App review: Skillshare

I’ve known Skillshare for a few years. It’s a wonderful platform where you can find a wide variety of courses.

You follow the skills you chose in the beginning. The skills are:

Skillshare categories
Skillshare categories

Almost every course has a class project that you can post for the teacher and other students to see.

There are many courses (24000!) on blogging, SEO, writing, etc. I strongly recommend those courses. They will give you very good tips to improve your blog. The courses can be short or long.

When you do the courses, they are saved. Do them more than once to really memorize the tips. You learn how to make a good title, a good post, etc.

My favorite courses are the following:

Perfecting your blog post before publishing it by Theresa Christine.

Creating blog content your readers actually want to read by Theresa Christine

How to write a kick-ass blog post by Maddy Osman

How to write the best blog post titles: increase clicks and shares by optimizing blog post titles by Rebecca Livermore.

Blog post idea generation: 30+ ways to come up with ideas for your blog by Rebecca Livermore

5 secrets to develop the blogging (and writing) habit: how to beat writer’s block forever by Rebecca Livermore

Main view
Main view

You have many other courses on other interesting subjects. Lots of art classes, for example. You can follow different categories of interests and get recommendations for courses, on the home page.

I think video classes are a great way to learn and there are many interesting teachers in this platform.

I have the paid version, which is about 7 euros/month, so it’s an affordable option.

In my opinion, paying for a learning service can be good because it’s an incentive to learn. You go back to pay for your investment and each time you learn. You grow as a creator (artist, etc).

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App Review: Google Play Music

Music is a healing force in our world. It connects people, enhances our mood, helps us focus, etc. There are many benefits to listening to music.

As most people don’t rely on CDs or MP3s to listen to music nowadays, it is important to find a good streaming service. I have tried Spotify, SoundCloud and Bandcamp. I’ve never had the paid version of Spotify, always thought it was too expensive. Someone told me that Google Play Music was a good streaming service. I pay about 7 euros each month.

It has been a month since I have it and I have noticed the following:

– the interface is very clean and intuitive;

– the radios are very good and there’s a wide variety of them;

– the bios of the artists are good;

– the fact that there’s a section for their most known songs is very good;

– it’s very easy to create playlists;

– it’s very easy to navigate and it works better with my scrobbler than Spotify;

– the free version is better than Spotify’s ;

– you can buy music, if you want;

– you have top charts and new releases sections;

– it has a “Feeling lucky” radio, which is a cool and useful feature;

I also think that GPM’s app is better than Spotify’s. Very easy to use and good-looking. Sleek and modern.

You can try one month for free and cancel after that. Or use the free version, that also works.

I have found lots of music that I like there and new music. Radio’s really make it easy to find new music and to listen to what you like. There are different radios that are presented to you at different times. You can start a radio of every artist.

If you don’t use a streaming service, I highly recommend you to get one, as it is a good way to motivate you to listen to music. As I pay, I feel compelled to use it and I now listen to music every day. It has become a habit again.

MP3s and CDs are becoming obsolete. This is the new paradigm.

You can use it on your PC, TV or phone.

Image by FirmBee, courtesy of Pixabay.

App review: Skillshare

If you’re like me and love to learn, Skillshare is a great app for you. It’s a subscription service but it’s cheap and you’ll have access to all the courses there.

It’s an intuitive app, very easy to use. Just search for subjects that you’re interested in and you’re good to go. All the lessons are video lessons, which is a very positive feature.

I’ve been doing blogging courses and they are very well done and can help you improve your blog. There are courses on many different subjects: from arts and crafts to technology. You can save classes to do them later and it will keep track of all the classes you have already done.

Some courses are short but helpful. It’s great if you don’t have much time in your hands.

There are almost always class projects that you can share with the community or take a peak at the projects of other people, in order to have an idea of what they are doing.

If you are housebound like I am, it’s a great way to keep your mind occupied and productive.

I hope you try it and love it, like I did.

