Some useful iPhone applications

My first experience with iPhone was quite pleasurable. Not only it’s nice-looking device, but it is also actually amazingly well-engineered. Compared to most smart phones I have a chance to use (or to hold for a while, at least 🙂 ), iPhone brings me a very different experience. This can be compared to the first time I had my laptop hah. Being a programmer myself, I don’t care much about how about the fashion side of iPhone, rather, how much productive it may help me to achieve.
Having said that, below are a small list of some applications I find useful and efficient. Apps are listed in no particular order. Also, there are some captured screenshots from my phone for better illustration.

1/ Longman Dictionary :

Needless to say, it’s super handy to have a 230,000 word/phrase dictionary right in my pocket.
Every time I speak with my friends, I just look up the right word on the iPhone then … show it to him.
This works extremely well, trust me. 🙂 You don’t need to remember a single word.
J/k, This great app has indeed turned my phone into a fantastic learning tool.

2/ Docs to go:

A wonderful app to view/edit your Office documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoints)  right on your Iphone.
It also supports synchronizing documents with Email, Desktop and Google Docs.
Your files are with you everywhere. Long gone are the times I had to open my laptop just to go over some slides before a presentation. 🙂

3/ Backgrounder and Proswitcher:

Prior to iOS 4 (iphone Operating System), the number one reason I hear from people who don’t like iPhone is because its operating system doesn’t support multi-tasking, that is, you are not able to run two third-party programs at the same time.
You have to close the currently opened application in order to launch a new one. That’s quite a bit inconvenient.
Well, the truth is iOS supports multi-tasking (yes, it does, even before iOS4 came out). However, only true native applications such as Email Clients, Phone , Ipod, Safari have privileges to enjoy this benefit. This should explain why when you are using Safari to surf webs, your phone is still able to receive calls from your friends.With a little hack provided by Backgrounder, your iPhone is now able to run multiple programs at the same time.
This works extremely well with any iOS version before iOS 4.0.  Proswitcher provides you a neat interface to switch between currently running applications. (like Alt-Tab function on windows machine)

Personally I think these two programs are must-have if you want to take iPhone to the best of its ability.

For those of you who are wondering why Apple didn’t enable multi-tasking by default. I believe they have a few good reasons behind that. The first reason is to make it easier for users to use the fone. Plus, running several programs in the background drains battery like hell. I have some experience with T-Mobile G1 which often has a lot of hidden apps and services running in background, the battery often suffers and drains out very fast. Hence, multi-tasking does have drawbacks.

So the tip is: if you’re still using iOS lower than 4.0, Backgrounder & Proswitcher combination is the way to go to get a full multi-tasking experience. And remember, don’t open more than 4 programs when using Backgrounder. It may slow down your phone.

4/ Mobile RSS:

A program that perfectly fit my need of reading news on-the-go.

A prominent feature of this program is supporting off-line reading mode.

Everytime my iPhone connects to the internet, it downloads all latest news to my fone and save on hard drive for me to read later.

Reading experience in full screen mode is not bad, if don’t want to say quite pleasurable, especially when you always can zoom in/out with your fingers.

5/ Podcast RSS:

To be honest, I’m a late-adopter of podcast. Primarily because in the past I found it quite time-consuming when I have to plug-in the iPod to the computer to get the latest podcasts.
However, with iPhone, it’s totally a different scenario. I really enjoy the pleasure of downloading my favorite podcast programs and listen when on the move. My English lessons or latest radio news are just one tap away. This is another plus for iPhone if you truely want to take advantage of every possible free time to gain new knowledge.

6/ IRC client:

A tool to keep me in touch with friends in the infosec industry.
Supports joining multiple channels at a time. Awesome!

7/ Cloud Browsing :
fully flash supported

Brings a 100% desktop web browsing experience to iPhone. The application itself is really a good news for people who crave for Flash on iPhone. Basically, the app provides you a remote screen connection from your iPhone to a dedicated desktop; so if anything on the website the desktop can see, you iPhone will see exactly the same thing. The app is still free at the moment.

8/ Unix shell:

a powerful coding and hacking tool right inside my pocket, period. 🙂

9/ Awesome note
A little friend that helps you stay organized. I like the fact that this application user interface is indeed “awesome” with several themes to choose from.  It encourages you to write more.
Another valuable feature is Google Docs synchonization.
Never forget any important things.
10/ Streaks

Have you ever needed a small motivation to continue your everyday streaks?
Mark down your streaks such as how many consecutive days you have been working out, reading books or just simple as going to bed 5 minutes early to see what is your longest records. You’ll lose your longest record if you fail to do your tasks anytime when you’re in current streak.  To me, adding one mark on my streak by the end of the day is somewhat an encouraging thing. 🙂


If you know a good app, why don’t share it here? 🙂

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