CycleProGo – An App Review

CycleProGo

3.5 of 5 Stars

CycleProGo is the new online and app based charting program from Couple to Couple League International (CCLI.) This is an updated version of the charting software called CyclePro, and it offers some new features and of course the ability to use it online and via a mobile device. This application is based on the Sympto-thermal rules developed and taught by the Couple to Couple League.

I will say right up front that I do work for (Volunteer) CCLI as part of a teaching couple, so as a teaching couple the app costs me nothing other than my time as a volunteer teacher. However, I do hope to offer an honest and fair review of this application.

Warning!

I can’t say this strongly enough. I don’t care what method you use, or what application you like, If you are going to use NFP in any form be that a app like this one, or just basic Charting, please, please, please take a course or at least get the books from a course.

If Money is the problem (because some of the courses are expensive) there are free courses out there, and they are pretty darn good.

Reach out to a teaching couple or provider in your area they might be able to help you find resources that will help you.

It is worth your time to take a course. If you don’t NFP probably won’t work for you as well as you had hoped.

As I noted the app costs me nothing. And you can download it from the Itunes store, or Amazon for your Android Device for free. While It is free to download and get a look at, you can’t actually do anything without paying for it. The price is pretty high at $5 a month or $12 a year. I will refer you to their site as to what you can do with the paid verses the free version I think the app would be much more accessible if the price were not to steep.

One of the best things about this app is the ability to share with other devices. My wife uses a kindle, I have an iPod touch, and we both are in front of a computer quite a bit. For me having the most accurate and up to date information is the key to his application working at all. And I really like being able to check or enter the temperature or whatever else from where ever I am at the moment.

Once inside the app it does offer you a lot of very nice features. If you are a CCLI member or have ever taken one of these courses much of the charts that you are used to seeing will be presented right up front for you. Entering your data is very easy and straight forward.

I have an ipod touch Gen 3 and I do seem to sit at this opening screen for a long time. I Don’t know if it is trying to sync or just that my device is a little old and slow.
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I do like that the first screen after the loading screen gives you a daily tip, shows off new features and just give yous general information about the application. Most of of this information is available in the help screen, but who ever reads those right? It also gives you a place to give feed back about the application.
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Once in the app itself, you are presented with the current month, that gives you a quick view of where you are in the cycle with color coding at the bottom to tell you what phase you are in. Click on or touching any of the days including the current one will allow you to enter or update your information for that day.
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Choosing the Charts button at the bottom of the screen brings up a menu that allows you choose your current chart to add information to, choose another chart to review, change your phase date based on the rules you want to follow, or look at a general overview of your cycle history.

I have to say that the ability to change your phase based on other rules is probably one of the best features of this app over other ones that I have used, especially since CCLI does teach multiple rules that you can use based on your needs.
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The charts screen presents you with what you are probably used to if you have every used the sympto-thermal method. (I have cleared all the data out of this chart since the only way to get a screen shot was to show you our chart, and yeah not so much.)

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Clicking on the connect option at the bottom of the screen probably one of the biggest disappointments with CycleProGo in general. First in the mobile app, the connect button brings you to the screen below, which is not all that helpful.

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Updated As is the nature of software, there has been an update and they have made a change to one of the biggest problems I had with this app. As noted in the comments, there is now an option to share your charts with anyone via a URL that you can send to people. This is a huge improvement as far as I am concerned.

    Attach Chart

  • choose the chart you want
  • scroll until you can see the bottom of the chart
  • click on “Attach Chart to Public Message Board Post”
  • In the middle of the next screen there is a button that says “Create a Public URL.”

This will generate a url you can send our chart to someone.

If you use the web based version if does allow you to set and use some sharing options. Here is were this falls down. It does not allow you to share with any one outside of CCLI members or teachers. You might be asking yourself why you would want to share this with anyone else. (I am sure there is a joke in there somewhere about sharing too much with a bunch of teaching couples, but we will leave that your imagination)

However, let’s say you wanted to share your chart with your doctor, and they were not ccli members? There is a lot of information on this chart that a doctor can use to help you diagnose problems or even just help you determine a due date. In its current form there is no way to share that information with any one outside of CCLI beyond getting screen shots and e-mailing them. Just an example of this, our primary care physician is a Creighton method trained physician, she was interested in looking at my wife’s charts, and we were unable to send our charts to her, or allow her access to our charts so she could monitor the information through out the month without her becoming a member.

sharing

The settings screens and the sync screen don’t have a lot to offer beyond what a standard app would have. The Settings screen allows you to do things like change your password change from Fahrenheit to Celsius and how often to polls data from other sources.

The settings screen also allows to add “events” to the list of things that you can note quickly on your charts. These are broken down into categories that include emotional, Physical, Medical, Pregnancy and custom. If you have ever tried to type a note about anything with a mobile device you know that having drop down lists of things that you use frequently is a good thing. Also being able to control the things on that list is good thing so that you are not scrolling forever.

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The Sync button does just that, it forces a sync with all other devices that you might be using.

