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Agent – Do Not Disturb tool for Android

Agent for Android App logoEvery Friday I try to share one of my favourite finds of the week – a web-site, tool or app that has impressed me.

My Friday Favourite this week is Agent - Do Not Disturb. An App for Android devices that gives you the ability to automatically set “Do Not Disturb” parameters and much more!

Removing Distractions

I wrote recently that for the sake of your stress levels and productivity that you should remove distractions, not ignore them and Agent allows you to do exactly this.

Agent for Android App Features

Agent automatically saves your battery, silences your phone during meetings, remembers where you have parked, auto-responds when you’re driving and allows only urgent calls and messages through when you’re sleeping. In short, it handles most distractions without you having to lift a finger!

Conclusion

I’d say that Agent is a *must have* App for anybody using an Android device.

You can contact the Agent team on Twitter or download Agent from the Google Play store.

TEP Wireless – Travel abroad without Data roaming

TEP WirelessEvery Friday I try to share one of my favourite finds of the week – a web-site, tool or app that has impressed me. My Friday Favourite this week is TEP Wireless – a portable Wireless Access Point that allows you to travel abroad without incurring Data roaming charges.

International Data Roaming costs

I typically travel Internationally a few times a year and one of my pet peeves about such travel is staying online in a cost-effective manner. I’ve shared my thoughts on Why Hotel WiFi should be free but away from the hotel, the data roaming charges levied by mobile operators can make your eyes water.

For instance, T-Mobile (UK) charge customers £10 for 100MB of data – valid for 24 hours only. £10 for a days data, half of which will probably be eaten up as soon as you turn your Smartphone on and it starts downloading background updates – outrageous!

Kudos to UK Operator Three who recently introduced their “Feel At Home” package which allows customers to use their standard contract allowances in certain countries abroad – including the USA. If you’re visiting those countries included in your plan, then you can avoid roaming charges altogether. But for the rest of us who want to stay connected abroad, you’re facing hefty roaming charges, that is unless you opt to rent an International Wireless Access Point (AP) from TEP Wireless.

Renting a Wireless Access Point

TEP Wireless are an International hotspot rental company. In a nutshell, you let them know which country you’re visiting via their website, pay the charges upfront, and they’ll deliver to you at home – or your destination hotel, if you prefer – a small Wireless Access Point which you can then use at your destination to connect your Smartphone, Laptop, Tablet or any other Wireless devices to, giving those devices data access via the TEP AP rather than using expensive network data roaming.

Most popular destinations are covered - UK, USA, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, China and more – but there are some exceptions so it’s worth checking first.

Cost of Renting

TEP Wireless KitI travelled to Miami, Florida in the USA and ordered a TEP AP. Cost-wise, 7 days rental for the USA costs £31 – or £4.50 per day – for 150mb per day. Not too shabby, and a lot less than roaming charges levied by a mobile network.

Upgrades to unlimited data are also available from TEP Wireless for an extra fee.

Once my order was placed, I received email updates advising of the shipping status and two days before my trip the TEP AP was delivered to me at home.

The AP comes in a carry case and the device itself is small – about 10 cm big – making it easy to carry in a rucksack or pocket. The AP is charged via Micro USB cable, which is also included along with a power plug featuring local pins for the USA.

My wallet also contained a spare battery – which was a nice addition – and instructions on the name of the AP and password to allow you to connect devices to it.

Connecting to the TEP AP

Once in the USA, connecting my Smartphone to the AP was easy. As this is a Wireless AP rather than a new SIM card, you don’t need to be worried about your Smartphone being “unlocked” – just connect via WiFi as simply as connecting to any other Wireless AP in a Cafe or hotel.

Up to 5 devices can be connected to the AP in total and so I was able to share Wireless with my iPad and a couple of travelling friends who were otherwise facing network roaming charges. Obviously, the more devices you share the AP with, the slower the speeds you experience – but I’d suggest this isn’t a device for watching videos or listening to streaming music through, it’s there to keep you connected for email and web browsing, and it was good at just that.

Once back home, I popped the TEP AP in the provided pre-paid postage bag and shipped it back to TEP.

Conclusion

The alternative to either roaming charges or renting an AP from TEP would be to buy a local SIM card, but in some countries this isn’t always cost effective. There’s also the consideration that if you want to be connected to the Internet as soon as you get off a plane then having a TEP AP would be convenient.

