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Progressive Insurance Partners with Zubie to Promote Safe Driving Rewards

Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 4th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Progressive auto insurance and Zubie, the app that tracks your driving habits, have combined forces to reward you for safe driving via your iPhone.

Zubie drivers plug a Zubie Key into their car’s on-board diagnostic port, which provides feedback straight to their iPhone. That information can now be shared with Progressive to earn a discount on auto insurance through Progressive’s Snapshot program.

Dave Pratt, general manager of usage-based insurance for Progressive says:

“With Snapshot, we’re always looking for ways to help more people participate in the program and save money on their auto insurance. Now Zubie customers can take advantage of this option using their Zubie Key. By using the driving data that the customer is already sharing with Zubie, we make the process even easier for customers.”

You can buy a Zubie Key for $99.95 from the Zubie Website, and download the app for free.

Drive into the Future with Navdy, a Heads Up Display for Your Car

Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 6th, 2014

Smartphones are very useful tools for communicating, playing music, finding out information, and generally entertaining you, but they can be dangerous if used while driving. Navdy seeks to alleviate distractions while still allowing you access to all of those functions.

It is being billed as "Google-glass for your car" as, similar to the glasses, the small heads up display (HUD) is designed to sit on your dashboard and project information on a transparent pane in front of you. Navdy is running a 30 day pre-order campaign where they hope to raise $60,000 to get backers and support the initial production.

Navdy is supported by cars made after 1996 as it connects with the auto's onboard computer (OBD II port). This allows it to display navigation instructions, fuel economy stats, tire-pressure warnings, speed, and more. The HUD can be controlled with voice and simple gestures to help keep drivers focused on the road. It also supports many popular apps such as Google Maps, Spotify, and various social media platforms.

Backers can pre-order Navdy for $299 - a 40% discount from its projected retail price. You can also use Navdy's referral program to alert friends and family, and for everyone who buys one based on your referral you receive a $30 discount. If you pre-order you will be able to vote on which smartphone apps and features Navdy should have when it is finalized in 2015.

OMW - On My Way: Anti-Texting While Driving App Might Just Save Your Life

Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 16th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Texting and driving is a serious problem. According to the National Safety Council, mobile use is now the leading cause of death behind the wheel with a crash occurring every 30 seconds involving texting and driving. OMW (On My Way),by Studio Tentpole, is a free iPhone app that is trying to change that. OMW believes that many of these texts are to people you’re on your way to meet.

The app allows users to connect with the people you are going to meet and then the app creates a custom webpage where invited friends can follow your distance and ETA from any phone, tablet, or computer. The page is updated in real time so there is no need to constantly text where you are and when you might arrive.

Studio Tentpole says "The idea for OMW came when cofounder Mark Tholking was picking up his wife from her office in downtown San Diego. Every day, he would text his ETA, and every day, whether he was early or late, one of them ended up waiting outside, annoyed. He decided to build an app that could let him focus on driving while giving her updates on his location until he arrived."

In no time flat, OMW became the featured app in the Travel section of the App Store. You can pick it up for free from the App Store.

How To: Add a Lanyard or Wrist Strap to the iPhone Case

Posted by Jeff Scott on February 19th, 2014

Not so many years ago, every phone came with a built-in loop for attaching a wrist strap. Not so much any more. While there are a few cases that support a lanyard loop, not many still do. And there's the Netsuke from Poddities that adds a loop to the Lightning connector.

A lanyard or wrist strap can be a great feature for safety, especially in high "Apple Picking" crime areas like San Francisco, New York City, or just about any tourist destination worldwide. Not to mention it can help keep a phone from hitting the concrete when pulling it from a pocket.

Here's a quick and easy way to add a simple lanyard to the new iPhone case. I've done this with a few different cases now, and even look for cases to use that fit what is needed to do this. The main feature to look for in a case that this technique will work with is a very sturdy sidewall, made of hard plastic. It needs to be a sturdy build to keep the lanyard from cracking or tearing the case. A soft silicone type case won't work for this.

