Monday, October 1, 2012

The Smartphone

This year marks the first time that I ever had a smartphone. Grant it that it's a work related reason that I had to get one, that meant that I could end my tirade against smartphones. And I am very anti-smartphones because truth be told, I was very pro-smartphone. While you take a moment to wrap your mind around that, it's simple. I'm shy, I don't like talking to people and I prefer reading. Give me a handheld device now that not only allows me to have my Kindle books but toss games on it? I'm sold.

So the first few days I scoured the Interwebs to find applications that I'd like. The first two paid apps were these:

  1. JuiceDefender Ultimate
  2. Cerberus Anti Theft
  3. Antivirus Free
The first two weren't all that questionable; I tried out the free version and was impressed about a day afterward. First of all, my smartphone is a power tripping piece of electronic that drains out by half a day. I immediately installed the free version of JuiceDefender and about a day later I was purchasing it. Cerberus, that took me a bit longer to finally upgrade but that's because you install it, pay for the license and then forget about it. It works quietly and silently in it's own powerful way. Finally, having an antivirus just made sense (especially at the rate that I was downloading free apps).

Now that we have the necessary items out of the way, let's move on to some... well, necessary items that I actually really love (but maybe I don't need).

The screenshot of it (left) is from the website, but you get the gist of what it is. It's a calendar that not only tracks your cycles, but helps track your moods, and symptoms, along with your weight. I wanted a calendar that was a bit more robust in order to help me track multiple things and this one fit the bill pretty well. 

At first I was a little bit hesitant to spring for the paid version, but after a week of testing out this one along with some others, I ended up choosing this for the ability to track multiple things and... well, I could change it to purple. 

SwiftKey 3 Keyboard

I got this one on sale. So here's the thing, when I first got the phone I hate typing on it. I was used to a full keyboard and now I was going to a touchscreen that I couldn't even calibrate. The phone's natural ability to predict what I was typing was horrible which lead to many terrible texts. I saw this one on sale and figured, "Why not?" and it's been one of the happiest purchases I made.

I started off by feeding it a link to my blog and all of a sudden my keyboard knows, I'm wordy as hell. The predictive text has gotten much better as it learns and overall, I am happy to recommend this to anyone.

Now it's time for the random ones that I adore (but really don't need).

I've installed a lot of free games in my spare time and about less than 5 minutes later, I generally uninstall them. Pirates of the Caribbean seems to have held up the longest. Partially because I like pirates, I do like the PoTC series, but mostly because the game doesn't harass me every 5 minutes begging me to perform some kind of action.

No, I don't need to check into my ships and I don't want to harass other people to join me. It also doesn't stop my progress if I don't log in for a week or refuse to bother my friends. That's a winner in my book.
I'm a sucker for the California Academy of Sciences. I love that place so much that when I found out about Pocket Penguins, I had to install it. It's free, it doesn't do much except give you a view of the penguins and during feeding time you get to hear and see them in giddy action. I love this app for it's simplicity and pure joys... of penguin watching.
For whatever reason if I'm bored and the penguins aren't doing much, I end up on Sky Map. It's a simple concept -- point it anywhere and it tells you what constellations, stars, planets or whatever else might be out there... well, tells you where it is.

It's not a robust app as it's very simple, but I can tell you that as a semi science nerd, I find myself looking at it quite often. I'm sure there are more robust apps out there but for now, this one keeps me entertained. I do really wish that this app and NASA's app could be integrated into one which would then turn the NASA app into my all time favourite one.
While I admit that I do have a Disney vacation coming up, I was searching for tickers because I really like just having something to look at. I did try Daisypath for a bit but the widget wasn't working so I decided to just go with the Disney Vacation Countdown. Sure, I don't find it aesthetically pleasing, but there's nothing quite liking checking my home screen and seeing it there.

The picture on the right isn't a screenshot of my own smartphone (none of these are, they are all images from the Google Play website), my vacation is on the horizon and it's definitely a cute and happy reminder -- every single day.
I actually ended up purchasing Angry Birds Space Premium early on. I think the moment I saw the ISS and clicked it to find a video on microgravity, I decided that I definitely needed to buy it right away.

While I'm one to call it cute all day long -- it's a great "puzzle" game and to be frank, anyone who has played Angry Birds needs any real convincing.

Finally... I've got several apps on my phone and I'm not going to list them all but NASA App is definitely one of my favourites (obviously). They have videos, links to the various Twitters, pictures, and so on. It's a wonderful little app that's full of educational items which makes me happy to have it on my phone.

Cause I need it. Apparently. 

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