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Posts Tagged ‘apps’

The Best Reckless, Idiotic Smartphone App

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So there’s this app called Send Me to Heaven that’s available only Android (hmm). The idea is simple: the app tracks how high you can throw your phone.

You install the app (on your android, obviously). You then throw your phone as high as you can. Go on, throw it. Catching the phone is entirely optional, of course, but if you’re anything like me, your phone is carrying all kinds of incriminating evidence, so if it breaks, you’re in the clear.

And that’s it. Well, there’s more to it than that: what the app actually does is register how high it’s been thrown, then it uploads that height to a leaderboard. Effectively, it turns throwing your phone into a sport akin to Russian Roulette; do you want to be the best? Then you should risk your expensive phone to do so.

Totally dumb, reckless, stupid and awesome. I’d say give it a shot, but I’m not going to be responsible for a faulty catch. So, here’s a video showing someone else putting their phone on the line:

That video would have been much more interesting if the phone went kablooey.

The Social Stress and Status of the iPhone

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Bianca Bosker, writing for HuffPo Tech, interviews 14-year-old Casey Schwartz about Schwartz’s iPhone. Specifically, what really happens on a teen girl’s iPhone, and how it becomes a source of stress and social status among Schwartz’s peers. Some excerpts are below, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole interview. Parents of teenage girls, doubly so.

Some highlights:

“I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because,” Casey says. “It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why. I need to. Facebook takes up my whole life.”

“I bring it everywhere. I have to be holding it,” Casey says. “It’s like OCD — I have to have it with me. And I check it a lot.”

Not having an iPhone can be social suicide, notes Casey. One of her friends found herself effectively exiled from their circle for six months because her parents dawdled in upgrading her to an iPhone. Without it, she had no access to the iMessage group chat, where it seemed all their shared plans were being made.

“She wasn’t in the group chat, so we stopped being friends with her,” Casey says. “Not because we didn’t like her, but we just weren’t in contact with her.”

“We’ll be sitting on a couch next to each other, texting each other,” she notes. “We text in the same room. It’s weird, I don’t know why.”

The most important and stress-inducing statistic of all is the number of “likes” she gets when she posts a new Facebook profile picture — followed closely by how many “likes” her friends’ photos receive. Casey’s most recent profile photo received 117 “likes” and 56 comments from her friends, 19 of which they posted within a minute of Casey switching her photo, and all of which Casey “liked” personally.

“If you don’t get 100 ‘likes,’ you make other people share it so you get 100,” she explains. “Or else you just get upset. Everyone wants to get the most ‘likes.’ It’s like a popularity contest.”

“If I’m not watching TV, I’m on my phone. If I’m not on my phone, I’m on my computer. If I’m not doing any of those things, what am I supposed to do?” Casey says. “I think that in a few years, technology is going to go back and people won’t use it anymore because it’s getting to be a lot. I mean, I don’t put down my phone. And it makes me wish that I did. It’s addicting.”

Casual Friday: iPhone Apps I Probably Couldn’t Live Without, Vol. 2

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Last week, I listed my favorite must-have, daily-use iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps. Because I might be the biggest Apple slappy you semi-sorta know on the web due to a blog you read, I have more to share. Way more. But I’ll spare you the way and just give you more, because these might be useful to you. If not, that’s fine, because writing about them is fun to me. Fun?, you ask. Yes, fun. I’m already at 85 words, for crying out loud.

Are you still here? Amazing.

So here we go. These aren’t going to be in any particular order, because they’re stragglers from last week. Nicely-dressed, very polite stragglers, but stragglers nonetheless. Treat them well. They won’t steal anything.

