Episode 37 | 32 iPhone & iPad Apps That We Use 00:00
iPhone & iPad Apps
- Google (with voice search)
- Online Banking Apps
- MailChimp (account management)
- Dropbox (access your Dropbox files)
- GoDaddy (register domains)
- Todo for iPad (to do list management)
- FTP on the Go
- SSH Terminal (SSH client)
- RDP (Windows remote desktop access)
- Word Lens (real-time translation)
- Instapaper (bookmark and read web pages offline)
- Atomic Lite (tabbed browser)
- Analytics HD (Google Analytics iPhone client)
Content on the Go
- Entrepreneur Magazine (read every new issue for free)
- GoodReader & QuickReader
- QuickOffice (edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents)
- Netflix (stream movies)
- PhoneFlix (manage your Netflix queue)
- Pandora (stream music for free)
- Type ‘n Talk (say anything like a robot)
- TED (watch TED talks)
Screw the Retailer
- Snaptell (find books & DVDs by taking a photo)
- Walt Disney Wait Times
- Lose it! (weight loss tracking)
- White Noise Generator
[00:00] Rob: This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 37.
[00:12] Rob: Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.
[00:20] Mike: And I’m Mike.
[00:21] Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s going on this week Mike?
[00:27] Mike: I’m just reviewing some of the comments that you had sent to me based on the sales site that I put up for Audit Shark. So just kinda going through that and giving some thought to things that I need to change.
[00:40] You know, I haven’t finished going through what you sent over, but there are some things that I know that I’ve got to change. Like there’s images that I have to add. You made some comments about the logo and I know that that’s got to change a little bit. He does look a little devious. But then there’s the Buy Now price, the Buy Now page that I’ve gotta kinda replace with a pricing page, and a few other things. But it’s coming along pretty well so far, and the code is definitely moving in the right direction.
[01:05] Rob: Good, good. Well, nothing really new for me.
[01:10] Mike: So why don’t we get started on today’s podcast topic? I believe we have 33 iPhone and iPad apps that we use, correct?
[01:17] Rob: That’s right. To give the listeners an idea, Mike and I had a list of about…what do we have, maybe a dozen? And you’re like, “That’s perfect.” As we were chatting, I was like, “Oh, let me add a few.” I added like 20. You’re like, “Come on, man! There’s too many!” So we are going to zip through these because we normally have 30-35 minute shows. Let’s get rollin’!
[01:34] Mike: OK. We’ve split these up into a bunch of different categories. They first category is Productivity. You want to start with that?
[01:40] Rob: Yeah. So one of the first apps I downloaded is the Google app. I’m sure everyone has this, but this thing, I use this five times a day at least. The voice search is crazy.
[01:51] Mike: I’ll be honest, I’ve never even heard of it.
[01:53] Rob: What?!
[01:54] Mike: I’m serious, I’ve never heard of it.
[01:56] Rob: No! Yes you have!
[01:57] Mike: For the iPhone?
[01:57] Rob: Yes!
[01:58] Mike: Really?
[01:59] Rob: Are you serious?
[02:00] Mike: Maybe I installed it and I just ignored it.
[02:02] Rob: Oh, man! I thought you were kidding me!
[02:04] Mike: No! I think I installed it and just ignored it. I was like, “Oh, this is dumb.” [laughs]
[02:08] Rob: So, it’s crazy. So there’s a couple things. One is it has voice search. So you hit the little microphone and then you just speak something, and it works really well. I use that particular feature of it a few times a week, typically when we’re talking with people. We’ll have people over for drinks and they’ll be like, “What year was Home Alone released?” And we’ll get into this big discussion about it. Which, I know, that’s how exciting my dinner parties are.
[02:32] Mike: [laughs]
[02:33] Rob: But this exact question came up.
[02:34] Mike: Yeah, sign me up! [laughs]
[02:35] Rob: And I was like, “Oh, I think it’s 1990.” And I jumped on, “Home Alone, IMDB” and it pops up. But anyways, that’s one of the crazy things. And the other one is you can use pictures to search the web, so it’s Google Goggles, and there’s just a little photo button there and you just take a picture of anything. Like you take a picture of the Eifel Tower, you could take a picture of a book cover, and it searches the web for it and tries to match it and say like, “That’s the Eifel Tower” and give you the page relevant stuff for it. It’s crazy.
[03:02] So that’s just a search. You can also just do manual search. And then there’s the apps, which are basically just hyperlinks. But I go there to open my Google Reader and to open a few other things, like Google Earth you can open from there. So yeah, it’s pretty powerful; it’s just search.
[03:19] Mike: That’s crazy! I’ve never…honestly, I don’t remember every stumbling across this.
