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Tech-y Life Advice

  • Moving Made Easier - Useful Apps

    Moving-Happiness-Home-Sketch-NSMEverybody knows that moving to a new house can be one of the most stressful tasks a person can do. How will it affect my commute? What’s the neighbourhood like? Did I leave my phone charger in the old flat? Here are a few useful apps to help you clear your mind of worry and make moving home as stress free as possible.

    Mapumental

    One of the main reasons to move house is to move closer to work. So there can be nothing for frustrating than finding out your new apartment is closer to the office by mileage but it requires three buses, two trains and horse to get there. Using Mapumental you can search for properties using time taking to travel to work instead of distance. If you have a strict work schedule Mapumental will help you discard properties that extend your commute or require multiple transfers.

    Moving Planner

    Are you the type of person that likes to be super-organised? Do you need to have everything mapped out to the minute? Moving Planner is definitely the app for you, this incredibly detailed checklist allows you to plan the big day weeks in advance, checklists, moving schedules, cancellation of bills you name it, Moving Planner has it. Alongside checklists, Moving Planner allows you to create a full inventory of your personal belongings and allocate which box you have put them in. So as soon as you move in you won’t have to be rooting through unmarked boxes looking for your toothbrush or TV remote.

    Bubble Level Now you’ve moved into your new home it’s time to hand the painting and photos around the house. Bubble level is a digital display spirit level that does exactly what you would imagine it to do. Hang your favourite artwork and photos with accuracy and ease all by using your mobile phone.

    Dulux Visualiser Are you thinking of revamping or decorating but can’t decide on the colour scheme? This app allows you to take a picture of your room walls or ceiling and mix and match colours before making the all-important final decision. This app can come in very handy when you are in the shop trying to picture what your living room would look like with Teal walls.

    Everyone at Money4Machines hope you find these apps helpful and they help you move into your dream home.

  • First Impressions Samsung Galaxy S8

    Samsung_Logo.svgThis is Samsung’s first release since the S7 exploded onto the market in 2016. This is an incredibly important time for Samsung, as they attempt to re build the bridges with customers that were burnt by the issues with the S7.

    We are going to look at what Samsung have done differently this time around with the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S8 is an incredible looking phone and sees the introduction of the infinity display, Samsung have done away with the bezel and managed to squeeze more screen onto a regular sized handset. The transition from screen to the mirror-like back panel is almost seamless, and creates an extremely sleek looking handset. The S8 is available with a 5.2-inch display or a 6.2 inch if you prefer to go all out for a phablet.

    To create enough space for all this extra screen, Samsung has done away with the home button and installed a virtual home button. Using similar technology to Apple’s force touch, simply press down where the home button would be and this will take you back to the home screen.

    If there is no home button, then how can I unlock my phone using my fingerprint? Fear not the fingerprint sensor is now located on the back of the handset next to the camera lens. However, this may prove to be problematic if you happen to be left handed as your hand will already be covering the sensor. Not only can you unlock the phone using a pattern or fingerprint sensor, with the S8 you can now use the instantaneous facial recognition. This setting is so fast you will not even notice the phone unlocking, and with the fingerprint scanner now on the back casing this may be the most efficient way to unlock the device.

    The Samsung Galaxy S8 also gives Samsung users their first opportunity to meet BIXBY. This is Samsung’s first step into the virtual assistant world, simply press the Bixby dedicated button on the side of the handset to wake up your new personal assistant. By talking to Bixby you can search the web, cast videos onto your smart T.V and set personal reminders.

    Samsung are hoping this latest release will be the hottest property on the market for much different reasons than the Galaxy S7. First impressions are looking promising, infinity display and virtual home button play a huge part in the S8’s futuristic feel. Now only time will tell if users enjoy facial recognition and Bixby moving into their phone.

