Saturday, September 12, 2020

App supports workplace misconduct probes

In the wake of the MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements we've heard lots of promises to do better. Businesses, schools and government agencies are saying they want to do a better job of collecting and responding to misconduct complaints such as sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

Some have have even given employees a mobile app that makes filing complains faster, easier and more confidential. The app is called Telli and it was created by Triangle Investigations, a group of lawyers and investigators that specializes in misconduct investigations.

Triangle's founder is Kia Roberts who was a former assistant district attorney in New York and the NFL's first Director of Investigations. At he NFL, it was her job to examine allegations of violations of the league's Personal Conduct Policy. Situations involving sexual harassment, workplace violence and criminal conduct landed on her desk.

The Telli app is available to Triangle's clients to distribute to their employees. Triangle promises to contact a reporting party within 24 hours after a submission is received through the app. Within 72 hours, Triangle provides the client with a framework showing how the investigation will be conducted. 

The Triangle website says the agency "conducts timely, sensitive, comprehensive investigations into allegations of misconduct. Triangle provides a conclusion of findings to the party who made the initial report and also to key organization stakeholders."

In addition to the the misconduct reporting app, Triangle also offers investigations under a long-term contract or on a case-by-case basis. It also provides employee training and human resources consulting service.

For pricing and more details about the Telli app, visit the Triangle website and follow @triangleinv on Twitter.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Done app helps build or break habits

 I remember when the first fitness wrist bands hit the market. Their instant popularity showed that people wanted to know how many steps they took in a day or how much distance they covered in their daily runs.

But even more attractive was their ability to collect and chart the wearer’s progress. Now they could clearly see that they were running farther than they did on an average day two months ago, or that they tended to ease up on Mondays. The charts and graphs helped them keep their focus on their goal.

That same idea is put to work in an Apple app called Done hat can help people reach goals that go beyond physical fitness.

With Done you can track any habit that you repeat on a regular basis. Let’s say you want to drink more water every day. You create a new habit that you might call Hydrate and maybe set a goal of drinking 12 cups a day.  

As you log your daily drinks, Done builds a record of you progress and generates on-demand reports that show how well - or how poorly - you are doing.

And it’s those report cards that really provides an incentive. There’s something about seeing your streak portrayed on a calendar or a chart that reinforces your determination. You get pumped up seeing proof that you really did go to the gym six days in a row. The app can also be used to help break bad habits, like smoking or drinking.

Users can group habits into custom categories, set multiple reminders for each habit, assign color codes and enter notes about each habit. And the app works with the Apple Watch, Siri and Apple’s HealthKit.

The basic version can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store. A Premium version with additional features is also available. For more details, visit the Done App website or follow @treebetty on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Zencca serves CA cannabis shoppers

Among the many advantages of online shopping is the ability to easily get detailed product information and reviews written by actual users. These days we buy almost nothing without checking the fine print and user opinions.

Now there's a website  that provides a similar level of service for people shopping for legal cannabis products in California.

Zencca offers photos and profiles of more than 1,000 cannabis products. Each profile includes a description of the product including its CBD content. Those who have tried cannabis-infused pretzels, for example, can give it a star rating and also rate its effects (was it euphoric? Did it stimulate creativity?) and its physical impact (did it affect your head, body or both?).

The profile page also has a map showing the location of stores that stock the product. Almost all of the stores mapped on Zencca are in Southern California. The site is labelled as a Beta version, so coverage of other area might be in its future.

Visitors who register on the site can also get a Cannabis Profile Assessment that will suggest products that fit your lifestyle and interests. Zencca's privacy statement says the company will not sell or share your information.

The assessment starts with a series of questions about how you spend your time. Do you prefer outdoor activities or do you prefer reading or similar pursuits? Do you use cannabis for health reasons or for artistic stimulation? Would you rather go out on the town socializing or relax at home? What's your potency tolerance level? Do you prefer edibles and other discreet products?

