My Top 5 iPhone Apps of the Week – Week #1

My Top 5 iPhone Apps of the Week - Week #1 I guess that with 47 million iPhones sold throughout 2010 and with 20 million plus already expected for Q1 in 2011 there is very little I would probably need to add about the tremendous impact of the iPhone within the smartphone market, whether for business or for personal use. Or both. So earlier on this year, around mid-summer, and after having waited for a couple of years, I, finally, took the chance to upgrade my good old 3G iPhone and get back on track with things with the iPhone 4. Thus, I got my hands on one. Yes, the very same one that dealt with the antennagate, which I never saw, nor experienced, by the way, in the nearly six months I have been using it extensively all over the place, including abroad. And counting … Certainly, one of the major gadget highlights for me for 2010, specially, since it allowed me to reacquaint myself with that good old concept of smart mobility without continuing to have that feeling I have been missing something for a while…

And so far the experience has been phenomenal, to say the least! It’s helped me get reacquainted with a good bunch of the iPhone Apps I fell in love in the first place when the iPhone 3G was still usable, plus a whole bunch of new ones that have come along rather nicely in the last few months. So when I resumed my blogging activities after a rather long hiatus not long ago I mentioned over here how, very soon, I would also be opening up a new series of blog posts, pretty similar to the My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, but instead of just sharing my favourite iPad Apps, I would also start sharing my iPhone Apps, with pretty much the very same flow, including the iPhone Game of the Week. That way folks, who may be interested in learning what interesting and rather helpful Apps there may be out there that I have been using lately, would have an opportunity to check them out themselves as well.

At the same time, and just like for the iPad Apps, it would give me an opportunity to create a record, an archive, of the ones I have been sharing already over at Twitter, under the same hash tag: #elsuapps before they all disappear into thin air, like it’s happened in the past. Now, I do realise how this series of blog posts are actually going to be much shorter than the iPad Apps ones and, eventually, I wouldn’t be surprise if both series of entries would merge into a single one as the reach and impact of the iPad become more and more apparent and we can move in right into what matters: sharing the odd tips here and there on really helpful Apps that perhaps you should not miss out. Nor me! Because, as usual, I would want to also welcome folks to leave in the comments section their favourite picks, tips and suggestions of Apps I should give a try as well and eventually incorporate into #elsuapps at some point in time…

Thus without much further ado, and hoping you would find this series of shorter posts on iPhone Apps somewhat helpful, here we go with My Top 5 iPhone Apps of the Week – Week #1:

  • Instagram: Yes, indeed, I am a visual human being, a visual learner, and, while on the move, Instagram is one of the latest mobile social networking tools I have joined just recently and I am finding it an absolute delight to, back again, enjoy fully both moblogging and photoblogging the way they should have been from the start: fun, fun, fun! Perhaps even what Flickr Mobile should have been altogether, from the start… My username in there is the usual one as it is everywhere else (i.e. elsua) and I guess to try to describe it is probably going to remain a challenge, so I would advise you to check out the picture I shared below a couple of days ago and which will probably describe pretty well the overall experience! Go ahead and give it a try and feel free to reach out across and start sharing some of those amazing pictures with your mobile social networks!
  • WhatsApp: If you happen to live in a country with the most expensive rates for SMS in Europe, you would probably be very very helpful for this rather nifty iPhone App, like I am, since I happen to live in such a country where the SMS fees are the most expensive in Europe by far, and if you go abroad and send an SMS msg., it’s even worse (Thank you very much, Movistar!). Like I said, if you want to stop sending SMS messages altogether, but still keep in touch with colleagues, friends and relatives, specially, in these times, without spending a penny more than what you would if you were to send an SMS from abroad with my mobile provider, WhatsApp is an essential, must-have, can’t-miss-out App. Period. Nothing else to add further other than being very grateful to the developers for helping us all save tons of money and still keep in touch with everyone!
  • Viber: You may have recently seen, or experienced, the issues Skype had with a rather long outage that took the service down for a good number of hours and back then you were probably already wondering about what potential alternatives you may have out there, right? Well, on the iPhone, there are several of them out there, but my favourite one so far, and way ahead of the curve from most of the others, is Viber. Have a look into this YouTube video to see how it works and go and install it right away! Another good, helpful way of reducing your mobile phone costs. Oh, and just like the short video clip states, it works!

