June 29th, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Apps

I was recently asked about popular apps for business people.  Here are some more details on the apps I discussed, plus some others that I particularly like and use regularly.

Productivity

Evernote

Evernote is an app that you can download on your phone, tablet and computer, set up one account and it automatically syncs across all the devices. It stores text documents, photos, audio files and attachments, organized as individual files or in notebooks. It is really like your mental file cabinet, scrapbook and notebook or binder combined into one digital app.

I have used Evernote for a while now, but several weeks ago I left my actual, physical notebook at home and was lost for the entire morning until I could go home and pick it up at lunch. Since that day, I never travel or go to a meeting without pulling all my work documents needed for reference into an Evernote notebook so they are accessible on my phone and tablet for easy reference. I hope to never be dependent on a piece of paper again.

Wunderlist

That same day that I left my notebook at home was the day I set out to find the perfect to do list app (my to do list was a strip of paper with sticky notes attached and stuffed in the back of my notebook). And in my search, I found Wunderlist. And it is indeed perfect. So much so that many of the staffers at Stone Ward are now also using it.

Like Evernote, Wunderlist can be downloaded across multiple devices and using one account, the user can sync the to do lists. Multiple lists can be created (for example, one for personal, one for work, one for travel, etc.). The list can be sorted, scheduled and annotated. Additionally, you can share the lists and even add items by email. And there is a checkbox to mark when you complete the item, if you need that satisfaction of checking something off your list. No more sticky notes.

Travel

TripIt

I love this one so much, it has its very own review on Ms. Adverthinker.

Instapaper

With the introduction of iOS 5 and it’s new features in Safari, Instapaper may become extinct. But until then, it is great for travel when on planes or in areas without Internet access. Instapaper is an app that you can download for you phone and tablet, as well as bookmark on your desktop browser. When you find articles you want to read, but simply don’t have time, or want to save it for later, click the Instapaper bookmark in your browser.  When you open the Instapaper app on your phone or tablet, the articles sync to that device and make them available without Internet access. Then through Instapaper, you can save the article to your favorite social bookmarking provider or share via social channels once you have had a chance to read it. The social integration feature is brilliant and may keep Instapaper alive once iOS 5 launches. Tip: remember to launch the app and sync before you get on the plane, while you still have Internet access!

Presentation

Keynote

Keynote is the alternative to PowerPoint, and it is so much better. It is easier to use, creates more beautiful presentations and nicer transitions. However, it is only available for use on Mac computers. And it is now available on the iPad and iPhone. Through the app, you can create, edit and present. For those with these devices, but no Mac computer, you can now experience the difference between Keynote and PowerPoint. You will never want to go back to PowerPoint again.

Remote for Keynote

This app syncs with via Bluetooth with your MacBook to control your Keynote presentations. No more remote needed. And every presenter can sync their own iPhones to control their individual parts of the presentation. It is both handy and impressive.

Staying Current/Education

Twitter

Twitter has its own app that allows you to view all links, photos, videos and follower details right within the apps sliding windows. The interface is friendly and gorgeous. There is no reason to use another third-party Twitter app.

Reeder

I am a huge Google Reader fan. I scan my 100+ feeds throughout the day on all of my devices through Reeder. It pulls them seamlessly in through the categories I have set and syncs across the devices so it knows which ones I have read already. Additionally, it has a built in sharing feature, so I can bookmark the ones I want to reference later through my Delicious account, save them to Instapaper, share to Facebook or Twitter, among many other options.

TED

I am addicted to TED videos. The topics are always interesting and thought-provoking, and never longer than 20 minutes. The TED app is just as beautifully designed as the website, allows for easy search and access to all TED talks.

Public Radio

Public Radio is simple: local NPR stations streamed through an app.

iTunes

The iTunes U podcasts are an amazing resource. Free to download and listen at your convenience and from the best schools in the country. My current favorite series is the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders podcasts. Check them out now and thank me later.

Convenience

Starbucks Mobile

This one is just cool to use. Register your Starbucks gift card through the app and when you are ready to pay at Starbucks, simply pull up the app and scan the barcode that appears on your screen with the scanner at the register. The amount of your purchase is automatically deducted from your card balance. No more fumbling with payment; it is all on your phone. You can reload the card or add the balances from other cards to your account through the Starbucks website. Love it.

Wordbook

It is a dictionary. I am a terrible speller and I am always concerned that I am mispronouncing words, so I use this app frequently. The definitions include an audio pronunciation.

What are your favorite apps?

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