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Staying in shape is hard work. As the tech savvy community that we are, we spend most of our time working in front of our computers and mobile devices. As a result, we often let our health take the back seat, never really finding the time to go to the gym or a fitness class and more often than not choosing fast food over much healthier options.

In the past, finding out the answer to these sorts of fitness or nutrition-related queries required going to an expert for advice or trawling the internet in the hope of finding an answer. Nowadays, things are a lot easier thanks to the health and fitness apps available on the App Store or Google Play. Because our smartphones and apps are always with us, they become constant reminders to check your progress, stay the course, and keep your willpower strong.

Here are the top 10 hand-selected health and fitness apps proven to be the most effective in terms of execution and, of course, results.

1. RunKeeper

RunKeeper is a workout-tracking program that offers detailed stats about things like pace, distance, time, and calories burned. Features include detailed fitness plans to help you achieve a variety of goals (lose weight, improve endurance, run a race, etc.); real-time audio coaching to keep you encouraged; and built-in social sharing tools (so you can brag about those workouts with ease).
Cost: Free. Available on iOS, Android

1. Runkeeper

2. Cyclemeter

Cyclemeter may very well be one of the most feature complete cycling apps you’re going to find, on any platform. Not only can you track every statistic you can possibly thing of, you can customize over 120 audio alerts to let you know exactly where you are during a certain ride. Cyclemeter also lets you share your workouts online as well as notify friends and family of exactly where you are, whether during a race or just for safety reasons. Cyclemeter has built-in training assistance to help you get ready for any kind of race you may be prepping for.
Cost: Free; $4.99 Elite Upgrade optional. Available on iOS

2. cyclemeter

3. MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a mobile app and website that gives you a wealth of tools for tracking what and how much you eat, and how many calories you burn through activity. Of all the existing calorie counters, MyFitnessPal is by far the easiest one to manage, and it comes with the largest database of foods and drinks. With the MyFitnessPal app you can fastidiously watch what you eat 24/7, no matter where you are.
Cost: Free. Available on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, Web

3. MyFitnessPal

4. Pocket Yoga

Pocket Yoga is a self-guided yoga practice that you can customize to fit your schedule and experience level. Features include detailed voice and visual instructions that guide you through every pose, 150 illustrated pose images including correct posture and positioning, and a workout log that tracks your progress to encourage consistency.
Cost: Android ($2.99), iOS ($1.99). Available on: Android, iOS

4. pocket yoga

5. Fooducate

Fooducate helps you eat healthier by scanning barcodes of products and providing a nutrition grade instantly, ranging from A to D. You can read unbiased information of a product, such as the controversy behind food coloring and make better, educated choices for your food intake. To help Fooducate, you can also submit products for analysis and write your own review.
Cost: Free. Available on: Android, iOS

5. fooducate

6. iDrated

No matter how much water you drink now, you’d probably be recommended by your GP to drink more. Drinking water is a key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by keeping our skin looking younger, improving natural digestion and removing bodily toxins.
With intuitive gesture-based interaction, iDrated will help keep track of your water intake throughout the day and remind you should you forget to drink in a while.
Cost: $0.99. Available on: iOS

6. idrated

7. Smoke Free

We all know the effects smoking has on our health but giving up the habit can require a lot of willpower that some of us just don’t have.
Having visual feedback from your progress like how much money you’ve saved so far can be used as a big incentive to help us keep going.
Downloading Smoke Free can be the first step to becoming healthier.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS

7. Smoke free

8. Workout Trainer

Workout Trainer is a fitness training app that comes equipped with thousands of free workouts designed for a wide variety of fitness goals, experience levels, and personal preferences. Features include a virtual fitness consultation to personalize and improve your experience; instructional photos, videos, and audio cues that illustrate every exercise; online support community; and a built-in music player.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android

8. workout trainer

9. Fitocracy

Fitocracy is an RPG (role playing game)- like app that allows you to earn points and level up during your fitness journey. New friends and accountability buddies will cheer you on in an online social community that’s like Facebook but for fitness.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android

9. fitocracy

10. iTriage Health

Here’s an app that takes the concept of a medical dictionary to a whole new level. iTriage not only allows you to search symptoms and find potential causes, it suggests treatments and finds qualified facilities and doctors in your area. If you’re having a medical emergency and need to head to the ER or urgent care, this app can provide average wait times.
It also includes numbers for emergency hotlines and physician and nurse advice lines, so you can be connected easily to a real person who will give you feedback on your condition. All of this information can be saved on the app for your convenience.
Cost: Free. Available on: iOS, Android

10. iTriage

Did you have a chance to try these helpful applications? Which of them did you like most? Let us know using the comments below.
 

