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Three Best Fitness Apps to Try Right Now

Woman Jogging

Eating well and exercising. You know you should do it. The problem is finding the motivation to get started and stay the course. You’re probably within arm’s length from the tool most likely to help you achieve your goal: your smartphone! Download these apps and you’ll discover a healthier lifestyle is actually within reach.

Best App for the Runner and Cyclist

Ready for a healthy addiction? Check out the Strava GPS Cycling and Running App, which will stoke your competitive fire and keep you motivated to exceed your personal best. With the Strava app, you’re connected to like-minded athletes across the globe. The social nature of this free app encourages camaraderie and will motivate you to do your best since you know your peers are rooting you on. Use the app to plan your route, record your activity, and analyze data (including statistics on your power, pace, and heart rate readings) against your prior performance, other app users, and even professionals.

Best App for Nutrition and Weight Loss

Whether your goal is to shed 10 pounds or 150, lose the weight with Lose It! This user-friendly app is jam-packed with tools you can use to set a daily calorie limit, track caloric intake, and calories burned through exercise, and access peer support 24/7. Download the app, enter your goal weight and use features like the calorie-counter, recipe suggestions, and the Lose It! weekly challenge to become a healthier you. Without support, weight loss can be an even bigger challenge. Lost it! connects your support group through your social media accounts. No need to worry about who will see your content, you have full control over your privacy settings.

Best Overall Fitness App

Have you ever wished you had a partner in fitness? My Fitness Pal is exactly that. This free app is intuitive: It “learns” your habits so you can quickly and easily keep a food diary and an activity log. Experts agree that tracking caloric intake and calories burned is one of the best ways to stay on track with a diet and/or fitness regimen. My Fitness Pal’s food database includes more than a million items, and its exercise database is equally comprehensive. When you use the app, you also have access to an active community forum where you can gain inspiration, as well as friends who know exactly what you’re going through.

These healthy-lifestyle apps will motivate you and show you, literally, that you can do it. Before you know it, you’ll be on a roll and shedding weight. Don’t let a dead smartphone battery derail your momentum. For longer workouts, make sure your app is always at the ready by carrying a charger with you. Thunder Power is the best portable battery charger on the market because it’s lightweight, compatible with multiple devices, and comes in an array of fun colors to coordinate with your workout gear. Now get at it!

Smartphone Tips: How to Take Fantastic Fall Foliage Photos

Fall foliage

It’s finally fall, and that means cooler temps, gentle breezes and colorful autumn foliage that makes a striking backdrop for family photos as well as artsy and fabulously frame-worthy nature snaps.

When Should You Go?

When to take the most ideal shots depends on where you live. In colder, mountainous regions like the Rockies, Adirondacks and much of New England, peak foliage time is September into early October. In the Northeast, Western plains states and the mid-Atlantic coast, foliage peaks in mid-to-late October. In California, the Deep South and warmer regions, head out in early November.

Test Your Techniques

When the time is right and you’re ready to work your magic, your smartphone is the smart choice for capturing Mother Nature in all her multi-hued glory.

One of the most underutilized smartphone tips for budding photographers is to use a tripod. Professionals use them all the time, so if you want the best results, take one on your fall foliage photo shoot. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just sturdy and still. You can even make one yourself.

Another way to score breathtaking photos is to experiment with a tree-changing time-lapse setting. Some smartphones have built-in time-lapse feature apps. If your phone doesn’t, you can download an app. Essentially, you can set your phone to take photos at various intervals, such as one photo per second or one photo every hour. Imagine how cool it would be to zoom in on one tree, leave your phone aimed for several hours in the same spot, and record the progression of this scientific phenomenon. (Did you know leaves don’t actually change color? They simply stop producing chlorophyll that masks the always-present yellow, orange and purple pigments.)

Don’t Run Out of Juice

It’s a mystery for the ages: How can smartphones be so smart but their batteries so quickly depleted? Until some avid entrepreneur comes up with a solution, do yourself a favor. Don’t head out to your photo shoot without a portable cell phone charger. Nothing slams the brakes on a fun fall photo shoot like a dead camera. The shots you miss could be the money shots. Eliminate that risk by packing a portable charger.

Fall is in the air! Enjoy the foliage before you find yourself sidelined by raking duty!

Travel Tips: How to Breeze Through Airport Security

People traveling through the airport

Are you done with having to spring through the airport?

We’ve all been there. Whether you have mere minutes between connecting flights or you get stuck in traffic on your way to the airport, security is one step of your journey that can truly be hit or miss in terms of time costs. As you shove your feet back into your shoes after emptying your pockets, taking off your belt, and so on- you may ask yourself, “Is there a way to make this process easier?”

Fortunately for you, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” We’ve broken down how to get through airport security with less hassles into these simple and easy-to-follow tips:

TSA’s Pre✓ Program

Before you leave for the airport, make sure you’re ahead of the game. One of your biggest time-saving opportunities is TSA’s Pre Check program. The program permits travelers to bypass the traditional security line into your own designated security checkpoint.

The program is gaining popularity amongst travelers, but lines still remain fairly short. You can join the program through partner airlines such as American, Southwest, Delta, JetBlue, and many more. TSA’s Precheck program is currently housed at more than 40 hubs across the country. Click here to see if they offer the Precheck program at your most-visited airports.

