Saving, investing and making money with technology

Author: Alycia Gordan

Ten VR games you should be playing on your Android device right now

The concept of virtual reality has existed in the entertainment business for a long time. A few years ago, apart from a couple of cool demos, the concept was simply a delusion. Now, however, the industry is more stable, and we’re witnessing how developers are making the industry grow exponentially.  We find more games that are worth checking out. New titles are replacing the old ones as VR development speeds up. No wonder that at present, fans of almost all genres can find games of personal interest.

Technically, the world of virtual reality operates in a three-dimensional artificial environment. It is created with a customized VR software and presented to the user in a way that goes beyond the real-time environment.  This software creates a suspension of disbelief and makes the user experience VR environment as real. Within the domain of VR gaming space, there are a few that are highly sophisticated and demand a tech-savvy player. But most of them are practically plug-and-play.

There are countless VR games in the market today but for now, here are the ten most popular games on the Android store that you must be playing right now:

  1. BAMF VR

BAMF VR is a platform puzzle game. It uses transportation to make user get around different levels and collect crystals. Once a target number of crystals are collected, they proceed to the next level. The best feature of this app is the 360-degree experience that makes you feel as if you are inside the scenario. The developers recommend playing it while sitting on a swivel chair or while standing up. In addition to that, the graphics are extraordinary. Various colors, multiple input methods, and family-friendly experience are all the features that make it all the more appealing. This app is completely free, and there are no in-app purchases. Plus, it fits all age groups.

2.Germ Buster

Germbuster also takes the lead on VR gaming list due to its profound features. The simple game with impressive graphics and fun elements are all the features that make it stand apart from others. Essentially, the game puts the player in an arcade setting where the shooters make use of bubble gun to kill a myriad of germs emerging from corners.

The input controls rely upon the body movements. There are several stages: a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen where they have to put up a fight with the green blob. Entire environment emanates a PlayStation 2 game bringing in a high-end aspect.

On top of all, you do not need special gear but only a piece of cardboard to play this game.3

3. Chair in a room

Chair in a room is also a puzzle game that challenges the user to find a hidden item. During the game, you also have ghosts visiting you. Although quite unreal and beyond natural limits, this game is exceptionally fun to play. It sets a whole new example of what VR can do on the android device. Nonetheless, developers advise making use of a Samsung device that is either Nexus 5 or better than that. If not, then there may be some issues.

4.Zombie Shooter VR

This app makes a user enter into a post-apocalyptic world that is full of zombies. They howl at the player as he opens up fire or any other weapon at them. This game makes use of look-to-shoot style to control gamer’s actions. For starters, the player has to choose a weapon of their choice and then they have to pass through a tunnel that holds undead entities. Like BAMF, it also allows for a 360-degree view inside of the game.

5.VR Street Jump

VR Street Jump puts you in the first-person perspective where you are supposed to go through busy streets. It asks for a proper understanding of the reaction time and situational analysis on the part of the player. Going through crowds and keeping yourself safe also aids to develop your character by instilling patience within you.

6.Arcslinger

Arcslinger is a sci-fi, arcade shooting app that makes a user draw cyber-six-shooter and defend against waves of different enemies that charge at you with cleaver, bullets, and dynamite. The western-style graphics in the space make it look great and also direct the focus of the game towards child-friendly feeling.

7. Hunters Gate

The world is under attack, and you are the superhero who must protect it. The graphics are impressive, making it fun to play it. The most highlighted feature of this app is that it is an action-packed rolling game that helps your character grow and learn new skills with time.

The controls are quite easy to handle, and the comfort level within this game is also too high.

8.Galaxy VR

It is a space game that combines aerial battling in space with the FPS shooting experience. For winning this game, you need to pass through different levels to subdue the enemy forces. It provides settings of both, the ground and space where the user operates as a shooter. The battle puts the player directly within the cockpit and has some fairly immersive fighting.  This game only needs a controller, a joystick and three buttons to work.

9.Mekorama VR

Mekorama is a puzzle game where the player is supposed to guide a small robot through different levels. The level of difficulty increases as the user passes each step. Since it is a virtual version, the player feels as if they are right within the game and objects are moving around them.

