5 Apps That Can Help You Save Big, Or Even Get Paid

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many apps we can download on our phones promise to save us money or earn rewards. From scanning a barcode to taking a survey, there are hundreds of programs you can choose from.

One blogger tried dozens of them and narrowed it down to the top five free apps she’s cashed in on.

“All of my family will come to me and say, ‘I’m going to be buying this, how can I save money?’” blogger Sarah Carlson said.

She’s come a long way from clipping coupons for her mom every Sunday — now, Carlson shares her savings secrets on realhousewivesofmn.com. She regularly blogs about the apps she’s tried.

“There are a lot of apps out there right now where you can either save money or make money too,” she said.

And she had no trouble coming up with her top five.

Shopkick

“I think my top money saving app is Shopkick,” she said.

Shopkick offers rewards for shopping online or for walking in to stores. Scan bar codes on products for more kicks or points. Then, redeem them for gift cards or merchandise from Target to Best Buy to Starbucks.

“It’s really easy and that’s why I like it so much.”

ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy made the second pick on her list. Scan the bar code and the app searches stores to find the best price. Most will price match if you find a better deal.

Carlson usually uses it any time she’s about to spend more than 20 dollars for an item. She saved 50 dollars on a TV the last time she used it.

“You’re still walking out of the same store with the same item with 50 more dollars in your pocket. Why not?” she said.

PocketFlip

Don’t bother leaving your home to be able to use the third on her list — PocketFlip is survey-based.

“You go through the surveys and earn points, and once you earn enough points you can cash out for gift cards,” Carlson said.

Each survey is under five minutes. They’re usually based on beauty and home products commonly used.

Ibotta

“These apps are a little bit different in that you make the purchase first and then you upload the receipt afterwards,” Carlson said.

Ibotta pays you cash back on many items, mostly groceries. You cash out once you reach the $20 mark either through PayPal or a gift card.

Gift Card Granny

“Another great app is Gift Card Granny,” Carlson said. “Basically, it’s an app that shows you things that are for sale for less than their value.”

It’s that simple — shop for gift cards less than their value. We saw 21 percent savings for Fandango gift cards for movie ticket savings and 14 percent on Starbucks cards.

Feeling overwhelmed? Carlson suggests just picking a couple of apps and you’ll save something.

“Use the ones that work for you,” she said. “That’s better than saving nothing.”

Another app you might like is called Qapital. Everytime you use a credit card it rounds up to the nearest dollar, and that money goes straight into a savings account.

[“Source-minnesota”]

Insights from a rare genetic disease may help treat multiple myeloma

A new class of drugs for blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma is showing promise. But it is hobbled by a problem that also plagues other cancer drugs: targeted cells can develop resistance. Now scientists have found that insights into a rare genetic disease known as NGLY1 deficiency could help scientists understand how that resistance works — and potentially how drugs can outsmart it.

A protein called Nrf1 (shown in white in these mouse cells) can hamper promising drugs for blood cancers, but now researchers have found a possible workaround to shut Nrf1 down.
Credit: The American Chemical Society

A new class of drugs for blood cancers such as leukemia and multiple myeloma is showing promise. But it is hobbled by a problem that also plagues other cancer drugs: targeted cells can develop resistance. Now scientists, reporting in ACS Central Science, have found that insights into a rare genetic disease known as NGLY1 deficiency could help scientists understand how that resistance works — and potentially how drugs can outsmart it.

A class of compounds called proteasome inhibitors that include bortezomib and carfilzomib — both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — have been effective at treating certain types of blood cancers. The drugs work by jamming some of cancer cells’ machinery to induce cell death. But the drugs have been limited by cancer cells ability to development resistance, as well as the inhibitors inability to fight solid tumors effectively. Studies have suggested that resistance could be linked to a protein called Nrf1. When proteasome inhibitors go into action, Nrf1 is spurred into overdrive to restore the cells’ normal activities and keep them alive. If researchers could figure out how to block Nrf1, they might be able to address the resistance problem. Carolyn Bertozzi and colleagues, through studying NGLY1 deficiency, a seemingly unrelated condition, may have hit upon an approach to do this.

The researchers were investigating how lacking the enzyme NGLY1 causes a host of debilitating symptoms. They found that NGLY1 is responsible for activating Nrf1, the protein that is suspected of weakening proteasome inhibitors’ effectiveness against cancer. Further testing showed that dampening NGLY1 allowed a proteasome inhibitor to continue doing its work killing cancer cells without interference from Nrf1. This finding, the authors note, holds great promise for the development of combination therapeutics for blood cancers in the future.

[“Source-sciencedaily”]

This iOS 11 tip will help you organize your apps in seconds

  • iOS 11 has a bit of a secret that makes it much easier to organize applications.
  • It’s especially useful if you’re creating folders or moving multiple applications at once
  • We’ll walk you through how to manage apps in iOS 11 in this guide

iOS 11 is loaded with new features, but some of them are harder to find than others.

