Wednesday, January 8, 2014

React Mobile

I am being compensated by React Mobile to provide my honest review.  All opinions and jokes are my own.

Marathon training is not comfortable.  Training for the Boston Marathon in Chicago while juggling a full time job, a blog, and some semblance of a social life can be downright painful.

Don't get me wrong; I love running.  But mix in a little workweek fatigue and sub-zero wind chill, and “love” becomes a lot more like “barely tolerate.”

And then there's that small detail that I am a twenty three year old girl who primarily trains alone in the city so lovingly referred to as the "Murder Capital of the US".  This may be shocking to some of you in view of my intimidating guns, but this makes me a prime target for creeps looking for an early morning runner with lima bean sized biceps.

I'm doing what I can though: Derrick bought me a face mask for the brutal lake winds and I've started doing dumbbell curls.  I'm still looking for a 250 lb linebacker to hire as a personal body guard but until then, I’m not ignoring safety completely.

Specifically, I've downloaded some safety gear to my iPhone in the form of React Mobile, a free (and frankly ingenious) app for iPhone and Android.

React Mobile basically turns your phone into an instant SOS device.  It doesn't materialize the Ravens' offensive line if you're in trouble but, based on Baltimore’s dismal season, it might do something even more useful.

The first screen when opening the app is a huge shield that, when clicked, sends out an emergency text and email with GPS location to your designated emergency contact(s).  It also gives you the option to call 911.

Imagine how shocked Derrick (my emergency contact) was when he received a panic text one afternoon while I tested this puppy out.  Within seconds, he texted me back asking what sort of trouble I was in at 3 in the afternoon.

There's also an option called "Follow Me.”  The option allows someone to keep track of you in real time via GPS.  I can see this being especially helpful when I’m running after work or riding the bus home late at night.

(Or when I want Derrick to track me on his phone as I run through our apartment building.)

Even though React Mobile is ideal for solo runners like me, I can imagine many other people to whom it would be helpful as well: late night commuters, people who frequently meet new clients, moms panicking that their sixteen year olds are driving alone, and people trying to cheat at Hide-and-Seek, just to name a few.

The app’s only disadvantage is that you access it just like any other app, i.e. you have to be able to take out your phone, unlock the home screen (if applicable), and wait for the app to load.  Unless you're being abducted by a particularly patient kidnapper, this might be a problem.

Of course, if you think that you may be in a situation that could turn dangerous, you can overcome this by using the Follow Me option.

Now, I don’t want to go around tooting horns that don’t deserve a tooting but I do think that this app has potential to be legitimately useful.  Since moving to Chicago, I’ve found myself wishing unfortunately often that I had Ray Lewis or my mom keeping an eye out in case I get snatched.

My mom and Ray still aren’t here but now that I have this nifty app, it’s sort of like they are.

If me holding a miniature football legend in my hand didn't entirely convince you, check out this overview video.  You can also download the app here (also available via Google Play on select smartphones), and you can learn how to use it here.

If anyone downloads the React Mobile app, I'd love to hear your thoughts!  I can even compensate your time and opinion with your very own picture with a miniature man (or woman or pet...) of your choice in your hand.

Happy Hump Day!  Stay safe out there.

Want more tea? Have a second cup!
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