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Last October Google announced that a dedicated team had started working on an exciting modular and fully-customisable smartphone that could well change the way we look at the mobile phone industry for good.

Code-named Project Ara, the smartphone will consist of one framework and a series of separate sections. The thinking behind it is that people will be able to swap out these different sections as easily as buying a new app, completely changing their phone as they go.

We've heard a relatively small amount about Google's ambitious plans - apart from the odd photo and teaser video. But this week a few new details have emerged following the first Project Ara developer conference, which took place at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Until we learn more about what took place at the conference, here's everything we already know about Google's Project Ara and its exciting plans for a fully-modular smartphone:

You'll be able to customise EVERYTHING about your phone

The Project Ara device will consist of an endo (short for endoskeleton), which is a basically a chassis to hold everything together. Onto this framework you're than able to attach any module you like. So are you into mobile photography? Attach an awesome, huge camera and a flash. Get mad when your phone runs out of charge? Add a much bigger battery. Like to show off about how big your gadgets are? Get a screen that's MASSIVE. You get the picture.

It'll (probably) be ready early next year

Those at the Project Ara developer conference have revealed that some users will be able to order their Ara from January 2015.

But it might start its life out as a cheap device in developing countries

Although the Project Ara smartphone may sound like something for early adopters and tech geeks, it looks as if Google might concentrate on launching the modular devices to those who don't have phones already first. With this in mind, it's set to be very cheap to begin with (possibly around $50) and only have the basics attached. People will then be able to add more as and when they need to.

It's much slimmer than you'd imagine...

If we told you that Google is building a phone out of lots of different blocks, you'd think it'd be a chunky toy-like device, right? Well according to sources and early prototypes, it'll only be 9.7mm thick. Surprising, but necessary if it's going to compete with current smartphones on the market.

....And it won't fall to bits as easily as you'd expect

Not only is the Ara smartphone not going to be super thick, but it isn't going to fall apart like a lame Jenga-version of a phone. All of the different components will be attached to the Endo skeleton using a series of super strong magnets on the back and small latches on the front.

It'll come in a few different sizes

According to those at the conference, there won't just be one endo to choose from, but three. Sizes are expected to range from a mini version to one that's much more like the sizes of the phablets we've seen from Samsung, Sony and HTC.

It won't be a Google-branded product (well not all of it)

The Endo base of the Ara will be Google-branded, but everything else, the battery, the camera, the screen, will be produced by other companies. This is great because it means lots of smaller, third party companies can get involved, but it also means enough need to get involved and see a future for the Ara to make it a success.

It could really change the industry (and it could also be a massive anti-climax)

If Project Ara is successful it'll mean that we'll be happier with our phones for much longer. If you're able to customise everything about your device, then why would you need a new one? You'd just swap out a bigger camera for a smaller battery, buy different coloured components to give your gadget a refresh or buy a finger-scanning module that's just as good as what the latest smartphone has to offer.

On the other hand, there's a long way to go before this ambitious project is actually turned into a working device anyone will want. After all, is a customisable smartphone something that we're all after? Or just the next big thing?

Let us know whether you'd love to get your hands on a modular device or whether you'll stick with the flavour of the month instead.


As self-obsessed, vain and narcissistic millennials we have no excuses when it comes to producing sub-standard selfies.

Gone are the days of holding up a blurry camera phone and giving it your best cheesy grin, there are all kinds of different apps available now to crop out your laundry hanging in the background, blur out slight imperfections and even change the shape of your features if they've been bugging you.

It all sounds a little creepy, but as more and more people start snapping selfies (we're looking at you Obama and Prince Andrew) the less seriously we're all taking them. They're vain, they're annoying, they're probably heavily edited, but we just can't stop taking them and neither can anyone else.

Here at ShinyShiny we've been snapping selfies like crazy (all in the name of research, of course) to bring you our top ten favourite apps for getting the right angle, editing and tweaking them. Watch us talk you through our best four in the video above, or take notes from the list below if you're after heavy-duty editing.

Do you have a favourite app for selfie-editing? Let us know what it is in the comments below.

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CameraBag

CameraBag may not be the prettiest of applications, but it allows you to make a bunch of basic changes to your images and, most importantly, provides you with a huge bank of amazing filters.

The great thing about CameraBag is that each of its filters come with an intensity slider. This means you can customise each filter and only add it ever so slightly if you want more subtle effects.

This is good news for selfie-lovers, as some of the filters on their own would be too intense and make your skin look funny. On the other hand, a slight film over your face is just what your hungover eyes need.

Aviary

Aviary is a really comprehensive photo editing app. You can do everything from making basic tweaks, like cropping and brightness enhancing, through to adding filters and blurring out certain areas of your images.

It's a perfect one for selfies, because you can make the tone, brightness and saturation of your photos more flattering, remove blemishes, banish redeye and even whiten your smile.

Aviary is free, but you can pay extra to unlock more filters. There's actually a "portrait" set for £1.49 that would be worth the investment if you're looking for more filters than Instagram has to offer.

Selfie Cam

Selfie Cam claims to be the "ultimate" selfie app because it allows you to set a timer so you take your selfie at the right second and then add stickers and all kinds of crazy things to your photos. This app is much more about being silly and having fun rather than editing your face within an inch of your life, which makes it one of our favourites.

Facetune

If you're serious about selfie-editing then you really need to add Facetune to your bank of apps.

This powerful app, built especially for portrait editing, allows you to even out your skin tone, whiten your smile, reshape your face, remove dark circles, get rid of blemishes and even add more hair to your head.

Chances are your selfie will be completely unrecognisable after 15 minutes alone with Facetune, but it's actually quite fun to be given the power of a retoucher with just your mobile phone.

Front Flash

Front Flash is ideal for those situations when you've just got to take a selfie OMG it's too much, but the lighting is bad.

Now of course you can't take a selfie in complete darkness and expect this app to work it's magic, but it does make your photos a little bit better than a full-on flash, which can be really unflattering.

Instagram

We've added Instagram to the list because it's often cast aside as a photo editing app nowadays and just used as a way to share images.

Instagram actually has a bunch of great filters and its new contrast sliding feature means you have more control over the intensity of your selfies.

CamMe

CamMe is less about editing your selfies after you've taken them and more about perfecting your selfie technique to begin with.

Simply place your phone wherever you like, show the camera your palm, make a fist when you're ready to be papped and pose. CamMe will then take a photo a few seconds later, providing you with a countdown.

The whole idea behind CamMe is you'll get a much more flattering selfie if your camera is just a little bit further away from you, which is totally true and also gets rid of that weird, unflattering, big arm thing you get when you hold your phone.

Photofy

Photofy isn't really about taking or editing selfies, but using this app you can add all kinds of things to your photos afterwards. You can choose from huge, themed stickers (we don't recommend you do that) or you can just use the app to add simple captions.

It beats other caption and text adding apps because there are so many more options to customise everything you've added to your selfie.

MoreBeaute

One of the most vain (and slightly troubling) apps on the list, MoreBeaute has one job and that's to make you more beautiful.

According to the developers behind MoreBeaute, more beautiful means dreamy blurred skin, lots of light and low saturation.

Frontback

Frontback is a little different to the other apps on the list. Sure it takes your selfie for you, but it also utilises the back camera in order to capture what you were looking at and where you were when you took your selfie.

Granted the trend to take a selfie AND your surroundings might not really catch on and isn't really Instagram-friendly given its final shape, but it is a pretty cool idea we'll be trying as we wander around London this weekend.

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The Shiny Shiny team were invited to The Gadget Show Live 2014 event at the Birmingham NEC yesterday and we went along armed with a camera and a tonne of questions ready to grill the top tech companies about their latest products.

Although there were no big launches, and many of the gadgets have been featured here on Shiny Shiny already, it was a great chance to have a hands-on with some of the latest tech that we've only seen in press shots up until now.

Throughout the day we saw so many gadgets, but here are our top picks, featuring health and fitness wearables, pet wearables, cool DIY gaming kits and the most beautiful headphones we've ever seen.

