Tag Archives: mobile

Back to School – There’s and App for That

Back to School

Its that time of year, back to school. And going back school means being prepared for the challenges of getting an education. Unfortunately many black students fail not because they are not intelligent or capable but because they are unprepared for the basic challenges of school. Our students do not come to school with the skills to take effective notes or plan their time properly. This alone is enough to kill a college career.

This is compounded by the failure of the public school system to properly prepare African-American students for the academic environment at the collegiate level. While the numbers are poor across all racial groups, black and Latino students are far behind their white counter parts. Nationwide only about a third of high school students are prepared for college level math and reading.

According to a report from National Assessment of Educational Progress  32 percent of white students and 47 percent of Asian students scored at proficient or above in math. Only 7 percent of Africans-American and 12 percent of Latinos students scored as proficient.

The gap was also seen in reading with 46 percent of white students and 49 percent of Asian students scored at or above proficient, while only 17 percent of black students and 25 percent of Latino students seen as proficient. 

The stats indicate that less than half of all students have the necessary skills to succeed in college. So, as you see, all students not just African-Americans, need help. So in the age of technology we turn to apps to make the transition to college a successful one.

Regardless of whether you’re a middle schooler or working on your doctorate you can find an app that will make things a little easier for you. You may need help taking notes or keeping a schedule. There is an app for that.

Google Keep

Taking notes is the first step to study and key to retention of classroom information. Google Keep is a note taking app that helps the student to keep track of information. It is also a key tool if you are part of a study group. Using Google Keep group members can take and modify notes together, in real-time.

Keeping good notes and being part of study group is great. But only of you know how to schedule your time and avoid those parties. Time management is another key to a good education and good grades, oh ,and avoiding those all night cram sessions.

Google Keep is free and available for Apple and Android.

Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft launched the new To-Do app to replace the Wunderlist app. Basically Microsoft bought Wunderlist in 2015 and has decided to upgrade it with new features and a new name. To-Do lets you create simple to-do lists, set reminders, and keep track of projects.

One of the new features of Microsoft To-Do is the “My Day” feature. My Day encourages users to focus on daily tasks by refreshing the list every day. How you may ask? The app connects with the student’s Office 365 and Microsoft Outlook . Microsoft has included an intelligent suggestions feature to recommend tasks for each new day based on upcoming items or old entries. For the sake of fun Microsoft also lets you assign an emoji to easily tell tasks and suggestions apart and will sync across whatever devices you’re using To-Do on.

To-Do is free and available for Apple , Android, and Windows 10.

My Study Life

Students have a tendency to fail to plan. Its called being young. Time management is not a strength of many college students. My Study Life is a reminder and planning tool that can be key to academic planning and success. The designers of this app claim that it was built from the ground up with academia in mind. My Study Life app supports weekly and daily rotation timetables as well as traditional weekly schedules. Students can receive notifications regarding incomplete assignments, upcoming classes and exams using the app. Its all about time management and task reminders that syncs across all devices and works even when the student is off line.

My Study Life is free available for Apple, Android  and Windows platforms.


If you can’t write effectively you won’t make it in college. Yeah, you could pay someone to write your papers for you but what happens when you  get a job? You need to learn to write and write good. That’s where Scrivner comes in for the college student. Scrivner is an extremely popular app used by many writers and scholars. This app requires a little patience to learn all its capabilities but once you get there it is a beauty to work with. It can organize you project and does just about everything else you need to research, write papers, master or doctoral thesis, a novel or what every you instructor requires. But don’t bother buying the app if you don’t have the program on your laptop or desktop computer.  You can buy the program for Apple or Windows laptops and desk computers here.

Scrivner app for mobile costs $20.00 an is available for both Apple and Windows platforms.

Google Slides

Every student will eventually be tasked with creating a PowerPoint slide presentation. And when you get that first job you can bet someone will ask for one.

Regardless of your major you will have to work in a group and you will have to combine multiple PowerPoint slides from other students. And of course not everyone will come through with their slides. Don’t bother arguing with them. Simply tell them to use that smartphone to download this app and get to work no matter where they are. Google Slides allows you to monitor their progress through your own Google Slides app. The app will update the presentation whenever a change is made.

Google Slides is free and  available on Android and Apple.


