IPhone

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About

I bought an iPhone 4, my first ever smartphone, on 13 August 2010. I use this page to keep a track of applications I have installed or been recommended.


Recommended iPhone Applications

Music

  • Pandora (free) - haven't used much yet, but is an extremely popular program for taking a song(s) you like and streaming similar songs - effectively creating customized radio stations for you. Highly recommend. (*****)


  • Shazam (free) - really great idea when you want to know the name of a song. Hold the phone to the speakers or sing into it (like) and it will try and match it. Great idea but I find singing rarely works for me. (**---)


Finding Places / Navigation

  • Around Me (free) - great application, will show you what is nearby, including banks, coffee, restaurants, hotels, gas stations etc. Highly recommend. (*****)


  • Urban Spoon (free) - great for when you're not sure what you want to eat. Shake it and it will randomly select a (1) nearby location, (2) type of restaurant/food, (3) price range... and (4) a restaurant matching this. The main interface looks like a "poker machine" with three columns, except you can "lock in" values. (****-)


  • Navigon ($50) - not cheap, but it's a great car navigation system my friend David uses in his car - including a nice navigation picture and voice commands. He bought a special mount for his iPhone so that it sits on the dash board and works just as well as almost any other car GPS I've seen.  :)


Misc

  • Check Please (free) - great for calculating the 10%/15%/20% tip you need to pay in America. There are lots of such apps, but this one is very simple and free. (***--)



Website Based Applications

In this category are Apps which provide an easier (and sometimes required) interface for popular websites.

  • Yelp (free) - interface for the "yelp" site which is VERY popular in the US and used to rank and review restaurants, hotels and many others things. Before staying or going somewhere American's recommend you read some of the reviews people have left. (***--)


Science Apps

As a scientist, I'm always interested in finding science Apps to test out. The first two Apps below were made by a very cool guy I work with by the name of Rich Stoner.


  • Whole Brain Catalog Mobile (free) - a brilliant tool under development which is similar to the "Web Image Browser" and lets you view extremely large datasets - most of them images of brain cell taken with powerful microscopes. Rich Stoner has developed the application, and Stephen Larson leads the actual "Whole Brain Catalog" project. (*****)


  • Cerebrii (free) - a brilliant program for viewing the human brain designed by Rich Stoner. You can iterate through various views, showcasing different areas/function and click structures to see the name and read about them. When you hit menu there is also a quiz mode (Test > Identify) where the name is given you are asked to locate and select it. (*****)


  • ImageVis3D Mobile (free) - an impressive volume rendering application (any volume rendering on a phone is pretty amazing), although as it turns out it's just displaying transparent slices (not as fancy as I thought). Build-in data sets include: torso, hand, tooth, engine and hydrogen. (***--)



iPhone Games

Here I list games I have played. Some of these are dangerously addictive.

  • TowerMadness (free but $0.99 for each level expansion and special weapons) - a fantastic tower defense game developed by an awesome guy I met, Iman Mostafavi, and two of his friends. The game has been enormously popular, mostly thanks to it's beautiful 3D graphics, and the fact you are defending cute little sheep from cute little aliens! The game is also very challenging and addictive - don't ask me to admit how many hours I've spend playing this! The pricing structure is pretty brilliant - you can play about seven levels for free, but you'll be very tempted to buy more levels and the special weapons which make it easier. (*****)


  • Angry Birds ($0.99) - the most played iPhone game in spring 2010 [see Wikipedia - Angry Birds] and the rights later sold to EA games for $20 million (here). In this game you catapult bird at little pigs, but what's brilliant about this game is the as-simple-as-they-could-have-made-it interface... and the fact that almost NO words are used to introduce the gameplay, but the player is gradually given new birds and can collect hidden "golden eggs" along the way. (*****)


  • Cut the rope ($0.99) - another game from "Chillingo", the makers of Angry Birds. This is similarly brilliant, but using a very novel idea where you have to use your fingers to cut ropes attached to a candy (plus interact with other little widgets), in order to collect stars and feed it to a cute little frog-like animal. (****-)
  • Plants versus Zombies ($2.99) - a version of a classic game done for the iPhone. Here you plant plants in a grid garden plot and the plants defend your house against waves of zombies. (****-)


  • WordsWithFriends ($3.99 or free *lite* version with adds) - turn based scrabble - very addictive! Typically you'll play this against your friends (hence the title) and you can also text them messages - although I have found gameplay and messages a bit slow and buggy sometimes. Graphics are great though, and they really capitalized on a classic game here! (****-)


  • Pocket Frogs plus (FREE, then charge for additional stamps or potions) - Dangerously addictive game where you buy, breed, grow and sell frogs (not to mention share and race). The frogs come in 40 patterns, 23 base colors, and 15 secondary colors (40x23x15 = 13,800 types of frogs). As you level up you can access more patterns/types of frogs and using money you can buy new habitats. I found a useful strategy guide here... but the best tip was from another site suggesting you should try creating a "color wheel" where you devote three habitats (you can have 8 frogs per habitat) to a "color wheel" - an Anura (the cheapest frog) with every base and secondary color - which can be used to quickly/cheaply breed any color combination you need.... then fill your remaining habitats with one of every pattern. (***--)


Desktop Programs for Viewing/Accessing iPhone Files

  • iTunes (FREE) - iTunes tunes is (of course) the main application used to "sync" files from a computer (Mac or Windows) to your phone. It's a bit tricky however, as you can generally only sync with one computer, and certain types of files, like songs, are upload only, while other files, like audio recordings cannot be seen at all.
  • iExplorer (FREE) - Great freeware program for Mac or Windows which lets you browse your iPhone files and even copy some of these files (eg: high scores etc) to your desktop.
  • PhoneView ($20) - Extends the functionality of your iPhone and provides easy access to your songs, movies, sms, photos, audio files (see forum) and so on. Works on Mac only, but doesn't require you to jailbreak or every sync your phone to that computer. Comes recommended by many people and appears quite versatile (see video here).


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