by Frank Martin
It is hardly understating things to only semi-jokingly refer to a smart phone as the modern pocket knife. This one device can do any number of jobs above and beyond texting and making phone calls. That said, there are so many different apps out there that it can be hard to separate the good stuff from the junk. These are apps that I use on a regular basis and have gotten great benefit from.
Evernote: This one app is slowly taking over my life, and I love it. Useful as anything from a photo album to a notebook to a word processor, you can even use it to store files. I’m certainly not the first to sing the praises of Evernote, but I doubt I’ll be the last.
OneBusAway: If you use public transit, you need this app.Uses your phone’s GPS to show your position on a map and all the bus stops in the area. You can tap on any of them and see what buses stop there and when. It alseo live updates so you know if a bus is running late or early. (note: I don’t know if this works everywhere)
Stitcher: I’ve slowly become addicted to podcasts, and after getting fed up with Podbay crashing for the umpteenth time, went ahead and checked out Stitcher. Maybe the best podcast listening app out there. Any podcast currently in production is probably available, in addition to dozens of talk radio stations and major news sources. I do have some gripes, like there being a noticeable couple second delay when you try to bring up the currently playing window, and its locked up on me once or twice, but over all highly recommended.
Instapaper: I’ve gone back and forth between instapaper and readability over the years. Both are online services that allow you to save material from the web to look at later. Instapaper has the added features of being able to save video, and mark up saved articles using a highlight feature. Using the highlighter more than three or four times a month requires a small subscription of less than five dollars though.
Google Calendar: While I use a paper planner, I pair it with a digital one. I like to plan out my days and I usually get up early, so this allows me to plan things before 8am. If someone knows of a paper planner that goes back to five or six am let me know what it is in the comments.
For fellow preppers out there:
Scanner Radio: This little app lets you listen to local police/fire/emergency response and weather band radio signals. The audio is provided by volunteers, so you might not have anything available if you’re in a small town, and the feeds aren’t up 24/7. Still, it can be fun and informative to listen to.
Disaster Alert: Shows a world map with icons showing the location and type of event.
First Aid: Instructions including videos on how to handle a wide variety of injuries and other health problems from allergies to seizures to broken bones. Probably not the best thing to be using when actually administering first aid, but a great learning aid.