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App of the Week - SleepScore

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, our nightly sleep just doesn’t seem to relieve those annoying undereye circles or accumulated exhaustion. It might be because your sleep cycle is actually less than adequate.

But how do you check if your sleep cycle is doing what it should be if you’re, well, not awake to check? It’s not impossible or as expensive as you might think.

One way to forego the use of expensive sleep monitoring systems is to try SleepScore, a free app that promises to “understand, track and improve your sleep so that you can perform, look and feel better.”

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App of the Week - Sidekix

There are times when we’’re in a hurry and need to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible, and other times when we want to take a step back and notice the overlooked sights of a city.

For those times, a pedestrian-focused navigation app called Sidekix can bring out the inner urban explorer in all of us.

Sidekix describes itself “as a smart walking and urban discovery app for people who love to explore on foot.”

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App of the Week - Noom

Weight loss can seem like a daunting task. The whole “eat less, work out more” philosophy is easier said than done, but sometimes all you need is a little guidance and encouragement.

That’s where Noom comes in.

Coined the “Weight Watchers for millenials,” Noom is a weight loss app aimed to help you achieve an ongoing healthy lifestyle, beyond just your diet and short term weight goals.

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App of the Week - GasBuddy

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.

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App of the Week - Just A Line

What is augmented reality (AR), and why do you need it when doodling on your phone? Google’s new Just a Line app is the answer to both of those questions at once!

Coined as an “AR experiment,” the Just a Line app is one of many ARCore 1.0 apps that the company plans to release within the foreseeable future. The app bills itself as a cross-platform collaborative AR app for doodling, the first of its kind.

So, AR is what makes Just A Line like no other drawing app out there. But what does AR really mean?

Put simply, AR is the layering of computer-generated enhancements on top of the reality you see around you. AR is sometimes known as the “cousin” to virtual reality (VR), because while VR tends to create a fabricated yet hyper-realistic generated reality simulation, AR incorporates your surroundings and adds noticeable enhancements to add to your lived experience.

Sound complicated? That’s the great thing about Just A Line. Beyond all the technical terms, the app itself is as simple and user-friendly as its name implies. 

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App of the Week - FreeConferenceCall

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.

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App of the Week - Triller

A lot of people like to complain that there’s no music on MTV anymore.

After all, as your Gen X uncle loves to remind you, the network began its life as “Music Television,” and rose to prominence sharing music videos from artists from all sorts of backgrounds. Now it’s all about reality shows, with music videos (basically) nowhere to be found on the channel.  

But here’s the thing… Despite what the geezers think, music videos haven’t died. They’ve just become more collaborative, and they’ve moved online. And that’s all thanks to services like YouTube, Instagram, and our spotlight app of the week: Triller.

Equal parts video creator and social media platform, Triller bills itself as a way for anyone to “create flawless, Al-powered music videos.”

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App of the Week - Meditation Studio

Meditation is an ancient practice – and one that offers a whole lot of benefits to the modern day Geek. Countless studies over the years have suggested that meditation is a great way to relieve stress, improve focus, and even help manage chronic health conditions.

And yet, even knowing this, plenty of people just can’t seem to find the time to meditate. What if there was an app that made getting in the swing of daily meditation as simple as could be – so that you could reap all of the healthy benefits, with none of the stress?

Prepare to say “ohm-em-gee,” because that app is here – and it’s called Meditation Studio.

Billed as “a powerful solution to your problems” and “a meditation app you’ll actually use,” Meditation Studio promises to “untangle your mind,” and make meditation unbelievably easy.

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App of the Week - ParkChicago and ParkChicago Map

Chicago was once ranked as one of the ten worst cities for drivers. Ask any lifelong native or weekend tourist what makes driving in this city a pain, and one answer is bound to come up again and again: PARKING.

Sorry to shout there. It’s just… that word brings up a lot of rough memories.

As any Geek will tell you, it can be rough trying to find a parking spot in the city. And then, even when you do manage to snag a space, there’s often a whole new wrinkle that comes up - remembering exactly where you parked, and feeding the meter every few hours in order to keep your precious spot (and avoid a ticket).

For all these reasons and more, the ParkChicago app, and its sister application ParkChicago Map, are a must-have for drivers in the 312 and beyond.

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App of the Week - Stations by Spotify

If you’ve ever spent hours scrolling through Netflix without being able to make a decision on what to watch, then you’re familiar with the problem of infinite choice.

Basically, it goes like this: The more options you have, the harder it can be to make a selection, and then the harder it is to fully enjoy the choice you do end up making.

To combat this growing problem in the internet ecosystem, a lot of content providers are actually finding ways to streamline and speed up their users’ selection process – or take the burden of choice off of them completely!

Stations by Spotify is one such app. Billed as “an experiment by Spotify that makes it easy for anyone to listen to great music,” Stations is a standalone program that does away with a lot of the bells and whistles of Spotify’s core product, and instead focuses exclusively on playlists.

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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).