For years I didn’t want a cellphone at all, then I didn’t want a smartphone. I was on my computer all day long and had a landline within a few feet of me at all times. I had a Kindle 1.0–which I could use to surf the web in a rudimentary manner–and a Garmin GPS, so the main two non-phone smartphone apps were something I already had covered. I also had a bias against multifunction devices: The printer/scanner/fax was one of my biggest foes, because it did none of those functions well.
Of course, this was many years ago, and the technology has improved dramatically. My Nexus 4 is starting to show its age, but it still does most of what I need it to do, except for the dead spot where the letter “T” is on the keyboard. It does have a little less memory than I would like, so I end up uninstalling and reinstalling apps when I switch from work mode to road trip mode. Just like I posted about what’s in my pocket, I thought it would be interesting to share what’s on my phone as well.
I have the basics: Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Google+. I use TweetCaster Pro for Twitter. I normally use Instagram to post photos to Facebook, which tends to be my default social media platform. I tend to be a bit too verbose for Twitter and I don’t always have photos for Tumblr or Instagram. I do have Foodspotting and Goodreads installed, but I don’t contribute to them very often. Most of my messaging is via Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger.
I do have a few apps for emergencies. One of my favorites is iTriage, a nice medical app that does two things: shows me where the nearest medical center is and tells me how to treat almost any condition. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I also have Army Survival Guide and SAS Survival Guide. I have both of those books at home, but I like having them on my person as well.
Obviously, Google Maps and Street View are extremely useful on road trips. GasBuddy is great for finding the closest gas station when I’m in the middle of nowhere, or finding the cheapest gas when everything seems a bit too pricey. I love Field Trip for finding random things to see and do. For trails, I like AllTrails, since it can find a decent hiking trail quickly and for any skill level. I like using a combination of Google Maps and Roadtrippers for planning road trips. Google Maps does a better job of plotting routes, but Roadtrippers is better at finding interesting things to do along the route. Zari and I like exploring National Parks, and I have three apps for that. Passport is from Eastern National, who runs many of the National Park Service stores. They have a mostly complete list of NPS sites, but their app is mostly a front end with links to NPS websites. Oh, Ranger! is great for finding local, state, and national parks near my location, but, again, it is mostly a very useful front end with links to park websites. REI’s National Park Guide is amazing for the parks they have finished, but is still very much a work in progress.
Once we are in the wild, I love Google Sky Map for identifying stars and planets, and I have ISS Detector Pro to notify me when interesting things are about to appear in the night sky, like the International Space Station or Iridium satellite flashes. Audubon has a great series of apps for identifying plants and animals in the wild. I do tend to offload these when I am not traveling, as the full databases are quite extensive.
Feedly is my newsreader, and might be the one app I cannot live without. Key Ring keeps all of my store membership cards out of my wallet and on my phone. Out of Milk is a decent shopping list app, for when I don’t just feel like being random.
ASTRO File Manager is my go-to app for reorganizing the files on my phone, while I use ZDbox to monitor battery life and other system cleanup. For weather, I use eWeather HD, which I love mostly for the 12-hour clock/weather widget on my home screen. Screebl Pro is a stupid little app that I find incredibly useful: It keeps my phone from sleeping, once unlocked, unless it is flat on a table. Wolfram Alpha is a cross between a calculator and a search engine. Need to know the dimensions of a penny? Or the demographics of Hamilton County? Wolfram Alpha has it.
I don’t play many games on my phone. I have Carcassonne and Progress Quest. I played Clash of Clans for a long time, but I got bored with it. Zari keeps Minecraft on my phone for when she doesn’t have hers with her. (Yeah, I know Zari is only eight and that’s a bit young to have a smartphone, but her mother works for T-Mobile, so phones around here are cheap and ubiquitous.)
On a side note, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein have released a draft bill called the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016.” Short version: This is what happens when we have technically illiterate people writing legislation on technical matters. Want a reason to vote for me? I’m pretty sure I’m the most technical of all of the 3rd District candidates. I have the patent to prove it.
Have any apps that you use that you think I might find useful? Leave a comment and let me know.