The best free time-management software 2017

Free time-management software

When both your work and leisure time are spent in front of a screen, it’s easy for the two to bleed into one another. Distractions like social media and videos can easily eat into time that should really be spent focusing on important tasks, and a steady flow of email notifications can jar us out of a productive workflow.

That’s why time-management software is so useful; these free tools and services help you make the most of your day by prioritizing tasks, organizing materials, planning your time, and blocking distractions. There are also brilliant free programs to automate mundane tasks, saving you a few clicks and sweeps of your mouse. The savings might be small, but throughout the week they add up to something substantial.

This is our pick of the best free time-management software for Windows. Which tools help you stay on track? Let us know in the comments below.

Pomodorium combines the Pomodoro method of time-management with a fun little RPG. By working hard for 25 minutes, your earn in-game currency to help in your adventures

1. Tomighty and Pomodorium

Become more productive by managing your time with the Pomodoro Technique, and reward yourself with a fun RPG

Tomighty is a neat little desktop app designed for use with the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is that by splitting your time into 25-minute chunks of intense focus, interspersed with regular breaks, you work more effectively than if you worked uninterrupted for the same period

Tomighty sits in your notification area. Click it to begin a 25-minute Pomodoro, and it will alert you when the time is up. You can set long or short breaks, but there’s nothing more complicated than that; it’s impossible to waste time setting it up and configuring it.

If that sounds a little dull, Pomodorium (pictured) is a similar tool that gamifies the Pomodoro Technique, integrating a timer with a simple RPG. Every time you complete 25 minutes of focused work you earn virtual currency, which you can use to upgrade a character. During your work breaks, you take this customized hero on a journey across a fantasy world, battling monsters and earning XP – a fun reward for your hard work.

Trello is superb for managing tasks of all sizes; big jobs can be brokwn down into manageable chunks, then ticked off once they’re complete. Seeing your progress is a great motivator

2. Trello

Hassle-free task and time management to help you stay organized and motivated

Free web app Trello enables you to make several to-do lists, and set deadlines to help you stay on top of your work and errands. Each item in a list has its own card, which contains  detailed information (as much or as little as you like), as well as any links that will help you get the job done. For example, if you need to pay a bill, you could quickly paste in a link to your bank’s homepage, and the amount due.

One of Trello’s best features is the ability to prioritize tasks, helping you structure your day. It’s great for keeping yourself motivated too; once you’ve completed a task, drag the card into a column for finished jobs and at the end of the day you’ll have a clear view of what you’ve accomplished.

Trello also lets you assign tasks to other people, which is mainly useful for businesses, but could also be handy if your family or housemates are unusually organized.

 

Evernote isn’t explicitly designed for time-management, but its notebooks are a brilliant way to gather resources together, saving you the hassle of trawling through bookmarks and text files

3. Evernote

Part notebook, part scrapbook, Evernote helps you save time by gathering resources in one place

Evernote can help you manage your time and improve productivity in two ways. Firstly, you can use it to manage resources for a project – gathering references and making notes, and collating them all in one place. Your notebook is synced across devices (a feature that became free for all users last year), enabling you to access your work anywhere – including time spent away from your desk that would otherwise be unproductive.

Evernote can also reduce procrastination by serving as a place to store ideas that come to you throughout the day, articles that catch your eye, and web pages that look interesting. Rather than distracting yourself by opening them all in new tabs, you can simply paste them into Evernote, then check them later in your free time.

When you need to commit an idea to paper, try FocusWriter. It helps you manage your time by stripping away everything but the essentials so you’re entirely focused on your work

4. FocusWriter

Write without distractions and target your creative attention like a laser beam

We’ve tried a lot of distraction-blocking software, and FocusWriter remains our favorite. It takes over your whole screen with a simple empty page for you to pour your thoughts out onto. There are no page breaks to break your flow, no necessary formatting tools, and no way to see social media notifications or incoming emails.