[03:23] Rob: So when you want to do a Google search, do you just open Safari and go to Google.com and search?
[03:27] Mike: Yeah!
[03:28] Rob: OK. So this just saves you a couple steps. I mean that’s all it is, right? You could do this through the other stuff.
[03:33] Mike: Yeah, I mean if I’m in my car or something like that it’d be a lot more useful, but…
[03:37] Rob: Yeah, it is. You still have to look down at the screen, though, is the problem.
[03:39] Mike: Hmm. Interesting.
[03:40] Rob: Well, cool. So that’s number one.
[03:42] Mike: So the second one is online banking apps. If you look at any of the different banks, most of them have their own banking application that they can use. But you can use these, generally, to check into your bank account, look at your balances, maybe make some payments, things like that. I know Bank of America has one. Can you think of any others that have them?
[04:02] Rob: Yeah, I think Chase, Wells Fargo. I mean all the major banks have them. And even some smaller banks. I searched for “bank” one time and there were these local banks, like statewide banks, that had them. So a lot of them have them. I probably use mine once a week for checking balances, or transferring funds, or doing small things like that.
[04:20] So as lame as it sounds, I remember originally thinking, “I’ll never use that,” but I actually do. I use it pretty regularly.
[04:27] Mike: I downloaded one a while back for Bank of America and I just stopped using it. I mean it didn’t give me anything extra that I didn’t already have. And I was a little bit concerned about, you know, what happens if I lose my phone and somebody is able to get in there? I’m sure that they have to log in and everything. But then I read something, I think it was on Wired or some news site some place where it said that, basically, most of the banking applications suffer from a pretty severe security vulnerability because they were transmitting some information that was unencrypted that really should have been. So I decided to just stop using them after that.
[05:02] Rob: Oh, nice. I didn’t hear about that one. Yeah, they definitely have to log in, but it’s a good point, right? I mean there’s certainly going to be more vulnerability on such a mobile device like an iPhone.
[05:12] All right. App number three is the MailChimp app. I have to admit I’ve only used this a few times, and I typically use it when I’m trying to monitor how many people have signed up for a list when I’m doing kind of a launch when I’m sending people to a form, and I’m out and about, and it’s purely like a check-in thing.
[05:29] I haven’t sent emails through it. I don’t even know if you can. But as you know, MailChimp is just a really well done app, and the iPhone app leaves nothing to be desired. I mean it really is a nice, well-written and easy to use app.
[05:43] Mike: The so the next one we have is Dropbox. I’ve talked about Dropbox a few different times in the past. I use it on my iPad, my iPhone, my laptop and on my desktop. And it basically allows me to keep all of my files in sync. No matter what application I’m using them from, I can usually open up the files that I need. And because everything goes out to their servers, you can also, if you’re at a machine that does not have Dropbox on it and you’re not logged into it, you can go to their website and you can download the files that you want to work with through Dropbox.
[06:13] It works really well. It integrates with a lot of different other applications. So, for example, there’s another application we’ll talk about later on called Quick Office that allows you to open up files from Dropbox on your iPad or your iPhone. And there are several others that have that Dropbox integration as well.
[06:30] Rob: Love Dropbox. I use it all the time, especially now that I have the iPad and the iPhone and the computer. Yeah, it’s just the easiest way to move things around. But the whole free plan, I think they give you way too much space. I would totally pay for this app. But I have used…I’m at like 50 megs of usage and I think it’s free up to 2 gigs. I don’t know if I’ll ever pay for it.
[06:51] Mike: I understand what you’re saying. If you’re only using it for documents, yes. But I put things…and I know there’s other people who do it as well, but they put like MP3s and stuff out there, and that’s actually how I started transferring the files that we record this podcast on and sending them to our virtual assistant. I just put them in the Dropbox folder and they just show up.
[07:11] Rob: I don’t do that with any media. Like with MP3s, I just put them up to my web server and let her download them. So I could totally see someone using 2 gigs worth, but just the way I use it I don’t. I would have no problem paying them, but I feel like they could have a lot more users if they lowered that limit. But hey, they’re smart guys. They certainly…[laughs]
[07:29] Mike: I’m sure they’re making money from it.
[07:31] Rob: I’m sure they’re doing fine. Yep. Hey, one other thing I wanted to mention about that MailChimp app that I forgot is if you run that on an iPad, you can actually flip the iPad into keyboard mode and put it at the end of like a display table, and you can just put a signup form for your mailing list right there.
[07:46] I saw some people do this at 59 Days of Code, this event that I judged for last year. And so basically, you come up and they’d say, “Want to join my mailing list?” And right there’s an iPad and you just type your email in and bam, it puts you on their MailChimp list.
[07:57] Mike: That’s cool.
