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Go “Green” With Your Smartphone

photo: Waseem Sayegh

Gas premiums are at a high, the price and use of energy is consistently rising, food costs have been on an upward climb, all with no end in sight. The result of all these rising costs have pushed many out of their comfort zones, increased their stress levels, and have them asking, “how can I live a sustainable life and save money?” There is no one-way of doing it and a lot of it consists of disconnecting from many things you take for granted. But something that many people do not realize is that they have a major advantage on how to save money and energy, their smartphones.

With the ever growing use of technology and advancement, people who have a smartphone can easily access applications and information on the go to help them efficiently control their expenses and monitor energy usage to save money. Tracking bank statements and making to-do lists have never been more effortless, but another way many people have been cutting costs is by “going green”. Going green generally means consuming less, buying and using sustainable products while being actively conscious about the environment. For example, the use of smart cars or more compact cars that get better gas milage have saved drivers tons of money and release less emissions into the atmosphere. If you are like myself, a broke college student, and can’t afford one of those bad boys here are several apps that you can download on your phone that will actively help save you money, the environment, and energy.

How to Make Your Car An Eco-Friendly Vehicle:

Saving money on gas is on top of many commuters and travelers priority lists. With the nation’s average reaching nearly $4 per gallon, the cost of a weeks trip to work and back has become very troublesome. That is why it is very important to keep your car in the best running shape. Efficient cars equal great gas mileage, but who has time to cover every detail that goes into keeping a car in good shape? I would like to introduce the Gas Cubby app. It is the ultimate tool for tracking gas mileage and vehicle maintenance. Very easy to use interface that tracks multiple cars, syncs online, displays graphs, and gives you service reminders. Gas Cubby can easily become your favorite passenger seat partner.

Buying the Right Products:

photo: Royce Bair

Finding the right product that is not costly, but also eco-friendly is a struggle in itself. It can take up to hours for someone to find out what products are “green” and which aren’t. So why not go out and get the FREE app called GoodGuide. This app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while out shopping. GoodGuide allows you to browse, search or simply scan a barcode to see detailed ratings of environment, and social responsibilities for more that 70,000 products and companies. A smart pick up for those who are shoppers and need “green” info on the go.

Saving Green While Being Green:

Now how can you save money while simultaneously living a sustainable and environmentally friendly life? The best possible app for that would be Green Genie! The Green Genie is “your complete guide to a sustainable lifestyle”. The application, which is only $.99, features “over 100 projects and tips, each on telling you the environmental benefits and how much money it will save you”. There is lots of informative news in this app, as well as activities that are curbed to your lifestyle. I recently purchased this app.

Using Zaarly to Conserve:

photo: Sreenisreedharan (Flickr)

The anticipation is killing me. The Zaarly application can have an amazing impact on living a “green” life. With Zaarly you can browse through tons of listings and find ways to earn money, but also save a person from driving themselves somewhere to purchase a bagel, or a cup of coffee. You can call it “Social Network Carpooling;” it puts money in your pocket and you’re compressing the energy consumption of two individuals into one. Check out a previous Zaarly blog post on how Zaarly can end the use of taxis.

Clean Technology & Research News:

Greentech Media’s application “allows you to take news and research from the fast-paced green and clean technology world with you”. Get the latest in sustainable news and breakthroughs. There are tons of informative articles in this news application for you to eat up.

You do not have to make huge changes to your lifestyle in order to conserve; all it takes are small adjustments and that is the most important thing I learned while researching these superb green applications.

Joseph Aslam


Helpful Apps to Get You Through College

photo: Elliot Margolies

I am 22 years young and still leisurely making my way through college, I mean what is the rush? The economy is still recovering from its post recession hangover. Few employers are hiring or paying a decent amount for me to survive somewhat comfortably. Gas costs me a finger and a half every time I go to pump. So I choose to enjoy my time in college with my friends, rather than having to struggle out in the real world.

My college life consists of attending classes more often than ditching them, finding a free meal as much as possible, studying to the brim of exhaustion and working part-time here and there to cover the costs of going out on the weekends. Every week there are new challenges to conquer and obstacles to surpass. A majority of students do agree that with all the fun that a college lifestyle brings, it also brings an ample amount of struggle. Struggle that makes you wish there were thirty hours in a day and four-day weekends every other week. Since that scenario is nearly impossible to attain, us college students rely on something else to help us get through those grueling weeks of deadlines and tests. That “something” is actually our smartphones and laptops.

With the emergence of applications for phones and computers, a lot of daily hassles have become minimized and very organized for students like me who are usually discombobulated. Described below are several different types of apps that have helped me through hours of classes, studying, and student life.


There were a few months in my freshman year where I relied on the basic cooking necessities to get me through the day, which consisted of only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, there were those special days where I would make eggs in the morning and a turkey sandwich to keep me happy for the rest of the day, but that was very rare. So obviously I am thankful that I stumbled upon the Easy Recipe application. The app includes over 150,000 recipes for dishes and drinks. Any common dummy can make most of the food dishes and drinks in this simple to operate app. For $.99, it is a great buy!

photo: Oren Levine

I am appreciative for those hip-hop artists who made wearing sunglasses indoors a common fashion trend in today’s society. I agree that it is very foolish, but it did allow me to take power naps through those three-hour lectures. As soon as professors caught on to the new “fashion trend”, I had to find something else to keep my mind awake. Words With Friends Free does the trick. It is a simple word building, Scrabble-like, board game on your phone where you can compete with your friends or random opponents to make words that score points. Not only did it help me get through those tiresome days, it kept me connected to my friends, and also sharpened up my diction.

