ability to cache your feeds on the SD card for later viewing – great for when you’re about to get on a plane or driving cross country (well, riding cross country – don’t drive and read, kids!) and will be without cell-tower service for a while. Although not a specialized podcast app, you can also subscribe to podcast feeds and download the files so they’ll show up in your media player. Greed is good.

            5. Places Directory

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            places

              Places Directory was designed by a Google employee, so you know it’s good. It offers location-based search to help find nearby restaurants, post offices, comic book stores, or whatever. It can get your location either from the GPS or from the nearest cell tower. Give it a long-press to dial a phone number or open a map, or a short-press for info and user reviews (each press opens a different contextual menu). A compass needle will tell you what direction you’re headed and what direction to go, and you can save a list of your favorite places (to quickly find a Starbucks in a strange town, for instance).

              6. Qik

              qik

                Shoot and stream live video from your phone with Qik. You can have Qik send out a tweet whenever you’re recording, and you can embed your video in other sites using the automatically-generated embed code. The only downside is that you will burn through your battery at a pretty fast rate – but it’s useful for catching quick clips on the go if you don’t have a camcorder handy.

                7. Skype Lite

                Skype all you want on your Android phone using Skype Lite. Works fine over 2G, and imports all your Skype contacts and other account information. If you have SkypeIn, you can even get Skype calls on your Android phone!

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                8. Taskiller

                taskiller

                  Android phones multitask, meaning that there are often several applications still running in the background when you open an ew one – or even when you aren’t doing anything at all. Unfortunately, Android makes it difficult to know what’s running in the background (and using up your battery). Taskiller opens a list of all running apps and allows you to close them individually or all at once. You can also switch between apps easily using a long-press.

                  9. Wertago

                  wertago

                    Wertago offers location-sensitive nightlife search coupled with social networking functions (friends, status updates, profiles, messaging, picture sharing) so you can find out what’s going on right now, where your friends are at, and what the best place to hang out might be. Nightclub listings include ratings from other users, distance from you, mapping, and search by tags (like 18+, dancing, dressy, etc.), and how many of your favorite Wertago users are there at the moment. If you’re a clubber, this is an essential app.

                    Got any other cool apps that Lifehack readers just have to install on their shiny new Android phones? Let us know about them in the comments.

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                    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

                    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

                    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

                    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

                    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

                    1. Always Have a Book

                    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

                    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

                    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

                    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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                    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

                    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

                    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

                    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

                    4. Guided Thinking

                    Albert Einstein once said,

                    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

                    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

                    5. Put it Into Practice

                    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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                    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

                    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

                    6. Teach Others

                    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

                    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

                    7. Clean Your Input

                    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

                    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

                    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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                    8. Learn in Groups

                    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

                    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

                    9. Unlearn Assumptions

                    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

                    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

                    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

                    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

                    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

                    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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                    11. Start a Project

                    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

                    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

                    12. Follow Your Intuition

                    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

                    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

                    13. The Morning Fifteen

                    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

                    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

                    14. Reap the Rewards

                    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

                    15. Make Learning a Priority

                    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

                    More About Continuous Learning

                    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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