Saturday, February 06, 2010

Favorite iPhone/iPod Touch apps

I have dozens of apps on my iPhone and am always looking for cool new ones. I realized, though, that I use the same ones over and over, while other apps that sounded super-cool (even ones I paid for) sit unused and unloved. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites. I'd love to hear what apps others have found that they really love.

Fitness Related:

LoseIt! actually makes calorie counting, if not fun, at least doable. Anyone who has been reading this blog knows I've been using it for a while now to track calorie intake and activity, and to track my weight. It is simple, has an attractive interface, and it's free. The addition of the website interface adds some really interesting reports. It also predicts when you will reach your goal weight based on your progress so far. Right now I'm on track to be at goal by June 3, just in time for swimsuit season. Room for Improvement: An easier way to post progress reports to your blog or website would be nice, or at least the ability to create a public profile. The ability to track body fat readings would also be useful for me.

C25K Because of my recent running-related injury, I have been out of the running game for several weeks. I decided to get back into it gradually. At first I was going to use the 5K plan by Julia Jones posted on the Two Fit Chicks website, but I thought it would be hard to keep track of the workouts while I was running. I found this app, which uses the popular Couch to 5K plan. What I like about this app is that it keeps track of the run/walk intervals for me. You import your own music from your iTunes library into the app and while it's playing the music, it will ring a bell and say "run" or "walk." It's very easy to use. There is even twitter and facebook integration if you want to brag about your progress online.
Room for Improvement: I wish the summary screen for each workout gave a total workout time. I'm not good at adding lists of times given both in seconds and minutes together in my head. I would also like it if it had separate playlists for warmup, cooldown, and the main workout. I want fast music when I'm working hard and slower tunes when I'm cooling down. If you are really meticulous in making your playlist you could probably engineer this yourself but I'm not. Some people have complained about the bell alert and the voice for the "run" and "walk" alerts, but at least it is different enough to be easily distinguishable from your music.

The Weather Channel This may not seem like a fitness-related app, but it helps me decide what to wear for my workouts and also lets me know when I should just go to the gym instead of braving the elements. I like that it tells me not only the real temperature but what it "feels like" outside, and it gives hour-by-hour predictions with wind speed and direction. It also gives sunrise and sunset times. The best thing is that I will never ever have to watch The Weather Channel on television again.
Room for Improvement: I seem to press the wrong button a lot more than on other apps -- something about their placement seems a little off.

BigOven Not long ago, Jennette of PastaQueen posted a query to her readers. She had bok choy and fresh ginger root and didn't know what to do with either one. I put the ingredients into BigOven and quickly found a chicken stir-fry recipe that used both. She ended up making something else, but I was intrigued enough that I tried bok choy for the first time and loved it. I have dozens of cookbooks, but this app gives me a quick answer to that whole "what to do with the ingredients I have here?" question. Or, from the grocery store, you can quickly decide if there's anything you really would want to make using celeriac before you buy it.
Room for Improvement: Would love it if there was a way to see nutritional information for the recipes. It seems like there should be an easy way to tie the recipe software into a nutritional calculator.

A Few Other Favorite Apps:

Showtimes I love to go to the movies, and this is the easiest way to know what is playing near me and at what times. You can watch trailers and read Rotten Tomatoes reviews right from the app.

Lexulous I play this game a lot on facebook and it's nice to be able to play on the go. The interface is pretty slick. You can do everything in the app that you can do on the regular facebook game. Unfortunately this one is not free.

Kindle Reader I wish the books for this were less expensive, but this app is a good way to read books on the go or spare your already-overloaded bookshelves. Because it's backlit, it is a good way to read in bed, too.

IMDb I don't use this one a lot, but it's great for those conversations where you're trying to remember who was in that movie you liked, or to find other movies by the same actor or director to rent.

ShopSavvy This free app uses the iPhone's camera (sorry iPod Touch users) to scan the barcode on an item and compare prices for it on the web and near your location. I had some trouble getting a good scan when the barcode was on a curved surface.

2 comments:

  1. I don't have an iPhone, but after reading your post I found C25K and BigOven apps in the Android market! That's made my day. :)

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  2. Hey Jen... great to get a nosey at your iPhone apps :) BigOven lokos fab. I wish LoseIt would have a UK foods database, otherwise it sounds ace (i think i'v said this here before? sorry if i have!)

    Skype for the iPhone is ace too, saved me a fortune on a trip, calling people overseas using a Wifi connection instead of huge roaming phone charges.

    I am also a convert to reading books on the iPhone... very discreet and one less thing to lug around in my bag! I love the Stanza app... it's free and there's thousands of free books, particularly classic ones. Just finished reading Pride & Prejudice. It cracks me up knowing I am carrying Anna Karenina AND War and Peace in my pocket and no danger to my back. Hehehe.

    Also have Free Menstrual Calendar so for the first time in my life i know exactly when i am going to be a bitch every month!

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07