What’s On My iPhone? Or How My iPhone Has Become My Computer


My iPhone has become my primary “computer” over the last few weeks, replacing my Macbook, a Windows 7 laptop and an older Ubuntu box that I keep around for fun.  They are all great computers but I love the reality of having my computer in my pocket or bag at all times (with most of my data always present and/or accessible) no matter where I am.  That accessibility is worth the trade-off of eye-strain and learning to type again on such a small (and virtual) keyboard.

As wonderful as the iPhone is, I have to thank the third party application developers for allowing me to use the device as an actual computer. 

So, here are the apps that I currently have on my iPhone…

Page 1: The Essential Stuff

We’ll start with the “dock” at the bottom since that never changes. I keep access to the phone, mail app and iPod down there as well as OmniFocus, which is my default organizer (more on that later).  I use these four apps almost constantly, so having them in the dock on every page is a must.

Above them are the other communication and most-used apps on my device. Most of these apps will be familiar.  However, this is where I keep the apps that I need quick access to or use the most often when I’m on the run. So, my Google Tasks (which I’m still not sure how useful this will be long term, but I keep trying to fit it into my work flow with OmniFocus), BeeJive (fantastic IM application complete with Push notifications), Evernote (my 2nd brain) and Voice Memos are all there.  I use Voice Memos to do audio podcasts on here every now and then since I can simply email a recorded mp3 to Posterous. Love that functionality.  I also keep Pandora, WunderRadio, Facebook and a link to GReader there for quick entertainment/info access. 

You might also notice I have three Twitter apps on the first page.  Yes, it’s a waste of space but I really can’t decide which Twitter app I like the most.  Tweetie and Birdfeed are fast and elegant whereas Twittelator is the pic/GPS workhorse app.  I actually use all three of them on any given day and am finding that I use Tweetie when I just have a few secs to check Twitter and Twittelator when I want to spend more time in the stream.  I actually have TweetDeck on my iPhone as well, but it’s been relegated to the last page since it constantly crashes on me.  Fingers are crossed for a fix soon.

From Safari, I can get to all of my docs on Google Docs or anything saved in DropBox just to name a few.  The web really is my primary OS so Safari is in a prime place on the first page.

Page 2: Processing and Games

I can’t say enough about InstaPaper. It’s a fantastic app that allows you to save material for reading later as long as you have access to a browser. I wasn’t sure how I’d use this app, but after a few days I realized I needed to go “Pro” and get the paid version.  It’s becomign one of my most used apps. 

QuickOffice is a life-saver.  Basically, it is a word processor and spreadsheet app that integrates with any format file I might need to edit, view or create.  It’s expensive, but well worth it. 

GV Mobile integrates with Google Voice and provides me with all I could ever ask of that service. I don’t use it everyday, but I like to know it’s there when I need it. The other apps there are for trips, quick posting on the GriffinScience blog and making audio posts to Twitter.  Not essential, but handy.

The bottom two rows are the current games I have on the iPhone. RS09 Soccer and TapDefense are downright addicting.

Page 3: Books, Music and Science

Entertainment apps (Stitcher is fantastic for random podcast discovery) on the first three rows and science apps I use on the last row.  The Kindle app has actually replaced my physical Kindle device to the point that I’m considering eBay.  We’ll see.  The bottom science apps are all useful to me but probably not for most folks. I do teach 8th Grade Physical Science, though.  If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend EleMints as a great Periodic Table app.  Formul8 is also a must-have for me since it provides a great database of science formulas I might not know off the top of my head. Very handy when you’re in my line of work. 

Page 4: The Kitchen Sink and Triathlon Training

The first two rows are for apps that I’m really not sure how to integrate or just want to keep around. However, when I’m traveling I do use WiFiFoFum a great deal since it allows you to find wifi networks in a pinch.  The bottom row of apps are for my triathlon training and are fantastic. I keep them on the bottom row there because the last page includes the “Settings” app that I use to turn off wifi while exercising to save power.  I can’t stress how useful and handy Run Keeper Pro is if you’re into cycling, jogging, etc.  It’s changed the way I look at staying fit. sendGPS is great for just bookmarking a particular geographic location since I can quickly send an email to myself with specific coordinates and elevation that I can see on a Google Map and archive in GMail (such as a particular hill where I fell while biking this past Sunday).

Page 5: Settings

These are the apps that come standard with the iPhone that you can’t delete.  So, I banish them to the last page of my device so I don’t have to deal with them.  I use the Settings and App Store apps the most since I update apps from the device itself rather than through syncing to one computer. 

So there you have it.  Those are the apps that are on my iPhone and allow me to use the device as my primary computer.  Of course there times when I need to use a laptop and I still do that at least once a day.  However, I’m increasingly relying on my iPhone for everything (including word processing thanks to Google Docs and QuickOffice).  The web is my OS and the iPhone is my node. 

Any other apps I need that you love or use?

Dealing with eComXpo eMail


No matter how many times I've asked to be unsubscribed from eComXpo's mailing lists, I always get redundant mail from them anytime there's a new "virtual event" taking place.  It makes me wonder just how much money eComXpo has spent in acquiring email lists of affiliate marketers, publishers or bloggers over the years because the various email aliases that get sent their messages are all directly correlated to specific affiliate networks or newsletters.  Whatever… just don't sell/rent your email lists.  It's really a bad practice (and an ineffectual one in 2009). 

So, instead of relying on the good graces of the folks behind eComXpo to actually follow through with unsubscribe requests, I've had to invoke the nuclear option.

Thank goodness for GMail's filters:

It does not bode well for your business when you make folks take actions such as this for what should (legally) be your own responsibility. 


Does Philosophy Make You a Better Scientist?


Cosmic Variance

Does Philosophy Make You a Better Scientist?

It’s probably true that the post-WWII generations of leading physicists were less broadly educated than their pre-war counterparts (although there are certainly counterexamples such as Murray Gell-Mann and Steven Weinberg). The simplest explanation for this phenomenon would be that the center of gravity of scientific research switched from Europe to America after the war, and the value of a broad-based education (and philosophy in particular) has always been less in America.

Fascinating post on whether or not philosophy aids one in the pursuit of scientific studies.

As a self-professed “liberal arts” educated person, I feel there’s a great need to have a broad education beyond just one’s field. As a result, I see the current professional and pigeon-holed view of science education as damaging to the discipline’s overall goals of human enlightenment and understanding.

Radiolab: My New Favorite Podcast


This hour, Radiolab examines Stochasticity, which is just a wonderfully slippery and smarty-pants word for randomness. How big a role does randomness play in our lives? Do we live in a world of magic and meaning or … is it all just chance and happenstance? To tackle this question, we look at the role chance and randomness play in sports, lottery tickets, and even the cells in our own body. Along the way, we talk to a woman suddenly consumed by a frenzied gambling addiction, two friends whose meeting seems purely providential, and some very noisy bacteria.

Download MP3

via blogs.wnyc.org

Fantastic podcast.

This particular episode is really a must listen if you’re a thinking human (or even if you’re not).

Ah, me. Ah, life.