Posts tagged iPhone
Essential apps for the iPhone - UPDATED

Here is a bit of a follow up to an original post on the same topic from 2009. You might also be interested in my post on mac apps.This page on general iPhone tips is pretty handy too.

post_iphone_essential_v2_1
post_iphone_essential_v2_1
post_iphone_essential_v2_2
post_iphone_essential_v2_2
post_iphone_essential_v2_3
post_iphone_essential_v2_3
post_iphone_essential_v2_4
post_iphone_essential_v2_4

1ST PAGE:

I keep my home screen in a fairly default app arrangement. Not sure why, perhaps it's an OCD issue or my fingers have just learnt where all the main apps live. The only thing I have replaced is the default Music app with Instacast which is a fantastic little podcast player that lats you stream and download podcasts over the air independent from iTunes.

2ND PAGE:

Page 2 is reserved for my most used / every day apps... just one flick away from the home screen.

Twitter: The official Twitter app. Used to be called Tweetie. UI is great. Swipe over a tweet for a quick shortcut to options. The best alternative is probably Tweetbot, but I'm not really into the over the top UI crap.

Reeder: Reeder is fantastic if you are into Google Reader. The UI is beautiful and you can cache a whole heap of unread stuff to read while you are offline. Great for travelling. Swipe a story to star it.

Instagram: Instagram is by far my favourite app. It a photo sharing community that enables you to friend and share within the app, but also send the photos out to Twitter or Facebook. There is a whole bunch of really inspirational stuff going on there. Particularly in Brisbane.

Facebook: We all know what that is about. I often delete it off my phone when I realise I am playing on there too much... :o Once again a far nicer interface then the real website in my opinion. Right below it is the FB Messenger app. This is great if you need to curb your FB usage, then you still get inbox messages without the distractions of the other crap.

Pinterest: Another great find of 2011. It's a visual bookmarking tool that I use to categorise inspiration images, but can be used for any purpose you like really. This app lets you look up your pins on the go.

Beehive IM: Instant messenger app for Google Talk, MSN, AIM etc. Always been reliable. Verb is a nice alternative.

Skype: Doesn't really require an explanation. VOIP over 3G or WiFi. Also lets you send SMS from your phone number if you like too.

Dropbox: Dropbox is amazing. Install it here on your computer and it setups a folder called 'Dropbox'. Anything you put in here is synced to the 'cloud' (internet) and is then available on any other computer (or iPhone via this app) you install Dropbox on.

Instapaper: A tool to collect and read long articles you find on web pages. A small bookmarklet in your web browser adds the article's text to Instapaper, which is then available for you to read on the iPhone via this app.

Plaintext: A note taking app that syncs with text files in a designated folder via Dropbox.

Dropvox: Audio recording app that is much better then the built in Voice Memo app I feel. Its super simple, you open it up, press record (which works in the background) and then uploads the small audio file to a designated folder in Dropbox.

Monocle: The fantastic magazine now as a 24 hours radio station. This app plays it live, time shifts it and will send to the Hifi via Airplay.

Oh and the Travel folder is just full of stuff I am using at any given time while travelling to a certain destination. Currently there are a few Japan Rail and Tokyo Metro apps in there.

3RD PAGE:

This page is still full of good apps, but I use them less often. Here are a few selected favourites...

Oz TV: Probably the best tv guide app I have found for the iPhone. IceTV is good if you have a TV tuner with built in IceTV functionality for scheduling recordings on the go.

AirVideo & Plex Both allow you to stream channel BT content from your computer to an iPhone, iPad or AppleTV without re-encoding file formats. You install a small server app on the computer and it handles the live conversion. AirVideo lets you navigate folders of media by folder and filename. Plex is a bit more sophisticated and retrieves metadata on the media files and constructs a navigation system based on this data - name, genre, date etc. The best thing is if you have a cheap AppleTV box connected to your TV. You choose what you want to watch on the phone and just 'send' it to the TV via AirPlay.

