Reverse 911: Public Safety Edges Privacy

In case of an emergency agencies need to be able to contact residents.

Cell Phone Reverse Lookup

The job of contacting residents when a possible emergency arises is hampered for government agencies by  technological advancements like mobile phones. This questions the effectiveness of agencies. Paul Suarez a Columbian reporter said in a recent article that warning for residents has become more difficult because they are using less phone lines and more are using their cell phones more often.

One example lately was a small gas leak in Battle Ground that made officials notify citizens of danger even though the affected area was not of a larger scale and should have not been notified on a large scale.

reverse 911 photo
Photo by ResoluteSupportMedia

The Clark Regional Emergency Agency started using a reverse 911 service for phone numbers that are registered in an area to be called with a warning message although not many people use landlines these days and only so many could be called using the reverse 911.

People using cellphones, smartphones, or internet lines can be called using reverse cell phone services if they are registered although most do not. John Wheeler coordinator of emergency management for CRESA says there is no sure way to reach those people through reverse cell phone services.

It seems with most people having reliable communications these days that they could be contacted more easily with reverse 911 if the service also included mobile devices in addition to land lines.

Sometimes not reaching people could be a good thing because of privacy issues that are much needed these days. Author Ayn Rand said many years ago that Civilization is progressing toward a society with out privacy,  you might  agree with that quote today.

Officials from the government have to be careful on the issues between privacy and what is best for the public. For small gas leaks like in Battle Ground, it was considered minor but could have been more of an issue and could have been threatening.

CRESA officials say that cell phones are the future of technology and will need to deliver the warnings. Although people are concerned about privacy and unwanted messages could be an issue.

Those concerns will need to be addressed but for now, it is important that residents be alerted for emergencies. If you decide to register a cellphone to get warnings, you can visit . Additional details about the Reverse 911 service can be found at .

Everyone should register a phone number to be alerted during an emergency and to be safe.

Come on, Time to Green Up Your Cell Phone Life

Green Up Your Cell Phone Life

Our modern society has placed an emphasis on giving back. Giving to those less fortunate, giving to charities and, perhaps above all, giving back to our planet. Where do you start? This is a question that often confounds people so much that they never start at all. One of the simplest ways to give back to mother earth is with your cell phone. Over 4.6 billion people worldwide have a cell (or mobile) phone gone are the days of the phonebook its all at our fingertips but most of these people aren’t aware that their phone could be the easiest way to begin their quest in saving the planet.

Recycle

We all know we should recycle but that doesn’t mean that we do it. Often, recycling isn’t convenient and, if it isn’t easy, we don’t want to do it. Many communities are taking the initiative with free recycling centers, recycling days or even recycling bins for each household. We replace our cell phones at an average of one phone every two years. What do we do with those old phones? Most times they take up room in a junk drawer or get tossed in the bin. People may forget, or never have been aware, that they can recycle those old phones. If you need a new phone, why not give your old one to your child? Kids often want, but don’t need, the newest gadget; your phone will be new to them and won’t take up valuable landfill space.

Monitor Energy Use

To leave as small a carbon footprint as possible, compare the energy use of different mobile phones when deciding on which to purchase. If you can’t bring yourself to buy a phone that uses the smallest amount of energy, either because of its style or features, take a look at the settings in the phone you do choose and try to adjust them to lower its use of energy. You often won’t have to give up functionality to better utilize the phone’s energy.

Green Applications

Different apps can help you reduce your carbon footprint, live greener or even scan products as you’re shopping to see what their environmental impact is. Other apps may help you decide on the greenest vehicles, the greenest appliances and even give you tips on how to reduce your energy consumption inside the home. Finding green apps couldn’t be simpler; log onto your app store and search ‘green’. The choices are virtually limitless.

Green Broadband

When deciding on which provider you will utilize, look for one that donates a portion of their proceeds to different charities or that seek a carbon neutral status. By partnering with a green provider, you are being about as environmentally friendly as you can get.

Written by Firespin Jay a Eco and Tech enthusiast from London also enjoys playing with fire (POI) so come say he @FirespinJay and hope to chat soon.

Five iPhone Apps to Help in Addiction Recovery

Technology has proven itself useful in many areas of human healing, including addiction recovery. While they not to be used as a replacement for treatment, several iPhone apps can be a handy means of support for someone right when it is needed most.

