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Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Below is a collection of  some of the top eco-innovations of 2012. It’s not a complete list, of course—there were many fantastic, weird, and wonderful ideas that came into being over the last 12 months—but there are a few little gems here that we can tap into to use in our own lives.

Cuppow!

Say it out loud. Really loudly. You know you want to.

cuppow

     

    Cuppow is a reusable lid that turns any jar with a standard mouth into a drinking vessel. Canning jars, mason jars, jam jars—now they can all be used to drink from without slopping your smoothie down the front of your shirt. The Cuppow lid can be sipped-from directly, or you can poke a straw through the opening for a more genteel drinking experience. The lid is made of phthalate- and BPA-free plastic, is completely recyclable, and will likely last you for years.

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    Peel-and-Stick Solar Panels

    solar-cell-sticker

       

      The brilliant beasties over at Stanford have created peel-and-stick solar cells that could revolutionize the way we use solar energy. The cells, made of a silicon, silicon dioxide and metal “sandwich”, are topped off with thermal release tape that allows them to be peeled off and stuck to surfaces such as paper, plastic, fabric, glass… just about anything you can imagine.

      Tiny Houses

      tiny house

         

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        Last year seemed to be the year of the tiny house. Though 2011 took great strides with buildings like the teensy Eco Cube, 2012 saw an enormous number of small-scale, eco-friendly houses being built around the globe. Though miniscule “survivalist” dwellings like these might be a bit extreme, cute little dwellings like those created by the Tumbleweed Tiny House company and Twelve 3 manage to combine sustainable living with adorable, innovative design. This past June, the most recent creation by the Micro Compact Home company was installed near Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, and is an absolute work of art, complete with double beds, a modern bathroom, great storage, and a modern kitchen. These tiny buildings prove that you don’t need a lot of space to live in style, and sustainable living doesn’t necessarily equal living in forest yurts.

        Wind Turbine, Even With No Wind?

        apple-wind-patent

           

          So, this is really new news, and the thing hasn’t been built yet, but apparently Apple has filed a patent for a wind turbine that can produce energy even when there’s no wind. According to the official patent, published online here:

          “…the system uses a set of rotating blades to convert rotational energy from a wind turbine into heat in a low-heat-capacity fluid. Next, the system selectively transfers the heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid to a working fluid. Finally, the system uses the transferred heat in the working fluid to generate electricity”

          From what I’ve been able to glean, it will draw its energy from heat rather than rotation, and can draw on that stored heat in the fluid whenever the wind isn’t blowing hard enough to spin its blades. That’s pretty impressive, right there.

          The Water Bottle that Fills Itself

          self-filling-water

             

            As water pollution renders more and more of the earth’s potable water supplies undrinkable, action is being taken to ensure that people will have enough clean water to survive. Enter the NBD Nano: a water bottle that fills itself by drawing moisture from the atmosphere. The bottle is still in its development stage (they’re hoping to have it available to the public by 2014) but the technology could make a monumental difference in developing countries where clean, safe water is scarce. The inspiration for the bottle came from the Namib desert beetle, whose carapace is covered in little bumps: these allow tiny beads of moisture from the air’s humidity to accumulate until they’re large enough to roll into its mouth, thus allowing it to stay hydrated (and so, survive!) in an environment that’s hostile to most other forms of life.

            As a final nod to eco-innovation, we have…

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            The Energy Belt

            energy-belt

               

              If you’ve been worried about the excess weight you might have put on over the holidays, what with stuffing your gullet at countless family gatherings and all, fear not! There’s the Energy Belt, from the Nano Supermarket. It sounds like something a superhero would wear, doesn’t it? Well, sure… if that superhero needed to lose a few, but wanted to be environmentally proactive about it too.

              The Energy Belt mimics the body’s “brown fat”(which is the beneficial fat that cushions our internal organs), drawing energy from the white fat (the mooshy stuff we get after eating too many burgers) and converting it into Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) energy. That chemical energy can then be used to create electricity, so you could technically power your mp3 player with your own body fat.

              From the official website:

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               “Eat what you want at dinner, and give up that gym membership for good. Energy Belt cuts down on electricity costs while you cut down on size.”

              Considering how many people around the world are overweight/obese, this could certainly be a great way to slim down the population while creating energy to fuel all manner of devices. I’d say that’s a win-win all around.