Remote: Apples app for letting you control iTunes or  an AppleTV via your iPhone. Great for a party situation so you can keep your lappy in a back room. If you use the iTunes DJ playlist, multiple people running the app can add tracks to a 'request' queue.

TV Forecast: A great little app that lists the upcoming air dates of your favourite TV shows in whichever country they screen first. Great so you remember to grab them on channel BT.

Autostitch, Photosynth, Snapseed, Photoshop Express & PicFrame: All great little camera apps you might like to play with. The first two are for doing panoramas, the rest for manipulating images.

BT: If you are using Transmission on your computer, enable the web interface. To add a website to your Home screen, visit the page in Safari and tap the Go To icon at the bottom of the Safari window. Tap Add to Home Screen.

4TH PAGE:

Consume: Great Australian made app to monitor the usage of your accounts such as your home ADSL, mobile phone cap / data usage, car flow tag, loyalty cards and other services.

Pocket Weather: This app is an Australian replacement for the supplied weather app on the 1st page which seems to be fairly inacurate, particually for forcasts. Pkt Weather uses data direct from the Australian Bureau of Metorology (BOM) and inclrudes animated radar images.

Analytics: I manage quite a few websites and this app serves up all the Google Analytics traffic data presenting it in an easy to digest UI.

Convertbot: This one has an awesome animated user interface. Converts just about anything. Be sure to go into the settings and activate some of the hidden conversion options... only the common ones appear by default.

FTP on the Go: Really useful while traveling to make small changes to code in websites for clients.

Wikipanion: At the pub disagreeing on a fact? Wikipanion is a great mobile interface for the wikipedia.org site.

1Password: Nice little app that syncs with the desktop version. It's a place to keep all your passwords, serial numbers, ftp logins etc etc and have them with you on the road. All the data is encrypted and you need to enter a pin and password to access the data.

Tick: This is the iPhone app for the web service at tickspot.com that I use for tracking time for work projects. Nice to be able to enter your time while out and about.

Thats about it for my list of current apps that I use on my phone. Hope you find one or two that are useful for you as well!

Extending your iPhone battery life

I have lots of friends inheriting 2nd hand iPhones (3G / 3GS models). Here are some tips for extending the battery life of the phone throughout the day...

1. Got to Settings > Wifi > Turn off auto discover wifi networks.

2. When your not at home or not using it turn off Wifi off. You really only really need it on when you downloading apps or doing some heavy web browsing with lots of images. Facebook, Email, Twitter really won't use much of your data allowance so it's almost not worth having on.

3. Settings > Brightness > Try and keep it as low as your eyes can tolerate.

4. Settings > General > Network > Enable 3G... I used to turn off 3G quite a bit unless I was doing heavy web browsing as mentioned above... if you just retrieving text (ie .Facebook, Twitter & Email then the 2G network is often sufficient in built up city areas.... this one saves LOTS of battery.

5. Settings > Mail > Fetch new data... If you are not using 'Push' email, changing fetch interval from 15 minutes to 1 hour will help also. Not using 'Push' also helps, but the convenience of the push services probably outweighs the battery drain.

6. If you do like 3G on all the time, just turn it off when the battery gets below 20%... will give you 1-2 hours more time before the phone dies.

Just remember it may seem like the iPhone has a crappier battery than your old Nokia or Motorola, but did you use that old phone as much as this one?... me thinks probably not :)

Ways to make an iPhone ringtone

1. Via this website: http://audiko.net/

Save it at the end and drag it into iTunes.

 

2. A free way with quite a few steps...

You can buy ringtones on the AUS store, but creating free ones is easy. I did have some problems the first time I tried - and found that the important thing is the maximum song length, which is 30secs. Here's a walk-through of the process:

1. Open iTunes and select your favourite MP3 audio file, take note of the section you want to use as the ringtone and right down the time of when you want the ringtone to start - ie 1:45 (remembering that you can only choose 30secs max).

2. Right-click on this file in your library to bring up the context menu.

3. Select Get Info

4. This will open a new dialogue box showing various details about the audio file. Select the Options tab.

5. Check the boxes next to both Start Time and Stop Time and enter the times you want your new ringtone to start and stop (the maximum length is 30 seconds) then click OK.

