Trending February 2024 # Begin Review: Keep Track Of Daily Lists Without Distractions # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before: I am a list maker. I write at least one list every single day. I’m constantly tracking every moment of my life by writing down what needs to be done and then checking it off a list. It is such a satisfying feeling to see those bold lines crossing out everything you’ve done.

Begin makes the task of list making as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper by taking away all of the bells and whistles you might normally see in a to-do list app, and that is a good thing…

Design

This app takes minimalism to the extreme. It was designed to be compatible with iOS 7. In fact, you can’t even use it without having iOS 7 installed. That’s how forward thinking the developers are.

The theme is red and white and everything is flat and bright. The font is simple, bold, and easy to read. The controls are gesture based. Swipe from left to right to check off an item. Swipe from right to left to move an item to tomorrow. Touch and drag an item to reorganize it. Drag your finger downward to add a new task. Drag your finger upward to see uncompleted tasks from previous days.

In the Settings section, you can enable the Night Mode theme, which turns the app black and blue. You can also buy six additional themes, including Forest, Solarized Light and Dark, Flamingo, and more. Personally, I love the theme that comes with the app. No need to change it.

App Use

Creating a list is unbelievably simple. Drag your finger downward to call up the “Add Item” bar. Type in the new task and tap the plus (+) button in the right hand corner of the bar. Done.

Create your first list of the day by adding as many items as you want. If you know that there are some items you don’t want to complete until tomorrow, “table” the item by swiping your finger from right to left. The item will automatically move to the next day’s list.

Once you’ve completed a task, swipe your finger on it from left to right. The item will dim and a line will go through it. This is my favorite part of this app. I know it seems silly, but I love being able to see the items still on the list, but with a big mark through it.

Once the day is through, if you have any items on your list that you have not yet completed (I always have unfinished to-do lists), they will automatically move to the Uncompleted Tasks list. The next time you open the app, you can either delete the item or move it back to today’s list. Then, move it to tomorrow’s list if you don’t think you will get to it today.

You can turn on or off Night Mode in the app’s Settings section. Night Mode turns the app black and blue. You can set your daily task reminder. This feature will automatically send an alert to you once per day, reminding you of how many unfinished tasks are on today’s list.

You can also share your list with others on Facebook and Twitter, or send it directly through email and SMS. The list will appear with bullet points and be separated by today’s list and tomorrow’s list. If you are sending the items to someone who also uses Begin, they will be able to add the list to their app just by tapping the “Add to Begin” link that is included with the shared list.

The Good

I mentioned above that I love the fact that an item remains on the list when you have completed it, but is crossed out. It is so satisfying to see what you’ve accomplished in a day.

I also love how simplistic this app is. I don’t normally use a to-do app for my daily lists because I just want something I can add items to fast. This doesn’t offer very many features, but gives you just what you need to make a simple daily to-do list.

The Bad

The only thing missing from this app, in my opinion, is a subcategory feature. When I make lists on paper, I will oftentimes have a task that includes items that need to be completed for that task. For example, I might add “Mail Packages” to my list, and under that item, I’ll add “get boxes,” “weigh boxes,” and “go to USPS.” I’d like to be able to add a subcategory for certain tasks.

Value

You can download Begin for only $0.99. It is reasonably priced for the genre. However, it teeters on the edge of being an app that should be free with in-app purchases to unlock additional features.

Conclusion

This app is easy to use, doesn’t bog you down with a bunch of unnecessary features, and turns list making into a simple event. If you are looking for an app that lets you create projects with deadlines and multiple sub-headers, you should look somewhere else, but if you want an app that is just as easy as writing a list on a piece of paper, then this one is for you. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Any.do is a hugely popular to-do app that is also fairly simple with not many bells and whistles. Carrot To-Do makes a game out of getting stuff done and yells at you if you don’t complete items on your list.

How do you make to-do lists? Do you have a favorite list making app?

