Saturday, January 7, 2012

12 DOC, Day 12: Apps

Do you have a smart phone (i.e. a phone that you use not only for phone and texting but for the internet)? If so, you're probably familiar with the millions of apps that are available to make everything more easy (or is it more complicated) for you.

I'm no expert on the whole app phenomenon, but I do have a few that are favorites -- and mostly all free!

Path -- I just discovered this app, it's like a little photo journal, or a micro-Facebook. You can invite friends to see your stuff, a la Facebook, or you can keep it to yourself.  I'm using it as a place I can share with just a few close friends. And the photos on it look amazing!

Foursquare -- You now all those websites or apps where you get advice on restaurants or travel or what not, and you can read a million people's comments? I love those websites in theory, but once I start using them there's just SO much information, so much feedback, I find it overwhelming.

Foursquare is the better version of that.  Any place you go -- and I mean anyplace, restaurants, bowling alleys, gas stations, rides at an amusement park -- you can "check in" and read people's tips, all of which is super short and often super super useful. I use it whenever I'm traveling, and I get great advice about things as varied as which bathrooms are the worst to use at LAX and where to park when I'm going to a certain diner.

Foursquare also has a sort of game component -- the more you check in to a place, the more likely you are to become its "mayor"; also, with check ins some places offer special deals.  But it's just a really great app.

Showtimes -- If you're a movie fan and you want to know the show times at all the theaters near you, there's a wide variety of apps that can help you. Flikster is a great one if you want a lot of information; but if you're looking for just what each theater is showing, I recommend Showtimes. A very simple, super useful app.

A Sample Screen:

Zap2It -- Basically, it's TV Guide for whatever cable system you're on, no matter where or what it is.  You just tell it what system you're on and it shows you everything that is and will be playing on every station.  LMU has an itsy bitsy teeny tiny system of its own, and Zap2It still has it in its database -- and so I think it's safe to say it'll probably suit you, too.  Also has room for you to mark your favorite TV shows or movies and then return to those later, so you don't have to skim through the whole guide to find out when your shows are on and whether they're new. Again, super simple and super useful!

Wi-Fi Finder (above) -- A great little app for when you're trying to find a spot to use the internet without cables.  Locates all the sources around you, and even tells you whether they're free or charge a fee. (I hate going to the airport and seeing those "Wi-Fi Here!" posters only to find out it's Boingo Hotspot and you're going to have to pay to use it.  Give me a break!

Price Grabber (left) -- Say you see a book at Barnes & Noble, and you're wondering if you can find it cheaper somewhere else.  You can scan the bar code on the back of the book with your phone (the world is getting to be so Star Trek, isn't it?), and it'll tell you where else it's being sold (in stores and online) and at what price. A fantastic way to save some money.  

Tiny Wings -- At this point, everyone's heard about Angry Birds. But there's another bird game out there called Tiny Wings, where you help a little bird get off the ground and soar between hills, mountains and oceans. It's a lot more relaxing than Angry Birds, but just as consuming, and has a fantastic, mellow sound track, too.  Great for a plane or train ride...

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