DCS App Series: Smartphone Staples
December 08, 2015
Hi my name is Nick and I’m an addict.
Before you jump to conclusions, let me clarify. I am addicted to mobile applications.
I often combat fleeting moments of boredom with Google searches that aim to feed my addiction. My cravings are not for any particular genre of app. I am a garden variety app-addict; personalization (Android users will understand), productivity, entertainment, communication, news and so on.
In an effort to break the confines of isolation that can often be associated with addiction, I am reaching out and asking my fellow app addicts to stand up and be counted.
This is not a cry for help, but rather a request for my app-loving brethren and sisters to feed my addiction.
Which brings us to the DCS App Series… Today’s inaugural post will highlight the five applications that are absolute musts.
These are the five applications that I download within minutes of activating a new device. As will be standard for the app series, I plead with you to respond, share and expose your favorites. Remember, the only thing I ask in return for this easy and (hopefully) insightful reading material is that you feed my obsessive craving for apps that organize, summarize, theorize and so on. So let’s get to it.
5 applications I could not function without
Evernote is an application that organizes and categorizes the chaos of the mind and daily life. Downloaded on every internet accessible piece of technology I own, Evernote is a note taking app that allows its users to do so much more than take notes.
For those of you who are Android users, you will want to take advantage of Evernote’s widgets. However, iPhone and Android users alike will appreciate the productive boost Evernote provides.
- Photo Integration
- Screen shot and clipping functionality
- Work Chat
- Storage and Data Backup
- Audio & Handwritten Notes
For those of you who still prefer the handwritten note, Evernote teamed with Moleskin to create a notebook that is technologically innovative. Moleskin’s Evernote line of notebooks allows users to take a picture from your smartphone that is automatically recognized by your camera and stored in the appropriate pre-selected place within the Evernote app.
A short review cannot do Evernote justice.
I use Evernote to store contacts, in-progress work, writing, reminders, random brain droppings and anything else that crosses my path.
Download the free version and give it some time – Evernote will be finely woven into the fabric of your everyday life. I began with the free version, eventually upgrading to their premium version, because frankly, it is unquestionably worth it.
- IF; formerly IFTTT (IF THIS THEN THAT)
IF is an application that connects your applications and devices, putting them to work for you. With the time consuming nature of today’s technology and the never-ending influx of content, one must find any way possible to get back those precious seconds and minutes. IF does precisely that – it is your very own personal assistant, managing your apps, social media accounts and everything in between.
If you are not familiar with this application, an example will best display the convenience it provides.
Each connection between applications is known as a recipe. A recipe, once created, will run without your intervention, as it is triggered by a pre-selected action. On to the examples...
A recipe could be as follows:
- IF I like a picture on Instagram, then save that picture to Dropbox
- IF I post to Facebook, then post to Twitter
- IF I arrive at (selected location), then turn on my Wi-Fi
- IF I leave work, then notify my significant other (because why wouldn’t you?)
The possibilities are truly endless.
The best part about this application is the numerous recipes already in existence. All you have to do is toggle the recipe on and the automated action will take place going forward. You do not have to do a thing - just sit back and enjoy the convenience.
IF can also work with the internet of things (IoT). IoT refers to any smart device that can send and receive data; a pool that is constantly expanding.If you are the owner of ‘smart home technologies’, you can automate their use right in the application.
Take the five minutes this evening to download and play around with the application. You can thank me later.
Pocket is a ‘save for later’ application. On top of being an application on your phone, Chrome has a browser extension that can exist in your toolbar. Every time you find a page you would like to get back to, but don’t have the time now, simply click the button (looks like the Pocket logo above) and the page or article will be bookmarked for later.
How many times have you come across a webpage or article you would love to read, determined to remember reading it later? Only, the hustle and bustle of the day ensues and you never remember to read the article.
With Pocket that page or article is saved to the application with the tap of a button, conveniently awaiting you to return to it whenever you get the time.
Coincidentally, I have a recipe triggered in IF that states, IF I add an article to Pocket, then add that to the Evernote notebook titled ‘to-read’.
Damn, I love technology.
Pushbullet is another app that enhances productivity and convenience.
A multi-functional tool, Pushbullet’s primary purpose is as a sharing platform between your devices. For example, if you have a large file on your cell phone, you can easily ‘push’ the file to your tablet, desktop or laptop by sending it within Pushbullet. Forget about emailing a file, picture or video to yourself, pushbullet makes this obsolete and unnecessary.
Another function within the application (that I use on a daily basis) is text messaging.
Pushbullet can receive and send your phone’s text messages right on your computer desktop.
Can you picture how lovely it is to not have to be constantly unlocking your phone to see who text messaged you while at work? Let me save you the brain-exertion; it is friggin’ fantastic.
In today’s world nearly everyone has more than one device accessing the internet. If you are part of the masses, you will certainly want to download Pushbullet.
The self-declared ‘front page of the internet’, reddit’s foundation is as a website. However, a number of applications exist, allowing users to access reddit from a phone or tablet.
When someone asks me about reddit, I have a difficult time explaining it without a verbal novella. This is because reddit is so many things, it would be short-changing it to simply label it as a ‘news site’ or ‘message board’.
Basically, reddit is an entertainment, Social Networking and news source that functions as an online bulletin board. Content is promoted by users of the site, up-voting submissions they enjoy or find worthy of a vote.
The beauty of reddit is that it is broken up into thousands upon thousands of subreddits, which is the site’s method of organizing content. There is a subreddit for nearly anything you could think of:
- news (influenced by the political party of your choice)
- specific hobbies
- books, magazines & every form of reading material
- random thoughts (check out r/showerthoughts)
- courageous admissions (r/TIFU - you will figure the acronym out eventually)
- movies, netflix and documentary suggestions and reviews
...and a vast amount of other topics and interests, which span everything from G-rated material to content which is not safe for work (any content is labeled such – NSFW).
Download reddit and give it a couple days. Once you are familiar with the site and have discovered the subreddits you are interested in, it will become your only needed source for news or reading material.
But be forewarned: reddit is highly addictive.
There you have it. These five apps are integral in my daily life. Many of you may be familiar with them already, but for those of you who are not, this article will prove to be a turning point in your existence. Now, it’s time to keep up your end of the bargain.
- What five apps can you not do without?
A description of the app is not needed. Simply Tweet us your five @DCSNY.
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