FocusWriter isn’t just a substitute for Microsoft Wordpad, though – it lets you set a custom background to get you in the mood, includes Pomodoro-style timers so you don’t have to concern yourself with clock-watching, and even has a Focus mode that greys out everything except the paragraph you’re working on.

FocusWriter isn’t suitable for editing, but for getting a first draft of an essay, story or report down on paper, it’s ideal.

Free time-management app Cold Turkey lets you create a custom list of sites to block temporarily, helping you avoid distractions

5. Cold Turkey

A tough approach to time-management that blocks access to distracting websites

Cold Turkey is like a nicotine patch for social media addicts, supplementing your willpower by blocking the sites that waste your time and attention for specified periods of time. Unlike distraction-blocking browser extensions, you can’t circumvent Cold Turkey by using a different app, and you can’t simply uninstall it while it’s running.

Cold Turkey comes with a block list of the most notorious time-thieves like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with the ability to add more if your vices aren’t included by default.

Mundane tasks like running manual malware scans can eat into your work day. Use Task Till Dawn to automate regular tasks and you’ll have more time for yourself

6. Task Till Dawn

Save a few moments every day by using this time-management app to automate jobs

Talk Till Dawn is a neat little app that enables you to automatically open folders, files or programs at certain times or intervals. For example, if you use a free backup program that doesn’t enable you to schedule backups, you could use Task Till Dawn to force it to run at the end of each day. Similarly, if you use a free malware scanner, Task Till Dawn lets you schedule a regular scan (once a week, for example) to check for threats automatically.

Task Till Dawn is still in development, so a few features are still in an experimental stage, but it’s a very handy way to avoid performing tasks manually.

Rainy Mood provides calming background noise on tap, with gentle precipitation on an infinite loop

7. Rainy Mood

The calming patter of rain on a windowpane is a perfect soundtrack for hard work

Working in silence is dull, and noises like ticking clocks can be aggravating when you’re trying to focus. Some people work well with music, but if you’re likely to get distracted skipping between tracks, give Rainy Mood a try.

Rainy Mood is available as a free web app if you’re working on your desktop, or as a mobile app for Android or Google Play, and helps drown out background sounds with the relaxing sound of raindrops and distant thunder.

We also find Rainy Mood brilliant for those times when our minds are whirring with thoughts of the day ahead and it’s impossible to sleep.

Google Hangouts Will Become Optional to Bundle on Android Phones, Replaced by Duo

Google Hangouts Will Become Optional to Bundle on Android Phones, Replaced by Duo: Report
Google’s Hangouts to become optional app
Video-calling Duo app to become mandatory preinstalled app on Android
New changes take effect from December 1 2016
It appears that Google is finally taking a tough decision on the inclusion of Hangouts as a preloaded app for future Android smartphones. Starting December 1 2016, Google’s Android OEMs will not need bundle the Hangouts app as a mandatory pre-installed app on Android, a report citing a Google email to partners claims. Notably, Google’s recently unveiled Duo app is taking Hangouts’ place on Android smartphones.

According to a report by Android Police citing an email sent to “Google Mobile Services partners,” Google notes that Hangouts app will not be bundled with new hardware. An excerpt of the email read, “Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.”

It’s worth mentioning that Google’s latest move doesn’t mean that Hangouts is dead as of now. The Hangouts app will be available as an optional app and can be downloaded via Google Play. The company has previously revealed that Hangouts will be transitioned as an app for enterprises.

 
The move to replace Hangouts app from mandatory to optional doesn’t come as a surprise as Google’s Hangouts app was unable to keep up with other popular messaging apps including Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger services, as well as WeChat and Hike. Google’s choice of replacing Hangouts with Duo instead of Allo however comes as a slight surprise.

Google’s video calling app, Duo, recently hit 10 million downloads on Google Play – and had 10 million users as well. The new video calling app just four days after its global rollout on Google Play made it to the top of the charts as top free app. The Duo app is available in all countries where Google Play is available. The company’s brand new video calling app was launched to take on Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype, Viber, and others similar services. The Duo app lets people call their phone contacts (as long as they have the app installed) and one of the biggest highlight features is it can work even on low networks.

