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Free Apps to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by iromansky on January 3, 2017

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New Year’s resolutions are a nice idea. I say “idea” because most of them are forgotten soon after they’re made. In fact, a 2015 study found that although roughly 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% of them actually achieve them. Another survey, conducted two minutes ago with myself as the only participant, concluded that the all-encompassing reason for people’s failure to achieve their goals is that they had not yet read this extremely helpful article. Keep reading to learn about mobile apps that will make keeping your resolutions easier so that we can bring the success rate up by next year!

Get Fit

The most commonly made New Year’s resolution year after year is to get fit or lose weight. Because of this, there are about a million apps that revolve around at-home ab workouts, leg exercises, cardio training programs…the list goes on. But what’s going to keep you going back to those apps? We’re thinking things like competition, challenges, and gamification (applying elements of game playing into another facet of life – such as workout apps)! Here are a few that use some of those elements to keep you on track.

Fitnet

When you think of personal trainers, you probably don’t think of the word “free”. They usually come at a pretty high price, but Fitnet allows you to have one right on your phone or iPad at no cost at all! After entering your fitness goal, you’re presented with a variety of workout videos that you can follow along with. Now, here’s the motivation – the camera on your phone or iPad captures your movements while you’re matching the trainer’s moves, and gives you real-time feedback on your performance! It’s like having someone there coaching you, so you’re way more likely to keep up with it instead of pretending to be doing crunches while actually taking a quick nap.

30 Day Cardio Challenge

The idea of this app is that you’ll do a bit of cardio that increases in intensity each day, in the comfort of your own home, with no gym equipment. So you’re steadily building up your endurance, but still have a “challenge” to complete. I like this app because it presents a goal within a manageable time frame – 30 days doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Zombies, Run!

Okay so this is the only app on the list that isn’t free. It was just too cool not to write about. Basically, you plug your headphones into your phone, start running outside or on a treadmill, and you’re immediately told that it’s the zombie apocalypse and that you have multiple missions to go on. They involve collecting supplies along the way and actually allocating them (and this affects the rest of the gameplay), following complex storylines, and even getting chased by zombies! You have to run faster or slower depending on your status in the game – like if a zombie is 4 feet behind you, for example – and I imagine this is extremely motivating. This app is $3.99 on the app store or Google Play!


Eat Healthy

Eating healthy ties in pretty well with the first New Year’s resolution, so it’s near the top of a lot of people’s lists of things they hope to accomplish this year. Thankfully, there are a ton of apps to help.

Lark

Lark is described as a “personal weight loss coach and 24/7 nutritionist”. I downloaded it just to see how it works, and it was pretty interesting. It tracks your activity on a graph, asks about your meals, and gives you feedback on their nutrition. It even gives you advice on what you should be eating instead, without directly counting calories or making you feel bad. It even sends you notifications that look like texts if you haven’t logged a meal in a while just to keep you on track.

Noom Coach

This app, on the other hand, allows you to keep a very detailed record of all of your food consumed and all of the nutrition information (including a calorie count) in each meal. The app then gives you advice on how to change your eating habits to meet certain goals, and even allows you the option to join online communities to interact with people with similar goals to you so you’ll stay motivated.

HealthyOut

If you really want to start eating healthy but you’re not ready to commit to learning to cook with all-natural ingredients quite yet, HealthyOut might be the app for you. All you have to do is enter your address and the type of healthy meal you’re looking for – it offers specifications like low calorie, high protein, low carb, paleo, and so on – and it will give you a ton of dishes in the area offered by local restaurants, as well as their nutrition information. Then you can either order them on the spot or have a lovely night out! No shopping or cooking required.


Be More Organized

I feel like we could all do with being a little more organized. Whether it’s keeping our work calendars up to date, remembering people’s birthdays, or remembering to check the traffic conditions, there’s always some area that we could use a bit of help with. These apps will be all the help you need!

Google Now 

This basically seems like the only “app” you’d ever need to organize all of your things in one place. It’s technically an intelligent personal assistant rather than an app, but it reminds you about events, restaurant reservations and birthdays, alerts you about traffic and weather conditions, gives you suggestions for nearby events…it seems like Google Now does it all. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Android, but we’ll take what we can get.