[07:58] Rob: Yeah. So that was the one other benefit I wanted to mention. App number five is the Godaddy app. And yes, I’ve actually registered domain names on the go. I registered one at a friend’s house last week. She was mentioning something and I popped it open and I registered the domain.
[08:13] You can also do, I think, some minor domain management through it, but mostly it’s for checking availability and registering stuff. So not something everyone needs, but I happen to buy a lot of domains, so it actually is worthwhile for me.
[08:28] Mike: Very cool. So the sixth one on our productivity list, and the last one for this particular section, is To-Do for iPad. And it’s from AppiGo.com. This is more or less your standard to-do list management software. They do have integration with a web-based version, which I don’t actually use that. But I’ve installed it on my iPad and I basically just use it as my list of things to do on different projects. It allows you to categorize things, it allows you to put due dates on things, prioritize them, add notes, tag them.
[09:01] There’s a lot of different things that you can do with it. It’s fairly inexpensive. I think it’s like four or five dollars. It’s a great app. Like I said, I use it constantly. I pretty much use it probably every day. So it’s definitely well worth it if it’s something that you’re going to spend the time to actually use.
[09:16] I use it more for short term stuff. I don’t really put giant projects in there, although it does have the capabilities to do that. But because it prioritizes things in terms of when you put due dates on them, if you run up past this point where you’ve got all these different things upfront because you just haven’t finished them in time, you get a lot of things that are front-loaded onto your list and you don’t necessarily see the things that have a specific due date on them.
[09:45] Rob: Our second category is Communications and we have four apps in this category. The first is Skype. Of course, I’ve used this quite a bit. In fact, at my house my service, my AT&T service is so bad that I log onto my wireless network through my iPhone and I use Skype to do my iPhone calls. It is so much more reliable.
[10:06] Now, the insanity of that is ridiculous, right? I have a phone and I’m now using Skype to do it, and actually paying, what, two cents a minute to call out. But if I want a good phone call, that’s how I do it. And it works pretty well. Actually, you and I recorded a podcast. What, episode 26.5 or whatever at Business of Software? I was on my Skype client on my iPhone. So that’s been really cool.
[10:30] Mike: Yeah.
[10:31] Rob: And the other communication app that I use quite a bit is called FTP on the Go, and it allows you to FTP stuff to and from a server. And I’ve found it to be super valuable, specifically on my iPad, because I’ve tried to use my iPad as a netbook replacement and it allows me to fix things. You can actually log onto a server and it has a little text editor built in, so it’s not something you want to write a lot of code. But if you really need to fix something that’s crashed or make a small mod to something, it allows you to edit PHP files and any text file on a server.
[11:01] And, FTP on the Go has Dropbox integration. So you can grab a file from Dropbox and upload it to a server, which is pretty cool, or vice versa.
[11:09] Mike: Back to Skype just for a second, I’ve actually made calls through wifi. Earlier this year when I spent a couple weeks in Germany, I made some Skype calls back to the US through my iPad and it worked great. It was dirt cheap as well; that was the best part, because obviously calling from Germany through a cell phone, or even a landline, is going to cost you an arm and a leg from a hotel room. It was amazing how well it worked and the quality of it.
[11:32] The next couple of applications—SSH Terminal, very similar to FTP, except it gives you SSH capabilities instead of FTP capabilities. And obviously, using SSH, if you have a Linux server you can get into your server, you can just hop right into VI and edit whatever files you want and then save them, pop right back out.
[11:52] And the last one in the communications category is RDP, which is basically a remote desktop application. If you were to go to the command line on your Windows box and type MSTSC.exe, it will pop open a remote desktop and you can get into any Windows machines that are on your network, or even out in the cloud if you have something that’s co-located out there and you have already Penabled.
[12:15] It’s really interesting that you can do this from a Mac. And I saw a while back when I bought a Macbook that there was a tool released from Microsoft that allowed you to RDP from a Macbook into a Windows box. And there’s a lot of different tools that are out there now, both on the iPhone and the iPad, that allow you to use the RDP protocol to get into your Windows machines.
[12:35] But it can be very useful, expecially on the iPad, because you’ve got this 1024×768 screen that gives you a good view of what that desktop really looks like. On the iPhone it’s a little cramped. You have to scroll around a lot and it’s kind of a pain in the neck. But it works really well on the iPad.
[12:52] Rob: I’m going to have to check that out. I’ve heard of it but I haven’t used it. That’s a good tool.
[12:58] Rob: Our next category is Utilities. The first one is called Word Lens. And I have to admit, this one had a big buzz last week, or maybe it was a couple weeks ago. Basically, you can just view text through your iPhone camera and in real-time, as you’re looking at it, it translates it into another language.
