Menu

Smartphone

  • #SelfCare: How to Detox From Social Media Like the Pros

    The average person will spend more than five years of their life on social media, and most users spend roughly two hours every day on some social platform or another. Social media accounts for as much as 30% of total time spent online, and up to 80% of social media usage takes place on mobile devices – meaning that, in many cases, we literally can’t get away from that next tweetstorm or Instagram notification.

    Two hours a day is a huge chunk of time to be spent doing anything – let alone using services with known links to negative health effects, ranging from increased feelings of loneliness to sleep deprivation. For many, social media is a stressor, and it can be a trigger for anxiety and frustration – yet it can be hard to connect with friends and family without it.

    And for many, social media isn’t just a habit, but a cornerstone of their daily life. That’s particularly true for people in our chosen field; working as we do in digital marketing, we’re even more plugged in than the average user, and large portions of our day are spent checking in on social media analytics, monitoring posts and comments, scrolling through feeds on Buffer, SocialPilot, or Hootsuite, and creating content for Twitter and Facebook.

    What this means is that we sometimes have to check in and set hard limits on our social media usage – for the sake of our own mental and physical health. Looking for some help getting started with a digital detox plan? Just want to be more mindful when it comes to your social media consumption?

    Here are a few strategies that we’ve found can be quite helpful, whether you’re just taking a temporary breather from social media or trying to set more productive habits for your future:

    1.) Set Technology-Free Windows of Time

  • When one gadget is "in", it is almost certain that another gadget is on its way "out."  The lifespan of most modern day technologies is rather short.  We're only just now getting used to the new iPhone 5, and an iPhone 6 is right around the corner!

    This being said, there are some gadgets that you simply should put away in a drawer (or donate to a electronic recycling facility).  Here are the top 10 gadgets to avoid in 2014 (inspired by Business Insider).

    1. DVD Players

    DVDs are anticipated to reach the same demise as CDs and VHS tapes have before them.  In the age of digital technology like television On Demand, DVR, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, iTunes, and Amazon Prime -- DVD players are becoming obsolete.

    Don't forget - you can hook up your laptop to your TV if you're really needing a DVD player. Or, if you happen to own a gaming system that reads DVDs as well, you're all set.

    2. Bluetooth headsets

  • 4 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone Battery LifeSmartphones, in their expansive glory, are unfortunately notorious for battery life that just doesn't quite last long enough. Lets face it, the little red battery line is just no fun.

    What is even worse, however, is a battery that just isn't doing its job anymore. A plethora of users saw battery problems with events like the iOS7 update, but battery life depletion is something we all face on a day to day basis.

    How can you improve your battery life to the thing of legends? (Well, maybe not legends, but close.) Here are 4 great battery-saving tips Gizmodo recently featured.

    1. Charging more is better.

    There is an old rumor floating around that it is a bad idea to charge your battery until it is nearly dead, as "topping off" will reduce a battery's energy capacity over time.

    False. So false.

    For lithium-ion batteries which your smartphone undoubtedly uses, it is actually best to keep your battery life north of 50% as much as possible. In fact, going from all the way full to all the way empty can do a little damage to your battery life if you do it too often.

    However, you'll want to do one full discharge about once a month (for "calibration" purposes) but you really shouldn't do it much more than that to keep your lithium ion battery lifespan long and prosperous.

    Special note: You don't want to have your battery constantly charging either! These batteries can get overheated.

    2. Keep your phone cool

  • 5 Apps That Work Between iPhone and MacThe integration between Apple products is something that keeps their customer pool coming back for more. The integration is about to get a lot tighter in OS X Yosemite (the coming Mac OS) and iOS8 (Apple's next iPhone/iPad operating system.) It's going to be really cool.  But you don't need to wait - there are a number of tools for platform integration now. 

    There are 5 really clever apps recently mentioned by LifeHacker that that have your iPhone and your Mac working together like a charm.  Here's the scoop.

    1. Notifyr: Send notifications from your iPhone up onto your Mac

    Notifyr is the app for those who don't want to miss anything while they're working at their Mac, iPhone out of reach.  Just pair the two together with Notifyr (which uses Bluetooth Low Energy for minimal battery usage), and you'll get iPhone notifications right on the screen of your Mac.  You can mute certain apps so that they don't show up on your Mac.

