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9 Apps All Young Adults Should Have on Their Phones

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So you’ve graduated college, moved into your own apartment, and snagged a full-time job. As a fully responsible adult human, you’re still a work in progress, but now is the time to really step up your game. Time to set your phone settings to Adult. Here are nine apps you should download to help you get there.

1. LEVEL MONEY

It’s time to learn to live within your means, and even save some money. Level is a budget app that will tell you exactly how much you can spend on any given day or week and still make ends meet. Just connect it to your bank account, put in your sources of income, your recurring bills, and how much you’d like to save each month, and it will calculate your “spendable” cash. You can also track certain categories of purchases, helping you realize that you’re spending $200 on Starbucks every month and only $50 on actual groceries. 

Find it: iOS, Android

2. HANDY

For when you’re grown up enough to know your home shouldn’t be covered in a two-inch thick layer of dust and grime, but not quite ready to invest in cleaning supplies and spend hours scrubbing your shower. On Handy, you can book a regular cleaning service or a one-time touch up (hint for the stingy: You can sign up for the discounted weekly or monthly cleaning and just reschedule your bookings into infinity). You can even hire someone to paint your room or come put up those bookshelves that have been sitting unassembled for six months. 

Find it: iOS, Android

3. ALLSTATE DIGITAL LOCKER

You’re not as young as you used to be, and that friend-of-a-friend who crashes your party might sue you when he falls off his keg stand and breaks his leg in your kitchen. You have expensive electronics that could get stolen when your starter apartment in the only neighborhood you can afford gets robbed. Your Craigslist roommate might burn down the house by leaving one of his monster joints lying around. So just go ahead and get renter’s insurance. Allstate’s Digital Locker app is a good place to start. It’s free to use, and lets you inventory your home just by taking photos of your stuff, so you can document it all before you need to file a claim. 

Find it: iOS, Android

4. OUTLOOK

As you start to take on more responsibilities at work, you’ll probably need to check your work email outside of the office on occasion (though we do not condone this kind of behavior!). On the bright side, Outlook’s phone app is way easier on the eyes—and easier to use—than its desktop equivalent. Some even call it the best mobile app for email around. 

Find it: iOs, Android

5. EVERNOTE SCANNABLE

You’re never going to own a Rolodex. Accept it. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never need the info on a business card that was handed to you at that networking conference six months ago. Evernote’s Scannable app can be used to digitize business cards, pulling additional information about that contact from their LinkedIn profile. It also does receipts, so you’ll have them ready when those expense reports come due. Unfortunately, they haven’t come up with an Android version yet. 

Find it: iOS

6. GOOGLE WALLET

It’s super easy to pay your friends back with Venmo, but the app has notorious security issues. Upgrade to something that will protect your money when something goes wrong. Google Wallet is a safer way to send money to your friends using just their email address or phone number. It’s monitored for fraud, FDIC-insured, and protected by MasterCard’s liability coverage so that you aren’t responsible for any rogue transactions—and if the company happened to go under, your unused funds would still be safe. 

Find it: iOS, Android

7. OPEN TABLE

You’re a grown up. Please, just make a reservation for that six-person brunch.

Find it: iOS, Android

8. ANYLIST OR OUT OF MILK

You can’t live on takeout forever. Organize your grocery shopping efforts with your roommates or significant other using a syncing list app like AnyList (available for iPhone) or Out of Milk (available for Android). Both let you create and share grocery lists, and will update everyone when something is added or checked off. Use it for food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, or any other purchases you share. No one wants four gallons of milk in the fridge—or worse, none at all.

Find it: AnyList for iOS, Out of Milk for Android

9. KOKO

Let’s just get it out there: Being an adult-in-progress can be hard. The job market is stressful, having to buy your own groceries is a pain, and you may not know very many people in your new city. Koko is a social networking app for better mental health. You can post your worries and anxieties and other people will help you think about them in a new light. Remember to give yourself a break now and then. 

