What’s in your bag: 5 Tips for a lighter handbag!

We all know that heavy handbags spell trouble for our posture but what exactly can we do to lighten the load? Read on for simple tips on lessening your handbag’s weight!

1. Clear your handbag daily.

Take everything in your bag out and go through them, separating the items into essentials and non-essential. We tend to just stuff all the random knick-knacks we get throughout the day into our handbag, regardless of how useless they may be. Be it receipts, biscuits, small purchases or even litter, they all just end up inside! By sorting out the contents of your bag everyday, you get rid of all the rubbish and instantly lighten your load.

2. Downsize everything.

Get travel-sized bottles to use for overnight trips instead of bringing regular-sized toiletries. Trust me, you’re not going to use all 500ml of your shampoo in a single night; so why lug that all around?

Love reading on the road? Try the Inkcase instead of carrying a book around! Inkcase transforms your phone into an e-reader by adding an E Ink screen at the back of your phone. It is the world’s lightest and thinnest e-reader.

Inkcase makes for easy reading on public transport as it is the world's thinnest and lightest e-reader
The pocket-sized Inkcase makes reading during your commute even easier!

3. Make sure you’re only carrying what you really need.

Store those comfy flats in your car or office instead of carrying them around. Are you sure you really need your tablet? Your phone may be more than up for the job; just go google some of the lifehacks your iPhone is capable of! So make things easier on your shoulder and get a smaller handbag!

Instead of carrying around a schedule book, consider using your phone’s Calendar app. Alternatively you could also make use of Inkcase to keep track of your schedule. Inkcase allows users to display to-do lists and schedules on the back of their phone with no extra bulk. You’ll never miss another appointment again!

Inkcase allows you to keep your to-do list and schedule constantly visible on the back of your phone.
Keep your to-do list always visible with Inkcase!

4. Lighten your wallet.

You’d be surprised at how heavy your wallet can get, especially if you’re a closet hoarder of coins, loyalty cards and receipts! It seems a lot more convenient to pay with bills instead of coins. But it’s all about habit. After all, it doesn’t take long to count out a couple of coins for your coffee! Cut down on cards in your wallet; try this Key Ring app instead. Use e-tickets with Inkcase instead of conventional tickets so that you collect less receipts and paper tickets.

5. Change your bag.

Opt for bags with wider straps. Research has shown that the wider the strap is, the better it is for your body. Wide straps help protect your shoulder by distributing the weight over a wider area. Buy bags with alternative strap options, such as bags with handles for your hands and straps for cross-body wearing. Backpacks are probably best since the load is more evenly carried on two shoulders instead of one!

Bigger is definitely not better in this case! Get smaller purses so that you only bring the minimal necessities around. You’re more likely to put more unnecessary stuff in a bigger bag that will weigh it down.

 

See also: Is your handbag too heavy for your body?

6 Reasons why reading is so important

When was the last time you picked up a book just because the book cover caught your eye or the title seemed interesting? You’d be surprised at the numerous benefits reading actually brings, regardless of how old you are now. If you are one of those bookworms who used to love reading but stopped because of the inconvenience of carrying around a book, try the InkCase today! Read on to find out more about the importance of reading!

6 reasons why reading is important
Reading is important even in adulthood.

1. It increases intelligence.

Just like going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving your brain a good workout. Reading also increases analytical powers as you practise your analysis skills while examining the story. Be it critiquing the plot, writing style, character development or story flow, your mind is much more engaged while reading. As your brain activity increases, so does your intelligence! Furthermore, reading can also help you think out of the box. Scientists at Liverpool University found that poetry stimulates brain activity in the brain area associated with autobiographical memory. The research shows the power of literature to shift mental pathways and to create new thought processes.

2. Reading relieves stress.

Feeling gloomy? Start reading with InkCase to keep the blues away! Reading is great as a mood-lifter. It helps in shedding away all the stress and allows one’s mind to escape into another world for a while. A great story can allow you to lose yourself in it while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting all that tension drain away.

Research from the University of Sussex has found that reading lowers stress faster than other activities such as walking or listening to music. Participants in the study read for a mere 6 minutes before experiencing decreased heart rates and muscle tension. Furthermore, several studies have also suggested that reading can soothe mood disorders such as depression. PLOS ONE published a study indicating that reading self-help books and undergoing therapy lowered depression more effectively than traditional treatments.