Students that are looking at studying math or engineering, astrophysics, or accounting or some other number focused field need a good calculator app. WolframAlpha is dedicated to help those students who are and are not hardcore physics geeks. The company likes the name “Computational Knowledge Engine.” If you check out the home page you will see that it claims to be able to handle everything from basic math to socio-economic data to meterological calculations to physics! WOW!

WolframAlpha is $2.99 and available for Windows 10 and Apple

Now you know.



Online Holiday Shopping 2015 – Shopping While Black

canstockphoto18667912Racial profiling is a reality. People of color have suffered from the idea that we are untrustworthy and dishonest by nature. Nothing could father from the truth. As a result of this hideous myth black people are more likely to be wrongly accused, wrongly prosecuted and wrongly convicted. And even with a trillion dollars of consumer buying power we face racial stereotypes even when spending our money. Its called shopping while black. The result is that many black people have taken to shopping online.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you shop being black is a negative mark against the African-American consumer. Notable African-Americans including Oprah Winfrey and Condolezza Rice have been mistreated simply for shopping while black.

Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson dropped by a Schwanke-Kasten jewelry store in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin shopping for a Rolex watch.  The staff of the store reacted to the tall black man by refusing him entry into the store and calling police.  The police verified Henson’s identity but the store employees still insisted that the police supervise the professional athlete while he shopped.

The sad truth of this is that research indicates that black people are no more likely to shoplift than any other ethnic group. Statistics indicate that shoplifting is spread fairly evenly across all colors and economic categories. 

A recent Gallup poll revealed that African-Americans felt  more discriminated against while shopping than doing anything else. Twenty-four percent said they experienced discrimination in a retail setting, compared to while eating out, 20 percent, at work or during police encounters, 18 percent, and while obtaining health care ,12 percent.

Blacks have moved their shopping online to avoid the hassle and embarrassment of dealing with race while shopping. African-Americans are more likely to shop online using mobile devices than other racial groups. So the move to express our buying power online was a small one. However it should be noted that the overall trend among consumers is to shop online. African-Americans continue to be the fastest growing demographic of online shoppers.

African-Americans are savvy shoppers. According to Experian black people are deal seekers and 28 percent more likely to respond to social media advertising and 14 percent more likely to use social media to tell friends of products and companies they like.

Black people are also more likely to shop online using a mobile device. African-Americans have a higher mobile aptitude compared to other groups and use their mobile devices, smartphones, to comparison shop, to price match and investigate products. And after all is said and done African-Americans are actually more likely to buy online.

A 2013 report from Adweek showed black people shop online more than other groups. According to the magazine higher income African-Americans shop online in record numbers. Half of black people surveyed made at least 30 percent of their retail purchases online. And at least 22 percent of high income blacks made at least half of their retail purchases online.

Holiday shopping is bad enough without being treated suspiciously when you walk in a store. A trillion dollars in buying power is nothing to laugh at. Using the Internet permits black people to shop and buy with dignity. Blacks are showing our willingness to stay away from brick and mortar stores when we feel we are not being treated properly.




Celebrity Cyber Report – Jay-Z, Dave Chappelle, LeBron James

LeBron James Uninterrupted & Unstoppable


LeBron James

Pro athletes will tell you nothing is more frustrating than seeing snippets of an answer to a question in the newspapers that end up being misleading or out of context . Its a major issued between athletes and sport reporters.

That’s all about to change thanks to NBA star LeBron James. James is launching a new social media platform named LeBron James’ Uninterrupted.  The platform will allow sports stars to speak out unfiltered and uninterrupted.

Sports stars have transcended beyond just athletes to become celebrities with commercials, endorsement deals and even television and movie roles. Warner Bros. and Turner Sports have seen this transition and decided to invest $15.8 million in James’ platform. According to the Hollywood Reporter the idea was originally financed by James himself along with his manager Maverick Carter. The new money from Turner and Warner Bros. help will expand content, focus on big names in sports and expand to mobile, web, and social media platforms, and even to TV and film.

LeBron told the Hollywood Reporter “It’s giving athletes an opportunity to have a platform where they can speak about any issue. They don’t have to wait to be in front of a camera.”

Already Uninterrupted has been used by athletes to speak out. New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski updated his fans about his recent injury. Other athletes that have used the platform include Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams.

James has an already impressive entertainment presence. He has appeared in Amy Schumer’s summer hit Trainwreck and he and Carter have a partnership with Warner Bros. through their company Spring Hill Entertainment.