Fitbug Orb

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The Fitbug Orb, a tiny, disk-like fitness tracker, has been on the market for a few months, but The Gadget Show gave us a great chance to see how it compares to similar trackers on the market. We found that it's light, compact and most importantly can be worn with both a wrist strap and a belt clip. We're hoping to get our hands on a Fitbug Orb to review soon, so watch this space!

Technology Will Save Us DIY Gamer Kit

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Technology Will Save Us is a truly awesome company dedicated to empowering anyone to make their own tech. At The Gadget Show, the Technology Will Save Us team were showing off a number of their DIY kits, and we thought the DIY Gamer Kit was the most fun. The kit allows complete beginners to learn the basics of constructing and programming their own basic, mini games console.

Garmin Vivofit

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The Vivofit wrist band is Garmin's consumer-focused fitness tracking product (it also makes a lot of high-end trackers specifically for runners and athletes). The great thing about the Vivofit is it's an advanced tracker in a small and flexible band that actually feels really comfortable when you try it on. It's different to competitors like the Jawbone Up and the Fitbit Flex because it's got a huge LED screen. For some people this will look a little ugly and OTT, but for those who want to know how they're doing throughout the day and don't want to keep checking their smartphone, it's ideal.

Parrot Zik

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I rarely swoon over tech and care much more about how gadgets feel and work, but even I was blown away by how amazing Parrot's Zik headphones look. It's no surprise they look good considering they're designed by Philippe Starck, a French designer known for his interior and product design innovations.

But enough of how they look and onto the tech that's packed inside them. The Parrot team was keen to show off the device's new high performance noise-cancellation system, which promises to cancel out more than 99% of ambient noise.

Another great feature of the Zik headphones is that you can activate basic controls by swiping across the cup, you can slide your finger vertically to adjust the volume and horizontally to skip to the next track.

I put the headphones to the test - see my awkward selfie below - and not only do they look a little more subtle than I expected once they're on (they are bright white and shiny gold after all), but they're incredibly comfortable and the noise cancelling tech inside them meant my music had a lot of depth and clarity despite being in the middle of a crowded show floor.

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Fitbit Flex

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It's one of the top contenders in the fitness tracking space and the Fitbit Flex certainly didn't disappoint in the flesh. The gadget gets a huge thumbs-up from Shiny Shiny because it's flexible and feels comfortable on the wrist, has a very basic LED light functionality that tells you how you're doing throughout the day and of course syncs up to Fitbit's comprehensive dashboard.

For those looking for something a little more advanced, the Fitbit Force is a device with a larger screen that'll serve up even more information about your day.

Fitbark

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Sick of reading about wearables for your wrist? Well this one isn't for you, it's for your dog. Fitbark started its life out on Kickstarter, and after smashing its funding goal it's been developed into a compact wearable that straps onto your pet's collar. The idea is that really we're all aware of how much activity we've had during a day if we're paying attention to our movements, right? But a lot of the time we're not so sure what our dogs have been getting up to. The Fitbark solves that problem by tracking movements 24/7 and then serving up insights via an app.

iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker

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iHealth's activity tracking offering may not look as slick and well-designed as the likes of the Jawbone Up or Fibit Flex, but it's a much cheaper offering for those who can't splash the cash to get fit. It tracks your steps and activity throughout the day, as well as painting a pretty accurate picture of your sleep. It's another one that can be worn on a belt clip or on your wrist - this means the wrist straps look quite basic, but does give you the freedom to mix it up depending on where you prefer to keep the tracker or what you're going to be doing throughout the day.

Approved Fox Problem shot-inpost22.jpgThis is a sponsored post in conjunction with HP and The Fox Problem.

As the final episode of The Fox Problem draws to a close, we've hooked-up with HP - powering the tech behind the show - for the chance to win your very own Slate 10 HD.

To win, we want you to show us how much you need to Fox up Your Tech. Does your hi-fi look like something from a boy's bedroom in the 1980s - but in a very bad way! Or is your PC so old it still uses floppy disks? Then now is your chance to grab something a bit more, ahem, modern. From PC's to TVs, snap yourself with your dated piece of kit and tell us why you deserve an upgrade.

The second series of The Fox Problem hosted by Gemma Cairney (Radio 1), Georgia LA (VEVO) and Georgie Okell (Fuse TV), goes out with a bang this evening with celeb guests including Richard E. Grant, Daisy Lowe and Gabrielle.

With technology at the heart of The Fox Problem, the show is broadcast live to YouTube fortnightly on Tuesdays at 7:30pm and powered by HP, which shares the same passion for enabling the next generation to create, consume and engage in new ways. The show uses the latest, most innovative HP technology and sleek devices such as the HP Split X2, the HP ENVY17, the world's first notebook with integrated Leap Motion gesture control technology and HP's Android Slates; bringing cutting edge entertainment and technology together from underneath an old railway arch in the centre of Shoreditch.

We have six HP Slate 10 HDs to give away as part of our Fox up Your Tech competition with HP and The Fox Problem, alongside six pairs of tickets to an exclusive acoustic night hosted by The Fox Problem in London on Tuesday 8th April 2014.

For your chance to Fox up Your Tech just snap a photo of you and your old piece of tech, tell us why it needs fox-ing up and send your photos to Shiny Shiny's editor via email: becca@sutrodigital.com.

We'll pick six winners at 5pm on Friday 4th April 2014, so get snapping that old tech!

Good Luck! And if you don't win, you can still tune into tonight's final live show at 7:30pm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxE8mcI44mk

Or catch-up on the entire series instead via: www.youtube.com/user/TheFoxProblem

Terms and Conditions

1. You can enter as many photos as you want.

2. All entries must be sent via email to becca@sutrodigital.com.

3. The competition closes at 5pm on Friday 4th April 2014. No entries will be considered after then.

4. This competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland.

5. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

6. There will be six winning entries. They will be judged based on the best reasons for needing a tech upgrade.

7. The winner will be notified within seven days of the closing date.

8. All prizes are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.

9. All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them and must not have been published elsewhere.

10. Only include close-up photographs of people in your entry if they have consented to having their photograph taken. It is the entrant's responsibility to ensure they have permission to include the subject in their entry.

11. The copyright for the image remains with the entrant. However, by entering a photo into the competition, you give ShinyShiny and HP permission to use your photos for other promotional purposes.

12. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.


sleeveselfie.jpgYou can call it making a #sleeveface or even #vinyling, but with the popularity of the selfie sky-rocketing and the popularity of vinyl steadily rising amongst retro-lovers and hipsters, what better way to hijack a narcissistic trend with your favourite vinyl art than taking a #SleeveSelfie?

Here at ShinyShiny we want to see your best #SleeveSelfie and to give you an incentive to start posing with your vinyl we're giving away an awesome record player and £100 worth of vinyl albums to two of our lucky winners (more details to be announced soon). You can even share a few words about why that record changed your life.

The record player is the fabulous Teac LP-P1000 - which packs a turntable, CD recorder, AM/FM tuner and Bluetooth (for smartphones), and will record vinyl to CD and USB. It normally sells for around £350

More info here.

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Also up for grabs is £100 worth of your choice of vinyl albums.

Here's what you have to do:

1. Take a selfie, but cover up your face with your favourite sleeve. You can be as inventive as you like, dress up in the style of the cover art, recreate an iconic scene, or just hold up a record in front of your cat.

2. Tag your photo #SleeveSelfie and share it on Twitter or Instagram.

3. We'll keep an eye out for entries and feature them here on ShinyShiny.tv as well as at sleeveselfie.tumblr.com.

4. We'll then pick a #SleeveSelfie at random at 5pm on Friday 11th April 2014, as well as the most inventive #SleeveSelfie - either the cleverest pic or the smartest words will win a prize.

You can read our competition T&Cs below and if you have any further questions please contact me via email: becca@sutrodigital.com.

Happy #SleeveSelfie-ing!

