Friday, January 15, 2010

Vendor-Specific Apps

So there are several apps on my "frequently used" list that are dedicated to particular vendors or brands.  On the list I published earlier, I included amazon, netflix, and comcast.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that Phone Flicks is a third-party app, but it only connects to my netflix account, so for my purposes it isn't much different than the other two.  Here's why I like each of these, and why I use them.

The amazon app is useful because amazon is my most likely source for purchases that I can't make locally.  It is very handy to have them "in my pocket", because I can purchase something on the spot.  In other words, I can go to Hastings Stationer, or Cowls Lumber, or Food for Thought books (my three favorite examples at the moment), and check for whatever widget or volume I need. If I can't get it from them, I pull out my iPhone, and purchase it that way.  It is still off my To Do list (see earlier post) at that moment, either way. 

Phone flicks is great because it allows me to put something on our cue (que?  How do they spell it?) right when someone mentions a film or show to me.  Of course, my tastes in such things are falling right off the radar of the rest of the world, so it may be of diminishing utility ;-) (child abduction? nope, can't watch those any more.  Infidelity? not interested.  Too much realistic blood?  Sick people? Death? Sounds like work, not entertainment.  Just plain jacks my blood pressure?  No time for that.  BBC farce? *perfect*).  I just installed the app for the IMDB (internet movie data base) so those two should work together well.  I haven't used it much, yet. 

The Comcast app is great because it makes our comcast voicemail into visual voicemail (text listing of what numbers the messages are from), from anywhere.  Nice!  I've gotten used to that on my iPhone, now I can have it for my home phone, too.  I use it for TV listings, occasionally, but not that often (see above).  And I don't use comcast email much, but if I did, it includes that, too. 

I downloaded the ebay app, but I just don't use ebay that much.  It is nice to be able to track the progress of auctions, so for those who use ebay a lot, it makes good sense. 

You may have favorite apps in this category, to go with favorite vendors.  Please post any suggestions (or warnings about badly designed apps) in the comments!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thanks, Jude!

She gave me the real, honest to goodness hard copy cut out of the magazine itself.  The highest form of decoration that a professor's door can attain!

Many thanks, Jude, it's awesome.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The first app I'm going to describe here is ToDo by Appigo.  It is the to-do list that Sam and I both use, along with my mother (better known to most of you by now as "Mana").  It is a bit expensive for an iphone app, but for something as important as your task list, it is well worth the investment.  Spend a bit of time learning about the different types of entries, as they will allow you to make sub-tasks and checklists to manage even the most complicated projects.  I use it for work, and Sam and I both use it for family tasks.   Last I checked, Mom was using it for her work, as well.

It has a very clean interface, and is quite simple to use. I find that the only time it doesn't work is when I neglect to use it :-). It is built to support the GTD method of task management, but the three of us just use it without such theoretical backup.

In addition to its usefulness as an app, it also will synch with several other services. I have hitched it to a free account on, which has also impressed me with its balance of features and ease of use.

Toodledo will accept new items directly into the website, via email (with a bit of judicious markup) or through an excellent Firefox plug in that pops up in many useful places as you browse.

On one occasion earlier this year, toodledo went down, briefly.  The site owners were appropriately apologetic, but I was fine because of the Todo version of my data that is stored on my phone and backed up on my computer.

My next step will probably be to get a paid account on toodledo, so it will support the same task-subtask structure that Todo supports.  I think it costs a whopping $15 per year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

iPhone Apps: A list I fleshed out for Bethany...

#iPhone Apps
- Evernote
- Pandora
- Google Earth
- Google mobile
- The weather channel
- Stanza
- Public Radio
- Facebook
- 3d Brain (by cold spring labs, just for sheer coolness)
- NY Times
- Layar (also pretty much for coolness' sake, an introduction to the world of augmented reality)
- LocalEats

##Specific Vendors whose apps I use
- amazon
- netflix (phone flix, I think it's actually third party)
- Comcast (if you use their digital voice phone service, you can check and delete voicemail in a "visual voicemail" format from anywhere)

- Spider; mystery of bryce mansion
- Doodle jump
- ToDo by appigo *really useful*
- Geocaching
- QuadCamera (go look at, most anything there in B&W is from this app)
- iBird plus


This doesn't touch the list of games that I have explored, many of them with Jonas.  Lately we've been playing Warship, which is a version of Battleship.  Games will require a whole separate list.