Sunday, December 30, 2012

iSurrender: iPhone Linkfest

Enough iOS already! It’s following me around and multiplying!

I love the iPhone 5 I now carry and am getting very comfortable using it. I confess I’m still not yet scratching the surface of the features it is capable of, but I no longer consider an iPhone noobie and that is saying a lot.

iPhone 4’s got delivered to work. I’ll be working on a project very soon to migrate our BlackBerry users to them.

Alvis announced she bought (on her own, the little scullery-maid!) an iPad Mini from the Apple-store online for a Christmas-cash present. Delivery expected this week. Fortunately she publically went on the record that she is an iOS girl and has no love or desire for Mac laptop/desktop platforms or OSX so she didn’t receive a grounding for her cheekiness.

And I now subscribe to a number of RSS feeds for iOS matters to stay on top of tips/apps and iOS trends.

iOS News and Scuttlebutt

In case you are an iOS user and been living under a rock lately…Google Maps for iOS dropped a few weeks ago. I love it but miss not having a terrain layer provided. Hopefully that will get added in eventually by the Google Map App team. Yes there is a way to get it via Cydia but that’s way past my comfort level so I personally won’t be making any recommendations with Cydia anytime soon.

Then came an iOS minor upgrade…Hurrah!

…which may cause battery-drain issues…oh-noes!

At first I thought I was also having this post iOS 6.0.2 update battery-drain issue, but now I’m not convinced. Is the battery actually draining faster? Or am I just more conscious of battery usage levels when I’m using my iPhone 5 to do light-web surfing around the house when I’m too lazy to use my main laptop system?  That Retina display rocks and dazzles and probably gobbles up the juice.  Maybe with a more stable Wi-Fi connection I’m just using it more that I realize….

Tips and Tricks

One of the challenges with “new-to-me” technology is getting up to speed so I feel I have some level of mastery of it. I’ve always had fun being challenged by new things and becoming comfortable in using and managing them.

Needless to say, the iOS environment is certainly rich with opportunity for learning both basic and new things!

iOS Apps I’ve Installed (and kept) since Last Posting

Once in a blue moon I will purchase a video (movie/TV show) from the iTunes store. Generally we buy BluRay disks and drop a few more dollars for the package that includes a digital copy. That works for us. I like the idea of iTunes rentals but the prices are (generally) crazy for the super-short rental “lifespan.” That doesn’t work for me.  I will pick up music (usually singles) from time to time. Again if I really “like” an album, I tend to order the physical CD and then import it into iTunes.

If I find a must-have, not-free app, I prefer to buy an iTunes card at a local store and then use that to purchase the app.

Otherwise, despite the number of iOS apps I’ve added/purchased recently as a new iPhone owner, I generally just wait until someone drops me an Apple iStore/App/Tunes gift card or I find a $20 for some “mad-money” and then splurge on some apps.

So the paid app purchases below are from Alvis’s Christmas gift card to me. Thank you Alvis!

  • Google Maps - free - iTunes App Store. Enough said.
  • Emerald Time - free - iTunes App Store. I’m a time junkie. Maybe from watching too many Dr. Who episodes? Anyway, while I can’t adjust the time on my iPhone, at least I can compare it to several NTP servers. It also lets you quickly see what the GMT time is. Geeky free app.
  • Networking Toolkit - free - iTunes App Store. Paul Borghese’s app is top-shelf stuff for networking admins. Super handy.
  • Due - $$ - iTunes App Store. Took me a while to find this one, and at $4.99, it isn’t “cheap” by most iOS app standards. Allows for creation of highly customized reminder alerts and timers. Lavie has a medication she must take every three days and sometimes we forget when the last dosage was given. This app allowed me to easily set a recurring three-day reminder. The UI is great and its power lies in its simplicity. Highly recommended.
  • IPv4 Subnet Calculator - $ - iTunes App Store. There are lots and lots of “free” IP Subnet Calculators out there. I have a few Windows utilities on my systems for the heavy network planning I do. However, while the Networking Toolkit already mentioned above met my basic -- in case of emergency needs, when I say Alex Buzov’s app, I couldn’t help but buy it. It is drop-dead gorgeous and practical at the same time. I don’t expect we will be dabbling in IPv6 anytime soon, but hopefully when that time comes, Alex will have a version released. I’ll stand in line to buy it!
  • Clear - $ - iTunes App Store.  Currently 50% off for a limited time. My brother tipped me off to this little gem. While I already have a note management app, and there is “Due” for reminders, this super beautiful fun app makes creating To-Do action lists fun. No, you cannot set calendar items or reminders but if you want a easy way to make lists you will come back to, this app is worth checking out.
  • Byword - $ - iTunes App Store. For when you need a more full-featured and full-sized app for composing text. It doesn’t do a who lot, but covers the basics of creating and editing larger text-based documents much more comfortable.
  • Grocery List - Buy Me a Pie - $ - iTunes App Store. There are a lot of free and $ “grocery/shopping-list” makers out there. What sold me on this one was a simple and easy to organize/navigate interface couple with the ability for me to share an on-line account with Lavie and Alvis to use to add needed items to the weekly grocery list. Sure, my handwritten 3x5 index card grocery list making system seems to work OK but hopefully this can help supplement it a bit. Multiple lists are supported so it doesn’t have to be limited for lists at the grocery store.
  • Naturespace - free/$ - iTunes App Store. The free app comes with a small set of nature-sound loops. Additional sound-atmosphere loops can be purchased in-app for a few dollars per sound loop.  There are more free sound-loop apps out there and I haven’t really scratched the surface but this one came highly recommended mostly based on the quality of the free app player as well as the quality of the sound loops themselves. Just wished they would have tossed in a rain/thunder-storm loop in the free package as well. That’s more my thing for relaxation but guess that’s how they get us hooked!
  • iFileExpress - free - iTunes App Store. Extend the ability to manage and share files between your iOS device and your PC/Mac system. Mainly for the geeks.

Coming soon I’ll be working on getting up a regularly maintained post to track and list my iOS iPhone apps in a single place for quick reference and for the curious.


--Claus Valca

1 comment:

FF Extension Guru said...

An iPad Mini? iDon't Think so! Sorry, I am not a fan of Apple, not even iTunes (doesn't seem to want to work no matter how many times I reinstall the application). Anyway I myself also got a cash Christmas Present Tablet, a Google Nexus 7 32 GB model. Having already had an Android Phone there was not much of a learning curve for me...more than I can say for my father (who also got one) who is migrating from a B&N Nook Color.