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Health Cubby: iPhone App to Track Health Goals

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For the last month, I've been testing Health Cubby, a $9.99 iPhone app designed to track health and fitness goals. This is the first time I've used a computer program (much less an iPhone app) to track this kind of information, and I've been pleasantly surprised -- because I always have the iPhone with me, I find myself actually tracking my meals, weight, exercise, and various fitness goals. After a workout, there's a certain geeky fun in recording it in the app (a quick process) and watching my little "goal bars" fill in. Here are screenshots of a recent week with progress bars (left), and a list view of my cardio sessions (right):

Health Cubby screenshots

Health Cubby lets you track weekly goals, and you choose what's important to you. To get started, I set a modest goal of three cardio sessions and one strength-training session a week. The sessions are open-ended -- you can define how long each session is, and the app counts up your total time spent. Health Cubby also tracks vices, for those inevitable moments when you fall off the wagon and indulge yourself with food, alcohol, or whatever your particular vice may be (you can customize the vice list). I set myself a fairly liberal vice goal (up to four a week!), and have actually found myself checking my iPhone to see whether I have any "vice points" left for the week. Yes, this is nerdy. And yes, I actually think it's helpful. By tracking weight and measurements (so far I'm just doing weight), Health Cubby automatically generates graphs showing you weight over time. To get a graph, just turn the device sideways, and you get something like this:

Health Cubby - weight graph

Even more interesting, you can sync the data to a central server and export your data for use in Excel! So if you don't like the graphs you get from Health Cubby, you can take your data with you and make your own. (The app simply emails a CSV file of whatever data you search for...to export everything, run a search and leave the search field blank.) What's more, you can add friends to your Health Cubby network, and share results with them -- that way you can see when your buddy is losing more weight or working out harder. (You can also hide your actual weight from friends, instead showing just a weight loss percentage. This is a smart feature!) While I haven't tested the social features, they seem useful in concept.

Health Cubby also lets you track meals, taking a simplified approach -- you simply list what you ate, what type of meal it was (breakfast, lunch, etc.), and give it a "star rating" from one to five stars. I like this a lot, as it lets me define what a "five star meal" is to me. Obsessive calorie counters may not like this approach (as the app is NOT counting detailed calorie breakdowns), but personally I've never felt that detailed calorie counting was a great use of my time. I'd rather track general goals and attempt to do better, rather than break down everything by the numbers.

To get started with Health Cubby (without laying down ten bucks), try Health Cubby Lite, a free version that is limited to storing only 10 records. While the Lite version won't get you very far towards your fitness goals, it'll be clear whether you're willing to upgrade to the full version. Personally, I plan to keep using the app, as I've become sort of addicted -- every week I feel compelled to fill in my little cardio bar, not fill in my vice bar, and strive towards "five star meals."

To buy, click: Health Cubby: $9.99 on the iTunes Store. Health Cubby works on both the iPhone and iPod Touch. See also: more info on Health Cubby.

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Getting Calls From Your Own Phone Number? Don't Answer!
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There’s a new phone scam that could affect you, according to Washington’s KIRO 7 News. In addition to keeping your eyes open for calls that come from area codes like 473 or involve people claiming to be Equifax representatives, you now have to watch out for your own phone number.

Scammers are manipulating your phone’s caller ID to make it look like you’re getting a call from your own phone number, then posing as someone from a wireless carrier like AT&T or Verizon. They tell whoever answers the phone that their account has been flagged for security reasons, then ask for the last four digits of that person’s Social Security number. The FCC has been aware of these scams for at least two years, but they seem to be ramping up once again.

In general, you shouldn’t give out any part of your Social Security number over the phone on an incoming call. If you’re suspicious, you can always call your carrier back using the official customer service phone number on their website or on your bill. But it’s best not to pick up at all. If you receive a call from your own number, don’t answer or press any buttons. Instead, file a complaint with the FCC.

[h/t KIRO 7 News]

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Samsung

Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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