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Though it may not seem (or feel like it from the weather), we’re already into a new quarter for 2013, which means it’s time to refresh our quarterly app guides! I’m starting this series off with the iPhone, and if you haven’t viewed our prior suggestions, you can catch up here and here. If you’re looking to use your phone as a crutch during your summer vacation planning, you’ll want to make sure the programs below are installed. Read more
In many ways, smartphones have created a work environment where employees have a tough time completely disconnecting. But in many other ways, these connected products have made our lives far easier, and far more organized. One of the longstanding dreads for those who routinely travel for business is the art of filing expenses. Thankfully, I’ve got a few recommended apps that can make the process far easier.
Planning a trip can be daunting. In fact, many would-be travelers are so put off by the notion of actually planning a trip, that they simply never get around to doing it. Figuring out where to start is consistently an issue for those who haven’t dabbled in trip planning and logistics before, but the new realm of technology is making it a lot easier. Below, I’ll share with you three pieces of (free!) software that make planning a journey a cinch. Read more
For avid hikers or bicyclers, it may be tough to remember the routes you’ve conquered, which remain your wish list, and which were your favorites. For those who enjoy spending as much vacation time as possible in the great outdoors, you may be itching for ways to capture those special excursions in order to look back on what made certain trips so worthwhile. If you just so happen to be a smartphone owner, I’ve got a few apps that can be of assistance. Read more
I’ve always heard photographers mention that the best camera you have is the one that’s closest to your hands, but these days, that adage is proving ever more true. As consumers at large have started to adopt and embrace smartphones, those point-and-shoot cameras have begun to collect dust. In fact, the iPhone is the most represented camera on all of Flickr, despite the fact that it has only existed since 2007. If you’re beginning to lean on your phone’s camera in order to capture memories and journal experiences, allow me to introduce a handful of apps that can make the experience an even richer one. Read more
These days, a smartphone is expected to do more than just field calls and text messages. Increasingly, users are ditching paper maps in favor of handheld screens, and judging by the backlash that Apple continues to receive after it launched a subpar Maps app inside of its latest iPhone software update, a solid navigation app is now an expectation. For those making the switch from dedicated navigation products – perhaps a Garmin or TomTom unit mounted in a vehicle – the iPhone offers plenty of similar functionality. But one area where phones in general fall short in performance is the offline mode. If you’re ever in rural places with weak mobile coverage, or in foreign countries where you’d rather not run up a high roaming bill just to navigate, it’s worth it to understand your offline options. Read more
Since we published last quarter’s app roundup, Google Maps has returned to the iPhone platform. Sort of. While Apple’s own Maps app – which relies on data from TomTom and Yelp – is still the default guidance program, Google has since produced its own standalone Maps app for iOS. You’ll need to visit the App Store to download the free program, but for the most part, it brings back everything you used to love about Maps on iPhone. You’ll find mass transit and walking directions, as well as voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, but you won’t have access to offline mapping just yet. However, Google seems dead-set on improving this product. Nothing would make Google happier than to have more iPhone users relying on Google Maps than Apple Maps. Read more
Are you one of the millions of people who received a new iPhone from Santa? Lucky you! And if you’re luckier still, and are planning to head to the slopes or somewhere tropical to kick off the New Year, you may be interested in knowing what kind of double-duty that new iPhone can pull when it comes to capturing memories.
Apple’s iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 all pack pretty impressive camera sensors. In many ways, the smartphone is replacing the conventional point and shoot, as the image quality and speed on smartphones now rival even dedicated shooters. But perhaps you weren’t aware of the video capabilities. Instead of springing for a camcorder or a GoPro rugged camera, there is actually a booming market of accessories that let you use your iPhone instead. It’s a pretty easy way to save money by using a tool you now own, and it also means one less thing taking up space in your luggage. Read more
While it’s great to get away from the stresses of work, bills, and chores by going on vacation, being away from home creates a new cause for concern: the well-being of your house, belongings, and even pets that remain at home. When you head out of town – or even just out for the day – you leave behind many things of value. Alarm systems are great, but they don’t allow you to check in on what’s happening when you’re somewhere else. If you’ve left your kids with a babysitter, dogs with a friend, or your cats alone for the weekend, being able to see what’s happening can offer more than just a little piece of mind. Many alarm companies offer home monitoring systems, but they can be expensive and require professional installation. Additionally, they provide an opportunity for someone else (in this case, the technician) to know how your house is protected. That’s why we’re so impressed by Dropcam HD. It’s the do-it-yourself, easy-to-install, no-tech-savvy needed home monitoring solution that’s perfect for while you travel.
Consumer technology moves faster and faster each year. Just five years ago, the iPhone didn’t exist. Just think about that for a minute. The pace of innovation in technology is one that has never before been rivaled, and it’s convinced us to start a new recurring series where we discuss the gadgets and gizmos that we’re frequently using to make our travel-filled lives a bit easier.
As for me, I’m usually swimming in gadgets. But being a gadget critic has shown me that exceptionally few gadgets actually have a lasting impact. Presently, the gadget I find myself using the most is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. It’s one of the cheapest high-end Android smartphones that you can buy in an unlocked fashion (enabling it to be used freely on all carriers around the globe), and it’s bound to get even more affordable now that LG’s Nexus 4 has taken its place atop Google’s flagship pedestal. I adore my iPhone 4S, but there’s no question that the Maps application in Android is superior. When it comes to getting me from Point A to Point B, I trust Google Maps implicitly. Read more
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