  • Technology for Valentine’s Day 2017

    January is over! Celebrate the end of dry January or Veganuary! Whether you successfully gave up your favourite treats, or gave up on your resolution the end of the longest month of the year is cause for celebration. Or is it? Now January is over and the Valentine’s day stress is upon us, the rush to find the perfect gift, book a romantic restaurant, buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Fear not the digital age is here to help you plan the perfect Valentine’s day for your significant other without the stress.Valentines Technology

    Planning on cooking a romantic meal at home but don’t fancy yourself as a Jamie Oliver in the kitchen? The Mindful Chef will deliver a personal planned box of fresh ingredients and meal plan straight to your door from their west country based farm. Whether you’re a meat eater or a vegetarian The Mindful Chef have you covered. And all their recipes are completely gluten free!

    So, whipping up fine dining in your kitchen isn’t for your and the big day is fast approaching, how will you find a table?!? The Open Table app will use your GPS location to show your local restaurants will open tables and enable you to snap them up without even having to call. Collect points every time you book through Open Table and reap the rewards on your next booking.

    Table booked/food ordered and on its way, time to sort out the all-important flowers. Timing of getting the flowers home and into the house without being spotted can be an impossible job. Bloom and Wild is a handy app on which you can order the perfect flowers. Not only are they delivered to your door they arrive in a specially designed box that fits through your letter box!

    Time for the final piece of the puzzle, the card. If your struggling to find your William Wordsworth romanticism, then the Love Poems apps is here to help. This Android exclusive app has a gallery of poems ready for you to pick your favourite and put in a card for that special someone. No more time to be wasted in the loitering in the card aisle searching through hundreds of cards.

    That’s it! The complete Valentine’s day planned and ready to execute using only your smartphone! We hope you have found these apps helpful and from everyone from Money4Machines, Happy Valentine’s day!

  • Best Christmas Technology Ideas 2016!

    christmas-1755104_960_7202016 has been an eventful year to say the least, unexpected and colossal changes to the political landscape, unlikely Premier League champions and grown men chasing imaginary Pokémon around the streets. But this eventful year is coming to an end, with just the small matter of Christmas between us and New Year celebrations.

    With the big day just around the corner we are going to take a look at a few last minute stocking fillers for the tech lovers in your life. If the Christmas break for you means time spent keeping warm and watching your favourite television programmes, then the Amazon Fire Stick is definitely for you. Simply plug into the HDMI port of your TV, connect to Wi-Fi and say hello to thousands of programmes from both sides of the pond and beyond, this little device takes binge watching to a whole new level!

    Amazon has also given you the opportunity to add another voice activated robotic helper into your life. The voice inside of the Amazon Echo is Alexa, and she is here to help you with nearly anything you can imagine around the house… apart from the washing up. Alexa can help you entertain your friends by playing music, reading audiobooks or by answering any question that comes to mind. The Amazon Echo is compatible with devices such as Hive, Hue and WeMo so you can control your lighting and heating all by using your voice.

    Looking for something a bit different to add to your office either at work or at home? How about the wireless fully bamboo keyboard and mouse from Sengu? This keyboard is made from 100% ethically sourced bamboo. The grain on the keyboard absorbs the ultra-violet light and is anti-radiation. The gloss finish does not only add to the aesthetics of the keyboard but also makes it easy to clean and keeps the keyboard feeling fresh.

    Vintage vinyl has been making a massive comeback in the past two years or so, in fact for the first time in the UK vinyl out sold its digital counterparts. It’s easy to see why with vinyl making the perfect present for cool Dads and hipsters alike. If your either dusting off the old vinyl collection in the loft or starting a new collection you will need something to play it on. The ION audio max could be exactly what you are looking for. It is lightweight and compact making it very easy transport and set up. The wooden finish and belt drive gives the ION audio the vintage feel and look which most nostalgia seeking vinyl collectors enjoy. This turntable also has a modern aspect, simply connect to your computer using the USB port to convert your favourite records to digital audio files.

    We hope you got a few good ideas for gives either to give or to sneakily add to your own Christmas list for Father Christmas. From everyone at Money4Machines have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Black Friday - What have you got your eye on?

    It’s nearly that time of year again, the time of the year where bargain hunting shoppers limber up and get their elbows in to secure the best Christmas deals. It is the return of every shoppers favourite Americanism, Black Friday.

