Apps

You’ll Want to Upgrade to iOS 11 for These 3 Reasons

09.25.17

iOS 11 is the biggest and most-hyped software upgrade for Apple’s mobile devices in a long while. While most of the buzz is about all the added iPad functionality, I think there are great features that you can use on your iPhone that make it worth an immediate download.

To be honest, most of the iOS software upgrades leave me a little unimpressed… I feel like they’re often cosmetic, or don’t really enable anything useful for me that they didn’t in the past. But this update has me excited— some really useful features have been added that are already saving me time and actually making my life safer.

To find the software update: Go to Settings > General > Software Update and you’ll see the option to update there. You can download the update in the background while you do other things, and when it’s ready, you’ll get a prompt asking if you want to install it now or later. 5-10 minutes later, you’ll be set. It’s a good idea to back up your phone before you update ever, so make sure you do that first.

Here are my top 3 reasons to update to iOS 11 ASAP.

Distracted Driving Feature

iOS updates often steal features from the best apps and add them to the native operating system, rendering that app useless in a matter of minutes. I think having a feature can sense when you’re driving, disable incoming notifications, and let people know that you’ll get back to them when you arrive is long overdue. Apps like CellControl or AT&T Drive Mode do this well, but having the feature built into the iOS is much more elegant. I’ve been working on an upcoming story about apps for new drivers, and this is now going at the top of my list… no need to download anything additional.

Find the feature by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Scroll to DO NOT DISTURB WHILE DRIVING

Customizable Control Center

The Control Center, that page of at-your-fingertips buttons you summon by swiping up, makes adjusting your screen brightness or volume handy. But it has always annoyed me that some things I don’t find useful are there, while other things can’t be added. No more! Now you can customize this page to your hearts content: I am THRILLED to see that I can go straight to the alarm clock page (without having to travel to the TIMER page first!), as well as helpful quick taps to write a Note, or get to my Wallet app, which used to take up precious space on my home screen. If your eyes are going (like mine are starting to!) you’ll be happy to see that you can add quick buttons for Text Size and Magnifier to this page too.

Find this feature by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.

Securely Sharing Wifi Passwords

Having a long and complicated Wifi password is the key to good security for your home. WPShen friends come over, however, and want to join the network, it’s a nightmare of mis-typed attempts, not to mention having to share the password with them, which decreases your security level each time you do it. iOS 11 will send a prompt to any Apple mobile device (must be running iOS 11) or Apple laptop (must be running Sierra OS) in proximity, allowing them to connect to your network without having to type a thing. Think of it like a guest pass to your network that you can grant without compromising your own security.

Find this feature by saddling up to someone not connected to the network that you are connected to. No need to look for it— it will just happen.

PS If you like all these screen recordings, they’re a new feature of iOS 11! Find it by going to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and add it to your Control Center!

If you’ve got the latest software on your iPhone or IPad let me know how you’re liking it in the comments. If you aren’t upgrading, let me know about that too!

Wellness

Boutique Fitness Studios Invade Your Living Room

09.18.17
Fitness App Forte Fit

The world of online fitness is wild, tough to navigate, and constantly changing.

Sure, there are millions of free workout videos on YouTube, but how do you even possibly begin to choose one that’s actually high-quality, delivers the kind of workout you want, and is the right length? And many big deal platforms—like CosmoBody and NBC’s Radius—have come and gone faster than rest periods during HIIT. And who’s really motivated to squat and burpee next to their couch, anyway?

A new site, Forte Fitness, aims to solve for these issues, by making at-home workouts as curated and compelling as visiting a boutique fitness studio—because you basically are doing just that.

Forte sets up discreet camera systems inside popular workout studios in cities like New York and Miami and then livestreams classes to viewers all over the world, so you can attend in real time (or pull from a library of recorded classes whenever you want). The concept delivers the fun factor and group energy of boutique fitness without the high prices or time needed to get to and from your workout studio.

I gave Forte a try to see if it would make me want to lunge around my living room on a more consistent basis. Here are three things you need to know.

There’s a LOT of Variety

Many popular studios like Tracy Anderson, DanceBody, and Peloton (if you’ve got the bike!), already do the livestream thing on their own, so if you’re devoted to one sweat style, those may be a better option. But if you like to mix things up, Forte’s got nearly every option covered, with around 1500 classes from nine studios at the moment, which cover boxing, strength-training, dance, cycling, yoga, and more. There aren’t a ton of big-name brands aside from a few like Aerospace and Exhale, but they’re adding new studios and classes every day. Workouts are also organized in a way that’s really user-friendly. You can search by style, length, equipment needed, or a specific coach or studio.

Streaming Has Both Pros and Cons

The quality of the videos is very good, but you’re dropping into a studio class (even if you choose a pre-recorded version) so remember that you’ll also be looking at others exercising in the class, not just the instructor, which can be a little strange at first if you’re used to more traditional at-home workouts. I did a yoga class and felt a little distracted by some people in front of the camera who were struggling with poses and would have preferred to just see the instructor demo-ing in that scenario. However, you get the energy of the class via this style, which is often the more important factor when it comes to actually showing up to sweat.

It’s a Great Value

At $39 for the month or $188 for the year, a monthly membership is just slightly more than what a single class would cost you in person at many studios in New York and Los Angeles. Not to mention the cost of your Metrocard/Uber/Gas to get you to class and back. Overall, that seems like a really good deal to me.

Have you tried Forte or other streaming workout platforms? Which do you use and why do you like them? Share, in the comments below!

 

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Wellness

This meditation app may be the best teacher out there

09.15.17
Headspace App

The idea of using an app for meditation seems pretty counterintuitive.

After all, many of the reasons we’re distracted and disconnected have to do with technology. We’re bombarded with screens and texts and emails and notifications (ding! buzz!)…  finding mental space in the midst of it all can be pretty freakin’ challenging.

Meditation, of course, can help with all of that, but because of all of that, it can be hard to find time to actually fit it into your day to, you know, sit still. 

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Home

My Feature in Good Housekeeping!

09.13.17
Good Housekeeping: A Pretty Smart Home

You GUYZZZ it’s finally here: The feature on my home in Good Freakin’ Housekeeping! This feature is so meaningful to me in so many ways: Not only does my house look SO pretty (thank you, GH styling department!), but the whole story really encapsulates my philosophy about technology: That it should be chosen selectively, used to simplify life, and it shouldn’t involve sacrificing style. And it’s called, “A Pretty Smart Home”… see what they did there?! Love a good double-entendre.

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Living

9/11, and remembering loved ones.

09.11.17
911 Memorial

I will never forget where I was when the towers fell on September 11th: I was on my living room sofa, glued to every second of the coverage. I remember the feeling of wanting to rub my eyes to ensure what I was seeing was real. My heart pounded out of my chest: I was safe in my home on the other side of the country, yet felt so panicked, vulnerable, assaulted.

I was holding Spencer, who was just 4 months old, wondering if he could feel the tension, the emotion, the air that felt like it had been sucked out of the room. We were a new family, still in the throes of how to be parents, still trying to orient ourselves around this new person that had come to into our lives. Our little world had just forever changed, and on September it was clear that the world outside our little home would also never be the same.

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