Back in the day ‘What’s in your handbag?‘ was a popular feature in various magazines and newspapers. I was thinking about what would show a similar kind of personality now given that so much of your life is digital artifacts rather than real things. For instance up to five years ago, someone like myself who wasn’t a native of London would typically have had some sort of A-Z guide in their bag. Now of course Google Maps does the same job. I thought about my phone and the applications on them.
iPhone screen one: is my most frequently used applications, the flickr uploader, calendar and Tweetdeck get particularly well used. Surprisingly I end up using the compass more often than mapping applications, I know where I am many times, but need to know the right direction to go. This is particularly the case on the far end of Oxford Street where I don’t have line of sight to Centrepoint. ZeptoLiner is an application by Japanese developers that is great for task management and lists.
iPhone screen two is focused on travel-related applications. Tube Status is a good free application which keeps a track of which line breaks when. CityTime is an application that I have used on-and-off for the past decade when it was originally on the Palm platform, its pretty much the same story with MetrO. The great thing about MetrO is that there a lively community producing maps for mass transit systems around the world, paid-applications on the iPhone just don’t have the same breadth of cities in them.
HKMetroLite is a portable easy-to-use map of Hong Kong’s MTR system. I have British Airways, Lufthansa, SWISS and Cathay Pacific’s applications to make bookings easier. I have just started to use Work Snug to track down the holy duality of free wi-fi and good coffee in London. Whilst I have found Dopplr a great website I have found their application to be disappointing.
Google Maps is a great mapping tool but it requires you to be constantly connected to the internet. Maps can’t be cached as it violates the terms of service. Which is the reason why I invested in TomTom’s maps for the UK and Hong Kong. If its good enough for most London cabbies, its good enough for me. It doesn’t half hammer the battery on the iPhone when I use it though.
iPhone screen three is a bit of a mixed bag. TV Guide is a mobile version of TVguide.co.uk and a really nicely designed application. UK media applications are a bit crap, so I tend to use the New York Times and Marketwatch applications most often. Stephen switched me on to thetrainline app which is like the National Rail application, but free. Ogilvy is a collection of quotes from David Ogilvy which seem to be right for every situation. His work Ogilvy on Advertising alongside, Tim Pat Coogan’s biography of Michael Collins, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Letters from a Stoic by Seneca and Robert Pirsig’s Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance are my personal set of tillers that return me to a career even keel when work challenges cause a neural traffic jam.
iPhone screen four: this is where I park applications that I don’t use that often or trialled and didn’t find much use. Stickies allows you to build a virtual post-it note that acts as the wallpaper on your phone. I use it for things that I have to remember at a particular point in time. LinkedIn I found really disappointing as an application. Voice memo is a simple recording programme that comes with the iPhone. If there is one thing that lets the iPhone down its audio recording. I once recorded a lecture by Charles Dunstone on a Palm Tungsten III with no problems but I couldn’t have done the same thing on the iPhone.