Not many people think about football when they think mobile and digital technology. However, according to the WSJ (subscription needed), both the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are using digital technology to improve their football operations. Primarily the teams are using them in the back office to gather deeper analytics and statistics and use those to analyze every aspect of their operations — even going so far as to look at fan tailgating habits. More importantly, the teams hope to harvest the data to help coaches perform analyses on plays, and to provide player data to the players themselves so they can conduct “deep reviews” of their on-the-field actions.

Additionally, as both teams prepare for Sunday’s Big Game, the HGH Ravens players have ditched their old, heavy playbooks for shiny iPads loaded with a custom app called GamePlan. This app lets the players study plays, drill down into play specifics, and even quickly look at “all third-down plays designed to gain more than 10 yards,” for example. The app is fun and easy to use, and coaches report that players are spending 50% more time studying the plays than they did with the giant playbooks of yester-year. No word if the 49ers are handing out iPads to their players yet, but being so close to the Valley, you’d think they’d have a tech-edge over Baltimore… doesn’t seem to be… yet. We’ll see how all this tech-bling plays out on Sunday!

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo about Vine — Twitter’s new “Instagram” for video app – since it was released last week (as a matter of fact, Apple removed it from the Editor’s Choice area on the App Store this morning). Most of the chatter is revolving around Vine’s purported porn problem. However, there’s a bigger transformation potential with Vine: how-to videos or “performance support” types of videos for teaching, showing and demonstrating how to do something hcg (clean, and not dirty, we hope). Simply browse the #howto hashtag to see a ton of demonstration vids. Just this morning, I’m browsing vids that show me how to “make steak tartare” or how to “solve the Rubik’s cube” in 6 seconds or less.

If Vine can overcome the typical human need to share ”what shouldn’t be shared” socially, it could be a powerful app for sharing knowledge (the non-porn type)… ;)

You may be asking what is Vine?

I’ve worked at home on and off for most of my career, though for the past five years, I’d been in an office. Now, I have a job enables me to work from home when I’m not on the road, and I am re-discovering some pitfalls. You know the big one: laziness.

I mean, really– how easy is it to not shower, not brush your teeth, and to eat cereal right out of the container when you literally won’t see anyone for hours?

Yeah, can’t do that. For one, I’m not productive. And for two, that reminds me a little too much of some of my darker days after I got laid off this past summer.

Being the gadget geek I am, I’ve turned to several apps to help me reinforce some good habits.

Moves: Moves is an app that tracks your movements and creates a “storyline” of where you’ve been.  It uses GPS and the gyrometer in your iPhone to track distance without having a second gadget. It tracks steps, running, cycling, walking– anywhere where you’re moving (but not cars; I guess they’ve programmed it to realize that humans can’t run 65 mph).  Today, I’ve really only walked around my apartment, but it also reminds me that movement is probably a good thing– and drives me to go out and walk in my urban neighborhood.

Lift:  Lift allows you to check into pre-created habits.  You can create habits like “Floss” or “Exercise”  or “Make the Bed” (a big one for me). You can search popular habits to see what other people are working on VolumePills (and to remind you what you might work on– “drink more water” was a good one for me) and are also organized by categories like productivity, mindfulness and fitness.  You can check on your friends’ activity, and support them with “props”.  It’s like crowdsourced responsibility.

GymPact: Put your money where your mouth is, or something like that.  GymPact makes you pay cold, hard cash every time you don’t go to the gym.  Make a pact with yourself (mine is currently 3x/week), check in when you go to the gym or go for a run, and earn money.  I found the checkins can be kind of buggy, but their customer service very quickly will credit you a gym visit that you missed because of their app.  Users get paid by those who don’t go to the gym. I’ve earned, like, $7 so far– which doesn’t cut into my personal training budget, but hey, it’s better than paying $25 for not going.  Ouch.  If you want to join, they have a “get $5 when you sign up” promotion.  Hey, I’ve never been paid to exercise, have you?

SparkPeople is something I’ve been using for years on and off– probably since 2006.  They are a local-to-me company that is the largest fitness site on the web, and happens to have a great app.  You can track calories, weight, measurements and exercise and it’s all free.  The reporting features is pretty good on the app and even better on the website.  Plus, if you have a Fitbit or other tracking device, you can sync it with SparkPeople’s tracking.

Many of us accept friend requests from people we don’t know on social networks for different reasons. We may want to grow our network, connect to influencers, or simply find new people to share with. However, you may want to be a bit more careful who you accept those friend requests from. Especially if you owe money.

It seems like those pesky debt collectors have turned to friending people on social networks to electronic cigarette demo publicly shame them into paying their bills. So if you get a friend request from a complete stranger that also happens to be a hottie in a bikini, be sure to second guess the request.

Federal regulators are weighing new restrictions on how debt collectors can use social networks as they work to impose federal oversight over the debt collection industry for the first time. Read more about this at Bloomberg.

A new feature popped up on my Facebook Messenger for iPhone app today. I can now call people, over either wifi or cellular, from the Messenger app.

According to The Verge, this feature started rolling out to US  that the feature began rolling out to US users today, and requires no update through the App Store.  All those rumors about Facebook developing a phone didn’t come true, but they did apparently add calling to their app.

To make the call, open your Messenger app on your iPhone. Select the person you wish to call and red dragon electronic cigarette then click the small “i” in the top-right of the screen. The resulting dialog gives you an option for a free call – but only if the person is listed as available and online. There is no voice mail in Facebook, you know.

Phone Free from Facebook

As The Verge points out, “It’s also a huge step for Facebook — which with a single feature emerges as one of the largest communities of VoIP users in the world.”

This option is so far only available in the US and to iPhone users, not Android, although that is hopefully coming soon.