Evernote

Evernote seems like another app that allows you to have all of your things all in one place, which is very helpful for staying organized. You can set reminders, take pictures, make lists, and save things you find online, then have them all on one online database to have for later. Sounds convenient to me!


Learn to Budget and Save Money

Extra money is a good thing. We can agree on this. But extra money doesn’t happen unless we know how to intelligently manage our money and make smart financial decisions! These apps will do their best to help you become a financial virtuoso.

Mint.com

This is a service you sign up for online for free rather than an app you download, but it sounds like it makes your life a whole lot easier. It puts your bills, credit card balances, and account information all on one dashboard, and helps lay out budgets for different areas of your life. It also gives your financial tips, and sends alerts when there’s unusual account activity. Did I mention this is all on one simple dashboard? Just one place to go for all of your finance info – I like the sound of that!

Pocket Expense

Pocket Expense does most of the same things as Mint.com, but also automatically categorizes your spending habits into sections like groceries, clothes, entertainment, and calculates what percentage of your budget is spent on each category. This feature sounds like an interesting one to try out, even if just for interest’s sake!


Learn a New Language

This is another big contender on the list of top New Year’s resolutions. People want to know they’re becoming smarter and learning new things as they get older, and learning a new language is just one way to do that. These apps will help you learn a whole new language and have fun while doing it!

Duolingo

I can speak from personal experience with this app – it’s awesome! I took a couple of Italian language classes in school and I decided to try this out alongside it, and it was a lot of fun. You can choose from around 23 languages to learn and from there, you’re taught the very basics, then some simple words like types of food, animals, and so on. And they’re all in game format! So there are multiple levels and points – it’s very motivating.

Busuu

This app is a language-learning app like Duolingo, but it seems to be more structured and less game-y. It also allows you to interact with native speakers of the language you wish you learn, which is a really cool feature! There are 12 languages to learn in total, so you better get started ASAP!

With the wide range of apps to keep you on track with your New Year’s resolution, whatever it may be, there’s no excuse not to get out there and accomplish your goals. 2017 is a brand new year, and it’s up to you to make it amazing.

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.


Execulink Telecom's A Year in Review

Posted by cchalkley on December 29, 2016

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2016 is coming to a close and it’s hard to believe that another year has passed before our eyes.  We wanted to take the time to reflect on this past year’s great moments at Execulink! So let’s stroll down memory lane in this 2016 A Year in Review.

In January we had our More_Giveaways contest giving away 3 exceptional prizes: FitBit Surge, GoPro Hero 4 and a Surface Pro 4.

01-26_Giveways_Winner.jpg

For Family Day we were in Forest for our 5th annual Family Day at the Movies.

Forest Movie

On July 13th we hosted a Summer Customer Appreciation Event in Thedford.

July 27th we were in Poplar Hill for our Summer Customer Appreciation Event.

Our 3rd Summer Customer Appreciation event was in Delhi on August 10th.

Our final Summer Customer Appreciation event was in Burgessville August 24th.

In the spirit of the 2016 Rio Olympics, our Execulink employees competed in events like ‘holding a plank the longest’ and ‘the most push-ups’.

Olympics

We announced 3 winners in our annual Scholarship program

Scholarship

In September we visited downtown Delhi during the annual Delhi Fall Festival.

Delhi Fall Fest

For back to school in September our  More_Giveaways contest gave away 3 more exceptional prizes: an iPad Air, Samsung 50” TV and a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge!

Giveaway

We were at the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Inspiring Women Event on September 22nd.

Inspiring Women

We held a Fibre Info Session for residents in Denfield and Carlisle.

Denfield

 

No shortage of Halloween spirit in our Execulink office during our annual Halloween festivities.

Halloween

Grade 9 students visited our Execulink office for Take Our Kids to Work Day.

Kids Work Day

On November 18th we held Execulink’s Day at the Movies in Woodstock.

Woodstock Movie

Our Execulink office gets festive with our Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree

On December 6th we hosted Woodstock Chamber of Commerce’s Business After 5 event in our Woodstock office.

Ba5

We supported Youth Opportunities Unlimited You in our annual Holiday Giving Campaign.

