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Six Must-Have SXSW Apps

Six Must-Have SXSW Apps

SXSW, in case you aren’t in the know, is one of the bigger conferences/festivals that happens every spring in Austin, Texas. In 2013, the core SXSW events brought 41,700 people together, and over 150,000 people attended at least one SXSW event.

The Interactive portion is often referred to as “spring break for geeks,” and the Music and Film portions are places where you can see the next big thing before it’s the next big thing. But the whole experience can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Use this list of must-have apps to keep from getting overwhelmed.

The official SXSW app

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Mobile Guide to South By Southwest

    The main benefit of the official SXSW app is that it’ll let you create a schedule on the site by browsing the sessions and shows available, which then syncs to the mobile app. The app then also shows you the location of the sessions or shows, and can also show you where other attendees are at, including your friends. If you don’t want to try and keep track of everything on post-it notes, this is the way to go.

    Transportation: Car2go and Ridescout

    Transportation is a broad category, and also a vital consideration for making your way around an unfamiliar city. That’s why I’m giving you two apps and two runner ups:

    Car2go is a car-sharing service. You reserve a car from the app, pay by the minute while you use it, and then park it and leave it anywhere in the service area (which includes all of downtown). The app is free, but the service costs: $0.41 per minute with a maximum of $14.99/hr (both rates pretax).

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    car2go

      Ridescout puts all the relevant transportation info at your fingertips, on a map. You can see bus routes, driving/walking/biking time estimates, nearby car2gos, and also fare estimates for taxis. This is a free app available for both iPhone and Android.

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      RideScout

        Runner-ups: Uber or Hailacab. If you aren’t using Car2go and don’t want to take a bus, you can check out Uber—they regularly have free ride promotions running during SXSW, though it can be hard to find a driver during peak hours. If all else fails, there’s the Hailacab app, but be warned: you will pay a premium for cabs during SXSW, with long wait times as a bonus.

        Uber

          Finding new events and secret shows: Likter

          Trying to find secret shows or parties, or want to do something spur of the moment? Likter is a social network that lets you post real-time news with a superlocal focus. You can attach photos, audio, and video to your posts, sharing that yes, the line here really is nonexistent, and no, this band really isn’t worth listening to. And if you show up and find out that someone else posted bogus news? You can vote their note as false, so that others aren’t duped. Don’t forget to check out all the SxShortcuts to keep up with.

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          Likter

            Communication: GroupMe

            Keeping track of a group of friends is hard; until GroupMe came along, you just had to put everyone in a group Facebook message thread, and hope for the best. GroupMe solves that problem elegantly—it lets you keep up with groups of people and it was a total lifesaver for me last year for seeing who was where, when. You can attach and send photos, videos, and images, as well as showing group conversation members where you’re at on a map. It’s free, available for any kind of device, and it also works over SMS, so you can add friends into a group conversation even if they don’t have the app.

            GroupMe

              Sharing the best food: Foodspotting

              Foodspotting

                Austin is widely acknowledged as a foodie town—including a lively food trailer scene—but how do you know which places near you are worth visiting, which are overpriced, and which specific dish to order? You can slog through Yelp reviews on your phone (not the fastest or easiest way) or you can download Foodspotting and see what people like near you. This app is focused on the positive and is dish-centric rather than restaurant-centric—so you’ll know exactly what people near you are loving, which is great for last-minute snacks.

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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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