[13:16] I’ve only used the demo, and all the demo does is it actually reverses the full word; it will just reverse it in English. But if you pay for it, then you can do the translation. And they show you doing street signs and other things.
[13:30] It’s insane. I thought it was a hoax when I saw the video of it. But it’s crazy. It works. And I don’t even know what it costs. But I could see totally using it when I’m going overseas to read street signs. I couldn’t imagine reading a whole document with it. It’s kinda shaky, you know? You’re holding your camera and trying to look at things and it’s hard with small text. But a small group of text I could see it working well with.
[13:50] And then, Instapaper, I bet a lot of people out there use this. Instapaper is basically a system where if you have something, you stumble upon a webpage and you have this bookmarklet in your browser, and you can click the “Read Later” icon. And all it does is it grabs the whole page, grabs the text from it, and it stores it on the cloud for you.
[14:10] So later, if I’m on my iPhone or my iPad, I can go to the Instapaper app and it just has all those bookmarks. But it’s not just bookmarks. They don’t even have to be online. Like, once it downloads them, it actually downloads the raw HTML. And so I can just read it there. And as long as there’s no outgoing links that I want to follow, I can just read articles offline.
[14:28] So it’s pretty cool. And you can also install that on your iPhone and iPad so that you’re adding bookmarks from there. But it’s just kind of an aggregator of all the things that you want to read later.
[14:37] The next one is called Atomic Lite and it’s just an alternative browser to Safari. And I was using it because there was a webpage that was crashing Safari. And Atomic Lite has tabbed browsing, so it’s really good for the iPad, not so much for the iPhone. It’s just an alternative and it’s actually a pretty solid browser with a lot more features than Safari.
[14:54] And then the last one in Utilities is Analytics HD. And this app is $7 or $8, so it’s fairly expensive compared to other iPhone apps. But it allows you to view Google Analytics data on your iPad. And I view Google Analytics data a lot, at least once a day. And obviously, without Flash you can’t use Google Analytics; can’t use the interface. So that’s what this does. It just uses the API, pulls it down, and puts it into a different interface.
[15:26] Mike: So the next category is Applications for Getting Content on the Go. And the first one we have is Kindle. Kindle is offered on a number of different platforms. It’s on Windows, Mac. You can get the application on your iPad or you iPhone. And then, I believe they also have them for Blackberry as well, don’t they?
[15:44] Rob: They have it for Android. I’m not sure if they have it on Blackberry.
[15:46] Mike: Yeah, you’re right. I think it was Android, not Blackberry. And then, obviously, there’s the Kindle itself that if you have a Kindle you obviously have access to all of your Kindle content. But it’s really nice to be able to buy your books, your magazine subscriptions, or what have you and get them directly in the Kindle, because you can get all those and they get updated and sent to you pretty much immediately. I remember the last time I bought a book it was on my iPad in not more than 10 or 15 seconds. I mean it was pretty amazing.
[16:12] But being able to carry around a bunch of different technical books, being able to access those from pretty much anywhere is really pretty convenient.
[16:20] Rob: Yeah, I agree. I can’t go back now. I just have to buy everything electronically. I haven’t bought a paper book in, what, five months, four months since I bought my iPad. And I’ve actually started selling some of my older books and replacing them. I really enjoy the form factor. I like that you can reverse the text so that it can be white text on a black background, black text on a white background. You can make it bigger, smaller.
[16:41] Since I’m not reading stuff with a lot of diagrams, because I think that could be kind of a pain, I love having my whole library on my iPad through this Kindle app. I highly recommend it. If you’re not using it, you really need to think about it.
[16:53] Oh, the other two things I experimented with, I downloaded iBooks, which is Apple’s store, and the Nook app. And I toyed with them a little bit, and they seem to have similar selections, prices are a little higher. I mean I’m sure it’s case by case, but from what I see, Kindle is the leader, as you would expect, right? They came out first and it’s Amazon, so they just have the book advantage.
[17:14] One other thing that is cool is I started by kids’ books through the app. And on the iPad they look great. And so my son now, when we read books at night, he’s like, “Read books on the iPad!” And so he gets to pick from a few of the books that we have on there. I think it’s the future, man, as these things get cheaper.
[17:28] Mike: I’ve actually seen books that are sold outside of Kindle that are their own application. So, for example, my kids love Toy Story, and there are a couple of Toy Story books that you can get which, if you play them on the iPad, basically, they read the story to the person. And as the text is being read to you, it gets highlighted. So it actually helps them read as well.
[17:52] Rob: Yeah, that’s nice.
