Apps I (still) Use

I glanced at my list of applications for iOS that I posted a few months back and noticed that a few have drifted out of my favor. Here is the new list along with my thoughts on the apps I no longer use.

The names are links to the iTunes store (not affiliate links), the prices are as of the moment I looked the app up while writing this post.

YouVersion – free
Solid Bible app that allows you to access to tons of translations in multiple languages. It integrates with the youversion website. One thing that could be improved is navigating to a particular passage, although I can’t imagine a better way than they offer they seem to have added verse lookup in the search box which I don’t think worked before, but I may have just missed it.

Instagram – free
The best feature of this app is the simple sharing of photos. They also offer some fun hipster color filters which can make some borderline shots feel more artsy.

I no longer use Instagram. Now I use:

Flickr – free ($25/yr for flickr pro)
I’ve been using Flickr for a long time, they recently made a real effort to make their iOS app useful. I really like the app except for one issue: I never really use the camera built into flickr, but to upload pictures from your library you have to load the camera portion of the app and it seems to take more time than necessary to open the photo library. I’d prefer to be able to go there directly.

MLB.com At Bat – $15
This is a free download but for $15 you can get live audio feeds of the games from the 2012 season. ($100 gives you video with some blackouts, which I haven’t sprung for, so I don’t know if it is worth the price.) I bought the audio before spending any time with the app so I’m not sure what features are disabled if you opt not to pay.
I haven’t been using this recently, but that’s because baseball has been in the offseason. I still love the app

DuckDuckGo – free
This app provides an excellent interface for searching via DuckDuckGo. I found I had to intentionally break my habit of going to the browser to search for this app become useful.

Lose It! – free
This is the calorie counting & weight journaling app I settled on upon getting my iPhone in November. Since then I’ve lost 38 pounds. This app is not entirely responsible for my weight loss but it has provided that little bit of motivation that I need to avoid some needless calories. Your milage may vary.

Tweetbot – $3
After trying the official Twitter client and Twitterific (which I still use on my mac) I splurged and bought Tweetbot. It is worth buying if you use twitter as much as I do. The search feature could be a little less prominent, I’ve only used it once or twice but I occasionally find myself tapping it when I want to compose a tweet.

Instapaper – $3
This app is simply the best reading experience available on iOS, but I might be biased since I was already using Instapaper before getting my iPhone. My favorite feature is tilt-to-scroll which lets you read without having to constantly flick the screen to scroll; I wish more apps offered this. If you read lots of articles from the web, Instapaper is a great way to save them later and consume them even when you have no internet access.
One funny thing with tilt-to-scroll: sometimes when I get to the end of a longer article, there is an optical illusion that the text is scrolling the opposite direction. I have to confirm multiple times that I’ve turned it off and the display is not scrolling.

Reeder – $3
I recently switched to Reeder from NetNewsWire, but only because NNW’s development has stagnated. This is a solid RSS reading app.
Slightly annoying bug: the built in browser sometimes never realizes it has finished loading a page, which means you can’t use the sharing menu without going back and following the link again.

Yummy – $2
I never launch this app by itself. I use it to post links from instapaper to delicious.com (also works with pinboard.in). My general workflow is to bookmark articles to read from reeder (or netnewswire on my mac) to instapaper, and if I read the article in instapaper on my iPhone, bookmark the link as read using Yummy.

I started using pinboard.in instead of delicious.com and the built-in support for pinboard is good enough in instapaper and reeder that I don’t need another app.

Flipboard – free
Since I don’t keep many news sources in my rss feeds, flipboard is good at filling in that gap. I’m a little concerned about how many of the links in Flipboard contain very tangentially related photos. I think their sources feel a pressure to have a picture and when one isn’t around they pick stock images. This may not be Flipboard’s fault but I think the prominence given to images in Flipboard’s UI can’t be helping this trend.

Sparrow – $3
I got this email app despite its lack of push notifications for new messages but now I’m actually that feature is missing. My brain compulsively wants to reduce all new message notifications to zero, and doesn’t seem to care if I’ve actually read the messages. Now when I open my email I know that I have time to read my messages. I can’t remember what feature made me decide to pay for it (the Mail app that comes with iOS is fine) I just know it seamlessly handles my gmail and dwightk.com email addresses.
I still use sparrow even though they were bought by google because it easily handles the delete/archive dichotomy that I like to use for messages.

CarTunes – $5
I must have obtained this app during a special as I got it for free a couple weeks ago. Within that day it had supplanted the default Music app on my dock. It uses gestures to allow you to play/pause and skip tracks forward or backward (and other things). Perfect for use while driving. I would buy this for $5 if I were about to go on a road trip.

Flixster – free
I wish they offered a pro version of this app because it is awesome for getting movie times and reviews but the ads are pretty obnoxious. *Update: If anyone knows of a movie times app that’s better, I’m looking for a replacement. The ads seem to be showing more often on flixster these days.*

Now I use:

Showings – $2
This isn’t a perfect solution, but it is at least free of obnoxious ads. Some theaters seem to not provide their showtimes, but then I just use Fandango.

Camera + – $1
Probably my first app purchase. It is clunky enough that I almost always use the built in Camera app or Instagram over Camera+. Camera+’s forte is taking macro shots: all of the other camera apps I’ve used have a ton of trouble getting the camera to focus on things closer than about 3 feet but Camera+ works like a charm. I really wouldn’t recommend getting it unless that sounds like a helpful feature.

Almost all camera apps are just too slow to launch compared to the built in app. I tend to use it all the time now.

W.E.L.D.E.R. – $1
A mashup of Boggle and Bejeweled, I got it for free, but it is worth a buck.

Puzzlejuice – $2
A mashup of Boggle and Tetris, I got it for less than $2 ( can’t remember if it was free or $1).

Mathemagics – $1
Fun mental math training program. I kinda hate mental math, but have always wanted to learn. This app does a good job teaching and training. There is a second app subtitled “Easy Algebra” which I have purchased but not tried since I’m not through with the first app. They are both on sale currently. I think they are $2 each usually.

All still worthwhile, but I haven’t used them much recently. I’ve mostly been playing chess:

Shredder – free
Good chess app, there is a pro version too.

One thought on “Apps I (still) Use”

Leave a Reply