10.Volex Fly VR

Volex Fly is an endless running game where you are supposed to fly above the city and cross all the obstacles on the way. It presents a scenario of the city which is endless, and there are many hindrances on the flying routes. The leaderboard section allows you to compare your score with those of your friends. It offers different difficulty modes ranging from 2D, game-pad supports and other control schemes. This game is highly intensive, bringing a great experience for the users and compelling them to keep playing further.

The world of virtual reality is expanding, and you can find plenty of VR games for your Android device. All you need is to determine your interest, figure if your device supports a certain game and check out the ratings before installing. You can easily find game reviews on online forums like AirG Reviews where gaming enthusiasts gather to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of popular games.

Despite all the odds, virtual reality games bring you can enhanced gaming experience. So, do not hesitate, get the gear and make an entrance right away!

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Why Choose Credit Unions over Bank for Car Loans

Over 5,600 credit unions are operating in the United States under federal insurance!

What makes them so different from the traditional lending houses, i.e., banks?

Do they really put the community first?

Do the 110 million members of credit unions know something that you don’t?

Are they really better for car loans than banks?

They absolutely are because more than a third of the business they do constitutes car loans!

Are you looking to buy a new car yourself? Then your local credit union is the place for you. Here are some reasons why:

Credit Unions are different

At a bank, you will remain a customer who has been assigned an account number. At a credit union, on the other hand, you will be much more. These financial lending institutions offer you to become a part of their organization via cooperative membership. With membership come privileges, such as voting for the members who’d form the board, which you aren’t likely to find elsewhere.

Credit unions can be understanding when loan problems happen

It can happen to anyone. From time to time, we may have all been in dire straits. It has led to mistakes occurring with the loans we might have taken. Whether it is due to having insufficient cash to pay off an installment or a delayed payment because your check got delayed in the mail, such incidents do happen. Unlike the banks, credit unions are more accepting when you inform them of an incorrectly credited payment or that the report against you at a credit bureau isn’t right.

All you’d have to do is get in touch with a member service representative as soon as you can. They will answer any questions you have or address your concerns. This will take place without your call being transferred from department to department!

Credit Unions will give you auto loans on lower rates

Of course, this is one of the most important influencing factors that puts the ball firmly in the credit unions’ court! The rates that a bank or another source offer you are bound to be higher than what awaits you at your local credit union. The National Credit Union Association (NCUA) reported last year’s average loan rates on auto loans. Those rates as offered by the credit unions were almost two percentage points lower on new cars. The breach increased when we compare the rates for used car, which were almost 2.25 percentage points lower!

If we do a bit of calculation, for a loan of $20,000 on a new car, you’d have to pay 2.78% ($357) with a 60-month term. Now let us look at the monthly rates offered for the same car by the bank. The number jumps to 4.69% ($375). If you think saving $18 per month is nothing, think in terms of years, i.e., $216 saved per year!

Applying the same calculations on a used car, we get a rate of 2.86% ($441) from credit unions. The banks, on the other hand, offered 5.09% ($461). Another $20 that you save on a monthly basis.

Credit unions help you calculate how much you can safely pay

You may already have heard that it is much easier to qualify for an auto loan at a credit union as compared to a bank. Now, consider another positive point of banking at a credit union. As a member, you will conduct most of your financial business there. That means your local credit union will have the necessary information on checking and savings accounts, financial investments, and mortgage loans.

This information about your finances can be highly useful in determining how much you can pay! The auto loan you get will thus be created to suit your needs. Couple this kind of great service with a good payment record and you will have the loan to buy your new car within no time.

Credit unions offer more than just a car loan

When you become a member of a credit union, you have access to their educational resources. Most of them contain resources that can help members make financially informed decisions. You could learn more about the various financing options available to you. Besides that, knowing the true value of your vehicle purchase can also come in handy. Being better informed on auto loans and purchasing cars mean you could get the best deal there is!

As is evident, even though credit unions operate a bit like banks, these lenders are vastly different. They are owned by the people depositing their money and are mostly nonprofits. They promote the welfare of the community by offering more than just loans. Their lower operating costs ensures they won’t overcharge you for an auto loan. Still on the fence about joining? Then don’t! Just remember to confirm if the local credit union lends money to its members. If they do, you are likely to find the Best Auto Loans waiting for you there!

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Are Yelp reviews enough when hiring a construction company for your next project?

Reviews play a fundamental role in shaping the final ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when it comes to working with other businesses. The same is true in case of finalizing a construction company to work with for your next project.

