Saturday, 24 June 2017

TechCrunch/Jon Russell: Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

TechCrunch

Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

Posted Jun 20, 2017 by Jon Russell (@jonrussell)

India-focused mobile messaging service Hike landed funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments.

The launch of Hike Wallet not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is typically coy about future updates and services, but co-founder Brian Acton has spoken publicly of plans to launch digital payments in India, which is its largest market with over 200 million active users. Hike, meanwhile, was most recently valued at $1.4 billion, but it is still not disclosing active user numbers other than to say that over 100 million people are registered users.

Hike, which is introducing version 5.0 today, is starting out with peer-to-peer and bank-to-bank payment options, the former being an in-app wallet that is not dependent on a bank account and the latter a service powered by India’s government-backed UPI payment system. Beyond sending cash to each other, Hike has also introduce a ‘blue packet’ feature that lets users gift digital envelopes of cash for special occasions, such as birthdays.

This feature borrows heavily from WeChat and the tradition of ‘hongbao’ (or red envelopes) in China. WeChat, and its payment system in particular, grew rapidly in China through the digitization of the traditional gifted envelopes of cash around Chinese New Year, which can be sent via the WeChat app.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Hike CEO and founder Kavin Bharti Mittal described a product very much like WeChat’s red envelopes.

“We’ve drawn some inspiration from our friends in China,” he explained. “We think it’s going to be extremely exciting.”

Red envelopes helped further popularize WeChat in China, but they also enabled the service to collect payment information for future use without being overly pushy. With relatives sending and receiving cash, users were strongly compelled to supply their bank or card details to get involved. That made priming them for other kinds of financial service, like point-of-sale payments, far easier.

In the same way, Hike is hoping to aiming more with its payments push over time.

“Our goal is to lay the foundations for years to come, with a heavy focus on social payments,” Bharti Mittal said. “We’re laying the foundations for payments, this is the first step. We focused on social because that’s our core.”

Initially, Hike is giving users phone bill payments and recharge options, with Yes Bank powering those features, but there are plans to add more general online payments to the mix.

Using UPI, he said, will enable stakeholder participation, while Hike hopes to bring developers and partners to the table to extend the use of Hike Wallet over the next six months. Further down the line, he’d like to see the service being used for common mobile payments, as is the case for WeChat Pay in China.

The issue of WhatsApp is a common one.

The service is booming in India — thanks to the simplicity of its service and performance on limited internet connections — and Facebook is well aware of its popularity and keen to take advantage of that, with payments just one strategy under consideration. Hike has not updated its user numbers since January 2016 — which has been cause for negative speculation in the media — but still Bharti Mittal is adamant that his company is well used, and much-needed in India regardless of WhatsApp’s success.

“WhatsApp does not have to lose” for Hike to succeed, he explained. “Many people have WhatsApp and Hike on the same phone.”

The average active user, he added, spends 24 minutes in the Hike app each day, and talks to six to ten friends there.

WhatsApp is one thing, but India’s mobile payment space is already condensed with specialists. Paytm, which has raised money from Alibaba and most recently SoftBank via a $1.4 billion investment, leads the pack with over 200 million registered users. MobiKwik is purely focused on payments and claims 50 million users, fast growth and a potential $1 billion valuation soon.

Hike will also need to contend with these payment specialists, and that’s no easy task.

Aside from payments, Hike 5.0 is also re-introducing the app’s social network-like timeline feature, which was retired when Hike added Snapchat-esque Stories last year.

“The market is still getting comfortable sharing photos and videos. What we got wrong is that one replaces the other. It does not,” Bharti Mittal explained.

Other new features in the app include a selection of themes to customize the app’s color and design, a beautification camera option, and a file size reduction from 40MB to 25MB.
Featured Image: Hike

 


    Tencent Holdings
        Founded
        1998
        Overview
        Tencent is a Chinese internet service portal offering value-added internet, mobile, telecom, and online advertising services. Since its establishment in 1998, Tencent has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies. It provides value-added internet, mobile and telecom services, as well as online advertising under the strategic goal of providing users with "one-stop online …
        Location
        Shenzhen, 30
        Categories
        Social Media Marketing, Internet, Online Games, Advertising, Mobile   
        Founders
        Zhidong Zhang
        Website
        http://www.tencent.com   
        Full profile for Tencent Holdings   
    WeChat
    hike

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Investopedia/Even Tarver: 6 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Panama

Academy

6 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Panama
By Evan Tarver | Updated March 21, 2017 — 4:48 PM EDT


American retirees have been moving out of the United States and into surrounding countries at a rapid pace. Seeking a cheaper lifestyle with better weather, Latin America has become a popular destination for retired Americans.

Panama, with a low cost of living, good health care, low language barrier and modern infrastructure, has become one of the top retirement destinations for Americans. However, before you decide to pack up and leave for Panama, understand why so many Americans are choosing to retire there.
1. Low Cost of Living

Similar to most Latin American countries, Panama has a very low cost of living. The cost of living in Panama is about 24% lower than in the U.S. (based on aggregate data), a three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you somewhere between $25-50. Panama is considered to be an international banking center. It's possible to find banks in Panama from all over the world, and there are as many ATMs as there are in the U.S., providing easy access to funds. Further, the national currency is the U.S. dollar, so there is no need to exchange money.
2. Panama Is Used to American Retirees

Since Panama is such a desirable place for expatriates, it has been experiencing an influx of American retirees for decades, and Panamanians are used to Americans. The country offers many options for establishing a bona fide foreign residency, and it has a plethora of retirement communities. You can find almost any product or service in Panama that you are used to finding in the U.S.
3. Amazing Shopping Options for Low Prices

Panama boasts very similar stores and shops to the types of stores you can find in the U.S. The Riba Smith grocery chain, for example, resembles the big-box grocery stores in the U.S. and carries all the products you would expect to find there.

Additionally, Panama City has the Do-It Center, carrying everything you need for home repairs and general maintenance. The country also has shopping malls that feature a range of brand-name stores from around the world, including Zara, Ann Klein, Nine West, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Hermes, Tiffany and Cartier.
4. Low Language Barrier

The U.S. has had a presence in Panama for years. Many Panamanians can speak English, or at least they can understand the gist of what you're saying in English. While it's always easier to speak the local language, it's possible to retire to Panama and only speak one language.
5. Good and Affordable Health Care Coverage

Health care in Panama is up to American standards. Hospital Punta Pacifica in Panama City is the only Latin American hospital to be affiliated with and managed by Johns Hopkins International. Almost every doctor in the major Panamanian cities can speak fluent English.

Medical care in Panama is comparatively cheap, given the high level of service. In the most expensive regions of Panama, a routine doctor's visit costs $50 or less, even if you have no insurance. You can obtain great health care coverage for roughly $100 per month.
6. Modern Infrastructure

The country's infrastructure is modern and kept in good repair. Panama's system of roads and public transportation provides great travel options, and the roads are constantly being expanded and improved.

