The Android Apps I Use

There has been a discussion about the apps we use in our phones in the Techzim Whatsapp group and I thought I should list mine here and why I use them. These, then, are my favorite Android apps, the ones I install on every Android device- and all of them are free.

  1. Inbox by Gmail: This is my preferred email client.
  2. Twitter: No explanation required. I use the official app. It works for me.
  3. Facebook Lite: For Facebook I prefer Facebook Lite because it doesn’t gobble as much data and works even when I have shitty network- which, in this part of the world, is plenty of times.
  4. Instagram: I recently discovered Instagram and occassionally post a pic. Mostly however I just look at how fat or rich classmates are now and at nice cars.

    My homescreen, showing some of the Apps I use most
  5. Reddit Offline: I’m a big fan of Reddit, as I’ve mentioned before. Reddit Offline allows me to download subreddits and then read them later such as in a kombi, bus, when I don’t have data or when I’m just plain bored.
  6. Google Keep: I take plenty of random notes, from reminders of what i should buy to interesting quotes. I use Keep for this because it works across all my devices. There are many Android Apps for Note taking but I love Keep for its simplicity.
  7. Google Chrome: My preferred browser on all platforms. I used to like Opera Mini for Android but not anymore. I occasionally use it but I can probably do without it now.
  8. Facebook Messenger: Messenger makes communicating with people on Facebook easier. Not a huge fan but it serves.
  9. WhatsApp: The first app I install. Whatsapp is called App in these parts, and for a reason. I use it to call, to communicate, to catch up on the news and try to be civil in family groups.
  10. Feedly: Feedly allows me to subscribe to the feeds of my favorite sites. This brings all their headlines and stories to one platform. Useful for going through the news in the morning.
  11. Journey: Successful people keep diaries and journals. And since I want to be successful I keep a journal. Journey is the app of choice for this task, allowing online backup and offering a very minimalist and smart UI.
  12. Sofascore: I watch a lot of football and Sofascore allows me to track games in almost every league in the world. There are plenty others but I like Sofascore best. It allows me to reviews player and team statistics, highlights, in game stats, a discussion forum that’s like watching a game with lunatics and many other functions. It also has many other sports but I use it exclusively for football.
  13. Shazaam: Shazaam is one of those incredibly simple apps that perform trivial tasks that we seemingly don’t need until we do. It identifies songs and it does so very well. Useful for when you hear a new song on the kombi or even in a bar.
  14. Google Calendar: A calendar. Of course. I like all things Google, so I use the default one.
  15. Here Maps: I learnt about Here Maps when I used Windows Phone. It’s main advantage is that you can download the maps and use it offline. Very useful, it has helped me make some rendezvous at places I didn’t know. Works extremely well.
  16. Reddit: I love Reddit and I use the official app to “lurk” and very rarely post on my favourite subreddits.
  17. WordPress: The means with which I sometimes update this-and other- blogs.
  18. Aldiko: While I don’t usually read on my Phone, prefering, instead, my Kindle, occasionally I download a new book and have to check it out on the phone. Also for those times I don’t have my Kindle with me. It is the best ebook software out there.
  19. WordWeb: I also write here and there. Coupled with reading it means I sometimes need to check the meaning of words. WordWeb is the finest dictionary for Android.
  20. Podcast Addict: A friend recently introduced me to Podcasts and I have grown to like a couple. Podcast addict allows me to listen to my favorite podcasts.
  21. Rocket Player: My preferred music player though rarely used since I hardly ever listen to music on my phone. It’s, however, useful in the gym.
  22. SwiftKey: Odd that this should be so far down. In truth I probably install SwiftKey before any other app because it’s the best Keyboard app of all and without it I cannot type a damn thing.

Week 2: Couch to 5k Chronicles

As I mentioned last week, I don’t like running. And after two weeks of doing it i still don’t like running. However I’ve gotten better at it, or so I believe, after all I completed week 2 of the Couch to 5k program.

Day 1:

Day 1 was a Monday and as you all know Mondays are just shitty boring days. weekend hangovers, work and all.

Despite all this I braved the morning chill and hit the pavement just after 5. As usual the program began with a 5 minute warm up walk whch was followed by a running time of 90 seconds (increased from last week’s minute). To be honest it wasn’t as taxing as I had imagined.

The walking interval also increases to two minutes in week 2, which gave me ample time to recover. Walked, ran, walked and ran again for some twenty minutes and went home pleased with myself.

The first day of week 2 was refreshingly better than the whole of week one.

Day 2:

My map for Weeek 2,Day 2
My map for Weeek 2,Day 2

I think I might just enjoy this. Completed the run with energy to spare. Never winded, though my calfs were a bit sore. The body is probably wondering what the heck is going on.