You're reading Begin Review: Keep Track Of Daily Lists Without Distractions

Daily Authority: 🙅‍♂️ Google Folds

“We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” said then-Google Pixel chief Mario Queiroz to CNET in May 2023. However, Queiroz added a qualifier: “I don’t think there’s a clear use case yet.” 

Other little bits of evidence include mentions in the Android 12 beta and the existence of Android 12L.

It’s possible Google has been more aggressively testing its foldable prototypes on Android or, if you like, testing Android on its foldable prototypes.

Anyway, the report is Google isn’t diving in to launch a Pixel Fold any time soon, if you listen to the sometimes-accurate Ross Young, co-founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC).

In short, Young, who has a bead on the display market, says Google has allegedly canceled orders for materials that would be necessary to produce the foldable on a large scale.

Young reckons there’re two reasons: one is the materials shortage making life hard, and the other is Google might’ve had the hardware, but couldn’t figure out the marketing to sell a competitive option — no cheaper than Samsung, no better than Samsung.

It doesn’t mean Google has given up, it’s just going to let the market continue to develop.

By the way: For the first time I had hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. I’ve played with the Fold 3 a little before this, but the Flip 3 really is an awesome feeling device, with a hinge that inspires confidence in build quality and strength.

Android 12 hits the Galaxy

Samsung

Samsung has finally got its act together and is rolling out Android 12 at unprecedented swiftness via One UI 4, coming to the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra right now.

That’s only a month or so since Android 12 was officially released, handily beating Samsung’s previous efforts.

Android 11 came out to the Note 20 series on December 12, and Android 11 was released a month earlier (September 2023) than Android 12 (October 2023), so this is about two months faster summed up; a big improvement.

Our post here details what’s new and different, from color palettes to widgets to Android 12’s privacy dashboards, plus updates to the Samsung keyboard app, and more.

As for the rest of Samsung’s devices? The company says One UI 4 and Android 12 will “soon” be available for previous Galaxy S, Note, and Galaxy A devices, plus other foldables and tablets. 

The Galaxy Note 20, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3 can already enroll in their respective One UI 4 beta programs.

Roundup

📸 Is the Google Pixel 6 Pro camera actually better than the Pixel 5? Yes. Is the Pixel 6, though? (Android Authority).

😬 Google launched a ‘Fortnite Task Force’ after Epic skipped the Play Store (Android Authority).

🤔 Huawei may have a plan in motion to sidestep the US ban, which involves a licensing situation (Android Authority).

🍎 The new MacBook Pro: Why did Apple backtrack on everything (and why that was the right thing to do) (AppleInsider).

🔧 Valve provides a deep dive into Steam Deck’s custom hardware design, detailing balancing performance versus battery (Ars Technica).

🎮 It’s been twenty years of Xbox! Here’s one interview with Phil Spencer touching on Game Pass, the Red Ring Of Death, and what 2041 might look like for Xbox, in another 20 years (Axios). Also a surprise: Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer mode is available right now!

💡 Surprise: Amazon has four new smart switches, but exclusively via Alexa (The Verge).

💿 Why did China keep its exascale supercomputers quiet? (The Register).

🔫 The Polish simulator company gamers love to hate (Wired).

💥 Wow: Russia appears to have intentionally blown up one of its defunct satellites in an ASAT test. That created as many as 1,500 new bits of debris, which forced the ISS astronauts to cower in spacecrafts for hours (Gizmodo). NASA’s chief said: “I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.”

🤔 “What is a terrible trend found in new home design?” (r/askreddit). Wow, “Open concept bathrooms” are a thing??

In short, it shows the latest release, Eternals, is more or less bombing as hard as any Marvel movie, though the audience score isn’t too bad.

And it’s doing “bad” in the box office: “‘Eternals’ debuted with the lowest US box office for a Marvel Studios movie in 6 years,” writes Variety, but it’s different, and different isn’t always what the fans want!

