Terra Sigillata

What are your favorite iPhone apps?

The other day, author pal and PharmFamily friend Rebecca Skloot sent out a Twitter request for iPhone app suggestions for her new gadget, particularly those that might be of greatest use on her upcoming, self-supported book tour for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Let me first congratulate Ms. Skloot on ditching that CrapBerry and adopting a technology that is as superior as her book.

Rebecca got me looking at my iPhone and made me realize that, well, it sort of has that not-so-fresh feeling. I’ve got a few tried-and-true apps that I’ve shared with our Twitter followers but I even feel in need of a few new ideas.

So, I’ll tell you what? I’ll post a few of my favorite apps here. Then, why don’t you post a couple few of your own faves. I know that a lot of folks got iPhones or iPod Touches for the holidays and it’s painful to try and make sense out of the hundred thousand or so apps available at the iPhone App Store.

My two quick recs to Rebecca for out-of-town travel are Urbanspoon and AroundMe.

urbanspoon: Urbanspoon is an extremely popular search app for restaurants in major cities across North America. You can search by cuisine, neighborhood, or cost, and get reviews, menu screenshots, and direct links to the restaurant. The only complaint is that it doesn’t have cities where I often travel and only a few UK and Australian cities outside the US. How a restaurant app can miss Paris is beyond me. C’est la vie.

AroundMe: A better local source app is AroundMe. It uses your GPS location to identify a list of businesses from restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops to gas stations, hospitals, and supermarkets. The list posts distances and a quick tap will show you where it is relative to your current position. Another two taps will open your pre-installed Maps apps to get you directions.

A couple of other apps I use for travel and local stuff that I forgot to tell Rebecca were Newspapers and YPMobile.

Newspapers: Newspapers is a low-graphics, free app that gives you links to 2000 newspapers around the US that have an online presence. What’s great about this is that you can see the local news in towns off the beaten path or more detailed local info in towns outside of major metropolitan areas. There is another related app called World Newspapers that does, well, you can guess.

YPMobile: YPMobile is a Yellow Pages app that has an amazing depth of activities and events (music, sports, kids stuffin local areas that I find even has things not covered by many independent weekly newspapers. It’s powered by Zevents so I don’t know if that tells me why it’s so comprehensive.

I’ll add more throughout the day but go ahead and list your own must-haves in the comments. I’ve found that referrals by like-minded folks have been the best way to sift through the plethora of games and wasteful apps.

Comments

  1. #1 Odyssey
    December 26, 2009

    I like Evernote which is good for storing all kinds of information. And TripIt is good for travelers.

  2. #2 Orac
    December 26, 2009

    RedLaser is a great app that scans universal bar codes and then searches the Internet for the same product, both online and in nearby stores (based on GPS, natch!), producing a list of prices.

    Showtimes is a great app that uses GPS to list all the theaters and movies showing nearby, complete with showtimes.

    I like Urbanspoon but have at times found that it misses selections (at least it did when I was in Chicago in October).

  3. #3 GrayGaffer
    December 27, 2009

    For this ultimate geek toy, only the geekiest of apps:

    #1 Emerald Chronometer ($4.99)
    14 seriously complicated clock recreations, with much Astronomy involved. I use it as a desk clock.

    #2 i41CX+ ($14.99)
    Lovingly crafted and complete HP-41CX calculator recreation, including printer scrll, plugins, and downloadable program suites. Also check out PRG-16C ($19.99), an equally complete HP-16C implementation.

    #3 Along with Evernote you might check out Dropbox ($0) and GoodReader ($0.99), both with Mac counterparts. Similar but not identical function, each has their place.

    #4 OmniFocus ($19.99), the iPhone companion to the Mac ToDo app

    #5 Air Mouse Pro ($1.99), the best remote for my Mac I have found (I have 7 of them so far)

  4. #4 DrugMonkey
    December 27, 2009

    Echofon is an excellent Twitter client.

    Comic Touch is good for speech bubble editing of your pictures

    iColoringBook and DressChica are deceptively good emergency entertainment if you have little kids who get antsy

    (I’m talking the free versions for all of the above)

  5. #5 Abel Pharmboy
    December 27, 2009

    @DrugMonkey – Speaking of your ‘nym and kids’ entertainment, I keep a copy of the game PeeMonkey Toilet Trainer by HappyLatte, maker of “The World’s First Peeing Action Games!” You have to tilt the phone so that the horizontally-gliding and peeing monkey gets his urine in the toilet and not the bathroom floor. When the urine level on the floor gets to the level of the electrical outlet, it’s game over.

    Pure genius, I tell ya.

  6. #6 DrugMonkey
    December 27, 2009

    Yep, the kids love the PeeMonkey too. Pharos IV and GalagaRemix Lite are pretty decent.