Cell Phone Reverse Lookup

Pocket Sponsor The Pocket Sponsor is an iPod application that offers wisdom, inspiration, and hope. Daily support alerts arrive automatically, but the user can also read additional support messages with a simple tap of the screen. The app provides 31 days of unique morning and evening routines that develop emotional stability and calm. These routines involve meditations, positive mantras, and supportive messages that can be used throughout the day. There will be times when the addict cannot reach a sponsor or other trusted support person, but the Pocket Sponsor will be there day and night.

addiction recovery photo
Photo by JoeInSouthernCA

iPromises

This iPhone app provides three separate features. First, it allows the user to track his or her recovery with journals and charts that document accomplishments, challenges, triggers, and time spent sober. For many users, the ability to document there feelings in a readily available journal provides great motivation. The second feature is “One Day at a Time.” Users can use these daily messages to build unique recovery programs based on which messages speak to their hearts. The final aspect of iPromises is the Geo-Positioning feature. The iPhone’s built in GPS makes finding a nearby meeting easy.

12 Step Programs Ann-e creates several apps designed to help addicts stay connected to others who understand their struggles. An application exists for all 12 step programs, broadening the sphere of support beyond individuals to reach the entire recovery community. The app offers tree types of communication, including anonymous peer-to-peer instant messaging, connecting anonymous users by phone with conference bridges, and facilitating personal meetings between trusted peers.

Guided Mediation Apps There are numerous apps for the iPhone that assist in guided meditations, an important part of maintaining a calm mind during recovery. Apps generally provide various themes such as “Mindfulness” or “Being Happy” with multiple sessions ranging from 2 to 20 minutes. Those in recovery can download a single meditation or acquire a small collection to find those most useful in stress management.

Cognitive Therapy Apps Cognitive therapy helps addicts reprogram their negative thoughts and behaviors to create a more positive mindset going forward. These apps typically include a journal for users to write down negative thoughts and behaviors as they notice them. They can then notice patterns of thought and behavior that can be corrected and improved. The journal is also helpful during therapy sessions, allowing the user to more readily communicate issues with the therapist. Unlike a traditional notebook, the cognitive therapy apps have locks to protect the user’s privacy.

Jessica Bosari writes for TherapistSchools.com, a site that helps students find the right therapy education, whether they seek behavioral, physical or addiction therapy schools.

My Fitness Pal Smartphone App: An Electronic Weight Loss Coach

So, you have decided to lose those few flabby pounds you’ve gained over the holidays. Good for you! Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to the solution. So let me congratulate you a little further by recommending a little guide that will help you along your path. It’s called “My Fitness Pal” and this app is on both iPhone and Android.

First off let me start by saying that the app is free. Yes, it’s free. Free as in beer. Free is a good thing. And for the quality of this app that is a great thing. Now let me say that this is not a full weight loss coach. You will need some determination and will power to use this app. But congrats for even starting your journey!

Cell Phone Reverse Lookup

Lets get started!

Let’s begin taking a look at this. My overall impressions of the app were great. It’s functional, easy to use, and feature rich. My Fitness Pal really has the potential to help keep you on the proper path. My biggest issue is that ads displayed in the app. It is an Ad supported app, so if this bothers you then you may want to look elsewhere. On a larger screen phone it’s easily ignored but on smaller screens it could take up precious real estate.

So, we start the app and you’re asked if you are a current member or want to register. My Fitness Pal records all of your progress to their website. Since you are reading this I am going to assume that you are a new member. So go ahead and create your account. You’ll enter the standard username and password, email, password, height and weight, sex (yes, is not an option), and lifestyle activity, and so fourth and so on.

The app will also ask for the amount of exercise you get and how much weight you want to lose each week without giving snake oil promises of 30 pounds in two weeks. I appreciated this because proper and healthy weight lose must be achieved with a pound or two a week, not fifty.

I would recommend after entering your profile, and being pushed to the main screen, you have a look around and get the hang of the app. At first it’s slightly confusing, but it grows on you rather quickly. The app is well laid out but throws a lot of info at you quickly.

Have you been naughty or nice?

On the main screen you will find your daily digest of information. This shows many calories you are allowed to eat for the day, how many were taken in by food, exhausted by exercise and what’s left. If you want you can also take a peak at your total nutritional intake for the day. You’ll be presented with a chart that looks very much like the back of food label. I went into information overload the first time I read this. But it’s nice to see what I’m doing with myself. A healthy diet consists of getting the proper nutrients as well, not just limiting calories.