3. Reading gives you a greater understanding of the subject.

This is probably one of the most crucial benefits of reading – it is a great source of knowledge. Merely having limited surface information about a particular subject is a dangerous thing. With such little knowledge, it is easy to operate on false assumption. As such, increasing your understanding will provide you with tools to resolve difficult situations in life and improve your ability to cope with difficult situations.

Whatever you read, it will definitely teach you something. A Nelson Mandela biography, for instance, could motivate you to persevere through difficult times while the Lord of the Rings may jumpstart your creative juices. It also creates awareness of current affairs and their surroundings. For example, newspapers will keep you up to date about current affairs. Equipped with more knowledge, you can then better form your own holistic perspective of the world.

Reading increases your brainpower.

4. Reading can make you more empathetic.

Literary fiction helps readers to understand others’ perspectives as each story shares different people’s emotions and thought process, according to research published in Science. Stories puts you into the shoes of various characters, making it easier for you to relate to others in real life. This will definitely help in improving your relationships and social interactions with others.

5. It may help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Be proactive in preventing Alzheimer’s by reading more with InkCase! Research has shown that those who engage in intellectual activities such as reading or chess are possibly 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t. The study suggests that brain-stimulating exercises as such activities can lower the levels of a brain protein involved in Alzheimer’s.

Furthermore, people who read books are more likely to have healthy brains in old age, according to research published in the journal, Neurology. The study examined 294 elderly participants and found that those who had taken part in mentally stimulating activities had lower rates of mental decline as they got older. Those who rarely read or performed other stimulating mental activity mentally declined 48 percent faster than average.

6. Reading before bedtime can help you sleep.

Have trouble sleeping at night? Picking up a book may just solve the problem! By reading a book before bedtime every night, your body gets the signal that it’s time to take a break and go to sleep. LCD screens such as smartphones or tablets can actually keep you awake longer and even hurt your sleep. This is particularly so for kids. Fifty-four percent of children sleep near a small screen and thus get 20 fewer minutes of sleep on average. Instead of LCD screens, why not try the InkCase? The InkCase adds a secondary E Ink screen to your phone, allowing you to use your phone as an e-reader as well!

InkCase i7
Read anywhere and any time with the InkCase!

See also: LCD screens: Shedding light on the damage done

10 tips to keep your children safe

Approximately 800,000 children are reported to be abducted each year in the US. It is horrible to think about, but children are among the most vulnerable in our society, making them prime targets for human trafficking and other odious motives. So how can you protect them? Here are 10 tips for parents to ensure their children’s safety.

1. Get your child the WatchPhone.

Oaxis Watchphone is useful for keeping your children safe from child abduction.
The WatchPhone comes with an in-built pedometer too.

The WatchPhone is essentially a hybrid of a smartphone and wristwatch. Specially created for kids, it allows parents to keep in touch with their children easily. Parents can call or message their children with the 3G-compatible WatchPhone. They will also be able to know the exact location of their children, thanks to the highly accurate GPS positioning system fully integrated into the WatchPhone. The Geo-Fencing function alerts you if your child exceeds the boundaries of the preset area. Most importantly, the WatchPhone’s One-Touch SOS function lets the child send a distress signal through an integrated SOS button. The parent will be notified on their phone immediately.

2. Keep your children in sight.

This may seem like redundant advice but you’d be surprised at how many parents neglect to keep their children in sight constantly. Do not let your child out of your peripheral vision. All it takes are seconds to kidnap a child. Keep your child close by within reach. Opt for a baby carrier or a baby harness when shopping. Also, do not leave your baby unattended in a stroller or a vehicle! Never let a stranger hold your baby too.

3. Be aware of the surroundings.

Being aware can make a world of difference, especially in places where children like to gather and play. Keep an eye out for neighbourhood notices regarding crimes involving children or when a sexual offender moves into your neighbourhood. Older children should be encouraged to be cautious and trust their own intuition if they spot anything odd.

Girl being lured by a abductor offering her a sweet.
Children are not fully aware of the dangers in the world.

4. Set up emergency plans.

Always identify the nearest information centers and police stations while out with your children. Tell them where to go and what to do in case of an emergency or if they get lost. Have a neighborhood meeting so that children know safe houses in the neighborhood where they can run to for help. Make and practice safety plans. Talk with kids about who they could get help from everywhere they go. Remind kids that while adults such as store owners and cashiers are strangers too, they will help in an emergency. By practicing with them, kids gain more confidence in taking charge of their own safety if you get separated from them.