6. This will return you to your music library.

7. Right-click on the same music file again and this time select 'Convert Selection to AAC'. (You need to have AAC selected as your encoder type in iTunes>Preferences>import settings

8. iTunes will process this briefly and insert the new ringtone-sized file under the original file in your library.

9. Right-click on the newly created file and select: "Show in Windows Explorer or "Show in Finder" on a Mac.

- A new dialogue box will open showing you the location of this file. Select the file and change its name so that it is not the same as the original song, also change the file extension from ".m4a" to ".m4r". (if using Windows it will warn you that this change may make the file unstable, but continue anyway)

10. Back in iTunes, delete the ringtone file you've created from your library.

11. Now import the renamed '.m4r' file into your library (File -> add to library.... then locate the new file that you renamed in step 9) it should add the file as aringtone and appear under the ringtones (bell) icon in iTunes on the left hand side. Connect your iPhone and sync your playlist. You may have to manually drag the .m4r file into the Ringtones section on your iPhone. With your iPhone synced this file is now ready to be used as a ringtone.

 

3. Also here is a site with some direct .m4r downloads:

www.free-ringtones.cc thanks Drew

In case something bad happened to your iPhone - get help from the trusted iPhone repair San Diego.

Essential apps for the iPhone

As a bit of a follow up to my essential mac apps for new users post... here are my recommendations for iPhone apps... 1ST PAGE:

I keep my home screen in the default app arrangement. Not sure why, perhaps its and OCD issue or  my fingers have just learnt where all the main apps live. The only one I don't really use regulary is Stocks, but it's a nice icon :)

2ND PAGE:

post_iphoneapps_02
post_iphoneapps_02

Page 2 is for my most used non Apple apps... just one flick away from the home screen.

IceTV:An Australian based TV guide service. A paid subscription lets you activate recording of shows back on you media centre / DVR remotely.

TV Forecast:A great little app that lists the upcoming air dates of your favourite TV shows in whichever country they screen first. Great so you remember to grab them on channel BT.

ABC:This is the official app from the Australian public broadcaster. I use it to scan news headlines. You can also download ABC audio and video podcasts in the app. I just wish they would add a frequency guide!

Tuner:This is an app that lets you play streaming Internet radio stations on your phone over wifi and 3G. It comes with a list if American-centric stations, but you can add your own stream (such as Triple J) by entering a URL.

Pocket Weather:This app is an Australian replacement for the supplied weather app on the 1st page which seems to be fairly inacurate, particually for forcasts. Pkt Weather uses data direct from the Australian Bureau of Metorology (BOM) and includes animated radar images. There is another app in this league called 'Oz Weather' but as I paid for this one first so I've not used it.

Skype:It took a while for an official Skype app to arrive, but it was worth the wait! I use Skype for calls while travelling overseas at Wifi hot spots and at home calling friends OS. Works as advertised!! It's also great for instant messaging on Wifi or 3G. I guess sending SMS via Skype on the phone isn't going to happen any time soon, but fingers crossed!! EDIT: Version 1.1 is now available and has voicemail retrieval and you can now send SMS messages!!!

Linked In:I don't use this professional networking took a real lot, but it does provide a much nicer interface than their actual website.

Analytics:I manage quite a few websites and this app serves up all the Google Analytics traffic data presenting it in an easy to digest UI.

Facebook:Well if you don't know what this one is about, call up a mate and get them to help you lift off the rock that you've been hiding under! Once again a far nicer interface then the real website in my opinion. Also all the messages and info are cached on the phone so you can view it still if you have no data connection.

Tweetie:This is a really nice apps for communicating using the Twitter service. I originally used Twitteriffic, but with V2 the interface got very busy and complex. The only thing I miss in Tweetie that was in Twitteriffic is the offline caching of tweets.

Reader:This is a link to the mobile web app version of Google Reader for reading RSS feeds. I have tried using the native Google Reader app called Byline, but found it to be really slow. Google mobile web app is super fast and easy to use! RSS feed readers are a great way to get your news and monitor new posts on sites you visit daily. They basically strip away all the site except for text and some images, helping you get to the content you want to read easily!

post_iphoneapps_04
post_iphoneapps_04

3RD PAGE:

This page is still full of good apps, but I them less often...