Katerina Kviatkovskaya

Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

It’s the time of the year when we are getting ready to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. 2014 is almost over but you can still get in the spirit of Christmas and have a more fun holiday season with these Christmas applications.

  1. Touchnote – Christmas Edition

Free: iOS, Android

If you want to send beautiful Merry Christmas cards to friends or family, you can do it in a minute with Touchnote Christmas Edition. The app is full featured with lots of customization option which allows to add pictures and beautify them with fantastic photo designs and filters. Zoom, rotate and crop your photo with a single touch to fit better. The cards will be printed on beautiful, high-quality, textured, thick card and will be delivered within one working day.

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  1. Christmas RADIO

Free: iOS, Android

Holiday music lovers all over the world are in for a treat this Christmas because of the massively popular Christmas Radio application. This app allows you to enjoy a variety of Christmas hits from over 50 unique stations such as Xmas in Frisko, Jazz Radio Christmas, Christmas Lounge and Kristmas Kountry. There’s a North Pole Radio, which broadcasts directly from the North Pole – a detail that is sure to delight even the most skeptical of Santa-doubting kids; and probably more than a few adults, too.

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  1. Photo Combine Xmas

Free: iOS

Photo Combine Xmas is an amazingly simple and fun application that will combine your photo into a Christmas frame, which you can use any time and your photos any size.  Features include; supports crop, scale and rotate, you can share it to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Email, supports retina display and full iPhone front and back camera support.

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  1. Christmas Ringtones

Free:  Android

The Christmas Ringtones Free app gives you a variety of Christmas songs to select from to help you create your own festive Android Christmas ringtones for the holiday season! Inside this Christmas app you will find ringtones that range from “old school” Christmas songs to Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas songs, as well as everything else in between. Other Christmas song genres include: Rock, Techno, Chimes and more.

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  1. 25 Days of Christmas

Free: iOS, Android

25 Days of Christmas is a popular interactive countdown calendar to the big day, complete with numerous minigames and freebies. As the countdown progresses, more and more minigames are unlocked, allowing you and your children to have some quick fun between store stops.

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  1. Ink Cards

Free: iOS, Android

Ink Cards promises to help create greeting cards for all occasions, including the holiday season, with this free studio app. Enjoy easy-to-use card templates and themes, as well as the ability to add in your own photos, texts, and customizations. Cards can then be printed up on high-quality 5×7 inch paper, complete with delivery. Additional features include a helpful “Thoughtfulness Engine” that checks your linked Facebook account, reminding you of incoming friend’s birthdays. That way you’ll be able to cook up a gift card and have it mailed in time.

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  1. Christmas’ Joy Ingredients

Free: Android

One of the most important part of Christmas is all the delicious cakes and food that you get to eat. If you want to try something new this Christmas and cook some really yummy food, then you should definitely get Christmas’ Joy Ingredients app as it offers a lot of different Christmas recipes for homemade Christmas traditions. Apart from recipes, this app also offers a countdown timer, Christmas wallpapers and customized greetings.

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  1. Gift Wrapping Ideas

Free: Android

One of the most important elements of Christmas is the exchange of gifts. One thing which can make your gift stand out from the rest is a unique and interesting wrapping. It can make any gift look amazing. If you wish to wrap your gifts beautifully and differently, then get this app as it offers some really unique ideas and techniques related to how you can wrap a Christmas present creatively and make them eye-catching.

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Hope you will enjoy Christmas apps we mentioned above. Also let us know in the comments which other apps you have downloaded for Christmas. Happy Christmas!

Katerina Kviatkovskaya

Katerina Kviatkovskaya
Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype ID: kate.kviatkovskaya
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Facebook says its new Messages service is no Gmail killer, and Google’s CEO has said he is not concerned. Bellow you may find some LI members’ opinions about this topic.

«I feel no, Facebook is one of the best networking site to communicate and keep in touch everyday.»
Sean Lopez

«Yes! Some people think FB messaging service will replace email in the future….»
Kate Jillings

«Well, inertia is a powerful force. It takes some getting for people to switch e-mail services, especially when it comes to the hassles of changing your contact information with friends, banks, credit cards and other organizations that use your address. Even then, the possibility cannot be ruled out. Facebook already has a treasure trove of personal information and a huge messaging platform. Throw email into the mix and you have a deadly combination. And there’s also the social element: FB knows very well who your friends are and how closely you’re connected to them; it can very well do a pretty good job of figuring out which personal emails you want to read most and prioritize them accordingly. With more than 500 million users, FB is a giant much bigger than all email providers. If it can manage to integrate the new messaging system with the main interface, I think FB will get even “stickier” than it is and will make people keep their distance from the privacy-invading behemoth.»
Abdul Rahim Hasan