What are you favorite learning apps?

App review: Habitica

It’s been awhile since I have reviewed an app. I thought it was about time that I did it again.

This week’s app is Habitica.

Do you struggle with motivation? Do you find habit trackers and motivation apps to be boring? Habitica is the app for you.

I really enjoy this new trend of gamifying mundane tasks. It becomes more fun to do them and you get that little dopamine spike for the rewards you win.

It’s basically a simplified rpg that helps you track your habits while you level up your character. It is trust- based, which means that you should be honest when you tap your habits or other tasks. Or not but that’s up to you and it’s none of my business.

I really enjoy this new trend of gamifying mundane tasks. It becomes more fun to do them and you get that little dopamine spike for the rewards you win.

As you level up, you also get coins and you can buy items with them. You can personalize your avatar and assign points to skills. There are guilds and challenges. I accepted two challenges: one for daily gratitude and another for interacting more with my pets.

You can have a party (in the rpg sense) and play with your friends, for extra motivation. There is also a stable to store your mount. You will need gems to buy the egg and potion to hatch it. You can use and feed the mount. I chose a flying pic haha. I thought that was amusing and original.

In order to support the game, which I encourage, you can buy gems. You can buy various items with them. Developers have to earn money and it’s a great way to show them that you appreciate the game. It’s okay if you can’t do it. I know how tight budgets can be, in this economy.

I hope you try this app and have fun with it.

What is your favorite app for habit tracking?

Image taken from Habitica’s Play Store page.

Afternoon thoughts

Hello everyone.

I woke up a few hours ago. I didn’t sleep much but I feel okay. I did my morning meditation, it’s the best way to start the day. I feel calm and peaceful.

It’s very hot outside but it’s nice and warm in my room. Tonight will be tropical. It would be nice to go out. I love warm nights, it feels so good to be at a patio, enjoying a fresh drink.

I love the summer, though I don’t like excessive heat. I love going to the beach, swimming and walking by the sea. It’s a wonderful feeling, especially if there’s a slight breeze.

I remember the great summers I spent in various locations, growing up. In the mountains, by the beach and abroad. Summer is synonymous with happiness and contentment. Synonymous with peaceful excitement. Every day is a wonderful adventure. A great time to be alive. The days are longer and more pleasant.

I remember going to the beach, as a child. I just loved it. Like a little mermaid, I would spend a lot of time in the water. Made friends easily and, after a while of being there, I would be playing with a group of kids, as happy as a bird with a french fry. How I miss those days. I was so innocent and full of life. Everything was exciting and new. I was learning every day, just as I am now. That never changes. You need to keep learning every day or you will crystallize.

I am going to continue my maths and physics courses today. See how much I remember from school. It will help me be more at ease with computer science. I’m using an app called Khan Academy. It’s free and easy to use. It covers a variety of science subjects, from easy levels to more advanced ones. You learn through videos and exercises. I think it’s very important to cultivate our knowledge, if we have the time, of course.

I’m going to get on with my day. I wish you a lovely day and hope you are well.

Image by adamkontor, courtesy of Pixabay.

How to start meditating with Insight Timer

Hello everyone! I’ve been meditating every day for the past 18 days. I feel more at peace with myself and I have less negative thoughts. I don’t worry as much but I’m still focused on my goals.

If you would like to start meditating and you don’t know how to start, I suggest the Insight Timer app. It’s available for Android and Iphone. I’m not being sponsored by this app, I am just very excited about it and I think it provides incredible resources.

You have access to guided meditations, talks and binaural beats. You can follow teachers and topics you are interested in. By following teachers and topics, you will be notified of any new content. There’s a 365 day playlist so you can do a different meditation every day, for a year.

