My favourite Apps

If you don’t have an Iphone and don’t have any plans to buy one, you’ll loathe this post. So I suggest you don’t read it. If you still read it, you know, just to allow yourself to get annoyed, then consider this:

“Yes it was a shocking thing to say, and I knew it was a shocking thing to say.
But no one has the right to live without being shocked.
No one has the right to spend their lives without being offended.
Nobody has to read this book.
Nobody has to pick it up.
Nobody has to open it.

And if they open it and read it, they don’t have to like it.
And if you read it and dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it.
You can write to me.
You can complain about it.
You can write to the publishers, to the papers,
You can write your own book.
You can do all those things.

But there your rights stop.
No one has the right to stop me writing this book.
No one has the right to stop it being published, sold, or bought, or read.
And that’s all I have to say on that subject.”

This quote is by the brave and wonderful Philip Pullman, in reply to a person who chastised him for criticising the Christian faith in his new book. It’s about much more important things than whether you can be worked up about other people loving their Iphones, but it really does apply everywhere. Thank you to Richard Whitelock for opening up his new blog with this lovely quote. It was brought to my attention by @rhodri, who never replies to tweets, but who often tweets good stuff.

The Iphone apps are what makes your phone truly yours. Look at a person’s apps and you’ll know a lot about them. Thanks to Twitter I only rarely “hunt” for apps, they sort of present themselves when people tweet ecstatically about them. My other sources are the tech blogs and Wired Magazine. And people, of course. When you get together with other Iphone-lovers, they’ll tell you if they’ve found a new app that they love.

I have two Twitter apps, Tweetdeck and Tweetie (they can do slightly different things) and the Facebook and LinkedIn apps. I think I tweet as much from my phone as I do from my computer. Typically because tweeting is something you sneak in between other things you do and when I’m at the computer I’m usually supposed to be working… Facebook and LinkedIn mostly on the computer I think, but wouldn’t be without either on the phone.

I have a shopping list app which I’ve taken to more than I thought I would. I never write a pen-and-paper shopping list anymore. I’ve had to personalise it a lot to accommodate for this family’s apparently special shopping needs and deleted lots of items that I never ever buy, but now it works just great. Great advantage is that I always have it with me, both when I remember something that I want to add to it and when I go shopping. A similar type of app is a to-do-list app, which I’ve only just got. Usually, I find that to-do-list “systems” never work for me, but this one could. It’s still “on trial”. Many good features.

An app that has really and truly improved my life is the sleepcycle app. I first heard of this technology years ago and have coveted it ever since. Your sleep is monitored (originally by a bracelet) and, having set a time where you have to be up, it will wake you at the best possible time before that, which is when your sleep is lightest. It is brilliant! Has also shown me how my sleep pattern changes drastically from day to day and goes a long way in explaining why I sometimes feel dazed even if I have slept 7+ hours and at other times totally perky after <6 hours.

The Iphone also functions as a portable reference library, which is incredibly practical when you have a memory like a sieve and a child that asks at least 25 questions a day, some of which rather tricky. I have the lovely Wikipedia and Wikitap apps (for discussion of the use of Wikipedia, look here), Dictionary, Ordbogen (Danish – English), RedDelicious (all my bookmarks readily available), Iformulas and Reader (all my RSS feeds imported from Netvibes).

As most people I also have a number of news apps from my favourite news sources and also some aggregated news. Almost every paper and online news source have their own app, so it can be tailored very specifically to your needs and wants.

Then there are a number of practical apps that you can’t really claim to “need”, but which are all very handy. I have the Flickr app so I can upload pictures from my phone directly to Flickr with comments, tags and everything. I use that a lot. I’m very pleased with the Flixster app, which shows me what’s on in my local cinemas and with the Urbanspoon app, which guides me to restaurants in London while I’m there. I’ve used that more than once and been very pleased with it. Also I have a few recipe generators for when I’m completely out of ideas. Some funny dishes have come to the table thanks to YumYum, BigOven, among others.

A handful of apps cater to my intellectual and artistic needs, among them Stanza, which lets me read classics for free as well as a number of high quality magazines. I re-read The Great Gatsby on a flight to Copenhagen not long ago, that was very pleasant! Another app in that vein is the new app from the National Gallery, called LoveArt. Take a look at it, it’s really fabulous!

To entertain my son when we’re in the car, on a train or he’s bored in a restaurant I have a whole page of games. Very handy indeed!

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  1. Just to say that I’d love an iPhone. I have to laugh – right now, on my kitchen table at home are my MacBook (I’m reading your blog and typing on) for websites and music, my Blackberry I’m keeping up with work exchanges from colleagues in Canada through email (still the workday for them), my iTouch for a work related ning network and LinkedIn I can’t open on my Blackberry due to work imposed restrictions plus access to my personal email accounts, facebook, twitter and so on, and of course my very dear much loved PINK & shiny Samsung phone for text messages and dare i say it, phonecalls. iPhone might relieve me of the need to carry all of these with me everywhere I go – although I have to admit I love the Blackberry for email and text typing, and I love my phone because it fits in my pocket and is PINK – sorry.

    Thank you for your blogs I really enjoy reading them.

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