The Great iPhone App Rundown

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Sunday December 7, 2008.

I want to pass along a few of my favorite iPhone Apps and give a brief review of them in hopes of hearing from you about other apps I should have or try out.

I mainly use my phone as a mini computer, which is probably what most people do with this thing. So I immediately went to set it up much like my home computer. We’ve also recently lost two machines in my house to the element of age, I think. Luckily, I’m a junkie and had three Macs running before this happened, but the point is that in a very connected family, we’re down to one computer and two iPhones, so the phones have to function in a way that makes them usable for everyday online activities.

Here is the list:

The bottom row – always available

These are the apps I need all the time. It’s the bottom row of the phone that is always available.

  • Tweetsville – ($3.99) I’m pretty sure I paid $4.99 for it, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s a great app. The look is important to me, as I much prefer the brighter colors to the dark stuff that Twitteriffic has (you can upgrade Twitteriffic for $9.99 to enable the bright colors). This app has kept me very in touch with the Twitter world, as it readily offer up the trending topics, which I check several times a day. and even chime in on. I recently had a problem where it crashed before it would open every single time, but a simple reinstall from iTunes fixed it and seemed to speed it up. The only thing it’s missing that I would love is the ability to follow @ conversations among other users. I like Twitter’s feature where it links directly to the tweet that was replied to, and I wish Tweetsville did that too. I love this one.

Front Page – the most often used

My iPhone's front pageMy front page contains a bunch of the already-installed apps and the ones I use the most.

  • Evernote – (Free) I love this thing. I keep URLs here, instructions on how to get a car from the state motor pool in Vegas, my calling card number, and just about anything else I need to have with me all the time. Like everything I use, the web component is essential, so I can access my account from any computer I happen to be working on, and I can add, subtract, reorganize or whatever from anywhere. I love this one.
  • Camera Bag – ($2.99) I read that Camera Bag simply made the normally crappy photos taken on an iPhone look a little better. I agree. I don’t take photos with the phone anymore without tweaking them in Camera Bag. I don’t goof around with black and whites, but I love making them look a little aged, like with the Cinema or 1974 effects. The Helga and Lolo are also fun. I really like this one.
  • Pixelpipe – (Free) Mike McDowell turned me onto this one. It basically takes any photo or video (sigh) and uploads it to the hosting site of your choosing. I use it to simultaneously upload to Flickr and Twitpic. It has a ton of other options though, so if anyone gets an app approved for this phone that does video, I think it will be a true essential. I really like this one.
  • RTM Mobile – (Nada) This isn’t even an app. I documented my despair about a Remember the Milk app being absent, then we got one. I never liked that they wanted a $25 premium for a free service in all other ways, but I considered paying anyway. Then I found their mobile site, which is free, and I bookmarked it on my home page of the phone. It works essentially the same way as the iPhone app, but is less pretty. I still might pony up the money simply to support the company, but I’m not convinced this is the be-all end-all that I once did. There still isn’t a viable alternative, either. I really like this one.

The second page – useful but used less

My iPhone's second pageThis is the page with all the apps I use a lot but not as much as the first page. It’s the social apps along with apps I’ll check once a day or so.

  • Facebook – (Free) Essential if you’re on Facebook. Most f the best features are available, but it’s geared toward the simpler mobile tasks of uploading pics and updating statuses. My only wish for this one would be to add the ability to view pages. I can’t seem to figure out how to do it if it’s there, and would love to have this available. I really like this one.
  • LinkedIn – (Free) I think this one is less essential than Facebook, even for power users. The major thing it’s lacking is the ability to add and accept friends. I have searched all over the place for this and think it’s a major oversight. Otherwise, it’s just a place to see status updates and scroll through resum├ęs, which for m is kind of boring. I like this one.
  • Box.net – (Free) Box.net is an awesome online storage tool. I use it for storage of documents I don’t create (as opposed to Google Docs), but just want to have on hand to view and use as a reference. It might be redundant, but they sold me with the iPhone app. I keep business documents on here so I can fill things out without having the papers with me. I really like this one.
  • Exposure – (Free) This is a way to show off your Flickr photos. Basically, I need it because I never had pictures of my kids before. Now I do. I like this one.
  • Urbanspoon – (Free) We’ve all seen the commercial, and thought this was neat. Now they have Reno available (and carson City). Whether I’ll really use it as more than a novelty is yet to be determined. I’m cool with this one.

The third page – games

My iPhone's third pagePretty much jut the games. Most were downloaded by my kids and not of much use to me other than to try out and delete.

  • Darts – (Free) I’ve never been all that into darts, but was bored and downloaded it one day. It’s a fun one You actually have to flick your finger on the screen to throw the dart, which isn’t all that easy until you figure it out. Then you still screw up like crazy. I like this one.
  • Dots Free – (Free) That old dots game where you try to connect the lines into a square. You know that one? This is it. It’s good for a few minutes of fun with the kids or by yourself. The CPU is lame and easy to beat down, though, so play with someone who’s human. I like this one.
  • Adventure – (Free) This is a port of that awesome Atari game that I played like crazy as a kid. You use the phone’s tilting to control your guy as you try to find the golden chalice and get it back to the golden castle. The dragons try to stop you. For the simple nostalgia , I really like this one.
  • Live Poker – (Free) It’s poker. Like all online poker games, there are tons of douchebags who talk all kinds of crap. Then get pwned. I like this one.
  • iKick – ($.99) This one is totally worth the dollar. It was the first app we ever bought, and it’s provided a lot of entertainment in our house with contests between me and the kids (my high is 169). All you do is tap the screen to keep a soccer ball in the air and it counts how many “kicks” you get before the ball hits the ground. I really like this one.

The fourth page – just in case

My iPhone's fourth pageThese consist of the rest. Apps I don’t really care about but feel like I might need at any moment.

  • Grand Dialer – (Free) This is the Grand Central app. You tell it a number to call, then it calls you and connects using your Grand Central number as the callback. I haven’t needed it and was hoping to just get an app that connects to my Grand Central account so I could check voicemails and stuff. Not there yet. I don’t care about this one.
  • Loopt – (Free) Another from an iPhone commercial. It combines Twitter with Plazes, except nobody is on it. Oh well. I don’t care about this one.
  • Joost – (Free) A cool idea, but not quite there yet. First, you must be on a wireless connection to use it. Second, it crashes a lot and doesn’t save your place when you stop watching something. It’s an app for watching movies and videos they have int heir database. I began watching Starship Troopers the other night, but my wireless connection dropped (as it does on occasion, for about 2 seconds) and Joost kicked me off and didn’t pick up where I left off. That’s pretty crappy. So I tried watching something, backing out in the middle, then reconnection. Not only does it not pick up where left off, it doesn’t even remember what I was watching, which meant scrlling through a few pages of items to find it again. No thanks. Until it checks itself, I don’t care about this one.
  • Twitteriffic – (Free) I don’t mind this one, and keep it only to have instant access to my work Twitter account. When I’m out of town, I tend to tweet for work much more often, as I’m usually away for the purpose of drawing attention to where I am. So I keep this around to have access to both accounts without having to log in and out. For that, it works well. I like this one.
  • Remote – (Free) I want an AppleTV. Remote works with either an AppleTV or a remote enabled Mac to control iTunes. It’s awesome, really. You get your entire library on the iPhone, and over a wireless network, you can push a song and it plays. I would love this on an AppleTV and the home stereo. I really like this one.

That does it for my favorite or most used apps. What do you use that you think I should check out? Did any of this help you out?

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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