The Internet, cable television and phone services offered in Panama are all as reliable as the services in the U.S., and there are no issues with drinkable water. Panama City also provides an international travel hub that is very accessible from North America. The flight between Panama City and Miami is roughly two-and-a-half hours, making it easy to travel back and forth between Panama and the U.S.
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Investopedia/Kristina Zucchi: Markets: Capital vs. Money Markets

Academy

 Markets: Capital vs. Money Markets

By Kristina Zucchi, CFA | Updated June 6, 2017 — 1:22 PM EDT


A financial market is a market that brings buyers and sellers together to trade in financial assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities, derivatives and currencies. The purpose of a financial market is to set prices for global trade, raise capital, and transfer liquidity and risk. Although there are many components to a financial market, two of the most commonly used are money markets and capital markets.

Money markets are used for a short-term basis, usually for assets up to one year. Conversely, capital markets are used for long-term assets, which are those with maturities of greater than one year. Capital markets include the equity (stock) market and debt (bond) market. Together, money markets and capital markets comprise a large portion of the financial market and are often used together to manage liquidity and risks for companies, governments and individuals. (For more, see Introduction to Capital Markets History.)
Capital Markets

Capital markets are perhaps the most widely followed markets. Both the stock and bond markets are closely followed, and their daily movements are analyzed as proxies for the general economic condition of the world markets. As a result, the institutions operating in capital markets – stock exchanges, commercial banks and all types of corporations, including nonbank institutions such as insurance companies and mortgage banks – are carefully scrutinized.

The institutions operating in the capital markets access them to raise capital for long-term purposes, such as for a merger or acquisition, to expand a line of business or enter into a new business, or for other capital projects. Entities that are raising money for these long-term purposes come to one or more capital markets. In the bond market, companies may issue debt in the form of corporate bonds, while both local and federal governments may issue debt in the form of government bonds. Similarly, companies may decide to raise money by issuing equity on the stock market. Government entities are typically not publicly held and, therefore, do not usually issue equity. Companies and government entities that issue equity or debt are considered the sellers in these markets. (See also: What Are the Differences Between Debt and Equity Markets?)

The buyers, or the investors, buy the stocks or bonds of the sellers and trade them. If the seller, or issuer, is placing the securities on the market for the first time, then the market is known as the primary market. Conversely, if the securities have already been issued and are now being traded among buyers, this is done on the secondary market. Sellers make money off the sale in the primary market, not in the secondary market, although they do have a stake in the outcome (pricing) of their securities in the secondary market.

The buyers of securities in the capital market tend to use funds that are targeted for longer-term investment. Capital markets are risky markets and are not usually used to invest short-term funds. Many investors access the capital markets to save for retirement or education, as long as the investors have long time horizons, which usually means that they are young and are risk takers. (For related reading, see Types of Financial Markets and Their Roles.)
Money Market

The money market is often accessed alongside the capital markets. While investors are willing to take on more risk and have patience to invest in capital markets, money markets are a good place to "park" funds that are needed in a shorter time period – usually one year or less. The financial instruments used in capital markets include stocks and bonds, but the instruments used in the money markets include deposits, collateral loans, acceptances and bills of exchange. Institutions operating in money markets are central banks, commercial banks and acceptance houses, among others.

Money markets provide a variety of functions for either individual, corporate or government entities. Liquidity is often the main purpose for accessing money markets. When short-term debt is issued, it is often for the purpose of covering operating expenses or working capital for a company or government and not for capital improvements or large-scale projects. Companies may want to invest funds overnight and look to the money market to accomplish this, or they may need to cover payroll and look to the money market to help. The money market plays a key role in ensuring companies and governments maintain the appropriate level of liquidity on a daily basis, without falling short and needing a more expensive loan or without holding excess funds and missing the opportunity of gaining interest on funds. (See also: Money Market Instruments.)

Investors, on the other hand, use the money markets to invest funds in a safe manner. Unlike capital markets, money markets are considered low risk; risk-adverse investors are willing to access them with the anticipation that liquidity is readily available. Older individuals living on a fixed income often use the money markets because of the safety associated with these types of investments.
The Bottom Line

There are both differences and similarities between capital and money markets. From the issuer or seller's standpoint, both markets provide a necessary business function: maintaining adequate levels of funding. The goal for which sellers access each market varies depending on their liquidity needs and time horizon. Similarly, investors or buyers have unique reasons for going to each market: Capital markets offer higher-risk investments, while money markets offer safer assets; money market returns are often low but steady, while capital markets offer higher returns. The magnitude of capital market returns often has a direct correlation to the level of risk, but that is not always the case. (See also: Financial Concepts: The Risk/Return Tradeoff.)

Although markets are deemed efficient in the long run, short-term inefficiencies allow investors to capitalize on anomalies and reap higher rewards that may be out of proportion to the level of risk. Those anomalies are exactly what investors in capital markets try to uncover. Although money markets are considered safe, they have occasionally experienced negative returns. Inadvertent risk, although unusual, highlights the risks inherent in investing – whether putting money to work for the short term or long term in money markets or capital markets.
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Health Wire/Dr. Jack Wolfson: Is Coconut Oil Deadly?

Is Coconut Oil Deadly?
    By Dr. Jack Wolfson
Written Friday, June 23, 2017

Have you heard the latest study showing coconut oil increases heart attacks? That’s right. You haven’t. Because it doesn’t exist and there is no such study.

But the American Heart Association (AHA) keeps trotting out the same message from the 1970’s: Saturated fat, found in coconut oil, is the villain when it comes to cardiovascular disease. This latest statement was released as an AHA Presidential Advisory.

Doesn’t that sound official?

We can blame the fake news on Corporate America. It is the corporations who control the lobbyist groups like the American Heart Association. That’s right. I said it. The AHA is a lobbyist group. They collect nearly 1 billion dollars every year to push the agenda of Big Pharma and Big Agriculture.

The small coconut oil vendor and grass-fed beef farmer don’t have much of a lobby and don’t stand a chance to fight against lamestream media. You see, coconut oil is expensive for food companies to use in their products. They would rather use hydrogenated soybean, sunflower, canola, or safflower. Comparatively, these cheaper oils are pennies on the dollar.

Let’s talk about saturated fat, the main component of coconut oil.
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What is saturated fat?

First, I want to explain exactly what saturated fat is. What we think of as fat is really a tiny particle called a triglyceride. Tri means 3. So, 3 fatty acids are attached to a glycerol backbone. These fatty acids can be monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or saturated.

For some reason, the mono’s and the poly’s are safe, yet the "sat fat" is dangerous.

Yes, that is the same saturated fat found in the mammary gland of all nursing females: humans and animals alike. Breast milk is full of saturated fat.

That is the same saturated fat found in eggs, the nourishment that brings birds and reptiles to life (try raising a chicken on oatmeal).

Second, humans have been eating saturated fat for millions of years. As hunter-gatherers, all humans in history ate meat and/or seafood, both are full of saturated fat. All animals eat meat, seafood, and/or insects. Islanders in the South Pacific eat massive quantities of coconut, yet have very low rates of heart disease.
When did sat fat become bad for us?

In the mid-20th century, doctors looked at coronary plaque in the heart arteries. In the plaque was cholesterol. Cholesterol comes from animals which contains saturated fat. Therefore, don’t eat animals.

