IndieGoGo Inquiry: Chronic Wellness

IndieGoGo Inquiry: Chronic Wellness

Nov 27, 2013

Surprise! This week our usual KickStarter Spotlight has been replaced by a selection from the other popular crowd-funding website IndieGoGo. This week’s project revolves around a helpful aid to those suffering from chronic illness. I was surprised to learn that 50% of adults in the United States suffer from some sort of chronic illness, and knowing this it is surprising there has not been a greater effort put forth to address this. This lack of tools for sufferers is why ambitious web developer Lindsay Pera created the Chronic Wellness website that has already helped hundreds of people.

Lindsay herself is a chronic pain sufferer and to help cope with her pain she became nearly addicted to ‘tracking’. Tracking is a way to learn more about a personal illness by learning more about how different treatments, medications, diets, or exercise affect ones body. By keeping a detailed record Lindsay was able to make real headway into keeping her condition as painless and under control as possible. Tracking makes sense, and adds a completely empirical way to measuring the body’s reaction to a changing variable.

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Her success lead her to create a website, for the 50% of Americans just like her. The website includes various ways to track a specific condition, and has a plethora of plotting and visual ways to browse what is and is not working. The web-app is very intuitive and it is not hard to see why Chronic Wellness has been so successful.

This IndieGoGo campaign, however, is not for the website, but instead a companion mobile app. Tracking is something that is best done in the moment, after a change has been made and the body’s reaction is prevalent. Having to wait to get home to a computer while at the gym is not exactly the most practical method. Given the quality of the website, I have no reservations about the effort that will go into this app, and I am more than confident that it will be an exceptional mobile tool.

Again, this project is on IndieGoGo, and not KickStarter, but do not let that be a deterrent. For anyone suffering from a chronic pain or illness I would highly recumbent looking into this app, both on the web and potentially for mobile. With less than 9 days left, Chronic Wellness still needs about $13,000 to reach its goal, and it would be a shame if this great service was denied.

Helium Review

Helium Review

Jul 29, 2013

Helium, formerly known as Carbon before trademark disputes, most likely with the Twitter app of the same name, forced a name change, sounded like an extremely interesting app, promising app backups without rooting. However, I never really had much of a reason to give it a shot until a second primary Android device came in to my life. Now that I do have one, I must say: Helium is amazing.

This is an app backup and restore tool that works without root, by using a backdoor method with PC app backups. Setting up initially will require following instructions and connecting to a PC running a special app. Then, apps can be backed up, either just their data or the APK file as well for compatible apps (some require Google Play downloads), and then restored from either local storage or from connected cloud storage. It’s all simple to use and very seamless. Multiple devices attached to the same Google account can share backups, too. This app does what it says and does it well.


The app’s backdoor method of doing all this without rooting is the one annoying thing about it: Helium won’t work after a restart until it is plugged in to a computer again, and the initial setup steps repeated. This is relatively painless, as the app explains what the user needs to do in which settings page, but it’s still a bit of a hassle. Granted, on unrooted devices this is a necessity. Rooted users can use it without any problems, and I recommend it over Titanium Backup for most users. Helium is just so much more simple, though Titanium Backup has more advanced options.

The app works perfectly fine for backing up to the device and to the cloud, but the premium key is necessary to restore from the cloud. This isn’t inherently ‘necessary’ per se and it’s probably possible to circumvent this by copying from Dropbox to the Helium directory on the device, but it’s just so much simpler with the premium key. As well, restoring apps from different devices is extremely easy with this. Want to copy game progress from one device to another? This is the trick, unless something goes wrong and it doesn’t work. Technology can always screw up.

For those who want to ensure that their apps are backed up or even want to make game progress transfer wirelessly, this is the must-have app.

File Expert Review

File Expert Review

Apr 8, 2011

One of the great things about Android is the ability to directly manage files. Of course, finding a good way to manage them is the problem. One solution is File Expert. Offering you the ability to explore your phone’s file system and perform common file operations, so you can delete and move files with ease with File Expert.

File Expert features a clean-looking interface – it looks very nice, and its color scheme gives it a much friendlier look than most dark-themed file management apps, like eFile. This app isn’t just useful for managing your own files – you can use it as a wireless server to download files to your computer via FTP, or through web browser access. One of the great things about the app is that you can use it to manage and back up your apps, as well, without needing root access. You can use this to easily install and uninstall APKs, and there’s even options for rooted users to do it without needing prompting. Also, the app is completely free without any ads, being donationware.

While the app can share files via FTP, it doesn’t appear to support connecting to an FTP server, just to SMB servers. Also, if you have a lot of apps installed, then the App tab will take a long time to pop up, as it repopulates your list of apps every time you select the tab. It will often make the OS pop up with a “Force Close/Wait” prompt – if you select Wait, then it will work, or just click on the Apps tap again. It’s something that needs work, and the whole app seems to lag a lot – it’s not the most stable app at the current moment. The app backup feature doesn’t support data backup, so this won’t replace Titanium Backup yet.

File Explorer is a solid choice for a file manager on Android, especially as this is a completely free option. The network options are especially useful, and will keep me coming back to this app in the future.

Wave Launcher Review

Wave Launcher Review

Mar 17, 2011

Developer: MobileMerit
Price: US$0.99
Version: 1.0.8
App Reviewed on: Motorola Droid X

One of the great benefits of Android is that, with the right apps, you can have a phone that works like any other. For example, if you’ve ever found yourself green with envy over a Palm Pre user’s “wave” launch bar, then you’re going to be happy to know that you can have it on your Android powered handset, no problem.

The Wave Launcher is a bar that pops out whenever you execute the proper gesture. For example, touch the bottom of the screen and slide upward. It pops up and follows your finger as you move it. The icons on the wave bulge slightly as you select them, similar to the way the Dock works on Macs running OS X. It’s a neat effect.