Terms and Conditions

1. You can enter as many photos as you want.
2. All entries must be tweeted or shared on Instagram and contain the hash tag #SleeveSelfie.
3. The competition closes at 5pm on Friday 11th April 2014. No entries will be considered after then.
4. This competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland.
5. The decision of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
6. There will be two winning entries. One will be picked at random, the other will be the one which is most original, visually appealing and in keeping with the #SleeveSelfie theme.
7. The winner will be notified within seven days of the closing date.
8. All prizes are non transferable and there are no cash alternatives.
9. All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them and must not have been published elsewhere.
10. Only include close-up photographs of people in your entry if they have consented to having their photograph taken. It is the entrant's responsibility to ensure they have permission to include the subject in their entry.
11. The copyright for the image remains with the entrant. However, by entering a photo into the competition, you give ShinyShiny permission to use your photos for other promotional purposes and include them in any other material, such as on ShinyShiny, in an iPad magazine and on the #SleeveSelfie Tumblr.
12. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Image via Joydeeo's Instagram.

We all know that the beginning of the year really isn't the best time to address our bad habits. If anything a lack of alcohol/chocolate/curling up in bed in the foetal position in January is going to make us less likely to do good things than going cold turkey on everything that's nice about the world.

But it's nearly the end of March, the weather is ever-so-slightly better, the nights are ever-so-slightly lighter and your summer holiday is ever-so-slightly closer, all great reasons to start doing more things and improving yourself just a little bit.

We're setting you a challenge to pick just one of your bad habits and attempt to change it over the next few weeks. Don't have one? Then use LittleBit to cultivate something new and worthwhile instead. Let us know what you choose, which app is going to help you and how you're getting on in the comments below...

If too much caffeine is (literally) keeping you awake at night: Jawbone Up Coffee

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Jawbone is famous for its cool little Jambox speakers and Up fitness trackers, but recently it also launched a caffeine-tracking app, called Up Coffee. The app is designed to sync up with your fancy Up (or now Up 24) tracker, but you can still use it if there isn't an activity monitoring gizmo strapped to your arm, just input some basic details about yourself and then add your caffeine intake throughout the day (remembering that it's not just coffee that contains caffeine).

The app shows you your caffeine intake in an awesome, interactive little visualisation that looks like coffee beans filling up a jar (see the screenshot above). On a basic level you can view how wired you are with the beans - from sleep ready to wired - but you can also delve much deeper into your your stats too, monitoring your activity levels throughout the day and keeping a log of how you've done throughout the week.

Now admittedly Jawbone Up Coffee isn't designed to completely kick your coffee obsession, but it will present you with more information about how your body is reacting to that seemingly harmless cup of java throughout the day. Also, the little warnings are pretty hilarious, I just tried to input my second coffee of the day and got a warning that read "This dose of caffeine could make you jittery. Are you sure you want it?".

Jawbone Up Coffee is available for iOS devices for free.

If you can't stop eating the bad stuff: Noom Weight

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We've written about Noom a few times before because it always comes top if you're looking for a way to track your eating habits and activity levels throughout the day but don't want to pay a fortune for a Jawbone, Nike+ or Fitbit wearable.

On the surface Noom is a simple and intuitive calorie intake and activity level tracker, once you've inputted your details it'll tell you how many calories you've consumed and how many you have left. Its comprehensive database allows you to add everything you eat and there are even UK supermarket-specific meals too to make the whole process quicker and easier.

Granted you could use Noom to track all of the bad things you eat, which may just make you feel worse. But, the basic principle behind Noom is that tracking and visualising what you eat each day is the first step in understanding your body and making those all important changes. Unlike similar apps on the market Noom also serves up expert advice and motivational tips to ensure you've got a goal in mind and you stick to it.

You can pay extra to chat to a randomly selected group of other Noom users about your eating habits, which sounds weird and kinda daunting, but it's actually the 2014 equivalent of trotting down to your local Weight Watchers to chat recipes and hop on the scales.

Noom Weight is available for iOS and Android devices.

If you want to quit smoking for good: Smokio

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Smokio is the first smart, connected electronic cigarette and smartphone app combo. Yep, there's literally nothing that isn't "smart" and/or "connected" nowadays.

The Smokio e-cigarette contains a special chip that tracks how much you use it and what impact it's having on your body when you reach for an e-alternative rather than the real thing.

Everything you do with the Smokio e-cig is automatically synced up to a dedicated app on your smartphone using Bluetooth, so you can keep track of your usage, where you do it, when you do it and when your e-cig needs recharging.

Of course a certain level of willpower and motivation is needed to make the transition from normal cigarette to the fancy Smokio e-cigarette in the first place, but it's the stats about how your body is in a much better state and how much money you've saved in the long run that might really hit home for those who are on the verge of giving up for good.

As you'd expect the whole kit isn't cheap and starts at around $89 from the Smokio Store, but if you're committed to quitting it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a lifetime of actual cigarettes.

If you feel like a big couch potato: QuickFit's 7 Minute Workout

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According to research, we should stop feeling intimidated by lengthy workouts and people who are training to do their tenth marathon in our Twitter feeds, and instead treat our bodies to short blasts of high intensity exercise - 7 minutes of the sweaty stuff to be exact.

Sure it might just be the latest fad in a long line of fitness crazes, but the exercises included in the 7 Minute Workout all get different parts of the body moving and leave your heart pumping as if you've just come back from a pretty intense run.

There are a number of different apps on the market to introduce you to the 7 Minute Workout (not to mention some great YouTube videos), but our favourite is from Quick Fit.

The app takes you through all 12 exercises of the 7 Minute Workout giving you 30 seconds for each with a 10 second break in between. The voice commands are simple and ensure your form is spot on, but they're not at all patronising like some other workout apps on the market.

HD videos accompany each workout so you can check you're doing the exercises right. You can also try and keep up with the number of reps the little dude does each round too, but don't worry if you can't - it's much better to start off slow and ensure your form is perfect before you try and smash through 297385 reps in 30 seconds anyway.

There's a performance tracking section within the app that keeps track of your workouts and your progress and once you've done a fair few you can unlock a special workout dedicated just to your abs.

We know that even the smallest bit of exercise can seem too time-consuming and daunting for busy and tired people, but try and just commit to three sets of the 7 Minute Workout each week and we promise you'll sleep better and feel a bit fitter after just a few sessions.

7 Minute Workout - Quick Fit is available from iTunes for 69p.

If worrying takes over your day: iCouch CBT

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Now this is a really specific one, and it's ideal for those whose main habit is worrying.

To those who don't tend to over-think or worry too much this will seem like a strange addition alongside kicking caffeine or a stop smoking kind of habit, but to those prone to a bit of worry and anxiety throughout the day, it could have a really positive impact.

iCouch CBT is an app designed to help you deal with worries and it's based on basic CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) methods. We're in no way therapy experts here at Shiny Shiny, so do your reading if you'd like to know more, but iCouch CBT works on the premise that you need to work through your worries one step at a time to understand them, turn them into something more positive or just realise they're not worth the time and effort.

To some this may sound like a real challenge, but once you've added a worry into the iCouch CBT app it'll guide you through a process of working through it. For those battling with big anxiety problems and depression it may just be a drop in the ocean, but it's worth a shot and has certainly helped calm me down on more than one occasion in the past.

iCouch CBT is a little pricey for an app at £2.49, but well worth it. It's available for iOS devices from the iTunes app store here.

If you want to set new goals and start much better habits: LittleBit

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LittleBit wins hands down in the adorable app stakes with its small smiling face and friendly "Hiya" welcome every time you log-in. But it's not being included in this list because it's cute, but because it's a really simple and effective way to encourage you to hit your goals and cultivate good habits - one small step at a time.

All you have to do to get started with LittleBit is create a New Habit, which can be anything you want like go for a run or floss your teeth. LittleBit will then remind you to do it and encourage you to take a picture of it, earning you a "Bit". Once you get 21 "Bits" you can complete your habit and unlock a big photo reel of your achievements - but let your good intentions slide and you can start to lose "Bits"!