Cholesterol was found at the scene of the crime and branded guilty without a trial.

Well, there actually was a trial based on cherry-picked data by Dr. Ancil Keys. Corporate America ran with this fake science and pushed sugar, artificials, and major amounts of grain into our lives. They set-up saturated fat as the “fall guy.”

America’s health has suffered.
Is saturated fat bad for us?

In 2010, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) was published. This is the biggest nutrition journal in the world. They looked at over 500,000 people regarding saturated fat. The conclusion: sat fat is not linked to coronary disease. (1)

Fast forward to 2016. Same journal, more evidence…. Turns out that saturated fat actually LOWERS cardiac risk. (2)

In 2015, the AJCN reported sat fat IS linked to heart disease, unless the sat fat came from fish, dairy, or plants. From those sources of food, sat fat is not an issue. (3)

Here is what the study authors concluded about their results. “It should be acknowledged that other dietary components in the food sources containing SFAs may have played a role in the observed associations, such as refined carbohydrates in pastries or salt in processed foods.” 

Essentially, it’s the other crap in the food, not the saturated fat, that causes heart disease.

A side note from this 2015 study: The more fat you ate, the lower your heart attack risk and the chance you had of dying. (So much for the low-fat gurus)
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What about cholesterol?

The recent statement by the AHA references that saturated fat raises LDL-cholesterol and calls LDL, the cholesterol that causes arterial blockage (4). That’s right, they say CAUSES, when LDL does NOT cause and has NOT been proven to cause heart disease. The AHA statement is wrong and is simply Big Pharma speak to sell more statin drugs.

Why would all animals produce LDL? To cause heart attacks? Preposterous. LDL has many functions, most of which scientists still haven’t discovered. LDL delivers nutrients around the body, is an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and works for the immune system.

The fact that LDL works for the immune system is demonstrated by the fact it is found in plaque. Coronary disease is autoimmune. Wrap your head around that paradigm, cardiologists.

When it comes to LDL, size matters. Small, dense particles when elevated are strongly correlated to risk of heart disease. Previous studies measure total LDL. The link between LDL and disease is very weak. There is a wide range of total LDL from 160 to 260 where the outcome of life and death is the same.

What matters is the number of LDL particles versus numbers of HDL particles. The more HDL particles versus LDL particles, the better. That science is settled.

Sadly, the average cardiologist missed that lecture from the drug reps and weren’t paying attention as they were wolfing down free food.
My experience

When my patients replace starchy carbs and sugars with fat, they feel great, they look great, and their lab tests are great. LDL particles are lower. HDL particles are higher. Inflammation is lower. Blood sugar is better. They lose weight and feel great.

I have 1000’s of patients from all around the world who are a testament to Paleo nutrition and the Paleo lifestyle.

Conclusion

How many times are we going to hear this same retread story? When will the AHA get their head out of the sand? Probably never. After all, the AHA, American Diabetes Association, and the American Cancer Society exist based on sickness.

In the end, you decide what diet is right for you: the diet of our ancestors over millions of years or the diet advice of any organization run by paid shills from Big Ag and Big Pharma.
Action Plan for Health and Wellness

    Go organic and responsible Paleo. Eat plenty of veggies, nuts/seeds, eggs, coconut, avocado, wild seafood and grass-fed meats.
    Get sunshine. Our ancestors were in the sun almost every day. And they were naked. Sunshine lowers cholesterol.
    Get sleep. From sundown to sunrise. The body recovers while we sleep according to nature.
    Get away from toxins. Consider this… indoor air pollution is even worse than outdoor pollution.
    Get adjusted by a chiropractor at least once a month.
    Get active at least 3 days per week.
    Get relaxed. Meditate, yoga etc. Get the stress out of your life.
    Get hydrated. Drink quality water.
    Get tested. Use lab tests to track your results and tweak as necessary.
    Get supplements. They supplement a healthy nutrition plan and lifestyle.

To Your Health,

Dr. Jack Wolfson

Senior Editor, Health Wire, Atlas Health Report

Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC is a board-certified cardiologist who believes bad nutrition and toxins create heart health problems. He prevents and treats cardiovascular disease with good nutrition, not medicines and treats the whole person, not just the symptoms.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sources

1)      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535

2)      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2016/01/20/ajcn.115.122671

3)      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/102/6/1563.long

4)      http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510
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Dr. Joseph Mercola: Documentary Investigates the Causes and Ramifications of Stress-Related Burnout


Documentary Investigates the Causes and Ramifications of Stress-Related Burnout

    June 24, 2017 • 6,109 views

Visit the Mercola Video Library

Story at-a-glance

    Around the world, burnout due to excessive work stress is becoming an increasingly pervasive problem, affecting people from all walks of life, thanks to changes taking place in the modern workplace
    Employees are expected to work at a much faster pace than previously, while having to put in longer hours and/or being closely monitored and evaluated based on performance metrics, any or all of which can make work stress unbearable
    Preventing burnout is a lot easier than recovering from it. Strategies to reduce work stress and recover from burnout are discussed

By Dr. Mercola

Unless kept in check, stress can wreak absolute havoc on your life, undercutting your health and depressing your very will to live. Around the world, "burnout" is becoming an increasingly pervasive problem, affecting people from all walks of life. Being successful per se will not insulate you from burnout. On the contrary, it may actually raise your risk.

"The Day I Snapped" is a mental health documentary featuring five professionals who walked into the proverbial wall one day, "suddenly" unable to cope any longer. However, as noted in the film, while the crisis may appear sudden, that moment when a person "snaps" is really the culmination of an untenable situation that has been going on for a long time.
Why the Modern Workplace Promotes Burnout

The five individuals in the film suffered burnout due to work-related stress, which is the most typical scenario. But what is it about the modern workplace that pressures people beyond their limits? Key factors highlighted in the film include:

1. People are expected to work at a much faster pace than previously, while frequently having to put in longer hours and/or being closely monitored and evaluated based on a variety of performance metrics. In some workplaces, the pace is so high, they cannot even take a proper lunch break. As noted by one of the individuals in the film, it is the "having no choice in what you do" on any given day that "makes the stress unbearable"

2. Job duties are changing (and expanding) more frequently than before, and when combined with poor direction or guidance from management, it can cause a great deal of uncertainty and performance anxiety

3. Many jobs for which people are trained are being eliminated, thereby preventing many from fulfilling their skill-potential. This in turn can breed unhappiness and feelings of worthlessness

4. Deteriorating social support at home and at work
Are You Headed Toward Burnout?

In the U.K., work is the third leading cause of stress, trailing right behind bereavement and financial woes. In the U.S., work ranks second on the list of sources of significant stress.1

According to the film, nearly 7 million working days are lost each year in the U.K. to stress-related illnesses2 such as skin conditions, insomnia, heart disease, memory impairment, digestive problems, autoimmune disorders and depression, just to name a few. In reality, just about any ailment or disease can be triggered or worsened by stress. Symptoms of burnout include but are not limited to:3

    Physical exhaustion, signaled by chronic fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, impaired concentration, inattentiveness, physical illness and loss of appetite
    Emotional exhaustion, a "feeling of internal collapse," loss of perspective, detachment, irritability, frequent anger, loss of enjoyment, pessimism, increasing isolation, apathy and hopelessness
    Reduced performance and productivity despite best efforts, loss of self-esteem, feeling like a failure
    Depression

Frequently, people on the road toward burnout will turn to alcohol or other addictive substances in an effort to prop themselves up to avoid the inevitable. Sadly, one of the most serious side effects of burnout is suicide. If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a toll-free number: (800) 273-TALK (8255). Alternatively, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Preventing Burnout Is Easier Than Recovering From It

If you recognize the warning signs of burnout in yourself or someone you care about, remember this: Preventing burnout is a lot easier than recovering from it. Recovery usually takes time — six months or more is not uncommon. The five professionals in the film all eventually recovered, through a variety of different means, which highlights the need to be flexible enough to identify your unique needs.

