Monday, July 12, 2010

How my iPod makes me more productive

Since I'm overdue posting about lots of things, I wanted to at least post about what I use my iPod for. I don't have any music on it, and the only videos I have are YouTube captures and a purchased Super Why! episode from PBS Kids to entertain the 2 year old in crisis situations.

My iPod is mainly used for productivity. In short, I'm reading a LOT more than ever before.

Here are my most useful apps:

1. Delicious- I did a presentation in January for how faculty can use Delicious to provide articles for their students. This app lets me do that while browsing the web with Safari on my iPod. I simply tag and go, just like I would on my PC.

2. Instapaper. I've blogged about Instapaper before. I bought the full version of this app, though the free version is nice. It has several options for advancing through text, including a tilt-scroll option. It has a nightime reading function with white letters on a black screen. Several other apps sync with Instapaper (see below).
My reading list has gone from 10-20 articles to 40-50 articles, and I can't seem to get it below that number.
I still Instapaper articles (20 at a time) to my Kindle. But reading on the iPod isn't bad at all.

3. Byline RSS reader - I tried using News Gator's NetNewsWire app, but it didn't have the functionality that Byline does, for free. Byline syncs with Google Reader and automatically downloads posts, including pictures. For feeds that don't incorporate full RSS capability (like the NY Times' blogs, where you have to actually go to their website to read the post) Byline downloads those full pages for you automatically, complete with pictures, so you can read offline.
Byline has greatly increased the ease of reading blogs for me. And I can add posts to my Instapaper with the app, which is a huge bonus. When online, I can open the posts in Safari and add ones for students via the Delicious app (above). I love this app.

4. 5-0 Radio Pro - This is the first app that I paid to get the full version of. It aggregates various police/public safety feeds from around the country, including Polk Co. here. The paid version also gives you easy access to thousands of radio stations, sorted by genre, from all over the world.
When we had some tornadic storms in the area last night, I used this app to listen to the law enforcement and storm spotters in other counties. I can run it in the background while I call up doppler radar. That's something I can't do with just a ham radio or scanner because they're too far away.

5. Olive Tree Bible Reader - This is the best Bible app out there, better than YouVersion or some of the other popular ones. Easy interface, allows split screen for simultaneous versions, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (the "official" Southern Baptist/Lifeway translation) is available for free download. The catch is that if you want to read NASB, ESV, and some others you have to pay to download those versions ($20-35). The interface is very easy to navigate, you can get to book/chapter/verse very rapidly.
At church yesterday, I was easily able to take notes on verses being discussed in Sunday school with the app. No worries about running out of room in my Bible margin or any other such (I haven't carried a paper Bible to church in a while).
During the sermon, I called up a John Piper sermon over the same text simultaneously and had it split screen with my HCSB version of the text. All of Piper's sermons are available for free with the app as well.

Other apps I use frequently:
Tweetdeck, the Justin.tv app (for watching NASCAR races in the palm of my hand!), Pandora, and Dragon Dictation (for when I get tired of typing).

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