I’ve expanded my end of year favourites list, so now it will take two posts! I’m even leaving out podcasts as I posted on that recently. In this blog, I’ll focus on apps, websites and purchases and on my next one I’ll focus on movies, books and songs. Oh, and make sure to send me your favourites too! So here goes, my favourites part one:
TextGrabber – I’ve been wishing for this app for ages. You take photos of something with text, then this will extract the text so you can paste it in your notes!
Utelly– I have Netflix, Amazon Prime TV and various UK on-demand channels. So it becomes impossible to know what is available and of that what is free. This app asks what services you have, then gives you recommendations for TV and movies and tells you on service it will be!
Unroll.me– I get sick of deleting emails that I can’t even remember subscribing to. This app trawls through your emails and finds all the subscriptions you are on. It then gives you the option to unsubscribe, keep as is or roll into a daily email which will feature those emails. Perfect.
SnowHaze– I sometimes go through pangs of paranoia thinking that my online data is being stolen. This browsing app has some of the best private and security features. It doesn’t allow cookies, pop-up menus and blocks many sites. It’s interface is nice too. Admittedly, it is a bit glitchy, but that’s a price worth paying for protecting my data.
Levitagram – I’ve only recently started to play around with this. It allows you to superimpose two images together. For example, if you have a photo of yourself standing and another of a landscape, you can combine the two together so it looks like floating above the ground. Pretty cool.
Hvper – I try not to follow the news too much, partly because I’m told that it is fake. But when I do, I like to compare the same news from different sources. This website does that perfect. It has headlines from every major site you can think of: Reddit, Buzzfeed, Reuters, CNN, Fox, Daily Beast, NPR, Al Jazeera, RT. They also have the latest Tumblr, You Tube, GIFs etc. Oh, and for those that don’t know, you can convert webpages to apps on an IPhone by clicking on “forward” (box with upward arrow), then “Add to Home Screen”
CamelCamelCamel -awesome site that allows you input a product you’re interested in buying, then it shows the evolution of its Amazon price over the last (say) six months. It also allows you set up alerts, so you know when the product has a big price drop!
Exponential View – Oxford-based Azeem Azhar’s newsletter/website/podcast is the best curation of news on all things tech from AI to crypto-currencies. I subscribe to his weekly newsletter and I always learn something new.
Recommendo – this year I discovered this site. It is Silicon Valley guru Kevin Kelly’s regular list of recommendations of things to buy, discover and try from tech to travel products. Over the year, I’ve bought several of his recommendations.
Wait But Why – Tim Urban is one of those guys that is curious about everything. When he gets his teeth into a topic, he won’t let go until he understand its fully and then writes a clear blog on it. He tends to look at tech themes, but also cultural trends. Even Elon Musk is impressed by him. It’s my go-to place for opinions on the all fads of the day.
Listerine UltraClean Access Flosser– I had bleeding gums earlier this year, it turns out I needed to floss. The dentist recommended using interdental brushes, but I found they bent too much. So I had to use conventional dental floss. But it’s not the most pleasant sight – I don’t think even Angelina Jolie (Gigi Hadid for you youngsters), or George Clooney (Zac Efron for you youngsters) look good stuffing their fingers in their mouths to floss. It was also fiddly. I was happy to discover this flossing device, which is a toothbrush with a dental floss head rather than a brush. It works great and no more fingers in my mouth. On the brand, I tried a few, but this one from the US was the best. For some reason it’s not available in the UK, but still worth the extra expense of importing.
NIFTYX Wearable Charging Cable – I have two I-Phones and at any one point in time they need to be charged, especially when I’m travelling. The trouble is that I’m often missing a charging cable, so I have to remember to carry one. But now I’ve discovered this NIFTYX bracelet which is actually a charging cable – one end is a USB connector and the other end is the I-Phone one. I wear this when travelling and I plug it in USB sockets wherever I find them.
Salux Super Hard Cloth Exfoliator – when it comes to bathing accessories, no-one can beat the Japanese. This scrubbing cloth gets rid of any dead skin when you shower. I picked the hardest cloth, it’s like sandpaper, just the way I like it!
Buddha Board– in Buddhist thought, one reason for suffering is that we don’t like change, despite the fact that it is inevitable. So overcome suffering we need to let go of attachment to what is (since it will not always be). This Board turns this into a practise. You dip the brush in water, “paint” your amazing picture, then watch it disappear as the water evaporates. Getting comfortable with this process is the essence of Buddhism training. For fans of Kevin Spacey’s (am I allowed to mention him?!) House Of Cards, in Season 3, you see some Tibetan monks make an intricate piece of art (a mandala). Once completed, they wipe it away, so just like this Buddha Board.
Handmade jewellery from Berlin – I always struggle to buy gifts for the various female members of my family. Perfumes are too meaningless, flowers are boring and jewellery is risky, not least because of the expense. Thankfully, while surfing on the Etsy shopping website, I came across Villa Sorgenfrei. Claudia and team have come up with a great range of jewellery often incorporating natural materials like real blooms, petals, dandelions, and other plants. Whoever I have bought this for have loved it!