5. Put up a fight.

Explore age-appropriate self-defense training programs. Teach your child to struggle and try their best to escape especially in the first few hours. For example, children who are being led away by hand can use the windmill technique. By rotating their arms in a big circle, children can prevent the attacker from getting a good grip. Tell your kids to hold tightly onto whatever’s within grabbing distance if someone is trying to drag them away. Resistance makes it harder to disengage them in an attempted abduction.

A boy bites the hand of his kidnapper.
Abductors are unwilling to cause a scene by fighting a struggling child.

6. Be proactive in escaping from strangers’ cars.

Teach your child to not be passive if they are led into a car by strangers. By jumping in the backseat and trying the door quickly in a four-door car, the child’s chances of escape are quite high. If they are placed in a trunk instead, they should look for a panel in the trunk that comes right out when pulled. Tear the wires to the tail-lights and brakes. This increases the chances of the car being pulled over by police.

7. Keep an ID kit.

Include a physical description, the child’s nickname, identifying features, medical information and an up-to-date high-quality photo. Be sure to take your kits with you on trips and vacations. You may want to have your children fingerprinted and keep updated dental records. These records will definitely facilitate police investigations.

8. Teach kids to get help.

It has been proven that contrary to popular belief, children are infinitely more likely to be harmed by someone they know instead of a stranger. Helping them build the habit of talking with you about problems will help keep them safe. Make sure your children know their full name, your full name, phone number, and address. This will make it easier for them to seek help in contacting you. Practise with them so that they know how to call and ask for help. They should learn to talk to a police dispatcher and provide the necessary details.

9. Teach kids about personal information.

Define personal information for your children and the appropriate context for them to share information with strangers. For example, kids can provide their home number when they’re lost and need help. Make sure they know not to give personal information to stranger without checking first with adults responsible for their safety. Teach children to walk away confidently and without engaging if a stranger starts asking about their personal information.

10. Make a lot of noise.

Teach children to use their voices and bodies to get away when they feel unsafe. Explain that using their voice can get the attention of people who can help you. Have children practice yelling “NO!” or “STOP!” as loudly as they can. A good commotion can scare an abductor and hence turn the tables on them by attracting as much attention as possible.

The most important thing parents can do is to communicate openly with their children at home. Cultivate a home atmosphere in which kids feel comfortable sharing what is going on in their life. Teach your children how to say no and to alert you when they don’t feel safe. Remember, above all else, safety first. Prevention is the key.

Should your child own a smartphone?

Phones have come a long way from the days of the bulky brick-like handset to the slim sleek smartphones that keep getting thinner. Smartphones now exceed the capability of the traditional phone, doubling as a camera, GPS, alarm clock, schedule planner and much more. Even parenting is made easier as we can so easily keep our children entertained for hours with Candy Crush. Not owning a smartphone seems foolish in view of all the convenience it brings.

Time to get your kid a smartphone?

If you’re thinking of purchasing one for your child, hold your horses! While there are many benefits to getting your kid a mobile phone, the cons outweigh the pros by far. Studies have shown that young children who own mobile devices tend to have behavioral and health problems like depression and eating disorders. This is particularly so for children allowed to use mobile devices or watch TV for more than 2 hours daily. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents of children under the age of two should avoid making use of smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions to keep them occupied.

An estimated 60% of  parents don’t monitor their children’s usage of technology closely. As such, 75% of children use mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones in their bedroom. According to a Boston College study, 75% of children between 9 and 10 years old do not do well in school due to sleep deprivation caused by excessive use of tablets.

Alternatives to smartphones

To curb such problems, parents need to be vigilant and not simply take the easy way out. Instead of using mobile devices to entertain young children, why not read to them? Parents can also purchase developmental toys such as Rubik’s cubes or 3D puzzles to keep children engaged.

For older children, parents can make use of smartwatches specially tailored for children. For example, parents can contact their children easily with the Watchphone while allowing them space to gain independence. Such smartphones tend to have good habit-forming functions as well, like an in-built pedometer and calorie-counter. The Watchphone essentially encapsulates the benefits of a smartphone without the frills that may ultimately lead to bad habits. Moreover, the one-touch SOS function lets your child alert you instantly in case of danger.

Smartwatch for children, Oaxis Watchphone
The Watchphone gives children a sense of independence while allowing parents to keep an eye on them.

Ultimately parents being present in their children’s lives will help their healthy development far more effectively than any piece of technology.