If you follow this guide, you’ll be able to organize your iOS apps more easily than ever before. It’s useful if you’ve ever felt the pain of trying to move apps one by one from folder to folder or screen to screen.

Here’s how to better manage your apps.

First, long press on an app that you’d like to move.

Select an app you'd like to move by long-holding the icon

Todd Haselton | CNBC
Select an app you’d like to move by long-holding the icon

You can do this by holding your finger on an application icon for just a few seconds. It’ll start jiggling and you’ll see an X pop up when it’s ready to be moved. Don’t let go, this is key. We’re going to group a bunch of apps together.

Begin selecting additional apps.

Begin selecting multiple apps by tapping them

Todd Haselton | CNBC
Begin selecting multiple apps by tapping them

Now, while still holding one finger on that first app, tap all the other apps you want to group with it. They’ll all start to gather under the first app you selected. Note the small number that appears which shows how many apps you’ve selected.

Move them where you’d like to place them.

Move the apps anywhere you like, such as into a folder.

Todd Haselton | CNBC
Move the apps anywhere you like, such as into a folder.

This simple grouping of applications allows you to take all of your health apps, for example, and quickly toss them into a folder. Previously, you’d need to select each app one by one.

That’s it!

Great job!

Todd Haselton | CNBC
Great job!

That’s all there is to it. It used to take a half hour or longer for me to organize everything and now it takes just seconds.

[“Source-cnbc”]

Life Bot’s new Alexa app can text you reminders, help with daily activities

A new voice app from a Y Combinator-backed startup called Life Bot wants to make it easier to use Amazon Alexa as a digital assistant, by aiding with your daily routines and learning your personal preferences. At launch, Life Bot’s Alexa app has a handful of tricks up its sleeve. It can find your misplaced phone, for example, by giving it a ring. Or it can text you reminders at a scheduled time. It can even help you meditate or do yoga at your desk.

But Life Bot’s longer-term ambition is to learn from its users, then be able to kick-off personalized workflows with a single voice command.

A future version of the app could respond to a command like “good morning” by launching a series of updates that would differ from user to user.

For instance, one person might first hear their morning briefing, then launch into a meditation session. Another might have Alexa dictate their schedule for the day, then receive a list of reminders that are in need of scheduling. (To be clear, Life Bot would be running content in its own app, not launching other skills.)

The idea for this jack-of-all-trades voice bot comes from co-founders Jess Williams and Oscar Merry, who previously founded London-based voice design agency Opearlo. The agency did client work for a number of companies, including Unilever, that wanted to make their products and services accessible through voice.

“We kept identifying the problems that brands were facing, and we thought there was a huge opportunity to create the first voice app that people love — and one that people actually use every day,” explains Williams.

The founders sold Opearlo and joined Y Combinator’s summer class.

What’s clever about the implementation of this voice app is that it’s working around several challenges facing voice app adoption today — including discovery, people’s confusion over how to use the voice apps themselves and voice apps’ limited inability to reach users outside the home.

“People love Alexa, but we haven’t yet gotten into the habit of thinking ‘I bet there’s a skill for that,’ like we do with mobile apps,” says Williams. In part, that’s because Alexa is a new technology, she notes. “But also, there aren’t any external triggers to remind you to use Alexa. If you don’t form the habit yourself, it’s very difficult to remember to use her,” Williams continues.

Worse still is trying to remember how to invoke the skills using the right syntax and commands.

To make it easier to get started, Life Bot combines voice app functionality with text messaging.

When you first set up the skill, Life Bot asks for your phone number. The app then texts a welcome message to your phone and asks for your name. After you reply, it will return with suggestions of things to try. Having your hand held like this through the onboarding process makes it a lot easier to get started with Life Bot, compared with other voice apps.

Plus, now that Life Bot has your phone number, the app can connect with you when you’re away from Alexa, too. While Alexa itself has reminders and to-dos, her reach is more limited. You can check on your reminders via the Alexa app, but when they go live, they’re sent to one of your Alexa-powered devices, like your Echo or Echo Dot.

Life Bot, however, can just text your phone instead.

 

In time, the plan is to introduce new features in Life Bot, starting with to-dos. In that case, Life Bot will just text your whole to-do list to you at a date and time you specify. In a few more months, the team hopes to have the personalization aspects working, too.

And eventually, you’ll be able to use Life Bot on other voice platforms, like Google Home, Cortana and more.

The startup has no immediate plans for monetization, but may partner with others to bring their content into its voice app later on.

Currently bootstrapped, save for Y Combinator’s funding, Life Bot’s team of three aims to raise a seed round when the YC summer program completes.

You can try Life Bot yourself by enabling the Alexa skill here.

[“Source-techcrunch”]