  • Captio. I mentioned this last week, but I want to expound on it. Captio defines a basic app: it simply gives you a blank screen on which you compose a note, reminder, whatever. When done, you hit send and your note is emailed to yourself, because when you set up Captio you link it to an email account of your choosing. Sound stupid? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Now I use it every day, because it’s so quick and allows you to organize your emails to yourself later in whatever system/app you choose. Its genius is its simplicity.
  • OpenTable. For an annoying foodie like me, this app is everything. I can’t tell you when I last called a restaurant to make reservations. OpenTable’s iOS app is just like the web app: restaurant searches are quick and easy (the iOS app uses geolocation to save a step), open timeslots are quickly displayed, and reviews are embedded along with reservation slots and contact information. It’s brilliant, and I’ve never had a glitch using this. If you use OpenTable and use iOS, get this app.
  • Nike Golf 360. Golf nerd? This app is for you. It has scorecards for just about every course I’ve tried, and it knows what course you’re on via geolocation. The best part is that over time, it analyzes your game based on the information you provide. It tells me my driving accuracy is 60%, GIR 40%, and that I putt like a blind dog. You can upload and share your scores if you’re so inclined, and it has videos of the pros’ swings to study. It even lets someone take a video of your sorry swing and superimpose it on top of a pro’s to really make you feel like you have no gross motor skills. An incredibly polished app, and right now, it’s free.
  • DailyBurn Tracker. I could go on for 200,000 words about why the calorie in/calorie out model is massively incomplete for weight loss, but if you’re trying to get healthy or even a full-on health nut, tracking something is better than nothing. If you want to truly understand how many calories you’re eating, this is the app for you. A huge database, intuitive data entry, workout and weight tracking, and progress analytics put this in my must-have folder for anyone who wants to get a baseline of how much they’re eating. It’s also updated regularly, and I’ve never had a single technical issue with it. Good stuff.
  • Instapaper. This should have been in my post last week, because I use it constantly. If you’re not familiar, Instapaper (with an accompanying iOS app) is a service that lets you save any web page for later reading. This is great for longform articles, or even shorter posts you don’t have time to get to when you stumble across them. Absolutely invaluable, and Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, puts massive time and attention into his app. It’s pixel-perfect, and worth every penny.
  • Paper (iPad only). There have been several apps that purport to be able to replace a notebook with some pens and brushes, but none really can. Except Paper. It’s the app I doodle in the most when I’m bored or on vacation, and I find myself jotting things down and being creative in ways I never would with a real notebook. Get yourself a stylus (I use the Wacom Bamboo), and you can get lost in this for hours. If I can, you can, because I have the artistic ability of a badger (evidence here).

That’s it. Wrapping up at 730 words. You’re welcome.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

Casual Friday: iPhone Apps I Probably Couldn’t Live Without

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Last Friday, I detailed my general computing setup so that those of you who like to see what other geeks use to get things done could enjoy some serious nerdery. This week it’s the same gig, only the iPhone edition.

I could go on forever with this stuff, but I’m only going to talk about the apps I use a lot, where a lot means several times daily. Believe it or not, I get asked this question a ton (“What app do you suggest for #TOPIC?”), and if I’m honest I always pore over other nerds’ app selections. It’s sad, too, because if I read posts like the one you’re about to, I’ll be out five or six bucks by the end — guaranteed.

So, you’ve been warned. Here’s the first of two parts. Part two will be published next Friday, so if you’re into this sort of thing (high five if you are!), check back then.

WEATHER

My go-to weather app is Dark Sky, followed by My-Cast. I use Dark Sky primarily, but I also find MyCast very good if I get the feeling Dark Sky is lying to me. I love the sparkline graphs in My-Cast, but the hour-by-hour predictions in Dark Sky are uncannily accurate.

NOTE TAKING

There is passionate debate about this app segment — just take a look at Brett Terpstra’s massively, world-bendingly detailed comparo. While I really want to geek out and try at least half of these, I just stick with what I’ve been using happily for years: Simplenote. It syncs perfectly, has Dropbox integration, and offers a web client for note taking and random jotting while you’re at your computer and you think of your next hilarious cat picture caption. It supports tags, note sharing, and versioning. It has a cool icon. Really, just go get it. It may not do everything some of the other iOS editors do, but what it does it does perfectly. I pay for the pro version.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Man, if you could see the nightmarish folder I have stuffed full of iOS photography apps. In the end, though, all I really use for taking pictures are Instagram, Camera Awesome and Camera+. If I had to pick one, I have no idea what I’d do: I like Camera Awesome despite it’s frat-boy name, and Camera+ is a legit ‘photographer’s photograpy app’. Instagram is a daily thing for me because I like to think I’m a decent photographer (I’m not) and people like to see what I shoot (they don’t).