Just as the circumstances that brought you to a crisis point will be unique, so will your recovery. That said, some basic guidelines can be given (see below). A key point that may initially be difficult to accept is that you need to change how you live. The way you've been living so far does not work, and merely taking a few weeks off, only to return right back to it, is rarely going to suffice.

For the featured professionals in the film, all of whom suffered "executive burnout" or burnout brought on by chronic work stress, part of the answer was a change in profession. For three of them, this involved going into business for themselves and doing more physically demanding work, as opposed to working in an office.
How to Reduce Work Stress and Prevent Burnout

If you feel you might be headed toward the proverbial wall, please consider addressing the situation before you break down completely. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter offers the following advice for those struggling with work stress.4 I've also added some of my own suggestions.

• Take inventory. Write down all of the situations that trigger stress in your life: situations that make you feel worried, anxious, frustrated or helpless. Keep adding to this list as you go along. Next to each item on the list, write down what you can do to reduce the stress it's generating, and implement those solutions whenever possible

• Just say no. Saying no is one of the best ways to protect your energy reserves. Avoid taking on new responsibilities or commitments while you're in recovery. If something must be done, see if you can delegate the task to someone else. Avoid the trap of thinking no one else will be able to do it as well as you. Sometimes "good enough" really is enough

• Schedule breaks and take time to socialize. Make sure you take breaks between projects, to give your mind and body time to recover. Also, be sure to schedule breaks on a daily basis, and do not take work home with you. Cultivating a social life is an important aspect of a well-balanced life, so avoid the temptation to make work your sole focus

• Manage your electronic devices wisely. Smartphones, iPads and computers can be an enormous time drain if you don't manage their use well. The constant barrage of message notifications can be a major source of stress in and of itself. Turn down the stress by turning off all notifications on your devices; batch process your emails, at most four times a day, and restrict social media to a specific time or place rather than trying to "keep up" on an hour-by-hour basis

• Stop multitasking. Paradoxically, giving up multitasking is one of the key strategies of highly productive people. Focusing on one thing at a time will also make you calmer and less stressed out.

To learn more about why multitasking doesn't work, and how to increase your productivity by doing one thing at a time, please see my previous interview with Dr. Theo Compernolle, author of "Brain Chains: Discover Your Brain, to Unleash Its Full Potential in a Hyperconnected, Multitasking World"
The Importance of Maintaining Balance in Your Life
Download Interview Transcript

I recently interviewed Dr. Joseph Maroon on the topic of burnout. He is a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of "Square One: A Simple Guide to a Balanced Life," a book that grew out of his own struggles with burnout.

I've included a condensed version here for your convenience. To listen to the full interview, please see "How to Recover From Burnout By Rebalancing Your Life." The recovery plan detailed in "Square One" is based on William H. Danforth's work, which emphasizes that you have not one but four lives to live, a:

    Physical life
    Spiritual life
    Work life
    Relationship life

Maintaining balance between each of these four life segments is key. Each of these needs to be actively pursued and nourished on a daily basis.

    "We all know that you can't avoid stress in this world — divorce, our jobs; 40 percent of people have difficulty with job relationships," Maroon says. "What happens [is], you get an elevated cortisol level in your blood. What does [excess] cortisol do to the brain? It kills brain cells. What does it do to your memory? It reduces memory, our tissues and everything else.

    That's what excess chronic unremitting stress [causes], which is what I personally went through. It's incredible depression. Most doctors think depression is [treatable] with antidepressants. I have no doubt that physical activity is the most effective antidepressant we can use …

    [It] gets all the neurotransmitters back into order — your dopamine, your serotonin and your acetylcholine. The point is we can't escape adversity. We can't escape stress. But what happened to me is I didn't recognize how bad off I was in a unidimensional life."

How to Regain Balance and Heal Burnout

Based on these four life segments, you can see that to prevent or recover from burnout, you need:

    Exercise and a healthy diet that optimizes mitochondrial function and limits inflammation (physical nourishment)
    Mindfulness or some form of spiritual practice (spiritual nourishment)
    Ideally, work that suits your personality and gives you meaning and purpose; at bare minimum, strategies to control your day-to-day work stress (work-related pursuits)
    Family time and social contacts, and/or a hobby or volunteer work (relationship-related pursuits)

In a nutshell, recovering from burnout (or avoiding it in the first place) boils down to finding and maintaining a balance between your work life, physical activities, relationships and spirituality or mindfulness. As noted by Maroon:

    "You need exercise. You need a degree of meditation and spirituality … If you look at people who live to be centenarians … They all have in common a healthy diet and work. They work hard, which is their physical activity … They control stress with, usually, a very strong family unit, spirituality, religion or church. All those things are mindfulness. All reduce stress, the excess cortisol, and try to keep our bodies in balance."

To this, I would add a fifth life category that needs balance, and that is sleep. Sleep deprivation dramatically impairs your body's ability to handle stress, and has absolutely no redeeming consequences. Working rather than sleeping will not allow you to get ahead or accomplish more. It's only going to make matters worse. Treating your sleep as "sacred time" that cannot be infringed upon can go a long way toward managing your overall stress and maintaining balance in your life.
Finding Work-Life Balance Is Worth Every Effort

On the whole, leading a balanced life is not rocket science, but it can still be difficult to do. It's much easier, actually, to focus on work to the exclusion of everything else. Finding balance takes a bit of work. It may require finding and setting new boundaries, which may feel unfamiliar and maybe even a bit frightening at first. The alternative, however, is far worse than any discomfort you might experience as you strive for balance.

Arianna Huffington is perhaps one of the most well-known public personas who suffered burnout — and wrote a book about it. In "Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder," Huffington, who is the chairman, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, details her downward spiral, and her journey back to health.

Her self-reflection resulted in a new definition of success, which includes a "third metric" besides the two conventional ones: money and power. This third metric consists of four pillars:

    Health and well-being. If you sacrifice your health and well-being in the pursuit of success, you're really paying an insanely high price. The result of this sacrifice includes everything from diabetes to heart disease, and other stress-related afflictions like depression, alcoholism or drug addiction
    Wisdom. As Huffington says: "We have a lot of very smart leaders around making terrible decisions. The problem is not that they don't have a high IQ; the problem is that they are not connected with their inner wisdom. Taking time to connect with the source of our inner wisdom and strength is essential"
    Joy and childlike wonder. It's also important to bring joy into your everyday life and to connect with the sense that you are part of "something larger." This includes appreciating ordinary beauty and small everyday miracles
    Giving. No complete life is ever lived just for oneself.