Essentially, reviews are the digital version of word-of-mouth learning. The first thing that we do is to ask around for recommendations when looking for a suitable venture to work with. While this habit still takes a dominant role, many people simply Google reviews to find out what others are saying about a business.

Among several review sites, Yelp plays the leader’s role. It showcases an average of 142 million users monthly and dominates the search engines. Both these pointers give it a natural precedence over other review sites.

Considering the significant role that reviews play and the strong presence touted by Yelp, a simple question arises, ‘are Yelp reviews enough when hiring a construction company?’ Let’s find out below.

How effective review in helping to make purchasing decisions?

A 2017 survey by BrightLocal found out that 86% of the folks read online reviews for local businesses and pay equal importance to these reviews like personal recommendations. What’s more, the study found out that about half of the respondents don’t plan on working with a company unless it has a four-star rating.

Testimonial Engine confirms that 72% of the consumers don’t make a final decision to buy until they have read reviews. Moreover, another study reveals that 92% of B2B buyers tend to purchase after reading a trusted review.

The same source also indicates that 72% of the B2B buyers opine that negative reviews give insight and depth into a product. In addition to this, a study by Fan and Fuel in 2016 went a step further and dug out that 92% of the consumers hesitate before purchasing an item that does not have any reviews.

All these findings make a strong case for three-pointers:

  • Reviews are crucial while dealing with a construction company or any other business
  • Negative reviews help to be vigilant about a company, by providing an in-depth insight into it
  • If there are no reviews about a construction company, it can be suspicious, and therefore, you can take a step back from working with them

How are Yelp reviews helpful in making a business decision?

Yelp is a large platform that boasts 171 million reviews. If anyone tends to seek advice on topics such as commercial construction companies near me, many Yelp results popup immediately. In several cases, you can also see compiled lists by Yelp based on businesses’ reviews.

A large number of people trust Yelp. As of the third quarter of 2019, Yelp has attracted 34 million monthly mobile app views on average. The average monthly unique visitors from the web stand at 75 million and the average monthly desktop visitors are 69 million.

These figures show that a large number of people trust the review platform. This clearly indicates that reading reviews on Yelp is fundamental when deciding to work with a construction company for your next project. However, what remains unanswered is, whether these reviews are enough or not in making such a vital decision.

The case for fake reviews

Gartner expects 10-15% of all of the ratings to be fake in 2014. Another 2017 study revealed that there was an increase in suspicious activities related to online ratings as numerous products got a 5-star rating within days and even hours of being posted. However, such suspicious activities were detected on Amazon.

According to a New York Times article related to Yelp, it is observed that certain third-party apps or service providers allow businesses to post positive reviews about them and negative ones about their competitors for a small payment.

However, Yelp has been working hard to eliminate any such malpractices on the platform since 2012. Before that, it was common for ventures to hire people on Craigslist to write positive reviews about their products or services.

Presently, Yelp practices an algorithm to analyze each review and filter the scams or reviews that seem to be fake. The key to the working of this structure hasn’t been revealed to prevent people from breaking into the system. Therefore, the risk of coming across fake reviews on Yelp is minimal, which explains why numerous people trust the platform.

Bottom line

Reading reviews to learn more about a construction company that you plan to work with, is the right step. However, you shouldn’t let reviews convince you entirely because working with a construction company bears more significance than purchasing an item.

The selection of a construction company not only involves large sums of money, but there are also concerns of safety on the project that the hired company will work on. Thus, you should not limit your research to online reviews only, but also ask people about the venture’s offline services and learn about its experience, certificates, as well as licenses in advance.

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How to find the best and most reliable Car Insurance Company near you

New car owners often wonder ‘How can I find the best car insurance near me?’. Though there are many car insurance companies it is important to choose the right one. According to data released this year Americans are overspending 21 billion dollars on their car insurance. Since this is the case it is important to take as many measures possible to find a good insurance provider. The right car insurance company will give you proper coverage at a reasonable price.

 

Interestingly enough there are going to be quite a few changes in the insurance industry due to the imminent adoption of autonomous cars by 2025. Before those changes occur, understanding how one can find the best company is important.

Hunt for the best insurance companies

As far as auto insurance goes, it is a major cost that one has to pay. It is essential to make sure we are entrusting the insurance cost to a company that is worth paying to.