The partnership with Warner Bros. is impressive. Together the two companies are slated to create content across multiple platforms including the web, documentary and feature films and scripted and reality television. LeBron’s entertainment venture has an expanding project portfolio besides the Uninterrupted platform. This includes Disney XD’s inspirational series Becoming, the Starz’ breakout scripted comedy Survivor’s Remorse and an upcoming prime-time game show for NBC.

Another young black man without an advanced education making big business moves.

Jay-Z & Tidal Music



Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z has announced the hiring of a new CEO for his Tidal music streaming service. Starting in January Jeff Toig, a streaming music veteran will take over the reins of Tidal Music. Toig’s resume includes positions as chief business officer at Soundcloud and a founding role in Cricket Wireless’ streaming app Muve Music.

Jay-Z refuses to give in to the constant rumors and so-called expert analysis that predict that Tidal is dead or dying. Among the rumors is hints of a partnership with Samsung but nothing has been confirmed.  This is the third CEO in just over six months at Tidal. With a new CEO Jay-Z is hoping the veteran executive can spark new life in the artist owned venture.

What Jay-Z is doing is trying to do is compete in a highly competitive space with Apple Music, Spotify and other more established music streaming services. 

But the real interesting fact of this story is that a young black man educated on the streets of Brooklyn just hired a Harvard Business School graduate  to run one of his many business ventures! The world is changing.

Dave Chappelle & Yondr

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Dave Chappelle

Comedian Dave Chappelle, like many performers, have become fed up with the presence of cell phones at their performances. Because of the steady advancements in technology many performances are being recorded and shared on YouTube and other websites. Performers are also fed up with the distraction of phones ringing during performances.

 Chappelle has joined forced with the tech start-up Yondr to shut down cellphone users during his performances. Yondr makes cellphone cases that prevents people from using their cellphones inside the venue where he will be performing. The phone case locks once it enters a defined area. If the user wishes to use the phone they must leave the area causing the case to unlock.

Chappelle is booked to perform 13 sold-out shows at Thalia Hall in Chicago beginning on December 3rd. People attending the show will have to place their phones inside of Yondr’s smartphone sleeves before entering the venue.  





App of the Week – Sickweather

Sickweater-logoNo one enjoys being sick. And if we can avoid any situation where we might pick up something up we will. Sickweather helps you do just that. This app alerts you to illnesses in your area or areas where you maybe traveling to.  Sickweather scans social networks such as Twitter and Facebook for indicators or patterns of illness outbreaks. It permits the user to check for the potential of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain.

The nation is entering the winter cold and flu season and you can believe that someone around you is going to get it. Now this app will not identify that person directly but if you can find the flu hotspot before you get to it you stand a chance to avoid it by taking precautions. To give you an example you maybe able to see that your workplace is in the middle of flu outbreak with this app. Or you could report your workplace has a flu outbreak. Sickweather can alert you that your child’s school is having an outbreak. This app lets you find the germs and viruses before they find you.

Sickweather takes advantage of people who sometimes over share. You know the ones who will tell all their Facebook friends the French fries are cold at the burger place they frequent.  They will also tweet they have the flu or post to Facebook they are down with bronchitis. Whenever those posts and tweets are made publicly available by the user with geographic location information the app is able to track and map the information using a patent-pending algorithm.

People who become a member of Sickweather can report their illness anonymously directly to the map and forecast via the mobile app and website. Any illness that is reported will be matched to the sicknesses the app has already collected and is tracking. If you report symptoms or illnesses the site is not tracking that information will be processed by the algorithm to automatically make suggestions for expanding Sickweather’s tracking capabilities. The app allows you to connect with Facebook and Twitter to share the post with your friends if you haven’t already.

When sickness reports appear to aggregate close to one another at approximately the same time they are grouped as potential “storm” activity. Users of Sickweather can look at the live maps and see these storms illustrated by the ‘sick” balloon. You can also zoom in on the map and see the individual sick reports down to the street level.

Sickweather alerts are extracted from Facebook and Twitter by a patent-pending process. This real-time data allows the app to spot sickness outbreaks far in advance of traditional disease surveillance tools. Don’t be the last to know the flu is hitting your city, neighborhood or workplace hard. The user can sign up for Sickweather Alerts and get the word via email.

Sickweather is available on Apple and Android.