  7. #7 Julie Stahlhut
    December 27, 2009

    Favorite game: Ant Wars. Take that, you pesky red ants! I mean, black ants — er, brown ants — oh, never mind.

  8. #8 Rebecca Skloot
    December 28, 2009

    Ooooooh, this is great! Thanks! I have to second the vote for Evernote, and definitely OmniFocus … I love it, use it all the time. I had no idea there was an iPhone app for Dropbox, but I’m all over that now. Also, if you want all of your email on your iPhone and searchable, reMail is amazing. Thanks for doing this Abel!

  9. #9 Mary
    December 28, 2009

    I have sciency ones:

    *We like the new GenomePad for using the UCSC Genome Browser from your iPhone: http://research.oicr.on.ca/genomepad/

    *We like BioGene for quick EntrezGene searches: http://cbio.mskcc.org/tools/iphone_ipodtouch.html

    I have no relationship with either development group. Both free anyway.

  10. #10 bioephemera
    December 28, 2009

    I use FileMagnet to drag and drop pdfs of papers onto my iPhone so I can read them on the go.

    I also wouldn’t be caught without a units convertor (Mine is simply called “Units Convertor,” by Youchao Zhou.

    I use Amazon Mobile so I can quickly add books to my shopping cart before I forget (I’ve ordered three or four books during class using that app).

  11. #11 Doug
    December 28, 2009

    Favorite iPhone Apps:
    1) Tweetdeck (Twitter app)
    2) NetNewsWire (for the blogs I read, including yours!)
    3) Stanza (ebook reader)
    4) AutoAdjust & Photoshop Mobile (photo processing)
    5) Flikr
    6) Yelp!
    7) Google
    8) Games – Civilization Revolution, Need For Speed: Shift, Battle for Wesnoth, Avatar, Skies of Glory – okay, I admit it, I like to play games!

  12. #12 How
    December 28, 2009

    -Second GoodReader, great for downloading PDFs from webpages
    -Second Google: the voice search is fantastic
    -Speaking of voice (harhar!), Dragon Dictation is amazingly accurate
    -Yelp is a good all-around, find-out-what’s-around-you augmented reality app
    -Stanza is a good e-book reader, with access to thousands of free titles
    -Done is a good, cheap to-do app
    -ShopShop is the last grocery list you’ll need
    -Abel, how could you leave out Epocrates? A pocket PDR with drug interaction indications; also, point it at a pill & it tells you what it is
    -Bump instantly trades contact info with fellow iPhone users
    -Download David Pogue’s “iPhone: the Missing Manual” from O’Reilly Pubs.
    -Play an instrument? Istrobosoft from Peterson is a DEADLY accurate tuner (a bargain @ $9.99)

    the list can go on and on; it’s really the greatest, most useful gadget ever.

  13. #13 perceval
    December 31, 2009

    Ooooh, lots of shiny stuff to download! May I add MakeAMartian, DressUp! and anything by DuckDuckMoose for kids? Mine love them! My daughter is teaching herself to read and write using pocketphonics, and both kids (and parents) are addicted to Sneezies.

  14. #14 Rachel
    January 9, 2010

    Ambiance is nice. There are hundreds of mixable sound loops to play. This app helps me sleep.
    Try cooking dash; it’s my favorite game and I’m 26. Also, price is right is fun. Definitely get pandora or last fm and a scanner app; scanner 5-0 is what I use. It has 1000s of locations to listen to.
    I’m not affiliated with any of these, btw. :)

  15. #15 Carlos
    January 17, 2010

    To spam my own app, please try Secret Ada, an iPhone / iPod Touch app which is has a collection of profiles of inspiring women in science and technology. You can’t just read these profiles – you have to decode them, because they are encoded as cryptogram puzzles.

    Click my name below this post to visit the web page for more info. If you like it, please help spread the word about it by tweeting / blogging etc… – Thanks!

    For readers of this blog, here are five promo codes – each one lets one person download the app for free. First come first serve! To use the code, find the ‘Redeem’ menu item in the top right of the iTunes store view on your desktop – put in the code and the app will download; then connect your device and sync, and it will appear on your iPhone / iPod Touch.

    TPJ9F7JNRHE3 AEWEY7LAJRP6 Y6E6K9T744AR K6ERJJHAATFT AJJ4YEW3AMWJ

    I obviously *am* affiliated with this one ;-).

    And to mention a couple of other great apps I’m not affiliated with, Midomi and Shazam both do the same thing, but come from different companies – they are amazing. When you hear some music and want to know what it is, you start up one of those two apps, tell it to listen, and it tells you the name of the song. Makes the device even more useful.

  16. #16 Business VoIP
    February 3, 2010

    There are lots of application i liked but Pandora App is may favorite one you can use the Pandora app to stream music over 3G or WiFi. Updated first gen iPhones can stream over WiFi or Edge, and the iPod Touch will obviously only stream over its Wi-Fi connection

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