Insurance truly has a significant effect on the cost of keeping a car. Moreover, individuals can be deceived into believing that an insurance company is the ‘cheapest’ one out there because of marketing. Due to these factors, it is important to research as many options as possible. After all, a hunt for a better company and deal is one of the simplest steps that can be taken

Since big auto insurance companies might be charging too much to you for your policy. Don’t forget to properly research the rate offered by smaller players in the industry.

Make sure the auto insurance company has a license

Any insurance company who wants to offer auto insurance in a state must have a license. Auto companies have to go through a process of fulfilling certain requirements which may differ from state to state. A license adds authenticity to the company as it is verified by the department of insurance. To find out whether the company is licensed for your state you can check this website.

Though a company might seem pretty authentic legit, double-checking whether it is licensed is important.

Have a look at the company’s rating and reviews

The internet has provided consumers with a great number of ways to evaluate a company’s reputation and performance. Reading up on consumer reviews about the company is one way to find clues.

It might be overwhelming to face this information without knowing what clues to look out for. Some aspects that should be considered while evaluating reviews include the claims process and customer satisfaction. Having an idea about the financial position of the insurance company is also needed.

In general, when a company is rated well, it can be considered a good and reliable option. This does not mean that comparing the options is unnecessary. In fact, comparing the options provides you with the best chance of finding a better company.

There is a good news to look forward to. In general auto insurance claims satisfaction is at its all-time high. What this indicates is that insurance companies are doing a good job in customer care.

Review relevant information provided the State Department of Insurance

Did you know that you can find useful information thanks to the State Department of Insurance? Many individuals are unable to take advantage of the information which can guide us.

Finding up relevant information from the State Department of Insurance’s website is important. One aspect to especially look out for includes the ‘Valid Consumer Complaint Ratios’. This ratio provides us with insights as to how many valid complaints about the insurance company have been submitted to the state. In genera,l the more the complains, the more the reliability of a company is compromised.

 

When it comes to reliability a lot of information is readily available on the internet. All you need to do is be patient and find it.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, you need to make sure you find the best and most reliable car insurance company out there. There are multiple resources available online that can guide you in this process. Though it might seem that analyzing the large amount of information available is difficult, a baseline can help us better understand companies.

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What Law Firms should know before they hire their digital marketing partners

When you think of marketing, you automatically assume FMCGs, E-commerce businesses, and B2B companies to be the only companies that can seek benefit from it. This is far from the truth. Instead, almost every type of business and service requires marketing. This also includes law firms.

A strong online presence is crucial for law firms. This is why various companies deliver online marketing for law firms.

As a law company, why do you need to hire such marketers? Well, think about how many websites are active on the internet today. We will save you the research. There are 200 million of them. At least a handful of these will be your direct competition. This is because businesses realize the importance of reaching potential customers via the internet.

Why is online marketing important for law firms?

Online marketing matters because the internet is where a lot of people search for lawyers and legal actions. This is because the law is a field that is not understood by many. You don’t know which type of lawyer to contact for a given problem. This is why the first thing many do is to search for it online. Additionally, various people also use the platform to find reviews about potential lawyers they can hire. By being present online, you can ensure that the masses are aware of your services.

Why is it crucial to pick a digital marketing partner wisely?

There is much more to online marketing than building a website and optimizing it. A quality digital marketing strategy can allow you to be cost effective as well. For instance, you can ensure that your online ads are visible to only those who can make use of the service. This depends on the type of digital marketing partner you hire.

Factors you must know before hiring a digital marketing partner

You can’t choose the best digital marketing partner without doing a bit of homework. While we are not asking you to know everything possible about digital marketing, having a bit of knowledge can help. It can automatically allow you to filter out the wrong options.

Understanding online channels

The first thing you should know is the type of channels you are dealing with. For law firms, three online channels are essential. This includes the following:

  • Paid Searches

Majority of online marketing is through SEM or search engine marketing. Type anything on Google. Some ads appear on the top. This is what SEM is all about. When a user searches a particular keyword, a relevant ad appears. Your goal is to deliver an ad when potential clients type the relevant keywords. If you only want to limit your clients to a given locality, you might just want to show your ads to those who type keywords like “lawyers near me.”

  • Paid social ads

Social media is a powerful tool. There are more than 4 billion internet users globally. Out of them, over 3 billion use social media. This is why social media advertising is considered to reap effects. This is an excellent channel to tap into. You can run your paid ads on social media as well. The best thing about running ads on social media is that platforms allow you to micro-target. You can target by gender, age, profession, and demographics.

