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The early new year trend continues, with a whole bunch of new apps aimed at people with New Year's resolutions to uphold. But task managers and workout apps aren't the only thing hitting Google Play these days. We've also got our top app of the week, Circle, which is meant to make social networking a bit more social. We've also got an official app for the popular Blip TV site, a popular iOS Calendar port, a way to make some money going to the gym, and a way to maximize your sleepy time!
Circle isn't the first app that encourages you to actually interact with your many online friends, but it still does the job pretty well. It detects which friends are physically nearby and nudges you to chat with them, preferably face to face. It also uses Facebook to help you find people you might know. If you truly don't know anyone in your area, using internet wizardry, it will suggest people for you to meet, avoiding sex offenders and everything! It's a social networking tool that pushes real life social activity and networking, which is becoming more and more scarce, so that's a worthwhile achievement on its own.
GymPact takes your new year's fitness resolutions and tries to motivate you in a tried and true method. With money. It's not just the carrot here, though. It's also the stick, as you'll have to pay up if you fail to turn in your pacts. Basically, you schedule a "pact," and must check-in to your local gym using your devices GPS before working out. Everyone bets a little money on their ability to not be lazy, and all the people who meet their pacts take the money from those that don't. Unfortunately, the "pact" system is a little wonky right now, so do a bit of research before you start putting some money down, but the app itself is free, so go nuts!
Agenda Calendar ($1.99)
It's surprising when such a seemingly bare-bones app garners so much attention and popularity, but the way Agenda Calendar did just that on iOS with their "Keep It Simple, Stupid" philosophy. The idea is to lay everyone out in an easy to read way, eliminating unnecessary user interface clutter, so it's just you and your appointments, face to face. Everything is easy to navigate, and while there is always room for improvement, this is one of the simplest, easiest to use scheduling apps around. Definitely give it a look if you just can't find a satisfactory alternative.
Blip TV (Free)
I was very excited to see this app get released, and it would have been my top app too if not for the disappointing start. For those who don't know, Blip is a very popular internet video site with an air of professionalism about it. Anyone can post things, but generally only the most popular and well produced internet shows get featured. It's a huge site for internet reviewers, such as the crew at That Guy With The Glasses, or Red Letter Media with their Half in the Bag show and Plinkett reviews, all near and dear to my heart. Sadly, this release is completely lacking in features, is plagued by bugs, and seems like a lazy recreation of the website rather than an original app. Still, keep an eye out for updates.
When it comes to sleeping, things have always been a bit more complex than we realize. Thanks to things like alarms and artificial light, we've basically been beating our evolutionary sleep cycles into submission. It isn't just about the amount of sleep you get, but also about waking up at the right peaks of your natural sleep phases. Even if you get ten hours, if you're roused by loud noises directly from REM sleep, you'll feel miserable. This handy little app seeks to help you with that, by calculating your natural sleep cycles and waking you up at the right moments, which matters far more than most people realize. It's a bit buggy, and I'm skeptical about its accuracy, but it's definitely worth a look if you want some more energy in life.