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Some more useful phone apps

Most of these are available for both Android and iPhone.  I always try these apps out before blogging about them.  I often end up uninstalling more apps than I keep.  The more I use my phone, the more I am in awe over all of the things that it can do.  I may as well use it for as many things as I can, since it is sort of pointless to have a “smart phone” and not utilize all of the great features.

This will be a short list – four new apps and one feature that came on the phone.

1)  Voice commands.  I watched friends use voice commands on their phones, always thinking “I need to learn how to do that”.  Only I never took the time to figure it out.  Turns out, it was quite easy to figure out on my Android Atrix phone.  I simply had to push the microphone icon.  Simple!  From there I can tell the phone to call somebody, send a message, search online, or get directions.  I had been using the “navigation” icon already which was great for getting me directions while driving.  I also learned that when I open a browser or search window in the phone, and touch the microphone icon to the right of the search box….I can then talk to tell it what I want to search for.  Some may find the icon for “Vlingo”, which comes installed on many Androids may function the same way for them.  It only took a minute to figure this out once I knew which buttons to push!

2)  I wanted to take voice commands to a higher level than what came installed on the phone, especially while driving.  I tried a few different apps out before deciding to stick with “Sonalight Text by Voice“.  When I drive now, I have it set to read my incoming text messages aloud.  Then, it allows me to respond back if I’d like.  The best part – it repeats my message and makes me confirm with a “yes” that it is allright to send.  If I say no, I can try again if for some reason it didn’t turn out how I wanted.  I have learned that if it has trouble with a work, I can spell the word.  Most of the time it is pretty right on, and when it’s not it is still better than when I text manually. 😉  I can also set it so that I just have to say “text by voice” and can send messages without ever having to touch the phone even once.  Check out this video to see how it works.

3)  GPS Send is one of the most accurate GPS apps that I’ve used on the phone, next to Life 360.  It is simple and easy to use.  I can easily send via email, text, facebook, etc. my GPS location.  The link sends to the recipient that will open up a map and give that person directions on how to get to me.  I can also add additional text if I need to — such as “pick me up here”, or “I’ve made it this far on my trip”.  It is similar to the Life 360 app, though a bit simpler and easier to use.

4)  Notepad by Catch is a nice simple app that lets me make notes, set alerts and reminders — I can type the notes, or make voice notes, then set a reminder so that it will tell me later what it is that I need to remember!  I can also add photo notes and share my notes through email, text, social networking, etc.

5)  My Fitness Pal is a great app for tracking calories, exercise, fitness goals, etc.  I think that it will help me keep on track with my “Tevis Diet”.  I know I’m far from the only one that is on a “TD” right now!   It even has a bar code scanner for adding food items that aren’t already in the database.  I like the review feature that tells me how what I eat is stacking up nutritionally–such as how many carbs, protein and fat I am getting daily.  I’ll give this a try for a few weeks and see if it helps or not.  My goal is to lose one pound a week between now and Tevis.  I haven’t decided if I am going to enter the ride this year, or not.  I figure that I’d like to drop a few pounds regardless – whether I am riding, crewing or volunteering this year I may as well set a goal to eat healthier and get more fit.  Anybody want to join me?

All of these apps are free and available at what is now being called “Google Play“.  For those with Androids, be sure to check your settings–>about phone–>system updates.  I just installed a new firmware update on my phone.  Also, check into backing up all of your contacts via Google or MotoBlur (may vary depending upon your provider).  There are apps that can help with keeping all of your apps backed up too….the possibilities are endless!



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