6 Top Reads for Valentine’s Day

6 must-read books for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is coming right up and once again it’s time to plan something romantic for that special person! This year, why not go the simple and sweet route? Some candles, put on your best romantic playlist and a book to share; that’s all you need for a nice quiet night in to really enjoy each other’s company without any distractions. Here are 6 books perfect for a cosy night!

1. The Beatrice Letters – Lemony Snicket

We all know and love Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events which chronicles the Baudelaire orphans’ tragic adventures. The Beatrice Letters ties in with the series, revealing to us a little more about the mysterious author Snicket. While perhaps a little less-known, it is nonetheless a fantastic read. While not exactly a romance novel, The Beatrice Letters contains arguably one of the most touching love letters in modern literature.

“I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.”

Snicket’s uniquely stunning prose delivers many gems of lost love and desire, guaranteed to wring a few sighs from even the hardest of hearts. Not a big fan of romance? That’s okay; the book follows a fascinating mystery which is sure to reel you in anyway!

Lemony Snicket - A Series of Unfortunate Events
Borrow a line from Snicket for the finishing touch on your card!

2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

With so many adaptations and works inspired by it, this book needs no further introduction. Austen presents an otherwise cliche story with fantastic characters that simply keep you enchanted with their dynamics. With the lovable Elizabeth Bennett and swoon-worthy Mr Darcy, this love story certainly deserves its place among the classics. Pick up some of the screen adaptations for movie night as well! (The 1995 BBC TV series is our favourite!) Not too sure about buying the book? No worries; download the ebook and read it on InkCase for free!

InkCase i7
Read anywhere and any time with the InkCase!

3. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

Get your tissues ready for this emotional rollercoaster! This book is sure to start a thought-provoking discussion about love and life with lots of cuddling needed to soothe those sad thoughts away. Murakami takes you into the world of Toru Watanabe and his journey through friendship, loss and love, keeping you hooked till the last page! While some may find his writing style a little unorthodox, this novel presents Murakami at his best and most emotional.

4. Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne – John Keats

Need ideas for your Valentine’s Day card? Well, find some inspiration from the literary icon John Keats by reading his own words about love on Inkcase!

Oaxis InkCase
Keep your source of inspiration a surprise with InkCase. Shh!

Often named as one of the greatest poets of his time, Keats’ own love story ended sadly as he passed away young, leaving his lover Fanny Brawne in mourning for six years after his passing. Now all that remains of that tragic romance are these letters… What better way to celebrate the day of love by reading actual love letters by one of the world’s most renown Romantic poets?

5. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro paints a mesmerising picture of unspoken love and murky memories of a life gone by in this wonderfully written book. After all, who hasn’t wondered about all the possible futures, good or bad, with that certain somebody? This book is bound to help those of you still struggling with your crush to find your courage to take that final step towards your own happiness! For happy couples, Ishiguro’s work is definitely going to make you cherish each other and your happiness together more.

The Remains of The Day

6. Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair – Pablo Neruda

Maybe Keats isn’t really your style with his gentle and melancholy words. If you’re looking for something more passionate, look no further. Neruda’s poems are seemingly succinct but yet enthrallingly melodramatic. His writing is unabashedly sensual and yet delivered in such a sweet manner. This book is bound to send tingles down your back with the way he captures the bittersweet emotions of love in just a few lines.

Top 10 unique and useful iPhone cases

1. Oaxis InkCase i7

Oaxis Inkcase i7
The InkCase adds a secondary E Ink display with no additional bulk and weight.

Forget about Kindles! The InkCase i6 transforms your iPhone into an e-reader by adding an E Ink display to the back of your iPhone connected to your iPhone 6 through Bluetooth. Users can access content via the low-power secondary screen without switching on the iPhone’s display thus conserving battery significantly. Read your favorite ebook on InkCase’s paper-like display which remains clear even under direct sunlight. You’ll never miss another notification or reminder with InkCase. Personalize your iPhone with favorite images to express your unique individuality! Durable dual molded polycarbonate exterior provides complete protection of the back, edges and corner of your iPhone 6/6s. This iPhone case is definitely a must-buy for avid readers!

2. Prynt iPhone 6 Case

Picture of Prynt iPhone case with a photo printing

Prynt iPhone cases essentially act as portable printers, transforming your phone into a Polaroid camera. Using the Prynt app, you can preview and edit your photos with free, custom filters, stickers, frames and more. Each Prynt photo is long-lasting, fade and tear-resistant. Moreover, every photo is a sticker printed in millions of high-res colours! You don’t need additional ink cartridges as Prynt uses special ink-free printing technology.