When you integrate giving, wonder, wisdom and well-being together with the first two metrics of money and power, you can really have a complete life, filled with meaning and purpose.
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Friday, 23 June 2017

How Public Private Partnerships Can Create Jobs Restoring Degraded Land For Unemployed Galamseyers

One of the arguments often made by small-scale miners against banning small-scale gold mining in Ghana, is that they create jobs in rural Ghana.

It is an argument we must reject - because if we continue to tolerate an industry jam-packed with selfish and dishonest  bribe-givers, who corrupt officials of the regulatory bodies that  oversee gold mining in Ghana, we will wake up one day to discover that all our streams, rivers and ground water sources have been poisoned by heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

As things now stand, we can actually provide jobs immediately, for cooperatives made up of  young people employed by registered small-scale gold miners and the promoters of galamsey mining operations across Ghana - in land restoration initiatives led by private-sector entities such as A Rocha, Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies, and other entities that do landscaping in Ghana.

We urge our nation's leaders  to hold talks with the wrealthy oil producing nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), all of which have massive carbon footprints, to fund a low-carbon development agro-forestry tree-planting initiative  in Ghana to neutralise some of their collective carbon footprint.

It is said that nothing ventured nothing gained. As a people with imagination let us explore this green economy possibility now. It could change the fortunes of rural Ghana overnight. Literally.

To inspire our nation's current leaders, who have shown by deeds, not words, that they are determined to preserve what is left of our nation's natural heritage, this blog is posting a culled Guardian.com article written by Kathy Watson, who is head of programme development at the World Agroforestry Centre - that was first published and posted on Agroforestry World - about the inspiring story of a land restoration project in Tigray, Ethiopia, which has stopped the migration of young people there to urban areas in Ethiopia and is providing wealth and jobs for local people in Tigray.

Please read on:

"Land restoration in Ethiopia: 'This place was abandoned ... This is incredible to me'

By Kathy Watson

Wednesday 21 June 2017 10.30 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 21 June 2017 10.31 BST

Ethiopia is suffering from severe drought, but there is water in Gergera. 20 years of restoring its hills and river valley has brought life back to this area of the Tigray region in the country’s far north.

The work has been painstaking, complex and multidimensional and continues to this day. But the hard-won results offer up two key lessons. We know now that landscape restoration in drylands hinges on water management. And we know, just as importantly, that restoration can create a base for better livelihoods and jobs for youth who formerly left in droves.

Government ministers visited the revitalised watershed on 31 May 2017 after signing a memo of understanding to establish a National Agroforestry Platform to support climate-resilient green growth and transformation. Over 40 prominent figures attended, including ministers of state Kaba Urgesa and Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, Wubalem Tadesse of the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, Fassil Kebede, adviser to the minister of agriculture, and Eleni Gabre Madhin, founder of Ethiopia’s commodity exchange and representatives of embassies, development agencies, and civil society groups such as Oxfam, Farm Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Packard.

    I know this place. It was abandoned and untouched. This is very incredible to me
    Eyasu Abraha, Ethiopia’s minister of agriculture and natural resources

Gergera watershed covers 1382 hectares in the kebele (Ethiopia’s smallest administrative unit) of Hayelom in Atsbi-Wonberta district in the eastern zone of Tigray. The visit began at the head of the valley where community leaders had gathered. Alighting and looking around, Ethiopia’s minister of agriculture and natural resources Eyasu Abraha was visibly moved. “I know this place. It was abandoned and untouched. This is very incredible to me,” he said.

The group stood under tall trees, bathed by bird song, with luscious grasses and pools of clean water at their feet. So that it can regenerate, this part of Gergera has long been closed to cattle. “The first thing you notice is the change of vegetation,” said World Agroforestry Centre’s director general Tony Simons, pointing out a Sclerocarya birrea, the Marula tree which has a nutritious plum-like fruit with a kernel with oil prized for cosmetics by firms such as the Body Shop.
Arid land to a fertile Eden: permaculture lessons from Portugal
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By consent of the community, only cutting and carrying grass to livestock and beekeeping are permissible in this upper catchment. Indeed, the wooded hillsides are rife with carefully placed hives. Gabions (mesh cages filled with rocks) built by members of the community slow the rain water when it courses down the chasm, which, formerly too deep to cross, is gradually filling as earth builds up behind the structures. Critically, this earth now retains rainwater, which seeps into the ground and emerges as groundwater in the valley where 1,000 hectares of land are now under small scale irrigation. Meanwhile, more tree cover on the hills means that when surface water does reach the valley, it does so with less destructive velocity.

It was not always like this. Landscape degradation in Ethiopia is centuries old. A painting from 1951 in Ethiopia’s National Museum shows erosion devouring arable land. “During the period of the Emperor and the Derg, degradation was so severe that once we were forced to dismantle a church at risk of being swept away!” said elder Khasay Gebreselaasie, referring to the regime which ruled from 1974 for 17 years. But the fall of the Derg brought a groundswell of activity to address agricultural productivity in an area once struck by famine.
A painting from 1951 in Ethiopia’s National Museum shows erosion devouring arable land.
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A painting from 1951 in Ethiopia’s National Museum shows erosion devouring arable land. Photograph: Cathy Watson/ICRAF

“The people took the initiative to rehabilitate the environment,” explained the administrator of Hayelom, Habtom Woreta. “That is when Irish Aid came in and we became a model watershed for the region and the world. You can see how the area is transformed! Biodiversity has increased and we have hand dug wells at 1m deep because of recharge. And none of this is in vain. Now we have TVs in the houses. Before we slept on mats, now we have beds.”

Once a hot spot for the perilous out migration of youth, even that has changed. When Irish Aid representative Aileen O’Donovan asked “about job creation for the youth, who are motivated but restless”, Kebele leader Tsuruy proudly said. “We have 1,070 youngsters, of whom 506 are employed due to restoration”.

“This is music to my ears,” said Abraha, the minister of agriculture, whose government recently completed a rural job opportunity strategy.

Down in the valley, young men were building gabions to deflect a gully away from the fields that would be destroyed if the water flowed unchecked after the rains. They are paid under Ethiopia’s cash transfer scheme, the Productive Safety Net Programme, to which the UK contributes over £50m a year. They also donate 40 days of their time for free, both as a social obligation and in anticipation of receiving reclaimed land from the state. Asked why they were doing this, they shouted, “to earn daily bread and stop the loss of land. The land was going!”
'No one leaves any more': Ethiopia's restored drylands offer new hope
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There were more young men as well as women at the rural resource centre, a former government nursery now supported by the World Agroforestry Centre, which guides the restoration. They earn their living selling trees, particularly avocado, and 13 fodder grass species. They currently have tree seedlings and vegetable plantlets for sale worth altogether $11,523 as well as $10,000 saved in the bank.