[17:53] Mike: My kids love it. They always want to hear the Buzz Lightyear story, which is funny. [laughs]
[17:57] Rob: Yeah. No, that’s cool. So the next app in the Content on the Go category is the Entrepreneur Magazine app. I don’t read a lot of magazines anymore, but I wanted to bring this one up because I’m wondering if magazines are going to go this route, where they have an app and you get the magazine each month, or if it’s going to go the Kindle subscription route. Because you can’t get the Entrepreneur Magazine on the Kindle app.
[18:22] But you do get it for free. I mean you basically download the Entrepreneur Magazine app and then you get the issues for free. You don’t even pay for them. It’s kinda cool. I mean an Entrepreneur Magazine subscription is only $10 a year anyways, but I would totally pay $10 a year for all of my magazines. I read Time, and I would pay the subscription fee I pay now just to get them on my iPad and not have to deal with the paper, which I recycle anyways within a week of getting it. And I like to read them on airplanes, and I hate lugging four or five magazines.
[18:51] So if magazines go this route, I would pay the same amount that I pay now, or even a little more, frankly, to get them in electronic format. So I wanted to bring up Entrepreneur because it’s the one of all of those that has an iPad app that actually allows you to get new issues. Time you have to buy them one-off $5 a piece, whereas for a year subscription I pay a buck a piece of something.
[19:13] Mike: Do they still have the advertisements and stuff in it?
[19:15] Rob: They do. It’s the full Entrepreneur Magazine. Yeah, it’s the whole magazine in a nice format. I’ve heard people complain when magazines are just kind of transitioning from basically putting print on the iPad. You know, where it’s you just flip the page like it’s a print magazine. People complain and say, “Oh, there should be more interactivity, blah, blah, blah.”
[19:34] To me, it’s great 1.0; it’s a great version 1.0 for this stuff. The color is nice. It’s just a rich user experience. And I don’t need some fancy stuff yet. I prefer that they get it on quickly and get it on now, and then if they need multimedia later, then do it. But I’d rather have it. I mean there’s so many magazines that are not on the iPad that either don’t have the iPhone app or that, you know, you can’t get it on the Kindle app. And I’m just wondering, “What are you doing? This is where everything’s going.” I just don’t see paper magazines having a future.
[20:01] Mike: Yeah, I wonder about the future of magazines myself. My wife was an associate art director at a national magazine. And I don’t know how they’re doing now because she left there probably three years ago. But magazines are having a tough time. So it’s interesting to see the way things are going with them, and I wonder how the magazine she used to work for, how they’re doing these days and if they’re going to be able to continue.
[20:23] The next application is Evernote. And if you haven’t used Evernote before you should definitely give it a try. Evernote allows you to take notes for different things on your iPad. And there’s also an Evernote application that you can put on your desktop. That’s really nice because it synchronizes between them automatically. So changes that you put into your iPad will then be reflected onto your desktop once your iPad goes online.
[20:47] So if you’re on a bus or a subway or something like that and you’re taking notes and jotting down ideas and stuff, those things will automatically go over to your desktop whenever you get there.
[20:56] I’m told that there’s also a lot of additional functionality within Evernote. So, for example, you can email it photos and tag different things and it will help you keep all those different things organized. You can email it webpages. And it will allow you to organize and tag all that content and make it easily searchable for you. But I’ve never really gotten into most of that stuff. Most of what I use it for is taking notes on my iPad and then just synching them back to my desktop.
[21:20] Rob: The next app we have for Content on the Go is actually two different applications. And one is called Good Reader, and it’s a really solid PDF reader . It also integrates with Dropbox. So that’s how I read PDFs on the iPad. I drop them into Dropbox and then you just click a link and it opens in Good Reader. And it’s got all kinds of nice features and stuff. It is a couple bucks; I think it’s $2 or $3. But I’ve enjoyed that.
[21:46] Mike: Totally worth it. Yeah, I totally use it all the time. And there are certain PDFs which I have to refer to which are upwards of a thousand pages long because they’re product documentation PDFs. And Good Reader handles them without sweating at all. It’s amazing how quick you can go from one end of a PDF to the next. I mean it seems to me like it’s, in many cases, faster and better than Adobe PDF Reader.
[22:11] Rob: Yeah, I haven’t even downloaded Adobe PDF Reader, which is funny. All I’ve used is, in Dropbox there’s a built-in PDF reader and it doesn’t hold a candle to Good Reader. I mean to pay $3, you make that up the first time you save five minutes. You know what I’m saying? It’s ridiculous. So yeah, I highly recommend it.
[22:28] The other one that I use is called Quick Reader, and that’s actually from Patrick Thompson, who is a Micropreneur Academy member. And he has several iPhone apps out there. Quick Reader is cool. The real core advantage of Quick Reader is that it helps you improve your reading speed.