  • Dragon Dictation: If you are already familiar with voice recognition software, you would know there are plenty of really good options out there for most operating systems; my favourite on the Mac has been, all along, MacSpeech Dictate (Which has been recently re-branded as Dragon Dictate for Mac), so when I first heard that Dragon Dictation was becoming available as well outside of the US I just couldn’t help bounce up and down sharing the excitement; this was one of those iPhone Apps I have been looking forward to for months and, finally!, it was available to us all! And, boy, does it work beautifully?!?! It surely does! If you are tried of typing or you just want to capture that quick thought, while on the go, Dragon Dictation is all you need! Another, must-have, essential App for your iPhone!
  • Bayo Bongo: And, finally, here we go with the final iPhone App for this time around, which happens to be the iPhone Game of the Week. This time around dedicated to one of my favourites, Bayo Bongo. It may seem an easy to play game at the beginning, but, to be honest, as you move forward to higher levels you will experience what it is like multi-touching on such a tiny screen as the iPhone’s, just to keep up with the game itself! Fantastic, addictive and rather immersive altogether! Oh, and here is another tip, there is an iPad version for it, too! And goodness! It changes the whole game altogether on how you can interact with both hands as an amazingly fun game to experience. Highly recommended!

And that’s it, folks, for this time around! Hope you get to enjoy some of those various iPhone Apps mentioned above and stay tuned for upcoming blog posts where I will continue with the series of #elsuapps for the iPhone. Oh, and don’t forget to share your favourite picks in the comments as well!

Gran Canaria - Christmas in Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #9

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week - Week #9As we keep witnessing how the iPad is entering a whole bunch of new markets for tablets that perhaps never thought they would be making it that far, while being taken by storm by the iPad itself like they are at the moment, here I am, once again, ready to go and share with you folks the next blog post from the series of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, this time around with Week #9. First though I would want to share with you folks a couple of rather helpful articles you may want to check out, specially, if you are a librarian or perhaps an English language teacher. They are just basically a couple of articles with plenty of helpful tips and recommendations on Apps to check out, specially for those two groups, which I am sure is going to keep you all busy for a while. To name: “40 iPad Apps That Librarians Love” and “iPad Apps for English Language Teachers“, respectively. And now that we are over with that short introduction, let me recommend you as well to read one of those posts a good friend of mine put together just recently and that sounds incredibly scary as to how well he has described not only his own iPad experience so far, but mine, too! Check out Jim Worth‘s “What’s so special about the iPad“… Yes, indeed, that’s exactly how I feel about it myself: special!

Some of Jim’s thoughts on what appeals to him about the iPad would also be very true for me: the always Instant On, the All Day Battery Life, the Portability, the Continuous and Free Software Updates, the Social Web, the Video and Audio Capabilities and, of course, the games, the brilliant games that I have been playing there now for a few months and that helped my gamer self resurface once again from the good old times! However, there are still plenty of other things for which I *heart* my iPad experience and very shortly I will be putting together another blog entry where I will try to cover the main reasons as to why I gave in a few months back, bought my iPad, while in the US, and haven’t walked back ever since!

The always inspiring Paul Gillin already hints some of the topics I will be covering as well in that upcoming blog post in a recent entry he wrote under the title “Age of the Tablet Has Begun“, which, I am sure you would agree with me, has got a very suggestive title of what’s to come in the new year we are approaching fast and furious. Indeed, Paul is just basically detailing how he feels the iPad, and other upcoming tablets, whenever they come out!, are going to change the whole concept of mobility and portability, even beyond that one of ultra-portable devices like netbooks or the MacBook Air, to name a couple. And I think he is absolutely right and spot on on that one, since the last couple of months, while I have been on the road myself in various different business trips, I, too, have experienced what it is like just relying on my iPad while presenting to customers, or being immersed in workshops, attending & presenting at conference events, etc. etc. and just having to rely effectively on my iPad alone.

