Monday, July 11, 2011

I feel like Batman!

For years I avoided getting a cell phone.  I found great pleasure in knowing that I was off the grid.  You either knew where I was or you didn’t.  I was free...

The key term is "was"... this past week, I decided it was time for me to enter the 21st century and get a phone.  So I went down to the local Verizon store and bought the HTC Droid Incredible 2.  

With one kid, and one about to arrive any day, it seemed like the right move.  Now instead of being free and unconnected, I am completely connected.  Not only can my wife call me at any point now, she can also see my exact location!  
I started this blog to help me keep my priorities in order - a way to help me monitor the different aspects of my life and keep them balanced.  As I've begun to download apps, I've tried to avoid loading up on time-killers and focus on finding the ones that will help me in my everyday life.    

I’m still looking for more, but here are the helpful apps I've found so far...

All of the apps are connected to my Google account.  In particular my Gmail, calendar and tasks information.  It has taken me a lot of time developing my contacts, lists, important dates, etc...  Having that information automatically loaded and accessible makes the phone instantly useful.

Google Latitude:  While the idea of letting someone know where you are at all times can freak some people out, I really like it.  With my wife at the end of her pregnancy it is nice to know that I could easily find her if she called and said that it is go time.  It’s also nice to know that she could find me if I get lost or injured on a run.

Map My Run:  This app is great!  It makes it very easy to track and monitor my runs.  Last year when I was in marathon training mode I purchased a Garmin GPS watch.  The watch worked great but the model I had required me to manually load my run information from the watch to the computer.  This app does all of the work for me, making it much more practical. The Map My Run app is easy to use and appears to be very accurate.  I highly recommend!

Foursquare:  I’m still getting used to this app.  The thing that interested me most about this app was seeing a reserved spot at a local mall for the Foursquare Mayor of the mall.  This spot in particular was closer than the handicap spots!

Handycards:  This app allows me to store all of my store loyalty cards.  I’m not a big fan of loading up my key-chain so I find this one handy (pun intended).  So far I’ve only used it once at the food store but it worked fine.

USA Today:  This one came recommended by my brother and he was right on.  This app delivers the national news in a clean, easy-to-read format.  With this app I feel like I’m on vacation.    

Google Goggles:  This app is amazing!  It allows you to search based on a picture you’ve taken.  If the pic is of a product, it will tell you what it is and where you can buy it.  If you take a pic of an unsolved Sudoku puzzle it will provide you with the correct solution.  

Google +:  Google + is an excellent new tool for sharing information and this mobile version is great.  This app, combined with my phone's camera and camcorder, have already allowed me to capture and share some great family moments.  With the baby #2 about to arrive this ability will get more and more use. 

However, one app that I can’t find is a good video chat app that will work with my Google contacts.  I downloaded Vtok, but it wouldn’t allow me to switch the camera.  So the person I was talking to could only see what I was facing - not me.  Fail!  If anyone knows of a good video chat app (or any other good app) please let me know!

I’m sure the novelty of having this phone will wear off, but in the mean time... I feel like Batman!