“Can I play your phone?”
Ok, maybe it’s not age-old. I certainly was not asking my mom to play with the corded rotary phone on her bedside table. But my iPhone has taken the place of video games, mainly because there are always new and fun things that my son can do on it. And thanks to iTunes offering lots of free apps, I almost always find new icons placed on my screen that my son has added to my collection.
Of course, I use the iPhone too – for entertainment and for practical reasons. My iPhone has become somewhat of a mini computer. And I have a few favorite Apps that have simplified my life. And while this post is particularly prejudiced against other Smart Phones (sorry Droid users and CrackBerry users, I have no problem with you, but I just don’t own one of your kind of phones) and the more simplistic cell phones that only make phone calls (dude, mom, please get a new phone), I want to share some of these Apps with you.
Jeremy Jacob “Checkbook” – This app has become my most vital of all apps. It makes balancing my checkbook super easy, allowing me to know how much the bank says I have in my bank account (so I know how much I can borrow against the balance…), and how much I have in reality. I budget my month by taking out bill payments before I even pay them, so knowing both balances is incredibly important. It also allows me to keep track of several accounts all at once. I have downloaded several finance apps, and this one is by far the best. Cost: $1.99
LiveStrong.com “Calorie Tracker” – This past year I shed some serious pounds. And this app was the reason why. It allowed me to track everything I was putting in my mouth, the calorie and nutrition facts right at my fingertips. It helped me to be aware of everything I was eating so that I was able to easily make the right choice. I incurred a bit of eye-rolling whenever I whipped out my phone when eating at a restaurant. But judging by the fact that I am sliding into sizes I haven’t seen since high school, it’s a small price to pay. Cost: $2.99
Ontomni LLC “Groceries Grocery List” – Forget the scribbled on piece of paper, I now have all the things I need at the store programmed into my phone. And as I buy them, I can program the price into my phone to make future grocery budgeting that much easier. It also makes it easier to remember the things I would normally forget had I been trying to write out a list from the top of my head – like toilet paper. Cost: 99 cents
Disney/Family Fun “Craft Finder” – Sort your choices by age, time allotted, and occasion, and you will wind a plethora of different crafts to occupy your family. I find this app especially useful during the winter months when the weather is dreary and the kids are stuck inside. Instead of being bored, we spend time creating gifts for friends and family for the holidays! Cost: Free
Pandora Media “Pandora Radio” – Of course the iPhone has space for a ton of music. But I don’t own every single song I love to hear. Pandora has become my addiction. Creating “stations” I not only can listen to the sounds of my favorite artists, but I’m introduced to new artists that Pandora suggests I listen to. For a certain amount of hours a month, Pandora is free. However it is also riddled with ads. Because I listen to Pandora pretty much every day, I actually subscribe (low annual fee of $35). I can listen continuously, and I’m able to escape commercials in between songs. Cost: Free
Netflix Inc “Netflix” – This is the app that Netflix members have been waiting for. Finally we are able to watch movies in our “Watch Instantly” Que. Granted, watching a movie on a 3×2” screen is not exactly like watching it on a big screen TV. But imagine the entertainment it provides when you are waiting in the airport for a delayed plane, or set to run errands in the car with several fidgety kids. Convenience value? Priceless. Cost: Free
MobilityWare “Free Word Warp” – Granted it has ads, but that’s a small price to pay for an app that is so addicting. I love it because it feeds the inner nerd in me that loves word challenges. And it’s great for the kids because it helps with spelling and learning new words. Cost: Free
Penguin Group USA “Mad Libs” – The free version only has a couple different choices, but so far that hasn’t posed a problem. Just the other day my kids were giggling together as they took turns creating a new Mad Lib. Of course, most of the words they come up with have to do with the bathroom. But hey, they’re having fun, and learning the QWERTY way to type on a tiny keyboard. That’s educational, right? Cost: Free
iVisit Mobile “iVisit Sonoma County” – With sections for local museums, events, wineries, and more, it’s become really hard to claim there is nothing to do or nowhere to go. There is even a map that shows local highlights according to where you are. This is the must-have app for everyone living in Sonoma County. Cost: Free
Howcast “How to Videos from Howcast.com” – Want to know avoid the flu? How about how to exercise when pregnant? Ever wonder how to make your butt look smaller? There’s a video for that. And it’s on Howcast – a collection of how-to videos telling you how to do just about everything. From the serious how-to videos like “How to Use Chopsticks” to the informative yet hilarious “How to Find Out if Your Toys Are Alive”. Cost: Free