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I’ve been using the iPhone for nearly 3 years and iPad for nearly two years, and I’ve bought NUMEROUS apps. But, which apps do I actually use frequently or find them useful? I’ve finally decided to make a list:
Apps that I use on (almost) daily basis
Apps that got both an iPhone version and iPad version (universal or not):
Mail and Safari: Indispensable.
Calendar – I use a Mac. It syncs really well across my iMac, iPad and iPhone.
Reminders – I’ve got tons of to-do apps but eventually I’m using Reminders. Simple and syncs well and …Siri integration on iPhone.
BibleReader (universal)- A Bible app that I’ve been using since Palm era. The NIV Bundle that I bought almost 10 years ago is now working on my Mac, iPhone and iPad. Notes and highlights can be synced across platform. The best Bible app so far. In-app purchases work on all platforms as well. I’ve bought Bible dictionaries and various commentaries already. I like the split screen option that allows me to pull up both NIV and Expository Commentary at the same time. The way it shows up linked scripture is unobtrusive and intuitive. Really helps in studying the Bible. It actually makes me want to read the Bible more often.
MobileRSSI like the iPad version more but it’s easier to read on iPhone on a crowded train.
GoodReader – This app just gets better and better. I really regret having bought iAnnotate like two days before GoodReader enhanced their annotation UI and tabbed view (=_=!). The ability to add two different DropBox accounts and various FTPs is really helpful. It also allows you to edit TEXT files. It supports a WIDE range of file formats as well.
Facebook – Well, what else can you do with Facebook other than… Facebook-ing?
IM+
– Stay connected with friends on MSN, Facebook, ICQ, AIM…etc (And stay invisible when I want / need to)
iPhone:
Clock – I do use the clock to set alarms.
Phone and Messages – I do use Messages a lot more after iMessage is activated.
Camera – I use it mostly for video taking in lesson (taping my students’ playing – I teach piano and violin) or when I need quick snaps. For still photos, I use the next one below…
Camera+ Extremely useful camera app. Nice filters with good integration with Facebook and Twitter.
MoneyWell I use MoneyWell on Mac to keep track of my expenditure and income. They sync through DropBox.
Whatsapp – Stay connected! (And stay invisible when I want / need to)

iPad:

ForScore – Indispensable app for musicians and music teachers. I’ve put MANY scores (in PDF) in this app (1.1GB now) but it rarely crashes. It has half-page turns which is really useful. It also allows you to annotate the score with musical signs and high-lighters. It also provides a way to mark DC, DS, repeats, and Coda so that you can jump to where you need to by one tap. US$4.99 well spent.
Noteshelf – Best note-taking app I’ve tried so far. I’ve bought TONS of note-taking apps (I’ve even written a detailed review on all these apps) but this is the app that I use most frequently. It takes hand-written notes and, with the latest update, typed notes as well. Images can be imported into the app for annotation. Notes can be exported as image or PDF. Export options include Email, Dropbox, and Evernote. BTW, the UI is really beautiful yet with no compromise whatsoever on functionality. US$4.99 well spent again.
Apps that I don’t use on daily basis but find really useful:
Apps that work on both iPhone and iPad
PlainTextA nice universal FREE app for simple note-taking. Integrated with DropBox. Clean UI made just right.
PagesI take meeting minutes with Pages on iPad. I have QuickOffice too but I rarely use it. Pages is way more elegant. I usually just send minutes right from my iPad to my PC-user colleagues and they never complained. So… I think compatibility is not an issue. (Well, I do avoid using tables but lists are just fine.)
iBooks – I guess it’s because I never really bought books from Amazon so iBooks is the app I turn to when I read ebooks. And I do buy ebooks from iBookStore. I don’t read PDF on iBooks, though. I use GoodReader instead.
AppShopper – INDISPENSABLE app for all iDevice users. (Well, there’re many apps for the same purpose out there. They’re all good… just grab one you like!)
iPhone:
Japanese – A well-built Japanese dictionary, phrase book, and study tool app.
Dictionaries – Oxford Music Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary…etc. I usually buy dictionaries when they are free (Oxford Music Dictionary is probably the only one that I actually paid for). Besides, now we have built-in dictionary on iPhone and iPad (select word > define). I have a couple French and German dictionaries as well.
Cardmon – a nice little app for making cards to email or post on Facebook. (I got it when it’s free.)
Flava – a nice little journal app that takes photos, map clips, text notes etc. Integrated with Facebook, Evernote, Twitter etc. (Again, I got it when it’s free.)
Genius Scan – Best scan app I’ve tried so far. Excellent B/W rendering. Creates clean and crisp PDF / JPEG images.
iPad:
Skitch Great Free app for quick annotation on pictures / maps / web clips.
(I began writing this entry on WordPress web version on Safari but it was PAINFULLY SLOW. Adding hyperlink to text is such a cumbersome work. Eventually, I opened up the long-forgotten MacJournal app and phew… so much easier. I begin to like MacJournal…finally.)

(Updated review on note-taking apps for iPhone and iPad here.)

I have both Momo and Awesome Notes on my iPhone. You may find it a bit weird that I keep two note-taking apps on my phone at the same time but in fact, they serve different purposes.