[22:43] So you want to read at 160 words per minute and set some other variables, and it will scan through it and actually go through a book and highlight the words, and it trains your eyes, essentially, to just read faster.
[22:58] And there are a bunch of built-in books, a bunch of public domain stuff, like whatever you can think—Sherlock Holmes, and Frankenstein, and Dracula, and all that. And then there’s a bunch of other books that you can add into it.
[23:08] So I definitely recommend it. Again, it’s like $1 or $2, but I’ve used it and it just trains your eyes and your mind to process the information quicker. It’s totally cool. Totally works on the iPhone. I haven’t even tried it on the iPad. But it works well on the iPhone when you’re sitting on the subway or just sitting there waiting for something just to spend a few minutes to zip through a book.
[23:28] Mike: The next one in the Content to Go category is an application called Quick Office. If you go take a look at Quick Office, you are going to find that it’s probably one of the more expensive applications. It’s about $12. It is well worth the $12 because you can use it to open and edit Word documents, Excel documents, and they recently added the ability to create PowerPoint documents all on your iPad or your iPhone. It’s amazing how it works. And it actually even supports things like password protected documents. So I use it sometimes for password protecting certain Excel files if I want to keep a small subset of my passwords on there that I can access from anywhere.
[24:08] I can’t say enough good things about it. It doesn’t support, obviously, the full features set of what Microsoft Office does, but it’s enough that you could certainly get by just using that. I own both that and the Pages application from Apple, and Quick Office is by far much better than what I found Pages was capable of.
[24:28] Rob: I’m looking at the screenshots of Quick Office because I haven’t used it, and it’s insane. The PowerPoint editor is crazy! This is really impressive what you can do on an iPad.
[24:40] Rob: All right. Our next category is Finance and there’s two apps in the finance category, except one of them is a duplicate. It looks like I had online banking in two places. Oops!
[24:51] Mikes: Oops! [laughs]
[24:52] Rob: Yeah, the title of the show may soon be 32 iPhone apps. The one finance app that I’ve used quite a bit is the PayPal app. And again, it’s a limited functionality, but it allows you to check balances, send money. I think you might be able to withdraw money. But there’s a few things you can do, and I’ve done them several times on the go. So it’s not something that I use on a regular basis, but it is nice. It’s a lot faster than using the PayPal website. That’s the real advantage of it.
[25:16] Mike: The next category is the Entertainment category. So the first application in this category is for using Twitter. Personally, I use Tweet Deck. There are a lot of different Twitter applications that you can use, and it’s more or less a matter of preferences. Rob, I think you said that you use the actual officially sanctioned Twitter application, correct?
[25:37] Rob: That’s right.
[25:38] Mike: Yeah. So what I found is I actually downloaded a bunch of different ones before I decided to just go with TweetDeck, and that’s what I decided on. But if you have a Twitter account, definitely check into some of the different Twitter options that are available to you through the different applications.
[25:52] Most of them aren’t going to cost you very much. A lot of them are actually free or have lite versions. So you can at least check out the lite version before you decide you’re going to sink a couple dollars into the full-blown version for whichever one it is that you decide that you like.
[26:05] Rob: Is TweetDeck free?
[26:06] Mike: I don’t remember. I’ve had it for so long I just don’t remember.
[26:10] Rob: Yeah. I think it might be. It’s free on the PC. So yeah, TweetDeck is solid and the Twitter built client is solid. I know both of those.
[26:18] The next app is the Facebook app. And obviously, this is pure entertainment.
[26:23] Mike: Really? You don’t use that for work? [laughs]
[26:25] Rob: Yeah, I know! Remember, it was funny, I was going to put these in the productivity category and Mike’s like, “No, no, no.” [laughs] He’s like, “These are not productivity!” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re right. I don’t even know what I was thinking.”
[26:35] I don’t have much to say about the Facebook app. It works. It allows you to update, upload photos. What I like is on my iPhone I can take a video. We were at the snow last week and I took just a 10 second video. And then you just click the Facebook app, you can upload it, make a comment, and bam, it’s there. I mean that’s cool that I don’t have to go home and put it on my computer and upload it and all that.
[26:55] Mike: My one gripe about the Facebook app though…actually, I guess I have two. One is they don’t have an iPad native version. And the second is that chat does not work.
[27:05] Rob: They do have an iPad native version. I think it just came out.
[27:09] Mike: They do?
[27:10] Rob: Yep. I was just looking today for this show, and it’s called Facepad. So I haven’t even installed it. It says release date was December 29 th . I don’t know if that was the first release or what. But if it’s called Facepad, then I wonder if it’s released by Facebook or if it’s a third party developer?
[27:28] Mike: Yeah, there was a Netflix application a while back called Phoneflix.
