5 features every app needs.

Dear App Developers,
I would really appreciate it if you had incorporated these features within that sick app you’re dropping this year. These are just basic privacy and nice little touches, so if you do listen to me and basically what the internet is trying to tell you for the past oh I dunno, existence of apps, we will notice that. And we will praise you.

1. Privacy settings

Everything you know, you must tell me. The ability to see what dirt the app/company has on you is important, and it should be your choice whether you allow that or not.

And don’t try hiding it in the T&C jargon, I speak English.

I see that for safety reasons, you may need some of my personal details, but I want to know how much you’re snooping into. The fact that Snapchat saves your stories before that creep down the road does is a definite cause for concern.

2. Email me for confirmation!

When someone (or even myself) enters my Google account with another device, I instantly get an email on my recovery email and the email that got entered, saying that it has been accessed. I like that feature a lot, you can see the area and device used to enter at that specific time.

What would be better, though, is if you send a “confirm this entry” message to my recovery email (otherwise known as your backup email) just like LastPass does. It’s saved me from having important passwords nearly breached into and it gives a sense of confirmation.

Google does add a “Secure your Account” section but confirmation is both quicker and personally accessible.

3. Changing default email addresses

Trello does this nice feature where they allow you to add more email addresses, change the default one and enables the ability to redirect their subscriptions emails to another address, which is basically the icing on the cake.

Some other apps do this too, but it’s a rule of thumb that the more control you give the user, the better the experience. The balance needs to be there, though, but it works mainly because it is tailored to the user’s preference.

4. Show me the devices (I was gonna make a Jerry Maguire joke, but that would have made me sound old and JM week was a while ago too)

Now most popular apps do this, like Google and Trello. And this is helpful to keep an eye on who has control over you account, whether it’s with different devices or around the world.

The better addition would be the ability to revoke any devices if I want, like Trello – because Trello is amazing.

But if you are an Admin, a team leader or just a normal hipster being with a lot of iPads, you want that feature to make your account secure and away from prying eyes. It’s a little thing, but it helps.

5. Disability-friendly modes

So for people who can’t hear very well or have visual impairments, this would should be a vital one implemented into all apps however possible.

Here’s an infographic on the do’s and don’ts of design for those with disabilities.

BONUS: C U S T O M I S E

Tuck this little addition into your settings, and I’m sure people will appreciate the treat.

If I were you, I’d have different colour palettes that are compatible with your app so you don’t have hot pink text and illegible typefaces vandalising the project you painstakingly slaved away on.

Just give the people a little breathing space to make the app more comfortable to use.

And scene

Every little thing does actually help, and it does go noticed, and it does make life a lot more easier. If you add these, app devs, I appreciate you.

#MakeFlickrGreatAgain

Ever since March 2016, when Flickr’s greatest features were only available if you paid. The incredible Auto-Uploadr is gone, and I still damn miss it.

I think this was a business move, to accentuate the portrayal of Flickr being a photographer’s social network, not a backup to dump memes in. I see their point, but a hobbyist like me and my brother just can’t be bothered to spend £57.72 (during time of writing this blog) annually. And if you’re giving us 1TB of free storage, I’m sure people will still be committed to upload junk there – whatever clears up their phone at least.

Auto-Uploadr was such a huge convenience to us, and even though we have fast internet, the web upload tool is such a pain in the *** and it’s almost as if they purposefully did this to entice us to pay.

That’s why I’m enraged, because I’m trying to put up some of my best work and this uploader is screwing things up for me. It’s either the photos timing out, or the upload bar not moving a single inch.

I’ve literally waited a whole weekend for just 1 batch to upload. I’M SICK OF THESE DAMN STRATEGIC MONEY-MAKING MOVES ON THIS DAMN WEBSITE.

ToDoist: Awesome addition to your daily life

Whether you’re a productivity nut or not, you need something to at least remind you of the important stuff to get done throughout the week. Meet ToDoist, probably the best app you can get on productivity and also a great app to kick off the year!

I’ve been using this app for months and I must admit, it has done very well towards handling my rollercoaster of a life.

Extra info for extra context i guess.

Before we get into the pros and cons, I think it’s best to add some context first. I’ve been using ToDoist since August-ish and was learning my ways around the basics and how it could fit into my workflow. There was a moment where my computer and iPad broke down and I couldn’t access the app at all which was a real pain until I realised I could print my weekly ToDoist on a local computer and still keep up, which was an absolute lifesaver!

