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iPhone application mini-reviews

5 March 2009

As promised, there are the iPhone applications I use on a regular basis. I am still looking for recommendations on an iPhone to-do and astronomy application, see below. I did not include links, as all of these are easy enough to find in the App Store.


  • Phone and SMS: I use my iPhone as a phone
  • Calendar: I also use my phone as an organizer
  • Mail: I like to keep up with my personal mail away from home
  • Safari: I use it primarily to visit sites blocked by work’s firewall, mostly technical blogs.
  • TwitterFon: I read Twitter daily when I can, and sometimes post to get answers to my technical questions.
  • Facebook: I have a lot of friends on Facebook, enough said.


  • Contacts: essential for my phone qua organizer
  • iPod: I went ahead and bought the extra disk space to allow me to hand down my true iPod
  • gFlash+: The kids and I quiz each other on our taekwon-do required knowledge. You can create a Google Doc spreadsheet and upload your own flashcards.
  • MotionX GPS Lite: It’s the best free app I’ve found for tapping into the iPhone’s GPS capabilities.
  • AroundMe: When I’m with friends or my wife and we’re deciding where to go or what to do, this app points out possibilities.
  • Maps: Google Maps is a great fit for the iPhone. It behaves much like I’d expect it to, which is excellent poka-yoke.
  • SnapTell: Take a picture of a piece of media, SnapTell identifies it and links to online retailers. A brilliant combination of the iPhone’s camera and internet functions.
  • midomi: Record a snippet of a song played on the radio, hummed, or sung, and it identifies it, with fair accuracy.
  • Ocarina: The only application I’ve paid for so far. Not only is it a musical instrument, but you can listen to other Ocarina users playing around the world.
  • iStethoscope: It turns your iPhone into a directional microphone.

Infrequent but Handy

  • Weather: I have a good feel for weather, but knowing the forecast can be handy.
  • WordPress: It’s nice to be able to post to my blog on the go.
  • Dialer (Melodis): A free voice dialer, it works pretty well on the occasion I need to make an outgoing call.
  • Lose It: A meal tracking program. I’ve found some interesting data about my diet thus far.
  • Diceshaker / Dice Bag: As a roleplayer, I’d be remiss without a dice-rolling program. Diceshaker has the best user experience (shake the iPhone to roll), but the Dice Bag’s visuals of dice are much more compelling. I haven’t decided which one to use.
  • iChess: Not only do I play the iPhone, but sometimes my son and I play when we’re out and about waiting for something.
  • iHandyLevel and Flashlight: I like applications that extend the versatility of my iPhone. Handy Level and Flashlight are no exceptions.
  • Lightsaber: This app is so-so to me, but the kids beg me to play it, so it stays.
  • Mancala FS5: The only one of their apps that isn’t grossly crippled, I have it on the iPhone for playing with the kids.

Up and Coming

  • CubeRunner, Tap Tap Revolution, and Topple: From the little I’ve played with them, I enjoy these games.
  • DarkSlide: Being able to upload to my Flickr account is cool, but it takes so long over 3G, it’s almost unusable.
  • Public Radio Finder: It seems handy, but I’ve never used it.
  • iTick: My wife is a college music student, and she thought this app was okay. She wanted it to have a wider selection of key signatures.
  • Advent: At first, I thought this game would be great! But, typing lots of text on the iPhone keyboard can be tiresome, so it’s not as fun as I’d hoped.

To-Do Applications
I’ve been through several. Todo Lite, SmartTime, and EasyTask are in the running. What I really want is a to-do application that can alert me, nag me when things are overdue, and can be scheduled to recur. None of these excels at all three. I’m thinking about buying Todo, but it’s $10. Toodledo offers a very similar app for $4, but there’s no free preview.

Stars is the closest free app to what I want. I want an app that will combine my iPhone’s location abilities with a star map so I can pretend to be an amateur astronomer. There are paid apps that will do this, but I don’t feel I’d use it enough to justify it.


  • Stones: A Go-playing program. I thought it could teach me, but it doesn’t seem to have a 1-player mode.
  • Twitterific: Inferior to TwitterFon in that it doesn’t allow you to follow conversations or friend people mentioned in other tweets, making it somewhat limited.
  • iEphemeris Lite: Knowing moon phases and such is great, but it doesn’t know about my location, so its data is generic enough to be nigh worthless.
  • vLingo: Its voice recognition is too poor to be of practical use
  • SpaceMnkey: too slow to get going. The tutorial levels turned me off on this one

Have any app recommendations?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Randy permalink
    10 March 2009 7:08 am

    I don’t have an iPhone, but I think you should get the Cylon Detector app from Sci Fi Channel so I can see what it does. 🙂


  1. iPhone application mini-reviews II « Neon Tapir

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