Four Apps I Can’t Live Without

I’m always really curious to know what apps people use on a daily basis, and what about those apps makes them so awesome?

I have a couple of apps that have just slotted so easily into my everyday life, that I don’t even realise I am using them.

Here they are:

PushBullet

pushbullet

https://www.pushbullet.com/

This app is integral to using an Android phone, if you haven’t installed this app, you are not taking advantage of all of your phone’s capabilities.

Basically it allows you to see notifications from your phone, on your computer. It pushes notifications to your computer and you even have the ability to interact with some of the notifications. As an example when you are using TuneIn Radio on your phone, you can pause and play the music on your phone from your computer. You are even able to see your phone ringing, on your computer. Rad right?

The app also allows you to easily send links, text or files to your devices from your computer using Google Chrome. Gone are the days of emailing yourself links & files to get them on your phone. The Chrome extension also allows you to send SMS messages from your computer on your phone (if you are all old school cool and like sending a good old text message).

This is definitely one of my favourite apps, and I feel like Google should include this functionality in their operating systems by default, because it’s so cool.

PushBullet is also really easy to set up: (https://www.pushbullet.com/get-started)

Android Store Download

iTunes Store Download

 

IFTTTif

https://ifttt.com/

You know those painful tasks that should be easy but aren’t? Like every time you post a photo to Instagram, you have to go to Twitter and upload the same picture, just so it will appear nicely in your Twitter feed?

Well IFTTT can handle these kinds of things for you. The whole concept is “If this, then that”. Basically, you can create recipes (or use ones already created by other people) that will result in an action if certain conditions occur. As an example, you can set the app to save all your instagram photos to dropbox, which means that every time you upload a new photo to instagram, it will also save that photo in a specific location on dropbox, without you having to do anything.

This app really appeals to the developer in me. You can also buy these cool Philip Hue Lights that can turn on when you arrive home. My only gripe with this app is that it is a bit buggy, sometimes the recipes don’t run and that makes me a bit sad.

App Store Downloads:

Android Play Store Download

iTunes Store Download

CloudMagiccloudmagic

https://cloudmagic.com/

Apparently all companies have decided that Microsoft Exchange Mail is the best thing ever. I tend to disagree, I feel like we should all be using Google Apps for business, but for those of us who are subjected to using Exchange Mail every day, this app is really useful.

It is one of the best mail apps that integrates quite seamlessly with an exchange server. I love the look of the app, it’s stability and reliability. You can also connect multiple accounts of different types: Gmail, Exchange, Outlook, Yahoo, Office 365 , iCloud.

Best of all? The app is free and doesn’t have any adverts. One thing that is not so cool, you can’t view your calendar and event invites are still a bit weird in the app. But nevertheless, a great alternative to Microsoft’s attempt at Outlook for Android.

App Store Downloads:

Android Play Store

iTunes Store Download

TuneIn Radiotunein

I hate downloading music, especially because you need to know what the song names are and then there is the whole effort of finding the songs online (usually on some obscure website, with a million ads).

It frustrates me, so I normally end up listening to the same songs over and over again. Introducing TuneIn Radio. I never need to download another song again, or rip MP3s from a CD (Is this even still a thing? I mean, how old school can you get?)

TuneIn radio, has a massive list of radio stations you can choose from, that play all different types of music. Including local stations such as 5fm, 94.7, Metro FM. My current favourite – Capital London. There is a wide variety of stations to listen to, and every music taste is catered for (Including some delightful tunes by Tibetan Throat Singers)

App Store Downloads:

Android Play Store

iTunes Store 

 

What apps can’t you live without?

South African Lotto Results & Checker {ANDROID APP} – DEPRECATED

UPDATE : 11 September 2015 : Unfortunately I had to discontinue this service as the official Lottery Provider changed, and the results are not published in the same manner. Sorry!

After searching the Google Play store for a Lotto app, I realised they were all pretty revolting, so I decided to create my own one – and here it is!

The application provides the latest South African National Lottery results for Lotto, Lotto Plus and PowerBall.

South African Lotto Results

 

Features of the application:

– View Latest Results for PowerBall, Lotto and Lotto Plus
– Generate Quick picks for Lotto and PowerBall which can be easily shared.
– Check tickets for Lotto, Lotto Plus and Powerball for any draw date.

 

 

 

 

You can download the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=za.co.riggaroo.lottoscan 

Below are some screenshots of the application.

Application Screenshot   Application Screenshot

If you have any ideas for improvements or suggestions I would appreciate them. I have a few more ideas up my sleeve for the application, so watch this space!

My very first published Android app!

So I finally got round to releasing an app of my own on the Google play store, it’s nothing amazing but might come in handy to a few developers out there. It’s an app that generates a valid South African ID number, which will pass the validation checks that some websites need.

Inspired by Evans chrome extension, I decided to turn it into an Android app.

You can find the app here :
Download

Screenshot_2014-03-28-12-47-33 Screenshot_2014-03-28-12-47-11

A Robotic Guide Dog and Why its a Bad Idea

For my honours dissertation, I decided to undertake a project involving the programming of a Lego Mindstorm Robot. Granted, this blog post is a bit late (2  years later!), but I figured I’d share my experiences so that someone doesn’t attempt the same 🙂 .The outcome of the application was to have a robotic “guide dog” that a blind user would be able to follow. This was purely a concept, as anyone following this robot would probably have died 3 times over 🙂 But a concept none the less.

Lessons Learnt from this project:

  • Microsoft Robotics Studio is a terrible idea.
  • Lego Mindstorm robots are pretty pathetic in their abilities, they are good for basic stuff, but as soon as you want to go into complex object avoidance algorithms, they pretty much fail dismally.
  • Real world vs Theoretic world are two completely different things. When somebody says “Theoretically this should work”, DO NOT believe them.
  • Its better to simulate real life than to actual be in it.

In the end I had 3 components to the system, in the end.

1. An android application that would take in voice commands and determine whether the robot should stop, turn around, left, right etc.

2. The robotic dog

3. A desktop application which issued commands to the robot via Bluetooth, and connects to the android phone via bluetooth.

Ideally, I would have liked to have the application running entirely on the robot, but unfortunately the Lego Mindstorm robot had a tiny amount of memory (maybe the choice of a raspberry pi would have been a better option?).
So the lesson learnt from this experience, a robotic dog is a bad idea for a blind person, and perhaps something like a ultrasound device that you wear would be a better choice than a physical robot that a user would have to carry.

Regardless, below is an example video of how the robot detected obstacles and moved around them.

This video wasn’t the final version, as the final version had the voice commands controlling the robot 😀

Calories Burnt Calculation for Walking or Running in Java

Its surprisingly difficult to find a calorie calculation for Java for performing a number of steps at a certain speed. Based on the Compendium of Physical Activities (https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/corrected-mets )  and using Corrected METS, I have converted the formulas on their website into Java code! I found the website particularly difficult to read as it did not have brackets in the right places to ensure that the calculations were correct. Hopefully I can save someone the hassle of having to wonder what is going on with all their formulas.