As the trip wrapped up, the community served bread and honey from the recovering hills. State minister for livestock and fisheries Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes said “what has been seen today is job creation” and “cash transfers improving the lives of the poor”. And Kiros Hagdu, who leads the World Agroforestry Centre in Ethiopia, said his centre was committed to evidence-based restoration of farms and landscapes with the government and communities and that now was “the time to scale-up the successes nationally”.

The minister of agriculture had the last word. “Agroforestry is becoming the heart and the mind of the government,” said Abraha. “What we see here is really the beginning of transformation. All those youngsters who wanted to migrate will have productive land.”

This blogpost was first published on Agroforestry World. Cathy Watson is head of program development at the World Agroforestry Centre.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter.

© 2017 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Investopedia: What does 'Two And Twenty' mean?

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Two And Twenty

What does 'Two And Twenty' mean

Two and twenty is a type of compensation structure that hedge fund managers typically employ in which part of compensation is performance-based. This phrase refers to how hedge fund managers charge a flat 2% of total asset value as a management fee and an additional 20% of any profits earned.

BREAKING DOWN 'Two And Twenty'

The 2% management fee is paid to hedge fund managers regardless of the fund’s performance. A hedge fund manager with $1 billion of assets under management (AUM) earns $20 million even if the fund performs poorly. The 20% profit fee is only paid once the fund achieves a level of performance that exceeds a certain profit threshold, typically around 8%. Some investors, who have never paid the 20% fee because there haven’t been any profits, consider the 2% management fee to be too high relative to the overall performance of many funds.

Famous value investor Warren Buffett has opined in a letter from February 25th, 2017 that " My calculation, admittedly very rough, is that the search by the elite for superior investment advice has caused it, in aggregate, to waste more than $100 billion over the past decade. Figure it out: Even a 1% fee on a few trillion dollars adds up. Of course, not every investor who put money in hedge funds ten years ago lagged S&P returns. But I believe my calculation of the aggregate shortfall is conservative." According to Buffett, very wealthy investors are accustomed to superior service and products in other areas of life, and they mistakenly think superior products and services are also available in financial services, which in his view is a mistake. They end of wasting trillions of dollars on overly complex and ineffectual hedge fund strategies. (See also: Warren Buffett's Annual Shareholder Letter for 2017.)
When High Fees Are Justified

One the world’s most successful hedge funds since 1994 has been Renaissance Technologies, led by Jim Simmons, a former NSA code breaker. At $65 billion in AUM, his fund generates $3.2 billion in annual management fees. Because of his remarkable outsized returns over the years, he also charges a 44% profit fee. It is estimated that his hedge fund returned an average 71.8% between 1994 and 2014. The fund's worst performance between 2001 and 2013 was a 21% gain. When asked by investors why his profit fee is so high, he responds by telling them they can leave if they want – but few do.
No Longer Two and Twenty

Due to their underperformance or inconsistent performance, many hedge fund managers have come under pressure to reduce their fees. Investors have been redeeming assets with poor-performing hedge funds at a record pace, with a large portion being reallocated to larger funds with stronger track records. To stop the bleeding, hedge fund managers have been complying. In 2015, the average fee arrangement stands at 1.5% of assets and 17.7% of profits. However, the top-performing hedge funds still charge 20% or more.

Investors are not the only ones complaining about high profit fees. Hedge fund managers are also coming under pressure from politicians who want to reclassify the profit fees as ordinary income for tax purposes. As of 2016, their profit fees, also referred to as carried interest, is classified as capital gains, which are taxed more favorably. Fund managers contend that carried interest is not a salary, but that it is an at-risk return on investment payable based on performance.
Performance Fee
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A performance fee is a payment made to a fund manager for generating positive returns. The performance fee is generally calculated as a percentage of investment profits, often both realized and unrealized. It is largely a feature of the hedge fund industry, where performance fees have made many hedge fund managers among the wealthiest people in the world.
BREAKING DOWN 'Performance Fee'

The basic rationale for performance fees is that they align the interests of fund managers and their investors, and are an incentive for fund managers to generate positive returns. A "2 and 20" annual fee structure - a management fee of 2% of the fund's net asset value and a performance fee of 20% of the fund's profits - has become standard practice among hedge funds. Critics of performance fees, including Warren Buffett, opine that the skewed structure of performance fees - where managers share in the funds' profits but not in their losses - only tempts fund managers to take inordinate risks to generate high returns.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Why Is Former President Kufour Still Fawning Over Western Politicians Presiding Over Racist Systems?

Not too long ago I decided that I would no longer allow myself to be upset by the revisionists of our nation's history who use half truths, twisted facts and pure lies to denigrate President Nkrumah.

I came to that decision,  because it struck me one day - whiles listening to a diatribe against Nkrumah being broadcast during  a morning current affairs discussion programme - that despite the best efforts of his political opponents, in the main, the vast majority of the ordinary people of Ghana now accept that Nkrumah was indeed a truly great and selfless leader, who devoted himself to ordinary people and transforming Ghanaian society.

They have also accepted that Nkrumah was neither corrupt  nor self-seeking - and that he did not amass wealth whiles serving as Ghana's leader. The question there is: Can one say exactly the same thing about the golden age of business for Kufuor & Co, truthly,  during his greed-filled presidency? No.

Consequently, it no longer bothers me when I hear Nkrumah's detractors spewing their many untruths about him. Why bother when the masses can see monuments of Nkrumah's legacy all around them across the nation - and Nkrumah is in the Pantheon of 20th century greats? Cool.

However, one can understand those Nkrumahist politicians who still feel compelled to respond to such unfair criticism of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, whenever it is made by anti-Nkrumah politicians.

When members of the International Democratic Union (IDU)  called on former President Kufuor whiles in Ghana for the first meeting in sub-Saharan African of  the IDU's Executive and Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, the former president  surprisingly launched a verbal attack on Nkrumah.

The irony for me, is that  reading through some of the declassified National Security Security documents about President Nkrumah, from the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson eras, one notices that whiles American officials were invariably contemptous of the childlike-fawning of Nkrumah's political opponents whom they interacted with, clearly, all the Western leaders understood that Nkrumah was the one African leader who posed a real threat to their nations' continued hold on Africa's resources and their perpetual preying on the colonised minds of many Africans. 

Thus, getting rid of Nkrumah was a top-priority security matter for them in Africa: for they understood that in the long-term his radical ideas would turn Africa into a global power one day - the last thing they wanted -  if he was not stopped.

Sadly, in telling his visitors that Nkrumah destroyed Ghana's economy,  what escaped former President Kufuor was that it was the political forebears of the selfsame Western members of the IDU, who deliberately brought Ghana's economy to its knees  - simply to create public disaffection against Nkrumah's government: and make his overthrow by their local lackeys more  likely and possible.

And of course he forgets that his party's political forebears went globetrotting bad-mouthing Ghana just  to dissuade investors from coming to invest here. And that those who betrayed the black race by overthrowing Nkrumah were paid U.S.$13 million and promised more if they succeeded in killing him. What perfidy.

It  also seems to have escaped former president Kufuor that his own party is today adopting Nkrumah's import substitution industrialisation policy to boost growth in the economy and create jobs for young people - something that his provincial-minded  political forebears criticised as white elephant projects. Incredible. Talk about shortsightedness.