The beauty of LittleBit is that you can only focus on one habit at a time, which takes the pressure away and makes you more likely to keep on track and make just one small change gradually rather than being overwhelmed by about 39873485 ways you'd like to improve your life.

LittleBit is available for iOS devices.

If you're looking for a much healthier and worthwhile distraction: Duolingo

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Maybe you don't need a big app intervention to overcome your habit, but just a new distraction. There are literally thousands of apps and games that are much better for your health and wellbeing than downing cupcakes and coffees, but a personal favourite of ours here at Shiny Shiny is Duolingo. The intuitive language-learning app keeps you occupied, allows you to compete against yourself each day AND helps you learn a brand new language in the process. If you could train yourself to reach for Duolingo instead of that coffee cup/remote control/cigarette then you'll be in a much better (and multilingual) state, we promise.

Duolingo is available for free on iOS and Android devices.

We all know 3D printing is well and truly a "thing" now, but other than allowing arty types to make really lame-looking vases and firearm-wielding Americans to print guns, what can you actually do with your overpriced 3D printing equipment? Well, a hell of a lot it seems...

Your unborn child

You know what's the absolute worst? Knowing you're having a baby but having to wait a whole nine months to see whether it's going to be cute or not. Well fear not, because a number of companies (like Tecnologia Humana 3D) will now take your lame old ultrasound and turn it into a not-at-all-terrifying 3D replica of the baby growing inside you.

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Dinosaurs

Well not actual dinosaurs, but their skeletons. According to IBTimes, scientists in Berlin have been working to recreate fossils so they can use big, walking 3D printed skeletons to learn more about how dinosaurs lived and moved.

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Dead kings

It's not just dead jurassic creatures that are being 3D printed, but dead monarchs too. In May 2013, the remains of what many believed to be King Richard III was discovered. So those who found him decided the best thing to do would be to try and creepily recreate his face using 3D printing. Because: science.

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Image via The Guardian.

Sex toys

Makerlove makes 3D printed sex toys, a service which has given us a glimpse into the sexual desires of the public and terrified us to our very core. Case in point: This Justin Bieber-inspired dildo (there's also a Freud one too, just FYI).

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Pizza

Okay, so it's a particularly gross-looking printed pizza, but it's still a printed pizza nonetheless.

A skull

We've heard that 3D printing could have a huge, positive impact on medicine and this week Dutch doctors proved just how much the new technology could save lives when they printed out an actual skull that was successfully transplanted into a woman's head.

The video is below, but it's not for the squeamish. WE REPEAT: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.

Chocolate

The Chocabyte is a 3D printer that allows you to print any chocolate shape that you can imagine, all for only $99.

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No one has time to sit back and slowly comb through the newspaper each morning, so we've collected together our top apps for consuming the news on-the-go from your phone.

We'd recommend trying out a few of them to see which you like the best, whether you prefer to sift through photo-heavy feeds of content, just see the basic facts or watch the main headlines as mini videos.

Feedly

When Google Reader died (we're still not really over it yet) most die-hard RSS fans reached for the warm, familiar embrace of Feedly. On the surface it's just a standard RSS reader, but it's really customisable - you can choose to browse between content "cards" if you're a fan of Pinterest, just the titles if you're in a rush or a magazine-style if like us you want a mixture between the two.

Feedly has a bunch of cool features, like the most popular and shared stories in each of your categories are flagged at the top, you can save things to read later and also share them seamlessly from a computer, phone or tablet device.

Feedly Reader is available on iOS and Android devices.

Yahoo News Digest

Remember Summly? We wrote about it back in 2012 when Stephen Fry had tweeted that he was a huge fan and began to obsessively use the clever app to read summaries of top news stories. Well fast-forward to 2014 and Yahoo has gobbled up Summly, closing it down and using its cool super summarising technology for the Yahoo News Digest app.

Although we're kinda sad to see Summly disappear, the Yahoo News Digest app is just as useful and uses the same algorithm to find the most relevant content. It serves up news digests for users twice a day and all of the key information is summarised and presented at the top, which is great for those who like to skim through the news instead of delving deeply into anything.

Yahoo News Digest is available on iOS devices.

@BBCNews

If you don't even have time for an app specially designed to serve up the news to you each day, then we'd recommend following @BBCNews on Instagram. The BBC are trialling a new service they're calling "Instafax", which sees them creating 15 second summary videos of a major news story, usually with a video clip or a series of photos and a few sentences of text to explain what's going on.

Follow: @BBCNews

Flipboard

One of the most popular on the list and definitely the best-looking, Flipboard (pictured above) is great for those who get bored with text-heavy apps and care more about bringing a newspaper or magazine reading experience to their mobile phones.

Like most of the other apps on the list, you pick a selection of topics that you can about and can then "flip" through the top news stories about them. You can also add in your social feeds too, so you can see mundane updates and selfies from your friends in amongst the important stuff. Flipboard also allows you to favourite articles and even create your own magazine full of the things you care about too.

Flipboard is available on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices.

Circa News

Circa News, like its competitors, presents news stories in much shorter, easier to digest formats so you can see what's important and then move on. However, it gets a little different because it actually has a dedicated team of editors behind the scenes serving up summarised content for you. Granted this team of editors has a strong focus on US news, but it's follow feature is great for breaking news, press to "follow" a story and you're than updated on when there have been significant developments. Let's hope a more UK-centric hits our side of the pond soon.

Circa News is available on iOS and Android devices.

Let us know what your favourite news app is in the comments below.

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Lily Cole, the supermodel with the flame red hair, beautiful doll face and big brains, has been developing her social network, Impossible, for a few years now. It's all based on wishing, giving and sharing, which sounds amazing in practice, but are we all really that nice?

Impossible is a little like Instagram when it comes to looks and functionality, but instead of selfies, cat photos and blurry cake snaps it's about sharing your wishes, dreams and desires (but less in a having lots of sex and making millions way and more in a travelling to a different country and learning French kinda way).

People sign up and share their wishes with the rest of the magical, happy-clappy, positive little community of wish tellers and fulfillers. Others can respond to wishes, see popular and featured wishes and even like wishes with a little heart - see, just like Instagram.

If you're still not really getting it, then a random selection of current wishes include things like, "I wish I could find a beautiful bookstore in Toronto", "I wish someone from a foreign country could send me a package" and "I wish I could become a model no matter what my height." So as you can see, some lend themselves much more to community gifting and sharing than others...

The web version of the site over at Impossible.com has slowly been gaining traction, but this week the Impossible app for iOS has been topping the App Store charts, so that's bound to get a few more people interested. To be honest we're not sure whether it'll really catch on in this big bad world of ours, but we applaud Lily for trying to sprinkle a little bit of her magic and joy onto the masses.

You can download the Impossible app for iOS devices for free.


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Mainstream media tends to hark on about the benefits of meditation once every few years, usually at the same time a celebrity mentions how much it's changed their life during an interview - David Lynch, Ellen DeGeneres and Russell Brand are just a handful of examples. But whether it's currently the flavour of the month according to Glamour and the Mail Online or not, people have been practicing different forms of meditation all over the globe for thousands of years.

Meditation itself is a very broad term and encapsulates a bunch of different practices and techniques, but the overall theme is that meditation induces a quiet state of thought, contemplation and mindfulness. Sometimes this becomes a deep, meditative state (this sometimes the case with transcendental meditation) and other times it just means taking a step back and observing the world around you, which is what mindfulness is all about.

Regardless of whether people meditate for hours each day in a trance-like state or just take a few minutes to breath deeply a few times a week, the benefits can be pretty life-changing. Meditation can give you a bit more peace of mind and perspective each day, but over time it can also help those battling with more serious disorders, like depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Although the constant beep and buzz of the technology around you might be the reason for some of your daily stresses, like most areas of your life there are some handy tools available on your phones to introduce you to meditation, help you to stay calm and collected and possibly even work to make deep, long term changes to the way you think, feel and live your life.

