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Business & Finance

Whether you’re a small business owner or you manage a huge corporation, whether you’re planning a short trip or a move to another country, or even if you just live in a country that imports most of its goods from the EU or the USA, you probably keep a close eye on the currency rates and conversions.

Take me for example, I own and manage a pharmacy in Lebanon, where we import most of our brand name drugs from the EU. Prices are appointed by the Ministry of Health and changed once the currency rates of their originating countries rise or fall by about 3 to 4%. This part of our work is an exercise in frustration, because if we stock on too much of a drug from France for example, and the Euro declines by 3-4%, the Ministry will lower the drug’s price accordingly and we’ll end up losing a part of our profit margin.

That’s why it’s not only important to have a good currency conversion app, it’s also essential to be able to track a currency’s rate across several months. To that end, I recently started looking for a solution on the Play Store, and fell in love with XE Currency. Read on for my full review.

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Let’s face it: we can do pretty much anything with our phones these days — get our location and see what’s in the area, find people nearby, track packages, get traffic updates and flight updates. And that’s just the stuff we can do with Google Now! If we move beyond the scope of “built-in Android functionality,” there’s a whole other world of things we can do, including complete banking. Online. From our phones.

I found out about Simple, a completely online bank, a little over a year ago and could not wait to try it. In January, my wait was over when I got an invite to try their brand new Android app. Since this isn’t a review of the web app, I won’t go into too much detail about the sign-up process, but I will say that since this is completely online banking — there are no brick and mortar locations — it’s incredibly important that the mobile app works in conjuction with the web service to give you a comparable experience. So how does it stack up? Let’s take a look!

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As a freelancer I’ve gotten into the habit of being very meticulous with my finances. Weekly, I go over my income, spending, and projected income and expenses for the following weeks. I like to paint a two week picture of what my bank accounts will look like.

While I use several tools for this, Mint is what I use for spending, previous data, and organization. If I ever need to check something while I’m out, well, luckily they have a freshly minted (teehee) Android App.

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The number of online file storage solutions is on a meteoric rise. That’s a good thing in two ways: first, the buzz they generate is creating a lot of awareness about the importance of backing up files before the disaster strikes; second, they make secure and redundant storage space available at throwaway prices.

Dropbox is the crowd favorite, but is pricey if you try to add more storage. Equally good competing apps are available in the market at affordable prices and Box is a pioneering dark horse. Box lets you store all of your content online, so you can access, manage and share it from anywhere. Let’s see how best it can be put to use while on the go!

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Selling on eBay or Craigslist can be a bit challenging for some, and cumbersome even if you know what you’re doing. The Android apps available for them mimic their parent sites, and with that carry some difficulties for those that are new to selling things online.

EggCartel has came up with a very easy and smooth app called EggDrop that does a lot of work for you.

Profile and Categories

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One of the features of the Galaxy Nexus that I was most excited for was the inclusion of a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. NFC allows devices in close proximity (very close: about 7 inches) to send information to each other. This can work for just about anything; v-cards, directions, websites, apps, and even money. I think with wide-spread adoption, NFC could be the next big thing; but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. For today, I’m going to review Google’s flagship app for NFC, Google Wallet.

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LinkedIn has about 135 million users. When compared to Facebook’s 800 million, that may not seem like a lot – but the people on LinkedIn aren’t talking about what they had for lunch. This is an app to help you connect with real business professionals at conferences and meetings when Facebook or Twitter is too informal.

The LinkedIn Android app helps you stay in touch with your business partners and potential leads on the go. I recently attended a conference on innovation and thought the people there would be tech-saavy enough to have moved beyond the traditional business card, so I got my phone ready to do some 21st century networking.

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I hate banks and not just because they messed up much of the world’s economies. I hate banks because they smell weird, have boring leaflets to read in the queue, and send me thinly-veiled threatening letters every few weeks. That’s why I use mobile banking applications. Apps tell me my bank balance without skimming my debit card, let me transfer money without leaving my bed and don’t offer me cheap pens that waste in an instant.

PayPal, being basically the ‘Internet’s bank’ in all but name, have an Android application that I use regularly. Almost all of my income flows through PayPal and much of the stuff I buy is bought online using it. Over the few weeks I’ve been using the application I’ve found it to be a great addition to my online account with PayPal. Much like mobile banking I can check where I stand financially in an instant and can transfer my income to my bank account the minute it’s received instead of forgetting like I used to and wonder why it’s taking so long!

It’s far from being the perfect application however; and if any PayPal developers are reading this, I’ve a few suggestions.

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You know the old adage, “Time is Money”? These words couldn’t be more true for us freelancers who get paid based on the amount of time we spend on a project. Good time tracking and invoicing software is important; it needs to allow for client and project management and invoice generation, and it needs to be mobile. The Time Tracker for Harvest Android app aims to be your best friend when it comes to time tracking by doing just that.

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