To name a couple of very simple and straight forward benefits, which I will touch base on at a later time on that other upcoming post, from carrying an iPad for your business travelling, as an starting point, is that both my shoulders and my back are incredibly grateful they no longer have to carry that extra bag which weighs a few extra pounds, more than probably necessary ; instead I just have to carry with me my iPad in its light case and off we go. Instant access, wherever I may well be, ready to work and catch up with things under whatever the circumstances, scenarios and whatever other contexts. The other benefit is that my wrists are rather grateful, too! Mainly, because I am no longer spending so much time in front of the Mac typing away, but instead I am much more mobile, changing work places on a rather regular basis and finding those lovely breaks one can use here and there to give those wrists a well deserved break. Something that while using the Mac I keep skipping time and time again, for whatever the reason…

Like I said, there are several other reasons as to why the iPad is probably that particular device that has changed, the most substantially over the last 6 months!, the way I interact with my own working environment, whether behind the firewall or outside. It’s that device that has certainly brought back a level of comfort that I felt I was losing time and time again when having to spend too much time in front of the Mac itself. Now I can still keep up and have that mobility I once thought I lost it for good!

But you will find out plenty more about the rest of the other benefits I am getting from my own iPad experience in that upcoming post. For now though, I am going to go ahead with the usual sharing of the “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week“, this time around for Week #9 picking up those Top 5 iPad Apps from the ones I keep sharing every so often over at my Twitter acount under the hash tag #elsuapps. So if you would want to see which ones I am sharing on a daily basis, you may want to subscribe to the Twitter feed from that hash tag. As usual, this set of recommendations helps me in two different areas: first, as a way for me to recommend some of the iPad Apps I have been enjoying quite a bit as of late, as more and more of my friends and colleagues are purchasing their iPads and want to know which ones I have been enjoying the most and, secondly, a method for me to remember and capture them over here in my own blog, since Twitter doesn’t want to do a proper job at it, at least, for now. In a way, it’s like my own Personal Knowledge Sharing iPad tips!

As usual, I will be recommending 5 different Apps, one of which is the iPad Game of the Week and the others are Apps I keep using on a regular basis for a bunch of tasks and activities, both for work and for personal use. I will also try to keep the reasons why I am recommending them a bit short and include the link to them in iTunes, so you can have a look into them right away and without delay, should you be interested in any of them. And, as always, if you would have any other iPad apps you yourself would want to recommend, share them across in the comments section, and I will incorporate them into future posts as well. The more, the better!

Thus without much further ado, let’s go with the recommendations for Week #9:

  • XpenseTracker – (Expense Tracker & Mileage Log): This is one of my favourite iPad Apps to keep track of expenses, both personal and work related, specially, for when I am in the road and need to keep track of them in order to declare them at a later time, for the work ones, and to keep an eye on things for the personal ones. It’s just as good as it gets, in my opinion, more than anything else because it allows you to get the job done easily and, most importantly, export it elsewhere for easier processing while handling those expenses. A must-have for those travel warriors out there!
  • Slide by Slide: My good friend Stu McIntyre recommended this one a little while ago over at the This Week In Lotus podcast as perhaps one of the most powerful iPad Apps to view, digest and share across presentations stored in one of our favourite Web 2.0 tools available out there: Slideshare and after having used it myself for a little while now I can confirm it just rocks!! It’s my default viewer for Slideshare decks at the moment and the ease of use it has along with the lack of ads surely makes it a treat working with it, specially when you are hunting down for ideas and other thoughts to reuse for your upcoming presentations! Very very helpful!
  • All-IN-1 Battery HD: Yes, I know! Even though the battery of the iPad can last from anything between 10 to 13 hours, I still like to have a little App that helps me stay informed about the status of the battery, hours I got left for various activities and how to fine tune things better, to, even get better results! Well, that is exactly what All-IN-1 Battery HD does for you and although there are a bunch of other related iPad Apps, this is probably one of the best out there! Oh, and it has a lovely Weather widget you can use at the same time! hehe

