Monday, May 21, 2012

101 New Uses for Your iPhone

I admit it: my smart phone has taken over my life. And this from someone who didn't even own a mobile phone before 2002.

The biggest surprise? Its power over me has less to do with the fact that it's a phone, than with the ease with which it lets me do so many other things, saving me time, money, and making my handbag lighter.

Here I share with you some of the things I've recently come to depend on my new significant other (my iPhone 4S) for.

1. Instant and Effortless Food Diary. Just take a picture of things before you eat them. The phone arranges them by date and time automatically. If you want to take it a step further, use the app Photocalorie, which lets you share your diary with others and sends you alerts when you haven't logged entries. 

2. Quick Recall. I make up names that I can easily remember, and place important info I can't be caught without as the "phone number" for my imaginary friends. My primary credit card number, my passport, some passwords I change often, etc. 

3. Color and Size Comparison when Shopping. I no longer drag things with me into stores. Instead, I take a photo of it at home, write any needed data such as a measurement as a caption, and go.

4. Stenographer - The Dragon Dictation app is only a few dollars and is eerily accurate and grammatically correct in both English and Spanish. I can now use my commute to get pesky email replies out of the way. When I get home, I email my dictation to myself, and forward to the appropriate party. 

5. Light! - The free iHandy app, can work as a full powered flashlight, as as a discreet book light, with over ten levels of scope/reach and intensity for all situations. The premium version also has an LED alarm clock, a bar code scanner, a translator, a carpenter that functions as a level for hanging pictures, a tip calculator, and a battery master, and a QR code scan for special offers. 

6. Easy, Effective To-Do Lists - Using Things or TeuxDeux, you can make your lists as you remember things, and synchronize them with your work or home computer. If you handle many long-term projects, you might want to invest in Wunderkit, which extracts your to-do list automatically from your project data. 

7. Address Finder - Yelp! I'm terrible with directions and Yelp! has gotten me to places before I ran out of gas more than once. Not only does it save you time with maps, directions, reviews, and hours of operation for most establishments in metropolitan areas. It also saves your gas. 

8. Alert Machine - Not only will it wake you up, but you can also use it to alert you of meetings ahead of time, allowing you to prepare, of birthdays, and even of the times to take your meds, or drink more water. All you have to do is program your alerts for the day. 

9. Sleep Sounds Machine - Dozens of free apps can provide the sounds of dreams into your ear: urban rain, wind chimes, crashing waves, you name it. 

10. Expense Report Maker - Download the free Expensify app and input the information for the account you use for work expenses. Then all you have to do is give it the time your trip started and ended, and it will categorize those expenses according to your company's policy, putting it all into an Excel or PDF file and emailing it to your finance department while saving you a copy. You can even have it create receipts for you, based on your bank account data, or scan the receipts using your phone camera so you don't lose them or have to lug them around.  

11. Investing Teacher - Tradefields is a game that gives you ten million imaginary dollars to invest, so you learn to invest by playing and seeing what the other players (via Facebook) do. I've learned more from it, than from many a bestselling investment book, and I still have nine million dollars left.

And this is without counting Internet-browser, book-carrier, shopping assistant, masseuse-yes, there's an app that turns your phone into a wrist or neck massager-GPS, stopwatch for timing your workouts or your recipe cooking times, news provider, family Facetime machine for reading to the kids when you are away on work trips, and many other things . Oh, wait, did I mention it's also great for making phone calls?

What are some of your creative uses for your cell phone?
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