  • Display Ads

Have you ever noticed ads being visible on top or at the corner of a website? Those are part of a display advertisement. You can add a different type of ads here. They can be videos or banners. This is why many marketers refer to display ads as digital billboards of online platforms.

Importance of mobile optimization

It is very common for law firm websites to be very basic. A digital marketing partner can help you in improving your site. However, you must know what to hold them accountable for. One of the things is mobile and SEO optimization.

Today, smartphones are a necessary part of our routine. People have transformed into mobile shoppers. You don’t use laptops or tablets as often as you use your phone to search for things. This is why it is crucial for your website to be optimized for mobile searches. A quality company will offer you mobile as well as desktop search optimization.

Remember, optimization isn’t just about appearing first in mobile searches. Instead, the content needs to be optimized for phones as well. Users automatically skip anything which is too lengthy.

Following Regulations

Now, we are sure you will be great at following the law and making sure that your digital marketing partner does so as well. Various laws and regulations limit what a lawyer can and cannot do regarding marketing. Research about it and make sure that you within the line. The last thing you need is getting into trouble with the law. (At least you wouldn’t have to call up lawyers, if you do, though)

How to choose a digital marketing partner

Now that you know the essentials of digital marketing for law firms, it is time for you to pick a digital marketing partner. We are here to help you decide.

  • Research about the company as well as the team the company assigns to you
  • Quiz them about how they will market on the three channels
  • Ask about which tools they will be used to deliver an optimized online marketing strategy
  • Make sure the firm you go for is perfect for online marketing specifically and not just traditional marketing
  • Know your budget. Ask about all possible costs. Know the various technical jargon digital marketers use when speaking about costs.

Conclusion

Just like you provide the best legal representation to your client, you deserve the same kind of commitment from your digital marketing partner. Don’t select a company before making sure that they tick all the right boxes.

Select a digital marketing agency wisely. Build a strong online presence. Watch as more and more clients approach you for your services.

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How Renewable Energy Is Redefining HVAC

By August of 2015, the solar HVAC industry with innovative solutions like solar management software had started showing immense activity. While factors, such as federal tax credits, keep the activity in the market at a low, there is no lack of potential! In fact, the world is waking up to the feasibility of using the use of renewable heating and cooling systems. However, even now only 16% of energy for heating and cooling in the UK is generated from renewable resources.

Positive Change

HVAC technologies powered by renewable energy resources have the potential to change the world. They are already responsible for:

  1. Reduced Emissions

Greenhouse gases are the main reason behind the rising temperatures and global world. The new HVAC technology has reduced emissions of those gases. It is now even possible to heat or cool a building without any greenhouse gas emissions!

  1. Reduced Refrigerants

Freon, a refrigerant that was conventionally a part of air condition units was banned in 2010 when it was discovered to be depleting the ozone layer. Due to the new HVAC solutions, we don’t have to depend on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) like Freon.

  1. Improved Health

Since fossil fuels when burned emit gases and particles that can affect our respiratory systems negatively, dangers of asthma and bronchitis has been increasing steadily. Clean and green HVAC technologies have had a positive effect on the air quality.

These newfangled HVAC solutions do hold some merit. Does that mean that the British customer is only opting for a green solution or will it also save them money? Before we look at some of the new innovations, take some time to absorb this fact: heating and cooling are responsible for the consumption of almost 50 percent of the energy in the EU alone!

Natural Gas VRF System

You might be familiar with the YANMAR compact diesel engines. VRF stands for Variable Refrigerant Flow system that was first conceived by this company in 1987. The unique characteristic of the VRF system is that its heat pump doesn’t require a huge input of energy. It’s powerful heating, and cooling capabilities are courtesy of a natural gas-powered engine. Moreover, when this engine works, it emits a lower volume of greenhouse gases than a coal engine would. The difference isn’t insignificant either amounting to 80% less NOx, no SOx, and 35% less CO2!

So, when you use one of the VRF systems, you save on energy. What else can this generator do for you? Besides that, it lowers operating cost. Moreover, it can easily be installed – and has been – in a wide range of venues, including schools, offices, multi-family complexes, and even restaurants. Sounds like an improvement worth making, doesn’t it?

