Friday, July 2, 2010

App Crazy

So I've had an iPhone since December. Not the same iPhone. I'm on my third one. Apparently the iPhone, much like my houseplants, doesn't like me. I, however, lurve it. My first phone had an accident. My second phone's speakers blew up two weeks after I got it. So we are on iPhone three, and I'm pretty sure third time's a charm. Just don't get near it with water. iPhones hate water.

I've found a few apps recently that are pushing my happy button, so I wanted to share them with ya'll.

Cozi Family Organizer

Calendar, family journal, to do lists, grocery lists, travel checklists... yes, please! You can use Cozi either on your desktop or your iPhone, or both. The thing I love about this system is that it is simple, but powerful. The calendar assigns a different color to each member of my family, and it speaks English. So if I want to set up a recurrent appointment for each week, you could type something like "Kira Zumba at Kroc every Tuesday at 4:30 pm" and WHAMMO it's on the calendar, every Tuesday at 4:30. I havn't used a calendar that is so effortless to set up. And I'm getting a kick out of the family journal feature as well. I don't have time to blog often, which is sadly evident by my dismal posting rate. However, I frequently have little thoughts during the day that I want to remember, and my kids say funny things I don't want to forget. The journal feature, and the fact that it is right on my phone, allows me to jot those things down in seconds and I can even include a picture. It keeps them in a blog-roll style and you can choose to email the whole list, or individual posts, to grandparents or friends who might be interested, or even publish the whole thing to a private or public cozi blog. This is a great feature for those who have not started a blog because of the whole internet privacy issue, but would still like to have a place to remember family memories. I'll publish our first week of "Cozi Journal Entries" tomorrow so you can see what I'm talking about.

The second app I'm crushing on is Evernote. My friend Heather, super smart Mom4Life, told me about this two months ago and I just now got around to actually checking it out. Boy, have I missed out. I can't even really explain to you how this thing works. Basically, you get a handy dandy little thing to put in your internet toolbar and any time you come across something on the web you want to save, you highlight it and click "Clip to Evernote" and POOF! You have it. You can make notes on anything and everything, include pictures, tag them with keywords, email them to friends, etc. I've been using it to clip stuff from blogs that I want to remember for later, to take pictures of business cards that have been floating in my purse so I can finally toss them, to clip recipes from various food newsletters I get in my inbox, to tell me where I filed my car title... sky's the limit. Everything in evernote, including text IN the pictures, is searchable. So say you're at a restaurant and you try a bottle of wine you really love and don't want to forget. Click a pic with your phone and the next time you're at the restaurant, ask Evernote to show you all the notes you've made within 1 mile of that location, and up will come the wine bottle note. It's really pretty amazing. And I love that you don't have to have an iPhone to benefit from this website, which is free.

 iBookshelf is the app I thought I didn't need. The first time I looked at it, I thought to myself "Well, that's silly... why would I need an app to tell me what books are on my shelves? I can just look with my eyeballs." Oh, silly girl, how wrong you were! This app is quickly becoming my new favorite.

Entering books in is as easy as scanning the bar code on my physical books, and doing an author/title search for my eBooks. You can enter in a star rating, the price you paid, whether the book is read or still in progress, if you loaned it to someone and who has it, and any comments you have when you're finished. I am a voracious reader. We're talking 150+ per year. I've read so many I can't even remember them all, and there have been many times I "intended" to start a running list of books I've read and little review so I can look back and remember. This app will allow me to do that. I also like that I can now keep track of the free books I've gotten for my Kindle and havn't read yet, because you can sort books by status with "unread" being one of them. Apparently I have like 30 free books on my Kindle that I had forgotten all about. And there is one feature I found today that literally made me say out loud "Holy crap! Shut up!" Yes, I said it to myself and then I giggled a little bit because I sounded like one of the Sweet Valley Twins. You can enter the name of a book you are interested in reading, and then click "find" and it will tell you which libraries and bookstores in your area have it. It works, I checked it, and then I had a heart attack and fell over. For years I have been doing this process the "hard" way, having open and then library website open, and going back and forth. Did I mention that I heart technology? It makes me a little giddy.

And lastly, a couple of kid apps that Haydn Potaydn has been enthralled with.

Tapfish  The virtual fishtank where you can grow fish from eggs to adults and sell them to make money to buy more fish, decorations for your tank, and other fun stuff. Fish take anywhere from hours to days to grow, so you have to be "responsible" to come back and feed them regularly or they die. I was actually surprised at how into this Haydn has become. First thing in the morning he asks if he can feed his fish, and he keeps his tank sparkling clean. As I watch him take care of these virtual fish, I can see that he is getting closer to being responsible enough to maybe have a pet in real life. I refuse to get one until he can take care of it mostly by himself, because I handle enough poop on a daily basis, I don't need more.

Oregon Trail  Yep, the original game you played in fifth grade is has now been modernized and coolified for the iPhone. And I must say, it is way better than when I was a kid. He is so smart he didn't even need any guidance from me. Just loaded up his wagon and away they went. I'd forgotten how educational this game really is. He is learning geography, math, planning, history, and when one of his "kids" got malaria, he learned about life. This is one game I'm okay with him spending time on.

Okay, so those are the apps that I'm using and loving this week. Which websites or apps have you found to make your life easier?


  1. Matt is getting me the newest it a 4th generation or something (overheard him talking) I told him not to waste his money on me with a fancy phone full of things I won't be able to figure out BUT my friend, I have YOU - what am I talking about! You'll get me up and running in no time! I need to set up a play date/iphone lesson with you soon!

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  3. Heather @ Mom4Life told me all about your blog, which I love! So glad you're a newly-converted cozi user... isn't it just the best app for so many reasons?! And I looove Evernote too. Now I'm off to check out iBookshelf! Thanks for sharing such great tips!

  4. You are a girl after my own heart! I can't wait to try iBookshelf. I just wish I could take pics of the bar code with my ipod touch. So easy. Also you are making me rethink my original dismissal of Cozi.


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