The Verge said it is “big, beautiful, and empty”. Like me when I’m hungry.

That reminds me I haven’t seen Dune yet, and probably should before long…

Cheers,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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Daily Authority: Moto’S New Edge 👉

The Edge 20 series comes with an Edge 20 Pro, an Edge 20 Lite, and a middle-tier edition just called Edge 20.

The three models are a worldwide release, though that’s everywhere but China and North America.

There’s a later launch in China, for August 5.

And in the US/Canada, what seems to be coming to the region is a fourth model, sometime later: “Motorola is excited to share its commitment to deliver a new 5G Edge family device in North America this fall,” was the company’s statement. 

Edge 20 lineup: 

All three stick with a single design approach: a 6.7-inch display, triple cameras, big batteries, and what looks like reasonable pricing for each tier, though each tier has its own competitors, of course. There’s also no curved screen this time around, with flat panels.

And while the Edge 20 Pro is Motorola’s flagship within the company, it’s not quite a complete top-of-the-line model; it skips the Snapdragon 888 for the Snapdragon 870.

The Pro packs a 6.7-inch 144Hz OLED, that 870 SoC, a triple camera including 5x periscope lens, and a 4,500mAh battery. That looks decent for the £650/€700 price tag.

The Edge 20 standard version drops a few high-end features, including switching to a Snapdragon 778G chipset, and it loses the 5x lens, but it does keep the 144Hz OLED. It goes thinner than ever before for a 5G Motorola phone, at 6.99mm, which downsizes the battery to a 4,000mAh pack, but it is now a £430/€500 buy. I wonder how the battery life will hold up with the 144Hz display… 

The Lite edition skimps harder, with a Dimensity 720 chipset and a 6.7-inch 90Hz OLED screen — and the triple camera has less top-line features. It does tick up to a bigger battery at 5,000mAh, though and starts at £300/€350.

One other compromise for the family: Motorola said its phones will only receive only two Android OS updates, and two years of security updates. 

That’s sub-par given Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, and Google are all offering much longer software servicing.

Edge 20 sales in Asia, the UK and other European markets, should start on August 19.

Roundup

📈 Xiaomi is just shy of becoming the world’s largest smartphone maker, as it came within a single percentage point of Samsung in Q2 2023, per Canalys (Android Authority).

📸 Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei P50 and P50 Pro which launched in China yesterday (Android Authority).

🔋 Dark mode study: Most conditions show only a 3-9% battery saving, but savings do get bigger and better at 100% brightness (Android Authority).

👓 Facebook’s next hardware product will be “smart” Ray-Ban glasses — Zuck: “[The Ray-Bans will] have their iconic form factor, and [let] you do some pretty neat things,” but no details about those “neat things” (Ars Technica).

💵 Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney over ‘Black Widow’ streaming release: the short version, I think, is that stars can be paid more if movies go big at the box office. But if the box office is compromised because someone like Disney puts it on Disney Plus, people don’t go to cinemas, and the box office figure falls, even if Disney Plus subscriptions do well. Now, Johansson is suing because the report says she might be owed $50M! (WSJ, $).

🎮 Stanley Parable and Gone Home devs team up to form Ivy Road studio (Engadget).

📦 Amazon reported slightly lower revenue than expected in Q2: Amazon’s earnings show why Andy Jassy is now in charge, because Amazon Web Services remains a bright spot (The Verge).

Friday Fun

I enjoyed this read titled: “What I learned surrendering my life to algorithms for a week” over on CNET, where StitchFix decided the clothes, Yelp decided the food and activities, chúng tôi offered algorithmic movie recommendations, and Apple Music algorithmically generated playlists. It went ok, it seems.

But anyway, this is the key point:

“…the biggest lesson I learned from this week-long experiment was that the degree to which these algorithms are able to figure out my desires and act on them is largely dependent on three things: who is developing them, why they’re being developed, and the data that goes into it.”

