How I Love Thee iPhone. Let Me Count the Ways

I just spent thirty minutes writing to a friend who asked me my thoughts on the iPhone. I thought I’d post an edited version here. Yes, I am very very very biased. It’s okay to take what I write here with a measure of “yeah, he’s a fanboy”.

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(1) Sexy & Apps. First, let’s start with this. I love the iPhone. It’s sexy. I could leave it at that. (Of course I won’t.) Then there are the apps. I use a lot of free apps and some of the paid apps as well. I wrote a story about each of the apps I have on the first two screens of my phone here and here if you’d like to see my favorites).

(2) The Interface. I’ve seen the droid interface, the hardware, and while it’s okay, especially if you’ve never used an iPhone, once you’ve used the Retina Display (super high resolution screen on the iPhone 4) the others are all just toast. They look like a kid’s toy by comparison. At least the ones I’ve seen.

(3) The Camera. There are some guys out there doing some really amazing things all in phone; meaning they take the picture and edit it in phone using the camera apps (I have several but today I find I prefer the native camera app). To see some of one guys work go to http://jeremycowart.com/#951743/iPhone. Of course Jeremy is a genius but still.

(4) Resale Value. Lastly, I sold my 3G for $200 a few weeks earlier after I upgraded. Same price as I paid for the 4. To top that, I bought my wife an iPhone 4 a few weeks later for the same standard $200 price tag and then turned around and sold here 3GS for just a few dollars shy of $400. No joke.

The Low Information Diet

Thirty years ago I was eavesdropping and overheard one grownup explaining to another grownup something I’ll never forget.

He’d arrived at work one morning and realized he was in the most foul mood. He was downright angry! In fact, he said, this feeling wasn’t new! He arrived at work upset every single day. What’s worse is he realized that he had been “sharing” his anger with others; taking his bad mood out on those around him.

From that moment he started trying to figure out the cause of his bad mood. What was causing his nastiness? After much thought, the best he could come up with was the daily news. He listened to the news in the car on his ride into work every morning. Could that be it? He decided to test his theory.

Sure enough, after a week of no news he was a new man. He would arrive at the office in a great mood. Over time he even caught himself smiling at folks in the office as they passed in the hall.

This is a true story. One I look back on when my decision to go on a Low Information Diet is questioned. Won’t I miss something important? Well, define important. If it’s truly important folks will let you know. If it’s really important you can ask your friends (or the cashier at the grocery for that matter) what’s new in the world and they’ll gladly tell you.

Now, to be clear, we’re talking about a “Low” not “No” Information Diet here. Make no mistake, I keep myself informed on the big issues. Especially when it’s time to vote. In the meantime, I keep to my strict Low Information Diet and suggest that I am a happier, and probably healthier, person for so doing.

In conclusion, if you find yourself angry (or sad, depressed, worried) and you’re like that most (or some, any, all) of the time, especially if you find yourself taking it out on others, be it directly or indirectly, take stock and consider putting yourself on the Low Information Diet. Believe me, the world will keep on turning, and your friends and family may even thank you.

My iPhone Apps – Page Two

It’s taken me a few weeks to get back to my iPhone apps. In all honesty, it’s make me rethink my second page. I realized that I had apps on page two that I really never used. I’ve done some rearranging and now all of the apps on my page two are those that I use on at least a semi regular basis.

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1. iTunes – This is the store. I was having lunch with a friend, asked what they were listening to lately. They recommended an artist. I went to iTunes on my phone, bought the record, and it was downloaded and ready to play on my ride home before lunch was over.

2. App Store – This one had to show up eventually, right? I will regularly check the top paid and free apps just to see if anything new, fun, or useful has come along.

3. Apple Store – I bought my Apple TV using this app. I warn you. This is can be the most expensive app you have; indirectly at least.

4. eBay – I don’t use this as much as I once did but it does come out to play every now and again.

5. Flixster – Sitting at dinner and decide you wanna see a movie? You once had to drive up to the theatre and squint as you tried to get the movie listings and times to come into view. This app allows you to search for local theater, movies showing, and times. (I’ve even used this in the theatre on what I term “double feature day” to see when the next movie I wanted to see started.)

6. iConcertCal – Find local (or not local) concerts playing at a venue near (nor not near) you.

7. Skype – For $2 a month I have unlimited calls. It’s not the greatest reception and calls seem to drop a lot but for the price? Whatchayougonnado?

8. Stopwatch – Does what it says. Simplest of apps.

9. Best Alarm – I used this recently at a hotel just in case my wakeup call failed.

10. Converter – Ever wonder what 100 degrees fahrenheit is in celsius? There’s an app for that. Need to convert miles into kilometers? You guessed it.

11. Flickr – I use this the least because the interface is a little wonky but when I need to show someone pictures I’ve uploaded to my Flickr page, it’s right in my pocket.

12. Camera – This is the native camera app. I keep it around because not only does it take regular pictures and video but it will take pictures in HDR as well. Cool.