    Black Friday originally used as a term to describe to the stock Black Fridaymarket crash of 1969 caused by the cost of Gold rapidly decreasing, then coined as the name of the biggest discount shopping day in America which falls on the first Friday after Thanksgiving, it now appears to be in the UK to stay. If getting down to the shops and tussling with the public to get a deal doesn’t appeal to you, you can stay at home and take advantage of the online deals that extend over the weekend and into Cyber Monday.

    Black Friday has gained more traction with UK shoppers as the years have gone on. In 2015 Black Friday sales reported around £3 billion was spent over the entire weekend! Which is a massive increase on the reported £810 million spent in 2014. Cyber Monday has also been a huge success since starting on these shores. Online traffic was boosted by over 60% compared to a normal day, and shoppers spent around £960 million! 2015’s Cyber Monday was the biggest and busiest online shopping day ever in the UK, Amazon reported they alone sold more than 7.4million items!

    We have all done it before, add a few items to your online basket, get to the checkout only to get buyer’s remorse before you have even paid for it. So, you just close the window and abandon the purchase and pretend like nothing happened. The average abandonment rate throughout 2015 was as high 85%, this may be due to shopper either having second thoughts or simply waiting and looking around for a better deal. During both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the abandonment rate fell to between 71 and 75%, this may in part be due to some online retailer including how many of a certain item they have in stock causing buyers to panic about missing out on a bargain and going straight through with the purchase.

    Even though another busy weekend of sales is expected there are some retailers that have chosen not to take part. High street retailers such as Ikea, Asda and Next have ruled themselves out of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year!

    Whether you are staying warm and shopping online or taking to the streets to battle the crowd we wish you all an enjoyable Black Friday weekend, happy shopping!

  • Halloween Apps

     

    With Halloween just around the corner here is a list of a few apps that will help Halloween lovers young and old get into the spooky spirit.

    Pumpkin Carver Pro – Are you a fan of the more traditional side of Halloween? Want to carve a pumpkins but don’t want to deal with the mess it will inevitably create? Pumpkins Carver is a fun and interactive app perfect for little ones to get the enjoyment out of carving a pumpkin without risking your carpet. Or maybe you want to have a practise run of a design you have in your head before taking the plunge and diving straight into the real thing. This app allows you to choose your pumpkins and pick from a variety of tools so you bring your carving ideas to life.

    Ghost Observer – If you are into the more supernatural side of HalloweenHalloween and fancy giving yourself a real fright then the Ghost Observer app is really for you. This uses what is described as advanced technology to locate and communicate with the paranormal beings around you. This app won’t just help you locate what goes bump in the night but also enable you to communicate with the spirits using the Spirit Translator. Once you have located the spirit using the radar you can capture these ghostly beings on film.

    Five Nights At Freddy’s – You have been hired as the night security guard at Freddy Farbears’s Pizza. Your main responsibility is to guard the animatronic bears that are the main attraction to the restaurant. However these robotic bear’s behaviour has become somewhat erratic and they have a tendency to wonder off amongst other things! Using the limited amount of electricity allowed by the money anxious boss you must protect yourself from the crazed bears and make sure everything is how the boss left it in the morning. Can you survive the night at Freddy’s?

    Zombie Run – This immersive app will help you get motivated for the 10k you’ve been training for, or help you get out and exercise. Zombie run is a training app with a terrifying edge, soon as you step out the door you will begin to hear the guttural growling of the undead. Through your run the adventure side of the app will keep you immersed in the reality of the impending Zombie apocalypse, collecting supplies along your way to make your base into an impenetrable strong hold and medicines and food to prevent the human race from extinction. With this app you can also create heart pounding playlists from your own music collection to help you avoid the clutches of the blood lusting zombies. Zombie run put you at the forefront of your very own zombie adventure and helps put the fun back into running.

    We hope this entry hasn’t been too frightening for you and has helped get you in the mood for a haunting Halloween. Happy Halloween from Money4Machines.

  • Back To School!