Back to the review! batman transition

Look at it! It looks amazing!

Don’t worry, totally not unhygienic.

I immediately fell in love with the ultra-minimalist UI that shows me everything. No matter which platform you use, it’s always got a consistent, familiar look with customisable themes too.

There’s all sorts of options, giving the user a lot of freedom and just generally making life a lot easier. It’s given you the choice to control things your way, and that is vital for anyone really. They offer no specific way ToDoThis (knee slap for a certain reader I have an inside joke with) and it works.

How it works.

ouch.

To create a task, press the plus sign and type as shown in the amateur gif provided above. You can can create projects and assign the job to a specific section. You can then choose the time, date and it’s priority level.

What’s even better, and is by far my favourite feature, is the smart detection in what you type. So when typing in ‘Next Friday’ or ‘ToNIght’, whatever the upper and lower case the letter may be, it will highlight the detail red and automatically move that task to that date/time.

There’s even a Smart Reschedule addition which automatically reschedules overdue tasks to a suitable date based on your routine/what the robots learn from you! They won’t do it without your consent though.

The shortcuts make life a lot simpler for the mere human being due to the nanosecond of “productivity time” being saved for that 3 hour Louis Theroux marathon you’re going on. In my opinion, this is a HUGE advantage that they do subliminally support and it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of.

Verdict: Downright awesome.

The UI is clean and consistent no matter if you’re using Windows, a Kindle or the extension available in Internet Explorer (thank goodness the latter doesn’t exist) and all the various elements proves to make you more efficient and the algorithms smarter than you. #rekt

As of December 2016, I have no issue with this system because I control the system. Everything works when I work so I basically have no one to blame but myself when it doesn’t work.

So in short, it’s incredible and a 9.7/10, because nothing can be 10 without being a God-sent miracle.

Back-to-school-despite-being-december 2016: Things I would use myself

This was originally meant to be my Back-to-School blog but I just procrastinated thanks to Nishat being Nishat (wooooo). But so many YouTube videos have been made on it, I might as well make one long list that’s actually useful. Because nothing is as exciting as back-to-school-in-december tech, and you know you’re ballin’ when you got affordable tech that’s cool and swaggy af.

(NOTE: I do have affiliate links but that in no way affects my love for these damn products and they don’t bump up the price either. Now scroll, young padawan!)

Continue reading →

My productive routine (or daily ritual or whatever you call it, i don’t care)

Everyday, I strive to be as productive as I can so when I’m done, I can spend my time enjoying Bloodborne or even the old Crash Bandicoot.

For projects/lists: Trello

A great minimalistic board showing your tasks, ideas and lists. Trello integrates with many other apps (Evernote, Slack etc.) to optimise the workload and generally make things more efficient.

For weekly and daily planning: ToDoist

This is a really clean app organising your everyday tasks. It’s got those little things that makes life much more easier, like creating a task which you can prioritise with flags to know what is the most important to get through. I love it.

Note-taking awl day err’day: Evernote

This is a no-brainer. Evernote syncs on nearly all platforms as it takes in notes that you have full control over. I’ve used it for YT scripts/scenes and general brain farts I want to remember later on.

Notebook: Notebook

Pour out your heart and soul into a physical notebook. Stylish, improves handwriting and writing things down is generally just awesome. Any notebook would do, but I would like to use the Evernote Smartbook so I can save whatever precious stuff I draw/jot.

TIPS:

  1. Sunday should be planning day as you’re about to get right into the thick of school/work.
  2. Spend every night reading a book or just writing in a journal to gradually create a ritual that your brain remembers so when it’s sleepy time, you’re prepared.
  3. Always read one light or factual book (e.g. 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades) and an emotional, plot-driven story.
  4. Look at Thomas Frank’s videos on productivity. If you watch closely you’ll soon realise that I based everything off of this dude.

Would like to introduce:

The Five Minute Journal – keeps me motivated and happy. Don’t do all of this without a clear goal in mind.

6 Apps That Fit Charity Into Your Daily Routine

An important thing to do is to incorporate charity into your daily routine so you can go through each day with the feeling that you’ve helped someone.

I found an article recommending reliable, non-profitable charity apps that are both convenient and simple. Make a change for the better today!