I’m a private music teacher and I keep teaching notes / records. For this purpose, I go with Momo for three reasons:

  1. tagging system – a huge advantage for people who takes loads of notes everyday. The way I use it is I tag notes with my students’ names so that I can have a good view of notes I’ve taken in one particular student’s lesson so far in one single list.  The folder system in Awesome Notes doesn’t really work for this purpose. If I wanna do this is Awesome Notes, I’ll need, maybe, 20 folders – way too many for Awesome Note’s home screen. And even if I wanna go with folder system, there’s “Favorite tags and Smart tags" in Momo that I may include several tags in a “smart tag" and that “smart tag" will become a folder-like thing.
  2. Calendar – users may pick a day in calendar view to see notes taken on a particular day. The date with notes are highlighted so user may see if there’s note on a particular date.
  3. “preview" – it shows up to 2-3 lines of each note on the list so that I don’t need to open the note to know what’s inside. Very handy when I just wanna have a peep of what I taught the student previously.

For Awesome Notes, I use it for some totally different purposes:

  1. Todo list – I may choose to add “todo" as a tag in Momo but then there’s no icon badge and no due date to be set. In Awesome Notes, I can set due date very easily (pretty good user interface, really) and I can actually check it off when it’s done. I can also put todos in different folders to mark their categories, say “home", “work"…etc.
  2. Sermon notes – Right, I can take sermon notes in Momo as well… but Awesome Notes has some much prettier / funnier background theme. I do need something more fancy to keep my incentive (!) on taking Sermon Notes… I used to take sermon notes in Momo before I bought Awesome Notes.

Here’s a simple comparison between the two apps:

[Update: Awesome Note is only 3.99 and it has calendar view now.Date and time are also adjustable. It doesn’t have bullet point yet. Momo has it though.]

Finally took the time to figure out how to store youtube videos on ipod touch and am really enjoying it.

Thanks to RealPlayer11 that comes with RealPlayer Downloader that downloads videos available in browser (including youtube videos).
However, the downloaded video will be in .flv format, which is not supported on ipod/iphone. So, I need a something that can convert .flv file into .mp4 file. A friend suggested an online converter to me but it took forever to convert a file (maybe just an individual case), so I gave it up.
And I found iSquint – a freeware that does that work perfectly well. The conversion is fast and there’s this microwave “ding" sound when conversion is finished. Somehow I really do enjoy that sharp “ding"!

Well, these are actually nothing new just that I didn’t bother to put videos on my ipod touch. But that night I suddenly wanted to put some videos of Philippe Jaroussky and Yo-yo Ma and many others on my ipod touch, and so I took the time to figure out how to do it. 

I know I can tap on that “youtube" icon on the ipod touch to watch youtube videos but 1) it needs internet connection; and 2) it takes time to download a video. I’d rather have them stored. Besides, some videos may be removed after some time due to whatever reason… having them stored is safer =P

I have these two little girls who take lessons together back to back in studio. I use the ipod touch to keep teaching notes so I always have it at the corner of the piano. We were having lesson the other day as usual and somehow the older sister saw my ipod and got curious with it. She pressed on the home button and unlocked it. There, she saw the BibleXpress icon (I keep it at the dock for easy access) and exclaimed, “Oh! You have Jesus in your iPod!"

She pressed on that small icon and that lead her to Genesis 7 of The Message version. (Great that it’s got The Message version in the app – easier English and the kids can understand it relatively more easily.) Then she began to ask questions about Noah. Since she could swipe to go to previous and next chapter, it really gave me a chance to tell the two little girls the Noah story, which lead to questions about who God is, why God doesn’t like bad guys, what will happen to the bad guys, hell, how to avoid going to hell, Jesus, and the whole salvation scheme. They’ve heard about Jesus but didn’t quite know who he really is and why he is related to us. Now they know. They’ve even learned how to pray. That lesson went overtime but the two girls were really excited to hear about God.
God does show Himself through all things – may it be big or small.

Didn’t take taxi yesterday and saved the money to buy this app from Appstore: Momo
Yes, Momo. A funny name but a useful app. It’s a note taking app that comes with a calendar that user can choose by dates on calendar to find notes. User may also search by tags or words. It also syncs with the web-Momo. Extremely useful for me – I just can’t really find what I want from a long list of notes. I use notes apps for taking teaching notes and jotting reminders and that sort. Getting old – can’t remember what I taught last week and begin to find it hard to “resume" teaching content… And then I have various kinds of notes to write. It’s really a very long list of notes.

The built-in NOTES is just really simple. I like the Steno pad look but it doesn’t have any categorization function.
I’ve tried YOUNOTE. It’s better as I can sort by “titles" but I need things to be sorted in different ways e.g. date, name, title, category… so on.
I’ve tried Iconic Notes. It’s nice that I can assign icon to each note so that I can find the note I want a bit easier. But when more notes are created… I get the same problem of not being able to find the icon I’m looking for. I’m kinda disabled in this.
All the above apps are free – that’s why I’ve tried them and am still keeping them. Just put them in pages at the back.

So, pros and cons for Momo:
Pros:
1) Sync with web momo (that works with Google mail/app) and the sync process is extremely smooth
2) May choose note by date from calendar
3) Tag system allows easy categorization and sorting
4) Password protection
5) Got an online user forum where users may post their suggestions. My experience is developers are quick in response. In fact, they’ve just completed one of the suggestions users have raised in the past few days.

Cons:
1) Arbitrary date/time not yet supported (available in web version though and the developers said that they’ve begun working on it already)
2) It’s not free – costs USD4.99 (I am cheap. I want freebies.)
3) It’s still very new – about 1-2 week old – so there’re still rooms for improvement but I do see a lot of potentials.
4) No landscape typing yet though developers said that they’re working on it. It’s not really a big deal for me – I have thin fingers.

八月 2017
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