    The summer holidays are Back to Schoolsadly drawing to a close for many students, which means it is time to start thinking about back to school. Or if you are one of the many students who has been celebrating their GCSE or A level results it is time to prepare for your new challenges that lay ahead.

    With this in mind we are going to take a look at some back to school apps that will help you as you prepare to return to school. One of the first hurdles to overcome is getting used to getting out of bed again! Alarm Clock Plus is a completely customisable alarm clock which allows you to set up exactly what you need to get you up and ready to go. Weather this is a steadily increasing alarm volume, bright flashing lights or even a maths problem to solve before being able to stop the alarm, Alarm Clock Plus has it all.

    Now you are up and out of bed its time you sort out lunch for the day. This app is perfect for parents helping their little ones organise balanced lunchbox plans for the week. This app will also turn the lunch plan into a shopping list for the following week if supplies are running a bit low in the kitchen.

    It is a tried and tested revision tactic, turn your vast amount of notes into flashcards with key points and facts on them. However this can lead to complete disaster when you lose the important flashcards with the answers on them! Flashcard + is an innovative app for iOS only, this app does have premade flashcard templates however you can personalise them for your revision and studying needs. Flashcard + is available in 22 languages which is extremely helpful for language students!

    For students leaving the routine of school life and going on to college or university, classes and subjects are no longer the only challenge. Getting used to student life can throw its own challenges into your path. The adeptly named “My Study Life” is a personal assistant that lives in your phones and can help you plan your busy week. This app allows you not only to schedule your week but also access assignments and exams whilst away from the classroom. You can also setup notifications so your pocket personal assistant can remind you of where you need to be and at what time.

    Whatever new challenges lay ahead, whether it is going into 6th form or starting University good luck from everyone at Money4Machines! And congratulations on your exam results!

  • Redefining the Watch with Wearable Technology.

    If your new watch doesn’t tell you how many flights of steps you’vefitbit climbed that day, what your resting heart rate is and who’s calling your phone – why did you buy it?

    Telling the time isn’t even necessary anymore if we’re being honest. Wearable technology seems to be the fresh new thing on the technology scene at the moment… Smart watches, virtual reality and fitness trackers are becoming more and more common in our shopping baskets with releases such as the Apple Watch, Google Cardboard and Fitbit. So what’s the hype with wearable technology and why is it the next new technology craze?

    There’s something spreading around my office at the moment and for once it’s not a cold – everyone suddenly has a Fitbit. Fitbit is a wearable technology brand at the forefront of the increasingly popular fitness trackers. The entire Fitbit range works by syncing the device via bluetooth to a smart phone, Android or IOS, the Fitbit app then collates your data from the device and shows you the results! The Fitbit app itself is great in that it helps build a fitness plan for you to achieve your goals. Simply enter your current weight and your ideal weight and the Fitbit creates a number of weight loss plans ranging in difficulties to suit you!

    The other benefit to the Fitbit app is the social aspect – you can connect with friends and even compete in challenges such as the Work Week Hustle and the Weekend Warrior to see who can rack up the highest amount of steps. There’s nothing like a bit of competition to motivate you to exercise more, or in my case, make you realise just how little you actually move.

    In terms of the Fitbit devices, from the Fitbit Zip at £49.99 to the Fitbit Surge at £199.99, there’s a Fitbit for all ranges of fitness fanatics.

    For those with a mild interest in fitness and want to become more aware of the number of steps they accumulate in a day and calories they burn, then the Fitbit Zip or the Fitbit One might be best suited. As you’d imagine the Fitbit Zip simply slips on to the end of a zip on an item of clothing (bit limiting as not all clothes have zips) and the Fitbit Clip simply clips on to what ever you’re wearing. These Fitbits are ideal for those who do casual exercise and just want to monitor their achievements.

    Arguably the most popular Fitbit is the Fitbit Flex – a rubber band that fits around your wrist with the capabilities to track steps, distance, calories burnt and even sleep patterns. Additionally, the Fitbit Flex calls to the ‘fashionista’ fitness fanatics out there as it comes with the option to change the colour of your wristband and there’s even an exclusive fashion line… Also for the more style conscious customer there is the Fitbit Alta  - a fitness tracker with a more sleek and stylish design.