Source: 6 Apps That Fit Charity Into Your Daily Routine

My favourite Chrome extensions

Chrome is like a hypothetical base of LEGO, you just have to stack it up with more hypothetical LEGO. Those more hypothetical LEGO would be extensions.

ss (2016-07-29 at 05.38.28)

all at my disposal.

HTTPS Everywhere:
This automatically implements HTTPS security on most, if not all, sites. It encrypts the sites that don’t have that “http” or the green padlock at the beginning of the URL bar.

AdBlocker Plus:
This is the free upgrade of AdBlock that not many know about. It functions the same, just with a cleaner UI and stats to show the amount of junk that’s been thankfully avoided.

TubeBuddy:
This is the best helper for those budding YouTubers, small or big. It just makes settings and video processing a lot quicker as shortcuts are available on the TubeBuddy dashboard. You can get the free version but you can buy more features.

I have the Star upgrade (which does require money) but I highly recommend that you buy it. Purchase it through this link – I get a commission from TubeBuddy if you do: https://www.tubebuddy.com/NishatBlagh

AutoPagerize:
This just makes life a whole lot more easier by allowing pages that have several follow-on pages to just flow as one on the page. For example, searching something on Google and reaching the end of the page only to see a line of more pages is prevented because all you have to do with this extension is SCROOLLLLLL.

Whoever made this is a genius because all it does is run in the background without you activating it or something.

Password Alert:
This has saved me from losing my YouTube channel and Gmail several times. It alerts you whenever you’ve typed in your Google password into any websites that don’t have a certified Google sign up page.

Turn off the lights:
Ever have that feeling when you’re watching a video online that everything on the website is distracting you? Fear no more! cue triumphant fanfare music Turn off the lights dims the screen and lets you concentrate on what’s really important, food videos.

Disconnect:
This thing is pretty much a systematic advertisement destroyer. It analyses the adverts and social media on the page and hides it until you say otherwise. There is Advertising, Analytics, Social and Content that it removes and categorises them as requests, which you can decide to keep or not.

“Adblock is your average run-and-gunner whereas Disconnect is the hitman with no remorse. The silent killer.” – Nishat, just right now.

Panic Button:
This one is simple, map the button to a hotkey and whenever you press it, it hides your tabs in a bookmark folder and opens up a fresh new tab. That’s all you need, go wild.

The Great Suspender:
Having a computer slower than me is really bad, and having a bunch of tabs doesn’t help either. This extension just temporarily suspends the pages you haven’t entered for a certain period of time. For the sites you always want open, you can choose to place that on the whitelist.

It does the job, it’s great. My only problem would be that it suspends important tabs when I’m working and it can be a real nuisance.

Checker Plus for Gmail:
I always needed one of these, and this is probably the best. The UI is clean, so separating emails is easy. There’s a variety of settings to play around with and I love it, I use it everyday! Doesn’t even cost a penny.

LastPass:
I use LastPass on the computer because it’s free. I made a post on how to use password managers to the ultimate but that’s not what the title is called.

Yellow highlighter:
When I need to show something from an article, I find that it’s good to highlight and makes it a lot easier. This extension has been enough, but it crashes a lot. Any alternative that has the same features but performs smoother is welcome.

Pocket:
I love this extension, just click and save the article that you’re on so you can read it another time. I also have the app on my iPad and it syncs up quickly as well! Damn, this is probably one of my favourite apps all round!

That’s about it, I organise the extensions like that because I’d like some apps to work in the background whilst others are more accessible for frequent use. I didn’t mention Honey, TamperMonkey or MEGA because they aren’t worth mentioning (except maybe the latter).

 

 

 

Trello: the best productivity app yet.

So as you may have realised, I want to be more productive. To rid of my procrastination and keep my fingers twiddling in excitement. For that to happen, I need some sort of organiser to help me in life without leaving me in pure perplexion.

I found One Big Thing. Used it, loved it, reviewed it. It had a minimal priority list that didn’t make you feel bad whenever you didn’t complete a task accidentally on purpose. Instead, it encourages you and motivates you to get through the day with a friendly nudge.

But I soon realised that this was more of a daily to-do list. I needed something that would help me plan my days, but follow the simplistic vibe when it comes to productivity apps. Then I found it. Trello.

I wrote down all of my bucket lists, plans and work on Notability. This is a great app, but it gets really cluttered no matter how many dividers and folders I make. It wasn’t a really good way to keep track of things so finding Trello was perfect.