Today I've collected together just a few of my tried and tested apps for meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness on-the-go. Please add any of your suggestions in the comments below and I'll continue to update this list. Happy meditating :)

For getting started with meditation: Headspace

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Headspace is where I started my journey into the world of meditation. Last year, I watched Andy Puddicombe, the creator of Headspace and official Buddhist monk, give a brilliant TED talk about the importance of taking ten minutes out of each day and it inspired me to try it out, just for a week.

Once you've downloaded Headspace you're given Andy's "Take 10" programme, which includes ten free days of ten minute meditative practices, all focused on becoming more mindful of your breath, the space around you, your body and your mood. That sounds like a lot to take in, but it's really simple and Andy's soothing voice guides you through every step.

However, it's the cute little animations at the beginning of your journey that are REALLY special, because they tell you what meditation is all about, how it could work for you (there are very few shoulds in the world of meditation) and how it might feel. Until I'd seen these animations I was pretty sceptical about the whole thing, imagining it was about quietening your thoughts and escaping from them into a safe little meditation haven, when really it's the exact opposite.

Check out the Headspace YouTube Channel for animations, explanations and interviews with the people behind the app.

TIP: Although we're recommending Headspace as a beginner's meditation tool, once you've completed your first ten days (you can go back and re-do them as many times as you please) you then have the option of paying for a subscription fee to get access to more. I'm a massive cheapskate and don't pay for any subscription fees, well until now. Once you've completed the first ten you're onto Headspace's Take 15, which is fifteen whole minutes of mindfulness each day to move you forward.

Headspace is available from the iTunes app store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, check here for links and details. You can also access Headspace via the web too.

You could also try: Calm for getting used to meditation. It presents you with seven steps of calm to relax you and pairs all of its guided meditations with beautiful background music. We actually love this app, but prefer Andy from Headspace's voice and the simple nature of his app, which sounds a little silly, but plays a really important part in your meditative practice.

For meditation in different scenarios and on the move: Buddhify 2

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Headspace is definitely my favourite meditation app, but sometimes it isn't always easy to find time each day to sit in a quiet spot and meditate - even though you'll feel the benefits more if you do. Buddhify 2 presents you with a colourful wheel packed full of different scenarios, like trying to get to sleep, travelling and walking in a city. Tap on one and that segment opens, serving up three meditations for you to choose from, all usually of different lengths.

Just like Headspace, Buddhify 2 is focussed on mindfulness, but there are other helpful practices in there too, like gratitude and kindness towards others. When you're stressed out on your commute expressing anything other than disgust for that sweaty dude next to you may seem absolutely crazy, but the goal is to remove yourself from your own anxious little washing machine of thoughts - and it often works!

If you like to keep track of what you get up to, then Buddhify 2 saves your weekly stats, record streaks and the amount of content you've consumed overall. It also allows you to rate your mindfulness, concentration and balance on any given day.

Finally, if you fancy going it alone Buddhify 2 has a ten minute timer, allowing you to practice meditation without a guide. This may be daunting for newbies, but it's certainly something to aim for.

TIP: Headspace has a few different guided meditations for helping you drift off to sleep and sorting you out if you're awake in the night and just can't nod off. They're both really soothing and have always worked for me when I've had trouble sleeping.

Buddhify 2 is available from iTunes for £1.49, but trust us, it's totally worth it.

You could also try: Omvana is an app full to the brim with different kinds of meditation practices and tools from a range of experts. The reason we prefer Buddhify to Omvana? Well, it may sound strange but there's just TOO MUCH choice with Omvana. There are so many different guided meditations and background sounds to choose from and you have to pay for most of them. When you feel like you need a little calm the last thing you want to do is flick through hundreds of different choices, which is why we think it's probably better for those who have been practicing meditation a little longer.

For calming down and breathing deeply: Pranayama Universal Breathing

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If you don't fancy listening to a guided meditation but want to calm down and have a bit of time for yourself, then try a breathing app instead.

I really like Pranayama Universal Breathing, a simple application that serves up a little wheel. Begin and the first third of the wheel is when you should inhale, and the other two thirds are when you should exhale. It sounds like something you should know how to do already, right? Nope. Wrong. Many people breathe short, shallow breaths or even hold their breath, causing them to become on edge and anxious.

Try mindfully breathing and even when you're in a super stressful situation you'll be surprised to see just how much it can calm you down.

TIP: The app has a number of different customisations and I recommend adding a little bit of music to your breathing practice too in order to concentrate on nothing else but you and your breath.

Pranayama Universal Breathing is available from iTunes for free.

You could also try: Breathing Zone has been built to calm you down and reduce your blood pressure, so it's a more science-based option for those who want to reduce stress but aren't keen on the idea of meditation.

Meditation for little people: Smiling Mind

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Yep, it's not just us grown ups who can benefit from meditation, but kids too. Smiling Mind is both a web and app-based meditation programme specially designed to give kids a sense of calm and clarity throughout their day.

The Smiling Mind interface is really simple, just hit play and your session will begin. Just like Headspace and Buddhify, Smiling Mind is focussed on mindfulness - paying attention to your mood, breath, body and the space around you.

We imagine it could be tough to get the youngest seven to eleven age group to engage with the app at times, but all of the guided meditations within have been developed by a team of psychologists specialising in therapy for kids and teens.

TIP: Although promoted as a mindfulness tool for kids, there's an adult section too. So if you haven't clicked with any of the other apps yet, give it a go.

Smiling Mind is available from iTunes for free.

Main image via http://psychedeliknights.tumblr.com/

The Tories are currently in the midst of a particularly LOL-worthy PR fail after MP Grant Shapps tweeted a condescending ad aimed at "hardworking people". Yes, it's real and some have said proves yet again that we can  rely on the Tories to march along blissfully unaware of how out of touch with us poor, drunk, debt-ridden simple folk they really are.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter's reaction was fierce, instantaneous and absolutely hilarious, spawning the #ToryBingo hash tag.

The tweets and memes that followed have been hilarious and here are just a few of our favourites. If you want to make your own then visit torybingo.com and feel free to add it in the comments below.

There were jokes about what poor people eat...

...and how they're forced to live.

Then the tables turned and digs started pouring in that questioned the hobbies of the rich...

...and even their favourite Sunday pastimes.

It's unconfirmed, but people may have also started making fun of the way Tories speak.

A poor person must have read a book at some point to draw this harrowing comparison.

This pretty much sums up the views of the nation....

...and this sums up the views of the Tories.

Karl Lagerfeld, famous for being a world-renowned fashion designer and expressing a creepy desire to marry his cat, has had iPads built into the walls of the changing rooms inside his new flagship store in London. The reason? To encourage people to take more changing room selfies, of course!

According to reports, the store will also have a whole pack of iPad Minis dotted throughout the store too, to capture all of your favourite designer shopping moments for eternity.

It seems a little intrusive, but you've got to agree that the Lagerfeld team is smart. So many people take selfies as they're trying on clothes, either to show off or get a verdict from their social media fans and followers, so why not provide them with a tool to encourage them to take more photos that's just as much part of the changing room experience as posing in the mirror?

The problem is selfies are inherently super personal. The very nature of a selfie means they're carefully constructed by the person taking them: the pose, the lighting, the timing, the situation. That's what makes them so appealing, for the first time ever people aren't ashamed to take a picture of their face and have complete control over how it looks.

Many argue that this makes them fake, just another way for us to feel the pressure of society and attempt to alter the way we look and pout at the camera and yada, yada, yada. But read this great article from Amy McCarthy on Bustle and you'll see that for many people it can be a really empowering form of self expression. On the other hand, for celebrities like James Franco, who wrote a piece about selfies in the NY Times, it's a way of connecting with his fans that he has complete control over whenever he please. And that's the whole point in a nutshell: selfies are about you and your face, so they can be about whatever YOU want them to be about.

However, if you start forcing people to get into selfie mode and dictating when they should and shouldn't feel like snapping a photo of themselves, then you're taking the self away from the selfie.

