Tuesday, January 13, 2009

iPod Touch : Apps that sync data locally

When I bought the iPod Touch, I realized that I would not have :
  • phone capability
  • GPS
  • camera
but I wasn't willing to spend the $1200 out of pocket expense ($199 + 24 mo * $40).

Most iPhone apps work on the iPod Touch, but data is only available within the range of a WiFi hotspot. So I concentrated on apps that can sync when the network is available, and still function offline.

The apps that I use that allow offline functionality :
  • Memengo Wallet - Secure document storage. Syncs to memengo.com
  • Toodledo - GTD style to do lists. 2 way sync to toodledo.com
  • NY Times - free - Syncs NY Times content locally
  • BookshelfLT - free - book reader with access to downloadable content (it caches)
  • Stanza - free - Another book reader, access to more, different, content

Monday, January 12, 2009

favorite iPod Touch apps

A short list of my favorite iPod Touch apps so far (not pre-installed) :
  • AOL Radio (free) - Dozens of streaming radio channels, free from AOL. Personal favorites are "Video Game Scores" and "Anime Radio".
  • Google Earth (free) - Still useful even without the GPS. Can do simple location determination based on information gathered from Wi-Fi hotspots by Skyhook Wireless
  • Google (free) - GMail, Google Reader
  • Pandora (free) - streaming radio
  • BookshelfLT (free) - EReader with access to many public domain and free books
  • Memengo Wallet ($2.99) - encrypt private data, store encrypted copy on the web
  • Evernote (free) - Synchronized notes capability
  • Phanfare Photon (free) - Local access to phanfare.com photo albums
  • Toodledo ($3.99) - To do lists, synchronized and shareable

Friday, January 09, 2009

iPhone or iPod Touch ?

So, I've been watching Aidan use his iPhone, and have been impressed with what is available through the app store. I am still using my 5G iPod, but the screen is a bit small for watching video. So perhaps a new 3G iPhone?

Well, I have a work issued BlackBerry 8703e, and it's hard to justify paying for another phone. The BlackBerry has Internet service. I have a very nice Sony-Ericsson k790a Cyber Shot phone on a shared AT&T service plan as my personal phone. Up till about a week ago, I carried both.

Also, with the iPhone, I determined the actual cost of the iPhone to be about $1200 when the required data plan is factored in.

I looked at the iPod Touch, and decided that the feature set was right for my needs. With the help of a $100 BestBuy gift card, I bought a new 16GB iPod Touch. In order to pare back down to 2 devices, I've forwarded the calls from my personal phone to the Blackberry, and my k790a has become a very fancy camera. Once my new case arrives, the iPod touch will take the place of the k790a as the second device that I carry.

gadget update : Aidan's iPhone

So my son wanted an iPhone, but there was no way he could afford a $40/month service plan. Solution? Purchase a used 1G iPhone (thanks Hal) and activate it without a data plan. While the new 3G iPhones require a 2 year data plan, repurposed 1G iPhones do not. Big thanks to Esai at AT&T for making all the appropriate account settings to disable the data service on Aidan's iPhone. He wanted to be able to text message, but the iPhone data/SMS plan is a bundle. The only way to get just SMS is to purchase the Family SMS plan, which is $30/month.

I don't think he has really missed it. He usually has access to wi-fi, so he can watch his YouTube videos and download apps from the iTunes store.

Had to reset the iPhone this evening; it would not power on. Mr. Google filled me in on the details and all is well.

blog revival : work status

It's been a while since my last update. Many changes. We are into our second year as a merged IT organization at NCSU. I've been spending much of my work time deploying new equipment. There is something especially satisfying about starting with a box of parts and seeing the results shortly afterward. We will shortly be deploying our new VMWare ESX cluster. But enough about work.