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              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

              40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2018 Updated)

              Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

              There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

              Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

              It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 40 best productivity apps for iPhone to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

              Productivity apps to help you get things done

              1. OmniFocus

              This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

              Download it here.

                2. Forest

                Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

                Download it here.

                  3. Things

                  Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

                  Download it here.

                    4. 30/30

                    Recently covered here at Lifehack

                    , 30/30 is a newcomer to the game that incorporates lists and timing of tasks into an elegant and easy-to-use interface.

                    Download it here.

                      5. Any.Do

                      A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

                      Download it here.

                        6. PocketLife Calendar

                        This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

                        Download it here.

                          7. Asana

                          We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

                          , and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

                          Download it here.

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                            8. ToDoist

                            This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

                            Download it here.

                              9. FlowTasks

                              From the folks at MetaLab, Flow is a gorgeous collaborative task management app that is easy-to-use and incredibly functional.

                              Download it here.

                                10. Calendars 5

                                This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track and complete your to-dos.

                                Download it here.

                                  11. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

                                  A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

                                  Download it here.

                                    12. Due

                                    A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

                                    Download it here.

                                      13. Checkmark 2

                                      I use this app

                                      for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and a valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

                                      Download it here.

                                        14. TeuxDeux

                                        Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — Teux Deux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then Teux Deux will be right up your alley.

                                        Download it here.

                                          15. Wunderlist 

                                          Another incredibly popular choice is Wunderlist. Part of 6Wunderkinder’s software family, it sports a gorgeous design and is incredibly functional. We’ve talked about the app a couple of times here at Lifehack, so check those posts out here.

                                          Download it here.

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                                            16. Nirvana

                                            For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

                                            Download it here.

                                              17. Priorities

                                              An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

                                              Download it here.

                                                Productivity apps that help you build habits

                                                18. Productive

                                                With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

                                                Download it here.

                                                  19. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

                                                  You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

                                                  Download it here.

                                                    20. Streaks

                                                    This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

                                                    Download it here.

                                                      21. Remember The Milk

                                                      Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

                                                      Download it here.

                                                        22. Day One Journal

                                                        When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

                                                        Download it here.

                                                          Productivity apps that makes organization easy

                                                          23. Evernote

                                                          Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

                                                          Download it here.

                                                            24. Pocket

                                                            You can save an article, video or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

                                                            Download it here.

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                                                              25. Sync.Me

                                                              This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

                                                              Download it here.

                                                                26. Droplr

                                                                One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

                                                                Download it here.

                                                                  27. Dropbox

                                                                  Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive in your iPhone. A must-have.

                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                    28. iDolly 

                                                                    In conjunction with Dolly Drive and DollySync, iDolly allows you to edit and share your documents from your iPhone.

                                                                    Since all your changes sync automatically to all your devices, the current version of a document will always be accessible because Dolly Sync keeps everything in sync. Very handy.

                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                      29. Soulver

                                                                      It may seem odd that a calculator app shows up on this list, but this is no ordinary calendar app. Ben Brooks over at The Brooks review describes Soulver as follows: “It is what calculators would have been if they were invented at the same time computers were, instead of what we have with most calculator apps.” [3]

                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                        Productivity apps that help you work smart

                                                                        30. Captio

                                                                        A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                          31. Drafts

                                                                          A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things and more.

                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                            32. NoteShelf 2

                                                                            This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

                                                                            Download it here.

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                                                                              33. Doodle

                                                                              This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

                                                                              Download it here.

                                                                                34. TextExpander (Legacy)

                                                                                I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

                                                                                Download it here.

                                                                                  35. Launch Center Pro

                                                                                  A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

                                                                                  Download it here.

                                                                                    36. GoodReader

                                                                                    This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

                                                                                    Download it here.

                                                                                      37. LogMeIn

                                                                                      Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

                                                                                      Download it here.

                                                                                        Productivity apps that improve security

                                                                                        38. 1Password

                                                                                        There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

                                                                                        Download it here.

                                                                                          39. LastPass Password Manager

                                                                                          You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

                                                                                          All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you.

                                                                                          Download it here.

                                                                                            40. Truecallers

                                                                                            Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

                                                                                            Download it here.

                                                                                              There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

                                                                                              Reference

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