Jan 27, 2011

The iPhone Mommy: A Guest Post

By Rachel

The adjustment, sleeplessness, and busyness of being a new Mom can really take up a majority of one’s mental processing space, and then when you add to that trying to keep up with feedings, diapers, naps, and every other event in your baby’s life that you must control and time, it’s nearly impossible.

With my first child, I kept a ridiculously detailed and arduous notebook about everything related to her well-being.  Although it took quite a bit of effort to keep up with, I don’t know that I could have survived without it – at least without my daughter being fed hours too late because I lost track of when she last ate.

Jan 25, 2011

Tripping with the iPhone

I just got back from a business trip to a very cold place.  While my iPhone wasn't able to keep me warm, I had tools on my iPhone that made travel a lot easier.  The most useful thing I did was something I did last year: I got a Tripit account.  Tripit is a free service that, when paired with the free Tripit app for the iPhone, allows you to take your itinerary with you in an easy-to-read, easy-to-access form.  The beauty of Tripit is how easy it is to get your itinerary into the app.  Once you've registered you simply email your itinerary to plans@tripit.com.

Jan 23, 2011

Blogging on the Go with the iPhone

One of the real benefits of a smart phone like the iPhone is its portability. It's the computer you have when you don't have a computer. It's even possible to blog on your iPhone while on the go. While the small iPhone keyboard makes it difficult to write anything of considerable length, there are apps that help in other ways.

Whenever I'm away from the computer and need to blog, I use an app called BlogPress. It works with all the major blogging services, allows you to schedule publishing, and even allows you to tag posts. It even shows previous posts if you need to make a quick change to an already-published post.

By the way, I created and published this post with BlogPress.

Jan 18, 2011

Losing It: Losing Weight with Your iPhone

I could stand to lose some weight, so like many I started doing something about it. I'm not a fitness or diet expert but I've found out a few things about myself. I don't like to "go on a diet" and major restrictions on what I eat don't help me because they are unsustainable. There are things I like to eat that I don't want to completely give up. What I want is to bring moderation to what I eat and how much.
Losing weight ultimately is about taking in less calories than you burn. This is where Lose It! comes in. Lose It! is a free iPhone app that allows you to log your meals and your exercise, a technique that I've found works and allows me to eat mostly what I want as long as I don't overdue it. It's not following a diet as much as it is following a caloric budget. For me it works. When I make a reasonable budget (based on losing a pound a week) and stay within that budget, I lose weight.

Lose It! is very feature rich, more than many apps that will cost you money. It has:
  • A huge database of foods and exercises so you don't have to find out and enter calories.
  • Let's you add and reuse your own foods and exercises if you don't find them in its database.
  • Allows you to add friends for accountability and encouragement. Friends can see how you are doing against your budget, how much weight you're losing, etc. (Only friends can see this stuff so you can restrict it to just yourself by just not adding friends.) It even will email you and your friends a summary or detailed report eac week if you want it to.
  • Let's you combine common foods into recipes for quick entry.
  • Let's you add a past meal as a current meal if you're eating the same thing again (leftovers, for example).
  • It is one of those apps that has it's own web site, where you can log your meals if you are already sitting in front of a computer. In fact you could just use the web site exclusively but logging on an iPhone is convenient when you are out and about.
If you need to lose weight, your iPhone can be a tool to help you. Although losing weight is never easy, using an app like Lose It! definitely helps.

(I've lose 2.4 pounds using Lose It! in the first two weeks of 2011. Last year I lost close to 10 pounds. I would have lost more had I kept up the discipline of logging my food and exercise.)

Jan 14, 2011

To Doing: To Do Lists on the iPhone and iPad

I'm slammed with stuff to do, both at home and at work.  You have been there before, if you aren't there right now.  I can't keep track of everything I need to do without a list.  My memory just isn't good enough.

One of the reasons I got an electronic organizer years ago (a Palm PDA back then) was because keeping up with what I had to do was superior with it than with paper.  There are several reasons for this:
  1. Paper cannot alert you when you have something time-sensitive to do.  If you forget to look at your list at the right time, you can miss doing something very important.
  2. It is difficult to keep up with recurring to-dos on paper.  You have to rewrite them on your to-do list every time they come up.
  3. It is sometimes helpful to put something on your list for the distant future.  With paper, it is difficult to know where to put these items so that they appear on your radar whenever you get to that distant date.
The iPhone and iPad don't come with a built-in to-do list app.  Fortunately, however, there are a number of really good ones in the app store.  Which one you chose is largely a matter of personal preference but there are some things that are good to look for in any of these apps:

Jan 11, 2011

The Right Time to Pee...at the Movies

Over the holidays I saw a couple of movies.  Since I don't get to the movies much, I like to take in the whole experience, including the popcorn and the large Diet Coke.  As you can imagine, I'm at some point in the movie presented with the dilemma many movie-goers face.  How do I get relief from the pain of having drunk a large caffeinated beverage while not missing anything important?

Jan 8, 2011

Tips for New iOS Users: Speeding Up Your Typing on the Touch Screen

If you just got your first iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad for Christmas, you are still learning your way around it.  Every now and then I will post some quick and simple tips that might help you learn your way around the device.

The first thing that will speed up your typing may be the most difficult to train yourself to do, or at least it was for me.  If you make a mistake in the middle of a word, keep typing.  Your iDevice is really good at correcting words that are miss-typed.  It took me a while to train myself to do this but once I did, it really sped up my typing.

There are also a great number of keyboard shortcuts that will speed up your typing.  Rather than go into them all here, I will point you to a really good list at Mashable.  The double-tap of the space bar tip is life-changing.

Jan 6, 2011

App Sales: The Way to Score Some Great Apps on the Cheap

Most anyone with an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad realizes that there are a lot of apps available for free in the App Store. Some of them are very good, including such well known ones as Pandora, Lose It!, and Google Earth, etc. Go up to $0.99, less than a twenty-ounce Coke at a convenient store, and you find some other quality apps. But what happens when you find those apps that are $4.99 or $9.99 or more that you want but don't want to spend that much for?

Apps go on sale in the app store all the time. Electronic Arts and Gameloft put top-rated games, such as Madden NFL 11, on sale for only $0.99 during the holidays. As of this writing, Runkeeper Pro, which is regularly $9.99, is free. The key to finding deals like these is to know right away when they go on sale. I have a lot of apps on my iPhone. Most of them I got when they were free or when they were $0.99. There are two things I use to help discover apps on sale:
  1. I read the AppAdvice blog, which nearly every day posts free iPhone and iPad apps.
  2. There are apps for that...for tracking sales, that is. The best ones not only show you what apps went on sale, but let you keep a wish list of apps you want and notify you when those apps are on sale. I have used BargainBin With Push (free), which lets you create a wish list and say the price you are willing to buy each app at. If an app meets its target price, a local alert will notify you. I'm currently using AppShopper, which has the added benefit of a web site for maintaining your wish list and what you currently own. It sends you an email when an app on your wish list goes on sale.

    Jan 4, 2011

    Apps with Web Components

    I tend to prefer iPhone apps that have a web component, a web site that lets me enter information that syncs with my iPhone. One example is Grocery iQ, which I wrote about in my Shared Shopping Lists for Married People post.  There are some compelling reasons to choose these apps over others with equivalent functionality that do not have a web component.  Here are my reasons:
    1. You may spend at least a portion of the day, whether at work or at home, sitting in front of a computer.  Updating your grocery list, to-do list, diet log, etc. is much easier using a full-sized keyboard and a large screen.