Friday, September 30, 2011

Apps on the home screen of my iPhone

(This post was inspired by KJ)

Here it is.  My home screen.  I know I need to update my apps (but I have 70 of them so give me a break).  And I need to clear those 47 spam messages out of my inbox.  Beside this, my home screen is flawless.

1.  Yelp
Yelp helps you find good restaurants.  It can pinpoint your current location, then list for you all the restaurants near you in order of cuisine, rating, cost, whatever.   You can read reviews of the restaurants from other Yelp users, see their hours and call an order in right from the free Yelp app.  As an alternate it can show you a map with all the restaurants on it like this:

Trust me: It's cool. And you can use it for shopping, too.

2.  Facebook
What does this free app do? I have no idea since they keep changing it.

3.  Flickr
Anne-Marie uses free app this for our very extensive Flickr account.  If you have a Flickr account, you can browse through photos or upload more.  It's pretty helpful since I use the iPhone's camera and photo editing tools all the time, but I'll talk about that in a second.

4.  Rhapsody
I moved iTunes off my home screen because of this app.  For a small monthly fee (5 or 10 bucks, depending), Rhapsody allows you to stream music from their catalog of 11 million songs.  (That's just about anything you can think of.)  You can make playlists, browse through newly released albums or listen to custom commercial-free radio stations, similar to Pandora.  As a bonus, you can also download any of the tracks in their catalog if you're taking a cross-country flight or going to a place with bad reception for a while.  Is the app buggy?  Sometimes.  But I haven't come across anything better yet.

5.  Twitter
In case you don't know: Twitter is a free microblogging service.  It lets you post stuff to your personal Twitter page that is 140 characters or less.   Think of it as sending a text message to the entire world.  For an example, see the right sidebar of this blog.  That's my Twitter.

There must be a hundred 3rd-party apps that you can use on your iPhone to post to Twitter.  I'm the only guy I know that actually uses the regular, official Twitter app (though I do use Echofon for certain tweets).  It's only 140 characters.  How fancy do you need to get?

6.  App Store
I already told you about the App Store.  Even though this was already pre-loaded on my phone when I got it, its usefulness kept it right where it was.  (By the way, I know it's called App "Store", but as I said earlier, thousands of the apps are free.)

7.  Settings
I adjust my screen brightness and notifications a LOT, so I keep this right in front.

8.  TuneIn Radio
This is the app that supplanted Pandora (and I like Pandora).  TuneIn ($1) lets you stream 50,000 radio stations from across the world.  These are not web stations.  They're real, terrestrial radio stations.  So if you, like me, have a station back in your old hometown that you miss, look it up on TuneIn and press play.  That simple.  They don't have every station, but probably 80% of them.  Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I kinda just like listening to the regular old radio sometimes, commercials and all.  Having this app that allows me to search by music genre, talk format or by location fits me like my favorite cardigan sweater and pair of penny loafers.

9.  The Weather Channel
The iPhone has a pre-loaded weather app, but it's not as good as the official The Weather Channel app (free), which will find your current location, show you hour-by-hour weather, give you severe weather warnings and a 10-day forecast.

10.  Camera+
This might be my favorite app.  With Camera+ you can make the photos you take with your iPhone:
And make them into this:

The editing tools include all kinds of crazy color filters, cropping, aging effects and custom "lenses".  The tools are very easy to use and it only costs a dollar.  Love it.

11.  Camera
This is the regular old camera that is standard on the iPhone.  It's a little faster than using Camera+.

12a.  YouVersion: the Bible App (in the "Bible" folder)
OK. This is actually my favorite app.  If you are a Bible reader (and you should be), this app has everything.  What started out as a very simple, but popular, Bible reading app a couple of years ago is now a fully-featured Bible study system.  Now it features almost 30 translations, the ability to download many of them for offline use and audio versions as well, which I use all the time.  YouVersion also has a note-taking tool and reading plans. Plus, it's free.  No commentaries, though.  That's why I have...

12b.  PocketSword (in the "Bible" folder)
This is the truly beefy Bible app.  I really wanted a free study app that would compare to e-sword (my favorite study app from my days as a PC user).  This is the closest I've found.  With PocketSword you can read commentaries and dictionaries along with a lot of Bible versions.  My favorite part is the Strong's edition of the King James Version.  (I know I just lost a lot of you with my geekness.)  The Strong's number is shown after each word in the Bible text.  If you click on the Strong's number a little window rises up from the bottom of the screen and shows you the word in the original Hebrew or Greek. Sweetness!

13.  Evernote
Evernote is a free app that lets you write text notes and save them to a central server located somewhere in Old Hebrides.  You can then access your note from not only your phone, but from the PC or Mac version of Evernote on your home computer, making your precious notes ever-present.  It also will store photos and audio memos for you.

14.  CraigsPro+
This app lets you search through Craigslist in amazing ways.  Photo previews, listings divided by neighborhood and ability to save searches along with direct e-mail and direct phone links make this better than craigslist on your home computer.  Also for a little more money, they'll send you a notification every time something that matches your searches is posted on Craigslist (great for job hunters like me).  My version cost $1.  I think there's a more basic free version as well.

15.  MusicTutor
I am probably the only guy who has this app on his home screen.  This $2 app is pretty new to the app store and is a perfect fit for me (and maybe only me).  This app quizzes you on your music theory skills.  Mine are next to none, so--as a wannabe guitar player--I'm using this to learn.  The quizzes include: see the note and press the corresponding key/fret, see the note and press the corresponding letter, see the key signature and press the corresponding letter, etc.  The pic may explain it better:

16.  Blogger
This free app lets me publish to this blog straight from my phone.  It took Blogger four years to make an app for the iPhone, but it's very welcome indeed.

This post is already way too long, so I'll do an honorable mention/games post later.

See some examples of very intelligent people's home screens on First & 20.

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