I started my practice with the 2020 meditate peace challenge. Just search for “Day 1 of peace”. These meditations are voiced by Michelle Zarrin. It starts by a one minute meditation and it builds on itself. Every day you meditate for one extra minute. It’s important to start in a humble and short way, as it takes a while for the brain to get used to being concentrated. You, basically, have to concentrate on your breathing and let go of any thoughts you have, without judging them or yourself. I assure you that it may seem hard but it gets easier with time.

When you are more comfortable doing it and sitting in stillness, there is a timer you can use. You can add bells and music to it, which is very useful for being focused.

After you complete the Meditate for Peace challenge, there are other challenges by Michelle Zarrin, for gratitude, surrender, the heart and others. There is also a free course by Sarah Blondin to learn how to meditate. If you search by “Day 1”, you can find other challenges, from other teachers, that might be interesting for you. It’s only a matter of browsing the app. There are over 9000 audio tracks for you to explore.

It’s also interesting to learn about Buddhism. I recommend Dale Borglum’s talks and Dan Rotnem’s Examining the Precepts series. They are very eloquent and clear on their talks and they are a pleasure to listen.

There are also groups about various topics and practices. If you have a question, you can always ask it there.

Every time you listen to an audio track there, in the end, you can see how many people were meditating far the same time, which gives you a sense of community. You can see who was meditating around the world and in your area.

If you are like me and love stats, Insight Timer has detailed info about your practice, which comes in handy to keep track of it.

There is a short guided meditation that I enjoy very much called “Head Massage” by Andrew Johnson. It’s a self-massage and it’s truly relaxing. There is also a short talk about Vipassana meditation. Vipassana is the original name of mindfulness meditation. The talk is called “About Vipassana Meditation” and it’s 4 minutes long.

If you needed a sign to start meditating, this post is it! Start today, it only takes a few minutes and you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the present moment. Often, we are stuck in the past or the future and we forget to enjoy the amazing gift that is the present.

I find it so relaxing that I have even stopped taking a sleeping pill. It’s a natural way to falo asleep and one less pill is very good for us. I’m not advising you to quit taking a sleeping pill, if your doctor prescribed it. Some sleeping pills can have terrible side-effects, if you stop taking them abruptly. See how relaxed if you become by meditating and always talk to your doctor about stopping to take a sleeping pill. You will probably have to ween it off.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing this information with you.

Image by Alexis, courtesy of Pixabay.

A few games and apps that I would like to recommend to you.

As I promised, I am going to recommend a few games for Android that are not very frustrating and two other great apps. These games are also enjoyable to play and will entertain you when you need it the most. Yes, in my opinion, games can help you. It is a good way to spend a bit of time for yourself. I am one that likes upgrading characters, doing battles, getting prizes. It is a lot of fun to me and it helps me cope with what I am going through. I hope they help you, too.

Idle Heroes – Idle Heroes is an idle game, which means you passively gain income, experience, and mana. The battles are in auto but I think they are soothing and fun to watch. You get to upgrade the characters, buy items, go on different quests, you will have a lot to do and the longer you stay offline, the more you earn.

Epic Summoners – It is a similar game, Android developers are not very creative sometimes. It is a good game nevertheless. I like the visuals and the characters. Lots of missions and ways to make more money, mana, experience, and items.
These two are the games I play but I have other two apps to recommend.

Futurism – Futurism is an app that aggregates news about science and anything pertaining to advanced technology, AI, gene editing, longevity research and all the revolutionary techniques and advancements that have been happening more and more each year. I like to read the news and know what is happening in a techno/optimist world, where man and machine will merge, creating an entirely different species. I am sorry if this sounds scary or wild but it may happen, who knows? Man can become obsolete if the robot’s abilities surpass those of a human. This is a very exciting time to be alive. I would keep up with Futurism’s news.

Soundcloud – I recommend SoundCloud because it features many artists, of many genres. The size is good compared to Spotify. Right now, Spotify is at 4,31 Gb. SC plays in the background like Spotify and there are no commercials, which is pretty good. It’s a good way to discover new music, keep up with your favorite artists or tune into a radio show; and more.