13. Photos – Where I can review the pictures I’ve taken on my iPhone.

14. Southwest – I sure wish I’d had this ten years ago. Review DING! fares, book flights, make car reservations, check into your flight! Best of the best. I used this to check into a recent flight home; from my hotel room. Not having to fight with the hotel lobby computer? Priceless.

15. Settings – Duhh.

Hope you enjoyed. I’ll spare you pages three and four. Mostly that’s just where apps I’m trying out are stored. Happy holidays!

My iPhone Apps – Page One

I was asked recently to list the iPhone Apps that I use. Here are a few that are on my iPhone that you might also find useful. This is just page one. I’ll save page two (perhaps three and four as well) for another post.

Page One

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1. Facebook: This one has been listed in the App Store’s Top 25 Free Applications for as long as I’ve been paying attention. I use it to keep up with your status and to update my own. It’s not perfect but like with the desktop user interface they continue to tweak the experience. Sometimes they make it better. Sometimes not.

2. Twitter: This app was once called something else but changed it’s name to Twitter when it was bought by the actual company. It’s been so long now I don’t even recall what the original pre-twitter purchase name is anymore. Best mobile Twitter application for its simplicity and for being so easy to use.

3. LinkedIn: I don’t use this application very often but since it rounds out the business end of my social networking experience I have it installed.

4. Foursquare: Location based social networking leader. However, it is sometimes a slightly awkward conversation tying to explain the appeal of this app. I’m not even sure sometimes how to describe it other than when you go somewhere, out to eat at a restaurant for example, you can “check in” to the location, get “points” for checking in, and if you check in often enough become the “mayor” of that location. Truth is I might not still be using this app if it weren’t for their special four square deals. For example, a local sushi restaurant offers free edamame when you check in. You can also use it as a sort of digital journal of all the places you’ve been. If you’re into that.

5. Solebon: They call it “For Refined Solitaire Players”. Okay dokey. It does have a lot of solitaire games. I’ve played more hours of Yukon than I’d care to mention.

6. Best Camera: The camera application brought to you by Chase Jarvis. It’s almost as easy to use as your native camera app but has a few really cool, yet still simple to use, editing features.

7. Evernote: I don’t use this as much as I could / should. A lot of folks that use this app swear by it but admit that at first they “just didn’t get it”. I’m sort of stuck somewhere in between. I get it but don’t use it as much. What is it, you ask? Oh, it’s a an app that lets you capture your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations (i.e. notes to self) via text, snapshot, or voice.

8. Netflix: Lets you manage your dvd and streaming account from your phone. As if that weren’t enough, you can also stream video right from your phone. Yes, sports fans, you can now watch Netflix at the gym.

9. Dropbox: Download the app to your desktop, drag files to the folder it creates, share the folder and its contents with yourself via another desktop or your phone, and share specific subfolders and their contents with friends, family, and business associates.

10. Feeds: Google Reader feeds.

11. Weather: Duhh. While this is a native (an app that comes installed on every iPhone) I have every city I’ve been to since I’ve owned an iPhone listed here. There’s a few.

12. Tip Calculator: I can sometimes go overboard in an attempt not to stiff wait staff on their tip. This allows me to do the 15-20-25 percent and round up to the nearest dollar without all that messy math business.

13. Shazam: Best application ever. There’s a song on the radio and you can’t quite remember who the artist is or the name of the song. Open this app, click a button, and Shazam will not only tell you the artist and song title but give you the opportunity to buy it on iTunes.

14. NY Times: I’m not a big news guy for my own personal reasons but when I do read the news I go to the NY Times.

15. Contacts: This is also a native app, true, but here’s a tip. You’re sitting having lunch with your new business contact and you want to give them your phone number and email address. Did you know that you can go into Contacts, navigate to your listing, open up to the listing info, scroll to the bottom of your contact listing, click Share Contact, and text the contact info to them? So easy.

16. iPod: This is also a native app but since it’s the one I use the most it’s worth mentioning. Now that I have 16G of space, on my phone, the one device I always have with me, I hardly every use my iPod classic anymore. I guess that’s why they no longer produce them anymore. Makes me happy and sad all at the same time.

That’s it for page one. Do you have a favorite iPhone application? Please share.

PS: I have a few stories and lots of pictures from my recent trip to Nashville. They’ll be up soon; they just aren’t quite ready yet.

New Apple TV Delivered

I have tried to be an early adopter of technology but I always fall short. Apple TV for example has been out for years. I just never saw the point. With a pretty steep price tag for a less than sexy piece of hardware I just figured I’d wait until it made sense.

Earlier this month I read that the new Apple TV was going to be a third of the price, a tenth of the size, and plays Netflix, I had to check it out. I placed my order earlier last month and was promised a September delivery. Apple almost came thru with the September. FedEx knocked on the door this morning and my Apple TV was delivered.

I took a few quick shots of the box which turns out isn’t much bigger than two iPhones stacked on top of each other. I then took a shot of it setup in the living room. See if you can spot it. It really doesn’t take up much room at all.

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See it?

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How about now?

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Now?

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There it is! And speaking of early adoption and hanging onto old technology for no really good reason, yes, that is a VCR. I’m just using it to prop up the DVR. Honest. No really, I am. Seriously.

TGIF!