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Apps to improve lives in the new year

An image from July 2010 shows Samsung's Galaxy

An image from July 2010 shows Samsung's Galaxy S mobile phone, right, and Apple's iPhone 3G at a shop in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Getty Images

With the new year, here are a few ways to improve your life as you enter 2013. Whether you want to shed holiday pounds, organize your work and personal lives or find more meaningful opportunities to give back, these apps will help.

Charity Miles

(iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, free)

This app lets you multitask by fulfilling two worthy resolutions. Charity Miles is designed to help you support your favorite charity by raising money every time you go for a run, power walk or bike ride. The app uses GPS to track the distances you cover during workouts. Then, it pays out 10 cents a mile for bikers and 25 cents a mile for runners and walkers. Charity Miles is endowed with an initial $1 million in corporate sponsorships. Of course, users are encouraged to share their accomplishments with friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter. After each session is complete, you can brag about how far you went and also promote the charity you support.

Sooner: To-do list and planner

(iPhone, iPod Touch, $1.99)

Planning your weekly to-do list just got easier. If your resolutions involve getting more stuff done, then this app is perfect. Sooner is great for people who like to visualize their time, as opposed to those who like sticky notes. Set up resolution projects and manage them in your life spheres on a daily basis. The sooner you get the app, the sooner you will be on the road to productivity.

Zombies, Run!

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, $3.99)

So we made it through the Mayan apocalypse, but that doesn't mean the zombies aren't still coming for us. If you want to get in shape in 2013, and prepare for a real-life "The Walking Dead" scenario, then look no further than Zombies, Run! It's a mix of fitness regimen, video game and doomsday training. Personal Finance

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, free) and its mobile apps are simply the best tools for individuals and families to track their finances. Once you connect your bank accounts, credit cards and recurring monthly bills, will store and showcase all of your transactions in one place. What's more, the app will alert you over time when you are paying for unnecessary fees or spending more on a category like restaurants or entertainment than you normally do. Best of all, is free!


(iPhone, iPod Touch, free)

The Juice app is ready to help you on the road to well-being. Use Juice to track your daily activity so you can maximize your energy sources. It doesn't take a lot of time, just a few minutes a day to log and analyze what works best over time. The app gives healthy tips for managing stress and sleep patterns. This is a simple app that will help almost anyone stick to at least one resolution.

TECH BYTES with Peter King

Zynga scales back
Social-gaming company Zynga has shut down 11 online games and pulled some apps in an attempt to contain costs. Among the games shuttered were "PetVille" and "Mafia Wars 2." Zynga still has a roster of more than 30 online games and apps, including "ChefVille," "Farmville 2" and "Words With Friends." Hurt by declining revenue, Zynga's stock price fell 75 percent in 2012.

New Christmas tradition
Smartphone and tablet activations are taking their place alongside candy canes and eggnog as Christmas Day staples. Flurry Analytics says more than 17.4 million iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Android phones and tablets were activated on Dec. 25, a single-day record. The previous single-day record for device activations was 6.8 million, set on Christmas Day 2011.

Tweets from the top
The vast majority of world leaders have Twitter accounts and regularly engage their citizens through the microblogging site, according to new report. The Digital Policy Council found that 123 heads of state in 164 countries were tweeting in 2012. The top three leaders by number of Twitter followers in 2012 were President Barack Obama, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Abdullah Gul of Turkey.


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