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UP - Tracker Required (UP/UP24/UP MOVE)

Jawbone Up Helps You Get Healthy!


Every now and then a new product comes along that really changes things. in 2001 it was the iPod, in 2007 it was the iPhone. While the Jawbone UP isn’t as revolutionary as either of those two devices, it is an amazing tool to help promote health and wellness. The UP measures your sleep patterns, steps taken, calories ingested, and much, much more. The best part about the UP is that it does all of this through an extremely well designed, well executed App for the iPhone. After all, this is The Best App Site; If there wasn’t an extremely useful App involved, we wouldn’t be talking about it here! One of my goals for this year is to be healthier. Not necessarily to lose weight (although that would be nice too) but to be healthier. When I decided to make health a goal for the new year I knew that it would take something like the UP to keep me on track and get me to my goal. After doing some research into the different health devices on the market I decided to go with the UP because it has the best overall ratings from both the people that own them as well as the popular review sites. If your goal is to be healthy and you want a quality product to help you get there, the UP is for you!



Tons of Features in One App

The first time you attach your UP band to your iPhone and launch the App you’re going to be met with a number of questions that have to be filled out before you can make use of the App or the band. Make sure that you input true information in here. Don’t lie about your weight or age. The App uses this information to figure out your goals so the information needs to be accurate. After you have finished this initial setup the App gives you your goals for sleep and steps. For me my goal is 10,000 steps a day and 8 hours of sleep. These are the optimal numbers for what I should get to be healthy.

The home screen of the Up App provides a lot of information, but does it in a way that is uncluttered and organized. The first thing you will see (in purple) is your sleep percentage. This is a bar that increases as you get closer to your goal. Inside of the bar it shows your percentage as well as the actual time you slept. Tapping on this bar gives more in depth information but we’ll get into that later. Next to the sleep bar is the daily steps goal. This bar shows how many steps you’ve taken, and the percentage of your goal achieved so far that day.  To the right of the goal bars there is a bar that shows your meals for the day. Again tapping on the bar will show you more in depth information.  Below the bars is more pertinent information. The day that you’re currently viewing, your mood for the day, and helpful tips. Below that is the UP feed. This shows your activities, as well as the activities of the people on your “teams” more on that later.



Tapping on the plus sign on the right side of the App shows options for the band. At the top you see your goals. From here you can adjust the sleep and step goals by simply tapping on the corresponding icon. Below that is the Sync Now button. This is the button that you would use to manually sync your band (although this is rarely used because the App syncs the band automatically when attached). Below the Sync Now is my favorite feature of this band/App. Because the UP band monitors your sleep pattern it can provide a “Smart Sleep Alarm”. You set the time that you want to wake up in the morning (for me it’s 7am). Up to 40 minutes prior to when you set the alarm the band looks for you to be in a light sleep phase and wakes you up. Because you’re closest to being awake when you’re in a light sleep phase you will feel more refreshed by letting the band wake you up. I was skeptical of this feature but after trying it out for a couple of weeks I couldn’t imagine waking up any other way.  The next feature below the Smart Sleep Alarm is the Idle Alert. This is a particularly useful feature for me because I work at my desk for hours on end and forget to get up and move around. The Idle Alert allows you to set an alarm (small vibration from the band) to go off if a predetermined amount of time passes without adequate movement from you. This reminds me to get up and walk around at least once an hour which is recommended by doctors to promote health. Stopwatch is the next function down. This is exactly what you think it is; It measures an activity. Below that is the power nap function. According to Jawbone, UP uses your recent sleep data to calculate the optimal nap length and wakes you with a gentle band vibration. The last two options allow you to log both sleep and workouts that you may have performed when you didn’t have your UP band on.



On the opposite side are functions relating the App and your account. The Home button does exactly what you would think; It takes you to the original home screen. Tapping on your name shows your profile and your latest stats. This is where you change your profile photo and make other adjustments to your account. Lifeline shows your activity from the time you got your UP to this point. Trends is more specific and a more in depth look than Lifeline. Trends goes into depth on the trends of your steps and sleep pattern. This is a great way to see any patterns developing over a period of time.


Teams is a particularly useful feature in my opinion because it allows you to make getting healthy a social event. UP will search for your friends on Facebook and from your contacts list that are also using UP. You can then add them to your “team” allowing them to see your activity. They can see your steps, sleep, food entered and more. You may be less likely to eat that second double cheeseburger if you think that all of your friends will see it.  The last three buttons Notifications, Settings, and Help, do exactly what you would think they do.