Opera on Android Update Brings Revamped Material Design Interface and More

Opera on Android Update Brings Revamped Material Design Interface and More

  • Opera calls the new design ‘fresh’ and ‘modern’
  • User interface redesign inspired by Android’s Material Design
  • Company working on option to switch between tablet and normal layout

Opera browser on Android has received a user interface makeover inspired by Android’s Material Design with its latest update. Opera says that the new design on the browser is ‘fresh’ and ‘modern’.

You will find the Speed Dial on the left of the carousel on the newly designed start page while the news feed will be on the right side of the page. “Scroll through the channels across the top to see your favourite topics, and tap the + icon on the right to configure your favourite topics: you can easily add and remove them to customize the news you get,” the company said in its blog.

The news feed will also be available with a reader mode that will allow your articles to load more quickly. You will be able to get access to offline pages, bookmarks, history and downloads by tapping on the ‘person icon’ in the bottom-right corner. “You can also sign in here to sync your Speed Dial, bookmarks, tabs and typed history across your devices,” Opera said.

By tapping on the three dots on the top-right corner of the screen, you can access options “find in page” and “share”. You also get to enable ‘data savings’ feature from this menu.

The Opera for Android update will be rolling out through Google Play and should be available soon to all users.

Opera says that it is currently working on the options to switch between tablet and normal layouts, change the news feed language, and select your download folder of choice.

 

WhatsApp Directed by Delhi High Court to Delete User Data Collected Before September 25

WhatsApp Directed by Delhi High Court to Delete User Data Collected Before September 25

  • Data of the users who opt out of WhatsApp before Sep. 25 won’t be saved
  • WhatsApp had earlier told it doesn’t infringe on user’s privacy and data
  • WhatsApp was accused of sharing user’s details with Facebook in a plea

WhatsApp, the instant messaging software, was on Friday directed by the Delhi High Court to delete the information and data of those users who would stop using the app before September 25, when its new privacy policy comes into effect.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also asked WhatsApp not to share with Facebook or other group companies the information and details of users who would opt out of the app, as well as the existing users upto September 25 to protect their interest.

As per new privacy policy of WhatsApp, user information would be shared with Facebook.

The court issued the directions as WhatsApp, while launching its app initially, had provided complete security and protection of privacy as also because the issue relating to an individual’s right of privacy is yet to be decided by the Supreme Court.

“Having regard to the complete security and protection of privacy provided by Respondent 2 (WhatsApp) initially while launching Whatsapp and keeping in view that the issue relating to the existence of an individual’s right of privacy as a distinct basis of a cause of action is yet to be decided by a larger bench of Supreme Court, we consider it appropriate to issue the following directions to protect interest of users of WhatsApp,” the bench said.

The court directed the government and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to “consider the issues regarding the functioning of the internet message applications like WhatsApp and take an appropriate decision at the earliest as to whether it is feasible to bring the same under the statutory regulatory framework.”

Referring to the clauses of privacy policy of WhatsApp, the court said users cannot contend that the company shall be compelled to continue the same terms of service as was there at the time of launching of the platform. Under the earlier privacy policy, there was complete protection of user privacy. “We are, therefore, of the view that it is always open to the existing users of WhatsApp who do not want their information to be shared with Facebook, to opt for deletion of their account,” the court said.

The directions and observations came as the court disposed of a PIL by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi who had challenged its new privacy policy.

The petitioners had alleged that the new privacy policy violated fundamental rights of users by allowing confidential information to be shared with Facebook.

WhatsApp had earlier informed the court that when a user account was deleted, the information of that person was no longer retained on its servers.

