There’s an App for That: 5 Apps to make my life easier, cleaner and more aware

In my ongoing quest to make my life easier I have scoured the internet and the app store – or been bopped over the head by friends – in search of apps to make my life easier. Here are my 5 for a Fun Friday before Memorial Day Weekend. 

#1 – Tracking Mileage

Recommended Apps: Mileage Log+, MileIQ, Triplog, Track My Mileage

Of course, we finished our tax return in the 11th hour. Typical procrastinator. Part of the delay was due to the re-creation of 2013 data, such as mileage. Luckily, our friend Keith Hollingsworth suggested that we use an app to track our mileage.  What? There’s an app for mileage? Genius, Keith! I should’ve known better. One may even call it, eating my own dog food. There is an app, Mileage Log+, which appears to be the most favorable based on features and reviews. I haven’t tried it, because I’m frugal and the app is $9.99. There are free mileage log apps, such as MileIQ, TripLog and Track My Mileage. I like the MileIQ app because it’ll run in the background based on actual mileage. No need to enter miles by trip. Thanks for the suggestion, Keith. My CPA will appreciate my preparedness on April 15, 2015.

#2 – Too Many things to do – I forgot the Red Sox were playing!

Recommended App – UpTo  – Modern Calendar App

Now that baseball is in full swing (yes, that is a bad cliché), I like to have the schedule built into my calendar. In the past, I would download the schedule into my Outlook calendar. It wasn’t ideal, because the download often recreated reminders that would annoy me by July. UpTo is a refreshing way to have the best of both worlds. It is a calendar app that syncs your calendar of choice (i.e. Outlook, Google) with your interests. You are able to add in your favorite television shows, sports teams or topics. At a daily glance, you can view your personal and work calendar along with that evening’s shows, the Red Sox (ok, Rockies) game and any relevant topic (i.e. movie or music releases, this day in history, etc.). Now, you’ll know what you’re up to at a quick view.

#3 – Meeting Prep Takes Forever

Recommended App – Refresh

A smart practice prior to an initial meeting is to research the individual, learn about their background and find a commonality to break the ice. This requires some time to search each individual. Refresh is an app that syncs with your calendar. There are some similarities between Refresh and UpTo, however Refresh provides the background of your meeting attendees. This app parses multiple social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and then summarizes their history.  Quickly, you can view their hometown, college, work history, interests, recent tweets and LinkedIn posts, your last meeting and mutual connections. I used this app during a phone call to drop a Boston reference knowing that person attended a Boston university. This broke the ice and our conversation and business flowed easily. Lastly, it provides a key tool that many miss, which is the follow up. The app can schedule follow up reminders with notes and list the follow up reminders.

#4 – I Can’t Find my Desk

Recommended App – PaperKarma

A friend noticed the amount of junk mail on my desk. He suggested PaperKarma to reduce this pile.  Thanks Jeremy Tasky! Take a picture of the junk mail address label using the app, and your contact information should be removed from that list. It will not work on labels addressed to “our friends or neighborhood.” I won’t miss the yellow pages. I’m glad Jeremy noticed the pile on the desk and not the pile of laundry outside the office. 

#5 – I Need to Advance My Prezi Slides from Across the Room

Recommended App: Apptui

I am a heavy user of the app Prezi. As a refresher, Prezi is a creative way to present material instead of using PowerPoint. One of my challenges with Prezi was the inability to advance the presentation without being at my laptop. This affects me because during a live presentation, I need to walk to the laptop to advance the presentation. I have used my iPad with a connection to the projector, however most conference rooms are not set up with an accessible cable. Apptui turns your mobile device into a remote and mouse. Connect your laptop and mobile device to the same wifi network and they’ll connect to each other. This allows me to advance the Prezi presentation from the device without walking back to the laptop. It also eliminates the need of the presentation volunteer that advances the slide for you based on a secret code, “hey, every time I touch my ear, advance the slide.” There are other applications for this app. Since your device is now a remote computer, anything streaming to your laptop can be controlled through the device. You can control Netflix, Vimeo or surf the web from the device.

Do you have a favorite app you’d like to share?  Contact Brian at brian.zabroski@vxsuite.com, on Twitter @BrianZab or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/brianzab.

Brian has focused on helping technology companies grow their businesses for nearly twenty years.  He currently serves as the Director of Channel Management for a cloud-based software business, which specializes in network monitoring, phone system usage analytics and mobile device analytics.  Simply put, if your business’ network, phone system and corporate cell phones are slow, have issues and are expensive, then his software reduces and eliminates these challenges.  The software is resold through an international channel of technology partners.  He travels across North America educating technology companies how they can increase their business value nearly five-fold through his hybrid managed service selling technique. 

Brian Zabroski (4 Blog Posts)

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