Holiday Donation

We wrote 115 Execublog posts in 2016 and here are our top 5 blogs from the past year!

Roll up the Rim is back

Local Company Launches Canada’s First Virtual Realty Arcade

Top 10 New Shows We’re Looking Forward To

Pokemon Go: One Trainer’s Tale

Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Google Search

Here are some great things our customers have said about us this year:

“Execulink is AMAZING!!! Thank you for all your support. Your tech support doesn't even compare to the competition, please keep it that way!! :)” -TonyaHere are some great things our customers have said about us this year:

"Execulink is by far the best out of all the other service providers. Never had a problem with Execulink. The services are top of the line. Their customer service is incredibly helpful and so polite; just like talking to a buddy. Technical support are so helpful and knowledgeable. I have been with the other guys. Execulink for life for my family." -Mike

"Great service, friendly staff best you’re going get. This I know, have tried every option available." -Downey

"Execulink is the only internet provider I have ever used. No complaints here. Most helpful staff, stay with you on the line until you get your problem solved. Excellent company." -Sadie

"Great customer service. I never had a problem that wasn't solved in a very efficient manner. Keep up the great work you do." -Josie

"I wanted to inform you about the excellent performance of your technical support team! Their help and patience is above the call of duty! You should be very proud of their work! This is one of the main reasons I have Execulink as my internet provider for many years!! Cheers!" -Joan 

2016 was a great and fun year at Execulink with many successes and moments to celebrate.  We are looking forward to 2017 and we wish everyone all the best in the New Year!

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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


Fun Christmas Sweaters for the Holiday Season

Posted by cchalkley on December 22, 2016

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Christmas sweaters are a holiday trend that just seems to be getting bigger every year. Some of these holiday sweaters are bright and colourful, dawned in lights and elaborate embellishments of tinsel, candy canes and bows. Some may call these “ugly Christmas sweaters” and they can be super tacky with lots of people finding them fun to wear during the holiday season. Christmas sweaters can be worn during your holiday parties, dinners or while opening up presents on Christmas morning. Dressing up in a holiday sweater can be just fun to show off some of your creativity and personality through some of the unique styles that are available.

Some people LOVE their Christmas sweaters and wearing it makes them feel like this:

And then there are other people who can be scrooges and wearing a Christmas sweater would make them feel like this grump:

Maybe the ugly Christmas sweater isn’t your thing? Or maybe you want the tackiest sweater out there. There are so many different styles of the holiday sweater that I’m sure any person can find the style that they can feel festive in.  So let’s take a look at some different styles of the Christmas sweater that are available that I’m also sure Santa would approve of too.

Let’s start with the tacky ugly Christmas sweater. This one has it all: a Christmas tree, tinsel, lights and ornaments. Truly amazing! Retails for $69.02 from Etsy.com.

Tacky Ugly Sweater

Here is a very pretty Christmas sweater that any fashionista can enjoy. The Boutique Moschino sweater is a bow embellished wool sweater. The red bow will make you feel like you’re the Christmas present on Christmas morning. Retails for $450 from Net-A-Porter.com.

Moschino Bow

TopShop Christmas Ornament Sweater would make you feel like a festive Christmas tree at your holiday party. Retails for $175.65 from Nordstrom.com

Top Shop Ornament

Ted Baker London’s Henie Merry Woofmas Sweater is a cute option to not only show off your love of Christmas, but for your love of dogs too. Retails for $231.44 from Nordstrom.com.

Ted Baker Woofmas

Channel you inner crazy cat lady with this sweater from Tipsy Elves. You’ll be shouting Merry Meowmas to everyone you meet while wearing this cat sweater. Retails for $69 from Tipsyelves.com.

Tipsy Elves Cat

Our homeboy Drake is featured on this sweater based on his popular song “Hotling Bling.”  This shirt is perfect for any fan of our Canadian Hip Hop star. Retails for $49.99 from Freshbrewedtees.com.

Drake

This is the world’s most expensive Christmas sweater. Rapper 2 Chainz designed this sweater that includes 50 carats of diamonds and 250 grams of gold. All the proceeds of this sweater will go to a charity. This sweater retails for $90,000 and available through 2chainzshop.com.