As I said at the beginning I give this App a 3.5 out of 5. I think that it has come a long way since the old cyclepro version, and it does have some pretty nice features. But I think there are some definite drawbacks, like not being able to share with people outside of CCLI. There are also seem to be some issues with the web based version and changing the rules you want to use. You are able to select some of the rules sets in the mobile version that although they are options in the web version they are not select-able.

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Why I am an NFP teacher

Once again, the original intent of a post that has been sitting in my Drafts queue too long has been lost. Never mind that, I have another idea.

A couple of weekends ago my lovely wife and I gave a talk about NFP to a group of Pre-Cana couples. This is something new that we have started doing, and, I at least, really like it.

For those who don’t know NFP stands for Natural Family Planning.

We have been NFP teachers for about 12 years now. We are volunteers, and the organization that we work with is the Couple to Couple League International.

We call ourselves the NFP dropouts but that really isn’t true. The name stems from two things.

  1. First for most of our marriage we have not actually used most of the charting and other techniques for child spacing, or for getting pregnant, we have been very blessed and things have just worked out for us in that department. So far we have not had the desire or the need to do so. Though on some level we do use it, just most for our information.
  2. We actually only attended the first class, and then took the home study course after that. It is and was a great course, but finding a teaching couple that you can relate to is very important. Our Teaching couple was a bit like talking to our grandparents, which made it a little uncomfortable. When you are going into something that you are not sure about, that is as personal as this, being comfortable with it is very important.

We don’t teach a lot of classes. But the ones that we do teach have been for the most part really successful. I enjoy teaching the classes, and in the past few years the teaching materials have really improved, making teaching it that much better.

I do enjoy teaching these classes, but I think I enjoy getting the chance to talk to people more free form about NFP like we will do this weekend with the pre-Cana class.

This is going to sound kind of odd but even though the Pre-Cana classes are bigger than our normal NFP class the format for the talk is more intimate.  My wife and I get to intersperse our our experiences in ask part of what we are telling them.

My favorite part of this is what I call the “Guys talk.”  The class that we teach is really about learning the method, and while I do spend some time talking about how as a husband you need to support your wife and be a part of this, It is in very small chunks and I don’t really get into the meat and potatoes of it.  And that is really what guys are about, meat and potatoes, we have to hear the what and the why.

This is something that my wife and feel very strongly about. And something we would like to share with more people. For a long time I have felt called to do more of, but I was not sure how. In an effort to get the word out to more people we have decided to send a letter all the priests and deacons the the two surrounding diocese, introducing ourselves and letting them know what we can do. So below is the letter. Let me know what you think.

To: The Priests and Deacons of the Buffalo and Rochester Diocese,

My name is Jeff Hite and I represent the Couple to Couple League International chapter that cover these two diocese. I am writing to you today to help you get a better understanding of what we teach and how we might be able to help you face this often difficult and touchy subject.

Who we are:

My wife and I have been teaching with the Couple to Couple League for just about 12 years. We were actually taught Natural Family Planning by one of the the original couples to join Couple to Couple League back in the 1950’s. We live right on the boarder between the two diocese. There is one other active teaching couple in the area who live near the east side of Rochester and one couple in training who live in the middle of the Buffalo Diocese. With a number of non teaching couples spread around. As you can see we are a smallish group but we are spread out enough to serve the entire area.

What we teach:

If you are not familiar with the Couple to Couple League International and the method of NFP that they teach I would like to take a moment to give you a quick explanation. There are two parts of what we teach first, what we teach is the actual method. The method we teach is called the Sympto Thermal Method. This is not the rhythm method or the calendar method, but a scientifically based method for determining when a woman is fertile and when she is not. The method also stresses that this is totally natural, and that there is no risk to either member of the couple. Though we spend the majority of our time in class focusing on the method itself there is something else.

The second, and I think just as important thing we teach is that this method is about the whole person. This is not a biology lesson, though that is part of what we teach. We rely heavily on the Humanae Vitae and the teachings of Pope John Paul II. Through this we look at the whole person and explain the important role of the couple in making this successful. We cover how the husband and wife’s active participation can not only help to make this a success but can also help to strengthen their marriage. Respect for the entire person is probably the most important thing we stress.

Why now:

There are a number of reasons that we are approaching you now. As I said my wife and I have been teaching for about 12 years, our class sizes are almost always small, which works out well for us, but they are also few and far between, which is not so good. In the past several years we have noticed that our classes are filled more and more by Protestants that really want a method that works naturally and will help them build their marriage. We welcome the chance to teach our protestant brothers and sisters, and hope that we can continue to teach them this wonderful method, and open their eyes to the Catholic Church in the process. What is disturbing is that while we are getting more and more Protestants we are getting fewer and fewer Catholics.
In this day and age, with divorce rates climbing and marriage itself under attack, stressing the Church’s teachings on the whole person seems only appropriate. Also with the number of couples seeking out fertility treatments, learning how to read the bodies language of fertility is a highly sought after skill.

