Free App Recap – Unplug and Reconnect

Free App Recap – Unplug and Reconnect

Sep 4, 2012

Editor's Note: The Free App Recap is a new feature running every Tuesday covering some useful free non-game apps.

Being connected to email and the web and everything else digital is something many people strive for. What happens when being connected to everything becomes a reality? Information overload, that's what. At some point unplugging from all things digital is a good thing. Unplug and Reconnect is just what the doctor ordered.

In a nutshell, Unplug and Reconnect is an application to let you set times of the day to automatically be disconnected from all of the digital distractions an Android phone can bring. The options for eliminating distraction are:

    • Airplane Mode
    • Call Reject with optional message
    • Silent
    • Vibrate

    To automate the process, a schedule can be made to unplug. If there is a common routine such as work or family dinner, there are several repeating schedule options to be created. Otherwise, if there is a one time event such as a meeting or sports event, just add in the start and stop time to be unplugged. A reminder can be set to go off several minutes before the quiet time. This is to give warning in case the event isn't happening or there is a need to have the phone make noise.

    Some calls are important and need to be taken no matter what. An option to white list certain contacts is available allowing calls or messages from a spouse, babysitter or boss to get through during quiet time.

    When scheduled quiet time arrives, if connected, Unplug and Reconnect will place an update to Facebook and/or Twitter to let everyone know not to call until the meeting or whatever is over. This is huge because most people think just because no calls are being taken, they can send a Facebook message or a tweet and get a reply.

    When the time is up, everything is back to normal and ready to make and receive calls as usual.

Private Line Makes It Easy to Reject Calls and Messages When Busy

Private Line Makes It Easy to Reject Calls and Messages When Busy

Aug 28, 2012

Sometimes the world just needs to go away. That’s what Private Line tries to do, make it simple to not be bothered at all. When set up and running, it blocks all calls and messages that come in, or more technically, it sends calls to voicemail and messages to the inbox without notifying about them.

Now, blocking all calls and messages is kind of the nuclear option – there are always some people who need to get through. Thankfully, Private Line can be set up to let the calls and messages of certain people through, or even just set up a busy auto-response in order to easily say “I’m busy, leave me alone!” It easily integrates with Android contacts to do this. Plus, Private Line can be set up to run on an on/off basis, or only for a certain amount of time. Private Line is available in an ad-supported free version and ad-free for $0.99.

Unplug for the Holidays

Unplug for the Holidays

Dec 19, 2011

Anyone with teenagers knows that around the holidays that it is frustrating to get teens off their phones, and it’s even more frustrating when your own phone goes off during a quiet dinner with the family. Sometimes it would be nice to just unplug. The problem with turning your phone off or just putting it on silent is that those calling have no way of knowing what you’re doing, which can lead to some frustrated and confused family and friends.

A company called First Orion has had an app aptly named PrivacyStar that allows you to block and trace phone numbers and text messages, but theres a hidden feature in this app that allows you to set a kind of away message for the holidays. While not applying to text messages, this will send any incoming call straight to voice mail and send them an away message text. After doing a few tests I was impressed at how well this worked. Texts were sent immediately and would arrive to the phone before my voice mail intro was finished. This wouldn’t work with landlines but then again, nothing will.

This feature is hidden in the settings menu because PrivacyStar is really intended to be used as a means to block texts and calls from unwanted persons including telemarketers. The service costs $2.99 a month but the app is free for a 7 day free trial. Seeing how other away messaging apps cost money for the few days this holiday taking advantage of this free week seems worth it.

PrivacyStar Home Screen

Maybe even investing two dollars into an app like Siesta Text is also a solution, which does the same text message response to phone calls and responds to text messages as well as text messages. Think of some of the applications: when at a meeting, you gain the peace of mind knowing that your phone will not go off and those trying to call you will not become frustrated in their efforts to reach you. Also, something like this is the perfect compliment to those with long commutes; allowing you to not be distracted by trying to show people that you’ve received their messages.

So for this holiday I would recommend taking advantage of PrivacyStar’s free trial, and if the automated away messaging service strikes your fancy, look into investing further.