2 Chainz Expensive Sweater

Tipsy Elves teamed up with Swarovski to create this jeweled sweater. This sweater is made with 24,274 individually placed Swarovski crystals taking 52 hours to create this masterpiece. It retails for $30,000 at Tipsyelves.com.

Tipsy Elves Swarovski

Beyonce came out with a Christmas line of merchandise that will certainly expose your inner diva. You can feel festive in the Queen Bey’s “I Sleigh All Day” sweatshirt, holiday patterned onesie and wrap your presents in holiday wrapping paper. Sweatshirt retails for $60 from Shop.beyonce.com.

Beyonce Sleigh

Whoopi Goldberg came out with an ugly sweater line with Lord & Taylor. There are 9 different sweaters available with a variety of designs. Retails for $179 from TheBay.com.

Whoopi Lord & Taylor

If you want to make your own ugly Christmas sweater, you can purchase the Ugly Christmas Sweater Kit that comes with everything you would need to build your own sweater. Retails for $29.99 from Uglychristmassweaterkit.com.

Ugly Sweater Kit

You can also get personalized shirts if you want to get one for every member of the family. With many different templates and styles to choose from you can make anyone feel special with their own customized shirt. Prices vary by style at Cafepress.ca.

Cafepress personalized

These are just a few options for Christmas sweaters that can help you feel festive this holiday season. Whether you make your own DIY Christmas sweater or purchase one to suit your style, this holiday trend is super fun for anyone to participate in. Merry Christmas everyone!


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Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


Pet Tech Gifts for Christmas

Posted by cchalkley on December 16, 2016

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Your stockings are probably already hanging up on the mantle for each of your family members and that includes those cute little furry pets of yours too. What are you going to give your fuzzy buddies this year for Christmas? Maybe a bone, some treats, a new squeak toy? Or maybe you want to splurge this year for your feline or canine friend? If that’s the case, here are some tech gift ideas for your four legged friends.

This little bow tie accessory is not only super cute it’s a dog activity tracker! WonderWoof Bowtie connects you to your dog at all times through a smartphone app. This device clips right on to your dog’s collar and it monitors your dog’s sleep, rest, activity and playing habits. The activity tracker recommends activity levels for your dog based on it's age, breed and size.  Other caretakers including family or friends can also be set up to monitor your dog’s activity remotely. There’s a notification system that includes reminders for feeding schedules, veterinarian and grooming appointments. You can also look for other dog lovers in your neighbourhood by using the map-enabled social feature, which maps out other dogs in your area that are also wearing the WonderWoof Bowtie. There are 6 different colours to choose from and you can also purchase more fashion bands to give your dog some extra style. Think this is cool and want to get one for your cat? WonderMeow will be released in 2017! You can purchase the Wonderwoof Bowtie Dog Activity Tracker at Best Buy for $49.97.

WonderWoof Bowtie

When you are away from home have you wanted to call and check in on your pet? Pet Chatz is a two way HD video chat camera that is used to interact with your dog or cat while you are away.  Calling in using your phone or computer will send a ring through the camera to get your pet’s attention. The motion detector will know when your pet is in front of the camera so you can start video chatting with your pet! Your pet can even call you using the PawCall button. When your pet presses the PawCall button a text will go to your phone to notify you that your pet is calling.  There’s a treat dispenser that will drop a treat at your command. Another unique feature to this camera is the scent diffuser. Each call will diffuse an essential oil scent to help engage your pet’s different senses. You can purchase Pet Chatz from their website for $379.99USD.

Pet Chatz

Cats have a knack for wanting to press all the buttons on your keyboard as soon as you log onto your computer. Cat Laptop Scratch Pad is your cat’s very own laptop. It’s designed to look like a real laptop but made out of cardboard and it includes a keyboard that’s a scratch pad.  The desktop background is a paper printout that you can customize on your own. The cutest part about this laptop is that the mouse is actually a toy mouse. You can purchase the Cat Laptop Scratch Pad on Amazon for $40.02.

Cat Scratch Laptop

Frolicat Bolt Laser is an interactive laser for cats. There is a manual and automatic setting that you can select to get your cat playing. There are random laser patterns that can be directed to point at the wall or at the floor to engage your cat. You can purchase Frolicat Bolt Laser from Amazon for $44.