    The upgrade from the Fitbit Flex comes the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR. These devices are a similar style to the Fitbit Flex but comes with the addition of a small screen to display the time, number of steps, distance walked, flights of stairs climbed, calories burnt and, with the Charge HR, heart rate. The benefit of having a continuous heart rate monitor is that you can register when your heart reaches a bpm higher enough to burn fat.

    Lastly, you have the Fitbit Blaze and the Fitbit Surge – for the biggest fitness fanatics. These watches have all the features of the previous devices mentioned with the addition of a smart watch style interface and GPS tracking. Closer to a smart watch these Fitbit trackers also allow you to receive call and text notifications as well as control your music from the watch.

    Having had a Fitbit Charge HR for a week now I can confess I’m fully obsessed! My new favourite thing is finding out that I’ve raised my heart rate high enough to burn fat – success! In general it’s a wonderful way of tracking your daily fitness activity and awakens you to the ways in which you can improve!

  • Back to School: Educational Apps and Tools

    Technology has not only become very important in everyday life, butBlog Picture in the last few years the use of technology has become more common and is very steadily becoming the norm and an expected tool in both in class and outside learning.  With the ever expanding and growth of downloadable apps and learning tools and it can be hard to decipher which apps are the ones for you – What educational value can they provide while still being fun?

    With the days of starring at a black board with the teacher writing endless notes seemingly at an end here is a look at some of the top rated apps to assist in learning

    Khan Academy: With a catalogue of over 3,000 videos and a vast array of topics ranging from Maths to history Khan Academy seems to have the ability to teach you anything. https://www.khanacademy.org/

    Star walk for the iPad: Star walk is an interactive educational app, which allows you to take advantage of a clear evening, by learning about astronomy.  Simply point your iPad at the desired area and Star walk will tell you what you are looking at. This app can also contains functions such as: satellite tracking, stargazing calendar planning and the ability to be connected to a bigger screen. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-walk-hd-5-stars-astronomy/id363486802?mt%3D8

    As we all know revision is a very important tool when it comes to making sure you get the grades you have been working hard for all year. There is an abundance of apps that can aid you with revision. The ‘Revision guide – Ultimate revision tool!” is among the most highly rated revision applications. It can help you revise through the whole sphere of subjects and can assist you through all levels - from GCSE’s to University. It has over 1 million revision notes and flashcards and you can store the notes relevant to at the time in your own folder.

    Remember there are hundreds of great apps available to help you both learn and revise through the year and stressful exam periods. Technology is a great tool for educational and fun learning. These are just a couple we have come across – Happy Learning!

  • 4 fitness apps to drag you through the late New Year exercise period

    Image ref. NCP Image ref. NTC

    If you've not made the resolution by midnight on 1st January, there's no point, right?

    Wrong, my friend. With a world of apps out there that includes one where you can dress Kim Kardashian, there's something for everyone, including those of us who weren't quite ready to leave the party until now!

    So sixteen days into the New Year and here we are.

    Nike Training Club (NTC) - FREE

    Celebrity trainers and sports stars present their own workouts ranging from 15-45 minutes. There are plenty of mini-guides and videos to help you do it right.

    7 Minute Workout Challenge - £1.49

    Works your body in very specific ways over seven minutes. Users comment how they didn't realise seven minutes could leave them feeling so knackered! You can chart progress and set goals.

     Couch to 5k - £2.29

    Pretty much anyone can train to run 5k. That's a bit of a generalisation, but for the unfit amongst us, a 5k run is a very manageable goal. The app creates scaled runs to get you moving a little at a time over a period of weeks/months.

    Yoga Studio - £2.49

    It's not cheap, but it's cheaper than weekly yoga classes! The app is a great resource full of easy-to-follow tutorials on individual moves and whole workouts. Out favourite feature is that you can set a schedule so the app doesn't let you miss a class!

    Head to Huffington Post UK for more on these apps and loads of other motivational stuff!

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