Thursday, June 16, 2011

App suggestions

No, not applications in the usual academic sense: apps.  Yes, I have succumbed to overwhelming temptation, and bought an iPhone today.  It is black and shiny and beautiful.

Er, I mean, it will surely aid me in my scholarly pursuits!  Yeah, that's the ticket.

Anyway, as I learn the ropes of this tiny ship, I'm interested to hear from colleagues who have (and like) iPhones.  What apps do you find useful for your research?  Your teaching?  Your totally unprofessional screwing around?



    Work: Pretty much I just use mine to write and read on the go, and check my email. My roommate swears by Evernote on his iPad; I have it on my iTouch, but haven't used it yet. It's a productivity/note-taking/etc app. The Kindle app is good if you want to buy stuff off Amazon, but I use iBooks for reading PDFs and things like that; it's good, though small. You can also email yourself PDFs and read them directly from the mail program. I write in "Notes," and then email myself the results. Warning: attempting to write whole chapters on the thing will result in a nasty case of what my chiropractor called "Blackberry Thumb."

    I really need to write that post on how my iPod was crucial to my data-gathering process. Summary version: nobody notices a twenty-something typing with their thumbs => least intrusive note taking evar.

    Fun: Epicurious has a good recipe app, if you cook. Er, and the Facebook and Twitter apps get a good workout on my iPod. I am a solitaire addict, and I like CardShark a lot.

  2. Goodreads and the piano keyboard (don't know the iPhone name, as we just had a Droid but I bet yours is even better).


  3. Those are two diff. apps, by the way. Though I think Goodreads would be even more fun with a piano keyboard option. Goes without saying, probably.

  4. I play scrabble on mine. Iphone comes with google maps, so you don't need it, but it has been a godsend while I drive around and get lost everywhere!

    I really don't like using the iphone for reading or watching vids since the screen is so small, but to each their own.

  5. @Ajnabieh: It's so funny that you say that about the unobtrusive note-taking! Another colleague of mine said almost exactly the same thing, which I chuckled at in my supercilious, I-use-a-little-black-notebook-with-paper-in-it kind of way. Perhaps she had a better point than I was willing to cede at the time. This colleague also reads this blog, so I'm waiting patiently for her to chime in with app recommendations and perhaps an I TOLD YOU SO.

    I can't imagine reading PDFs and so forth on an iPhone, like Sisyphus says: it's just too tiny. I'm thinking seriously of getting an iPad, though – no, I have no shame, and why do you ask? – and that would of course be much better for such tasks.

    @Ink: what does Goodreads do? I signed up for it through FB ages ago, and all it seems to do is send me emails now and again about books I should read. Like I don't have enough reader's guilt about my backlog!

  6. Ohhhhh dude...I'm one of those people who can't imagine how I did things pre-iPhone. Sigh. I love it, and it's actually been quite useful for me. Here they are, in no particular order, but separated by general category (so that you know what's relevant to you).

    Onavo (helps to compress your data, thereby using less)
    Dragon Dictation
    Dropbox (if you don't already use Dropbox, start now)
    Talkatone (if you use Google Voice...if you don't, you should)

    Netflix (if you have an account)
    Moxie (amazing word game...addictive)
    This American Life (a paid app, but well worth it)
    Fandango (helps you guy movie tix)

    Weather Channel


    How to Cook Everything (paid, but worth every penny)


    Hope this is helpful. Congrats on your shiny new toy!

  7. Dr. K, that sounds annoying. First thing I'd do is turn the Facebook app off, unless you like it. Then go to the Goodreads site and set up a nonFB account. You can control which emails will or will not be sent to you there. I use it to keep track of books I'm reading and want to read. Especially useful at library, when you can whip out your phone, pull up your to-read list, and go check things out. (Because I was forever making lists and then forgetting to bring them with me to the library.) Also, you can see what other people are reading and stay up to date on news and enter contests to get advance-review copies and, well, other cool stuff.

  8. I will second Dropbox. I keep all my school documents in it, so I always have access to them. Student lost a syllabus? I can email it to him/her through Dropbox on my phone immediately. Lost the assignment sheet? Ditto. It's really helpful. Plus, you can have your schedules in there and be able to stay on top of all your classes without having to upload bunch of calendars, etc.

    One app that I really want but haven't gotten yet is the Oxford English Dictionary app. Two reasons I haven't bought it -- my phone (an old 3Gs) is so packed with pics of my kids that I don't have space for more apps, and 2. it's, like, 60 bucks or so. Compared to buying it in full volumes (1000 dollars) or the subscription online (250, I think???), it's a bargain. But I am going to get a new phone in the fall, so I figured I'd wait until then.

  9. I have an old phone that only makes phone calls. But these are the ones I would have if I ever had a smartphone.

    Leafsnap: identifying trees w/ photos of their leaves.

    The one that shows you what constellations you're looking at if you hold it up to the night sky.

    And the National Weather Service app.

  10. I hear there's a lightsaber one too. I'd probably have to get that one.