As a digital marketing agency its to be expected that a lot of our conversations revolve around apps, especially those that make our lives easier. We aren't a lazy bunch in particular but if an app can make us more productive and save us time why wouldn't we use it?
After all, it leaves more time for important office jobs like Guitar Hero, playing fetch with Doogle the office dog & sending each other GIFs on Slack.
Recently we've all been using Revolut, an app that allows you to send and spend money anywhere with no fees. Andrew, Quadra's Director has been an advocate for the app for some time and has successfully persuaded us all to get on board, below is his review of the app...
"Revolut allows you to instantly send and spend money globally with no transaction fees. It’s an app with a Mastercard attached to it. It’s a charge card that you can load with GBP, USD or Euros, but can use in any country. When you are abroad, you can load up your card in seconds (via your debit card) and either spend it in shops/hotels etc (via Mastercard) or get the cash out of an ATM – and there are no fees. It’s free. Totally free!
They give you the spot rate when converting your funds. No exchange fees and no margin on conversion! You can use it online to get the best deals when you have a choice of paying in GBP or Euro or Dollars.
So, what's so great about Revolut? Well, apart from being free (have I mentioned that before?!) It is perfect for using during trips away. If its 9am and you need some euros to buy that early morning coffee from the good looking barista across from your hotel you top up your card with £10, convert it to euros (at the spot rate), go to the ATM and withdraw the euros (for free) and within minutes you are ordering that much-needed cappuccino!
It is so fast and convenient, definitely one of the best money services I have ever used. During a recent holiday my group all downloaded app, we used it loads by sending each other cash rather than all putting our cards in the middle when splitting a bill. Unlike some internet banking it works instantly, you’ll find yourself sending your friends a Euro just to show them how fast it is!
But, what’s the catch? There really isn’t one. You need data to check your balance or move funds, but they make their money from the merchant’s fees (remember the barista, he’s paying, not you) so there's really nothing to be worried about so starting saving on those “Foreign Transaction Fees” and ATM charges.
The only thing I would improve would be if Revolut would tie into a credit card too rather than just debit cards. Like many new apps, their customer service could use some work but other than that I couldn't recommend it more. And when the card arrives..I wont spoil that for you."
Hanna is our resident designer and certainly one of the more laid-back members of the team, always managing to keep her calm in what sometimes can be a hectic environment. Now, I don't want to give Headspace all the credit for her peaceful nature but we're sure it helps! See what Hanna has to say about Headspace below & download the app here!
"Headspace is meditation made simple. Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day.
Like most people my days can be really stressful and I don't feel like i have the time to relax and zone out. I have had this app for a few years and just for 10 minutes I can find the time to meditate. Meditation can help with stress, anxiety, sleep, and make you more productive, creative and focused. Headspace is the modern and easy way of meditating. Millions of people have signed up to their free 10 sessions each lasting for 10 minutes per day and if you like it you can subscribe to their other programs. You can listen to it anywhere, but it’s best to choose a specific time and space where you are most comfortable.
With beautiful animations on how the mind works and how to meditate, Headspace makes it fun and easy. When you first set it up it up the founder Andy guides you through the whole process combined with creative illustrations. Meditation has never been as popular as now and I think this app is good for people that have never done it before and might think its difficult or feel like they don’t have time. Anyone can do it and it’s just 10 minutes out of your day! The app has plenty of engaging functions, change your settings to be notified, team up with your friends, get rewards for regular meditation and track your stats to see how you are progressing."
Leo is part of our development team at Quadra, he's a lover of green tea, Brazilian coffee, Japanese snacks and like many of us, cat videos! To keep track of all the cat videos (and some other important work-related stuff too) he uses Pushbullet which enables him to link all of his devices:
"Pushbullet started as an app that allowed you to "push" (see what they did there) content across devices. It started with links, notes and files and has been growing ever since.
Because I'm always finding blog posts and news articles that I would like to read when I'm on the go or at work I use Pushbullet to send all the links from my machine at work, my tablet or phone to my Google Chrome instance at home. So next time I open Chrome, all the articles I sent during the day will open on tabs and I can do my reading.
Another great feature from Pushbullet is that it allows you to push stuff to friends too. So I can share Amazon offers or cat videos with my wife and friends, and all they need to do is tap/click the notification on their device.
If you're extra geeky like me, Pushbullet also integrates with IFTT and supports mirroring your notifications from your phone to any of the Desktop apps it has. It even supports replying to SMS and other chat apps you may have on your smartphone.
So, if you're looking for an unobtrusive way of sharing content across devices or with friends or simply fancy mirroring notifications from your phone to your desktop go ahead and give Pushbullet a try here!"
Joe, our Lead Developer has unwavering willpower when it comes to the gym and healthy eating. Recently he entered into a local bodybuilding competition and kept an even closer eye on his health. Joe would certainly be just as motivated with or without MyFitnessPal but it sure makes his life a lot easier...
"As a self confessed gym rat it is not often that I am not trying to alter my body composition in some way. Be it cutting fat for a competition or trying to pack on some much needed muscle mass, the quality, quantity and frequency of my food & drink intake is one of the most important factors which contributes to my success (or failure!) to reach these goals. As you can imagine keeping a record of everything you eat/drink, how much of it, when and the macro nutrients within it the 'old fashioned' way would be incredibly time consuming. Enter MyFitnessPal, an app that has saved me more hours than I can count on tracking my nutrition.
MyFitnessPal started life as a free app and, at time of writing, it continues to offer 100% of it's original functionality for free. There is also a premium version prices at £39.99 pear year which offers a few new features but these are 'nice to haves' and you will be able to get a lot out of the free app. It is well maintained, has regular updates released and has an active community and user base who keep their blog and forums alive.
So what does the app offer? It has a huge database of food and drink products, many of which are submitted by the manufacturers themselves and the rest being user submitted. All products will have a calorie value recorded and the vast majority also have values for their macro nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats). There is a user confirmation/verification system which means many products are flagged as being confirmed as accurate so you can have trust that you are logging things with a low percentage of error/inaccuracy.
The app allows you to give you own names to up to 6 'meals' and categorise the food and drink you consume into one of these blocks. It provides you with a breakdown of calories and macros per item, per meal and per day as well as some simple reporting to see an overview of your data over weeks or months. It has some useful features allowing you to save a number of foods as a meal so that you can re-add them all at once. You can copy individual items, full meals or an entire days worth of food to a different day or meal both of which save you a lot of time, especially if like me you batch cook and eat similar things during the course of a week.
The app also encourages you to keep on track by warning you when foods contain a high percentage of you self set daily allowance and reminding you to log your food each day if you forget. It also praises you when you make good choices. It gives you a judgment free overview of your day so you can see how close (or far) from your targets you are.
There is also a social element to the app which can be useful for motivation and holding yourself accountable for your goals and actions. You can add friends and monitor one another's progress, use the forums to discuss your diet, exercise program and goals and link your account to Facebook in order to share your daily record automatically when you submit it (although be warned, many of my friends found this very irritating). The app also has features for recommending daily calorie and macro intake for you and logging exercise however, I tend not to utilise these as the exercise logging alters you daily nutritional goals automatically and I believe my own calculations for my required macros are more accurate for my own personal goals.
Whether you are looking to loose weight, gain weight or are just interested to see how much you eat on an average day I would strongly recommend signing up to MyFitnessPal as both a time saver and a motivational tool."