Cybertainment: Apps to help you curb smoking, drinking

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For people who are having trouble keeping those well-intentioned New Year's resolutions, there are plenty of apps designed to help them succeed by tracking progress and rewarding good behavior.

For example, people who are trying to kick the smoking habit can try Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation from the smoke-free advocacy group Cessation Nation.

This free Android app counts the days since the smoker quit, calculating progress in terms of reducing shortness of breath and congestion and reducing the risk of lung cancer and stroke. It calculates how much money has been saved by not buying cigarettes.

Butt Out for iPhone (99 cents) tracks health benefits and spending, and it connects the user with a social support network of others who are trying to quit.

DrinkControl (iOS and Android) tracks alcohol consumption and compares it to moderate usage guidelines. It sends out over-the-limit alerts and tracks how much the user is spending.

A new online video book discussion forum called "Answerly Book Club" premiered this week on My Damn Channel and YouTube.

The book club is a revamping of My Damn Channel's "Answerly" Web series, giving it a strictly literary focus.

Hayley Hoover, Joseph Birdsong and Kristina Horner will each host a weekly episode: Ms. Hoover will focus on books by women, Mr. Birdsong on humor and Ms. Horner on books for young adults.

They'll start with Sheryl Sanberg's "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead," David Sedaris' "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls" and Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor and Park."

New episodes will post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on My Damn Channel and Answerly's YouTube channel.

Viewers can be part of the discussion through twitter.com/answerlybooks and answerlybooks.tumblr.com.

MyDamnChannel.com/Answerly

YouTube.com/Answerly

The NPR News app will be a new feature in select GM cars soon as part of the in-car Chevrolet App Shop.

Chevrolet announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that the app will be available this summer in select Chevrolet models equipped with MyLink technology. An international version will be available for the Opel Insignia in Europe.

The U.S. version will automatically select the local NPR station, and the listener can add other NPR stations around the country to the mix. It will include 25 to 30 on-demand programs, including "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered" and "Fresh Air," automated news and information playlists organized by topic and more than 80 music streams, including indie and alt rock, hip-hop, classical and jazz.

The NPR News app is also compatible with the Ford Sync AppLink system.


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