Smart Thermostats

The word smart has come to mean something different in today’s world. Now, it indicates technology that is more energy/cost efficient and green, like the solar sales software. So many smart developments and inventions have flooded the market that you might have missed Google’s Nest. This smart-thermostat doesn’t just learn from its user’s past behavior. It is also programmable and thus highly customizable. Moreover, it can connect to the Wi-Fi and make remote operating possible.

Like the solar management software with its many uses, smart thermostats have unlimited uses in unlimited areas. For instance, look at this company, using Nest thermostats their new range of furnaces.

With innovations like the solar sales software, it is possible for households to reduce their gas consumption by at least 15%. That means a reduction of $150 – $250 in utility fees on an annual basis!

PureTemp

Solar management software has changed the world for the better. But so has PureTemp! It seamlessly becomes a part of any HVAC system and prevents energy wastage. Most furnaces, heaters, and ACs waste a part of the HVAC-generated energy when they restart or are set at a specific temperature that must be maintained. With the PureTemp in action, this energy is stored, harnessed, and then used more greenly. PureTemp has given us more energy and cost-efficient alternative for all HVAC systems – whether residential or commercial!

How much money can it save you? Consider the fact that unlike most HVAC solutions that can only store 4 joules of energy per gram, PureTemp boosts the performance 50-fold by storing 200 joules!

Microgrids

Another green and energy efficient solution like the solar sales software, microgrids, are now a not-so-distant possibility. Instead of using a vast grid to supply electricity to a neighborhood, the same can be done smaller, multiple grids or microgrids. Microgrids were initially invented as sources of backup supply power during a blackout.

Since they have well-defined boundaries that allow microgrids to only supply power to a particular area, they can be used as springboards for renewable energy powered systems. Think about it, depending upon which type of renewable resource is easily available in a region, a microgrid could be designed to make the most of it. After all, it won’t make sense not to have microgrids operating on solar energy in Arizona or a wind one in the Congo! Similarly, geothermal and biofuels are two other resources that could be tapped into for other regions.

That isn’t to say that the traditional power grid system should be dismantled completely. Instead, both types of grids should be used in conjunction. So when a blackout occurs, one of them would still be functioning and continues to power the areas sans electricity!

Millennials now form the largest consumer demographic. That means their preferences and the causes closest to their heart matter to companies. By having priorities, this swathe of the population has redefined how business is to be done. They have transformed the kind of relationship the previous generation had with utility companies. That is why companies had to decide to pay attention to the advantages of energy-saving innovations. Green solutions now have mainstream exposure and reach. Renewable energy is redefining HVAC systems, and this is just the beginning of the revolution! Check out Scoop.Solar for innovative automated solar solutions like the solar sales software!

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Here are 6 apps that will help you stay aware of your brain health

Our brain is the central processing unit of the body. Thus, when the brain’s health goes down, everything else becomes dull too. The simplest example is a headache. It can seriously pull down your energy and significantly dip your productivity too. This stresses the importance of maintaining cognitive wellness.

Unfortunately, brain health is suffering across the globe. The rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are crawling. In fact, these play the role of leading culprits that negatively impact your mental health. About 18.1% of the US population experiences anxiety disorder annually. Likewise, roughly 10.3 million adults in the country suffer from a severe episode of depression in a given year.

Top these concerns with stress and we have the recipe for poor brain health. A 2017 survey by the American Psychology Association showed that 62% of the Americans confess to being stressed due to their financial matters. Another 61% said that their work caused them stress. 51% also admitted that crime had them worried.

The silver lining to the brain health cloud

Although these whopping statistics paint a gloomy picture, there’s always hope. You can work to chop out stress and anxiety from your life. As you work to eliminate such factors, you’d notice an improvement in your cognitive health.

On top of this, your brain needs to be continuously challenged to function at its best. Research confirms that you can strengthen and rebuild your cognitive abilities by stimulating the brain. When you set up a challenge for your brain, it takes the signal, and its gears then shift to find the solution to the problem.

Another important factor is to track your brain’s health. It is essential to keep tabs on your cognitive performance because sometimes it declines without any alarm bells. If there are any signals, you may mistake them for daily stress or tension.

In this regard, let’s dig into the apps that can help you stay aware of your mental health.

Six apps that track your brain health

Awareness is key to fending off any psychiatric health concern. It is also crucial to learn about changes in your cognitive functioning at your earliest. This helps you deal with any mental decline properly.