Source: Trello demonstrating a developer’s plans

Trello follows a Japanese minimalist form consisting of boards, lists and cards that organise what you need to do and get done. It’s simple, stress-free and enables you to arrange everything the way you want to. Though I haven’t personally used it, there is the option to include groups of people and be the admin, a great feature for students, work or other stuff.

Plus, its available to sync up to from various platforms!

My experience is that it’s smooth, simple and satisfying, especially when you make your own ‘Done’ list and cram it with your completed jobs. I haven’t experienced any problems except that when I open the app on my iPad, it requires a refresh to load the changes.

Overall, it’s amazing. I use it to help me organise what to do the following day, then write that down on One Big Thing. But it’s really flexible so you can use it however you want, either the app on iOS or the website on Chrome or any other browser (even internet explorer).

 

One Big Thing: Simple yet effective

Example of how the app works.

IT’S TOO &*%! PERFECT!

I’m a real sucker for procrastination and forgetfulness, which gives me the qualification to honestly review this app. One Big Thing is essentially a to-do list that is a great start for people to set their priorities straight and clear their mind, made by indie developer Nick Burka.

The app is easy to use. Type up your one Big Thing then follow-up with some Little Things. Scroll down and you’ll find a list of ‘Other things I might do’. Swipe to the left and get organised for the next day. Boom, you’re sorted. Want to remind yourself of your tasks every morning? It’ll give you a “friendly nudge” at 8am.

In the settings, you get the chance to choose which days you want to be notified at 8. You can also buy different themes, stickers and an archive of the previous 60 days of tasks. That’s all there is, and that’s all I wanted.

“There are heaps of ways people use to-dos and this specific one is sometimes called the “1-3-5 Rule”. I didn’t invent the idea, but I think I’ve created the best app for it. Every other task app I’ve tried had too many bells and whistles, made me feel bad for not getting tasks done, or let tasks pile up in a way that felt overwhelming. I wanted something dead simple with just a light sprinkling of delight on top, so I created One Big Thing.”

– Nick Burta

At first, I didn’t really like it, but I stuck with it. There wasn’t as many notifications as I wanted and I wouldn’t get all the tasks done. But later on, I realised that I wouldn’t be able to do those jobs anyway. Other similar apps have always put me on edge whereas this one doesn’t make me feel regret. It’s a move-on-it’s-cool method that maintains my motivation and actually eases me into being more efficient.

In other words, this is an incredible app when it comes to subconsciously making me work more effectively. It taught me to not push myself too hard and to be a lot more positive and resilient. All through one app. Thank you, Nick.

LastPass and 1Password: using both is way better

Do you know that feeling of excitement when you realise no one can find your bank details because your password manager is encrypted? Me neither. But I do know the feeling of being robbed from your rights when it requires you to pay up when you want to access your password from different platforms.

It’s outright unfair. 1Password allows you to insert a maximum of 20 passwords on a PC as a trial. But LastPass is “infinite”, you just need to pay for using it on another device. There’s a way to bypass these two, but it does require some sacrifices.

If LastPass is best on computer and 1Password is best on iPad, let’s use both of them! Download the software for both devices and benefit from the perks of having 2 encrypted password manager for extra security.

1Password has a simple, clean interface on iOS which is easy to navigate. When signing in on Safari or associated apps, you can quickly access your details directly from the manager and you’re in. Unfortunately, it’s a different story on the PC. I downloaded the software and extension for Chrome but I could only input 20 passwords at the most. That’s peanuts in this day and age. So for this trick, stick with iOS.

LastPass is also a great password manager. It enables more options for free compared to the other one and can automatically change weak or similar passwords for you. It keeps track of your logins and how you can protect yourself to the ultimate level. But this awesomeness is short-lived when you want to use your account on another platform and it completely. Shuts. You. Down. Just use the Chrome extension for the best outcome.

Sure, syncing them is going to be an absolute pain, but at least you can enter them easily. Plus, syncing them manually allows you to implement a routine where you regularly check if your password is safe and sometimes, you’ll even learn them by heart. You can use the features of LastPass’ Vault Challenge to ensure the safety of all of your login details and 1Password’s password generator to the mightiest.

“Sometimes the smallest of sacrifices result in the best of outcomes”
– Nishat (stated right now)