“The more specialized the service and the more data it gathered about me, the better it seemed to work.”

This means: if you want good suggestions, you either need to actively put in data (and tie yourself to an app like Yelp), or your more natural, non-forced, usage grants information. 

Advantage: Apple Music or Spotify, the Netflix algorithm, Google, and so on.

Have a great weekend feeding whichever algorithm you choose,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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The Daily Slash: April 22Nd 2010

The Daily Slash: April 22nd 2010

We’re one day away from the weekend, so we’ve got to make tonight special. You know, because it’s one day before the weekend. And that’s got to be a holiday somewhere. So, with that in mind, we’ll start the Best of R3 with a bit of Vodafone UK Google Nexus One goodness, and then some Hulu iPad talk, and then some bad news for the Nexus One. And then in in the Dredge ‘Net, we’ve got a watch made from the Ash of a volcano, Microsoft finally releases some touch goodness, and ARM executives letting everyone know they don’t need to be chúng tôi Best of R3 MediaGoogle Nexus One Hitting Vadafone UK in April: At least, that’s what the website says. Sure, it’s already the end of April, but that’s not stopping the mega wireless carrier across the pond from posting up that the device is coming this month. It’s been coming soon for quite some time now, so it’s good to finally get a month listed. Even if it is over in a week and a half. [via Android Community]Hulu’s Getting an iPad App: It’s about time, right? Never you mind that the iPad’s only been in your hands since the third of this month. Hulu is one of those apps that should have been on the tablet from day one. And while many would think that free would be the better way to go about things, Hulu executives believe that Hulu Plus, for $9.95 a month, is a much better idea. So, even if you can already get ABC shows for free from their own application, Hulu’s hoping you’ll drop a monthly fee to watch it again. [via Everything iPad]Nexus One’s 3G Issues No Longer Important: So, Google is giving up on the whole 3G technical issues on the Nexus One, according to a Google spokesperson speaking on the company’s blog. If you were one of the unlucky ones to have some issues, and the fixes that Google wanted you to try didn’t work, then it looks like you’ll just have to live with the spotty 3G coverage. Of course, you could try to turn your phone upside down . . . Or move. Yes, that’s what Google thinks you should try now; we didn’t make that up. [via SlashPhone]The Dredge NetWatch Includes Ash from Recent Volcano Eruption: Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few days, then you know about the volcano that erupted in Europe. If you didn’t get to experience it first hand, then maybe you should think about buying this watch that includes rock and ash from the eruption. Yep. The watch is designed by Romain Jerome, and he’s made a watch in the past from moon dust, so this seems normal compared to that. The E-DNA comes with a certificate of authenticity, but there isn’t a price tag attached to the watch, and considering the contents, we’ll go ahead and assume it’s going to be expensive. [via DVICE]Windows 7 Touch Pack Available for Free: And you can download it right now, believe it or not. The one feature that folks with Windows 7 and a touchscreen have been aching for is finally here, available for free from Microsoft’s website. It should be a quick download, at only 239MB, and it features things like Microsoft’s Surface Globe, Surface Collage, and a game that’s Pong-inspired called Rebound. There’s some extras, too, so if you’ve got the touchscreen to run the software, it’s definitely worth taking a look. [via Microsoft]ARM CEO Says No Reason to Buy Company: Is there a point to buying a company that doesn’t actually do anything except supply things to other companies? It’s definitely an interesting point, and it’s one that ARM CEO Warren East felt the need to address. Despite the fact that today’s rumors about Apple thinking about buying ARM caused a major, major increase in the company’s stocks, he wanted to make sure that everyone understood ARM’s role in the markets they reside: they create things that other company’s can alter to see fit. Basically, their “business model is an excellent way for technology companies to gain access to our technology.” Truer words have (probably) never been spoken. Though, that’s not stopping the stock from climbing, so we’ll have to see what happens next. [via mocoNews]

Daily Authority: 🕹️ Google’S Still Playing Games

Google

🌅 Good day, and happy midweek! If you stand on the tips of your toes, you can see the weekend peeking over the horizon. That’s not actually true, but it makes for a great stretch.

