Apps

How to play Travel Frog

Not as easy as you’d think

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If you need some help understanding how to play Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる), the addictive new mobile game, I’ve got you covered.

Before I hop into how to play this game, I’ll lay it out there: I can’t read Japanese. It’s a shame, really. If anything, I can understand some Japanese — holler at my young self-avoiding needing to read subtitles while watching anime. Back to the task at hand. Here are neat tips and tricks I learned from playing the game:

How you start off

When you first launch the game, I’m guessing you’ll be greeted with the terms of service of the game. You’ll then be asked to enter a name for your frog. This bit for me was easy enough to understand. I clicked through the buttons and went along.

Your frog will be preparing for his first journey when you are initially introduced. The game will walk you through three varying types of items you’ll need to pack for your frog for him to wander off: food, charms, and equipment. The clovers you find in front of your frog’s house are currencies in the game for you to buy more items.

Later on, I learned that three-leaf clovers are used to purchase items from the shop. Four-leaf clovers are collected and kept as charms to equip your frog when he’s on a journey. I had to learn that the tough way: running out of charms to give my frog.

The game then prompts you with this:

“Your frog will head out on journeys by himself, but if you prepare him as you did here in the tutorial he may bring pictures and souvenirs home for you.”

Not as simple as Neko Atsume

From here, it’s a waiting game. The clover garden will replenish over time. And you’ll occasionally meet some of your frog’s friends who visit.

If you’re the kind of person who has a staggering amount of separation anxiety, don’t play this game. Your frog will come and go without warning. If you want to be the overbearing mother, you can alter that in the settings by bumping up the frog icon (labeled “SE”) you see below. This will let the game prompt you when your frog is back from his travels.

This game will inevitably fool you into its simplicity by the cute graphics and seemingly simple mechanics but the longer you play, the more complex it becomes. There are detailed translations of the game but there’s something about just discovering the context little by little that makes it a bit more charming for me.

When you progress in the game, you discover the undeniable satisfaction of receiving postcards. Your frog sometimes (there is no guarantee!) leaves postcards from wherever he’s wandered off to. Even if it is a game contextualized in time, it teaches you the valuable lesson of letting things go and letting things be. It’s a great game to pass the time and it is unquestionably comforting to find rare photos of your frog accompanied by a friend.

More friends, more fun

And, remember your frog’s friends? They’re the animals that visit and show up outside your door. Each of them have four food preference tiers, ranging from “Pleased” (least favorite) to “Can’t eat anymore” (most favorite). The fuller they are, the more three-leaf clovers they’ll collect for you.

Maimai is the snail.

He loves chestnuts, tea leaves but most things will fill him. He’s a bit tough to please at first but once your frog travels more, you get to meet other friends too.

Bunbun is the bee.

Bunbun is loves peppers, cabbages, chestnuts, milk, gohei mochi, garlic, rice, baked buns, tea leaves, and hardtack. If you notice, Maimai is probably the most tough to please but once you encounter Bunbun, you’re more likely to meet other friends too. These are the two friends I’ve encountered so far but, I’ll keep this article updates once I find something new.

What’s not to like?

I mean, at least for me, it’s a game that requires minimal effort. If you want to dig balls-deep into the nitty-gritty bits of game, you’ll inevitably have to wait regardless. If you run out of charms (which sadly happened to me a lot), you can pack your frog’s bag without it. The food is the bare minimum thing you can have set-up for your frog for his journey.

I learned later on that combining different items, charms, and food can alter how many postcards your frog will bring back, where he travels, and what items he brings back from his trip. The game lets you adjust, combine, and customize every time you prepare your frog for its journey outdoors. Just don’t forget the basics of always having food for your frog! Play it with me here (Android, iOS)

SEE ALSO: Travel Frog: The new addictive mobile game

Apps

5 best workout apps to try at home

Start creating healthier habits and close your rings!

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Over the past year, taking care of ourselves has become a priority for a lot of us. Eating healthier, getting a good amount of sleep, being mindful, and working out will not just make us less susceptible to diseases now and in the long run, they also help relieve stress and avoid bouts of lethargy in our day to day.

As a beginner, exercise will always seem daunting — or even feel like a chore. This is why fitness apps are now more comprehensive than ever, offering guides for different kinds of physical activities to cater to people’s different needs and lifestyles.

Whether you’re a mom of a toddler who thinks she doesn’t have time for working out, or a workaholic who wants to spice up her rather drab routine, here are some of the best workout apps for iOS that you can try at home to help you start creating healthier habits.

Fitness+

US$ 9.99 per month / US$ 79.99 per year

Apple’s very own Fitness+ doesn’t require a separate app, but you do need an Apple Watch and either an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to access the workouts within the Fitness app.

You can choose from different sets of workouts: HIIT, core, strength training, yoga, dance, treadmill, rowing, cycling, mindful cooldown. There are also options to sort by trainer, duration, and music.

Apart from its seamless integration with the Apple Watch, the biggest draw of Fitness+ are the high production value, diverse set of trainers, and integration with Apple Music.

With 21 different personalities to choose from, you’re sure find one that you will enjoy working out with. My personal favorites are Bakari for HIIT, Jessica for yoga and mindful cooldown, and Kyle for core and strength workouts.

In each class, the trainer walks you through each move that you are doing. A brief warmup and cooldown are also included in every workout.

Having songs you love play in the background makes a grueling 30-minute HIIT actually exciting. It especially helps that the trainers encourage you to sing or dance to the songs during recovery.

Aaptiv

US$ 14.99 per month / US$ 99.99 per year

Sometimes watching a video of someone doing push ups is not necessary. Aaptiv packs all the motivation you need to work out in audio-only classes tailored to your needs.

