Monday, June 10, 2013

Me So Appy, or Bored No More

A while back I gifted myself a smart phone. While I am still not very adept at typing with my thumbs, I have to admit that I like having this little device on my person. In fact, if I were adept at typing with my thumbs, I would not need a computer for much of anything.

Apps make the cell phone. It came with many, and many of those I do not use. There are several I like very much, though.

I am a regular patron of our local library system, and their mobile app (ACPL Mobile) is better than their regular web site. If I am out and about and see a book in a store, I can scan the ISBN number with my phone to see if it is available at the library and, if so, place a hold on it. Many titles are available in ebook format, and using the Overdrive app, I can not only search for them, but also download them to my phone. I wasn't sure if I would like reading a book on my phone, but I do.

If I don't have a library book on my phone, I can access some of the books and magazines on my Nook, using the Nook app. They have to be ones I get through Barnes & Noble, so library books I have downloaded to the Nook from the library are not accessible by my phone, but the magazines I subscribe to through B&N are.

If I get tired of reading, I can watch movies on Netflix (I have tested this out to make sure it works but have not actually tried to watch a feature-length film on that tiny screen) or listen to music I have downloaded or listen to Internet radio stations like NIPR and Folk Alley.

And if I don't want to read or watch a movie or listen to music, I can enjoy crossword puzzles, thanks to Shortyz. Unfortunately, my favorite NY Times puzzles are not available without a subscription, and I haven't quite figured out how to actually subscribe to the mobile puzzles yet. Or if I want to. Some things are better on paper with pencil.

Twitter and Facebook are two apps that I check frequently. On Twitter, I follow NPR, Modern Seinfeld, several local organizations and businesses, plus the few friends and family that tweet. With Facebook, I can indicate whose posts I want to be notified of, which is nice, but the app frequently lags behind the web site, which is annoying. I can take and post photos from the app, which is fun. Ditto Blogger, although (again) my thumbs are not up to an extensive post.

My employer is on a fitness kick (presumably to bring down health insurance costs) and has supplied us with Fitbit One devices. I was happy to discover that the Fitbit can sync up with My Fitness Pal app. The Fitbit records my activity and shares it with my My Fitness Pal account, and the calories I enter on my phone (which I can do by scanning bar codes!) get transferred to my Fitbit account. I haven't lost any weight yet, but I am more relaxed from using the Zazen Meditation app to set up timed yin yoga sessions.

When I was on my business trip last month, the Fly Delta app came in handy, notifying me of gate changes on the fly (heh). Weather Bug, the only app I have actually paid to upgrade, is also handy, as it changes locations when I do. I particularly like being able to see the weather map. For instance, today started out wet but I can see that the rain will be moving out of the area shortly. I have not had much luck with the map apps, as my service provider is T-Mobile and coverage can be sketchy when I am out and about.

Just because I am away from a computer doesn't mean I can't access my Gmail or Yahoo email accounts. My credit union also has an app, which I was reluctant to get but about the only thing it can be used for is checking balances and transferring funds within an account, so I caved.

The Calendar app I use may have come with the phone, but my SO and I are talking about setting up and sharing Google calendars, not so we can keep tabs on each other but because our short term memories are shot. Another memory assistant is Time Flies, where I record events like oil changes and dental cleanings and when I last washed the curtains in the guest bedroom, then later I can check to see just when I did what.

There are other apps on my phone that I have but don't use much, like i-nigma for scanning those funny blocks on ads or Boycott for seeing if my purchase is socially responsible. I make extensive use of the Note widget, because I am an inveterate maker of lists, although there is undoubtedly an imperfect app out there that will handle that... and MORE.

What's on your phone?

1 comment:

  1. I still have yet to get a smartphone because I spend so much time on the computer as it is. In fact, I just recently caved and got a cell phone period. Of course, now that I have one, I want a smartphone, though. The desire for new things never ends!