SaveMyTime–Finally A Usable Time Tracking App for Android

I hate time tracking applications. Well, at least I did before I ran across SaveMyTime for Android.

The problem with time tracking applications is they are usually more trouble than they are worth. I’ve tried a couple dozen different time tracking systems and they inevitably end up reducing my productivity because they require me to make changes to my workflow to accommodate them. After a day or two, I generally give up on whatever the latest app I’m using to track time (and give up on the entire time tracking effort).

SaveMyTime has an ingenious method that I haven’t seen in a time tracking app before. When you unlock your phone, which I do numerous times a day, it will pop up a screen telling you how long it’s been since you last logged your time and asking you to select what you’ve been doing the last X minutes.

The interval can be set in the application–I have it ask me no more than once every 30 minutes. So if I unlock my phone a dozen times in a half hour, I’ll only see the time tracking prompt once.

There’s also an option, not depicted in the screenshot below, that lets the user allocate the elapsed time between multiple activities. For example, if I was working on my computer and then went for a run, when I unlock my phone I can allocate 15 minutes to the computer work and 45 minutes to the run.

The categories are completely customizable. I deleted most of the stock categories and created my own to fit what I do during the day and what I want to track.

There are a couple downsides to the app:

  1. At the moment there is no way to export the data you are collecting. There are some neat reports in the app, but this sort of system really needs an export to CSV option.I sent an email to the devs about this, and they indicated that an export/backup feature is planned for a future release.
  2. Cost. The app works on a fremium model. You can download and use it to test whether it is really right for you, but if you want to unlock things like custom categories, etc., you’re going to have to pay a yearly subscription fee of $19.99.Whether that’s a reasonable fee for a time tracking up will vary depending on how important time tracking is to you. For me, it’s worth it to pay a premium for an app that actually fits into my daily workflow.

Buying Cards for Pokémon TCG Online

I started playing the Pokémon TCG Online game earlier this year after watching The Professor’s video comparing the online versions of the Pokémon TCG with the Magic: The Gathering TCG. The Pokémon TCG is a great example of a product that is amazing in large part because it doesn’t repeat the many mistakes that the online versions of other collectible card games that are also available as traditional cardboard trading cards.

First, the game is completely free and has a ton of content that can be played for free. I spent dozens of hours playing the game meaningfully without spending a single penny. Second, the online version of the game is largely identical to the physical card game. All of the mechanics, cards, etc. are the same between the two. That might sound like a “no duh” moment, but Magic: The Gathering does not meet this most basic of minimum requirements.

And finally, the Pokémon TCG includes an activation code with every physical product that lets the player activate a similar product in the online game. For constructed deck products, the code gives you an identical constructed deck in the online game. For general booster packs, there is a code that unlocks a booster pack of the same type in the online game (the online packs contents are randomly generated, however, so the exact cards in the physical pact are not reproduced exactly).

This is awesome, and also creates an aftermarket for the online codes. A Pokémon TCG booster pack costs in the $3-4 range depending on the source. The online activation codes sell for a serious discount online. Depending on the set, you can buy the code cards in bulk for 12 to 19 cents apiece on Ebay.

In one of the few drawbacks in the way that the online codes are handled, there is no scratch off or other covering for the online code–it is simply printed plain as day on the code card. So the potential for fraud is always going to be there in buying the codes.

After searching around on various Pokémon TCG forums on the Internet looking to balance price with risk, I settled upon PTCGO.com to purchase codes from. PTCGO rests solidly in the middle of the road as far as costs are concerned. Codes for recent set releases go for around 40 cents apiece, although the site has regular daily sales that sees those fall to around 33 cents apiece.

I have purchased several hundred codes from the site so far, and have been very pleased with the process. PTCGO sends the codes via email just a few seconds after the payment goes through. I experienced a single issue with a code not validating, and the company took care of that within a few minutes.

The only drawback to PTCGO is that they only accept payment via a PayPal account. So if you don’t have or don’t want a PayPal account, you’ll have to go elsewhere.

Peter Singer on That Quote

Recently I’ve seen a lot of people on social media sharing the following quote by Peter Singer,

Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.

While I strongly disagree with Singer’s brand of utilitarianism, many of the people sharing this have little understanding of Singer’s philosophical views and so they seem to interpret it as saying more (and sometimes less) than it actually says in context. Singer has an FAQ where he addresses this, among other things,

You have been quoted as saying: “Killing a defective infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Sometimes it is not wrong at all.” Is that quote accurate?

It is accurate, but can be misleading if read without an understanding of what I mean by the term “person” (which is discussed in Practical Ethics, from which that quotation is taken). I use the term “person” to refer to a being who is capable of anticipating the future, of having wants and desires for the future.  As I have said in answer to the previous question, I think that it is generally a greater wrong to kill such a being than it is to kill a being that has no sense of existing over time. Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.  That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do.  It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents.

Sometimes, perhaps because the baby has a serious disability, parents think it better that their newborn infant should die. Many doctors will accept their wishes, to the extent of not giving the baby life-supporting medical treatment.  That will often ensure that the baby dies.  My view is different from this, only to the extent that if a decision is taken, by the parents and doctors, that it is better that a baby should die, I believe it should be possible to carry out that decision, not only by withholding or withdrawing life-support – which can lead to the baby dying slowly from dehydration or from an infection – but also by taking active steps to end the baby’s life swiftly and humanely.