«It would be death for Google to say that it *is* worried, whether it is or not. New technology does not kill old technology immediately. It layers on top of old ways of doing things. Email is not, despite what Facebook says, dead. Facebook is engaging in a little psyche-out with Google, pretending that it’s David to Google’s Goliath, when it hasn’t been David for years. Watch, in 5 years as Facebook becomes MySpace and some new, even cooler platform takes over the zeitgeist and we all forget about Mark Z.»
Erica Friedman

«Absolutely not. While Facebook has the user base, their current platform apparently does not have the ability to support a real email service. I’ve been using the “New Messages” for a few weeks now, and my conclusion about it is “Seriously? That’s it?”»
Brian Altenhofel

«I am concerned about the privacy issues that are going to come up…not at an IT level, but because people have begun to let down their guard where they’d have never done so like this in a shopping mall meeting someone and talking, or a cafe, or elsewhere. Facebook does not seem secure to me in that sense rather than the security of their messaging system. I’m seeing droves of people joining facebook then baring their souls and their everyday existence…then realizing you cannot take that back. One thing you must say is that communication is still more or less in writing but not for long. Voice recognition etc is going to become more common. So facebook may serve a purpose as it’s more visual than verbal for many folks and the others still require more written communication. Like it or not, many people find that requires a little work!»
Heather Vitaglione

Maybe you have something to add?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
www.altabel.com

Want to be the most popular person on Facebook? According to a recent Facebook study of the way people write and react to status updates, all you have to do is write longer status updates, talk about music and sports. Also don’t be overly emotional, don’t talk about your family, don’t refer to time and use the word “you” a lot.

Facebook analyzed the word usage for about one million status updates from its US English speakers. The social network said all identifiable information was stripped from the status updates before they were analyzed, and Facebook team members did not read your status updates for the purposes of this study.

Once the updates were anonym zed, the words were organized into 68 different word categories based on the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count – a text analysis software program. Some examples of word categories used in the study include past tense verbs, prepositions, and religion and positive feelings.

Here’s a look at some of the study’s findings.

Angry Youth
Facebook youth are an angry, foul-mouthed, selfish bunch, according to the Facebook study. The company found that young people express more negative emotions than their elders, swear more and use personal pronouns such as “I” and “Me” more often.
Older Facebook folk, meanwhile, write longer prose in their updates, talk about others more often and pepper their language with more prepositions (to, in, at) and articles (a, the, some).

Morning People
Turns out, most folks on Facebook are morning people. The study found that status updates expressing positive emotions were highest in the morning, and became increasingly negative as the day wore on. So Facebook users – at least the U.S. English speakers – start the day in a good mood, but as the day goes on and the coffee wears off we become increasingly demoralized. How clichéd can you get?

The Blogger’s Secret
Facebook’s study also confirms something that bloggers and Fox News have known for years: negative comments produce more online activity. Sure, Facebook users might click the like button more often on updates expressing positive emotion. But Facebook found you can’t beat negativity for user engagement, as dismal status updates garnered more comments than positive ones. People are also less likely to comment on religious status updates, and rarely comment or like status update referring to sleep.

You’re welcome with your Facebook’s secrets!

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
www.altabel.com

Are you on Facebook? I’d like to know the quirks, issues and annoyances you deal with on this social network. Whether you use Facebook to connect with friends or to manage your company’s brands, chances are you’ve found the service lacking. It could be something inherent to the site (like confusing security controls), how your friends use it (to invite you to play FarmVille) or something the site doesn’t do at all but should (such as offer a dislike button). Bellow you may find LI members’ opinions about FaceBook’s lacks.

“Incessant invitations to join it. And these are invitations from people whose names I don’t recognize.”
Martha Retallick

“1. Ads on the right column. I’ve installed a plug-in to hide them in my Safari 5
2. Ads…ops did I say ads twice? :-)”
Artyom Diogtev

“I think Facebook is like any other application. It has its place alongside LinkedIn and Twitter for those wanting to use it. You need to learn the best ways to use it for yourself, be wary of intrusions on your privacy, and then enjoy its positive aspects (like finding people you’ve lost touch with and never expected to connect with again). To answer the question, games are my biggest pet peeve.”
Pat Lovenhart (Tiliakos)

“What annoys me about facebook isn’t really “about facebook.” It’s more about the common situation of people who don’t realize the impact of what they post and talk about. Be smart, be careful.”
Barb Muessig, APR

“The fact that I cannot control everything that I do there, to whom my info is shown (like posts, comments, etc.).”
Sandra B.