Know your Airport

Knowing your way around the airport is key to zipping through the process. Before you leave to catch your flight, check available parking. Being aware of which lots are full in relation to your terminal will save you critical travel time from your car to security. During peak travel times, lots fill up fast which should give you good enough reason to plan ahead. Consider these apps to help you pick the best airport parking spot.

clothes-travel-voyage-backpack

Be Dressed for Success

This objective is clear – take only the bare necessities to meet your travel needs. While traveling light has its own advantages, you can maximize the affect during security checks by packing efficiently as well. Pick a certain color scheme and go with only colors that match so you can mix-and-match outfits during your stay. During the colder months (or when you travel to a cool destination), consider layering to replace a single, bulky overcoat. This will enable you to breeze more quickly through security and eliminate the need to remove you coat during the security screening process.

Also, save the accessorizing for after you get off the plane. Watches, belts, shoes, and other items have to be taken off during screening. The more clothing and accessories you have on, the longer it will take you to move through security.

Always be Prepared

Always check your flight status. You never know if there’s a delay, gate change, or cancelation. Flight Aware and Flight View are both free apps for Android and iOS that allow you to check your flight status, gate, and departure time.

Since your phone helps you stay on schedule, always be sure to pack an extra charging cable. Most airports now have USB charging stations and outlets you can use for a pre-flight charge and many airlines now have USB plugs at your seat for on-the-fly charging. Now that you have the necessary tools to get you though security, it’s time to get out there and explore!

4 Simple Ways to Extend Your Phone’s Battery Life

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How to Extend Battery Life - Powerocks

Mobile computing is everywhere. As evidenced by how mobile usage has recently surpassed desktop, we are on our mobile devices now more than ever before. According to the Pew Research Center, over 64% of American adults the proud owner of a mobile device (including smartphones and tablets), running your battery out is inevitable and very frustrating. By following these simple steps, you can learn how to extend battery life and help improve your chances of making it through the day without having your device turn into a decorative brick.

Shut Off Push Notifications

Not all of the apps you have downloaded need push notifications turned on to function. How do push notifications work? Basically, when you engage push notifications on your mobile device, the app you download constantly requests information from your phone’s server. These constant requests can slowly drain your battery (and eat up your data plan to boot!).

Shutting off Push Notifications on iPhone

To shut down push notifications, follow these steps.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to Notifications
  3. Under the Include List→ Choose which Apps you would like to shut off
  4. Choose the App
  5. Under “Allow Notification”→  Hit the button to shut down

Shutting off Push Notifications on Android

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Under Device, tap the Apps section
  3. Uncheck the box that says, “Show Notifications”

NOTE: Keep in mind, it may take you some time to go through your apps, so choose wisely.

Change Your Display Settings

This may seem like an obvious tip, but dialing down your screen’s display brightness can go a long way to making improving your battery life. Running your screen brightness at it’s lowest comfortable level for your current lighting conditions can really save you some headache in the dead battery department.

To change the brightness on your iPhone, open up your Settings, go to Display & Brightness. From there, you can change the brightness to your liking. Our best recommendation is 15%. (This setting can also be accessed quickly if you have a more recent installation of IOS via the Status Bar. Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access this convenient dashboard to make quick adjustments to a host of settings.)

If you are on an Android device, head over Settings, hit Display under the Device option, go to brightness and adjust as you wish.

Turn on Airplane Mode

We only recommend this one if you are in dire need of a charge. The airplane mode isn’t just for the airline traveler. You can use the mode to still use your device without entirely powering off.  To turn on Airplane Mode with your iPhone, head over to General in your Settings and the On/Off switch can be toggled from there. This setting essentially turns off cellular and wifi systems which can be a big drain on your battery.

With an Android device, under Wireless & Networks, hit More. From the More setting, be sure to check the Airplane Mode box.

Carry Portable Power

After implementing these tips and if you are still in need of juice, consider a portable power supply for your device. Our Magicstick is small, sleek, and powerful to get you the extra juice your device needs to get you back up and running. The Magicstick also comes in variety of colors to match your style.

Keep these tips in mind to make sure that a dead battery doesn’t keep you from staying connected in today’s mobile world.





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Train Traveling

by Stephen Shields, Frequent Business Traveler and iPhone-ographer

SpringfieldMA

I love trains of all types!  Usually I’m in airplanes but, when I can, I’ll take the train!  I can show up 10 minutes before the train leaves.  I can stand up and walk around while it’s moving.  I can spread out in the cafe car and work without worrying about knocking elbows with someone sitting beside me while I type!

EWR

I even enjoy the shuttle trains one finds at airports, whether it’s the train with the cool enclosed spaces at Orlando International or the above ground AirTrain at Newark Liberty Airport.  On those rare occasions when I’m not on the road and can actually visit my DC office, I take the Marc Train in to Union Station and then grab the DC Metro to my stop.

Whether moving by plane, train, or automobile, my Powerocks portable charger gives me the peace of mind to know I will always have power to take photos of the interesting train or station shots I see!

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MCO

                                                                                      Stephen Shields is a husband, father, writer, management consultant, and iPhone-ographer. Stephen, his wife Beth, his three teen-aged daughters, and their Rhodesian Ridgeback live in the Baltimore, MD area. Stephen very much enjoys shooting landscapes, sunrises, sunsets, and architecture on his many business trips and has about 190 iPhone photography apps.  He never leaves home to travel without his Powerocks portable charger.