As the twittering birds and golden sunshine of spring finally roll in, we must take stock of the dusty nest that winter turned our home into. Did you spend a lot of time parked on the couch under a warm blanket and binge on Netflix while the lighting and thunder raged outside your window? Well, now that you've reached the end of the gauntlet, let's show you several handy mobile apps that can help you reorganize your home and possibly your life, from to-do lists to voice-activated assistants to password managers.
Google Keep (Android iOS) is a free note-taking assistant that follows you everywhere. It'll bang out shopping lists and set reminders for you -- hands-free, if you hit the microphone button on your virtual keyboard and start talking. If you say, "Add X to my shopping list," the object of your desire will show up in the appropriate spot. There's also a button to snap a pic and add it to Keep, and a handwriting tool if you want to create some visual aid with a fingertip.
If you don't want Google knowing your innermost business, Wunderlist (Android, iOS) is a popular Keep alternative. It comes with Android Wear support, and users can sign up for a "Pro" version for $5 per user per month that adds unlimited cloud storage, unlimited task delegation, and unlimited sub-tasks. If you want an app like this that treats task completion like a mobile game, there's also Habitica (Android, iOS). Who doesn't like leveling up because they cleaned the oven?
LastPass and 1Password
Passwords are a pain. Good ones are hard to remember, so you have to write them down on something that could be lost, damaged, or stolen, or you use mental tricks that other people could figure out. But there's a Door #3: Password manager apps like LastPass (Android, iOS) and 1Password (Android, iOS) which generate complicated passwords and enter them for you. All you need to remember is the master password used to access your library of online accounts -- which you can protect with two-factor authentication. With 2FA, even someone who guesses your master password still needs your PIN code to confirm authorization, which changes every 30 seconds. Have a fingerprint sensor on your phone? You can also use that instead of your master password, when it's time to impress your friends and neighbors.
Dragon Mobile Assistant (Android only)
It turns out that Siri wasn't always an Apple thing. They bought it in 2010 from a company that now makes Dragon Mobile Assistant (Android) for Android devices. Okay, you might wonder why you'd want Dragon when Google has its own AI built in. Well, some folks might not be down with Google listening to them all the time, and Dragon lets you customize its "wake word." When you have multiple Android devices within hearing range and say "OK Google," they can all wake up, which can lead to some confusion. A customizable wake word lets you choose which device responds. Dragon can also read SMS messages aloud and let you dictate new ones, which is handy if your hands are busy with washing dishes or knife juggling practice.