 

SwiftKey for Android Is Now Powered by Neural Networks for Better Word Prediction, Autocorrect

SwiftKey for Android Is Now Powered by Neural Networks for Better Word Prediction, Autocorrect

  • SwiftKey now supports neural networks for better text prediction
  • Neural networks make suggestions after understanding the larger context
  • SwiftKey earlier used this feature in its Neural Alpha app

SwiftKey on Android is one of the most popular third-party keyboard apps available on the platform. Now, it might also become the ‘smartest’ keyboard available, as it is now powered by neural networks for better word predictions.

Neural networks are networks inspired by biological neural networks like the human mind, and are useful in situations where a large number of variables are unknown. With introduction of neural networks, SwiftKey keyboard on Android, which earlier used to take your last few words into account while suggesting next word, will now consider your entire sentence to understand the context better and provide suggestions.

For example, when you wrote the phrase “I’ll meet you at the” with SwiftKey keyboard earlier, the app used to suggest words like ‘moment’, ‘same’ etc., with its ‘n-gram’ technique. Now, the app will suggest words like airport, hotel, and office due to its larger understanding of the context.

The company claims that this technique will not only improve word suggestions but also the ‘autocorrect’ feature offered by the app.

Interestingly, SwiftKey is the first company to introduce neural networks to its keyboard. However, it is not that the company is introducing neutral networks to its keyboard out of the blue as it released an app called Neural Alpha, which used this same technology, on Google Play in October last year.

“With this update SwiftKey is now able to meaningfully capture the relationship and similarity between words,” SwiftKey said in its official blog.

In order to get the neural networks support, Android users can directly update the app from Google Play. However, the company has not mentioned when the feature will make its way to the iOS version of the keyboard.

Initially, the company is rolling out the neural networks support to its US English and UK English language models but says that it will roll out for other languages soon.

 

The Best Tool for Video Capture Online- Movavi Screen Capture Studio for Mac Review

We are into the world of web streaming and applications where users are demanding application for saving the videos, movies, and shows to view them later. There are innumerable videos available online; some are informative while some are associated with an entertainment aspect. We have software Movavi Screen Capture Studio for Mac which allows people to capture the videos and movies and schedule them to view later.

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The Movavi Screen Capture Studio software significantly helps in recording a range of streaming the videos which the users can save and play on their PC or laptop in their free time. Since there are innumerable software applications available, yet one needs to be really careful while choosing the best one. As per the customer reviews, the Movavi Screen Capture Studio guarantees the best service with absolute compatibility.

According to the ratings and the reviews which the Movavi Screen Capture Studio has received from its users, this software seems to be highly recommended for those who are looking for a credible online program recording and video streaming. No doubt that Movavi is one of the renowned software brands in the market and thus, people do expect flawless performance out of it. If you are interested in switching to the Movavi Screen Capture Studio, then you must go through our short and brief review of the same.

Compatibility

The Movavi Screen Capture Studio easily captures all types of streaming videos online. This means that this software has been significantly designed to function properly according to multiple video formats. Users can easily capture all different types of Skype calls, webinars, and how-to videos.

Function and Pre-Set

The Movavi Screen Capture Studio captures the content according to the user defined settings. This software allows the users to customize the settings according to their requirements and preferences. It does allow the users to record the videos according to their own customized settings. The user can easily set the preferences for capturing the frame rate and area.

Extensive Reach

As per the reviews by the Movavi Screen Capture Studio users, it has been seen that this software has been designed in order to record audio from any source and captures the sound from any source. This software can easily record audio from headphones, MIDI devices, microphone and audio sets.

Works without Interference

One of the major reasons behind the popularity of every software is the automatic capturing of the videos and thus, we have the Movavi Screen Capture Studio which is equipped with the automatic screen capture feature which helps in making the entire process convenient for the users while saving the videos. This software also features a timer which helps the users in defining the settings according to the duration of the recording.

Video Editing

The Movavi Screen Capture Studio captures and saves the videos in editable form. It even allows the users in adding a background music or deleting few parts which are not really important from the file. It even helps the users in making all the settings to improve the quality of the videos using the filters.