Steps Counted

The primary draw of the UP is the pedometer. The UP band counts your steps and adds them to the App inputting the information into the bar graph showing your trends. In this graph you can see what time of day you’re walking the most. This will help you identify when you need to be more active.



Sleep Data

To me this is the most interesting part of the UP system. I’ve always been interested in my sleep patterns and what happens when I close my eyes at night. Through the use of accelerometers and actigraphy the UP measures your sleep states and tracks your sleep patterns. Above you see the graph that is the product of the data collected. The dark blue areas represent deep sleep, the light blue areas represent light sleep, and the orange areas represent an awake state. There is also some handy data numbers below the graph telling you how much light sleep, deep sleep, and awake time you had in hours/minutes. Also shown is how long it took for you to fall asleep, as well how long you were in bed, and how many times you woke up. This data can be used for many things from determining how certain foods, drinks, or activities effect your sleep. It’s also used for the smart alarm feature.


The Bottom Line

Jawbone recommends syncing the App twice a day or more to keep the data fresh on the App thus providing you with the most accurate information. I sync mine first thing in the morning (so I can see my sleep info), mid day, and at night before bed. The more the better. If you’re interested in living a healthier lifestyle, and you want help doing it the Jawbone UP is a great device to help you! All of the features of the App, the simplicity of the band’s design, and the benefits that this combo can instil on your life, you can’t afford to not have this band and App.


You can get the Jawbone UP band for $117 here.

You can get the Jawbone UP App for the iPhone from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes



Easy Release - Model Release App

Easy Release – Model Release App 3.0 is Here with iCloud Syncing


I have a lot of apps, but as you would expect there are some that I use more than others. In those cases it’s an extra special treat to see a major or long awaited update happen. Yesterday Easy Release got a major update. While there aren’t a ton of new features to point to, the ones that are there are major. Let me start by saying that Easy Release has become my App of choice for doing “model releases”. It’s not the only App I use for photography contracts and documents, but it is the one I use for model releases. I have always liked the final output of the PDF release. I use it for every photo shoot I do. I started using Easy Release first on my iPhone. Once the iPad was introduced and the app was updated to be a Universal App I started using it on my iPad. Now of course I had all the releases I had done on my iPhone still on my iPhone and I had the new ones on my iPad. Then I got an iPad mini in addition to my iPad. Now what? I simply avoided doing releases on the iPad mini because I didn’t want to have a 3rd device that had releases that the other two didn’t have.

Easy Release 3 Now Syncs To iCloud

When you install this update and launch it for the 1st time you will asked if you want to use iCloud or not to sync. If you say yes (don’t panic), your existing releases will disappear from view. I was a little freaked at first, but they were being sycn’d up to iCloud and then back down. Once I turned this on on my iPhone the same thing happened and releases from my iPhone were also showing up on my iPad and vice versa. Now I can use Easy Release on ANY of my iOS devices and know that I’ll have access to those releases on the other devices if needed. This is GREAT!

Not only do your existing releases get sync’d but also your models, locations, settings, custom templates and branding go to all your devices as well.


More PDF options

Another enhancement is a Grid view from which you can now see and send multiple PDFs in one email. This is cool especially if you did multiple shoots on the same day and need to send those releases to the same people.

The Bottom Line

This is a much needed and welcomed update. I can find very little wrong this App. However, I would like to see additional options for syncing. For example, I’ve got more space on Dropbox than I do iCloud. I’d also like an option to not only email the PDFs out, but to have those PDF auto sync to Dropbox for storage. Otherwise this App rocks and if you’re a photographer photographing people or buildings you should be getting releases! This is my favorite choice for those releases and having my own text and branding in those releases is great!


Yes it can be awkward signing with your finger so get a stylus!

If you’re going to be a doing a lot of these, you might want to make an investment in a touch screen stylus to make it easier for your clients to sign. I got one of these and I LOVE IT! Makes it so much easier to sign! If you want an even better one, go with this one from Wacom or this one which is also a pen.


Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video


Having another streaming content option is usually a good thing. I’ve got Netflix, Slingplayer, HBO Go and various TV station Apps. There is no shortage of things to watch on the go. When I saw the announcement for the Amazon Instant Video App I downloaded it immediately. I figured that since I already pay for Amazon Prime, I might as well take advantage of this benefit. I just got a chance to play with the App and it does the kinds of things I expected right off the bat. I signed in with my Amazon credentials and I was presented with a display of available TV shows and movies for instant streaming. So far so good. I randomly picked an episode of Fringe to watch and the quality was decent. Again, this is all good, but…


Trouble in paradise…


While the App performed as I expected, I was completely dismayed to find out that it only worked via WiFi. That’s right, no 3G/4G cellular support. While you can watch any videos that you’ve downloaded, you can’t stream anything once you step outside the range of a WiFi Network. This seems like a huge step backwards in 2013. In the early days many apps were restricted from streaming over 3G because AT&T was the only network that supported the iPhone and AT&T/Apple feared that millions of streaming customers would bring the network to its knees. However, those days have long gone since the iPhone is available now on several carriers. Also since most carriers charge for a certain amount of data use each month, users are careful not to do a ton of streaming unless their plans support it. I think that it’s very shortsighted of Amazon to limit their App this way. Perhaps put up a warning when I user starts a stream over cellular data and then once the user taps OK they’re on their own. The other problem (and this is not just an Amazon problem) is that the App doesn’t support AirPlay. So If I understand this correctly, I have to be on my WiFi network to enjoy the App, and since I’m home on my network I can’t even enjoy the show on my big screen HDTV? With these limitations, this will not be my goto App.

If you have an Amazon Prime account or you’ve purchased downloadable movies via Amazon, then the App is probably worth having on your device. However, the WiFi requirement and lack of AirPlay/HDMI out support will make it a limited experience.


Fly Delta for iPad

Fly Delta for iPad and iPhone


As a Delta frequent flyer (Diamond Medallion) I rely on the Fly Delta App on a regular basis. The App provided the basics and electronic boarding passes. However, it was lacking features compared to the competition. It lacked Passbook support, the ability to manage/view your Skymiles account info, iPhone 5 display size support and there wasn’t even a way to book a ticket or make changes to a reservation. To make matters worse the App became unusable for many as Delta updated their website to prompt users to choose a new password instead of a PIN, and the existing App didn’t support passwords! Doh! That all changed this past weekend. Delta not only released the long awaited and much needed 2.0 update to the Fly Delta App for iPhone, but they also released an iPad version.

Fly Delta on iPhone


The iPhone App answered all my previous concerns. I can now do everything in the App that I’d want to do on the go. Most importantly it also supports Apple’s Passbook. You might be wondering why Passbook support is important if the App could already produce a scannable electronic boarding pass? First of all Passbook supports geofencing. This means that when you’re near the airport your boarding pass can appear on the lock screen. Just swipe the icon and there it is. No need to dig for it in the App. Secondly the Passbook pass can automatically update with the latest gate information. In the previous App it would sometimes take forever to update (downloading itineraries) before allowing you to get to your boarding pass. With Passbook the pass is there whether you have a connection or not. When the 2.0 update came out I was in the middle of a trip to Orlando, so I used it for the return flight. The Passbook option was there, however the geofencing feature wasn’t there and the pass never provided the gate info. Not sure if it’s a bug in the App/implementation or it was just a fluke with this particular airport. I have another trip this week and I’ll check it again.
UPDATE I have now flown on a different trip with different airports and it seems that the gate info and geofencing features are broken in Delta’s Passbook implementation. Hopefully they’ll fix this soon. The other thing I noticed was that this version doesn’t seem to send Push Notifications when it’s time to check in like the old one did.


Aside from the Passbook support the App has been updated in every way. It’s optimized for the 4″ screen size. It now allows you to access your Skymiles account info. They even added the ability to price/book tickets right in the App. The bag tracking feature also came over and yes you can even use your new password to log in. :-) At this point I can’t think of anything left to include in the App that I’d need.

Fly Delta for iPad


Just as I was about to complain that this wasn’t a Universal App I noticed that they released a separate Fly Delta for iPad App. I couldn’t wait to download it. This App is geared more towards planning your trip, booking your ticket and your in flight experience. This was a well thought out effort. Rather than make one huge App they kept the iPhone version relatively small and added the other features to the iPad version. I agree with this strategy. The Fly Delta for iPad App provides entertainment features. For example, you see suggested movies to download based upon your destination. For my flight to Vegas the App suggested “The Hangover”. The iPad version also offers the Delta Sky Magazine. A complete electronic version of the magazine that you can read right on your iPad. This might not be too practical since the printed version is right there in the seat pocket in front of you, but I can see a day where they eliminate or reduce the printed copies in favor of the electronic version. You can check in for your flight on the iPad version (although you won’t have Passbook), see maps/seat maps, purchase trip extras such as WiFi and Priority Boarding, and lastly a very cool Glass Bottom Jet feature that provides an interactive moving Map as you fly complete with landmarks and social content from your friends on Facebook and Twitter.


