App helps people manage phone habits

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.

Huffington has paired with Samsung on a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation hooked on smartphones to occasionally detox.

If smartphones are the new cigarettes, Thrive is a new kind of nicotine patch. The app won’t cure everything that is screwed up about our relationship with phones — Thrive is an add-on to the software that runs the phone, and it only begins to address the social illness that compels us to be always connected. But it’s something you can actually do to break the spell of these glowing rectangles.

Samsung made the free app available this week for owners of its Note 8 phone. The world’s largest maker of smartphones is acknowledging that its products can be unhealthy. Launch it, and choose an amount of time you want to spend napping, going for a walk or focusing on work. While you are in Thrive Mode, the phone will suppress incoming calls, notifications and messages. You can list a few VIP folks who still get through or choose a so-called Super Thrive Mode to block everything.

With your permission, Thrive also collects data about how much time you spend using specific apps (which it doesn’t store or use for anything beyond the app functionality). It presents this feedback in a rather unsettling pie chart to help people set self-imposed limits (say, 15 minutes on Instagram) after which Thrive cuts you off.



New version offers bells and whistles

Unlike earlier versions, version 22 of WinZip adds bells and whistles that couldn’t be imagined in the first Windows version of the program.

For example, zipped files can be encrypted and protected with passwords. They also can easily be turned into pdfs. They can be shared via e-mail and social media.

While the basic version costs $30, a $50 version offers the ability to scan from the program and share photo files directly from the camera, among other features.

Through the decades, WinZip has grown flashier and more useful. If your files are straining your hard drive’s capacity, WinZip is an excellent way to free up more space.