The beautifully designed UI helps make working out less daunting. Upon signing up, you are asked what your fitness level is, what kind of workouts you’re interested in, length of classes that you prefer, what equipment you have, and one healthy habit the app can help you build. Choose from foam roll, work on your core, master the plank, do squats, do push-ups.

Based on your answers, you then get a weekly personalized coach plan. There are also guided programs, team challenges, and playlists of great music.

Nike Training Club

Free

If being in a virtual class isn’t your cup of tea, Nike Training Club has a good selection of routines that you can easily follow.

You can search workouts based on your needs. Whether you’re looking to improve endurance, mobility, or strength, routines with dumbbells, or those that target specific muscle group, the app has you covered.

One of my favorite features that’s not available on the other apps mentioned here, is the use of the Apple Watch’s haptics. This allows you to focus on doing each rep, instead of looking at your screen to check the time. Getting your form right — including your neck’s position — is important in maximizing results.

My other favorite feature: The app is free!

Peloton

US$ 12.99 per month

While Peloton is known for its high-end treadmill and indoor bike, its app can be downloaded by anyone. It offers different classes that don’t require any of their equipment.

No matter how busy you are, you won’t run out of options with thousands of live and on-demand workouts to choose from. Like Fitness+, Peloton workouts are accompanied by great music and energetic trainers that make exercising fun. Emma Lovewell and Adrian Williams have made strengthening my core a lot more enjoyable.

The leaderboard on the app shows other users who are simultaneously doing the workout with you. If you join any of the live classes, you might even get a shoutout from the trainer.

The app also lets you filter classes by duration, class type, instructor, or music. On days when you feel like doing cardio with Britney Spears or yoga with Elvis, know that those are options.

With more than three million members, challenges within the Peloton app help motivate you to create healthy and consistent fitness habits with other users. The Annual 2021 challenge, which tracks every active minute on all Peloton platforms, has more than one million participants as of writing.

READ: Peloton tips and tricks: How to make the most out of your workout

Wondercise

US$ 4.99 per month / US$ 35.99 per year

If you want to virtual classes but don’t need a charismatic trainer or great background music, try Wondercise. At more than half the price of a paid subscription, this is the workout app that offers all the basics, whatever your level of fitness is.

Using its live motion matching technology, the app analyzes and maps your movements as you train by using a compatible wearable, including the Apple Watch.

Wondercise identifies how closely your movements match those of the onscreen trainer. The more similar your movements are to the trainer, the higher your score will be.

Finding a class that suits your needs is easy. Recommendations that are served to you are tailored to the fitness level and goals you indicate when signing up. This saves you time from scrolling through all the available workouts.

There is also wide range of exercises that you can try that are not available on other apps. Apart from HIIT, core, and strength training, you also get access to tai chi, MMA, kickboxing, and pilates.

SEE ALSO: 8 mindfulness apps to help you cope in this time of uncertainty

Note: All five apps work seamlessly with the Apple Watch. This means that when you start a workout on your phone it automatically syncs with your Apple Watch and records your heart rate and active calories. Apart from Fitness+, all other apps can be used without an Apple Watch.

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WhatsApp delays roll-out of new privacy policy until May

Signal and Telegram are trending instead

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Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy that clearly specifies how the instant messaging app will leverage your data for monetization. But the new privacy policy is on hold.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has announced that it will delay enforcing its new privacy terms from February 8 to May 15. In the blog post, the company says that none of its privacy-focused features are changing.

“We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the statement said.

It faced massive backlash as users are worried about their personal data. When the privacy policy changes went public last week, the response from the public was downright brutal. Alternative apps like Telegram and Signal started trending worldwide as users started joining it in hopes of ditching WhatsApp.

Even though WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook will still fetch some crucial information like your transactions, location, and other behavioral data from linked Instagram profile. And, we all know Facebook has a nasty reputation as far as personal data management is concerned. What makes it even more outrageous is that the policy is leave or take, and there’s no third option.

In the wording used, WhatsApp says the new privacy policy will change how it partners with Facebook to “offer integrations” and that businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats. It said that hat all private messages between friends and family members will remain end-to-end encrypted.

According to a CNBC report, India’s technology ministry also asked WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy that has drawn widespread backlash.

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Ultrahuman is an all-in-one fitness app

Workout, meditate and sleep soundly

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Staying physically and mentally fit is extra challenging during a pandemic, but it’s become essential now more than ever. Ultrahuman is a fitness app launched that offers a very convenient platform that targets the three main health points: physical exercise, meditation and sleep. It helps you stay fit from the moment you wake up until you go to bed!

This newest app, which debuted on CES 2021, features different content per category. It includes home workouts and yoga programs from world-class athletes and professional trainers to focus on your physical strength. You can choose from various workouts — from running and yoga to weightlifting and HIIT. The app is designed for all fitness levels.

With the app’s biofeedback technology, you can also track your heart rate and calories burned in real-time.

There’s also content focusing on mindfulness, including guided meditations, bedtime stories, calming meditation music, nature and sleep sounds, breathing exercises, among others. Manage stress and anxiety better by improving your mental health and sleeping patterns with the help of this series.

You can also listen to “brain music”, a section where you can find songs curated by “neuro-musicians” that aids focus, sleep and productivity.

Ultrahuman also partnered with UCLA, Mindsize, and Unified Mindfulness to bring the best of mind science and technology together.

The app is available on iOS and Android, and is already rolled out across 50+ countries globally. It’s been recognized by Apple as one of the top apps they love. Apple Watch users can also integrate their app to track their health progress real-time.

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