Find it: iOS, sign up for the forthcoming Android app at itskoko.com

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Stop Your Snoring and Track Your Sleep With a Wi-Fi Smart Pillow
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REM-Fit

Everyone could use a better night's rest. The CDC says that only 66 percent of American adults get as much sleep as they should, so if you're spending plenty of time in bed but mostly tossing and turning (or trying to block out your partner's snores), it may be time to smarten up your sleep accessories. As TechCrunch reports, the ZEEQ Smart Pillow improves your sleeping schedule in a multitude of ways, whether you're looking to quiet your snores or need a soothing lullaby to rock you to sleep.

After a successful Kickstarter in 2016, the product is now on sale and ready to get you snoozing. If you're a snorer, the pillow has a microphone designed to listen to the sound of your snores and softly vibrate so that you shift positions to a quieter pose. Accelerometers in the pillow let the sleep tracker know how much you're moving around at night, allowing it to record your sleep stages. Then, you can hook the pillow up to your Amazon Echo or Google Home so that you can have your favorite smart assistant read out the pillow's analysis of your sleep quality and snoring levels the next morning.

The pillow is also equipped with eight different wireless speakers that turn it into an extra-personal musical experience. You can listen to soothing music while you fall asleep, either connecting the pillow to your Spotify or Apple Music account on your phone via Bluetooth or using the built-in relaxation programs. You can even use it to listen to podcasts without disturbing your partner. You can set a timer to turn the music off after a certain period so you don't wake up in the middle of the night still listening to Serial.

And when it's time to wake up, the pillow will analyze your movements to wake you during your lightest sleep stage, again keeping the noise of an alarm from disturbing your partner.

The downside? Suddenly your pillow is just another device with a battery that needs to charge. And forget about using it in a place without Wi-Fi.

The ZEEQ Smart Pillow currently costs $200.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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Forget Horns: Some Trains in Japan Bark Like Dogs to Scare Away Deer
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In Japan, growing deer populations are causing friction on the railways. The number of deer hit by trains each year is increasing, so the Railway Technical Research Institute has come up with a novel idea for curbing the problem, according to the BBC. Researchers there are using the sound of barking dogs to scare deer away from danger zones when trains are approaching, preventing train damage, delays, and of course, deer carnage.

It’s not your standard horn. In pilot tests, Japanese researchers have attached speakers that blare out a combination of sounds designed specifically to ward off deer. First, the recording captures the animals’ attention by playing a snorting sound that deer use as an “alarm call” to warn others of danger. Then, the sound of howling dogs drives the deer away from the tracks so the train can pass.

Before this initiative, the problem of deer congregating on train tracks seemed intractable. Despite the best efforts of railways, the animals aren’t deterred by ropes, barriers, flashing lights, or even lion feces meant to repel them. Kintetsu Railway has had some success with ultrasonic waves along its Osaka line, but many rail companies are still struggling to deal with the issue. Deer flock to railroad tracks for the iron filings that pile up on the rails, using the iron as a dietary supplement. (They have also been known to lick chain link fences.)

The new deer-deterring soundtrack is particularly useful because it's relatively low-tech and would be cheap to implement. Unlike the ultrasonic plan, it doesn’t have to be set up in a particular place or require a lot of new equipment. Played through a speaker on the train, it goes wherever the train goes, and can be deployed whenever necessary. One speaker on each train could do the job for a whole railway line.

The researchers found that the recordings they designed could reduce the number of deer sightings near the train tracks by as much as 45 percent during winter nights, which typically see the highest collision rates. According to the BBC, the noises will only be used in unpopulated areas, reducing the possibility that people living near the train tracks will have to endure the sounds of dogs howling every night for the rest of their lives.

Deer aren't the only animals that Japanese railways have sought to protect against the dangers of railroad tracks. In 2015, the Suma Aqualife Park and the West Japan Railway Company teamed up to create tunnels that could serve as safer rail crossings for the turtles that kept getting hit by trains.

[h/t BBC]

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