Superfast

The Movavi Screen Capture Studio is capable of saving videos quickly. All thanks to the SuperSpeed Mode. It even allows the users in converting the videos to other popular formats.

The Movavi Screen Capture Studio for Mac features extensive support with numerous editing tools which help the users in learning the process and making the software the best video capturing tool. All in all, the Movavi Screen Capture Studio delivers stellar performance.

New Augmented Reality App to Let You Control Smart Objects

Imagine having a lamp that turns down the volume on your TV when you dim the lights, or a car that switches on your home air conditioner when you leave the office. Now all this is possible thanks to a new app developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Fluid Interfaces Lab.

The Reality Editor is an augmented reality app that lets you link the smart objects around you together, just by drawing connections with your finger between them, Fastcodesign.com reported.

It uses fingerprint-like codes that sort of look like Pentagram’s new identity for the MIT Media Lab to identify smart objects when viewed within the app.

It then calls up a literal HTML webpage, representing that object’s corresponding functionality, and overlays it on the gadget so you can programme it.

“Imagine a future where everything around you can be controlled,” app developer Valentin Heun was quoted as saying.

“It goes to the deep origin of humanity: we are tool makers. We build empowering tools, to manipulate the world around us,” Heun added.

Right now, companies like Amazon and Google, which are designing objects for the smart home, use artificial intelligence and big data to try to anticipate users’ needs: in the case of the smart thermostat Nest, what temperature someone likes, for example.

But Heun says this is reductive, because the Internet of Things should actually empower users to have more control over the world around them, not take it away.

The app aims to give users power to fully control the smart objects in their lives.

Right now, the problem facing the app is support. If you have the know-how, you can build adapters for all the major smart objects.

US Retailers Give Shoppers New Reasons to Use Smartphones in Stores

At some Macy’s outlets this holiday season, shoppers who download the retailer’s app will be able to use their smartphones to guide them through the store to products they’re seeking.

At JCPenney, customers will be able to take a snapshot of, for example, boots worn by a person passing by and quickly find out if the store has similar ones in stock. And Staples is testing an app that will allow sales clerks to let customers know how the store’s prices match up against Amazon and other rivals.

Hoping to claw back market share from online rivals – and tired of watching customers use their phones to find better deals than those offered in stores – brick and mortar retailers are trying to give shoppers different reasons to use their phones while doing holiday shopping.

The new apps will allow customers to easily order out-of-stock items for home delivery, to check store prices and even to summon a clerk.

But the retailers’ efforts will face two significant challenges in the looming holiday season: getting customers to embrace the new technology, which is still sometimes glitchy and dependent on in-store systems, and getting them to trust that stores can match the Web’s prices and convenience.

Retail purchases by mobile phone have increased by 34 percent in the last year, according to IBM, which estimates that more than 40 percent of the online traffic and about 20 percent of sales this Thanksgiving weekend will come from smartphones.

A Reuters/ Ipsos poll of more than 3,000 respondents this month found that about half of those surveyed said they would use their mobile phones while shopping in stores this holiday season, for such things as making price comparisons, taking photos or researching products. Last year, only about 42% of respondents said they would use their phones while shopping.

Companies that don’t make mobile work are playing a “very dangerous” game, said Jay Henderson, head of IBM’s cloud-based marketing platform. “Retailers that can’t deliver a more personalized experience on mobile devices will start losing customers to businesses that can,” he said.

In addition to its pilot program guiding customers to products within stores, and a photo program similar to JCPenney’s, Macy’s has taken inspiration from dating app Tinder, recommending products to customers online who swipe one way to like an item and the other to reject it.

JCPenney’s app can be used to scan barcodes to pull up product information or order out of stock items, and it saves digital coupons – two increasingly common offerings in retailer apps.

“We look at using phones in stores as an enhancement to shopping,” said Kate Coultas, a representative with JCPenney which is heavily focused on mobile this year.

Service with a tap
Stores are trying to make customer service easier, too.

Best Buy’s app now lets shoppers call, text or email a representative while in stores.

