iOS Apps

All posts tagged iOS Apps

Instead of your usual complain-o-train-o-thought, I thought I would take a minute to mention a few apps I use on my iOS devices routinely to get things done. Now, even if you aren’t a developer or a tech, some of these are great for everyone.

My first nod goes to Pastebot, which I probably mentioned before. It allows you to copy and paste between your iOS device and your Mac via WiFi. And interestingly enough, if you have 2 Pastebot iOS clients running, they can see each other if there is a Mac they are both linked to. If only they could see each other on there own, this would be even better for things like addresses your S.O. has to usually send via text message.

Evernote has been on the upswing in use lately as well: the ability to sync notes between all your devices and share them with others is great. I signed up for a paid account to allow others to actually edit my notes. It works pretty well, although I wish they would handle collisions more gracefully.

If you are on app.net, hAppy is my favorite client there. It’s patter room integration (think IRC styled chat) and clean look make it my first choice client.

In case you are the indecisive one, there is an app called Decide Now! that allows you to construct a wheel of fortune where you enter up to 20 items then spin the wheel to see what comes up. My girlfriend and I occasionally use it to pick a restaurant to go to: South Paw, Old Jerusalem, Zante Pizza, Mioshi, Alborz, Streat Food… what will it be tonight?

And for scheduling, I prefer Fantasical (on both iOS and the OS X). Sure the built in calendar works, but Fantasical uses natural language such as “Meet Lisa noon to 2 at Just For You.” Even better, if you have a date and time in your clipboard when you open Fantasical on iOS it will offer to create an event for it.

1Password for iOS is a must if you have 1Password on any other device, and you should be using a password manager in case you aren’t.

My Browser of choice on iOS is Mercury. Fast, elegant, easy tabbed interface. About the only thing I could ask for is 1Password integration & the ability to copy links to the clipboard (for Pastebot).

When I have to feed a meter, I use Parkbud to keep track of my time there. It takes second to set the meter using either a dial or a 10-key, and has a configurable reminder you set to 3 or 5 or {whatever} minutes (either globally or per session)  so you don’t get back to you car with a ticket. Also you can put a pin on the map where you parked and take a picture of the meter number in case you have to phone in additional minutes.

If you have a DynamicDNS account, FreeDNS makes it easy to update the service with wherever you are at. This is only important if you use domain names as part of your net security.

To look at the TV schedule I prefer TitanTV because you can set multiple locations and switch between them easily, without having to go through setup each time like TVBuddy makes you do. This is a simply feature TVBuddy refuses to add, and why I deleted them off my phone.

Like TV but don’t have time to catch your favorites? Hulu+ to the rescue (as long as the show isn’t on TBS, CBS or some other *BS station). It’s low monthly rate of $8 makes it a lot easier to stay current and find back episodes of shows rather than have to either wait 6 months for the season DVDs or search for bit torrents to download, and risk the dreaded “Copyright violation” warning letter from you ISP. (Comcast loves handing them out to cafés and other public WiFi establishments even if they are on business class, and the comcast boxes don’t allow café to control who downloads what from where.)

But when I am not blocking ports, one of my favorite things is listening to music, but where Pandora seems to sit in a rut (another 20 year old song) or go completely off the rails (“Just-a-douche Beeber? Does Pandora think I’m a 12 year old?”) , there is Discovr Music. It’s graphic node-based music discovery makes the act of finding new artists fun. It links to the web to play music and videos from various services as well. If you prefer artists that know that you’re supposed to use a toilet and not a mop bucket in a restaurant kitchen and artists who aren’t amateur drinkers, check it out.

In case you just want to listen to your music, I would just grab TraktorDJ and call it a day. Plus playlists sync between it and the full blown Traktor. Sure there are other good to great DJ apps, but this one feature makes putting together a playlist something you can do in bed.

In case you don’t have enough to buy this September, there is also GiftPlanner: a way to remember gifts for that someone special, even if that someone is you. you can categorize gifts by person, price, or date, and keep it secret from his or her prying eyes with a 4 digit passcode (I prefer the last 4 of Pi). If you have a URL on the clipboard it will offer to import the item and the image. If it is in meatspace, you can take a picture of it as well. Then you can track the progress from “Saving for it” to “ordered,” “delivered,” “wrapped” and finally “given.” Trust me, doing it this way (sneakily taking a note when something catches your S.O.’s eye) prevent step six: “returned and S.O. points loss.”

Okay, so this time I only covered general purpose apps. Maybe next I will get into more developer, tech oriented things. Thanks for reading.

free space after cleaning today

As threatened, I wrote my picks for the most useful iOS apps. This time I focus on the two biggies: time and money.

