Review – Microsoft Arrow Launcher – The Best Launcher for Microsoft Users

Microsoft Arrow Launcher

Earlier this week I posted a review of the Nova Launcher for Android.  In that review, I pointed out that if you are looking for a launcher that has a whole load of knobs to turn, it is the best option for you.  But for those of you who aren’t interested in turning all the knobs or, more particularly, are deep in the Microsoft ecosystem, there is a solid option for you too.  The Microsoft Arrow Launcher.

Arrow Launcher doesn’t have the configurability of Nova Launcher nor does it pretend to have them.  Instead, Microsoft has taken this launcher and focused it on productivity.  Contacts, apps and documents are easily accessible from the launcher, getting you editing that Word file quicker and with few taps than opening the app itself.  But it also does all this with speed and battery friendliness that makes it a great option even for those who don’t necessarily use the Office apps.

I’ve been running Microsoft Arrow Launcher on my Nextbit Robin for the past few weeks and I have no problem giving it a thumbs up.  It works great, has enough configurability for those want to tweak a little bit and gets you deep into the Office apps without having to fuss with it.  Here’s my review and thoughts on Arrow Launcher.

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Review – Nova Launcher – The Ultimate Android Launcher?

Nova Launcher

Over the course of the past few months, there have been two important changes on the Android launcher front.  The first was the announcement of the Google Pixel and its still exclusive launcher back in October.  Then came news last month that the Google Now Launcher is being removed from the Play Store this month.  This latter bit of news has caused a lot of questions in the Android community with users looking for alternative launchers.  That’s were Nova Launcher comes into the picture.

While there are literally dozens of launchers in the Play Store, Nova Launcher remains one of the most loved and used.  But is it the best?  That’s going to depend on what you want and expect out of a launcher.  If you like seemingly endless configuration and customization, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than Nova.  There are a huge number of configuration changes you can make in the launcher, from how your App Drawer is accessed, presented and even your icons for apps.  It is truly impressive and even if you just want to run things “out of the box” with Nova, you likely won’t be disappointed.

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Review – Snocru – The Ultimate Tracking App for Skiers & Snowboarders

Snocru Speed Tracking Map

I am apologetically addicted to skiing.  I love tech and my career but at 9 times out of 10, if you ask me what I’m thinking about, I’m going to tell you skiing.  2017 has been a great season for me so far and like many skiers and riders, I want to keep track of where I’ve been, how fast I’ve gone and how many vertical feet I’ve skied in a day.  One of the best and most complete apps for this is Snocru.  The app allows you to track all of these statistics for the day and does it in a battery friendly way.  Snocru also lets you link up with friends who are skiing with you so you can compare stats and share that information with each other or on social networks like Facebook.

I’ve been using the app for the past few weeks to track my skiing and it has quickly become a must-have app for me.  If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will probably find it a must-have app too.

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Review – Withings Blood Pressure Monitor – An Excellent Tool to Monitor Heart Health

Withings Timeline with Blood Pressure and Pulse

Like many aspects of healthy living, understanding your blood pressure and the impact it has on your body is critical.  This is especially true for those with a genetic predisposition to heart disease and high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can have long term damaging impacts on your body that can include heart attack and stroke.  Monitoring your blood pressure and your pulse can be done at home with the Withing Blood Pressure Monitor.

The Withing Blood Pressure Monitor allows you to take your blood pressure at home, leveraging the Withings app on your Android or iOS phone to keep track of it on a daily or weekly basis.  While it is not as accurate as a medical office checking your blood pressure, it does serve as a solid tool to help you understand what you eat, drink, weight and exercise do to your blood pressure.  I’ve been using the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor for many months as part of keep track of my blood pressure as heart disease runs in my family.  It has become an valuable tool, giving me information that I can readily share with my doctor to discuss and make dietary or lifestyle changes.  Here is my review of this great medical tool.

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Review – Sleep as Android – Wellness Begins With Good Sleep

Sleep Information and Ratings for a Sleep Cycle

Sleep is a critical part of any healthy lifestyle.  Getting the proper amount of restful sleep not only helps with your psychological wellness but also has other health benefits when it comes to general well being and fitness.  Sadly, most Americas struggle to get the proper amount of sleep each night or have poor quality of sleep.  Sleep as Android is an app that allows you to measure your sleep, the quality of that sleep, and integrate that data with apps like Google Fit.  By having the app running on your phone next to you as you sleep, it will track your sleep cycles, see trends and even record noises as you sleep to see if you are snoring or, worse, suffering from Sleep Apnea.

Sleep as Android, however, is so much more.  It can serve as your alarm clock, can play soothing sounds to help you relax and get to sleep and gently wake you up in the morning.  It is an all-in-one app for your sleeping.  I’ve been using the app since the beginning of 2017 as I am focusing on making sure I get the right amount of sleep each day.  It has been an eye opening app for me and has become a daily part of my life as I try to live a healthy – and rested – lifestyle.  Here’s my review.

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Review of F1 2016 – A Worthy But Not Perfect F1 Game

In-Car Camera and Graphics Detail

As a Formula One fan, the desire to play a reasonably realistic game based on real drivers, teams and circuits has been there for a long time.  The challenge has been the lack of such a game.  Sure the console games are fantastic from Codemasters but on mobile devices – both Android and iOS – there were F1-style games but nothing that would truly satisfy a fan of the sport.  That changed when Codemasters, the developer behind the console F1 games, released their mobile centric game, F1 2016.  While it doesn’t have the level of controls or customizations that the console level game has, F1 2016 is a remarkably well developed game with outstanding graphics, real teams, real drivers and, of course, real circuits.

I have been playing F1 2016 since the day it was released and I will admit, despite the hype, that I was skeptical that it would be a good game playing experience.  Happily, I’m wrong.  It is a great playing experience.  It’s not perfect but it is fun and challenging and that should keep F1 fans who want to turn a few laps at Monaco, Spa or Silverstone, happy and satisfied.

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Review of MLB At Bat – A Baseball Fan’s Dream App

The 2016 Major League Baseball season is just a couple of weeks away from starting with the hopes and dreams of players and fans refreshed once again for a long season.  Baseball has been played professionally for 147 years and while Android and mobile apps haven’t been around nearly that long, the powers that be at MLB have built arguably one of the best sports league apps available today.  MLB At Bat is simply a requirement for baseball fans to follow the league and their favorite team.  With a wealth of information available for free in the app, the subscription service adds even more content including live audio broadcasts, pitching and even a Game of the Week to watch without requiring an MLB.TV subscription.  If you are a baseball fan, do yourself a favor and download MLB At Bat.  You won’t regret it.

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