    2. Command-C: Share clipboard data between devices instantly

  • 5 Golden Rules of Mobile Website Design (Source: http://pixabay.com/en/woman-smartphone-chatting-girl-410320/)

    Did you know that 80% of Internet users are using their smartphones to search online?

    Did you know that Google plans to use mobile friendliness to rank websites?

    Creating a fantastic mobile website experience for your prospective clients is more important now than it has ever been. This algorithm change from Google will affect 40% of mobile search inquiries - a massive amount compared to the measly 12% which the former Panda updated impacted.

  • App of the Week - Allo (Source: google.allo.com)

    Considering all of the communication channels we have available on our smartphones and tablets, doesn’t it seem like it should be easier to communicate by now? Shouldn’t our apps be smarter, more intuitive, more in line with the way we actually speak, work, and think?

    That’s where Allo, from Google, comes in! Billing itself as the “smart” messaging app that “helps you say more and do more,” Allo is a truly intuitive instant messenger that combines the best of texting, Snapchat, and Siri in one convenient, easy bundle.

  • App of the Week - Apollo 15 Moon Landing VR (Source: Google Play)

    We’re virtual reality junkies here at Geek; we love looking at the latest trends in the VR industry, and we’re just as liable to be found playing with our Google Cardboard as refreshing our Twitter feeds.

    Our other big love? Space! We follow NASA’s social media exploits with bated breath, and we’ve written time and again about Star Wars, Star Wars, and more Star Wars.

    So when an app comes along that merges our love of VR experiences with our passion for the stars, we’ve got to share it with you. Enter the Apollo 15 Moon Landing VR.

  • App of the Week - CamCard (Source: camcard.com)

    From the social calls of the Victorian era to the Silicon Valley meet-and-greets of today, business cards have a long and storied history in our culture.

    And while cards are still one of the easiest and quickest ways to make a solid first impression and keep track of your contacts, there’s no denying that they can get frustrating. They’re easy to misplace or lose track of, and even the highest-caliber paper gets worn and torn over time.

    Fortunately, there’s an amazing app bringing business cards into the digital world: CamCard.

  • App of the Week - CARROT (Source: meetcarrot.com)

    If you’ve ever tried to motivate yourself or a colleague to do something, then you probably know about the theory of the carrot or the stick – that is, for the best results, either offer rewards or punishment. With the amazing A.I. app CARROT for iOS, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

  • As any avid smartphone user can attest, there’s nothing scarier than getting that dreaded text message from your service provider. If you’re anything like the Geek team, you probably know the one. It goes a little like:

    “YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR MONTHLY DATA LIMIT. EITHER PAY US $1 MILLION RIGHT NOW OR YOUR PHONE TURNS INTO A ROCK FOR THREE WEEKS, BUDDY. MWA HA HA HA. SUCKER.”

    OK, OK, so maybe we were imagining certain parts of that message. But the idea is true. Running low on data is a major hassle – and one that can prove costly. After all, nobody wants to pay an unexpected overage charge! And, even before that monthly cap hits, nobody wants to try to handle their everyday business with a lagging, spotty smartphone.

    For all of these reasons and more, tracking your smartphone’s data usage is of the utmost importance. And, if you’re an Android user, you’re in luck! There’s a “stylish and simple” new app out there that’s promising to help you better understand, monitor, and manage your data.

    It’s called Datally, and it comes to us courtesy of the fine people over at Google.

  • App of the Week - Distiller (Source: Pixabay.com - Used as a royalty free image & Distiller.com)

    Look, even Geeks love to drink. It’s why techies invented gadgets like Coravin and why history and pop culture buffs around the world unite every week for pub trivia.

    Sometimes the intersection of tech and alcohol can make magic, like the Distiller app, the coolest way to browse the liquor store without taking your eyes off your smartphone.

  • App of the Week - DIYZ (Source: DIYZ.com)

    If you’re anything like us, there’s a back-log of home improvement projects you want to tick off your to-do list: Fix that pipe. Install that backyard fire-pit. Replace the banister.

    So what’s the problem? From finding the right materials to getting reliable instructions to avoiding injury during the job, DIY can be truly daunting. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a trustworthy, expert guide over your shoulder for all of your home improvement projects?