Here are six apps that serve as trackers of your mental well-being:

  1. BrainTest

The Brain test app is a vital tool that can assist you in detecting changes in your cognitive performance. As we climb up the age ladder, we become victims of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Although this decline in brain performance is part of healthy aging, it is also a telltale sign of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if it deviates from the normal cognitive decline.

Brain tests are the keys to discovering MCI, mixed dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Instead of putting off a visit to the doctor or waiting in long appointment lines, the BrainTest app allows you to screen your brain’s performance in the comfort of your home. The application offers cognitive screening tests that are evaluated by professionals as soon as you complete them.

Brain Test has the nod of approval from The Ohio State University. Essentially, the app is the digital counterpart of the Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE). SAGE is highly credited for picking up any memory, cognitive, and thinking impairment. What’s more is that the accuracy of the results is marked at 90%.

  1. Moodkit

Moodkit is another useful app for mental wellness. It works specifically along the lines of picking up signs of bad mood and helping you improve it. The application brings forth strategies taken from the pages of professional psychology. In fact, Moodkit is the brainchild of two psychologists.

Admittedly, there is nothing worse than a low mood or a sinking feeling as it seeps out of your mind into the work in progress. In fact, Scientific American confirms that bad mood can be contagious. In fact, a chronic low mood may even signal the development of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Moodkit employs techniques of cognitive behavior therapy, which is praised for its research-backed and effective psychotherapy methods. The app works to provide mood-enhancing activities. It identifies unhealthy thinking and charts your mood over time.

Lastly, the application allows you to create journal entries to encourage mental well-being. Hence, with Moodkit, you have professional treatment in the palm of your hand. A cherry on top is that the application has been listed among Healthline’s best depression apps.

  1. Lantern

Lantern is a web as well as a smartphone application. The app provides a healthy combination of expert advice as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Users begin by taking a test for assessing their strengths and weaknesses in five areas. These include sleep, stress/anxiety, body, mood, and social life.

Since all these are interlinked and leave their impact on the brain’s health, the app can help you track your cognitive well-being. The portfolio of this app extends to deliver more though. The application assigns daily exercises that are customized to meet your needs based on what is determined by the assessment. Furthermore, you are also paired with a professional coach who is well-versed in CBT.

  1. Depression Anxiety Stress Test

An optimal mental health can never be achieved without eliminating anxiety from the picture. This is particularly important as a record number of people report facing anxiety. However, you can’t kick anxiety out of your life unless you are sure about the diagnosis. In this context, the Depression Anxiety Stress Test is your go-to app.

The application helps you assess three of the leading mental health concerns namely anxiety, stress, and depression. Once you can pinpoint your current state of mind, you will be able to tackle it better. Besides, the app also gives you a reading concerning your levels of impatience and irritability.

  1. Sea Hero Quest

The Sea Hero Quest app is a gaming application that is considered a good tool for detecting early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The app leaves users at a sailing course that is punctuated with sea monsters. These need to be shot down, but the aim is to find missing pages of a long-lost journal.

The underlying motive, however, is to detect the users’ spatial navigation abilities. One of the scientists behind Sea Hero Quest, Hugo Spiers of University College London, elaborates about the app. Spiers outlines, “By creating a global chart of human spatial navigation, we’d like to create the next set of tools for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.”

The fact of the matter is that mostly neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s prey on individuals in silence. Most people are not aware of the symptoms of a given neurodegenerative disorder. Hence, they may not be able to notice its development while it starts wreaking havoc on the mind slowly.

This is specifically true when it comes to elderly folks who mistake Alzheimer’s-induced cognitive impairment with age-related cognitive decline. This takes the importance of an app such as Sea Hero Quest up by several notches.

  1. i-Prognosis

i-Prognosis is another app that notes the progress of your brain health by alerting about the early stage development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). This is another brain ailment that goes undetected in its early stages. As a result, most patients lose precious time in getting treatment or making the needed lifestyle changes.

i-Prognosis provides applications for smartphones as well as smartwatches. The app watches out for early symptoms of PD via mobile sensors and machine learning.

i-Prognosis is an EU-funded work by Greece’s Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The application gathers all the required data after the user’s consent by utilizing the sensors in modern phones. By doing so, it can note differences in a person’s behavioral status. Since PD victimizes approximately 60,000 patients in the US every year, such an app is a helpful tool for optimal brain health.

