Peter Odum

Idletime: The Apps We Use

A couple of weeks ago we presented a selection of our favorite games around the office. After another informal survey of the office, we are now proud to present a selection of the applications popular around here. The iPhone once again dominates the proceedings, but with a slightly stronger showing from the G1 (listed at the end).

We asked staffers to identify 2-3 non-default, non-game applications that they actively use and wouldn’t want to live without. We urged respondents to think of the apps that all their friends DON’T have yet. The overall goal was to expose some new apps that we think are actually worth having.

Some of these you have no doubt heard about recently (Brushes, which was used to create a New Yorker cover, for example, and Shazam is pretty well-known too) but many you may not know. Have a look, and comment to let us know what we’ve missed.


Zenbe Lists ($2.99) - Checklists for everything. It’s how I resolve my non-multitasking male brain issues.
($4.99) - flipbook animation with hand drawn imagery - fun timekiller when I am waiting for the BART (not a game, but maybe not useful enough). I made a stylus (Wrigley’s wrapper around a pen lid) to aid drawing with this. I also hear good things about FlipBook (Lite version FREE, full version $9.99) for the same purpose, but haven’t tried it.
WordPress (FREE) - Create wordpress blog posts from the phone in a pinch. Comes in handy for quick blogging and awkward deadlines.
Bonus: Pocket Guitar ($0.99)- turns my iphone screen into a simple guitar. For when I don’t have a real instrument, but feel like playing something or just hearing a few guitar notes (for tuning or some other purpose).

Byline ($4.99) -  Google Reader cached on your phone in a non-web UI. BART friendly.
Fring (FREE) -  Designed for voice calling (which I don’t use), but has the best free IM client out there I’ve seen.
Inquisitor - Mobile search, actually designed good. Craps all over Google’s app.

Pano ($2.99)- makes awesome panoramic photos with your iphone camera
SomaFM ($3.99) - listen to SomaFM’s internet radio stations on the go, and bookmark interesting songs to look up later on itunes
iFitness ($1.99) - has a list of exercises and routines with detailed instructions, and lets you create your own workouts that you can track and graph over time.

Andy app (FREE) - syncs with my mint online account, that aggregates all of my financial transactions. can see my net worth, checking, savings accounts. I check it often to see if checks have cleared, and check balances of accounts. the app could be WAY better, but its valuable to me because of the data it pulls in.
FTP Pic Up ($1.99) - allows me to increase the resolution of the iphone camera, and take pictures that automatically upload to my webserver. It also can auto create thumbnails at various sizes. I use this in place of the native camera app. It adds the photos to my iphone photo library as well as uploading them via ftp to a server of my choice.
Routesy SF ($0.99 through June 12th, then more) - real time predictions for muni and bart. automatically gets my location and shows me the closest stops and the arrival times. Allows me to bookmark my most visited routes and stops for super quick access to real time predictions. (I designed this one so i can talk at length about it if you want!)

TwitterFon (FREE) - Best free Twitter app. Also available in Pro version ($4.99)
Wikipanion (FREE)- For settling disputes quickly. Also available in Plus version ($4.99)
Evernote (FREE) - Because the default Notes app is stunningly terrible
Shazam (FREE) - Now music everywhere comes with metadata

Air Mouse Pro ($5.99) - connect over wireless network to your cpu and your iPhone touch screen becomes your computers touch pad complete with multi-touch functionality, media and browser control interfaces, and the iPhone keyboard. If you watch a lot of TV via your cpu this is great.
PowerSearch (FREE) - search for any business/service and get a list organized by proximity to your current location.
Sportacular (FREE) - live sports updates and live game tracker stats featuring player photos and play by play. You can even talk trash via commenting with other users.

Brushes ($4.99) -  This app is really quite cool. $4.99, but worth it. Become an amazing painter in minutes! See this article on the New Yorker cover using this app:
iEmoji ($0.99) -  Adds alternate keyboard to your communication apps. These keyboards contains iconography, such as trains, martini glasses and fingernail polish.
P Tracker ($1.99) - For women. Nuff said.
CameraBag -  Make your pictures 10x more awesome with filters that mimic lenses and camera types (Lomo, Holga, polaroid, etc…)
FWIX (FREE) - Social media and news aggregator based on location. I can see what is happening in SF based on multiple news sources, twitter, or anything else tagged with SF geo-data. Alternate views include aerial heat-maps representing this activity.

Other Devices - Android/T-Mobile G1

SkyMap - I love SkyMap. It shows you exactly what constellations, planets, and Messier objects are visible in that particular night sky, as well as where the horizon is. If you have a favorite star or constellation and are having difficulty finding it  you can do a search. Very cool.
Inspection Scores - I also love Inspection Scores which lists the inspection score for all the restaurants in SF. If it’s less than 100 they list all the areas where points were lost. Some examples are: vermin, food in poor condition, food contact surfaces not cleaned/sanitized,  wiping cloths not clean etc…It also lists the degree of risk (low, moderate, high), and the date of discovery, date abated, date of inspection etc.
Bubble - I also like Bubble. It’s a built-in level. It’s actually come in handy a couple times. Yes, I’m a big dork.

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