2013 is fast approaching. That means you get to enjoy another year's worth of sun, rain, births, deaths, new friends, old enemies, new places, and old haunts. Time and life moves on whether we are ready for the changes they bring or not. Often the reason these changes seem to cause us so much headache is that we feel ill-prepared to deal them in any positive way. We are then unable to move forward or assimilate the changes in front of us. We become stuck.
Some of us are in a perpetual state of stuck-ness. We stay in unfulfilling jobs and relationships, we procrastinate on working tasks that we know would prevent problems in the future, and for varying reasons we continue to do things that don't benefit us or those we care about. Others have periods of stuck-ness that either resolve themselves naturally or we find a way to bulldoze through. In either case, a little help to get unstuck is always appreciated regardless of where that help originates.
So, while 2012 winds to a close and we take pause to see where we are and what is and isn't moving in our lives, we might also think about what tools we need to get the slow parts up to speed and to keep the things that are working moving in the right direction. This being Free on iTunes, you'd likely imagine that I have a free app or two that might fit the bill. You'd be right.
When my friend Carmen gets in a tough situation she makes a list of pros and cons and statements about what's going on and why it's so hard to move beyond the situation. Doing this helps her see the problems and the solutions to them a lot easier. That's the thinking behind the app, Unstuck.
Often when you're in the middle of a quagmire it's hard to orient yourself and tough to see what the real issues are. Unstuck helps you cut through the gunk by helping you focus. It does that by asking you a series of increasingly incisive questions. At the end of the exercise you should have all of the issues that are holding you back laid out clearly in front of you. From there plotting a course of action becomes easier and you are left with no excuse not to move forward.
Unstuck's clean metaphorical interface does a good job in guiding you through the many phases of providing the help you need to get moving. Explanation of terms and the processes involved are always readily available, but the app doesn't annoy you with distracting pop-ups.
Each problem project is identified as a crumpled ball of paper. Tapping the ball takes you back to the point where you left off in that particular problem and you can resume your journey to a happier life.
Let's be real: no app or book can guaranty that you'll get the help you need. How much Unstuck can unstick you really depends on how much you put into it. And this app is free! It won't replace your therapist. Still, if all you need is a bit of clearer thinking Unstuck may be just what you need.
Sometimes looking back on the recent past can help you focus on the present and plan for the future, and one way to do that is to browse the photos you've taken with your iPhone camera. If you think about it, your iPhone may hold a chronology of you life in pictures. You can see the people who are important to you in moments in time that you've shared, and that can give you the perspective you may need to get moving.
The problem is that your photos are everywhere. Some are on FaceBook, some on Instagram, while other are in iCloud or on your iMac. Wouldn't it be nice if you could see all your photos, no matter where they are, in one place? Well, that's what Cooliris is all about.
Open the app and point it to the photos you have on your phone and, viola! Your shots are all easily accessible regardless of whether they are on your camera roll, Photo Stream or other iPhoto galleries.
Big deal, you say? Well, tap the the FaceBook, Google Images, or Instagram icon, provide your credentials for the apps involved, and just like that all you images stored on those apps are now viewable. Once you set this up you'll all your images in every app is viewable this way.
My Instagram pix via Cooliris
The interface is enjoyable. Swipe in either direction to see you pix float by. Tap a shot and it opens for a better view. Tap it again and you see it "full size" and there you can pinch and zoom.
You can share your favorites via a built-in "conversation" feature or through FaceBook. I'd rather share via email or IM so I hope that's coming.
Seeing your photos this way really does give you a sense of time, and that too can help guide you out of the bog.
One thing that can hold us back is fear of the unknown and the biggest unknown is the future. We can walk in circle, wring our hands, and worry about what may happen, or we can gather as much info as we can and make our decisions based on knowledge. That is what The Economist is hoping to provide with its free e-zine; The World in 2013.
In it you'll find articles and videos focusing on global events and how they might affect you. What you'll also find is a bevy of touch-charts that are indicators of a particular topic. These are fun and rather telling. Spend some time on these.
As e-zines go, The World in 2013 is pretty standard. In fact it's companion app to the print version that's available on real newsstands, but there's more than enough here to get you thinking, and more importantly, deciding about your future. Check it out.
Touch charts tell tales in The World in 2013
And that's a wrap. This week's Free App is kid-friendly Toca Band, a music app that teaches. Grab it.