Which Apps are App?

Posted on February 25, 2014 by Tanya

With all the apps out there, how can you possibly know which ones are worthy of your time, energy, and in some cases, your money? Which apps are – app(licable)?

I am going to delve into many I use or am trying out and blog about them as a group. For example, I have a number of apps for travel, shopping, productivity, finances, and texting. I’ll give you the breakdown on my experience with them and my recommendations. If you have an app or a group of apps you would like to see reviewed, submit them here.

Most of the apps will be for the iPhone, but are usually accessible with other smart phones as well. The goal here is to share with you groups of basic, easy to use apps that can actually help you in your daily life. Feedback is much appreciated as I am sure there will be many more to review and share in the future.

These posts will begin in 2014, so stay tuned!


Money Management – for Elderly & Disabled

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Tanya

I don’t know about you, but I simply LOVE working with elderly folks! They are charming, engaging, insightful, knowledgeable and generally quite fun. And, because of my background in mental health, I also really like working with and being around people with intellectual disabilities and/or mental health issues.

These two groups of neighbors have one thing in common – the likelihood of being taken advantage of. And that hurts my heart and makes me really mad. So, through Structured Chaos I am continuing my help in this way: I provide money management services to the elderly and people who have intellectual disabilities and/or mental illness. My goal is quite simple – prevent loss.

What happens is that people see these folks as easy targets and manipulate or outright take advantage of them and their access to money. With my services, I assist them with sorting through their mail, talking about what mail they receive, explain what is junk mail and needs to be shredded or recycled, what are legitimate bills that need to be paid, and set them up with a personal banker at their financial institution. This way they are learning and retaining control over their life and have someone else they can trust to go to.

If you know of someone who does not have family around to ensure their financial safety, or someone who is independent but needs some basic help with finances, let me know. I work with others in our community who can assist with taxes, financial planning and other more complicated financial issues.

As a social worker by training, it is so important to me that people have access to supports and services that keep them as independent and self-reliant as possible. That is after all what we all want!

Weather Apps

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Tanya

WeatherBug – FREE (or WeatherBug Elite – $1.99) – For an easy to install and simple to use source for weather, this is the best app I have used. It will automatically determine where you are and provide the forecast for the present time and the next couple of days. It is accurate and provides some additional weather-related interests like the UV rating, wind direction and humidity. There are options for a 7-Day Forecast, Lifestyle Forecasts (outdoor, golf, beauty, pollen…), interactive maps, pinpoint locations, and to add multiple locations. I travel to the same areas frequently, so I have those added in my list. This makes it easy to plan ahead!

The Weather Channel – FREE – This app has the same information as the WeatherBug app and is displayed in much the same way. It does have the option of emailing the forecast directly from your phone, following The Weather Channel Tweets, and an In Season screen. I like this for the tropical forecast given that I live on the coast. It also has an hourly, 36 Hour and 10 Day forecast easily accessible from the Home Screen.

Hurricane – FREE – This app offered by the American Red Cross focuses on your safety first and meteorology second. There are Real-time Alerts, information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane as well as how to plan ahead. There is a map to show Open Shelters in your area, news and access to other American Red Cross apps (First Aid, Earthquake, Wildfire).

 Weather+ -FREE – I found this one while researching for this blog post. What is really cool about this app is that the background video matches your current weather conditions. This app has what the others have plus, it has the option of adding as many cities/countries as you want or need. For those who are traveling a lot or traveling abroad, this app would be the best!

 UV Detector – FREE – I love this easy to use app to help determine the UV risk, especially during the summer when we are hanging at the beach. It provides a weekly report with a visual reference as well for how high the risk is. You can add cities from all over the world and set your UV threshold level.

These are just a few of the huge number of apps available for the Apple or Droid smartphones. Most of these have apps that are also compatible with your laptop, desktop or even your notebooks. The key is to try what interests you and then use it; don’t clutter up your phone with a lot of apps you don’t use. If you are not a weather buff, just have a free, basic app to easily access the weather where and how you need it.

Hope it’s always the perfect weather where you are!


Coming in April – The HAINES System!!

Posted on February 8, 2014 by