3. Logitech Protection [+] iPhone 6 Case
Front and back view of Logitech Protection + iPhone case

Logitech’s Protection [+] for the iPhone 6 is specially designed and tested to protect your iPhone from any drops, bumps, and scratches. For users who are always on the road, you’ll love Logitech Protection iPhone cases! The hidden metal plate in the case offers seamless compatibility with the Logitech [+] mounts, allowing users to attach their iPhone easily.

4. BoxWave Keyboard iPhone 6 Case
Front and back view of the Boxwave iPhone case

Designed to be the perfect complement to the Apple iPhone 6’s on-screen keyboard, the Keyboard Buddy’s easy slide-in keyboard is smooth and natural. Backlit keys make the Keyboard Buddy even more user-friendly with raised keys, allowing users to type faster and more accurately than ever. An improved button layout and an onboard battery, chargeable by micro-USB cable, with up to 2 weeks worth of charge duration makes for an even more intuitive experience. The Keyboard Buddy’s form fitting shell and secure snap on make sure that there are no weird bumps or protrusions to get in the way.

5. Benuo Leather iPhone 6 Case

Front and back view of the Benuo Leather iPhone case

The leather case is entirely handmade of sleek corrected grain genuine leather. It’s easy to grip with a nice texture and wears beautifully over time. With its folio-style case that has three slots on the rear, users can access their cards easily. The understated magnetic closure ensures your screen is protected and yet does not get in the way. Precise open cut-outs for all ports, buttons, speakers & camera make sure that usage of your iPhone 6 is not impeded while also leaving enough room for full coverage screen protector and flash. This classy iPhone case will definitely appeal to people who hate cumbersome cases that make it difficult to get at your cash quickly.

6. VRS Design Damada Glide Wallet Case

Open compartment of VRS Damada Glide iPhone cases showcased

Available in five different colours, this wallet case keeps your cards tucked away in a little compartment, making access extremely ergonomic. While VRS iPhone cases are easy to install and remove, the side power and volume buttons still remain covered and protected from the elements. For anyone who is on the go and doesn’t have the room or inclination to carry a separate wallet, this is what you’re looking for.

7. IN1 Tools
In1 iPhone case with most of the tools removed and placed neatly next to the case

What better way to carry a toolkit around than to combine it with your iPhone? Whether it’s a screwdriver, scissors or even just a pen, IN1 Tools iPhone cases have it all! It also includes a kickstand and the tools come in colors like gray, pink, purple and yellow. You can also choose between a clear case and black one.

8. Loopy iPhone 6/6s Plus
Loopy iPhone case with a zoom-in view of the cutouts

Big fan of using your phone while relaxing in bed? Then you would have experienced the agony of dropping your phone on your face as well…. In that case, this iPhone case is definitely going to make life easier for you! Though a little goofy-looking, this case presents a simple solution to butter fingers with a simple loop at the back of your phone. Just slip two fingers in and you’ll never drop your phone again! Made of strengthened tear-resistant and crack-resistant material, there’s no risk of tearing and the outer shell is extremely durable. Moreover, the loops are interchangeable and fully adjustable, maximising comfort and style!

9. ZAGG iPhone 6 Speaker Case

The image shows the assembly of the ZAGG Speaker case

Heads-up to all music lovers! ZAGG is perhaps better known for their tough screen protectors but they are proving themselves in terms of iPhone cases too. The new Speaker case contains a removable Bluetooth speaker for playing music, videos or taking phone calls. Furthermore, the slim, protective bumper provides strong protection for your iPhone as well. The rechargeable battery(1800mAh) can be used to recharge your phone or shared through the universal USB port.

10. Boostcase Gemstone Power Case
View of Gemstone Clear iPhone Case

Boostcase adds over 100% more battery life for iPhone 6s & iPhone 6. Its innovative modular design is a reinvention of the battery case, featuring a standalone protective case with an attachable battery sleeve. Users can conveniently remove the battery sleeve when unneeded. The Gemstone collection features the world’s first completely transparent design battery case offered in colours matched to fine gemstones. A dedicated toggle switch controls the battery and an LED light bar shows your remaining charge. No need to carry those bulky portable chargers around anymore!

Is your handbag too heavy for your body?

Let’s be real, the world loves big bags and what’s there not to love? Think again because this is one scenario where bigger is definitely not better! While big bags are just perfect for carrying around everything you need from that bottle of hand sanitiser that you just had to buy to those receipts you keep forgetting to throw out, it’s really bad news for your body especially with the increasing weight of handbags nowadays. Those gorgeous designer bags just keep growing in size and nowadays they even come with lots of zippers and studs, making them heavier than ever. Well, if you’re a handbag packrat, keep reading to see why it’s time to clear your heavy handbag out!