These ARE the Updates you have Been Waiting for! Not only are these two apps very functional, but they are beautifully designed. The iPad version can be a little slow sometimes and it really bugs me that I can’t stay logged in like I can on the iPhone version, but other than that if you Fly Delta, these are must have apps!

Get Fly Delta for iPhone/iPod touch here: Fly Delta - Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Get Fly Delta for iPad here: Fly Delta for iPad - Delta Air Lines, Inc.


10 Must Have Apps That Support Apple’s Passbook


iOS 6 introduced a built-in App called Passbook on iPhone and iPod touch. However, simply launching the Passbook App really won’t do much for you. You either need Apps or websites that support Passbook so that you can add passes to it. I’m a fan of Passbook primarily because it supports “geofencing”. Geofencing means that these passes can automatically show up on my lock screen when I’m near an establishment that I have a pass for. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I was waiting for my 10th App to do it with. Delta FINALLY updated their Fly Delta App with Passbook support (among other nice features) and now I have just about all the Apps I want supporting Passbook. So here are 10 Must have apps to get you going…

Fly Delta


If you fly on Delta Airlines you can now check in with their App and add your boarding pass to Passbook. However, if you don’t fly Delta, you can also do this with American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa. If you’re a ground traveler, you can also do this with the Amtrak App. Cheers! Most of these Apps will display the up to date gate information on your pass as well.

Fly Delta - Delta Air Lines, Inc.





Walgreens was one of the 1st Apps to support Passbook. You can have it bring up your Rewards Card when you’re near your favorite Walgreens Store. CVS what’s up? Where are you on this?

Walgreens - Walgreen Co.



This is probably the one that I use the most. I have a Starbucks Gold Card that I use to earn points towards free drinks and to actually pay for my drinks/food. The Starbucks App lets you configure up to 10 locations so that your Starbucks Passbook Card will show up when you’re closest to your favorite locations. The card also displays your current balance on the card.

Starbucks - Starbucks Coffee Company



AMC Theaters


I frequent AMC Theaters and their Stubs Card can now be added to Passbook and show up automatically when you’re near your favorite theater. Now if we can only get you guys to totally move away from paper tickets, life would be great.

AMC Theatres - VMBC



Target was also early to the Passbook game. You can add their weekly coupons to your Passbook for quick access at the register.

Target - Target



SPG: Starwood Hotels & Resorts


I’m more of a Hilton guy, but sometimes my travels take me to Starwood properties. You can add your SPG card to passbook so that when you’re checking in you can whip out your electronic card and get your points. SPG: Starwood Hotels & Resorts - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.



Fandango Movies


Fandango takes it up a notch and not only allows you to buy tickets for your favorite movies, but also shows those tickets via Passbook. The only problem is that the theater has to support electronic tickets and sadly I haven’t been to one yet that does.

Fandango Movies – Times & Tickets - Fandango




Gyft is the ULTIMATE gift card manager for your iPhone. If you got some plastic gift cards (or electronic ones) lying around you can add them to your iPhone and Passbook via the Gyft App. I did this with my P.F. Chang’s Gift Card and it worked great. I just handed my iPhone to the waiter (keeping a close watch on him) and he was able to apply it to my bill via the card’s barcode displayed in Passbook.

gyft - Gyft Inc.



Apple Store


Wait! Apple now supports their own Passbook App? Yep, I know it may be a shock – kidding. Although Apple was a little late to their own party, the Apple Store App now supports sending/receiving Apple Store gift cards AND adding the ones you receive to Passbook. Just show the card to the Apple Store rep when you’re ready to check out and they’ll apply the card to your purchase.

Apple Store - Apple



American Express


Oddly enough while American Express does support Passbook, they don’t support it via their App. Instead you go to amexpassbook.com on your iOS 6 device to setup your account(s) via Passbook. Once you do you can add your AMEX cards to Passbook and you’ll be able to see you balance at a glance and get push notifications anytime there’s a charge made to your card. I really like this because it helps me see if there are charges being made that I didn’t authorize or am curious about. Kudos to AMEX for offering this benefit.

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