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07

Dec
2008

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In Design Life
Think Green

By Lorraine

Currently Loving: iPod Applications

On 07, Dec 2008 | No Comments | In Design Life, Think Green | By Lorraine

When I first got my iPod Touch, I had mixed feelings: guilt over abandoning my (now broken) G2 iPod (that crystalline beauty had an elegance unmatched by any of the click-wheel iPods), feeling frivolous for getting the Touch (even though it was free with my new mactop), and disappointment that it wasn’t the iPhone (I’d just upgraded to a new cell phone right before they were available). But now, 4 months later, I’m in love and can’t imagine life without it.

It’s consantly attached to my hip: mainly because I (finally!) upgraded so that I can install applications on it. So I thought that I would share the applications and bookmarks that are quickly becoming my favorites. I’m sure I’ll be updating this list as more come out, but for now, everything on the list is absolutely free and can be used whether you own an iPhone or iPod Touch.

The Basic:
Both the iPhone and iPod come with a handful of applications already installed that are designed to sync with your computer. These are actually the programs that I use the most, and why (in addition to laziness) I didn’t really feel the need to upgrade until just recently.

  • Mail: Top of the list for sure. It’s so handy at work to have my personal accounts automatically checked for new messages, and I love that I don’t have to sign in to each online portal anymore. Although full synchronization requires a MobileMe subscription, I don’t recommend it…it can be annoying to not have your Mail programs fully sync’ed, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I’d want them to be.
  • Calendar: This has totally eliminated the need for me to carry around a paper planner…and helped me be just one more step towards going Green.
  • Notes: Again helping me think Green by eliminating about half the post-its I’d otherwise use…also a great way to jot down quick blog post ideas.
  • Maps: !! I just tried this out when I had to report for jury duty this past week. The step-by-step driving directions are a life-saver and my new favorite thing.

The Practical:

  • Facebook: I know, right? Facebook, practical? But I’m on it so often, that this helps me cut down on the obsessive-compulsive need to constantly check the newsfeed. The application is so well designed, that it’s effortless to navigate through the various features. And I love that it alerts you when you have unchecked messages or notifications.
  • myLite: This handy flashlight app comes in rather useful.
  • WordPress: Although not fully featured, I love that I can write full posts on my iPod…including uploading photos. This would be even more helpful if I had the iPhone’s camera feature.
  • Pandora: I love that they’ve made Pandora available as an application…and I love that it basically turns my iPod into a radio.

For Fun:

  • Urbanspoon: I have a hard time making decisions anyways…this is just a fun way to decide on lunch. And I like that you can lock in each criteria depending on each meal.
  • Google Earth: I only get on this to have fun looking places up, but it’s great to have in the palm of your hand.
  • Lightsaber: I know, I’m a nerd. But it’s fun to challenge people to duels with! (couldn’t find a direct link, but rather easy to find in the app store)
  • BubbleWrap: A great little game for when you have literally just a minute to kill.
  • Black and White/Reversi: I’m obsessed with Othello anyways, so this can be dangerous to have when I’m procrastinating. (There are several versions out there to try.)
  • MazeFinger: Yet another highly addictive time-killer. I spent half my time at the courthouse breaking my own records while waiting to not get selected for jury duty.

For the Design-Nerd:

  • FontShuffle: Just launched by FontShop this week, I’ve already had fun browsing the various fonts. Works kind of like UrbanSpoon, and allows you to custom-test copy in each font. The custom tests can be saved and uploaded to your computer. Handy!
  • Shadows Never Sleep: The interactive story I wrote about in August is just as beautiful as I had hoped.

And Finally, Bookmark These:

  • GoogleReader: The iPhone version of the site is great and comes in really handy for when I want a quick look at what’s going on out there.
  • GoogleChat: Better than SMS/texting because all of my friends already have it and it’s free.

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Comments

  1. We’ve got our eyes on his and hers iPod Touches, so I’m glad to hear how much you like yours. I’m really looking forward to having a paperless calendar and note-taking system!

