iPhone Mobile Apps

App Review: March Madness (iOS)

I don’t normally follow the NCAA tournament outside of the championship game, but this app makes it hard not to. The NCAA has released their own official March Madness app for iOS and it is chock full of awesomeness. If you own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you could conceivably follow the entire tournament from your device. Even the casual college basketball fan will find this app useful.

The app is very informative, as one would expect from the NCAA. you get a full bracket of matchups, including seedings, game times, and TV channels for each game. When you first set up the app, in fact, you also choose who your cable provider is so you can see what channel number to turn to for each game. There is also the option for taking part in the Bracket Challenge, although that was closed before I could join. If you already signed up, you can log into your account and see how your bracket is doing.

Appy Friday! iPhone Technology

Appy Friday: WGI

Recently, Winter Guard International released their own iOS app, joining the ranks of Drum Corps International, Drum Corps Europe, the Blue Devils, and the Phantom Regiment as marching arts organizations with apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. While there are some similarities between this and the other apps, the WGI app has a couple unique features which have potential to cross over to some or all of the other apps.

The primary purpose of the WGI app is to inform and market the activity. As a result, most of the app is focused on delivering information. The app features sections focused on upcoming events, the latest news, scores (currently empty), and WGI’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Tapping on an item in a section brings up more information on that item. For example, tapping on an event brings up the scheduled participants, location, seating diagrams, and how to buy tickets. Navigation is straightforward and simple.

iPhone Technology

Why You Should Wait On The Verizon iPhone

It finally happened: Verizon now offers the iPhone. A straightforward half-hour press conference featuring execs from Verizon and Apple made it official this morning. The ViPhone is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of the AT&T iPhone 4 with one major exception – as Verizon’s cell network is based on CDMA technology, this iPhone has no SIM card. iPhone fanboys have been clamoring for the device on the Verizon network almost as soon as it was announced in 2007. Now that it’s here, however, you may be better off waiting before taking the plunge. Here’s why.

Appy Friday!

Appy Friday: Genius Scan

Picture this scenario – You’re at a client’s office. You’ve given them a document such as a purchase authorization form to sign. You need to get the signed form back to your office, but you won’t be back for a couple days and your office doesn’t have a fax machine. You could take a picture of the document with your smartphone and send it via email, but image files tend to be large and could potentially be blocked by your office’s email system based on size limits. Even if you can email the image file, the size of the file is not very conducive to storage, especially as more and more documents are stored this way. You need to make a PDF of the document, which you could do if you could scan the document. Unfortunately, your phone doesn’t have that ability…UNTIL NOW!!!

Appy Friday!

Appy Friday: Heytell

There is one function which an iPhone cannot perform – Push to talk communication. This service began with the Nextel business cell phone company and later began popping up on other services such as AT&T. It never caught hold for personal users, but the days where personal and business use of cell phones were kept separate have passed. If you own an iPhone or Android phone, you have access to a free app named Heytell which does one thing, but does it incredibly well.

Once you install Heytell on your phone, you use it to access your contact list and add contacts to your Heytell friends list. Heytell will then send either a text or email message to the contact to let them know you’ve added them. If they have Heytell installed on their phone, they simply open the app and accept the invite. If not, they can install the app and accept the invite upon opening the app.

Appy Friday!

Appy Friday: Motion X GPS Drive

I am fortunate in that I have a very strong sense of direction. Putting any semblance of modesty aside, I have even found new ways to get from Point A to Point B in cities I’ve never been to before which people who have lived there for years never considered. As a result, I’m the last person you would expect to use a GPS system on a regular basis. There are situations, though, when I have to get to Point B by a certain time and can’t take the time to look over a map to find the best route. Thanks to my iPhone and MotionX GPS Drive, I don’t have to.

Thanks to a great dashboard mounting solution from Pro-Clip and power/audio from my Kensington LiquidAUX, I have my iPhone in a very visible and easy to control location in my car, and it only makes sense to use it for more than just a phone, especially now that the iPhone allows for GPS software.

Appy Friday!

Appy Friday! –

Since I reviewed the audiobook version of The Accidental Billionaires yesterday, I thought it appropriate that I start off my new weekly series, Appy Friday, with a review of the app, with which I listened to that book.

First, though, I would like to welcome you to this new addition to my site. Each week, I will review an app, whether it be iPhone, iPad, Andriod, WebOS, or some other mobile platform. We live in a world full of apps and, as the Apple commercials love to remind us, for anything we want to do, there is an app for that.

Considering that all iPods are able to play audiobook files natively, you may think that an app from Audible is redundant. After all, you buy your Audible books via their website, and the Audible software on your PC downloads the book and transfers it to your iTunes library. You then add the audiobook to your iPhone library the next time you sync. It’s a pretty straightforward process and, since you already sync your iPhone with your music library, it’s not like the process is an added burden.


My iPhone Experiment Wrap-Up

It’s the end of January, so it’s time for me to bring my iPhone experiment to a close.  Let’s see how I did.