Day 3:

I love Fridays. So I went out and ran. I was feeling pleased with myself because I was about to complete 2, TWO, whole weeks of running. Never did this before.

And (proudly) I never walked during the running intervals.

Whilst running is hardly enjoyable, I could at least get used to it. Bring on week 3 please!


WhatsApp comes to the Web

Whatsapp comes to the web. Awesome
Whatsapp comes to the web. Awesome

Last night it was announced by WhatsApp on its blog that the popular chat client can now be used within browsers instead of just on mobile phones (Or using some mobile phone OS simulators such as Bluestacks, Visual Express or the Android development kit)

Said the post:

Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser. Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device — this means all of your messages still live on your phone.

To activate this web app you simply go to and then scan the PR code there using your mobile phone. The latest versions of WhatsApp have been updated to give you the option of scanning the PR code.

I just did it on my Windows phone and it works like a charm.

On a Windows Phone make sure you have the latest version of Whatsapp, open Whatsapp then click the 3 dots for menu and you’ll see a new addition to the usual items:

Select "whatsapp web"
Select “whatsapp web”

Click on Whatsapp web and it’ll open the QR code scanner interface. Scan the code generated on your browser (has to be Google Chrome for now) and it’ll work. Just like that. If you’re using Firefox you’ll be met with the following message:

WhatsApp Web is not available for Chrome yet
WhatsApp Web is not available for Firefox yet

You do have to keep your phone connected to the internet though.

Great development I must say, though it makes it easier for spam message creators and the fellas who make very long stupid jokes. I could literally copy and paste a whole book and send it to someone. Just to see what happens.

Week 1: Couch to 5K Chronicles

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ll be following a program for runners called Couch to 5K, which helps transform couch potatoes into fit, hot people who can run 5 kilometers.

The program assumes that anyone can alternatively walk and run for 30 minutes. So you begin with a five minute warm up walk followed by a minute of running then you walk for 90 seconds and then run for another minute and so forth.

That can’t be too hard I thought. After all how hard can it be to run for a minute. Everyone can do that right?


Running for a minute can be pretty exhausting if you’re out of shape or if, like me, you just hate running. As a kid I played soccer often but I hated running and always stayed up the pitch where I did the least amount of running possible. The problem was that I quickly got winded, and though I was very good at sprinting I was never able to continuously run for any distance longer than 500 metres.

Even as I got older and worked out I never ran, always preferring push ups and other calisthenics. At some point I could do more than 50 push ups but still couldn’t run. When I played (and play) football in the village it’s always midfield positions where I just pass the ball around with minimum running. I had just resigned myself to the fact that i have a weak chest or something.

But after I decided to improve my health and did a lot of reading on the web I thought I’d try the Couch to 5K program.

As I said, the program involves alternative periods of running and walking, allowing you to recover during walking times.

Every week the running interval increases and the walking time also changes, gradually conditioning the body by increasing endurance and building muscle. This is done 3 times a week, every other day with recovery days in between and a rest day.

After nine weeks you should be able to run for thirty minutes(roughly 5 Kilometres). Of course if you can’t walk for 30 minutes it becomes a bit complicated.

After deciding to follow the plan and choosing Monday, Wednesday and Friday as the days for the sessions I then downloaded an app for my Windows Phone which helps keep track of the running and walking intervals. The app I got notifies me when it’s time to run and when to walk. It even pauses my music to issue the commands and resumes soon after.

Then on Monday I put on a pair of sneakers, tracksuit and went out just after 5 am. Here’s how the week went:

Day 1:
I hadn’t exercised for sometime, but I was not too terribly out of shape. The first two running intervals were ok but things got harder. I didn’t think I would be able to run the last minute.

Thankfully the walking intervals allowed me to recover just enough to run again. It was torture but I made it.

Day 2:
Woke up and hit the road at exactly 5. Tried to control my breathing and running slower. I had read that when running you shouldn’t be winded. The trick is to breathe deeply and run slowly.

Was a better experience than the first and my confidence grew. If I keep at this I may run for five continuous minutes.

Day 3:
Despite the rest days I feel a bit of soreness in my hamstrings and calves. Like the previous two days I hit the road at 5 and it’s more enjoyable than the first two days.

I’m now breathing better and when I complete the program I’m hardly tired. I could have done another ten minutes.

Running is not fun but it’s good for keeping in shape and general health. It’s also cheap, besides good shoes there’s no other cost.

However it’s painful and frustrating. I’m still getting started but I already feel I made a very good decision. Wish me luck.

The images are maps of how I ran generated by the Couch to 5K app