A lady is carrying a big black handbag.
Big handbags generally result in users carrying much more stuff than necessary.

1. Your natural gait is disrupted

Carrying a heavy handbag on one shoulder significantly interferes with our normal gait. Our gait helps to keep our body balanced. Having a heavy handbag on one side of the body prevents the arm on that side from swinging properly as we instinctively try to prevent the load from swinging. Thus to make sure that our body stay balanced, the other arm has to swing more. This can result in many problems, such as chronic pain, should the situation persist.

2. Your posture is thrown off

Since more weight is acting on one shoulder, your muscles are off balance due to the asymmetric load. Your body leans to the other side to counterbalance the weight. As such, your posture is thrown off. Most people tend to carry handbags on their dominant side — right-handed people will tend to hang it over your right shoulder. But this causes the muscles in your dominant shoulder, particularly the trapezius muscle, to become bigger. Over time a lopsided posture can develop from the forced muscle development on one side. Carrying an asymmetric load also causes muscles in your spine to compensate for the weight, causing spasms in the opposite side of the spine, lower back and sacrum (the bone at the base of the lower spine) — the more skewed the load is, the harder your body will have to work to counterbalance it.

3. Tension headache/muscle tension

Due to your body’s efforts to redistribute the extra weight, your muscles tense more and as such become stiff. The trapezius muscle and the muscles that go from your shoulder to the base of your neck, which sits on top of your shoulders, may spasm and therefore tighten, resulting in a lot of stiffness in the upper back, shoulder area and neck. This may lead to pain when turning your head and the development of arthritis in the lower neck. Some may even develop tension headaches from constantly carrying heavy handbags. As the muscles in your shoulder and neck area spasm, it can result in pain from the back of your skull that radiates around to the front.

A man can be partially seen carrying a brown leather shoulder bag and a thick book.
Men are also at risk due to the heavy shoulder bags they carry.

While the name ‘handbag syndrome’ may suggest that only women suffer from this ailment, men are also affected now more than ever as well due to laptops and the additional weight of accessories such as the charger and mouse. Simply getting an ergonomic shoulder bag is not sufficient as your body will still be adversely affected should the weight of your shoulder bag be too much.  The best solution is to lighten your bag. Try getting rid of bulky items such as hardcover books and old-fashioned schedule diaries and replacing them with the Inkcase which transforms your phone into an e-reader and planner without adding any weight to your bag!

InkCase i7
The Inkcase is the world’s slimmest and lightest e-reader.

Ereader or tablet: Which one should you get?

E-reader vs Tablet - pros and cons

Ereader VS tablet – the dilemma every e-book reader faces. To the layman, perhaps there is little difference not only in appearance but also in function. Yet there are several important distinctions between the two that may just make a world of difference.

Display

Ereader and iPad held together to show the difference in screen glare under bright conditions.
The iPad has significant screen glare as compared to an Ereader in sunlight.

E-readers use E Ink which only allows for a black and white display and is unable to play any video. Moreover since e-readers’ screens are not backlit, they are relatively harder to use in darker conditions.

That being said, the newer E Ink readers like the Kindle Paperwhite now come with an integrated light which shines onto the front of the screen, making it easy to use in the dark. The screen also won’t be as bright as an LCD screen, allowing users to use it before bedtime without waking someone sleeping next to them. So go ahead and tuck yourself in for some comfy bedtime reading!

Tablets, on the other hand, have full colour display and are able to play video. The display is also backlit, giving tablets an edge over e-readers in terms of nighttime reading. When it comes to daytime though, the e-reader wins hands down with its matte screen giving off no glare at all and appearing as clear as an actual printed page whereas the tablet’s screen tends to be glossy, especially iPads, making it difficult to read under the sun even after adjusting the screen brightness to maximum.

In terms of eyestrain, the e-reader once again takes the prize due to the lack of glare and backlight, making the E Ink screen a lot easier on the eyes than the LCD screen which is relatively harsher especially because of blue light emission.