Moving along, Google’s been at the center of the news cycle this month with its long-awaited Pixel 7 series and Pixel Watch launches. However, our main story today is a rather surprising announcement from Mountain View that few would’ve predicted just a few weeks ago. Ready to game?

At the end of September, Google announced the death of its cloud gaming service Stadia. (If you haven’t yet, you should probably request a refund too).

This seemed to mark the end of Google’s gaming push as well know it.

But that wasn’t the case at all.

The company earmarked Chromebooks and Chrome OS this week as its new gaming-centric platform.

According to Google, Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo announced the world’s first laptops explicitly built for cloud gaming.

The specs

The notebooks look pretty good on paper.

The Acer Chromebook 516 GE sports a 120Hz display with an RGB keyboard and 8GB of RAM.

Asus’ Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip crams a 144Hz screen into a convertible form factor.

Finally, the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming Chromebook features a 120Hz screen with a quad-speaker system.

NVIDIA is also involved in bringing its Geforce Now RTX 3080 tier to the Chromebooks, allowing gameplay up to 1,600p resolution at 120Hz.

Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming beta and Amazon Luna are both supported.

Google’s “Everything” button will also make it a little easier to search for and run games without the need to install it first.

So what’s Google’s endgame?

Chromebooks aren’t synonymous with gaming, but it’s clear Google’s doing everything it can to make this connection a success.

Unlike Stadia, gaming Chromebooks probably won’t be killed by their creators.

Google seems particularly averse to supporting hardware and services long-term, but by selling cloud gaming on Chromebooks, all Google has to do is maintain Chrome OS.

The convenience factor, integration with multiple gaming services, the overall utility of Chromebooks, and higher-end hardware should make these machines an interesting prospect for some.

Gaming on Chromebooks may not see the widespread mass appeal of Windows machines, but intriguingly, Google continues to see potential in cloud gaming on a platform it created.

Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo’s new gaming Chromebooks will launch later this month, with prices ranging from $399 to $799.

Roundup

Wacky Wednesday: Fat Bear Week drama

🐻 You might remember last week we mentioned Fat Bear Week, the annual Katmai National Park, Alaska tradition that encourages internet users to vote on which bears they think gained the most weight throughout the season. For bears, storing fat is essential for hibernation, and Fat Bear Week allows the National Parks Service (NPS) to educate the public about the animals.

While the March Madness-like bracket system is supposed to be free and fair, someone tried to rig the results of one particular bout.

The bears named 435 (affectionately named Holly) and 747 faced off on Sunday, but the results were marred by scandal.

According to Katmai National Park, someone had spammed votes in favor of Holly.

The bear reportedly received 9,000 votes in a short period, which led the organizers to discard these votes.

Ultimately, 747 was awarded the win.

The craziest thing? Someone created “many fake email addresses” from various IP addresses. This was a coordinated effort to rig the result. Why? People are clearly passionate about their favorite bear or just really bored.

All in all, no harm came from the effort, and all bears are winners in our eyes.

747, not fazed by the scandal in the slightest, has continued his run of form, beating 901 in the latest heavyweight bout.

Follow Katmai National Park on Twitter for the latest Fat Bear Week news.

Have a great day,

Andy Walker, Editor.

Can Smartphone Apps Track Covid

In California, early signs have begun to appear that the state’s swift and aggressive social distancing measures have slowed the spread of COVID-19. Now, the city of San Francisco is assembling a task force to prevent the disease from surging back once they relax stay-at-home orders. They plan to do so by tracking down everyone who has come into contact with those who test positive for COVID-19.