The system will assign you a profile type (I'm a Spartan) and begin displaying products keyed to your profile. Zencca suggested that I might like lemon-flavored cookies, a rub for body pains and a bud described as having "a sweet, heavy aroma that will relax the user with its tasty flavor profile and uplifting effects."

All good suggestions, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I live quite far away from the stores in LA, Escondido and Palm Springs that stock those lemon cookies.

To get a closer look at the site and get your own cannabis profile, check out he video below and visit the Zencca website.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

SyncGo has a smooth desktop calendar

My son is among the millions of Americans who were recently told to stop coming in to his employer's office and start working from home every day. One of  the many things he has had to adjust to in the new WFH environment is managing his business and personal calendars with their myriad video conference calls and shared domestic responsibilities.

I told him to check out the SyncGo Desktop Calendar. It's a nifty widget that carves out a slice of a Windows to let you know what will soon need your attention and when that will happen. 

The application stays in sync with Google Calendar, Google Tasks or Apple's iCloud calendar and it works with iPhones, iPads and Android devices. If you enter an event from your desktop computer, it gets added to the one on your mobile device. It syncs ion the opposite direction as well. 

You can set the app to deliver pop-up reminders or reminders delivered by email or text messaging. Drill down and you can see events displayed by day, week, month or year in a list format or a color-coded array of sticky notes. And it offers a five-day weather forecast presented with icons (sunny, cloudy, rainy) and high and low temperatures.   

SyncGo Desktop Calendar also plays nice with your desktop wallpaper. The current month's calendar, event list and to-do list appear as an overlay so it doesn't interfere with the sunset beach wallpaper that you're so fond of. And it has a skin editor to customize fonts, colors and backgrounds.

The application sells for $14.95 and you can try it for free for 30 days. For a closer look at the SyncGo Desktop Calendar, visit the SyncGo website

Friday, September 4, 2020

BeatBoxer headphones aim for the top

Now that engineers have figured out how to produce quality sound in Bluetooth wireless headphones, the race in on to see which company can build the highest high-end product.

A Hong Kong company called Sevasis Limited hopes to set the pace with a set it calls ReysorLink BeatBoxer.

BeatBoxer starts with 50mm Neodymium Drivers and adds sub-woofers and surround sound generated by a Qualcomm HD processor.  

It also steps up to Bluetooth 5.0. which delivers twice the bandwidth of version 4.0. That means low latency with no lag for gaming and music play.

It also delivers enhanced sound clarity with active noise cancellation to eliminate background distractions or interference.

BeatBox boasts impressive battery life with 35 hours of playing time and 350 hours in standby mode. If the headphones run out of juice while in use, a Type-C charger refuels fast enough to provide 5 hours of use in just 10 minutes.

Other features include:
  • A dedicated Active Noise Control switch that lets users adjust the level of noise reduction.
  • Dual built-in microphones for high-quality audio calls or game play.
  • A mic port for users who prefer an external microphone.
  • One-button activation to summon a personal assistant such as Siri or Google.
  • A built-in SD card slot to play music, podcasts or audio books independent of the user's mobile phone.
BeatBoxer headphones are scheduled to be introduced Sept. 15 on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The profile page on Indiegogo doesn't yet list pricing but it will take your email address to get on the list for news and updates, including early bird pricing. Fans who share information about BeatBoxer with #FeelTheMusic will qualify to win a free set.

You can get a closer look at BeatBoxer in the video below and on the ReysorLink website. You can also follow ReysorLink on Facebook, Instagram and @ReysorLink on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Snipe eBay auctions with Myibidder

If you occasionally buy items at eBay auctions, you've probably been here: you've stayed up well past your bedtime to keep an eye on the item you want. The end of the auction is just moments away and you're feeling good because you are the higher bidder. But then the bidding ends and eBay says some other bidder was the winner.

Congratulations, you've been sniped. Someone swooped in at the last second and slipped in a higher bid just before the door on the auction closed. Maybe they were up late watching the clock tick down or, just as likely, they were using sniping software like Myibidder Bid Sniper.