Choose a lanyard or wrist strap. A variety of them will work. There are probably a couple in the junk drawer left over from an old camera or maybe even an ancient cell phone. Make sure the loop part of the lanyard is at least an inch long to allow space to connect it. If there are none around, I'm a big fan of these from Rokform. Sturdy and just the right size for a wrist strap.

Next, I choose the side - either left or right. Both work. Choose the side that matches the hand the phone is usually held in. I usually hold my phone in my left hand, so I chose left.

Make two small holes about 1/2 inch apart on the side of the case using a 3/32" drill bit. This will leave enough space so that the case left between the holes won't easily break with a little tension. The spacing also needs to be small enough so that the loop part of the lanyard can go from one hole to the other and back.

When drilling, make sure to let the drill do the work; no need to push it through with force. Also, be careful to keep your fingers away from the drill bit and away from the back where the bit will emerge.

Next, loop the lanyard through the holes from the bottom outside through the back of the top hole. If the lanyard string is thicker, something like a paperclip will be needed to push the string through. Slide the lanyard through the loop and then insert the phone and ta-da, a lanyard on your iPhone! Simple and easy.

I have also successfully tried this on the Mophie Juice Pack Air Case, the Olloclip Flip Case, and the official Apple iPhone 5s case. As mentioned above, rubber or silicon cases don't work as they tear easily. If you chose to do this, make sure all common safety rules are followed and it's not our fault if you destroy your case, drill through your hand, or burn down your home.

iHelpPlus: Where Personal Safety Is Paramount

Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 13th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Life, for the most part, is quite safe, but for those moments where we could do with help, it's useful to know that apps such as iHelpPlus exist.

iHelpPlus offers multiple useful features for those concerned about their safety. First of all, there's a built-in flashlight facility and a place to store personal and medical information.

More importantly comes the alarm functionality that means users can send a distress message to an emergency contact along with their current location and a request to contact the local police. Both audible and silent alarms are possible, lending itself to different situations.

A delayed alarm feature is also provided enabling users to set up a custom alarm that is activated if they don't enter a pass code in time, thereby offering an extra source of protection if something happens to them. In each case, if the alarm is activated, GPS monitoring kicks in and informs emergency contacts of the user's location.

Additionally, users can add 4 quick contacts that are always accessible at the tap of a button.

A subscription service is required to fully use iHelpPlus after the first month of use which comes free with the $0.99 purchase of the app. $6.99 seems pretty cheap to me for peace of mind, however.

iHelpPlus is available now.

Don’t Kill the Squirrel! Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Dan Lee on April 3rd, 2012
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: ROADKILL
Drive a car and avoid crashing while dealing with a multitude of distractions.
Read The Full Review »

Free Identity Protection Through AllClear ID

Posted by Jennifer Allen on March 29th, 2012
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

On a regular basis, we're bombarded with concerns regarding identity theft worries and how best to keep sensitive information safe. Recently released onto the App Store is an app that sets to calm those worries, all in a simple, portable way.

AllClear ID sets out to alert users whenever there's a report that criminals may have accessed their accounts. Bank accounts, credit cards and even the user's Social Security number are all monitored through the AllClear service.

Besides tracking such useful things, AllClear ID also offers a number of ways to protect the user's identity, such as the option to order a credit report or reduce junk mail. Security alerts come through either as a phone call or alert message with the option to connect to one of AllClear ID's investigators for assistance.

For the security conscious, AllClear ID is sure to set a few minds at ease. Even better, it's free to use although there is a Pro service available for $14.99, although it's far from essential.

AllClear ID is out now.

Car Seat Safety Simplified

Posted by Lisa Caplan on November 29th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Becoming a parent remains the most life-altering experience I never imagined. Mingled from day one with an overwhelming love came a fear more profound than any I had known. I was responsible for keeping my squishy ball of yum safe. The first challenge was getting him home form the hospital in a car seat.

While using one quickly becomes routine, using it properly is an altogether different matter. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration up to 75% of car seats on the road right now are installed improperly and the number of preventable deaths is staggering. Now thanks to The Phoenix Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center there's an app for that too.