Bottom line

Maintaining your brain health should be your number one priority. The daily hustle and bustle add strain to the cognitive functioning. You can always track the brain’s activity by using apps such as BrainTest. Don’t forget to keep a check on your stress, anxiety, and depression levels too by using apps like Depression Anxiety Stress Test.

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6 Lesser Known Reasons You Should Buy a Hybrid Car

Hybrid cars are all the rage nowadays. Are you also reading up more and more about the pros and cons of buying a hybrid car? We are here to advise you to make an informed decision about hybrid vehicles.

Considering the frequently asked questions and lesser known facts around the internet, we have curated this list of lesser-known facts that support your vision of buying a hybrid car.

Low maintenance:

One of the coolest things about buying a hybrid is that the gas engine does not run when you make a stop or drive slowly. If you reside in an urban area, these two things happen on every street corner.

If you’re driving a standard car, frequent pit stops can put a lot of pressure on its engine. With a hybrid car, you can rest assured that the maintenance cost will drop significantly.

Every time you stop, a hybrid [it] generates more electricity which can then be used at lower speeds, or for accelerating quickly. –Source

Hybrids generate electricity with a regenerative brake instead of standard brake application. This means that your brakes will last longer than a normal car. The brake systems will require low maintenance because you can drive around all day in a hybrid car without ever worrying about the pressure on brakes.

Durable battery:

It’s a myth that a hybrid’s battery fails easily. Most people think that the battery is unreliable and replacing it will cost you an arm and a leg.

This is not true. A hybrid car’s battery comes with a warranty of eight years or more, giving you immense satisfaction of saving bucks on a replacement.

You can drive around a hybrid car for miles without affecting its battery life. Given the strong warranty and lower cost, you can be satisfied that battery replacement will not be a sudden issue.

Don’t believe in the myth that the components of hybrid cars wear out faster than normal vehicles. For example, when a Prius was driven 200,000 miles, it was found that the battery was working just as good as new.

Resale value:

You must be thinking about the resale value of your hybrid just as soon as you buy a car. You want to put your hard-earned money in the right place.

With hybrid cars, the owners are always in luck. These cars are great performers for their owners when they are there and have great resale value when you want to sell them off.

Hybrid cars are like a great investment. They cost less to maintain and save money for their owner for as long as they are in use.

When an owner sells a hybrid car, he or she sells it for much better value than a conventional car, because this machine still has years of service left in it.

Gas prices don’t have anything to do with the price of your hybrid so you can relax. In any case, before you decide to sell the car, get an accurate valuation of it, and you will know how much your ride is worth to a new buyer.

Don’t just walk into a dealership that tells you that we buy any car. Ascertain your car’s correct value. Here is a free online car valuation tool to help you get started.

Tax incentive:

The federal government seems to love hybrid cars too! When the Energy Policy Act of 2005 became functional in the US, hybrid car owners got special credit for their purchase. If you are wondering how much the tax incentive is – it’s $3,400. For many taxpayers, this is a significant amount.

There are many things you must know before you avail this incentive. Firstly, the driver needs to have purchased the car after Jan 2006. You wouldn’t get credit if you bought your vehicle before this date. You can read up all about this incentive on this website.

Environment friendliness:

When you buy a hybrid car, you are doing something for the protection of the environment.  Hybrids are popular because they emit less pollution and decrease the carbon footprint. Hybrid cars produce 10% less smog than a conventional.

 “So when you drive a hybrid, you’re also helping to reduce all of those ‘upstream’ emissions.” -CNN

When you register your car, you should not worry about an emission test. You should check with your state’s government to see if the car requires a fuel emission test or not. You will love the fuel efficiency of a hybrid car which can even beat EPA mileage estimates.

Smooth driving:

When you drive a hybrid, you instantly notice the eerily quiet atmosphere it creates. These cars are so quiet; they soothe the mind when you drive, regardless of the amount of traffic on the road. The reason behind this quiet is that the gas engine is not always running in a hybrid car and the electric engine is mostly soundless.

Moreover, the cars are warm. Hybrid cars are packed with anti-cooling systems that don’t require much energy to warm up the car. Look forward to easy starts and smooth driving experience with a hybrid car.

Have you invested in a hybrid car? We’d love to know your experience.

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