  • Google Earth: At this point in time, there is probably very little that I would need to add about Google Earth that may not have been said yet about it, but if I can add my ¢2 I could probably say that the experience in an iPad is fantastic! Having that ability to check out places, while on the move, to see where you are going, what you need to do, places to check, people to meet in places you never heard about, show everyone where you live or where you work in a way they, too, can interact with it at the same time as you are, is just priceless! It’s just like having that wonderful thing we call World right at your fingertips! Amazing! This is one of those Apps I really enjoy using with people who have never used the Web, nor are they interested in it. Yes, I know, there are still plenty of people out there in that realm and they all *love* the Google Earth iPad App… I can’t blame them for it. I do, too! 

  • Fieldrunners for iPad: And, finally, the iPad Game of the Week, which in this case comes directly from the iPhone, where I first fell in love with Fieldrunners; it’s a rather simple game with a rather concrete plot, but, boy, does it get addictive the more you play it and the game develops further! I can guarantee you that you will be spending a bunch of hours playing this fun game and don’t get bored with it! And the music is rather catchy, too! hehe

And that’s it for today, folks! Very soon I will be putting together the next one which will make Week #10 of My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week. Stay tuned for that one to come up! For now, I would want to wrap up this blog entry by reminding folks to check the blog post for Week #8, where I shared the tip about AppShopper, which given the time of the year we are in, is a must have, an essential iPad App to have, to catch all of the best deals and sales offers that most Apps are already offering during the holiday period. You may want to give it a go and see what you find! Some of the gems I have bumped into over the last week or so I have got them for almost no money just waiting for the bargains to kick in! Don’t miss out either!

Hope you have enjoyed this blog post, just as much as I am enjoying it myself with all of these iPad Apps and I surely look forward to reading your recommendations in the comments! Keep having fun with your iPads! :-)

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My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week – Week #8

My Top 5 iPad Apps of the WeekOn my welcome back post from a few days ago, after a long hiatus of not having blogged much over here in this blog in the last few weeks, I mentioned how I was still planning on keeping things going with that series of blog posts I started a while ago on My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week, and which I have picked up as well back again on Twitter under the Daily #iPad App recommendations for #elsuapps. Well, I am happy to announce that series of entries is back and here we go with the edition for week #8! Read on… !

Now, there are a couple of new things I have thought about after all of that time not blogging away on this topic; the first one is another blog post (My good friend, and fellow IBM colleague, Bill Chamberlin keeps asking me about it … hehe) where I plan to detail what having, and making extensive use of, an iPad has meant for me in the last few months, to the point, where it’s replaced, altogether!, my regular mobile computing habits with my MacBook Pro and nowadays I just travel with my iPad! The recent iOS upgrade to 4.2 has meant, for me, a whole new bunch of enhanced productivity gains that TCGeeks describes thoroughly quite nicely and in that upcoming entry I am hoping to reflect why I heart my iPad more than any other mobile device I may have ever owned. Stay tuned … will be coming up shortly!

As usual, and as part of this blog series of posts, I keep sharing a bunch of articles that keep demonstrating how the business keeps showing a growing interest for the iPad within the Enterprise, not just from the perspective of every CIO and top level executive to own their have their own iPads, but also from the perspective where even analysts are starting to place their bets on how the iPad will transform the way we do business as well. Perhaps one of the most interesting articles that I have read on this very same topic as of late is that one from David Carr, over at InformationWeek, under the title “iPads Hit The Enterprise“.

In that rather interesting article, you would be able to read about how plenty of business are already making use of iPads for their day to day tasks and activities and getting plenty of good results; never mind the user acceptance and wider adoption by the knowledge workers themselves; I mean, who wouldn’t want to have an iPad as your main tool at work, instead of that relatively old, clunky, frustrating desktop PC you’ve been using for years and years, right? Like I said, a rather good and insightful read for those folks who may still be wondering whether the iPad has got a space within the corporate world or not. My short, sweet and straightforward answer to that question: yes, it does! And big time!!