    That’s where DIYZ comes in.


  • There are so many distractions we face while driving, both within our cars and coming from the outside world. The
    Driving Detective app aims to help eliminate the ones that come from your phone.

    Driving Detective will automatically disable various notifications to your phone while you’re in motion. Users can customize within the app to determine which sounds and navigation tools they’d still like to hear when driving.

    And it’s hard to overstate how important this can be! Distracted driving leads to countless accidents every year. Being able to eliminate some of those notifications competing for drivers’ attention spans can help drivers reduce their mobile phone usage while in transit - which truly could save lives.

  • App of the Week - FatSecret (Source: fatsecret.com)

    Research has shown again and again that one of the keys to successfully losing weight – and keeping it off – is by tracking your food; being mindful of what you’re eating is a great way to ensure that you’re able to fully get a handle on how you’re eating.

    Of course, diligently keeping track of all of your food and counting your calories is easier said than done. It can be a chore to have to remember everything you ate in a day in order to write it down later; similarly, it can be frustrating have to stop what you’re doing to dig up a notebook every time you sit down for a meal. And even if you’re keeping track of your intake, it can be difficult to know exactly how healthy what you’re eating actually is; after all, no one can really know the nutritional information of every piece of food out there.

    Enter FatSecret, the geeky way to stay on top of what you’re eating and attain real progress on your journey to better health.


  • What’s in those prepackaged foods - and are there healthier, easily accessible alternatives? For anyone looking to start making the switch, but unsure where to start, there’s an app to help you figure out these types of snacktime dilemmas.

    For all your packaged food needs and questions,FoodSwitch has got you covered.

    After you’ve downloaded the app you’ll be able to, as the app’s developer puts it:  

    use FoodSwitch for healthy grocery shopping and to make better food choices for you and your family.”

  • As any business owner can tell you, conference calls can be absolutely essential to getting things done.

    But bringing together a large group of people – almost always scattered in different places, and perhaps even spread across different time zones – can be clunky and cumbersome, particularly over the phone.

    People talk over each other. Bursts of static get in the way of having a clear conversation. People drop off the line, apropos of nothing.

    With all this being said, it’s not hard to see why conference calls can sometimes get a bad rap.

    That’s why the Geek team loves FreeConferenceCall.com and its suite of apps for Android and iOS devices. With FreeConferenceCall, you get all of the productivity and progress of a group chat – with none of the all-too-common headaches or hassles.

  • App of the Week - FreePrints

    Although almost all of us carry around a pretty powerful digital camera in our pocket, we tend not to think about what happens to the photos we take. Do they just exist out in the cloud? Do we upload them to Instagram and then forget about them? Do we lose them the next time our phone dies?

    There’s another way! If you’re ready to start turning your smartphone masterpieces into glossy, hard copy prints, FreePrints is the app for you.

  • Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s nothing like a good road trip. Loading up the car and hitting the open road is a great way to reconnect with family and friends, get away from the work mindset for a while, and really focus on the things that matter.

    Although, if you’re anything like us Geeks, there’s one pesky little problem that keeps drawing your attention when you should be enjoying the ride: Gas.

    Paying for gas can put the damper on a road trip in a hurry. After all, fueling up is expensive, no matter where you go. And it can be hard to locate gas stations - especially when you’re making your way through an unfamiliar state.

    Fortunately, there’s one essential app that can help you make the most out of your pit stops the next time you’re on the road. Meet your road trip’s new best friend: GasBuddy.

  • App of the Week - Google Photos (Source: Pixabay, Pexels)

    The cameras on our smartphones get better with every generation. And while that’s a wonderful thing, it can lead to picture overload: With so many digital snapshots filling up our mobile devices, it can be hard to store and keep track of all your favorite images.

    Enter Google Photos.

  • App of the Week - Homesnap (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    Humans are naturally curious creatures. We always want to know more, to suss out that hidden gem, to take a peek behind closed doors. For people looking for a new home, that curiosity rockets to a new level, with every “FOR SALE” sign on the street triggering a new flight of fantasy.

    For those in the market for a new home, it’s never been easier to scratch that itch and find all the information you could ever need on an intriguing property, thanks to Homesnap.

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).