It is an accurate assumption to say that most students’ days are very hectic and unorganized; too many things going on at a million miles per hour for our brains to compute. I am one of those dislocated students, so I had to find someway to keep track of all the programs, classes, practices, and meetings that I have to attend on a weekly basis. I found my organization savior in the app called Droplist ToDo. It is very simple to use; you start typing your activities and the app creates a task for you. Set the time for a certain task to be completed and you are prepared to go for the day.

I recently downloaded the newly released app Tweetbot for my daily Twitter usage. In my opinion it is the best Twitter client application with the most streamline and simple interface. Tweetbot keeps me updated on what all the friends are doing around campus, as well as sports updates, and news. I suggest you try it out.

How about a little tutoring for some of your classes? I had a major that only requires one semester of college algebra and once I finished that, my brain decided to mass erase all my knowledge of numbers. So when I switched my major to business and I found out that it required me to take calculus and stats classes, I was a deer caught in headlights. No need to fear though, a friend suggested that I should check out the educational apps from Wolfram Alpha. Their apps help you get through algebra, calculus, even music classes, and each app is fairly inexpensive.

photo: Lucas Richarz

Zaarly is an app that I am eagerly looking forward to using. Do you need something and do you need it quick, “Zaarly” it. This video gives you a brief demonstration on how Zaarly can be utilized. I can imagine myself rushing to class for my biology midterm only to forget to pick up a scantron at the little college market all the way across my enormous campus. I would probably offer $10 for someone to get me a scantron and to deliver it in the next 10 minutes. They would be making enough money to buy lunch and I would have a scantron without missing the test. I could also imagine using Zaarly if I was having a late night study session in the library and starving for a burger. It’s as simple as naming a request and what I’m willing to pay for it and someone will bring it to me!  There  possibilities are endless when you have such an application on your phone.

I hope that theses applications can make your college life a little less stressful than normal. There are plenty more out there to help you out, but part of the fun is discovering them for yourself.

If you want to see an extensive list of useful phone applications for your phone check out this post by BestUniversities.com

Joseph Aslam

Can Twitter Be Bad For Your Relationship?

photo by: Mike Baird

A survey released in April 2011 from the online dating site OkCupid shows that the use of the social networking site, Twitter, can be harmful to couples in romantic relationships. In 2010, TechCrunch announced that Twitter had over 100 million active users and it’s safe to say that number has easily doubled since then. That is over 200 million users that could be in risk of an affected relationship. Could Twitter users be in danger of having their relationships cut short due to 140 characters?

The OkCupid poll, which included over 830,000 of their users, compared how long relationships last for people who use Twitter every day versus those in a relationship who do not use Twitter often. The poll indicated that those who “tweet” daily and actively have slightly shorter relationships. Is it because users are diverting their attention toward quippy comments and away from their significant other? The poll was not conclusive enough to reveal the root cause and there may be more than just one. My guess is that Twitter has shortened the attention span of users and have altered habits outside of social networking. Maybe people have become so consumed by what they read online and on their phones that their human interactions and encounters have suffered.

photo by: LGEPR

These results have no bias between age groups or different genders according to OkCupid. They state that, “Frequent tweeters have shorter real-life relationships than everyone else, probably via some bit.ly hack. Unfortunately, we have no way to tell who’s dumping who here; whether the twitterati are more annoying or just more flighty than everyone else.”

But don’t be too worried about your tweeting, posting, skyping and friending.  There are definite ways to avoid an early version of “the talk” with your partner. Below are three different ways you can easily use services on your phone to strengthen your relationship.

Ways Technology Can Positively Progress Relationships:

Although it may seem that some technologies may affect the relationships around you in a negative way due to attention diversion, there are different applications that can boost your relationships as well. These applications handle every detail that goes into a perfect day, night, or weekend with your loved one:

photo: Krystal International Vacation Club

Jetsetter has recently released a smartphone application which allows you to find “travel sales right on your iPhone” or any other major smartphone platform. The application gives you daily deals of up to 50% off on popular hotels, spa vacations, weekend trips, and plenty of other romantic getaways from the daily stresses of life. I used Jetsetter last year to plan a spring break trip down south to Cabo. The hotel was beautiful, saved a ton of money, everything was perfectly planned, and my girlfriend and I could not of been happier.

Are you looking for something local to do with your partner? Download Siri Assistant for your iPhone. Siri will help you book restaurants, movies, taxis and more. The application gathers answers and actions from your favorite brands and companies. All you basically have to do is download the application, and simply speak into the phone what you are looking for. Such commands can range from “Get me a taxi” or “Book a table for two at a good steak house” to “Who’s playing at Staples Center?”. This is really convenient when you are on the go . Siri Assistant’s interaction with your voice is really superb and saves you ample amounts of time.

Too lazy to do it yourself? Why don’t you have someone else get what you need, like a personal assistant. Try Zaarly. Zaarly is the ultimate tool for finding services, goods and experiences right from your mobile phone.  From a late night bottle of wine for a romantic evening, to a weekend vehicle from someone around you, or maybe even a Starbucks cup of coffee to give you some additional energy for your workday.  Request what you want, what price you are willing to pay, when you need it by and in no time you will have people ready to fulfill your offer.

How else can you make sure your relationship isn’t cut short by a tweet — use technology to enhance your relationship, not to replace it.  Once you’ve got that under control, turn the phone off, put it on vibrate (or whatever it takes) and cherish those around you.