I’m just back from a weeklong vacation to the Pacific Northwest. In an attempt to “get away” I didn’t pack my computer to go with me, but I did have my iPhone. If you know me personally or just have stumble across SuperGeekery, you’d expect a little gadget adoration, but I wanted to share the 7 iPhone apps that helped on my trip. (I didn’t take the above photo with an iPhone. It needs a better camera, but that’s a reason to upgrade to the next version of the iPhone, I suppose. I used my Canon SD880 IS for photos.)
and they end up in my itinerary. The site then builds an organized calendar with my full travel plans, hotel and car rental confirmation numbers, directions to where I’m headed. It’s all in one handy spot. Get it for FREE
2. The Google Maps application on the iPhone is obviously handy. I use it quite a lot in everyday life, but the moment it came in really helpful on this trip when the GPS unit in the rental stopped working when driving around the large building in Seattle and Vancouver. I just fired up the Maps application, had it pinpoint my location and give me driving directions to where a friend lived. The directions were better than what the GPS unit eventually came up with when it started working again as well. Already included on your iPhone and FREE
3. This vacation wasn’t filled with pre-planned activities. We just got a place and had a vague sense of what we wanted to do. HearPlanet Free came in handy because checks the current location and then finds Wikipedia articles of nearby spots. It gives you the text and an image from the article plus it will read it to you, hence the word “hear” in the app’s title. We were in a small town in Washington state and it pulled up a lot of interesting bits of local history. Get it for FREE
4. I listen to a lot of podcasts on through iTunes and my iPhone, but when I’m away from my computer, I can’t easily listen to podcasts because they first come through my computer before reaching my iPhone. Apple has added the ability to the iTunes app on the iPhone to download Podcasts, but if you’re not on a wireless connection, it will refuse anything larger than 10 megabytes. RSSPlayer doesn’t have that restriction. It claims to allow you to download the podcasts directly from the RSS feed of any blog, but I just use it to stream the episodes I want to hear. Get it for 99¢
5. Being in Canada meant dealing with an exchange rate. It’s not that big of a deal, since the valuation of the US dollar and the Canadian dollar are pretty stable and very similar, but I did use 9-Toolbox and it’s Currency feature app to check the exchange rate. It automatically updates the exchange rate when you use it. Get it for FREE
6. Everyone knows about Skype. Internet phone service, blah blah blah. You know the story. What was really cool though was being in a Vancouver coffee shop that had free wifi and calling friends in New York, Illinois, and Wales and not having any phone charges outside the standard Skype cost of calling a land line. Sweet. Get it for FREE, no charge to call other Skype users, small fee for calling land lines and mobile numbers.
7. We were in Vancouver, and as I mentioned earlier, we didn’t really have lots of concrete plans, including places we wanted to go for a nice meal. OpenTable to the rescue! It used our location, retrieved by the phone’s built-in GPS, and displayed top-rated restaurants that had available tables for when we wanted to eat. It even makes the reservations directly through the app. It led us to CinCin, http://www.cincin.net, and the food was delicious. Get it for FREE