Sniping software automates bidding and focuses on the last minute or so before the sale ends when bidders sometimes scramble to get to the top. Automated sniping does not conflict with eBay's rules. And sniper software doesn't guarantee that you will win the auction. There may be other sniper apps doing automated bidding and not every robot can be a winner.

Myibidder lets you set your top price for an auction item. Then it checks the bidding near the end of the auction and will place a bid in the last few seconds if you aren't the high bidder. Users set up their snipe in advance by entering the sale they are targeting and the maximum amount they want to bid.

The app is free to download, but it operates on a credit system. You get free credits when you start using the app. Credits are used only when you win an auction. If you're an active bidder and buyer, you can purchase more credits or get them for free by watching video ads.

Myibidder Bid Sniper can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. To get a closer look at the app, visit the Myibidder website and check the video below.

Minecraft fan ranks Top 10 hosting servers

Count Jason Lawrence among the millions of fans of Minecraft, the hugely popular multiplayer game that lets players build and explore an infinite virtual world.

Serious players who want to take control of the Minecraft environment and play rules can install the game on their own server.

That server could reside on their own personal computer, but a more practical solution is to rent space through a commercial data hosting service that sells Minecraft hosting packages.

That's what Lawrence did, but not before taking a whole lot of test drives. In his quest to find the best package at the right price, he purchased and tested the offerings from 71 different Minecraft hosting providers.

Along the way, he charted and rated each service and posted profiles of his top 10 vendors on his Minecraft Hosting website.

Lawrence say his ratings are based on these factors:
  • The total cost per month
  • The ease of setting it up
  • Performance of your server under load
  • Adding mods to your server
  • The support-ticket waiting time
  • Extra features in control panel
In his profiles, Lawrence gives vendors high marks for having servers multiple regions, staff expertise in dealing with mods and responsive support. Slow support response or hidden fees turn up in the Negatives column. (See a sample profile below.)

In addition to his Top 10 list, Lawrence has written and posted detailed guides to help server managers choose a Minecraft provider, set up their server and promote its availability and advantages.

The profiles and guides are available for free on Lawrence's Minecraft Server website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Time Captis bundles productivity tools

My computer is centerpiece of my personal and professional life, so of course it's loaded with software that is supposed to help me manage that life. Maybe overloaded is a better description.

I've got calendars and address books from both Apple and Google. For note taking, I have to choose among Evernote, Notes and a couple of others that I've picked up over the years.

And I could really use an application to record the time I spend on various freelance projects. Right now, I use a homemade spreadsheet.

What I need is a dashboard for my digital life. Maybe what I need is Time Captis.

Time Captis is a productivity app combines all of daily go-to tools into one application that works on all of my computing devices. It manages events, contacts, notes and to-do lists while also charting how you spend your time.

The app presents a well-organized menu scree and poses a direct question: "What do you want to do?" From there you can click to add a contact, take a note, book an appointment, send a message, create a team or start the clock running on a specific project.

Time Captis can be particularly valuable when you're working on a group project - and these days group members are likely to be working from home and scattered to far-flung locations.

The Pro version of Time Captis lets an administrator assign access and permission levels for all the team members.

Teams can also be assigned their own color to highlight shared events and a To-do list that assigns priorities to each task can help focus everyone on work that is most important.

Freelancers will be impressed with the time-tracking element that calculates hours and minutes spent on a project. And users who have the Pro version can turn time reports into invoices.

Time Captis is a subscription service that can be used on the Web as well as on Apple and Android phones or tablets.  A basic version is free with a limit of 10 notes, 100 events or To-dos and 1,000 contacts. For $20 per month, the Pro version drops the limits and adds features such as team messaging and permission management and provides a team dashboard with time reports and chart views.

For a closer look, visit the Time Captis website or download the mobile versions from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You can also follow @timecaptis on Twitter.

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