February 4, 2010
5 Essential iPod Touch Apps for the Mobile Geek
by Scott Nesbitt – January 31, 2010
The key to the latter, though, is finding the right apps. Many of the applications for the iPod Touch that are available through Apple's AppStore are fun. There are some that are … well, they're interesting. Others are downright useless.
The apps that this TechTip covers are perfect for the geek on the go. They range in price from free to under five dollars. Best of all, they can keep you productive and connected.
Like any other Twitter client out there – whether for smartphones or a desktop computer – you can use Echofon to view tweets from the feeds that you've subscribed to. You can also view @mentions, direct messages, and any Twitter lists that you follow. Obviously, you can also post tweets, reply to tweets, and retweet any interesting posts.
The interface is attractive and clean. It's easy to scroll though tweets and the Echofon alerts you not only to any new tweets and @mentions but also how many of each. While I'm leery of calling any application intuitive, Echofon comes really close. Everything you want to do is a tap or two away. And you pretty much get used to the interface after only a couple of minutes.
Unlike a number of for-pay apps, Echofon has a free version. The free version has fewer features than the pay version but gives you a good idea of what Echofon can do. If you like it, the full version will set you back $3.99.
genuine viagra without prescription height="270" align="right" />One way in which two million (and counting) people keep track of information and manage their lives is with Evernote. Evernote started as a desktop application for Windows or Mac OS X. But Evernote also has a Web-based component that you can access using a mobile device like an iPod Touch.
With the free Evernote app, you can read and edit your notes in the Web edition of Evernote. You can also create new notes and even upload images to your Evernote account.
Best of all, if you're offline and want to write a note you can do that within the Evernote app. Once you're back online, just tap the Sync icon to upload the note or notes to the Web
Obviously, you'll need an account with Evernote. A basic account is free, or you can get a premium account (with more storage space and options) for $45 a year.
Information. People can't get enough of it. And for many, that information comes in the form of books. When you're on the run though, carting one or more dead-tree volumes weighs you down – literally and figuratively.
A free app, Stanza offers the closest thing to print-quality text on a screen that I've seen. Unlike many dedicated ebook readers, it also has a backlight which allows you to read in low light.
Using Stanza is simple. Just choose the book that you want to read from the ones that you have on your iPod Touch. Once it's loaded, tap the screen to turn the pages. You can change various aspects of the text – including font, color, and the amount of space between lines. You can also bookmark pages that contain interesting information.
How to get books onto your iPod Touch? You can try transferring them from your computer to the device, but that process can be more than a little cumbersome. Stanza does include links to several sources of ebooks online – both free books and ones you have to pay for. You can also download ebooks from Web sites as long as they're in the ePub format.
You're away from your computer. But you need that file or document. And you need it now. What do you do? If you use DropBox, you can view that file on your iPod Touch with a couple of taps of the screen.
A previous TechTip discussed DropBox. Just to refresh your memory, it's an online file storage and sharing service. You upload a file or set of files to DropBox, and you can access them from any computer or device on which you have the necessary software to get to your DropBox account.
You can download the free DropBox app for the iPod Touch from the AppStore or directly from the DropBox Web site. Once you've entered your account details, you can view files or upload them from your device with a tap or two. How do you think I got the screen captures in this TechTip onto my laptop?
Of course, you need a DropBox account – you get 2 GB of space for free, and can pay for even more storage. On top of that, you'll need software to view the types of files – for example, word processor documents or spreadsheets – that the iPod Touch's built-in software doesn't support.
Boingo Mobile Client
I'd be lost without wireless – whether in my home or when I'm on the road. While there's a lot of free wifi out there, there isn't always a free hotspot where I am. Which is why I have a Boingo Mobile account.
For $7.95 a month, I get unlimited access to thousands of wireless hotspots in over 70 countries. Not that I'll ever visit all of those 70 countries, but for the two that I do frequent, Boingo Mobile is one of the most useful apps on my iPod Touch. And the monthly fee is about the same as the hourly fee charged by many for-pay hotspots.
The first time you that you try to use a Boingo-enabled hotspot, you'll have to manually connect to it. You do that by tapping Settings > Wi-Fi and then tapping the name of the network. Once you're connected, go to the iPod Touch home screen. Tap the Boingo Wireless icon, then tap Login.
If you frequent one or more hotspots, make sure that your iPod Touch is set up to automatically connect when it detects a hotspot. To so that, tap Settings > Wi-Fi, then slide the option Ask to Join Networks to ON. Whenever you need to connect, Tap the Boingo Wireless icon, then tap Login.
The five apps discussed in this TechTip really only graze the surface of the body of apps for the iPod Touch that help make mobile geeks more productive and keep them better connected. They are, though, a great point at which to start building your library of mobile apps.
What apps do you recommend for the iPod Touch? Feel free to leave a comment or to share your favorites in the forums.