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Apps that will refresh your outlook

The popular mindfulness app Stop, Breathe & Think

The popular mindfulness app Stop, Breathe & Think promises to help users handle life's ups and downs. Photo Credit: Breathe & Think

The dog days of summer can leave you not only physically drained, they can also leave you feeling uninspired and unmotivated. Like a cool autumn breeze, these apps can give you fresh ideas and refresh your outlook.   

Stop, Breathe & Think

(iOS, Android; free)

From pre-vacation planning stress to post-vacation exhaustion blahs, it’s no wonder you are feeling torn between relaxation and exasperation. This popular mindfulness app (more than 4.5 million downloads) promises to help you deal with stress and “handle life’s ups and downs.” The app offers daily meditation exercises and lets you find calm amid the summer storms. The free version lets you access 20 activities. A $10-a-month subscription unlocks more features.

Feedly

(iOS, Android; free)

Feeling intellectually drained by summer? This wonderful news and blog aggregation app can help you find what’s going on in your industry and ramp up your knowledge base. Feedly connects to more than 40 million mainstream and niche news sources, which you can filter down to subjects of importance for you and your job. Find a story of interest? Share it with work colleagues or your boss via LinkedIn or other professional social networks.

RescueTime

(iOS, Android; free)

If your nose is constantly stuck in your smartphone, it’s going to make it harder to put it to the grindstone when work or school demands it. Why not use the last few weeks of summer to boost your productivity? RescueTime tracks your “digital life” and shows you in charts and graphics how much of your valuable time you are wasting on your mobile device. Set alerts to tell you when to put the phone down.

ThinQbator

(iOS, Android; free)

Spent the entire summer noodling over an idea or invention but have hit a wall? With ThinQbator, you can get feedback and brainstorm with a community of like-minded creative people. Ask for help on a problem or get support on a promising project that needs a little guidance from those who have traveled down that road before. Have an idea that’s similar to one already posted? Join forces and make the concept a reality. 

Gamers report harassment

Two-thirds of video gamers have been victims of “severe harassment” while playing online, according to an Anti-Defamation League survey. Harassment was widespread, including attacks on a players’ race, religion and gender. Popular games such as DOTA 2, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds and Overwatch attracted the most harassment. But not all was negative. The survey found 88 percent of online gamers experienced “positive social interaction,” including making friends.

— PETER KING

Election exhaustion

It’s not just you. More social media users say they are worn out by the amount of political posts and discussions online in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Pew says 46 percent of social media users are “already exhausted” by political content. At this point four years ago, before the 2016 election, only 37 percent said they felt worn out by political discussions.

— PETER KING

'Catcher' available as e-book

You can finally catch J.D. Salinger’s books on your Kindle. Publisher Little, Brown said all four of his works, including “The Catcher in the Rye,” are being made available as e-books, marking the first time that the entirety of Salinger’s published work is available in digital format. The reclusive author, who died in 2010, rejected any reissues or e-book editions of his work.

— AP

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