Currency: A must for traveling and doing currency conversion in a one page dashboard widget style app.

Grocery Zen: Not a bad little app for doing shopping lists. It organises your shopping into aisles and categories. There are heaps of these sorts of apps on the App Store, but this is the one that was recommended to me.

Convertbot: This one has an awesome animated user interface. Converts just about anything. Be sure to go into the settings and activate some of the hidden conversion options... only the common ones appear by default.

iStat: This is an app by the company that did iStat Menus for the Mac. This app lets you monitor not just all your Mac's remotely, but also the iPhone it's installed on. A useful little feature is the ability to clear out the allocated memory on your phone which sometimes can get quite full if you have been playing games.

ATM Hunter When I got back to Australia form overseas, I was pretty shocked by this new ATM withdrawal arrangement where you have to pay around $2 for every time you use an ATM not operated by your own bank (I am with a credit union and they used to let you withdraw anywhere for nix). This little app uses your location information to find the nearest ATM's and tells you which bank operates them.

FTP on the Go: Was really useful while traveling to make small changes to code in websites for clients.

Air Sharing: Lets you use your iPhone like a USB memory stick. I also use it to store and view iPod formatted videos. This way I don't have to import them into iTunes and sync the phone. You connect to your phone via Wifi and then phone appears as a drive on your desktop.

Wikipanion: At the pub disagreeing on a fact? Wikipanion is a great mobile interface for the wikipedia.org site.

1Password: Nice little app that syncs with the desktop version. It's a place to keep all your passwords, serial numbers, ftp logins etc etc and have them with you on the road. All the data is encrypted and you need to enter a pin and password to access the data.

Mobile Usage: Connects to the Optus billing server and retrieves your account balance, the number of SMS & MMS you have sent and data you have used for the billing month. Very useful for tight arses like myself!

Cities: This app lets you see what time it is in other places in the world at a designated time. It's kind of like the built in Clock app but it only lets you see the 'current' time. Useful if you have to plan a phone meeting OS or stay up for an OS event.

Tick: This is the iPhone app for the web service at tickspot.com that I use for tracking time for work projects. Nice to be able to enter your time while out and about.

Remote: Apples own app for letting you control iTunes or  an AppleTV via your iPhone. Great for a party situation so you can keep your lappy in a back room. If you use the iTunes DJ playlist, multiple people running the app can add tracks to a 'request' queue.

Byline: This is an offline viewer for Google Reader. Useful if you are going on a plane or on the Tube. You just sync the app with Google Reader and all your RSS articles are downloaded. It's a bit slow so I only use it when I know I am going to be without data coverage. It's also best to use it over Wifi rather than 3G or Edge.

Tip: A nice little Tip calculator for working out those dinner cost splits.

post_iphoneapps_03
post_iphoneapps_03

4TH PAGE:

This is my page of 'fun' apps...

Sol Free: A free Solitare app. One of the first apps I think I downloaded!

Tris: This is a Tetris game. You can't download it anymore as it infringed copyright. EA does a licenced Tetris app, but the UI isn't as nice...

Sim City: I bought this app for my girlfriend and installed it on my iPhone too... I haven't really  had a chance to played it much, but I will soon I hope!

Flight Control: One of the best examples of an iPhone game that uses the touch interface for gameplay. The premise is that you have to land different places on different runways without them crashing into each other. You use your finger to glide the plane to the appropriate runway.

eShaver: Funny app that turns your phone into a shaver. Great way to freak people out.

A-Level: Turns your phone into a spirit level. There are a couple of free version on the app store now.

Kern: Nerdy app for graphic designers. It's a bit like tetris.... you line a missing letter up with a gap in a word and drop it into the space trying to get the spacing before and after the letter correct. Really nice visual design.

Thats about it for my list of current apps that I use on my phone. Hope you find one or two that are useful for you as well!