My Fitness Pal Smartphone App
My Fitness Pal Smartphone App

On the same screen you’ll have access to enter information into your daily diary of food and exercise. Simply click the Add to Diary button. From there you can enter food and exercise info. I’ll start with the food. My Fitness Pal breaks your entries into breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can search for foods, select recently used items, or select from a custom made food or meal list. If you decide to eat more then carrots for lunch you can also add multiple items as well.

My favorite feature though was the barcode scanner. Not sure what you just ate? It’s OK. We all have those moments. You can scan the barcode with your camera and the app will do it’s best to find the nutritional information via the world wide intermaweb. It doesn’t do a half bad job either.

Now, like I believe I said, I don’t like exercising all that much. It’s not like I don’t like it really, it’s just that I don’t have time. You know, like you do… But anyway, I pretended like I had time, just for you, to try this out. Adding any exercises works much the same way that adding food to your diary does. The only issue is, if you can’t remember what that exercise is called that the guy just taught you in the park that made you bend like a trifold pretzel door, then you’re stuck browsing through every exercise to find the correct information. There is no barcode scanner for that. Sorry.

Your daily diary

Next we go to our daily diary. Here you can see how bad or good you’ve been. A full breakdown of what foods you ate and what exercises you’ve done will be listed here. Basic information like calories eaten, calories burned, and remaining are displayed in this list as well. Access is granted from here, as well, to add to or edit your diary.

And then the last tab. Your progress tab gives you a nice little line graph over a period of time to track progress and goals. It can be somewhat gratifying and self-rewarding to see that line move down. I was impressed that it tracks not only your weight, but your neck, waist, and hip measurements as well. It’s nice to see a little diversity and something extra with this app considering there is so many like it all over the market now.

My Fitness Pal Smartphone App
My Fitness Pal Smartphone App

And last, but not least, is the options tab. Pretty self explanatory. You can change your profile or any of app your settings here.

I suppose it should be mentioned that you can view any of the information online via the account you created when you first started the app. Your daily diary and progress can be tracked there. I never utilized this much because I like the info in my pocket on the go. Also the last thing I want to do is sit and track my weight when I get to work or when I have a few minutes of downtime at home.

Conclusion

Over all I liked the app. It’s well designed and laid out. My Fitness Pal has a few nice features that set it self above other apps, like the barcode scanner. The app is intuitive and easy to use. It’s limited on features though. I would have liked to see more integration online with the app, maybe something with the community or access to the forums, or maybe some social networking integration.

The price is perfect considering it’s free. With it being an ad driven app though you may have issues with screen real estate on smaller devices. Larger screens were not bad. The app is also pretty stable. I didn’t see any force closes on any platforms or devices.

So, would I recommend it? Yes. Counting your calories is a fundamental aspect of weight loss, whether you are on popular diet program (i.e Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Diet to Go, etc) or a self-made diet plan.

Give it a shot and see how you like it. But give it a week or two before you start investing your time heavily recording information with it. Make sure you like the app and it feels fluid to you. If it doesn’t, move on to the next, because after all there are more apps that operate exactly like this one. It’s simple, polished, and easy to use with a couple nice extra features but nothing innovative whatsoever.

Guest author Matthew is a health advocate who is fascinated by how Smartphones have not only improved the way we communicate but also increased the information we have access too. Matthew researches and makes available Nutrisystem discount deals for 2011 and eDiets coupons and discounts, for dieters who want to save on these two proven weight loss programs.

Review of a Popular Weight Loss and Fitness App for Smartphones

Weight Loss And Fitness App

Perhaps you’re an always on the go kind of person with a few flabby pounds you can’t seem to get rid of. Maybe you just want to watch what you eat or you want help maintaining that perfect weight you’re at now. Perhaps you’re just too embarrassed to seek help. Whatever the reason may be, I think I may have something to help with that.

Recently I took a look at an Android app called “Diet and Food Tracker” by Sparkpeople.com. It’s certainly a worthy app for a few minutes of your time. It’s a well-organized and easy to follow diet and health planner.

Cell Phone Reverse Lookup

So what makes this app so interesting? It does more than calorie counting. The developer of this app was nice enough to factor in and encourage a daily dose of exercise as well, which can be a very important part of any health regimen.

Oh, the Settings…

So let’s take a look at the app. Congrats, you decided to take the plunge and download it. It’s easy to find on the android market, and best of all, it’s free! When you start the app you’re greeted with the introduction screen. The app will ask a basic set of questions like your age, weight, health conditions, weight goals, gender, etc. I was impressed that Diet and Food Tracker didn’t set unreasonable goals with snake oil promises of 20 pounds in two weeks. They limit your weight loss from half a pound to two pounds per week. Losing too much weight to fast can be seriously unhealthy, so I appreciated this.