How we can help:

We understand that this can be a difficult subject to talk about. It can be hard for a priest, with all that entails, to approach an entire congregation and say, “You can’t use contraception.” I know the looks I get when I start talking about this because I am a “guy” and I am a married man with kids to boot, so I do understand. So what can we offer to help you:

  • First, we offer the classes.
  • The classes are taught in three session over the course of three months.
  • Each session lasts about 2 hours.
  • We can teach to both married and engaged couples.
  • We teach them on demand when we get interested couples.
  • The classes are about $120 that covers the books and materials.
  • Let me take a moment to say that CCLI is a non profit. All of the teaching couples are volunteers and all of the money from the classes goes into making the program better.
  • It this chapter’s policy to never turn a couple away. Scholarships are available, but I personally would rather pay for it out of my own pocket than to turn a couple away.
  • We can speak as part of your Pre-cana programs.
  • We can speak during Mass, after communion and before the final blessing is a great time.
  • We can speak at pretty much any occasion where you have a group of husbands and wives or future husbands and wives.
  • I won’t speak for the rest of the husbands but I will also gladly to talk to groups of husbands or future husbands in situations where it would be better to have a guy talking. (Things like a men’s prayer meeting or a men’s retreat.)

Our talks can range from: A brief overview of what NFP is about to a personal statement about why we use NFP and anything in the middle.

As you can see we can help in many ways. We invite you, to contact us for more information, or discuss other ways that we can be of service to you. Please feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail.

Our Phone number is: ###-###-####
Our email address is: *****.*****@*****.***

Thank you and God Bless,
Jeffrey Hite

It is Wednesday and I haven’t posted anything yet

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, that I am spread a little thin.  What might surprise some of you is that I stress about things like that a lot.  A lot of stress is coming from my day job.  There is nothing I can do to control that but I am working on managing my stress level.  But enough about how stressed I am

Let’s talk about the rest of what is going on.

Last week I got it in my head that I really needed to start writing on a regular basis again.  My writing blog World Builders Unlimited, which I was posting to at least two or three times a week had gone silent about a month ago.  On top of that my goal of getting several new stories published was not happening.  So I have set a new goal for myself.  It is a weekly goal, so the deadlines will be tight, but that has worked pretty well for me in the past.  I won’t go into all the details about here, but if you want to know more about it, check out my post from Monday, and the original announcement that includes the goal.

This last weekend my wife and I talked to a group of soon to be husbands and wives as part of a Pre-Cana program, about Natural Family Planning.  Now that I have gotten over the awkwardness that is talking about people’s sex lives with a group of strangers I really like giving talks like this.  As much as I enjoy teaching the NFP classes I think I like talking about it in rather free form  manner better.  I get a chance to tell people why it is so very important to me, while still giving them some real information about it.  The whole process can be very rewarding.

On a similar note, our local chapter of NFP teachers and promoters has been looking into ways to extend our reach, and gain some more interest in the program.  As I said, this is something that is really important to us and we really feel like it is important to let people, especially young people, know that there are alternatives out there.  So in order to do that, we have been trying to do an outreach to priests.  Yesterday during lunch I drafted a letter addressed to all the priests and deacons in the Rochester and Buffalo Diocese and sent it out to get some feedback.  The feed back has been very positive, with some very helpful suggestions that my wife and I working on  integrating into the letter.

I have also been working on writing some fiction.  I have a story started with a working title of “Isabella,” that is based on the prompt from Monday.  I have about 3000 words written so far.  It is very much in a first draft state and I don’t have an ending yet, but I should at least have something to post on Friday. So wish me luck on that one.   I working am another story that is tied to the same universe as Cargo with a working title of “The Lump that Ate Long Island.”  I think I have finally overcome a logistical problem that I have been struggling for the last few weeks so I have given myself the green light to move forward with the idea.  I hope that it will start to answer some of the questions that I have gotten from readers about Cargo.  That is a universe that I have a lot of material in, but that needs a good deal of editing to get into it a publishable state.

And yes I have yet another project in the works.    This one is a story that I am writing for and about my kids.  Working title, “Family Ties.” The idea with this story is to finish it up, get a very limited print run created have something to give to the kids for Christmas.  It is a much larger project than I typically work on, and so far I have about 10,000 words written.  I suspect that it will be about 45K when it is done but I really have no clue.  I have been toying with the idea making some small changes (like changing the kids names) and then also releasing the story into the wild. It is a fantasy story that I think would work well for teens and young adults.  I read the first chapter to the kids the other night, and they really seemed to like it. Then again since it featured all of them they might be a little bias.  I have been working on this project since before Christmas last year, but I think I can get it done by summers end.

So one final rather sad note.  This week, I announced to the rest of the team at Flying Island Press that I was going to going to officially put Pirate’s Cove on a more official hiatus for the foreseeable future.  I dearly love the working we were doing there, but as I said at the beginning of this post, I am spread very thin.   There is just not enough of me to give that project the attention that it rightly deserves.  There will be a post on the Pirate’s Cove site and the Flying Island Press home page some time this week about the change.  There is hope that once Flying Island Press becomes more successful that there will be time to return to “The Cove” and continue the work there.  Thank you to everyone who has participated in the work there.