Power Consumption

Picture of the front and back of Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite

We’ve all had our fair shares of days where your phone dies on you on your long commute home and you’re stuck staring out of the window. Mobile devices are notorious for their battery-sapping LCD screens. One of the major draws for e-readers is the low power consumption of E Ink screens. An e-reader can go for weeks and even months without recharging whereas a tablet has to be charged once every few days at the very least. The Kindle Paperwhite, for instance, apparently has up to 8-week battery life while the iPad mini with Retina display is advertised as having a maximum 10 hours of battery life. The high power consumption of the tablet is further exacerbated by the necessary increase in screen brightness to read under the sun.

Price

Price is probably one of the most important factors in your choice. The e-reader is significantly cheaper – $119 for a Kindle Paperwhite while a tablet generally costs more despite a wide price range – $400 for an iPad Mini with Retina Display to $229 for a Nexus 7. However we must keep in mind that the tablet has many other functions which justify the relatively steeper price.

Weight and Size

The average weight of a 6-inch e-reader is approximately 6 oz(170g) while a 7-inch tablet weighs about 13.5 oz(385g). While it may not seem like much on paper, keep in mind that you’ll be holding it for prolonged periods. A bigger screen may not be the best idea, especially if you plan on reading during your commute. In fact, there has been an increasing call for smaller ereaders in recent years and the market has started to respond accordingly with products such as the Kobo Mini and the Inkcase which allows users to transform their phones into e-readers, minimising the need for an additional reading device.

InkCase i7
The InkCase adds a secondary screen to your phone with no extra bulk.

Additional Features

The e-reader is notably lacking in terms of bells and whistles as it’s a single-purpose device designed specifically for reading. Some e-readers have 3G/WiFi and email capability but generally using e-readers for web browsing is tedious and slow. The user has to navigate with only the arrow keys and page rendering is comparatively much slower. This allows for a distraction-free reading experience as compared to using a tablet to read. The tablet, on the other hand, is essentially a larger smartphone and is much more versatile functionally. With 3G/WiFi capability, media playback, apps and much more, the tablet is definitely the choice for people looking for an all-in-one device.

Both the e-reader and the tablet have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it depends on what the user’s needs are and what they are looking for. If you’re looking for a device solely for reading, then the e-reader is definitely your answer! However, if you’d rather have a much more versatile device capable of Internet surfing, go for the tablet.

 

See also: LCD screens: Shedding light on the damage done

Try these 9 simple tips for a better workout!

Improve the results of your workout with these 9 tips!

Every year we promise ourselves that this is the year when we’re finally going to stick to our workout regime religiously. Yet each year, we lose motivation when it seems like all our efforts just don’t seem to be getting any results. Well, this year try out some of these tips to get your desired results!

1. Exercise with a plan

Fail to plan and you plan to fail! Without a realistic plan and goals to work towards, you will be less motivated to keep exercising. Also planning gives your workout structure and direction, making it easier for you to achieve the desired results. Keep track of your progress with old-fashioned pen and paper or a fitness tracker! That way your fitness progress can be tracked visually, keeping you focused on reaching your targets. Even better make use of InkCase‘s activity tracking function to tailor your own workout to achieve optimal results!

2. Moderation

Practice makes perfect! Or does it? Too much exercise can lead to overuse and repetitive-use injuries, such as shin splints and muscle soreness. Besides knowing your limits, varying your workouts can help avoid overtaxing your muscles. Pacing yourself will ensure that you’ll be able to keep to your fitness regime as closely as possible. Furthermore, tired muscles increase the risk of injury as well hence adequate time to rest is just as important. Also the best cure for small injuries is rest so don’t over-exert your body just because the injury is still manageable.

3. Regulate your sleep patterns

While hitting that snooze button may be tempting, it’s really not doing you any favours! Oversleeping or taking a power nap for longer than an hour can cause drowsiness, making it even harder to get moving. If you are feeling a bit sluggish, try starting your workout slowly or doing easy low intensity exercises instead and upping the intensity gradually.

Working out when you’re running on less sleep than usual means that more strain is put on your body to keep everything running. This elevates your heart rate and you get tired even before starting. Furthermore, lack of sleep can impact your balance, metabolism and focus significantly. This will lead to a less effective workout and may even cause injury.

Young sleeping woman and alarm clock in bedroom at home
Sufficient sleep will ensure maximum effectiveness of your workout

4. Separate your cardio and strength training

Often, people combine aerobic sessions with their strength sessions by simply doing a run as warm-up before hitting the weights. This is actually very ineffectual as your muscles are already tired from the run and your energy is also depleted. As such, it’ll be more difficult for you to finish your workout properly and the strength training will only have limited results.

