01/13/2012 10:56 EST | Updated 03/14/2012 05:12 EDT

In Praise of the iPhone

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Another Story About Incredible iPhone Apps

I address this blog to the Resistance -- to my fellow Luddites who've stood firm against cell phones from the start! Yes we've made concessions to the Internet, taking what we need from it. But we've proudly and steadfastly resisted accessibility, leaving emails unopened, phone messages unanswered and cringing as those around us morph themselves into mobile networks!

I've watched agog as food courts, sidewalks, airports, and lobbies everywhere have filled with masses of people all talking and texting! What could be so important? And who would want to ruin the pleasure of a moment's solitude and independent thought between meetings? That is until now ...

Now I'm Talking To An iPhone

Yes it happened. I'm now the proud owner of an iPhone 4S! And it's been fabulous; kindof a cross between a trip to the Museum of Modern Art and a visit to a downtown arcade! An iPhone is so much more than just a telephone. It is a tour de force of mobile computing that truly makes sense of the phrase information age!

I took the leap because of its onboard camera. That's where it began, but it didn't stop there. Within a week I was exploring the delights of Appland making regular visits to Apple's App Store. With the addition of each new app, my iPhone has become an even more essential and rewarding tool -- with none of the downside of steep learning curves or technical snafus that plague the PC world!

Topping my list in the category of enhanced iPhone utility:

Battery Doctor -- Install this one to manage your battery life. It's so much better than the charging software that comes with the phone.

Flashlight -- Buy the enhanced version and easily use you iPhone to light the way.

World Clock -- I like this as it gives you an analogue/digital clock for multiple locations. Also has alarms, stopwatch and timer functions.

SoundHound -- Tells you the name of the song and artist and connects to the iTunes Store to buy tunes.

To manage your Calling Plan Costs:

Call Times -- Keeps track of all your phone use, on hour, off hour, long distance, etc.

Free Wi-Fi -- Finds Wi-Fi locations in your immediate vicinity wherever you are, so you can take full advantage of the next two apps.

WePhone - This is a highly rated VoIP Phone with free and very low-cost international and local calling.

Skype -- Same as the laptop tool

For Professional Tools try:

Bump -- A cool app that exchanges contact information by "toasting" similarly enabled smartphones. -- This is that voice activated dictionary/thesaurus I absolutely love!

AroundMe -- Excellent app that gives detail on every retail and service outlet nearby, with distance and maps to location.

Winning Social Media Apps -- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

For assistance while on-the-go:

MotionX-GPS -- This is a full-feature driving, walking, over-the-water GPS.

Trapster -- An app for driving that advises where there are speed traps, RIDE stops, traffic cameras, road hazards, etc.

GasBuddy -- Based on your location, this app tells you the price of gas at stations near you on an ever-widening basis. Works!

HopStop -- A tool that knows where you are in ANY city and gives you the bus and public transit routing and transfer points.

Useful Shopping Aids:

RedLaser -- This app reads barcodes and compares prices and gives store locations and driving instructions to places with better prices on the products you are considering.

ShopSavvy - Same basic function as RedLaser except that it also checks online shopping sites for products. I'm trying both of them to see which is better. So far I've found one will recognize a product that the other doesn't have a listing for. So having both might be useful.

XE-Currency -- A currency conversion tool that helps with online cross-border shopping.

Groupon -- Finds you deals and coupons for everything in real time.

Really great camera and video tools:

Camera+ - This is an excellent camera enhancement that lets you work with F-Stop-like functionality, plus effects, pre-sets and crops

FiLMiC Pro -- Gives you serious video features like a 6x zoom, focal length control, sound edit tools and much more.

Almost DSLR -- Allows you to hard-set your exposure and light balance.

8mm -- Tricky little app that makes video look like it is shot using an 8mm film camera. Sweet!

I also like:

Bank Apps like CIBC -- This lets me do banking from my iPhone.

RunKeeper -- A very full-feature pedometer, exercise monitoring and calorie counting device.

SleepCycle -- Alarm clock that keeps you refreshed by waking you at the optimal point in your REM cycle.

SkyGrid -- Provides updates on breaking news. Useful with apps like AP Mobile, TED Mobile, CNN National, Fluent News, IMDb, BBC News, NPR News.

I'm still not using the phone functions, taking calls or texting; but something else remarkable is going on. Have any of you heard of Siri? Forget about talking to people who don't listen! Now Apple makes talking to your phone completely worthwhile -- but more on that another time...