Frolitcat

Have you wondered what it’s like to see the world from your pet’s point of view? PawsCam is a camera that your pet can wear on their collar that will record what they are doing. The camera will start recording once it detects there is interesting movement, so no worries that you’ll be recording your dog sleeping. Each video is 6 seconds and ready to post on your favourite social media site. You can always check in on your smartphone to see the highlights of the day. The videos are uploaded automatically to Cloud storage and added to your PawsCam timeline automatically. Check out this page for information on when this camera will be available to purchase.

PawsCam

CleverPet is a game console for dogs that will keep them engaged and entertained. It rewards pets for solving puzzles based on lights, touch pads and sound cues. It’s kind of like the game Simon, but for a dog. The lights will flash in a sequence and when your dog touches the pads in the correct sequence he will be rewarded with a treat. Once your dog learns the basics on how to play the games, you can increase the difficultly in order to keep challenging your dog.  You can purchase CleverPet from their website for $299 USD.

CleverPet

These are just some of the tech options out there that you can gift to the cats or dogs in your life. No matter the present you get for your little furry friend whether it’s a ball, treat or a tech gift, your dog or cat will happy that you care. Maybe they will be just as excited for the wrapping paper, bow or box that the present came with. But either way, set some time over this busy holiday season to give your pet a big snuggle. Merry Pawmas!

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Blogger-Christine-bio.jpg


Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”


Amazon Go Introduces Grab and Go Grocery Shopping

Posted by cchalkley on December 8, 2016

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Amazon announced this week its plans to open a new retail store called Amazon Go. This isn’t any old grocery store. This grocery store doesn’t have any check-out lines! Everyone has been in the situation where you walk into a grocery store on Saturday afternoon with the store jammed packed full of people and the check-out lines are astronomically long. It’s in these moments where I hate my life and am irrationally annoyed with everyone I encounter in that store. Well this new technology Amazon has created is trying to make your grocery shop just a lot easier. This video below was released by Amazon to showcase its new grocery store concept.

This store has “Just Walk Out” technology that will automatically detect when the product has been selected and placed in to the virtual cart. Then when all the shopping is done, just leave the store and the customer’s Amazon account will automatically be charged. 

So this all sounds pretty cool, but how does this all work? Amazon used the words computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion. The technology being used in the Amazon Go store is similar to what is being used for self-driving cars and what Amazon is already using for its Alexa voice service. Once a person walks into a store, they would check in using their Amazon Prime account, then cameras would follow movements throughout the store to track what products that are being selected. Sensors would be on the inventory shelves to help take stock of what products and how many are being selected. Facial recognition and an image analysis will be used to determine a person’s skin tone on their hand. These image recognitions would be used to help ensure that if two people are side by side in the store, it would correctly identify which of the people selected the product. Microphones would also be used in the store to help determine where people are in the store. This “Just Walk Out” technology, even with the phrase sounding like it, would eliminate shoplifting from the store.

So what kinds of products would someone be able to find in this grocery store? Normal everyday staples that you would expect from a grocery store: milk, bread, cheese and well-known brands. They will also offer ready-to-eat snacks made by on-site chefs. You would also be able to find Amazon Meal Kits that will have all the ingredients to make 30 minute meals for two. 

The first Amazon store 1,800 square feet and planned to be open early 2017 in Seattle, the city where Amazon’s headquarters is located. Amazon Go is currently being tested by Amazon employees. There are no known plans to open any more stores or any locations in Canada. In the meantime Canadians can continue to shop online at Amazon.ca where many grocery items are available for purchase.

Source:
https://www.amazon.com/go
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/06/amazon-go-surveillance-cameras-shopping-grocery-supermarket/95055200/

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Blogger-Christine-bio.jpg


Christine Chalkley, Marketing Coordinator


I love things that make me laugh including sitcoms, sketch comedy and anything my kid does. When it comes to parenting I take Amy Poehler’s advice: “Always remember where you put your kid. Don’t let your kid drive until their feet can reach the pedals. Use the right size diapers... for yourself. And, when in doubt, make funny faces.”