Sadly, my It’s-It reference about saving enough gas money to buy a few of these chocolate coated goodness and my aside about trying to fool my nephew using my Jedi powers {or is it Sith powers?}  to enter text with a wave of my hand using PasteBot fell by the wayside. However, sneaking in links to my “he has no idea that he is my virtual”-pal Conan’s archaic word campaign succeeded! I feel like Zim!

Okay, enough teasing, on with the DiceNews Article: The Best iOS Apps for Deals, Integration, Security, Productivity

I have been silent since about the beginning of the year thanks to an old project that is restarting and being revamped (and hopefully finished). So, the focus the next month will be doing that. I’ve intensified my efforts at learning more AJAX and refining both my PHP and MySQL abilities. As I continue to work on one project I find myself using more and more advanced techniques that I simply didn’t use very much before.
It is funny that while working on what I consider prototypes I code a bit “sloppily.” I am often guilty of not commenting my code and only writing about what I did in my dev-log I keep.

Also, even though I plan out the overall architecture of a site, I tend to build things organically from there—only referring to the plan after each component is fleshed out. I know this is not the way pro devs work, and that this practice would be unacceptable in a team development environment. But this approach works for me because I tend to learn faster that way. When I look back at the original files, I can see my evolution as a scripter.

During second pass, I tend to add comments and refine the scripts further. Sometimes I rewrite old blocks of code or methods to use fewer lines and run a bit faster. But most of the time I just pretty up the code and double-check my indenting, method names—making the classes and declarations follow a consistent pattern, etc.

Aside from that I have been delving into other designer’s and developer’s blogs, and have found some of them worth more than just the coding knowledge they have in them. I have found a few programs to track how I spend my time. One of them, RescueTime is a neat one that I wish I could afford/justify the paid version. Just using the free version, my past 3 weeks efficiency ratings have been kind of insane. Last week’s rating was 1.26 (where 1 = 100% efficiency). I owe this to my quickly switching apps and RescueTime double-logging (I think). Either way, I am working between 30 and 60 hours a week.

Also, I have downloaded a ton of free apps using AppAdvice.com’s AppsGoneFree iOS app. Almost everyday there’s a neat app to try in addition to the free games. One app: aTimeLogger, I started using to see how much time I was wasting each week. After a few weeks I can safely say that I do not waste as much time as I thought. This month, I have spent around 30% of my time working (including learning and staying current), 20% of my time sleeping, 20% socializing, 10% absorbing TV, Movies, Music or Books, 8% on maintenance (eating, bathing, chores, record keeping), 5% on traveling, and the last 7% doing miscellaneous things. 30% of a person’s day is about an 8 hour workday. So, I guess working outside an office actually does work for me. What I didn’t realize is that I spend an average of 1 hour traveling each day. If I lived in a place where I could take public transit, I could reclaim at least some of that and use it for reading and learning more.

About learning: The more I learn the more there is to learn. Hopefully I can finish up the revisions to the site and get it to a state were I am happy showing it off. CSS3 is a lot of fun, and I want to play with some of the newer features. My older layouts depended on CSS 2.1 sleight of hand. CSS3 is another step in the right direction, but still not “there.” Good thing there are plenty of trailblazers with helpful blogs about CSS3, PHP and AJAX. Stack Overflow is becoming more and more useful as I try to find the “magic words” to learn how to do things better, smarter, faster.

Last, I have been slowly working on the Communication Series. As I said, I want to finish it and look it over for overall consistency and make it something that flows seamlessly (while also hyperlinking the hell out of it). It is still about 30% written, but that might change, because I also write organically. DiceNews is still on the back burner, but they seem to be backed up a lot. Hopefully my latest revision will make it through the editing process unscathed.

BTW: I just realized today is the 12th anniversary of my first personal web site! Add another 4 years to that and your go back to my first hand coded sites—oh how I hated kludgy table layouts. Add another 4–5 years to that and that’s how long ago I was using dial up to connect to BBSes to connect to the Usenet and argue with people about the Sci-Fi books I was reading. Heh. How times change.

Until next time.

Everyone makes Mistakes. It is inevitable. If you never make a mistake you are either unrealistic with yourself, you never try anything new (which is a mistake unto itself), or you are an alien whether you realize it or not. My mistake in relation to this article was not keeping up with all the apps flooding out of the iTunes Music Store.

So, when it came time to actually look for apps, I had almost no clue what was out there. Nor did I know how much trouble it would be narrowing down the multitude of choices when it comes to singling out one of potentially hundreds of apps that perform the same basic function. Just type in any common task or remotely popular thing into a search in the store and often you will have to click “Show 25 More” more times than you’re willing to in order to see all the choices. Just to test this, as I was writing I typed “job search” into the AppStore search: I had to click “Show 25 More” 10 times before I ran out of apps. On top of that, how does one narrow down your search especially in light of scams on any store that allows buyer reviews? I eventually found salvation that came from an unexpected source…

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