Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Fun and functional apps for the phone and office...

9.20.2011

Fun and functional apps for the phone and office...

Thanks to my current job, I'm in front of my computer for hours during a normal work day and on my Android smartphone when I'm in the service bay taking photos of bikes or searching for information online for the techs. In that time, I've been introduced to quite a few useful (and FREE) online services for both my phone and the PC that have increased (or if I'm at home, decreased) my productivity. Here are a few that some of my friends have directed me to that have become commonplace on all my machines.

Note: I own an Android so I'm not sure if some of these apps are available for iPhone.


Pandora Radio (web, iPhone, Android)
  • Pandora is a free application that plays all different kinds music based on your favorite artists and genres. Once you start up a free account and search for your favorite types of music (which are sorted into channels), you can actively give songs a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" to tell Pandora what you prefer to hear. You can also mash all your selected channels together to make your ultimate custom jukebox. For all you Google Chrome users out there, I highly recommend the Anesidora app to play your Pandora radio. I found that for those users with the free account, it bypasses the six song per hour skipping limit and eliminates the audio ads.
Spotify (web, Android via paid subscription)
  • Spotify is a free app that, like Pandora, allows you to listen to songs online. However, with Spotify you not only get to choose whatever songs you want, you can listen to them in any order you want, create playlists, and share your selections with friends on Facebook. It's pretty much a combination of Pandora and iTunes music player without having to buy all the tunes. Unfortunately, you would have to purchase a Spotify account (9.99/mo.) to play your selections from your phone, but when you're in the office it's perfect. Now I'm just waiting for a Linux version of the desktop software so I can enjoy this service at home!
Stumbleupon (web, Android)
  • Stumbleupon is an application that turns your web browser into jukebox of websites. Upon signing up for a free subscription, you take a very brief survey to get a rough sketch of your interests. A toolbar then sits at the top of your web browser, and when you hit the "Stumble" button, a random page will appear based on your interests. Like Pandora, there is a "I like it" button to help Stumbleupon further tune its searches to suit your likes. You can also share your findings with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I've found this app to be a humorous anti-boredom tool and I've also discovered very tasty food recipe websites with it too, so you can speculate what my interests are.
imo Instant Messenger (Google Chrome, iPhone Android)
  • This little app allows you to mash together all of your instant messenger applications into one so you can chat with everyone across multiple friend lists all at once. It supports AIM, Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and MSN Messenger among other popular chat platforms. It's excellent for smartphones because you're not eating up memory and killing battery life with having multiple programs open at the same time.
TweetDeck (Android, Google Chrome, iPhone, desktop standalone)
  • One of the biggest challenges with working with social media is being able to keep track of multiple Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare, and MySpace accounts. TweetDeck takes care of that in the form of a columned desktop organizing all your social media accounts in one place. Real-time updates appear as announcements on the bottom right of your screen, and you can post your tweets and status updates across multiple accounts with a few clicks of the mouse. I highly recommend this tool if social media is a major part of your job description.
Craigslist Notification (Android)
  • This app is the ultimate tool for perusing multiple search strings on Craigslist. With this app, you can customize searches based on category, region, price, and more! My favorite feature is the ability to "favorite" multiple finds and send all links as one e-mail message to other recipients. Makes searching for deals, steals, and events on one of the most popular web posting platforms on the web a lot quicker and more efficient.