Software week in review for June 20

Yo, have you poked your friends with two letters today? This week saw new releases from Facebook and Intel, health and fitness apps heating up, iOS 8 feature leaks, and more. Read on for our recap, and to get the latest reviews from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Getting the message

This is the state of apps: $1 million in funding for an app that sends one word to your contacts. After an April Fools' Day launch, the minimal Yo app burned up the Internet this week, earning both appreciation and derision. It finished the … Read more

HealthTap review

HealthTap connects you with over 50,000 licensed, U.S.-based doctors whom you can ask questions about diseases, medication, procedures, and any other medical topics you can think of. This Q&A-based app and its vibrant network are ad-free.


Dynamic and engaging: Unlike other health apps that merely feature a medical database, HealthTap provides a more dynamic experience, bringing you personalized answers from reputable specialists. It can be especially useful for solving dilemmas relevant to diagnosis or treatment.

Informative feed: One of the main features is a feed through which you can follow your preferred topics and … Read more

HealthTap review

HealthTap gives you access to real doctors and lets you ask them questions about all types of topics right from your iPhone. And even if you don't have a specific question to ask, you can browse the questions other users have submitted and the answers they received on any topic relevant to you, as well as getting basic information about all types of topics related to health, wellness, and medications.


Profile options: When creating your profile on HealthTap, you can enter as much or as little information as you'd like. The more you enter, the more the … Read more

New health site lets the crowd rate treatment effectiveness

You have a back ache. Like millions of others in your situation, you open your browser and search for "back pain." The various health sites in the search results instruct you to apply ice, to apply heat, to rest it, and not to rest it.

They advise you that the pain should go away on its own within 72 hours, while simultaneously informing you that your achy back could be a symptom of a serious, even life-threatening illness, so you should make an appointment to see your doctor right away.

In other words, your guess is as good … Read more

Fitbit Force users report roughly 10,000 cases of skin irritation

Some side effects can come with activity monitoring with a Fitbit Force health tracker, but they're not sore muscles or an accelerated heart rate -- rather, they involve skin irritation around the wrist.

More than 10,000 people have reported skin irritation -- including redness, rashes, itchy and dry patches, and blistering -- from their Fitbit Force, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because of these issues, the CPSC posted Fitbit's official recall notice on its site on Wednesday. Now, all Force owners can get a full refund for their device.

The $129 Force, which is … Read more

Use IFTTT, iOS to hold you accountable for going to the gym

One of the hardest parts of starting to work out is staying motivated to actually go do it. Friends and family members can be terrific motivators, especially if you team up with someone to go work out with you.

But not everyone is going to have the option of a regular workout buddy. So instead of sitting at home unmotivated, use your iPhone, the automation service If This Then That (IFTTT), and a friend to hold you accountable.

First you'll need to install IFTTT's iPhone app. (IFTTT can be used with Android, but it's easier with iOS.) … Read more

iPhone case doubles as a health monitor

Your iPhone may be able to play doctor with help from a $199 case.

Made by consumer-electronics company Azoi, a smartphone case called Wello aims to measure a range of vitals, including your blood pressure, electrocardiography (ECG), heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature, and lung function. Azoi claims the measurements will offer a high level of accuracy as part of its goal to make you more aware of your health.

To trigger the built-in sensors, you simply hold the case for a few moments while some of your key bodily functions are recorded. The information then passes over to the Wello … Read more

Moov fitness tracker actually tells us how to fix ourselves

The complaints with wearable fitness trackers are routinely uniform. If a device is slim and sleek, it tends not to provide very useful data beyond counting steps and telling you when you rolled around in your sleep. If it's powerful, on the other hand, it's typically bulky and designed at the expense of looking like something you'd actually want to wear in public.

The team behind Moov, originating from a partnership between a former Apple engineer and two veterans of sensor research at Microsoft, is trying to change that paradigm. They're offering a device that they … Read more

Apple patents headphones that can monitor your vital stats

Apple's interest in the health and fitness market may seem like a new niche, but a related patent goes back almost six years.

Filed in 2008 and awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, a patent called "Sports monitoring system for headphones, earbuds and/or headsets" describes how such products could track your health and fitness and perform certain tasks based on how you move your head.

Key to the invention would be sensors embedded into one or more areas of the headsets or earbuds. By coming into contact with your skin, these sensors … Read more

Farmer's Fridge brings fruit, veggies to vending machines

Dinner from a vending machine usually evokes images of chips, cookies, frozen burritos, and other junk food. But if Farmer's Fridge has its way, meals from a vending machine could mean organic meats and cheeses and healthy salads full of locally grown veggies, fruit, beans, and seeds.

The Farmer's Fridge vending machines offer a selection of salads, including Antioxidant, High Protein, Detox, Thai, Mediterranean, North Napa, and more. The salads, with dressing included, are presented layered in BPA- and phthalate-free plastic jars. Smaller jars of organic meats -- such as lemon pepper chicken, tuna salad, lemon tofu, and salmon salad -- are sold separately.… Read more