Target Corp is testing an in-store “digital service ambassador” in 25 Los Angeles stores to help customers use Target apps.

Ulta Beauty is testing an app that will allow clerks to access customer information and point them to products they might like.

Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global e-commerce at Staples, said his company knows that it must satisfy the desires of its customers to find low prices. The company, like many others, will match online and in-store prices of competitors, including Amazon, Best Buy and Office Depot.

Customers “have a phone that is basically a super computer, and they will find it somewhere else” for less if they can, he said.

Companies offering web apps and in-store technologies will also have to grapple with keeping the new apps and systems working and up to date. That means ensuring that Wi-Fi in stores works, and that terminals function.

Recent visits to a Staples store in New York City found that a kiosk set up to allow people to order online wasn’t functioning, and at a JCPenney store in the city, the Wi-Fi didn’t work. Both companies said the problems encountered were unusual and that they have backup systems in place.

“Poorly executed plans can be worse than no mobile strategy at all,” said Perry Kramer, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “The dangers are losing those customers for the rest of the year or for a long time.”

Google Maps Now Available Offline in India With Turn-by-Turn Navigation

Google India on Wednesday announced that its Maps app will be available offline with features such as voice-based turn-by-turn navigation while in offline mode.

At Google I/O 2015, the company had revealed plans to bring offline search to its Maps app and had stressed it was aimed mainly for “emerging markets” where Internet connection was spotty, and data charges were expensive, as navigation via GPS was independent of mobile networks.

The launch of offline Maps in India comes just days after Google officially introduced the feature on Android. While offline Maps were available previously on the app, features including offline navigation and search features are some of the additions. Another notable feature is the information about specific locations such as hours of operation, contact information, as well as ratings which will also be accessible offline.

For using an offline map, users will need to download the map of an area on the device, and it will continue to work when there’s no connectivity. Once an area has been saved for offline access, users can also enable turn-by-turn driving directions as well as search for specific destinations even when there is no Internet connection.

google_maps_offline_io2015.jpgThe company explains that when a connection is found, Maps will switch to online automatically and will allow users to access the full version of the app such as live traffic conditions for the current route. It’s worth noting that Google Maps will only download offline areas on the device when on a Wi-Fi connection.

Announcing the offline features for Maps, Sanket Gupta, Program Manager, Google Maps, in a blogpost said that the latest version of Maps on Android, which is now available to download, comes with new offline features. He added that the offline features will soon arrive for iOS users in India. Adding further, Gupta said that the company will be adding more offline features in the future.

Truecaller Hits 200-Million User Milestone

Truecaller, an app that helps identify unknown numbers and also block spam calls, on Thursday said it has reached the 200-million user milestone, doubling its user base in less than 10 months.

The app also globally launched a new feature named ‘number tagging’.

“The company’s free phonebook app Truecaller and dial pad replacement app Truedialer will now come equipped with a new option that will let users to tag a contact based on a broad range of categories such as transportation, banking/finance, or drinks and nightlife, making it even easier to ID your cab driver or your bank,” the company said in a release.

truecaller_tagging_site.jpgTruecaller chief executive and co-founder Alan Mamedi said: “Truecaller is about putting trust into communications and adding more information about who you’re communicating with, and the Tagging feature will take this commitment one step further.”

“Over time, we envision using this information to improve our users ability to identify who is contacting them, why they are contacting them, what they are contacting them about, and be able to make an informed decision as to whether to take the call, or not,” he added.

According to the company, it currently sees over three billion searches per month, showing a 50 percent growth from last quarter.

“The new feature will start on the Android feature and will be later updated on other platforms,” the company said.

Truecaller in early October said its user base in India had crossed the 100-million-mark. The company, which generates revenue only from premium subscription, is also planning a lot of partnerships to increase their consumer base. Currently, Truecaller has partnerships with Airtel, Tata Docomo, Gionee,Obi, Celkon, Micromax, Microsoft, Cyanogen among others.