Keeping track of your assets
Money Forward is a personal financial asset management service (in Japanese) that works similar to the U.S.-based service Mint.com. With more than 160 partners including banks, credit-card companies and mobile carriers, the service automatically pulls all your financial information into one place, taking away the pain and hassle involved with managing your finances.
All that is needed for registration is an email address — there is no need to give out your name or home address. Any information you provide is securely encrypted using a high-grade 256-bit encryption with a SSL certificate. It also integrates with the popular optical-character-recognition enabled mobile app RecoReco, making it easy to input data from printed receipts.
Money Forward is currently free, but it may release premium accounts with extra functions in the future. It’s available on the Web, and on iOS and Android.
The right kind of finger pointing
If you ever have to give presentations at work, you may want to consider buying the Kokuyoseki ring-remote. Office-supplies manufacturer Kokuyo released this sleek looking remote control that supports both PowerPoint for Windows and Mac, as well as Keynote.
Put the device on your index finger and slot its receiver into your computer’s USB port. You use your thumb to click the ring’s buttons to toggle between pages and start or end slide shows — making it easy to give great Steve Jobs-like presentations. The device is 32 mm in diameter and its battery is good for about 15 hours. Kokuyoseki is available for ¥4,935.
Listen to your favorite Web pages
If you don’t have time to read web articles, how about listening to them on the go? Sony Computer Science Laboratories has released a mobile app that reads out Web pages via a personalized “radio” channel called Oto-Latte. By choosing categories such as world news, entertainment and technology, you can create a custom audio newsfeed. Each category pulls in news articles from different media; for tech, for example, Gizmodo, ITmedia News, Tabloid are in the repertoire.
The app uses text-to-voice technology to read articles out loud, and you can skip or read the text article within the app when the news sounds interesting. There are also a few different voice options, including a professional news anchor, and Sony plans to increase the number of choices in the future.
Oto-Latte is free to download for iOS and Android.
Acer’s tablet doubles in data storage
Acer released its latest full HD Windows 8 tablet PC Iconia W700-2 at the end of last month. Upgraded from its previous model Iconia W700, the company has listened to feedback from its users and doubled its data storage. The tablet also packs a third generation Intel Core i3 processor, which really speeds thing up.
Weighing about 950 grams at 295 mm x 191 mm x 9.2 mm, the tablet has a full HD resolution (1920 × 1080) screen, so you can enjoy high-definition content, including videos and games, while on the go. When fully charged, it can run up to nine hours consecutively. The tablet’s price is estimated to fall somewhere around ¥90,000.
Don’t play with your health this summer
With summer just around the corner, now’s the time to shape up for the swimsuit season. Japanese startup Practechs has released an Android app called Healthplayer, with which you can collect health-related data from bluetooth enabled devices such as scales or blood-pressure monitors. You can also input data manually. The app functions as a pedometer as well, allowing you to count your steps and keep track of calories burned in a given day.
There are plans to expand the service into a health-care platform where it will provide optional extras such as customized recipe recommendations and a concierge service by professional counselors.
The iOS app is in the works and expected to be released sometime this month.