For the most part, I found almost everything I needed to work exclusively from my phone. Here’s a list of what I wanted to do and what apps I found to do them with:

Posting to the website – WordPress app
Tracking my finances – PocketMoney
Twitter – TwitBird Pro
Facebook – Facebook app
MySpace – MySpace app
LinkedIn – LinkedIn app
Downloading and listening to podcasts – RSS Player
Weather – AccuWeather
Accessing my Dropbox account – Dropbox app
Controlling my computer’s iTunes – Remote
Managing my web logins – LastPass
Voice over IP – Skype
Grocery shopping – Grocery Gadget
Task management – Toodledo
Notes – Evernote
Streaming audio, music – Slacker Radio
Streaming audio, talk – TWiT
Managing my bank accounts – Chase
Managing my cell phone account – AT&T myWireless
Audio recording – iTalk Lite
Streaming video – UStream Viewer
Ordering dinner – Chipotle
Follow the Australian Open – 2010 Australian Open app
Drum corps related apps – iLike Phantom Regiment,  Drum Corps Europe News

As you can see, there’s a few apps I haven’t reviewed yet.  I’ll be posting those as soon as I can, hopefully today.  Also, there’s a few areas which I haven’t downloaded apps for, but hope to in the future.  Those are:

Instant messaging
Document editing
Digital wallet

I have a pretty good idea of which apps I’ll get to fill those needs, but I won’t post those until I’ve downloaded and used the apps in question.

Overall, I was able to use my iPhone to do whatever I needed to do most of the time.  There were a few times, such as updating the Drum Corps Planet front page, where I had to use my computer, as Joomla 1.0’s editor isn’t compatible with the iPhone Mobile Safari web browser.  There is an iPhone app and corresponding site plug-in for Joomla 1.5, which I have conveniently sent to DCP’s publisher, so that’s a possible fix for that particular issue.  Overall, while it isn’t the most convenient way to do things, both for personal and work purposes, I feel it is possible use your iPhone as your primary device.  That being the case, imagine how easy it would be to do all of this with an iPad, which uses almost all of the same applications as the iPhone, but with a larger screen.

If you’d like to see all of the article I’ve written this experiment, you can do so by going to the menu bar at the top of this page, holding your mouse over the Technology item, then choosing the iPhone option in the drop down menu that appears.  You can also click this link here. I will be creating a separate sub-category for all of the My iPhone Experiment articles so they are self-contained from other iPhone-related articles I write.

If you have any feedback for any of the articles I’ve written, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the article in question.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have and would love to read your thoughts on my writing and the site.


My iPhone Experiment – LinkedIn

I’ve been remiss in reviewing the last of the four social media “giants” for the iPhone – LinkedIn. Part of the reason is due to the discovery of some great apps which I wanted to pass on to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, another reason is because there are some issues with the LinkedIn iPhone app which are not resolved at the time of this article.

LinkedIn is the professional’s answer to Facebook and MySpace. Instead of connecting with your friends or promoting your band, you connect with co-workers and business partners, past and present. In the same way that you would network with fellow professionals at a conference, you connect to these people as a means of getting your name out there, either to further your career or to further your business.

The iPhone app recently underwent a major upgrade and, like the Facebook and MySpace apps, allows you to access many of the functions you would normally use on the site. You are able to update your status, see updates from connectd LinkedIn members, check your inbox, invite people to join your netwok, and respond to invitaions sent to you.

One particular app function is a welcome addition and makes business cards a little more obsolete. With the InPerson function, you and another iPhone user with the LinkedIn app installed can trade contact information over Bluetooth. No need to email or type the information in, jus let the app do all the work. This is a great feature and, as far as I know, only available on the iPhone at this time.

Unfortunately, there are some issues with the app. The Reconnect section, for example, has a bug which does not allow you to invite somebody off the Someone You May Know list. Also, you can’t invite anybody to join your netwok from their profile. You have to manually type the invitation in the Invite section of the app. Despite these issues, the LinkedIn iPhone app is still quite useful and worh adding to your app library.


My iPhone Experiment – LastPass

If you’re like me, you probably peruse a lot of websites, some of them on your iPhone. Considering that a lot of those sites requires a login of some type, how do you keep track of all of them? You definitely don’t want to use the same password over and over as that just opens you up to hackers. LastPass will do everything you want and more.

LastPass started out as a service for your computer web browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome). You install the toolbar or extension for the paricular browser. At each site you visit, LastPass will fill in the correct login and, if you choose, automatically log you into the site. LastPass can also randomly generate passwords for new sites you sign up on or as replacement passwords for your current logins.

The iPhone app, which is free to download but requires a premium LastPass account ($12), does the same as it’s full-sized counterpart. Unfortunately, LastPass is unable to access Safari, so the app includes it’s own browser. You also get a set of bookmarklets for Safari which give you limited LastPass abilities, mainly for filling in forms and logins.

The beauty of this app is that you can easily access all of your website accounts on your iPhone. Google, Amazon, Twitter – just a simple touch of the LastPass screen gets you in. On top of all that, LastPass encrypt your password list, both on your end and on the LastPass server, ensuring that your logins as completely secure.