“What annoy me are the advertisements & requests to play a game. You can see them on the right hand side of the screen; there are too many of them.”
Daniel L.

“The only thing that gets me really about Facebook is all the applications that you have to be really careful of when it comes to privacy. Some of them can basically relay anything that you post to whoever they wish. I have minimal applications installed and have adapted the ones I do have installed to protect my privacy.”
Simon Barrington

“Everything. It’s too public, too messy, too hard to find out how to use even the smallest feature, too everything!”
Carol Smith

“As a recruiter, one of the things I like about LinkedIn is being able to look at who is looking at me. Facebook doesn’t have that capability. I’ll offer to connect with people here who I might have a mutual interest with. I can’t do that with Facebook.”
Michelle Shemenske

Have something to add? Your opinion is welcome!

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group

Today there are hundreds of social networking sites (Friendster, imeem, Flickr, Myspace, Plaxo, Xanga, the list goes on) that are connecting people with different background, interests, hobbies and professions around the world.

The three major sites that are in the forefront are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  What, you may ask, is the difference between the three?  Which one will be the most beneficial for business?  Depending on you or your company’s goals and objectives, you will hopefully have a clearer perspective of which service best fits your business.

Bellow you may find a sort of an overview of the basic differences between Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sean Patrick
Sales Trainer & Sales Mentor at Sean Patrick,
Sales Director at Global VIsual Solutions Ltd:

“Facebook is good for brand awareness and building, twitter is a micro blog and can be hard to target your niche and linkedin does a lot more than both facebook and twitter and is taken a lot more seriously.”

Josh Chandler
Virtual Assistant for Business Professionals:

“It all depends what you mean by business purposes. Do you mean you want to use a social network to increase revenues, increase subscriptions to an email newsletter etc. In my opinion, each serves different benefits for businesses. Twitter for instance is uniquely positioned as being a popular real-time social network. This means that if you want to promote a product on a limited time period, it would be more suitable to use Twitter to reach an audience quickly.
Facebook on the other hand is more so about the brand awareness. Therefore it would be better suited towards long-term gains in website traffic, RSS subscribers and email newsletter subscriptions. LinkedIn is definitely more suited for connecting business professionals together who may wish to do joint ventures. Again, each network really will only work when you’ve distinguished and set goals on what you want to achieve for your business.”

Robert Burns, II
Public Relations & Social Media Specialist ♦ Writing Specialist:

“A large part of social media effectiveness, especially for business purposes, depends on where your AUDIENCE is. The answer to your question can and will vary drastically, based on the product or service each business offers, their current clientele, potential clientele, and short/long-term goals. I do not believe there is a best; it simply depends. A strong social media strategy will efficiently and effectively make use of more than one (but not too many; two or three is plenty) social media platforms, cross-linking between them and keeping a consistent brand for all of them.

FACEBOOK: It’s hard to argue with 400+ million regular users. Right now, they’ve got the numbers, and their users are engaged. I recommend every professional have a FB.

TWITTER: Growing fast, more useful if you can consistently post new, relevant content, ask relevant questions, and engage Tweeters. Good as well.

LINKEDIN: This platform captures the professional demographic that is not quite seen in such force on Twitter or Facebook. Both of those sites have them, but this site is DEDICATED to it, and there are a lot less frivolous status comments about “what people had for breakfast” and what have you.

As you can see, there are upsides (and downsides) to each one. It all depends on your business, audience, and ultimate purpose.”

Peter B. Giblett CITP, LLB
Business Strategist-Speaker-Author (Social Media & IT):

“All have their advantages and disadvantages. Starting with LinkedIn it is not possible to use it to build a corporate brand – all interaction has to be personal and promotional activity is not allowed. Any contribution made would have to be purely personal, although there is nothing stopping a person from using clever wording in a forum such as Answers to build brand awareness. Twitter possibly offers the best business capability. It is possible to have an account in the name of the business, and to promote your brand directly. However too much of this and you are likely to lose credibility and followers. With Facebook it is possible to build a business fan page which can act as a centre of attention for people interested in the brand and its activities. In all cases it is best to focus on the needs of your followers in building the brand image – e.g. become the industry expert rather than purely promoting your own products. Social media is a place to demonstrate expertise rather than to advertise.”

Emmajane Taylor-Moran
Employment Solicitor at Webster Dixon LLP:

“LinkedIn is my preference for business use. Facebook is too social (my teenage daughter is addicted to it, and I think it is really aimed at that market, not for professionals). Twitter – well I just don’t have time to narrate my life, and nobody would be that interested in it anyway!”

What do you think? What concerns do you have about which social networks to join?

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
http://www.altabel.com

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