[27:33] Rob: Yeah, that’s actually on our list.
[27:35] Mike: Actually, yeah. Well, why don’t we just talk about them now, Phoneflix and Netflix? Phoneflix was actually made by somebody other than Netflix. And Netflix I guess forced them to change the name. And when I realized that it was not actually Netflix, I basically stopped using it.
[27:51] Rob: Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah, because see, I’ve used it to manage my queue for months since I got my iPhone, which is what, 18 months ago? Because Netflix didn’t have an app until very recently. I don’t even know if you can manage your queue through the Netflix app. Can you? Can you add and remove stuff?
[28:06] Mike: I don’t recall. I don’t think so.
[28:10] Rob: Yeah, use it just to stream. Whereas I use Phoneflix to do all my queue management. Which, again, it’s one of those things where you’re like, “How often are you going to do that?” But when I’m talking with people and they’re like, “You’ve gotta see this movie,” that’s what I do. I get out my iPhone and I punch it in right there, because otherwise I’m not going to remember it.
[28:26] Mike: Yeah. I remember looking at it a while ago, and I looked at Phoneflix and I was like, “I don’t think this is actually released by Netflix.”
[28:35] Rob: No, it’s definitely not. Nope, it’s not.
[28:38] Mike: OK. I don’t know why, that bugged me.
[28:39] Rob: Yeah. No, because it had “flix” at the end and you thought it was developed by them…
[28:44] Mike: Oh, yeah.
[28:45] Rob: …and that makes you feel a little like they’re pulling one over on you or something.
[28:48] Mike: Not really so much that, because who knows what they’re doing under the covers with that information? I mean I guess what’s the worst they can do, sign me up for some new service that Netflix has? I mean big deal.
[29:00] Rob: Yeah.
[29:00] Mike: But it bugged me a little bit. I mean I’ve got a background in security, so it’s just like, “Eh, I don’t know.”
[29:05] Rob: Sure. So most of the apps though, like the Twitter app that you’re using, you use “Tweet” Deck, right? So they could Tweet on your behalf.
[29:13] Mike: Um, yeah. But I think that they have to use the API…well, I guess you’re right. You’re right.
[29:19] Rob: And the same thing with the FTP on the Go app that I buy, the SSH terminal, the RDP. Like, all of those are not developed by any particular person.
[29:25] Mike: No, you’re right.
[29:26] Rob: Anyways, so I’m not saying right or wrong. I use Phoneflix. I certainly can’t vouch for the security of it. But no one has added items to my queue yet.
[29:35] Rob: And just to confirm, I did look at the Netflix app. And really, all the Netflix app is, is a frame around their website. So you can just search and add stuff if you want. But as you said, all I’ve used it for is just to stream stuff instantly. And the cool part is you can stream it to your iPad or your iPhone. Whenever I’m on wireless now and I need some entertainment, I totally watch and stuff.
[29:57] Mike: Right, right.
[29:59] Rob: So cool. Our next app in the Entertainment category is Pandora. If you haven’t used Pandora, it is phenomenal. Basically, you enter either a band name or a song name. It has something in it called the Music Genome Project where they categorize a bunch of music based on all these factors, and it really can predict and provide music that is very similar to that song or band you’ve entered. And people had tried to do this before and no one had succeeded like Pandora. Like, Pandora actually works.
[30:27] I actually pay $36 a year for the paid service because it doesn’t have commercials, it allows you to listen to more music for a stretch, and, you know, a couple other things. But the free version is perfectly adequate.
[30:39] If you’re into music and just having background music on either while your coding, or maybe while you have folks over to have dinner and wine or something, you can just enter a nice smooth jazz or an acoustic guitar person and it just picks a bunch of songs.
[30:52] It was also great around the holidays when we had our Christmas party. I entered like a single instrumental Christmas song and hit play and it just played, for five hours straight, instrumental Christmas music. It was really cool. And I, of course, put my iPhone into my iPhone dock to listen to the music, but you could listen to it via headphones as well.
[31:10] Mike: You didn’t have the headphones on while you’re people were over?
[31:12] Rob: Christmas music? Yeah, that would have been great, huh?
[31:14] Mike: [laughs]
[31:15] Rob: But the cool thing is it works over 3G and wireless. So you can do it out and about as well.
[31:19] Mike: Got it.
[31:20] Rob: The next app, because Mike, I don’t think you use this, it’s called Type and Talk. And this is purely kind of a gag app. But it’s pretty cool. I’m actually going to whip it out. So rather than try to describe what Type and Talk does, I’m just going to play a little snippet.
[31:34] Computer Voice: Hello Mike. I hope you finish Audit Shark in 8-10 weeks.