    One question, though: Why wouldn’t you want your email accounts to be synched? Couldn’t it be bad if you haven’t read an email or thought you sent/didn’t send an email?

  2. Lorraine

    Well, perhaps most people would like them sync’ed and at first it did really bother me. But I’ve come to find that I really only use my iPod for reading the email and rarely write emails using it. So because of that, I tend to delete a lot of my emails off of it. So I imagine that if everything were to sync, I would either 1) constantly be deleting things I wanted to move to an off-line folder or 2) be constantly annoyed by a ton of emails in my in-box. It’s just easier for me, personally, to keep the two Mail programs separate. I’m not sure how all of this would work if you are syncing your Touch up to a PC, however.

  3. Couldn’t I just use Safari to check Gmail and not worry about downloading emails to the Touch? Is that what you mean by “deleting a lot of emails off it”?

    There’s talk of a stimulus package for Germany that would give each adult 500 Euros to spend as long as you put in 200 of your own. If that goes through, we’re buying iPods. :)

  4. Lorraine

    Well, technically you could, and once again the mobile site from Google is superb. But I like that Mail can be scheduled to automatically check all of my email accounts and is thus more centralized for checking all of them at once. It also will alert me to new messages without me needing to leave the Safari app open for Gmail to do it automatically. I suspect that my issues have to do with the differences between IMAP and POP servers since my other account doesn’t have that issue. I just haven’t had time to look into it…

    That’s awesome on the simulus checks, though! That’s what I used mine for this summer: the new computer/iPod combo. Which was great since my old laptop had harddrive failure.

  5. Lorraine

    And as a side note, since I forgot to answer your other question, what I mean by deleting emails off of it is really just clearing out my in-box. I tend to use my in-box as a To Do list, so often clear out old messages once they’ve been taken care of.

  6. oh, thank you for enjoying the Shadows app!

  7. Lorraine

    @aya: Well thank you for such a cool way to tell a story! Any plans for a new one?

  8. Nate H

    Ah yes! Very helpful entry because I’m now the proud owner of an iPod Touch as of last weekend.

    Last night I bought one of the third-party protective sleeves at the Apple store. There were so many choices that it took me a good 30 minutes to process all the advantages and disadvantages that each design offered. It was nuts!

  9. Nate H

    Also, I’m still undecided about how important a protective cling for my glass screen is. ($15!)

    Is the advantage more about scratching or smudging? Because isn’t glass fairly resilient?

  10. I’m loving my IPhone! Can’t wait to check out some of the Apps you listed. I’ve got a really handy one, Grocery G. Love it. It totals everything for me, even tax. I know a head of time how much to bring to the store, on a budget. Also, as I add to cart, there is a different total letting me know the cost of what’s in the cart as well as the cost of what’s on my list.

  11. Lorraine

    @Nate: Congrats! I thought I saw you with one at the meeting… I left the plastic coating that came with it on the screen after slicing off the bottom part that went over the Home button. Although, I’ve heard they’re pretty scratch-resistant, so I doubt you need to worry about it if you found a good case. For the case, I found a nice Belkin one (on sale!) that allows full access while protecting both the screen and back.

    @Tina: Ooo! That one sounds really handy too! I’ll have to look for it. I’m loving the customization that the apps allow, but now it makes me really wish I had broken down and gotten the iPhone. Oh, well! maybe next time…

  12. From all pof us at DoApp we appreciate the feedback on the myLite and are glad to know that its a handy application for you. Happy Holidays!

  13. @Nate H – i’ve bought the film. i think it’s great. took it off after a year to get new film put on, and my iphone looks so new! i think it’s worth it to shell out $15, considering that it’s an expensive device and a scratched screen makes for uglier viewing. i don’t have any other protection, though. maybe if you always have a rubber case around it, no point in getting the film.

    @Lorraine – yes, i do want to do another story. maybe something with sound, or tilt. have to write it, first, to think about the appropriate way to craft the interaction… it’ll probably take me until the summer, again.

  14. Lorraine

    @aya: You’ll have to let me know when you do… :-D