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7 iPhone Apps for a Delightful Christmas

7 iPhone Apps for a Delightful Christmas

With the ubiquity of your iPhone and how just about everyone you know now-a-days has one, it would be a shame if you didn’t use it to make your Christmas more enjoyable. Here are 7 apps that you can get right now that can help you make your Christmas delightful.

    1. NORAD Tracks Santa (Free)

    Who could ever be in the spirit of Christmas without knowing exactly where The Big Man is at as he showers gifts all over the world. Maybe you are a Grinch, and don’t really care where Mr. Claus is at (that’s me), but, I can guarantee that the young ones at your Christmas Eve parties will.

    Not to mention that the official NORAD apps comes with a handy Elf Toss game that you can use to bide your time until you can start tracking Santa.

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      2. Camera+ ($.99)

      Camera+ may be one of the best Camera apps that are available for the iPhone. It allows the user to quickly take many pictures and then gives them access to the Lightbox where the user can view, resize, crop, and edit the effects of the photo. There are some other great features of Camera+ like a very simple to use white balance mode and also you can enable the power up button on your iPhone to take photos.

      Pictures are super important during Christmas festivities, so it’s a good idea to go into them with a great Camera application.

        3. Christmas (Free)

        A nice free app to get you in the holiday spirit. Christmas for iPhone is a kind of “app pack” that gives you access to Christmas ringtones, streaming music, Christmas emoji, and even some nice HD wallpapers to spice up your iPhone for the holidays.

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        I usually think that this type of thing is corny, but with the inclusion of the Grinch ringtone, I had to recommend this one.

          4. Evernote (Free)

          It’s easy to recommend Evernote for everything because, well, it does pretty much everything. Have to get a last minute gift tonight with the maddening crowd at Target? Snap a picture of where you parked so you don’t forget. Want to make sure you have gift receipts? Scan them in or snap a photo with Evernote and tag them.

          Or, my favorite, create a tag ‘xmas-2011-return’ and take photos of all the things that may not be exactly what you wanted for Christmas. After the holidy hubbub you search for you tag and have a nice list of the things you want to take back, or worse, have a list of people that you have to call for gift receipts.

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            5. Pandora (Free)

            This is a good one especially if you are going to be a party entertainer this year. You can start creating a Christmas station tonight and hone it so you will have it ready for your party tomorrow. You can do this a couple of ways, either by Christmas songs you really like, or even choose an artist that you like singing a Christmas song. Pandora is pretty smart about selections, and if you work on it for a couple of hours you can get a great station for Christmas Eve and Day.

              6. Capture ($.99)

              Mr. Mike Vardy opened me up to this app for the iPhone and at a mere $.99 you can’t go wrong. Ever miss a moment of your child or drunk uncle Chester doing something at Christmas that you wished you would have caught on video? Well, with Capture you don’t have to worry about it.

              It’s pretty easy to use. Pull out your iPhone, tap the Capture icon on your homescreen, and you are instantly recording. Press the home button when you want to stop and save. Pretty easy and definitely a Christmas moment saver.

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                7. Instacast ($1.99)

                If you are like many Americans then you are going to be doing some traveling over the next week or so. There is absolutely no better way to spend your time than listening to some enlightening podcasts with what I will call simply the best podcast streamer/manager for iOS. Instacast allows you to search and subscribe to your favorite podcasts, download them over WiFi, or even stream them on the go. The quality of this app is excellent (it actually feels like an Apple app).

                Need some podcast recommendations? Here you go:

                With the inclusion of these 7 apps on your iPhone, you are setting yourself up for one of the best Christmas’s yet. Any other apps that you couldn’t live without over the next few days? Leave them below.

                More by this author

                CM Smith

                A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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                Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                Joe’s Goals

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                  Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                  Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                  Daytum

                    Daytum

                    is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                    Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                    Excel or Numbers

                      If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                      What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                      Evernote

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                        I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                        Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                        Access or Bento

                          If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                          Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                          You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                          Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                          All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                          Conclusion

                          I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                          What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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