This technique, known as contact tracing, will be necessary across the United States to tamp down transmission levels until a vaccine comes along; a similar effort is already ramping up in Massachusetts. However, traditional contact tracing is time and labor-intensive, and will be difficult for public health officials to enact on the scale needed across the country. It also depends on people’s ability to remember everybody who they encountered over the preceding two weeks. But research groups across the U.S. are creating tech they hope will help.

“We’re looking at probably some sort of automated technology-based contact tracing, I think, if we want to be realistic,” says Tyler Yasaka, a software engineer and junior specialist in otolaryngology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. He and his colleagues are among many teams of researchers around the world who have developed mobile apps to track the spread of COVID-19.

Multiple governments around the world have begun using location data from smartphones to monitor people’s movements, and this is not always done anonymously. In South Korea, developers have also offered several smartphone apps that plot the locations of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. But this approach invades people’s privacy and raises significant concerns about surveillance. That’s why Yasaka—as well as other groups led by MIT researchers and Apple and Google—are focusing their efforts on apps that don’t collect personal information or data on people’s locations. Instead, they anonymously link interactions between people.

The apps developed by Apple and Google and by the collaboration of researchers at MIT and other institutions rely on short-range Bluetooth signals, similarly to Apple’s “Find My” feature for locating lost devices. Each phone would automatically store a list of anonymous signals it has “overheard” from other nearby phones; when somebody is diagnosed with COVID-19, they could upload the list on their phone to a database. The apps would then alert the other users who recently came into contact with that person.

As with the other apps, people who test positive for COVID-19 can report their status anonymously and people linked to their chain of transmission would be notified that they may have been exposed to the virus. Yasaka and his team have already created a beta version of the app.

“As you move from one checkpoint to another those checkpoints do get connected together, but your identity is not involved in that and the app specifically never collects any information about you,” he says. “The whole process should take about five or ten seconds; you don’t have to download or register anything.”

However, one challenge for all of these apps will be ensuring enough people use them to create an accurate picture of COVID-19 transmission.

“I actually think there is value in having something that is an active and social process,” Yasaka says. When somebody scans a QR code, people around them will notice. “If other people are doing it, that might prompt you to also take part in it,” he says. Peer pressure also might help. If your friends are meeting up (once social distancing measures relax, that is) they can encourage you to do it with them, Yasaka says.

Another issue is making sure the self-reported data is accurate. If people don’t share their diagnoses or incorrectly report that they have COVID-19 that could make the app less effective. Coordinating with public health authorities could help prevent this from happening, Yasaka says. Authorized users who deliver test results to people could print out a QR code and ask folks if they would like to scan it to the app to notify others that they may be at risk. “That little prompt could help participation be higher,” Yasaka says.

He is currently discussing possible opportunities to collaborate with the team behind the MIT app, which is part of the university’s Private Automated Contact Tracing (PACT) project. Ideally, Yasaka would like TrackCOVID to be ready for widespread use by the end of summer. However, all of these apps will need to be evaluated by scientists and other experts before they can be broadly adopted, he adds.

Even then, they will not stall COVID-19 entirely. But reliable contact tracing and extensive testing are key for easing widespread lockdowns and intense social distancing without causing the disease to return in fresh waves that are as deadly as the initial outbreak. Apps such as the ones envisioned by Yasaka, the PACT team, and Apple and Google would complement old-fashioned contact tracing efforts, such as the ones underway in San Francisco and Massachusetts.

“Manual contact tracing is the premier, the gold standard for how this should be done,” said Ron Rivest, the principal investigator of MIT’s PACT project, in a public webinar the university hosted on April 16. “Automated contact tracing is not a replacement for that.”

He and his colleagues stressed that another crucial element for successfully deploying contact tracing apps is openness between groups working on different approaches.

“This is not an MIT effort, this is not a U.S. effort or a Massachusetts effort,” Rivest said. “This is a worldwide effort to get us all on the same side and work together to defeat the coronavirus. Collaboration is the key here.”

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