App roundup: Great apps for your New Year’s resolutions

App roundup: Great apps for your New Year’s resolutions

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Happy New Year! Like many of you, I start off every year with a list of resolutions for the coming year. Although my intentions are always good, experience has taught me that as the months go by, those resolutions tend to fall by the wayside. This year, I’m looking to break that trend with the help of some apps from the Windows Store. Here are a few I particularly like.

Digital Health Scorecard

Start screen for Digital Health Scorecard

One of my resolutions is to improve my overall health, and the first step is getting a better understanding of where I currently stand. By entering some basic info into the Digital Health Scorecard, I see an overall health score. It’s a quick and easy way to help gauge my starting point, so I know exactly where I need to make improvements this year. (Here’s a helpful tip: you’ll get a much more accurate assessment if you know the numbers for your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.)

Livestrong Calorie Tracker

Daily calorie tracker in Livestrong Calorie Tracker

The second thing I plan to do to get healthier this year is make smarter choices in my diet and make sure I exercise on a regular basis. It’ll be as difficult to stay away from bacon as it will to find the time to get to the gym daily. But by tracking my meals and workouts in the Livestrong Calorie Tracker, I’ll be able to set goals, view my progress over the course of the year, and (hopefully) find the motivation to keep me on course and take better care of myself.

Khan Academy

Main menu for Khan Academy

I realized over the last couple of years that some of the basic knowledge I gained while in school has quietly left my brain and been replaced by useless movie quotes, song lyrics, and reality TV plot lines. This year, I resolve to spend less time consuming pop culture and more time focusing on regaining some of that lost knowledge. Although Khan Academy is geared more toward the K-12 crowd looking to perform better in school or prepping for a big test, I’ve found their library of videos to be insightful, easy-to-understand, and helpful in piquing my curiosity to learn again.

All About Money

Demo of All About Money

Although I’ve never been careless with my finances, I can’t seem to stick to a budget, either. I’ve tried the old school method of tracking finances in a checkbook, and then “upgraded” to keeping a spreadsheet, but nothing really worked. After using All About Money for a few days, I realized that the visual breakdown of my total expenses compared to income is kind of like playing a game. By making subtle changes to my spending habits, I’m able to make a positive impact on the graphic that compares income vs. expenses. And with a quick view into my top expense categories, it’s easy to see when I spend a little more than I should on my daily caffeine fix.

Tasks by Telerik

Main screen for Tasks

My final resolution is to get a little more organized this year. I’m already somewhat of a list maker when packing for trips or before I go to the grocery store, so using Tasks to keep track of my to-dos for work as well as my personal life is a natural progression. By categorizing tasks and assigning due dates and priorities to them, I’m able to quickly see what I need to tackle first, and can check it off when I’m done. Is there anything more satisfying then checking off an item from a to-do list?

So to recap, my resolutions for 2013 include getting healthier, eating better, keeping my mind sharp, sticking to a budget, and getting more organized. I’m sure each will have its challenges as the year progresses, but with the help of these apps, I just might achieve my personal goals for making this the best year ever!

Note: Some apps might not be available in all countries or regions.

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  • Hey Tatsuo I saw on a previous article that you work on the Windows Store. I have some suggestions. I was browsing through the store and I think it would help if there was an editor's choice section for each category. The Editor can write a little article on why this app was chosen. The top free/paid is good for people's choice. Maybe the apps could get little badges to signify they have been chosen. There could also be other badges like 'Productivity App of the Year' and in the info section it can show awards that the App has won. 'Most innovative App'/etc.

    Here are some other ideas for the Windows Store:

    -Recommendation Engine - Recommend Apps to the user based on purchase/download/rating/friends history.

    -Sales Section - Have a section to feature deals of the day/week/month and make the Store App support Live Tiles with this info.

    -Give Xbox for Windows and Xbox Arcade games (since you should make Xbox Arcade games compatible with WinRT) their own section. For more info about this see my comment on your Xbox Experience blog post.

    -Allow us to re-arrange sections of the store and add sub-sections to a custom view. For instance I might want to add Action games or a sub-section of the Sales section.

    For each App in the Windows Store:

    -Add a Suggestion section in addition to the reviews section (this way developers can see what users want easily and it will drive the quality of apps up). Users are already using the review section as a suggestion section but it is messy.

    -In the review section show most helpful by default instead of newest but also factor in date.

    -Add a related Apps and a more from this author tabbed pane in the description section.

    -Allow videos in addition to images in the Description section.

    -Add a help section where users can access tutorials/etc. on the app (this can be hidden by the dev)

    **Make sure to check out my comments on the "App roundup: Xbox games in the Windows Store" post for other suggestions.