iPhone First Impressions: The Wonderful World of Apps, Part II

Continuing my rundown of the iPhone apps I use:

Facebook: I finally cracked and joined Facebook a few months ago and while I can see what all the hype is about, I’m just not that into it. Granted, that could change and loading the Facebook app on to my phone might just be the tipping point. Or not. I don’t use it all that often, but time will tell. So far, I’m hoping using Facebook will be a way to drive more traffic to my blog and it has allowed me to reconnect, however tenuously, with a few folks. I do like the stripped down nature of the Facebook iPhone app. Sometimes I find the desktop version is an overwhelming wave of minutia.

TypePad: This app allows me to post directly from my phone to my blog and I use it almost exclusively to post photos. It’s fairly straightforward to use though it can be a bit slow to upload a photo and the fact that you have to stay in the program while it’s loading makes it a pain to use. (When the connection is good, it’s a snap. When it’s not, it can be a looong wait.)

For some reason, the TypePad app crops photos square; not ideal, but my opinion of the app greatly improved recently when they gave the user the ability to choose just how to crop the photo. I also dislike that any text added along with a photo is automatically put above the photo, exactly opposite of the way I prefer to format my posts. These idiosyncrasies aside, I’m happy to have the ability to post to the blog on the go.

iBird 15: This free version of the iBird app provides detailed information on fifteen of the most popular backyard birds. From what little I’ve seen, there’s a lot to this birding app and depending on how I like using the freebie, I’ll probably end up forking over $10 for the full-blown North American iBird app.

NPR News: I think I’ve probably looked at this for news headlines exactly twice but it does give you the ability to search and listen to individual stories, as well archived programs from the national and local NPR line up. I’ll be dipping into this for episodes of Fresh Air and All Songs Considered among other things. (I already subscribe to Sound Opinions and This American Life by podcast, but they’re there too.)

Pandora: I’ve done very little listening (as in music) on my iPhone so this app has gotten exactly no use so far. (I’m actually listening to it now, as I write this.) In the past I’ve enjoyed Pandora and look to it as a source of new music and it beats traditional radio any day. Unfortunately, unlike listening to the iPod on the iPhone, when you access any other program on the phone, it boots you out of Pandora and the music you were listening to.

Around Me: I know this will come in handy eventually, though I haven’t really had much cause to use it yet.

Epicurious: This is my most frequent source of recipes on the web, so I figured having a version on my phone was a no-brainer.

KatamariLite: I love Katamari on PS3 so I was excited to play the iPhone version but so far it’s just been a source of frustration. I find controlling the little Katamari dude to be awkward, especially rolling him forward (which means flipping the iPhone screen so far away from me I can’t see the screeen anymore) which is the majority of the game. Perhaps the paid edition works more smoothly, but I’m not ready to go there yet.

Wikipedia: It’s Wikipedia! ‘nuf said.

Shazam: Hold it up to a music source and it will identify the song for you. Haven’t used it yet other than to play around but I know it will come in handy. There were many times in the past I wished I’d had such a thing.

Tap Tap Revenge 2: This total time-waster of a game is just a series of thumb taps set to pop music but oh-so addictive. Like all games, it eats up battery time, so I tend not to play a lot (unless of course the phone is charging.)

Time-Out: A nifty little time clock designed for giving kiddos a time out on the go. I figured it might come in useful one of these days while watching JD. (It has, but not for the reason I thought it would. More on that later.)

Events Finder: This app is supposed to tell you about music, sports, and special events in your area but the listings are fairly lame and obscure and this past weekend, the only listings were for next weekend. Plus, listings seem to be limited to weekend days–apparently nothing fun happens during the week. I’ve deleted this app.

PhotoShop Mobile: This brand new app is generating lots of buzz in the few short days it’s been available. I’m not a regular PhotoShop user but for free I had to check it out and in the 15 minutes I played around with it, I really liked what I saw. There are options to crop, rotate, adjust the exposure, saturation etc. and apply a number of special effects. All from your phone. Pretty nifty.

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1 Response

  1. TypePad: Oh yes, I forgot about the picture automatically going under the text. That IS annoying. I’ll add that to the ‘review’ on my blog 😉
    Katamari: I haven’t tried the free version but I *LOVE* the full version with a passion. Husband played it on my phone and he also found it awkward to control, but he found the PS2 version hard to control too. Can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with having to tip the phone so far forward I can’t see the screen – but you do need to sit up straight – it’s not a game you can play reclining in bed! The only other time I found controlling the ball hard was in the final level, when it’s easy to fall off the islands into the sea at the start, but not so easy to get back on. Annoying.
    Wikipedia: I’ve got Wikipanion, which is good. I like the predictive search options.
    Tap Revenge 2: Oh I have this too! Husband has the new v3 (not free) and some of the free content on TTR2 is no longer free for TTR3.
    I don’t play it much either, but it is addictive!

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