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The power of location awareness from your device

Some people long for the good old days. They fondly remember the time when air travel didn’t involve long lines at security, or back when they didn’t have to lock their front doors. Those are the kinds of folks who read Beloit College’s annual mindset list every year and focus on that sinking feeling it creates when they think about what it says about their own advancing age. How can it be that HDTV came along before the kids entering college this year! were even born?

Others look on the bright side, and the positive opportunities that come with the passage of time. The constant march of technological innovation, relentless as it is, generally enhances productivity and, therefore, means more free time to enjoy life.

The availability of location awareness from your handheld device is a perfect example. It wasn’t that long ago that if we wanted to go to a restaurant or store we had never been to before, we had to plan ahead and fuss around with a cumbersome paper map. If the map was out of date, or we lost the directions along the way, or we ran into an unexpected detour, we ended up wasting time.

Online maps represented a great leap forward – they proved to be more useful as they ensured that they were more up-to-date than the old paper maps.

Today, our handheld devices can access those maps wirelessly. Even better, they know where we are. Now we can type an address into our handheld device and in a few seconds it will give us turn-by-turn directions from where we are now to wherever we want to go. So cool.

LifeTopix is also super cool, because it leverages this technology in a really useful way. When you enter into LifeTopix the things that are location-based — tasks, shopping items, events, trips, etc. — you can use the Near Me feature of LifeTopix to show you, automatically, those things that are in your vicinity. This is one of those really powerful capabilities that you will quickly end up wondering “how did I ever lived without this!?”

These three videos show you how easy it is to use the location services features of LifeTopix on your device:

I Like Coupons

I like Groupon. And I like Living Social too. In fact, I like all of the dozen or so (at last count) online coupon sites there are for the city in which I live. On average, I buy about two or three of these per month. I understand that online coupons aren’t for everyone. But these work for me because I’m a fairly organized person, so the ability to save money on the things I do and the places I eat can be achieved without too much burden.That said, I find that it does help to be methodical about this stuff. It would really bug me if I discovered a coupon I bought that I forgot about and has expired. To prevent from getting myself into that woeful situation, I have developed a methodology for managing my online coupons. And given the technology available today, that methodology is fairly lightweight.At a minimum, the information I track for each online coupon I buy is:

  • the face value
  • the expiration date
  • any restrictions (such as not valid on certain days of the week, reservation required, excludes alcohol, etc.)

Bonus information to track for each coupon is:

  • a digital copy (pdf or photo of a physical printout)
  • the amount I paid for it
  • the credit card I bought it on
  • the online coupon site I bought it on, along with the email account I used when I bought it
  • whether or not I sent a referral of this coupon to a friend, since some sites give me kickbacks for each friend that ends up buying from a referral of mine

But probably the most helpful thing I do is to add a reminder entry to my calendar for each coupon, one or two weeks ahead of its expiration. If I haven’t used it by then, I know I need to make plans to do so soon.

The best evidence of the usefulness of this methodology is that even after all the coupons I’ve bought, I have never yet had one go unused.