As mobile carriers get pressured, roaming charges will drop – and the “Feel At Home” deal from Three that I mentioned earlier in this article will hopefully soon become the norm for all carriers. But until that time, and as somebody who likes to stay connected wherever I am – for work and pleasure – I’ll be renting a TEP AP when I travel abroad.

I’m intrigued to hear others who have used TEP, perhaps in other locations worldwide. What has your experience with TEP Wireless been? Please do leave a comment below!

Nomad ChargeKey – A Key-ring sized USB cable

Nomad ChargeKeyEvery Friday I try to share one of my favourite finds of the week – a web-site, tool or app that has impressed me.

My Friday Favourite this week is Nomad ChargeKey – a super-portable Micro USB cable that attaches to your key-ring and that allows you to charge your smartphone from any USB socket.

Micro USB Charger on a Key-ring

The Nomad ChargeKey design is made of two hard plastic ends connected by a flexible rubber middle. On one end there is a standard USB connector that can be plugged into any PC, Mac or wall adaptor, and at the other end their is a Micro USB connector for plugging into your Smartphone to enable charging.

Nomad ChargeKeyThe idea is a simple one – if you’ve got your keys with you (as I always do) then you’ve got a means to plug into a USB socket and charge your Smartphone! The ChargeKey is small enough (about the size of a house key) not be of any concern until you need it, and is made of rubber plastic so it’s flexible and won’t break.

Lightning Connector for iPhone 5

Nomad ChargeCardAs well as a Micro USB version, there is a version of the ChargeKey featuring a Lightning connector for the Apple iPhone 5/5S/5C and Nomad also produce a ChargeCard – a flat credit card sized version of the same product.

Conclusion

The cost of the ChargeKey is $25 with free worldwide shipping – but use this link to get 20% off a ChargeKey!

I’ve been using my ChargeKey for a few weeks and hardly notice it until I need it. It’s just useful to always have a USB connector to hand when on the road!

Slingr – Buy someone a drink from anywhere in the world!

Slingr - Location-based Social GiftingEvery Friday I try to share one of my favourite finds of the week – a web-site, tool or app that has impressed me.

My Friday Favourite this week is Slingr – a location-based social gifting app that allows you to remotely buy a beer (or indeed, any food or drink on offer at a location) for somebody, wherever you are in the world!

Location-based Social Gifting

Available as an App for iOS and Android, Slingr works by allowing registered users to check-in to a location such as a bar or restaurant – in the same way you might check-in on Facebook, Foursquare or Yelp!

Once checked in, Slingr updates your Social Media status (at the moment, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all supported) to let your network know which location you are visiting, along with a link.

Any of your network who follows the link can see a choice of food and drinks the venue has on offer, and can choose to buy you something from wherever they are, that order then being delivered to your table along with a printed note featuring a message from the buyer.

Which Locations support Slingr?

Slingr LogoAt the moment, Slingr only covers some locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles – and it has plenty of competition from Gift Card apps, Coupon Apps and the big location based players such as Facebook and Foursquare. With that said, I can see huge potential for Slingr being used at Conferences, Parties and all manner of locations and events and I hope their business takes off.

Who will be the first in your area to start accepting Slingr orders? Well, if you’re a business owner you can apply to set Slingr up at your venue now.

Registering for Slingr

If you’d like to register for Slingr as a user, then you can get Slingr on the App Store or Slingr on Google Play for free now.

 

photo credit: StickDigital / Christopher Allen Fox via photopin cc

Fount – Identify any web font you see!

Fount LogoEvery Friday I try to share one of my favourite finds of the week – a web-site, tool or app that has impressed me.

My Friday Favourite this week is Fount – a free tool that enables you to quickly identify any web font you see!

Bookmark to quickly identify web fonts

Fount can be a very useful tool for anyone involved in the design or maintenance of web pages. You may spot a font on a web page and want to quickly find out what that font is called. I also know from experience that it’s very easy to use a font in one of your own pages and then forget the name of the font in the future!

Fount Screenshot To use Fount, visit http://fount.artequalswork.com/ and drag the Fount button to your bookmarks bar. The next time you see a font you want to identify, click the Fount bookmark and then click on the font you’d like it to identify. Simple, but powerful!

Thanks to Yvonne Miaoulis of MSP Builder for the link!

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