Weight Loss and Fitness App

If you need help or want a second place for your data you can also link the app to your Sparkpeople online account, or simply use it standalone. The decision is up to you. In this case I choose standalone. I am a very on the go person and when I finally hit a computer the last thing I am doing is checking my weight and diet. I’d rather have all that info in my pocket.

After setting up your account you’re sent to the “Today” screen. Here you’ll see some nice articles to read for your morning constitutional, the calories eaten today, and the calories burned. You get your info served to you with two nice line graphs and some simple text. Overall it’s easy to follow and to see what’s going on for that day.

Food for Thought

Now, you’re getting the nibbles and you need to get something in your stomach. Before launching towards the fridge like a mad cow you might want to check out the “Food” tab. Here is where you will log your daily eats. It’s a tad confusing at first glance but you get over it quickly after you realized how it’s designed.

This tab is best used if you plan ahead. You can select and add the foods you are planning to eat along with the calorie count and dosage for each meal. The developer was even nice enough to include a snack time. Adding food is cumbersome though. You search and find what food you will be eating, how much, what brand, and so forth, and add it to your daily meal. Hence, planning ahead… Adding your meal and foods can be a tad annoying and does take time. If you decide you enjoyed what you ate though, you can always copy the meal to the next day. There are only so many days I can stomach the same thing meal though. This process is a necessary evil for the app. It certainly isn’t my favorite part.

Feel the Burn!

Next we continue our journey on over to the exercise part. Are you excited? Are you pumped!?

Weight Loss and Fitness App

After clicking on the fitness tab you’re greeted with the daily push-ups you’ve done. Not terribly exciting. But you’ll also get a run down of the time spent moving and calories burnt. Just like the “Food” tab, you enter in you exercises done and how long you did them and the app will guesstimate from there. Straight forward but it takes a couple seconds. Rinse wash and repeat day after day.

Weigh in Time Boys

The last important stop is the weigh in tab. Like a wrestler on game day, the app has you check your weight religiously. Step on the scale, shriek in horror, input your numbers, peek at your graph, rinse, wash, and repeat, next day… With any luck you’ll be watching that little blue line on that nice simplistic little graph going down in no time.

Of course, if you so choose, you can always adjust your options and settings later on. The “more” tab stores all this info. Curiously there is also some mysterious water setting I couldn’t figure out. I leave this as a mystery to you. The app isn’t clear at all what to do with this. But, anyway, you’ll have the options to change your personal info and settings, view your reports, and share your progress so far.

Conclusion

All in all in the app isn’t bad. It’s free so the price is great. The colors are very pastel and easy to read. I didn’t really experience any force closes across multiple devices, which is such a great thing on a hardware-fragmented platform like android.

I also had no trouble multitasking with the app as well. The information was harder to read on smaller screens though. There is some info to plug in to the app. In fact, get in the same mentality as your birth control; you’ll need to do it everyday.

Would I recommend this app? Yes, I would. Whether you are on a commercial weight loss program (i.e Weight Watchers, Medifast, Atkins, BistroMD, etc) or you are following your own diet plan, the Diet and Food Tracker by Sparkpeople can be a valuable tool. Not all people like to count calories, though. Play with it for a week and see how it feels with you. If you don’t get your mojo going from it, then move on. There are similar apps on the market.

Guest author Matthew is a Smartphone lover and technology addict who enjoys reviewing fitness and weight loss related apps. In his blog, he reviews weight loss programs and features discount offers for Medifast and Bistro MD coupons for 2011, two proven meal replacement and food delivery weight loss plans.

Montreal Drivers Use Cell Phones to Pay Parking

Parking Meters
Parking Meters (Photo credit: jeffk)

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Montreal Drivers Use Cell Phones to Pay Parking

The Montreal Gazette reports that authorities in the city are considering a system where parking can be paid for using a cell phone. Already used in other cities in Canada, pay-by-phone has become very popular with the residents and tourists alike. Without a large set of coins to pay expensive meters in downtown areas across the country, paying by cell phone adds a great convenience for all parkers.

Text Alerts before Expiration

One of the really nice features is the ability to get text alerts prior to your meter running out. Motorists are able to return to their cars or add more money through their cellphones before the expiration. And if you leave the parking spot before your time has expired, you can close the transaction and get a refund for the timing remaining.

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