This doesn't mean to say many people won't jump at the chance to shout about the fact they're trying on expensive items in the Lagerfeld store, but does mean the big fashion brains need to tread very carefully if this is going to start becoming a trend. Fitting iPads into changing rooms and invading such a personal space could actually lead to many people feeling forced into being on camera all the time, which is how we felt before the "selfie revolution" when people would tag us in really unflattering photos on Facebook.

Whether Karl Lagerfeld's iPad selfie scheme is a win or fail remains to be seen, but brands need to be cautious when they're jumping on the back of such popular and personal trends.

crazy-computer-woman-1.jpgInstead of giving up chocolate or alcohol for Lent (assuming you want to take part in the archaic act of giving up luxuries for weeks on end all in the name of religion), why not try something a little different this year.

We all know what's good for us when it comes to giving up indulgences when we're out and about in the real life world, but what about our social media habits and online vices?

Here are our top suggestions filled with addictions to kick, habits to curb and expectations to lower in order to make you more awesome and (maybe) happier.

1. Mail Online's 'Sidebar of Shame'

Over the past few years it's become known universally as the 'Sidebar of Shame' and for those who aren't mainlining its hate-fuelled headlines 24/7, we're referring to Mail Online's brilliant blend of human tragedy and misogyny all presented in a handy, infinite column that will lead you straight down to the seventh and eighth levels of hell.

This spawn of hatred comprises of two main things: 1) standard sensationalist fodder and/or racist nonsense, like "foreign man microwaves 56 BRITISH cats" or "immigrants WILL eat your babies", and 2) the incessant belittling of women's bodies.

Somehow it's the most visited news site in the whole wide world, so as much as we bitch and moan and berate it, we're all still addicted to that weird mix of self-loathing and complete and utter despair we get after reading it.

What to try instead:

Us Vs Th3m is here to rescue you from wallowing in a pit filled with revulsion for the human race and photos of Kim Kardashian's boobs with its aptly named Sidebar of Awesome, complete with viral photos, awesome quizzes and just enough celebrity gossip to keep you away from the Sidebar of Shame.

If we really can't prise your fingers away from Mail Online, then at least ditch the SoS and take a look at the Science & Tech section of the site, which is bound to leave you feeling a little more enriched and enlightened.

2. Buzzfeed's crack-like quizzes

We've already written about our unrelenting addiction to Buzzfeed's quizzes and the hold it has over our day not knowing which Benedict Cumberbatch we'd be or whether we'd embody Buffy or Faith in a vampiric showdown.

Although we don't think incessant quiz-taking is quite as damaging to our minds as the Sidebar of Shame, it might be time we admitted our issues and took a break from needing constant validation from Buzzfeed about who we are and what Modern Family character we'd be. Well, at least for the next few weeks until just after Lent when we'll spend 72 hours straight completing all of the quizzes we missed in a pool of cold sweat and shame.

What to try instead:

Buzzfeed gets a bad rep for being the go-to site for quizzes about gifs and lists about cats and quizzes about cats and lists about gifs, but in actual fact it's bursting with up-to-date entertainment and current affairs news, some of the best long form content we've read in a while over at BuzzReads and (our personal favourite at the moment) a DIY section that's bound to excite the most hardcore lifehacking fans.

3. Constantly checking your emails on your commute

Oh come on, we all know the routine. Try to check emails. Try to refresh. Refresh again. 3G doesn't work. Flight mode on. Flight mode off. No 3G. Refresh again. Some signal. Two emails arrive in your inbox. Open them. Nothing downloads. Try to read them. Can't. Get onto the tube. Sign into Wifi. Train arrives. Knocked off Wifi. Attempt to sign into Wifi again. Train moves away. Arrive at next station. Sign into Wifi. Train arrives. Knocked off Wifi. Attempt to sign into Wifi again. HEAD. WINDOW. ARGH. LIFE.

What to try instead:

To the incessant checker, the email worrier, the panicked social media addict this will seem like a crazy or even TERRIFYING suggestion. But let's all agree that it'd be far easier if we imposed some kind of constant-checking-while-commuting ban, right?

Instead of keeping an eye on things and playing a not even at all thrilling game of do-I-or-don't-I-have-wifi Russian Roulette with yourself every morning, try something else. Listen to music, download some podcasts (yes they still exist) or better yet you little zen urban commuters, try some meditation on-the-move. We love Buddhify, just download it and choose the travelling option for a range of mini meditations to calm you down and keep you on track for the rest of the day. Or at least to stop you going all angry, violent and Hunger Games on your fellow commuters.

4. Aimlessly pinning absolute nonsense

If you're not a Pinterest addict move on now, but if you are you'll know what I mean by aimless pinning. It's all very primal in the most absolutely useless way and follows a pattern a bit like this: "PRETTY THING, NICE. OHH SHINY. MUST PIN." Then repeat that about 986746 times over the next five hours and you've got aimless pinning. Pinning for the sake of it. Pinning for absolutely no reason other than your eyes have seen things they like.

What to try instead:

Of course there's nothing wrong with doing something because it feels good, but if more than two hours of your week are spent on Pinterest you may need to evaluate things a little - and by things I mean your relationship with other human beings as well as your social media habits.

Begin pinning with a goal in mind, maybe you want to get inspiration for a dress you need to buy soon or a room you plan on decorating (yes we're well aware these examples are achingly cliche). Once you're pinning a little more mindfully, follow the rules a bit more, label your boards with something that makes sense, not something that just makes you sound like a hipster, and tag each pin too. Sure it can look messy but it makes Pinterest more useful to you and everyone else who uses it.

5. The pursuit of the elusive (and soul destroying) "inbox zero"

Ahh inbox zero, a weird construct that manages to make someone bragging on Twitter feel great at the same time as it makes someone else feel completely and utterly worthless. Somehow getting rid of that little number and whittling all of your tasks and plans and commitments away makes you feel more accomplished, more human, more Spartan-like. But this Beyonce-style badassery lasts approximately ten minutes until you're inundated with more junk and again on the pursuit of inbox zero.

What to try instead:

Not giving a crap. Seriously. That little number next to your inbox does NOT correlate with how good a person you are. Not in the slightest. In fact clutter is OK and shows everyone you're normal. (Just take a look at Patrick Bateman's apartment in American Psycho if you don't believe us). The constant reaching to rid your life of distractions will end up driving you slowly insane or at the very least losing you a few Twitter friends who are sick and tired of your humble bragging.

6. Using Twitter to rant, debate and say anything meaningful

Yes, Twitter is great for some things (like shameless self promotion and selfies), but for others it's flawed because it's so restrictive. We'd like to argue (and we're sure many would disagree) that it doesn't really lend itself to a good debate. A debate with context. A debate with more than just acronyms and swears.

What to try instead:

Medium is fast-becoming a favourite among Twitter lovers for taking musings about life, work and the universe into a much more word-friendly environment. Sure you can stumble across the same problems you would elsewhere (like rambling and general nonsense), but Medium's super sparse and simple format means that, just like Twitter, it's all about the content, there's just more room to really make what you're saying shine. Sure it's not the best platform for debating, but you can certainly cram in a lot more and present your arguments in a better way when you're got something meaningful to say.

7. Your lame attitude towards your health and fitness

Yeah, that old chestnut. When you're busy and tired and stressed and drunk it can be hard to care about what you're putting into your body and how much you're moving it around. We all know that. But now there are so many apps, services and handy gadgets that'll do all (OK some) of the hard work for you. So instead of giving up something for Lent, just get rid of your lame and whiny "It's too hard" attitude.

What to try instead:

These days there are health and fitness gadgets to suit all budgets. If you're willing to part with more pennies you'll obviously get a better product and many on the market are so comprehensive they really will set you on the right track when it comes to improving your health and fitness (I'm still waiting on the one that'll knock the cookies out of my hand).

For basic step-tracking on a budget try Noom and Moves, for something a bit more substantial get a FitBit Zip, for the brand conscious a Nike+ FuelBand will sort you out and for those with cash we'd highly recommend a Jawbone UP24 - that's until a load more devices are launched later in the year.