Ok, after having shared all of those rather interesting and insightful links, let’s move on with the list of recommended iPad Apps for week #8; as usual, it’s a list of 5 iPad apps that I keep using myself on a regular basis, and out of the 5 of them one is the iPad Game of the Week, just for those spare moments where one could use a bit of fun and entertainment, while other things are happening in between, like waiting in queues, or while travelling, etc. etc. Like with all of the various different blog posts I have put together on this series, I keep aiming at keeping the description of the Apps rather short and focused, hoping to spark an idea or two as to why I use those as opposed to others. Thus, without much further ado, here is the list for this time around… Hope folks would enjoy them, just as much as I do, and, remember, if you would want to share your favourite picks, go ahead and add them in the comments section and I would be more than happy to share them across in upcoming articles with due credit. So, let’s go!

  • Flipboard: If you are a news junky, or if you would want to consume both news items as well as information resources shared through some of the major social networking sites (Like Facebook, Twitter and top blogs from multiple areas) in a rather new, innovative and rather creative way, Flipboard is probably as good as it gets. Even better when it’s considered by most folks one of the best RSS and Syndication technologies for 2010 or when you bump into a superb blog post that details how you can consume your Google Reader feeds directly from Flipboard itself. Absolutely fantastic and the latest version they have released is a *huge* improvement from previous versions as well… A must have! 
  • AppShopper: This is, perhaps, one of my all time favourite iPad apps (Works pretty nicely as well on the iPhone!!) from all along! It is one of those rather nifty and powerful iPad / iPhone apps that would allow you to find, AND strike, the best deals of some of the most popular Apps or those that have got, for a limited amount of time, juicy sales discounts with rather high %s. They say that buying Apps can become very expensive; well, with AppShopper, that’s no longer the case! Most of the recommendations I keep making over here of paid Apps I got them through real bargains in AppShopper. It’s an essential, must-have app for everyone! Believe me, once you get this app, your wallet will be grateful. At least, mine is :)
  • Wi-Fi Finder: This is one of those iPad apps that becomes incredibly helpful and rather powerful for those road warriors out there, constantly in the move with business / casual travelling, where they are always on the lookout for free wi-fi hot stops they could hook up their devices and get connected back again. Well, Wi-Fi Finder makes that job a whole lot easier by looking for you for those Wi-Fi spots and share them across with you. It even has got an offline capability where it downloads a database to your iPad and it searches for them even when you are disconnected. Like I said, ideal for those folks travelling out there!
  • Emerald Observatory for iPad: As much as I love this particular iPad App, I must confess that I didn’t make regular use of it till the recent upgrade to iOS 4.2 introduced the wonderful concept of multitasking … on the iPad! Yay! From there onwards it’s one of the applications that I have got running in the background constantly to give me a glimpse of all of those bits and pieces of information that one wants to keep handy, but can never find the application that does it nicely. Well, Observatory does it and beautifully! 

  • 7 Wonders HD: And, finally, like I have mentioned above, the iPad Game of the Week; I have got a few of them, but since I am planning on sharing just one per blog post, I will continue to do so with this one as well; so for week #8 the game of the week would be 7 Wonders HD; one of those games whose storyline may sound a bit simplistic, but that, as you get immersed in it, you just cannot escape its addiction till you are done with it; it will keep you going for hours and hours without end trying to reach for that final stage where complexity takes a new meaning… And when you get there, you will see what I mean … hehe

And that’s it, folks, for today! The series of blog posts on “My Top 5 iPad Apps of the Week” is back with this 8th edition and I am hoping you would enjoy it, just as much as I did putting it together! Oh, oh, and before I forget, there are some more good news coming up to the this blog as well, when very soon I will open up another series of blog entries, pretty much along the same lines as this one, but instead of iPad Apps, I will be talking, and sharing my favourite picks!, about iPhone Apps, now that I have finally re-acquainted myself with some of the wonderful apps I keep using on my iPhone 4, which brings me back into having a rather decent smartphone. So stay tuned for those coming up as well shortly!

… If you can’t wait, you can already have a glimpse of some of them at the usual place: #elsuapps in Twitter. Lots of good fun coming up!

 

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