[31:40] Rob: So if you could make that out, it was a computer voice saying, “Hello Mike. I hope you finish Audit Shark in 8-10 weeks.”
[31:46] I basically come up behind my wife and have it say things to her while she’s cooking dinner. I don’t know, it’s just a crackup to hear it say stupid things.
[31:54] Mike: There’s another application called Talking Tom and one called T-Rex or something like that. It’s basically…Talking Tom is this cat and you can abuse the cat, which my kids like to do. You can pull its tail and smack him in the head. But if you talk, he will repeat what you said back to him. And the T-Rex does a similar thing, but if you grab his tail he’ll try to bite you and things like that.
[32:16] Rob: That’s nice. Good for kids.
[32:18] Mike: Yep, good for kids.
[32:20] Rob: All right. The last one in the Entertainment category is the Ted application. You’ve heard of the Ted Talks. It’s just an interface to search and watch the Ted videos and listen to the audios. So it’s something that I found useful for when I’m sitting around waiting for things.
[32:38] Rob: Our next category is Screw the Retailer. Mike came up with that name!
[32:41] Mike: [laughs]
[32:42] Rob: There’s basically this app that’s called SnapTell, and I use this all the time at Barnes & Noble and Borders, because I see a book I want, I don’t want a physical book, I want the kindle version. So on my iPhone, I open SnapTell, take a picture of the cover and it indentifies the book. And I think it might use Amazon Mechanical Turk and actually send it out in real time to a person. That’s what I’ve heard. And then someone then identifies the book.
[33:05] And then it brings back and it’s like you click to view all the stores in the area that carry it and their pricing, or click to go online, and you can just click and it shows you it’s at Amazon, does a big comparison. And I typically go and add it to my Amazon wish list and later come back and buy it as a Kindle version.
[33:22] So it’s pretty cool. It keeps you from having to type in the whole title and stuff while you’re standing there in the store.
[33:27] Mike: So the last category we have is a personal applications category. The first one, I found this really useful when I went to Disney World over Thanksgiving vacation. It was an application called Walt Disney Week Times. And essentially, what it does is you tell it which of the Disney them parks you’re at and it will show you a list of all the different rides and different things that they have going on there, and at least roughly what the wait time is for you to get onto that ride from any given point.
[33:58] And you can use that to kind of figure out where it is in the park that you want to go. So if you’re on one side of the park and you see that nearby there’s a ride that the wait time is only 20 minutes versus something else that’s 90, you might go to the one that’s 20 minutes instead of 90. You can use it to help you decide where you’re going to go. Their Fast Pass things are nice, but they don’t tell you several hundred yards away exactly how long the wait is until you actually get over there.
[34:22] And it relies on user feedback, so it’s nice to kind of contribute back to it and say, “OK, this is what the actual wait time is at a particular ride.” And it seems to me like there’s enough people using it that it seems fairly accurate.
[34:35] The next application is a program called Lose It. And what Lose It is, is it’s essentially…I don’t want to call it a weight loss product, but you can certainly use it for that. You can use it mainly to help keep track of the different things that you are eating and keep track of your calorie intake for the day. You can also use it to keep track of how much you’ve exercised and that will tell you what your calorie intake is for the day and, based on your weight loss goals, whether or not you’re over your calorie intake for the week. It’s very helpful if you’re actually trying to keep track of that.
[35:08] What I did find was if after using it for several weeks, if you stop using it, you tend to stop paying attention to what you’re eating and how much your exercising, and you’ll kinda go off of whatever diet it is that you are trying to maintain.
[35:22] Rob: And the last app on our list is called White Noise. And it’s basically a white noise generator. And I’ve used this via headphones on an airplane. I’ve used it all the time when we travel. I turn it up and put it on the floor of our hotel room so that my child doesn’t get woken up by the drunk guy next door or the person lighting firecrackers in the parking lot. Seriously, this has saved…I know it’s saved my kid from getting woken up from stuff.
[35:49] Rob: Well I think that about wraps us up for today. I hope we’ve offered some good suggestions for your iPhone and iPad consumption, both for business and personal and entertainment use. And if you have any apps you’d like to suggest, feel free to send them to us via the info that Mike’s going to give you now.
[36:05] Mike: Or you can post them in the comments of this particular podcast. If you have a question or comment, you can call it into our voicemail number at 1-888-801-9690. Or you can email it in MP3 or text format to .
[36:20] If you enjoy this podcast, please consider writing a review in iTunes by searching for “Startups”. You can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or via RSS at startupsfortherestofus.com.
[36:29] A full transcript of this podcast is available at our website: startupsfortherestofus.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from “We’re Outta Control” by MoOt, used under Creative Commons. We’ll see you next time.