Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Delightful Dozen (Or So) Apps

My brother Mike acquired an iPhone, so I thought I'd write up a wee list of the apps that I use the most on my iPod Touch. There are others that are fun, of course, but these are the dozen or so that have provided the most practical usage.

Web Browsing

Safari -- This almost feels like cheating because it comes with the original package, but it's probably the app that I use most often. I'm still amazed at how much web browsing I can do on my little iPod Touch screen with this.

Social Networks

Facebook & Twitter -- Both apps provide surprisingly good experiences. If you like FB & Twitter on your computer, you'll like and use these apps a lot.


New York Times -- Downloads the previous day or two of stories from the NYT. One thing I find especially handy about this, since I only have wi-fi connectivity on my iPod Touch, is that it downloads the full paper, which means that I can browse it at my leisure while I'm not connected to the web. This also means that stories pop up instantly, instead of needing individual downloads. (One tiny bummer, though, is that it often crashes on start-up, meaning that I sometimes need to open it two or three times before it comes up for good.)

The Weather Channel -- Has a really good Doppler radar map, in addition to weather forecasts and severe weather notices. Nifty and useful!


Flashlight -- Yeah, it's kinda silly, and it's certainly not a full-strength flashlight. But I've had several occasions now to use this when our power has gone out. It's essentially a white screen that gives you the best possible illumination if you're trying to use your iPod Touch to light up the dark.

Information and Research

Access My Library -- Gives you immediate access to all of the Gale reference and periodical databases to the local library you select. The best part is that it finds local libraries and then asks you to select the one for verification, which happens really easily. This is the best thing going if you want genuinely authoritative information instead of going the google route and taking your chances with the web.

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) -- Really easy to use, and the quickest way to answer the question, "What did that actor ever do after this?"


Scrabble -- A tremendous time-killer. Mostly I just play vs. the computer, though there is also a multi-player option for folks who have multiple devices online. My only regret is that it doesn't include definitions for words, which was one of my favorite features of my old Palm Scrabble game.

Angry Birds -- Just as addictive as the hype suggests. Who wouldn't want to while away their time by smashing birds into structures in their suicidal attempt to crush those evil pigs?


(Stanza and e-Reader Pro are also very good, especially if you want to read free Project Gutenberg books.) - The thing that puts the Kindle app at the top of my e-Reader app list is that it synchs automatically with my Kindle, so that it takes me to the most recently read spot in a book. This is especially handy when I get stuck somewhere without my Kindle, but want to kill time by reading a few pages or a chapter. The one missing from my list is iBooks. I have downloaded it and tried it out. But truthfully it hogs so much processor power that it runs interminably slowly on my iPod Touch 2g. It may do better on newer devices.

Honorable Mention

These are also useful, or have at least provided me with a few moments of fun: YouTube, Calculator, Clock, SpawnHD, and eBay.

Happy Apping, Mike!


  1. you forgot the music category!
    SHAZAM will listen to recorded music and tell you everything you ever wanted to know about it

    PANDORA Great internet radio with custom "stations"

    I also enjoy the FART FOR FREE app. #9 is my fav.

  2. Most dangerous app to date, by far.


    Multi-player version of Risk for the iPhone/Touch/Pad.