And it is also instructive that former President Kufuor developed a severe case of amnesia about his own anti-democratic political antecedents - regarding the fact that in 1958, despite  Ghana being a functioning multiparty democracy, his party's political forebears plotted to overthrow Nkrumah's Convention People's Party (CPP), just a year after independence from the British occupiers of our country, and that it was only the death in a plane crash of the leader of the coup plotters, Brigadier Michel, that aborted that planned coup. Egregious hypocrisy.

And worst of all - in an age when  terrorism has spawned draconian laws in all the Western democracies, which severely curtail individual freedoms, and which are far more anti-democratic    than all the anti-terrorism laws enacted by Nkrumah's government  -  and all of which one supports, one must hasten to add, being someone who always strongly condemns the cowardly extremists who engage in acts of terrorism around the globe - former President Kufuor condemns them as if they were abominations.

Yet, all those anti-terrorism laws were passed by Parliament to protect Ghanaian society and stop the murderous campaign of bomb-throwing and  intimidation by the selfsame Kufuor's party's political forebears, the vile tribal-supremacist and separatist National Liberation Movement (NLM). Such is life. Poor man.

What is the matter with these stooges of neoocolonialism in Africa, I ask? Haaba. Wake up, Oseikrom-Ogyakrom-Ghanaman. The question is: Why, and to what end, in the 21st century,  is a black African politician who once led his country still fawning over Western politicians presiding over racist systems - and many of whom are more likely than not secretly contemptuous of the black race? Ebeeii.





Top Universities/Laura Tucker: Most Helpful Apps for Students


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There’s (almost) an app for everything nowadays, and this can make student life easier, cheaper, safer and more fun. Whether you want help with taking notes, revising, waking up on time or keeping fit, read on for our pick of the apps for students…
1. Lecture capture apps

Lecture capture

Just a few years ago, students attending lectures would have to spend the entire time scribbling wildly on notepads, in order not to miss any vital bit of information. Then along came technology, and now, lecture capture apps are a reality. Although the recording of lectures has been common practice within universities for a while, lecture capture apps allow you to record and listen back to classes without having to spend extra money on expensive recording equipment.

SoundNote (iOS) is a popular lecture capture app for iPad users, acting as a notepad and audio recorder, so you can store an entire lecture in both visual and audio form. If it's a whiteboard you want to capture, however, Office Lens allows users to photograph a whiteboard, convert it to a PDF, Word or PowerPoint file and store all the data via OneNote or OneDrive for catch-up and revision purposes.

Other than SoundNote, one of the most popular lecture capture apps – keeping it simple with the name – is Lecture Capture (iOS), but Notes Plus (iOS) and Audio Memos Free – The Voice Recorder (iOS) are also of good quality.
2. Revision apps

Revision apps

The revision app is in big business this century, and it seems technology has achieved what we never thought possible: making revision fun.

If you’re a flash card fanatic you might like to consider StudyBlue, a student app which uses your course information to create a selection of card sets for related revision. You can also make their own flashcards and test yourself.

Another useful revision app is GoConqr, which offers resources to create revision charts, mind maps, flash cards, notes and quizzes, as well as the ability to connect and collaborate with friends, classmates or students from around the world. Another choice is the aptly named Revision App (iOS), covering all education levels, while Exam Countdown (iOS) keeps track of the days until each of your exams.
3. Exam prep apps

Exam prep

There are also student apps now available for exams such as the MCAT, GMAT, LSAT and GRE tests, which are used by many graduate schools as part of the admissions process. BenchPrep uses social networking-style functionality which allows users to connect with other test-takers and peruse revision materials with quizzes, notes and more. You can also use the app to track your learning progress.

TCY Exam Prep (Android) is another exam prep app, aimed at business students in India and the US. It features study resources for MBA/CAT tests, GRE, GATE and bank exams.
4. Student planner apps

Student planner

Organization is key for success and wellbeing at university, and student planner apps are becoming increasingly popular. As well as saving on paper, many student planner apps also send reminders and alerts straight to your phone or device.

Popular student planner apps include Timetable (Android), an app featuring a sharp and clean interface which you can map your timetable onto with ease. For more familiar-looking planner apps for students, consider those with a more traditional spreadsheet-style layout, such as My Class Schedule (Android) or Class Timetable (iOS).
5. Bibliography helper apps

Bibliography

If you’ve ever spent hours writing up a hefty bibliography, you’ll know just how much work goes into making sure you’ve included all the information in the right places in the right format. EasyBib is an extremely useful app for students, which creates an academic reference for any book simply from a scan of the book’s barcode. As bibliography styles vary depending on where you study, EasyBib offers referencing in MLA, APA and Chicago styles. Simply take a picture of the barcode or type the title of the book into your device, et voila, professional referencing done!
6. Video call apps

Video call apps

Most students will be aware of video calling software such as Skype and FaceTime by now, and this technology is becoming even more easy-access as computer companies integrate quality cameras into their products and internet connection speeds get faster. As the overall technology improves, so too do the versions available on smaller devices. Using FaceTime on an iPhone has become as easy as making a call, while Skyping on a tablet makes it brilliantly possible to cook dinner/browse the web/compose a text while talking to your parents back home. Other video call apps include Fring and Tango.

For tips on how to conduct a successful Skype interview (for a job, internship or admissions interview), check out this blog post.
7. Student safety apps

Student safety

A number of apps for students have been developed promoting personal safety, for use both on- and off-campus. These student apps help to keep users safe if out alone at night. The Circle of Six app works on both Android and iOS, and was designed for university students to keep connected with close friends. The app is particularly useful for locating lost friends on nights out and also allows users to send their circle of six friends an instant call for help at the touch of a button. The GPS tracker will mark your location on your friends’ devices, ensuring you’ll always be able to find one another if necessary.

Other student apps to promote safety include bSafe, Bugle, React Mobile and GuardianSentral (iOS), which is an on-campus guardian app being road-tested at select institutions.
8. Wake-up apps

Wake-up apps

If you happen to be a persistent snoozer who always wakes up about 20 minutes too late for lectures, then Alarmy: Sleep If You Can is the app for you. Alarmy is an alarm app for students which requires users to complete small tasks (such as taking a photo of something specific or shaking the phone up and down a number of times) before the alarm turns itself off. Not only will this mean you’re alert and raring to go, Alarmy will also give you the latest weather update so you can decide whether to arm yourself with an umbrella before leaving home.

Meanwhile Sleep Cycle aims to correct its users’ sleeping pattern by waking them up during their lightest sleep phase. The app does this by monitoring both movement and the time the user went to sleep. This means you should wake up feeling less groggy in the mornings, and you might also get an extra 10 minutes of breakfast time.
9. Responsible-drinking apps

Responsible drinking apps

You may be a student, but that doesn’t have to mean becoming irresponsible when it comes to alcohol. The responsible-drinking app WiseDrinking charts how much you’ve been drinking, gives you suggestions about how much is safe, lets you know the optimum time to call a cab, and maps your location in relation to public transport services.