For editing apps in post on my iPad or iPhone, I use Snapseed or Apple’s own iPhoto, which is more advanced than meets the eye. I try not to do too much photo editing on iOS, though, as I prefer using a desktop. Call me old school. Kids today, editing real photos on touchscreens. Bah! Get off my lawn!

PODCASTS/PODCATCHING

I’m a huge podcast nerd, and I use Downcast pretty much every time I get in a car. In fact, Downcast alone has pretty much eliminated the need for my car to have a functioning radio or CD player, because it’s that good over Bluetooth. Other people swear by Instacast, but I’ve not tried it. I mention it here because it gets too much buzz by people I respect not to. Check them both out and pick the one with the prettiest screenshots. That’s what I always do.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Seeing how I’m a web nerd and spend my days staring at glowing screens reading about the salmon other people are having for lunch, this is a pretty big category for me.

For Twitter, I use Tweetbot, easily the best Twitter client I’ve ever used anywhere. I use Facebook for, well, Facebook, although I’m finding it increasily slow and buggy and frustrating to use. I use Foursquare a lot too, although I have a sinking feeling every time I voluntarily tell an anonymous server in the sky where I am. I use WordPress and Squarespace for blogging and shortform web writing. Anytime I find a cool link, I save it with the mobile version of Pinboard because there’s a .0003% chance I’ll remember it otherwise.

TASK MANAGEMENT

When I’m on the road and need to record something to remember, I use Captio to send an email to my Gmail, where I have a filter that breaks all Captio messages into their own inbox for easy parsing. From there, I transcribe them into my second brains: Due and Apple’s Reminders app. A giant part of productivity — at least for me, because I have a zillion things to track and unless I get it out of my brain and on to a list somewhere, the idea is as good as doomed — is organization and remembering the ideas that come to me out of nowhere. I tried the pen and notebook thing, and found it too manual.

So. Here I am at 923 words, and I could keep going for another 2,000 if you let me. Which you won’t, and I don’t blame you. Check back next week for part two if you want, but if you don’t it’s OK with me. So totally OK.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About this blog.

The Maintenance Summit and Travel Tips: There’s an App for That

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(Editor’s Note: As we close in on the beginning of the 6th Annual Oracle Maintenance Summit in Nashville, TN (March 26-29th), I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to our own Tina Thames.  Besides being an outstanding PeopleSoft consultant, Tina is gained fame in MIPRO for knowing “there’s an app for that”.  While all MIPRO Consulting consultants are travel savvy, I asked Tina to share some of her travel favorite travel-related smartphone apps that might make your journey to Nashville a little easier. )

Have a smartphone? Your travel is about to get easier.

Does this sound familiar?

It’s Monday morning.  You’re running late for the airport and you’re sitting in your office going through emails trying to find and print various flight, car and hotel reservation confirmations.  You stick them in your briefcase and make a mad dash for the airport.  As you board your plane, you find out that your window seat – has no window, AND the seat doesn’t recline.  Fast forward to the end of the day and you find yourself standing outside the client office, in the pouring rain, without a cab in sight!

Well frazzled road warrior, there’s a better way!  Check out some of these mobile phone applications and websites to make your life on the road much easier:

TripIt! 

This mobile phone application allows you to consolidate all of your travel reservations/confirmation by trip for easy access.  All you do is forward your email confirmations to the TripIt application (to an email address it creates for you) and it builds them into itineraries based on dates — including maps and directions from the airport to your hotel!  Upgrade to the proversion and track all of your membership rewards in one place. This is a go-to app for me.

SeatGuru.com 

This isn’t an app, per se, but you should check out SeatGuru.com for a review of every seat, on every plane by airline.  Does a seat require frequent flyer status?  Is there a power outlet near your seat?  A quick stop on this website and you’ll easily find what you need to know to pick that optimum seat.

TaxiMagic 

This application takes the hassle out of finding a cab in a new city.  Simply select your city and a list of taxi companies appear.  In larger cities,  the app lets you directly integrate to the company’s dispatch system to book your cab, track the arrival of your taxi, charge the ride to your credit card  — and it even emails you a receipt.  In smaller cities it will connect you directly to the cab company to make a reservation over the phone. If you’re not renting a car or surrendering yourself to mass transit, this app is a lifesaver.

These are three on which I rely heavily when I’m about to hit the road. There are tons of travel apps, some more useful than others. What are your favorites?

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.