Related: Will you ever get sick of Buzzfeed's quizzes? I got never, I need them to breathe!!

mwc-hola-big.jpgSo MWC is over for another year! And the world's mobile bigwigs have left the tapas bars and headed home. But what caught our eye at this year's exhibition? Here are ten things we learnt this week.

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1 By far the sexiest item at the show was the Samsung Gear Fit - With its curved AMOLED screen this is how I'd imagine that the iWatch will look. It also works with any Samsung Galaxy phone which potentially gives it a very wide reach. The jury is out though on how useful it will be. It is not as highly specified as the Galaxy Gear 2 or other fully specified smartwatches, so you can read messages but not respond to them. For fitness types the heart rate monitor and its accompanying software is handy, though annoyingly it doesn't measure your heart rate on a 24 hour basis. So Samsung have created a stunning design, but the rest of the Fit is a bit of a work in progress.

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2 The Sony Xperia Z2 has an amazing screen - Sony's next generation smartphone has a significant wow factor in the clarity and resolution of its screen. That camera looks very impressive too. More on it here.

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3 Nokia's X Series cheapo Android phones might do surprisingly well - Kudos to the company for doing that it perhaps should have done a year ago and launch Android phones. The new mobiles, the X, X+ (which both have a four inch screen) and XL (five inch screen) should appeal to the millions who still have a soft spot for the Nokia brand but can't afford larger and higher spec phones. The Windows style tile system makes it easy to use too, and that price, shame though about a relative iffy camera.

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4 Samsung's Galaxy Gear 2 watch has a great camera - The jury is also out on the new Samsung Galaxy Gear watch, but this time it works with any Galaxy phone - the original was Note 3 only - and the camera is actually rather good for a two mega pixel jobbie. I bet this fella fancies one.

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5 The cheesiest ad of the week winner is this... - Just what is he doing with his hand?

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6 Samsung are being a bit over protective of the S5 - Rather odd really as the phone didn't appear at the main show and was only available for viewing to the privileged few behind closed doors.

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7 Curved screens, you can keep them - LG seem to be fighting a losing battle in convincing punters and the industry of the merits of curved screens as featured on its G Flex six inch screen mobile. They might apparently be much better for viewing video with superb colour saturation, but no one seems too interested.

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8 Ford are doing some very clever things with the car dashboard - Its AppLinks platform is starting to roll out across Europe and there just huge potential to customise phone apps so that make getting information or entertainment easier for the driver. The voice controlled Spotify app works very well and Glympse could prove to be highly useful.

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9 The smartphone might just be about to hit an innovation buffer. We have now had innovative apps, bigger screens, ever higher quality cameras. However a lot of the secondary brands launches Huawei (whose seven inch phone/tablet hybrid the MediaPad X1 is pictured), Lenovo etc at MWC had a decidedly similar feel to them. And how much of leap is the Samsung Galaxy S5 on from the S4? Maybe smartphone tech is hitting an innovation wall.

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10 MWC is still The Olympics for petty criminals - All those phones and tablets, all those industry types on a bender down the Ramblas, and half of the best pickpockets from southern Europe. Barca's police must really hate MWC.

buzzfeed-quiz.jpgWe've got a theory here at Shiny Shiny that you can't scroll down through your Facebook News Feed over the past 24 hours and not see (at the very least) one quiz result from Buzzfeed, along the lines of "I got Harry Styles!! Which famous person should you get drunk with?".

GO ON, TEST OUT THE THEORY.

When you see these kinds of status updates out in the wild they're usually accompanied by a caption from one of your mates to convey [insert very melodramatic emotion here] about the result.

For example, a normal person can go from "OMG HARRY IS MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE. HAVE MY BABIES." to "I CAN'T BELIEVE I GOT JOFFREY?! WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY SOUL? :(:(:(" in just a matter of minutes.

On the surface many of the quizzes seem, well, pretty ridiculous, containing super scientific questions such as "Pick a talking food" and "Pick a cat in a hat". (FYI we chose the little frog dude.)

But, if you can see a link to a Buzzfeed quiz and NOT click it, then you're a stronger person than I'll ever be. Because whether it's Which Modern Family Character are you? (I'm totally Phil Dunphy) or What should you eat for lunch? (pasta) or Which classic author is your soulmate? (I got Anton Chekov <3), I just can't stop doing them and from what I can tell, neither can anyone else. In fact I'm pretty sure I lost sleep wondering which Joss Whedon heroine I'd be (I got up at 3am to find out to my surprise that I'm in fact Faith) when I didn't complete the quiz earlier that day.

pick a cat in a hat.jpgSo why is everyone from the whole team in my office to my aunt who didn't know what Buzzfeed was a mere two months ago now addicted to the stuff?

Well, Buzzfeed's unique brand of quiz crack ticks plenty of boxes.

Firstly, they're simple. The not-at-all-taxing multiple choice questions, big colourful boxes and LOL-worthy imagery lower the can-I-afford-to-do-this? time barrier down to: HELL YES.

Many of them also deal in little golden nuggets of pop culture that (although we'd never openly admit in front of other humans) we care a helluva lot about, like which Amy Poehler we're most like and which Empire Records character we'd be.

They also give us an identity. Yeah, pretty deep for a post containing a photo of cats dressed up like creatures, right? But many of these quizzes speak to our personality and give us something to show off and comment on. Ohhh, you got Daenerys on the Game of Thrones character quiz? Well that must mean you're a totally gorgeous powerful queen badass!!! Right? (I got Joffrey, I'll just leave that there).

So the answer to whether we'll ever get sick of them? Well we should really have tired of them already, because I've clocked up about 50. However, given their huge popularity throughout my work and networking circles, friend and family circles and people I-just-keep-on-Facebook-to-stalk-that-I-actually-hate circles, I don't see the Buzzfeed quiz demise happening anytime soon and wouldn't really know how to make any of my super important life decisions without them.

So far we've been focusing on the newest wearable devices and smartwatches from the big names at Mobile World Congress, but let's not forget about the stars of the show: the mobile phones.

Here's our rundown of the best smartphones and tablets that have been unveiled this week:

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Huawei wants you to be better at taking selfies
The Ascend G6 is a 4.5" phone with a 960X540 pixel resolution, a 1.2GHZ processor and, oh yeah, a front-facing 5 MP camera built to totally make your selfies look better.

The handset is due to launch here in the UK at some point during April and although there's no word on exact pricing details just yet, we expect it'd have to be a lower-end smartphone given it's geared up to a young, selfie-loving audience.

Sony launches the camera king of all Xperias
The Xperia Z2 is Sony's latest version of its flagship phone and packs a 20.7 MP camera complete with new image sensing technology and 4K video capturing capabilities, which basically means all of your photos and videos will look awesome.

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Samsung launches its latest flagship Galaxy handset
The Galaxy S5 has landed and although there's no big headline feature to shout about, it's packing all kinds of interesting bits and pieces, like a finger print scanner, heart rate monitor, advanced camera tools, a water and dust resistant exterior and the clever ability to make downloads faster by combining regular signal coverage with Wi-Fi power. Its release date is set for the 11th of April.

Nokia announces a wave of Android smartphones just called X
Shortly after being sold to Microsoft, Nokia has announced the launch of a range of Android smartphones, being referred to collectively as Nokia X. The devices may be running on Android but have some Microsoft services, like Skype and OneDrive.

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Sony unveils a flashy, show-off tablet
Sony has a lot to shout about when it comes to its latest tablet, the Z2. Not only is it the slimmest device on the market at 6.4mm, but it's also the only waterproof one. Not content with these impressive feats, Sony also claims its tablet is the world's most powerful as well, as its packing a Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.3GHZ quad-core Krait CPU and an Adreno 330GPU.

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Huawei shows off its tablet phone hybrid
Although the term 'phablet' is becoming overused and a little annoying, the Huawei MediaPad X1 is, undoubtedly, a phablet.