Using inputs of gender, weight and height, the app calculates blood alcohol content (BAC) levels by calculating the amount, type and timing of alcohol consumed and when the user’s last meal was. Although the app is entirely dependent on user input and therefore should only be used as a guideline, WiseDrinking can help you to stay aware of your consumption and give you guidance should you feel a little worse for wear.

If you want something a little more scientifically concrete, then you might consider investing in Alcohoot, a smart breathalyzer that attaches to your smartphone and tells you when you’re edging over the sensible limit.
10. Fun fitness apps

Fitness apps

For those who would normally find running boring, the app Zombies, Run! is a fun (and funny) way to motivate yourself when jogging. The app plays your own music playlists alongside recorded audio depicting a zombie apocalypse, in which you must run from the infected. More than a little terrifying, yes, but as a super-intense workout it’s hard to beat!

If you’d like to keep your fitness routine zombie-free, other fitness apps include Nike Training Club (iOS), Sworkit, Moves, Fitbit (iOS), JeFit, RunKeeper, Strava, 7 Minute Workout and MapMyFitness. If you decide to get them all, Nudge is another app that collates all your fitness data and stores it in one place. This means you can keep track of your nutrition, exercise, hydration and sleep, without checking the progress reports from each app.
11. Healthy eating apps

Healthy eating apps

If you’re keen to eat healthily while keeping to a student budget, consider downloading a few healthy eating apps. Examples I’ve come across which are perfect apps for students include Rockin Ramen (iOS), a student app featuring a number of nutritious recipes with ramen as a main ingredient, and MealBoard (iOS), an app which plans healthy meals, grocery shops and recipes based on what you’ve got in the fridge.
Other helpful student apps

    Oxford English Dictionary – to look up words on the go (free with adverts, or paid with no ads).
    Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus – dictionary and word-finder for those on a budget; also works offline.
    Dropbox for mobile – access and edit documents, upload photos and play your own videos anywhere.
    Penultimate – a handwriting app made by EverNote, allowing users to write with a digital pen and upload the work to any device.
    Skout – a friend-finder app helping students meet new people in their locality.
    Socrative – student app for quizzing and assessment.

This blog post was originally published in September 2014. It was updated in October 2016.

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Written by Laura Tucker
Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.
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19 Comments
Billion B 3 weeks ago

I think an important "safety" App for students in the UK is the SelfEvident App, which allows you to report incidents directly to the police, or other organisations, using your smartphone. It is designed to make it easier report incidents such as sexual assault, hate crime, street violence, cyber bullying, as well as giving the user more confidence -https://www.witnessconfident.org/self-evident-app
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Ashish T 4 weeks ago

People always love to see creatives as you have shared. Wonderful insights here at you blog. Very informative post.
Nice collaboration, keep it up.
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Jack F 1 month ago

Really a list of helpful apps for a student, I've been using SoundNote for a while now to easily record the lectures and my professor has been suggesting other students as well to use that.
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James G 2 months ago

Really, Mobile Apps are very useful for the students, teachers & Parents. Many educational institutes, schools, college & universities are using school mobile apps & ERP software for good management system & better communication with parent teacher & student
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Matt H 4 months ago

I think an important "safety" App for students in the UK is the SelfEvident App, which allows you to report incidents directly to the police, or other organisations, using your smartphone. It is designed to make it easier report incidents such as sexual assault, hate crime, street violence, cyber bullying, as well as giving the user more confidence -https://www.witnessconfident.org/self-evident-app
Matt H.
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Speedy E 4 months ago

You can find apps for anything or any type now days because of development in advance information technology and fast 4g internet where you can easily find your answers or get help online or study online in colleges/Universities make your career portfolio online don’t need to traveling anywhere for work just start home based work apps are available you just need to identify what you need. You can make your note or task sheet as a reminder at Any.do where you can create to-do-list
Mailbox: which help you to manage your emails and also create reminders for you.
Drop box: Best Storage place where you can store your assignments or personal data online in your account.
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Sunder S 6 months ago

Communication between schools and parents is turning out to be a lot easier with the new school phone apps that are there on offer. School Communication Apps is very helpful for teachers, parents adn for student too. Teno App a School Communication Apps which is free a app can be used for such sommunications. know more about this app at https://tenoapp.com/
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Rodrigo C 8 months ago

Great tips!
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Jinjuta P 10 months ago

I got through my first year of college through a lot of help from the locals, as i was a freshman move-in. I got a lot of help mostly via Getmii application. It's basically a place for people to go on and exchange everything they would like, from ideas to plane tickets! if they want lol. I usually go on to ask for nice cafes to get coffee, new bars to find new friends, and nice nail salons. But some people go on to arrange sell and purchase too. It's very helpful and convenient. Check it out guys! you will love it :-)
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Patricia C 1 year ago

Hi!
I wanted to relate to the post focused on time management apps: https://www.topuniversities.com/blog/top-time-management-apps-students-2015 but it's not possible to comment. So I write here :)
I would like to ask you for your opinion about http://kanbantool.com/ In this app you can manage your tasks in general but I am especially amazed by the time management functions. The time tracking helps me to control my working time. I can compare different tasks and estimate how much time would I need for them. I used to have problems with planning my time, and now I can do (almost ;) ) everything on time.
Do you have similar experiences?
Greetings,
Patricia :)
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Manuel D

Hi Patricia I tried the tool that you suggested, Kanban and it looks quite good and i might use it. I would say though is that it is very generic planning tool, you need to come up with all the tasks yourself. If you want something that generates your study plan have a look at Planner Pig (http://www.plannerpig.com). It's more geared for professional students but can be used by anyone that needs to generate a plan for their exams and track progress.
Eric M 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this useful information about most helpful apps for students. Safety Apps are very helpful for School management and as well as school students also. Because these kind of Safety Apps helps us in any kind of trouble and some kind of critical problem especially for girls and women. If the school administration wants a safe environment in the school, then they should have used these kind of safety apps for the students, teachers and staff members' self protection. Like 911cellular provides a best Safety Apps for the human community which is used both emergency or non-emergency alerting system pressing only one button.
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Eric M 1 year ago

There are so many no of safety apps are available because Self-Defense is necessary for everybody which helps you in any situation.There are some best self-defense apps for emergency notifications & protect your self with smart way. Safety app service providers provides new technology based campus safety app which is very helpful to students & teachers in any emergency.
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Ankit J 2 years ago

I like it Apps no doubt good for education purpose...
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Sam O 2 years ago

Interesting for me and very useful.
Thanks to author!
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Laura T

Glad it could be of use! Thanks for reading :)
anny l 2 years ago

look nice
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Katie M 2 years ago

Hey, great post indeed and I used Evernote a lot, which was GREAT!

I also recently discovered Dragdis, which is great for sorting out research material and compiling information for different arguments. Plus, Dragdis just introduced collaboration folders, which are great for group projects as you can create a folder, share it with your peers and then co-create a library of useful readings/ materials to include in the project. Is anyone else using it for studying?
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Thomas M

As someone with exams coming up I've tried pretty much every memory technique and app available and all sorts of tips to improve my revision but the tried and tested method of flash card testing and repeating this over time is the only thing that makes information stick in my head.
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