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Four must-have smartphone apps for women

Last updated on: January 21, 2013 15:12 IST

Four must-have smartphone apps for women

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Get Ahead reader Elizabeth Joseph lists four apps that women can use in emergencies. Elizabeth, a BTech in Computer Science and Engineering, is an avid technology enthusiast and often writes on gadgets.

I don't know about apples and their doctor-repelling properties (Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Is it like the whole vampires don't like garlic thing?), but one thing I do know, or at least, I'm determined to find out, is that there are plenty of apps available that offer various ways of keeping the female race safe.

If you consider yourself at risk for sexual violence, robbery, assault (or D. all of the above or E. others), and if you own a Smartphone, here are some apps that just might come in handy. These apps for iPhone and Android users claim to reduce the risk of the above mentioned crimes. So the next time you go clubbing, or partying, or a walk down the street at 'questionable' hours, make sure you have your phone in hand with your fingertips ready... not to dial 911 (or 100)... but instead to click on an app and save yourself.

No, the apps don't castrate the rapist... neither do they create a force field around you... nor do they work like an iPill and eliminate chances of pregnancy. Here's what they do though.




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Circle of 6

If you're of the XX chromosome type, and own an iPhone or a phone that supports Android, you MUST HAVE this app. This app was originally designed for high-school students to alert their friends if they were in a threatening situation. Two taps is all it takes and it sends out one of three predetermined text messages to your choice of 6 contacts, including a call for help getting home that automatically includes an address and map of your exact location, or a request for a phone call from you to break up a tense situation.

It uses icons instead of buttons with text so that others will not know what you are up to. There are mainly 3 icons. One contains a car. Pressing this will send an SMS reading: Come and get me. I need help in getting home safely.

The second is a phone icon. It sends an SMS saying: Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.

The third icon is a chat icon which reads: I'm looking up information about healthy relationships and respect. Just letting you know. That contains links to sites like www.loveisrespect.org and others so that your circle is informed of what is on your mind, but does not take immediate action.

It has an Immediate Danger button which will take you to a choice of 3 hotlines: Rape and Sexual Violence, Relationship Abuse, and a campus/office anti-violence or sexual offence number, the latter of which is optional.

A checkmark icon, if tapped, sends an SMS to your circle saying: I've gotten help, thanks. You're the best Circle of 6!

Circle of 6 is the winner of the Department of Health and Human Services / White House's 'Apps Against Abuse' Challenge and its four developers (three of them are women) have considerable experience and knowledge in the fields of sexual violence prevention, graphic design, mobile technology, and healthy relationship building.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Circle of 6


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bSafe

Once upon a time, there was a mother named Silje Vallestad, who wanted to use mobile technology to keep her kids safe. With absolutely no knowledge about the industry, she won a business plan competition and used the money she won to design and create a safety alarm for kids called BipperKids. Later, when other women told Silje that they were 'borrowing' their kids' phones (yes kids had phones, and they even – gasp -- lent it to their parents!) for their evening runs and outings. bSafe was born to cater to the needs of women.

With a fruity purple background, the push of a single big red button triggers a personal safety alarm that sends emergency messages to contacts of your choice.

In this app, you can choose 'Guardians' who can respond to your distress text message and one guardian who will receive a phone call. There are two versions: free and subscription-based. Both versions allow you to choose an unlimited number of guardians who will receive the text message, but the subscription version allows you to call up to 3 guardians simultaneously.

 All guardians receive a text message complete with a link to a map showing your location using your GPS coordinates.

A Fake Call button, when pushed, initiates the ringtone to ring as if you were receiving a call. You can even choose who you want to appear to be called by. You can also set the time interval for when you want to receive the call. There are six options for that: immediately, 5 seconds later, 15 seconds later, 1 minute later, 5 minutes later, and 10 minutes later.

bSafe's subscription version gives you two additional levels of safety: a Risk Mode with real time GPS tracking of your position.

Ladies, now you can go jogging or rendezvous about with the Timer Mode which has automatic alarm activation (e.g. like suppose you plan to jog for half an hour, and you don't come back in the said time, and if you don't turn off your pre-programmed alarm, your guardians will receive an alert with your entire route mapped out).

So ladies, beware and bSafe!

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.




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Guardly

What is Guardly? Here's what www.guardly.com had to say:

It alerts and connects instantly to friends, family and authorities with single push of a button.

Collaborate with emergency contacts in real-time by voice, instant messaging and map-view showing the nearby location of responder

Play a loud whistle to bring awareness to your emergency situation

This app has a feature called Connection Auto-Detect, which means that if you're in an area with low coverage or maybe underground or in a moving elevator, and if the alarm is set, it will search continuously for coverage, so that it will be able to function as soon as it within range.

What is pretty awesome about this app is that you can set customised emergency situations. 911 need not be the only call for help that you need.

Maybe the emergency is that you unknowingly ate a piece of chocolate that contained crushed peanuts and you are allergic to peanuts. Just choose the 'Peanut Allergy Gang - School' who probably are your two best friends and the school nurse who knows what to do when you eat peanuts.

Maybe your contacts are irritating your eyes in the office and you haven't brought solution or the case to remove it and place it in. Notify the 'Lens Wearers Association', a group you made for your co-workers who wear contact lens to assist you.

Maybe you're being harassed by people in your college, and you need to call the 'The Big Guys', who are probably members of your campus Anti-Ragging Squad.

Different scenarios require different people who can come to the rescue.

Perhaps you are in a situation where you can't dial 911 yourself. Either you are hiding from the assailant, or maybe you're being chased by one! (God forbid!)

Sign in to the Emergency Response Page. Your rescuers will see the notification and your location on the map via GPS. Once they sign in, their locations will be visible on the map as well and you will be able to see their movements on-the-go no matter where you are. You can actually see them as they come to save you (hopefully you have great friends who'd drop everything in an instant to help you...). Now that's pretty cool.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Guardly


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EyeWatch

This app works on almost every type of Smartphone available: those which support the Android OS, BlackBerry, Nokia, iPhone, etc.

The EyeWatch application has some additional features that set it apart from the other apps, like Free Fall Activation and Video/Audio/Images Support.

Sometimes, maybe during an assault or the chase that precedes an assault, the phone might drop to the ground. Free fall activation means the app is automatically activated when dropped. It can be activated even by shaking the phone.

The inbuilt audio/video/image support enables the user to send images, videos and sound bytes along with the location in the distress notification.

One more useful feature is that this app works even while on-the-go, like in a moving car, or in an elevator.

Another bonus feature of EyeWatch is useful for investigative and legal agencies like the police, and will aid them in tracing and providing assistance to the victim, fast and in time. It has a provision to record and send the last conversation along with the SOS alert.

EyeWatch was launched as a joint initiative of Security Watch India (SWI) and IndianEye Security Pvt. Ltd. (ISL).

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: EyeWatch


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