Car Seat Helper aids parents with everything from seat selection based The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, to in-app video tutorials, and provide some hair-raising facts parents need to know. Anyone toting little passengers should check this one out.

Store Information Securely With MyLocker

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 24th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Being able to protect data is an increasingly important issue for iOS device owners. With a device that encourages its users to store photos, contact details and other useful notes, it's just as important to be able to hide them away from unwanted eyes. While a passcode will protect the device on the whole, it's useful to have an extra layer of protection. Something that MyLocker from Inspike can provide.

It's an app that works much like a safe, requiring three number combinations to unlock the information within it. Users can store various contact details behind this lock, as well as photos and notes such as credit card information or anything else that's considered important to the user.

MyLocker is a simple app to get to grips with and only takes a matter of seconds to set up. Multiple users can also be set up for devices used by more than one person. It's just as easy to log into as well to retrieve the information.

MyLocker is a free app, although an in-app purchase of $0.99 is needed in order to be able to store photos behind the virtual safe.

It's available now for all iOS devices.

RipCord Music Player Could be a Lifesaver

Posted by Blake Grundman on September 15th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I make no bones about the fact that it is a scary world out there.  It doesn't help matters any to know that there could be a sicko or nut job waiting around any corner, just looking for an opportunity to pounce on some unwitting victim.  Sure this may be pure paranoia, but that is what my meds are for, right?  Anyway, It has become a sad reality that runners, women especially, need to lookout for themselves.

The problem with running alone is that eventually you are bound to end up in an area that you are less than familiar with.  While protecting yourself hasn't always been easy, developer AquilaCom is making life safer for runners everywhere with the introduction of their new app, RipCord Music Player.  Not only is the software a fully functional media player, but it also is a personal safety device.  Here's how it works:
"Imagine you are out for a jog, walking home at night, or minding your own business sitting in the park or at the playground. You’re lost in thought as you listen to your favorite playlist. Suddenly you are taken by surprise, confronted by an attacker or wild animal, or maybe you fall and are seriously injured... You are in trouble, and need help right away!

You do not have time to fumble with buttons, or launch app’s...  With RipCord Music Player  all you do is pull the plug on your headphones or earbuds, literally just rip the cord right out of you’re iPhone.

Instantly, RipCord Music Player sounds a load alarm and sends an emergency alert message to your friends and family by email and/or text message. This Alert Message let’s them know you need help and indicates exactly where you are (thanks to the built in GPS tracker)." -- VIA AquilaCom Development Blog

What I want to know is why no one thought of this sooner.  This is a brilliant idea that I have no doubt could be a lifesaver.  However, what happens if you accidentally unplug your phone while running?  That could lead to quite a panic.  Also, if you have an iPod Touch, you better pray that there is a Wi-Fi access point available, otherwise the application is not going to work.

At the end of the day, the important thing is your safety; with a pricetag of only $2.99, this app isn't going to break the bank.  If you are the kind of person that likes to go on long runs by yourself or are just looking for an extra layer of personal protection that isn't apparent to the naked eye, give RipCord a look.  Who knows?  On the off chance that the worst were to happen, it could very well save your life.


Radiation vs. Germs ~ Which Should Worry You More?

Posted by Tony Kicks on March 8th, 2010

For as long as I can remember cell phones being around I can remember people questioning whether or not they're safe. The argument has always seemed to center around cell phone radiation, and more recently bluetooth & Wifi waves. The bluetooth and Wifi scares have pretty much dissolved by being labeled as pure conspiracy theories, but the radiation concerns continue to surface every few months. With each study that comes out though it becomes more obvious that we just don't know the long term risks of RF radiation exposure This article gives a little more insight into the potential jeopardy we're in while at the same time the FDA is stating that "the available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any adverse health effects associated with the use of mobile phones." With all of these mixed signals and unknown effects I wonder if the theoretical brain tumors and Alzheimer's we could contract 20 years down the line is really the number one thing we should be worried about?