The Android device is being officially labelled a smartphone, but with a huge 7" screen and a SIM card slot we can't be so sure it knows what it wants to be. The X1 also boasts a full HD display, a beautiful edge-to-edge screen, a 1.6GHZ quadcore processor, a 13 MP camera and an interesting metal body. No details on cost or availability from Huawei just yet.

LG unveils the G Pro 2
MWC has been packed full of smartphone giants (or is that tablet dwarves?), but the LG G Pro 2 is a great-looking device that at 5.9" could just be on the right side of stupidly big. Many have already commented that the plastic exterior makes the device feel a little bit too, well, plastic, despite the fact the price is likely to be high when further details are revealed later in the year.

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Lenovo reveals another super bendy Yoga tablet
Lenovo unveiled the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ at MWC this year, the latest version of its flexible tablet laptop hybrid but this time with a full HD screen.

HTC launches a mid-range flagship device
The HTC Desire 816 comes equipped with some impressive specs for what has been officially called the company's mid-range flagship device, such as a 5.5" screen, a 1.6GHZ quad-core Snapdragon processor and 1.5GB of RAM.

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Mozilla will make smartphones cheaper than ever for the developing world
Mozilla's Firefox OS is planning on leaving the developed markets to Android and iOS after announcing a partnership with Chinese chip company Speadtrum Communications, which means smartphones as cheap as £15 could be available to those in the developing world. A number of phone manufacturers, like Indonesia-based Polytron, ZTE and Huawei, have already started developing products.

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This year, Mobile World Congress was always going to have a big focus on wearable gadgets that hook up to our phones, track our activity and vibrate every time anything remotely interesting happens.

Here's our rundown of the top wearable gadgets that we're most excited about getting our hands on:

Samsung unveils Galaxy Fit, 'world's first' curved wearable. The Samsung Galaxy Fit looks a lot like a Nike+ FuelBand, but as well as tracking steps with a built-in pedometer and monitoring heart rate and sleep it also notifies the wearer of notifications on their smartphone - presumably Samsung wanted to find that sweet spot between a fitness tracking wearable and a smartwatch. The device stands out because it also touts a mini curved display with a 1.84" 432X128 Super AMOLED display.

Samsung announces pair of Gear smartwatches, the Gear 2 and the lighter Gear Neo 2. Both devices come packed with a pedometer, heart rate sensor and more tools to measure stress levels, sleep and activity throughout the day. The watches are running on Tizen OS rather than Android, a move which many believe is to set Samsung apart from Google and make it less reliable on the online giant.

Creoir re-invents the smart watch with the Ibis, which has a custom user Android interface as well as a touch screen display. It's also compatible with iOS devices too. also on board is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an accelerometer, e-compass and an ambient light sensor and USB connectivity.

Sony SmartBand and Lifelog app will track all of your life. The SmartBand teams up with Sony's upcoming Lifelog app, as well as any phone via Bluetooth or NFC and just like the Nike+ FuelBand and the FitBit Force and Flex, the wearable is designed to live on your wrist 24/7. However, the SWR10 can notify you of incoming calls, tweets and messages, keep a track of places you've been, what you've been listening to and the games you've been addicted to, as well as all of the fitness and health stuff you'd expect too.

Huawei unveils its wearable Talk Band device, which looks like the 24/7 durable, comfortable and (kinda) waterproof bands from FitBit, Nike and more recently Sony rather than the more traditional watch-style that we've seen from Samsung. The Talk Band promises to connect your smartphone up to your wrist and handily works with both iOS and Android devices. Its stand-out features include a 1.4" bendable OLED display, fitness tracking functions and a pop-out earpiece for taking calls.

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It has been rumoured for quite a while and now it has been confirmed, Nokia doesn't just make Windows phones, it is also manufactures Android ones too. But in typical Nokia style there's a twist or two.

At MWC 2014 it unveiled the Nokia X, X+ and Xl smartphones, but as CEO Stephen Elop insisted these aren't just bog standard Android mobiles. He said that: "The Nokia X is built on Android open source software. We have differentiated and added our own experience." And that means keeping the company's Windows style tiles, inspite of the fact that the engine running the handsets is Android.

The phones aren't that high spec either, but are designed to fit somewhere in between the company's budget Asha mobiles and its Windows Lumia top-enders. The X sports a 4-inch IPS capacitive display, 1GHZ Qualcomm Snapdragon dual core processor, 512MB RAM & 4GB eMMC, a 1500mAh battery.3MP camera, dual SIM cards, expandable storage via a MicroSD card. Not surprisingly it still comes loaded with lots of Microsoft goodies including Maps, MixRadio, Skype and OneDrive.

The X+ also has a 4in screen and similar spec but with more RAM, while the XL boasts a 5inch screen. The handsets also come preloaded with Skype and other Microsoft friendly fair, including Maps and MixRadio, Skype and OneDrive.

The prices are as you'd expect very competitive with the Nokia X out now for 89 Euros, the Nokia X+ available in Q2 for 99 Euros and Nokia Xl coming soon at 109 Euros.
I guess these phones are aimed at emerging markets, but they could also build up a significant following among cash-strapped Britons too.

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Last night even those who usually ignore the ins and outs of the tech world were sharing news that Facebook will acquire WhatsApp for a whopping $16 billion.

But why such an astronomical figure for what's essentially just a messaging app?

WhatsApp has 450 million monthly users - and 70% are active on any given day

Let's put that figure into context.

450 million people is the entire population of the United States, The United Kingdom, Ireland and France combined.

Every. Single. Person.

Imagine all of those crazy little WhatsApp-ing fingers typing away (4.5 billion little WhatsApp-ing fingers, to be exact).

The thing that makes WhatsApp special is that it's not like many apps that are downloaded by the masses only to be ignored a matter of weeks down the line, as nearly three quarters of the 450 million are actively texting, sending photos and leaving silly audio messages on any given day.

The official line from Facebook about why the acquisition has taken place now is, unsurprisingly, focused on a "shared mission" of connectivity, growth and engagement:

"The acquisition supports Facebook and WhatsApp's shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement across both companies."

And if WhatsApp's figures teach us one thing, it's that its got all three of those nailed.

Both Google and Yahoo wanted a piece of the WhatsApp pie

Facebook has made no secret of acquiring (or at least trying to acquire) some of the world's fastest-growing services in the past, like Instagram and Snapchat.

Of course there are many reasons behind these big deals, but an obvious one is that Zuckerberg wants to stay on top of the game and not watch his user base flock to a shiny new offering.

However, an equally scary thought for the social network would be watching its competitors gobble up this popular new talent instead.

If Facebook hadn't been the one to acquire WhatsApp, it's highly likely other big players would have swooped in to claim it instead.

According to rumours, Google was interested in acquiring WhatsApp in April of last year, so a similar offer may have been put on the table if Facebook hadn't made this bold (and not to mention insanely expensive) move.

Facebook just wants to be cool, trendy and down with the kids again

Last year CNN reported that Facebook's Chief Financial Officer revealed the social network was losing a lot of its younger users.

Although some argued the stats weren't quite so clear cut, 2013 was definitely the year that teens instead flocked to selfie-sharing, mobile messaging apps, like SnapChat, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook may be set to further develop its own set of apps (remember Facebook Camera?) or integrate more of WhatsApp's appeal into its current offering, but either way getting its hands on one of the most popular mobile services amongst younger audiences will only help in its bid to appeal to the kiddies again.

WhatsApp could help Facebook tap into emerging markets with ease

For some time now the Facebook team has spoken about growing its user base in emerging markets. This is because in the developed world it's pretty much reached saturation - know anyone other than your great gran who doesn't have a profile?!

Although WhatsApp has a large number of users across the same markets in the likes of the US, Spain and the UK, it's also hugely popular in the developing world. This reach could help support Facebook's efforts to not only increase its user base, but also advance the internet.org campaign the social network plays a part in alongside Qualcomm and Nokia to provide those in developing nations with affordable internet access.


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