Keeping your cardio and strength sessions on separate days is a good way to maximise your energy for each training session. Alternatively, try circuit training with shorter sprints. You could also start off small and then gradually up the intensity of your strength training instead of a run to warm up before your strength session. Plan out your training schedule and remind yourself by displaying your training schedule on the back of your phone with InkCase to keep yourself disciplined!

Inkcase i7
Never forget another workout with Inkcase!

5. Know your body’s limit

We all know that pushing your limits is a crucial part of improving your fitness but pushing yourself too hard will backfire instead and is likely to result in injuries. Know your body and customise your fitness regime to suit your body’s weaknesses and needs. This goes beyond merely avoiding certain exercises until you are better able to handle it but also involves knowing your weak areas and actively lessening the strain placed on these areas. Instead of exercises that could aggravate these areas, try less strenuous exercises so as to avoid stressing these areas.

6. No alcohol 24 hours before a workout

Staying motivated to exercise is pretty hard but doing so with a hangover is even worse. Alcohol dehydrates the body and the dehydration worsens should you exercise with alcohol in your system. Moreover your liver is working hard to break that down instead of burning fat, making your workout less effective. Alcohol consumption may also cause weight gain and impede muscle growth as well, which defeats the purpose of a workout if you’re looking to lose body fat. Last but not least, alcohol impairs judgement and makes it very dangerous to operate gym equipment.

7. Eating before a workout

Having a heavy meal before exercising is a big no-no even though it may seem like a good idea to fuel up before working all that food off. Your body expends approximately 10% of the energy absorbed just on digestion itself. Hence there is less energy available for your workout, making it difficult for you to perform at your best. Moreover, it affects your digestion too, causing cramping and nausea even after your workout. Try having easily digestible fruit full of simple carbohydrates instead like an apple or banana!

8. Warm up

No matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, taking time to warm up beforehand is definitely a must. By doing dynamic stretches like lunges and high knee lifts, the temperature and blood flow in your muscles increase and hence reduces the risk of injury. Your flexibility increases as well, enabling you to do the actual workout more effectively. Moreover, the warm-up gets your endorphins pumping and that naturally keeps you motivated to stick to your workout!

9. Don’t drink too much water

It’s true that drinking water during a workout is important to keep your body hydrated but downing too much water before or during a workout can cause nausea and cramping. This will inevitably bring about a lot of discomfort and cause you to cut your workout short. Curb the temptation to simply gulp water down and sip instead during your workout; you’ll thank yourself for that later!

A young woman drinking water from a bottle while exercising
Staying hydrated during a workout is important but don’t overdo it!

The best and simplest way to improve your workout experience is to just start learning how to enjoy exercising. Give yourself rewards for achieving goals, get a workout buddy and go have fun!

Microsoft’s new patent seeks to eliminate paper with E Ink tech

Microsoft logo

Imagine reusing a single sheet of paper over and over again, just feeding it back into the printer whenever you’re done with it. Pretty cool right? Well, this may just be possible in the future from what we see in the recently published patent Microsoft applied for.

The patent seeks to resolve the issue of paper wastage by using E Ink to create a reusable form instead. Currently, E Ink, though relatively lightweight and low-power, is still a rather poor substitute for paper. In terms of cost or flexibility, E Ink offers little in comparison.

Basically, Microsoft plans to take the ‘electronic’ out of electronic ink. The e-paper will divest its electronic elements, leaving only its bi-stable e-Ink display. Instead, a new kind of printer would manipulate electric fields to write on the E Ink display. The e paper then becomes re-usable and also cuts out the need for ink. It’s totally a first world problem but, boy are those ink cartridges expensive!

Since the E Ink display would contain no electronics at all, it would cost significantly less. It becomes a lot more bendable as well. All we need to do is just feed it back into the printer for the next time.

That being said, don’t hold your breath for Microsoft to release such a product anytime soon! Judging from the current E Ink technology, the technological jump needed to fully remove the electronic component of E Ink is a bit of a stretch. Besides, the whole needing a specialised printer thing does put a pretty major damper on our enthusiasm for it.

Inkcase i7
The Inkcase adds a secondary E Ink screen at the back of your phone.

Reducing paper usage isn’t a new idea; we’ve seen a lot of attempts at a sustainable substitute for paper. Inkcase for example allows users’ mobile phones to double up as an e-reader and planner by adding a secondary E Ink screen at the back of the phone. Yet paper has still reigned supremacy in the office despite all efforts to overthrow it. Microsoft’s patent may be the key if they can figure out a way to ensure both the reusable display and the printer needed come at a competitive price.