Eclectalife — May 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

How my iPhone has changed my life


Last week I was working at a customer’s location and the technician I was working with, an iPhone-user himself (kinda like a “heroin-user”???) asked me, “How would you feel if you lost your iPhone?” Without hesitating for a second I replied, “Lost and bereft.” He nodded and laughed.

We’re addicts, pure and simple.

On my way back to Michigan, I was sitting in the airport contemplating the iPhone in my hand and how much it has changed my life. How I do things. How I entertain myself. How I communicate with others. I started making a list and, whoa!

Yup, it’s changed my life.

My name is Eclectablog and I am an iPhone Addict.

I admit that most of these things rely on a data connection and that’s not necessarily available everywhere. But, I have to tell you, I’ve been able to access data networks in remarkably far-flung areas including, believe it or not, while backpacking on Grand Island in Lake Superior.

So, here we go: My Top Twenty ways my iPhone has changed my life:

1. I no longer wear a watch
I’ve had a cell phone for years but until I got an iPhone, I still wore a watch because digging out my phone and flipping it open wasn’t as convenient as glancing at my wrist. Now, however, my iPhone is nearly always in my hand so it’s actually less convenient to look at my wrist!

2. I quit using my alarm clock
I hate my alarm clock. The alarm elicits this Pavlovian wave of hatred every morning when it goes off — a really crappy way to start the day. Now, with my iPhone, I’m awakened by the soothing tunage of a mellow marimba. It’s a gentle “wakey wakey, Big Guy” instead of BZZZT! BZZZT! BZZZT! BZZZT!… And, if I get tired of my marimba, I can change it to something else.

3. I don’t listen to music on the radio anymore
Sorry 107.1 FM but your commercials drive me CRAZY! Now, I just plug my iPhone into my dashboard and listen to the live stream of Radio Paradise, a Slacker feed of my choice, or, even better, fire up my Simplify app and listen to anything in my entire music collection at home. No, seriously. As long as my laptop is on my home wireless network and I have an Edge or 3G data connection available, I can stream anything – ANYTHING! — from my iTunes library directly to my iPhone. It makes it so I don’t have to cram a sampling of my music collection onto my iPhone, I have access to ALL of it! It’s like magic. Sadly, Simplify has has pulled their app and it’s no longer available. Fortunately for me, existing users are fine.

4. I don’t have to go to the two “public” computers at work to check my email anymore
Where I work, they block all the common email sites online like Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. But I don’t care. If I get an email, I get a soft “ping!” and I can check it, forward it, respond to it, even open attachments in it right from my iPhone. Too cool. No more getting home to eighty gazillion emails since I take care of them throughout the day.

5. Daytimer, Schmaytimer
I used to use a Daytimer exclusively to keep track of my busy schedule, my wife’s busy schedule and my kids’ busy schedules. Now I just use it to collect papers, hold my business cards and take notes. Using the Calendar app on the iPhone I have everything in one place and, even better, I can set it up to notify me when I’ve got something coming up. I can even set TWO alarms at various times before the event. No more missing things because I forgot to check my Daytimer. Also, too, I have all my Contacts with their email addresses, smail addresses, and phone numbers in a searchable database. Right there in my pocket. Conveniently the iPhone syncs with Yahoo (and other) Contacts so my email and my phone are always up-to-date. Being a neighborhood organizer for OFA, I have over 4,000 contacts so this is critical for me.

6. No more pencil and paper Sudoku
I’m a bit of a puzzle junkie, especially Sudoku. The iPhone App Store has tons of different versions of Sudoku and other games to occupy my time.

7. No more landline
Okay, we have a landline but we don’t use it anymore. Most of our phones’ ringers are turned off and my answering machine gives the caller our cell phone numbers. The landline is there “just in case” (911 calls, etc.)

8. No more checking the weather in the newspaper or online
Why check online or, worse yet, the newspaper ? That weather report is SO yesterday! Now I just fire up the Weather Bug app and get real-time reports with animated radar maps.

9. Never without a calculator
And the iPhone calculator is no ordinary calculator. Okay in “portrait” mode it is. But turn the iPhone in “landscape” mode? The calculator magically turns into a scientific calculator — a decent one, too.

10. No more stumbling around in the dark in the morning
I get up about an hour earlier than my wife in the morning so I have to maneuver around in the dark, getting my clothes together, and stuff. I used to wake her up constantly by bumping into things, cursing, flipping on lights, etc., etc. Not any more. I just hit the Flashlight app and my phone becomes a low-intensity light source. Honestly, it might have saved my marriage ;)

11. Never wonder “what’s that song?” or “who’s that band?” ever again.
Not with the Shazam app. Simply let Shazam “listen” to the song for a bit and it will give you the artist album, places to buy it online, lyrics, etc. in moments. Love it! And there’s one called SnapTell that will let photograph a book cover and submit it so that you can get more info on the book, where to buy it (with prices) and stuff like that. Crazy, huh?

12. Dictionary, schmictionary
Dude, I have a full-fledged dictionary in my pocket at all times. Just sayin’…

13. GPS and maps galore
Using the iPhone Maps app, I no longer need a GPS or even paper maps. I can search on addresses, store names, airport codes, whatever and get directions via Google Maps. It’s brilliant and accurate. I just have this issue that I keep looking for the pulsating blue orb on the top of my car and the giant red ball-tipped stickpin at my destination. Someone oughta do a YouTube video about that…

14. Camera (and video recorder) in pocket
I don’t have a 3GS phone so I don’t have video but I do have a very nice camera and even my photographer wife has done some amazing art with hers after using some of the photography apps that are out there. You can also use the camera to post photos to Facebook, Twitter and even text images to other iPhone users.

15. Tape recorder on demand
This comes in amazingly handy. If you want to see a great demonstration of how I used this recently, check out this blog entry. I used my iPhone camera to take a photo of my wife photographing some Sandhill Cranes from her kayak. Then I used my iTalk Lite app to record so positively incredible vocalizations when the cranes we were watching started talking smack to some other cranes flying in behind us. Check it out, the recording quality is stunning, imo.

16. Paper itineraries are a thing of the past
Using the WorldMate app, I simply email my itinerary to WorldMate then fire up the app and it has my fill itinerary including hotel and rental car. I can check my flights, get directions to the hotel and so much more. Oh yeah, the last time I was at the airport? They had installed new scanners that allow you to just hold up your iPhone displaying your boarding pass and it reads it. No more paper boarding passes if you go that route.

17. No more wondering “how long was that hike?”
Use Trailguru and it will tell you how far you hiked, show it graphically on a Google map, allow you to take pictures along the way and then, get this: save the hike to their website so you can share it with others. Way too effin’ cool.

18. Keep my posse up-to-date in real time
For those that want it, your iPhone will let you Facebook, tweet, update your blogger blog and oh-so-much more on the fly. I particularly love the Blogger app called Blogpress Lite that allows me to post real blog entries including photos I took with my iPhone whenever I want. I once live-blogged a beer-soaked trip down the river in my kayak one sunny afternoon! I know keeping the world informed of your every move and sneeze and cheeseburger isn’t for everyone. But, dude, sometimes it’s nice to vent with a quick “Goddam this line at the DMV!” tweet once in awhile. And you should have read my Facebook status updates when my flight was delayed for three hours on the tarmac last Friday night at 9:00 p.m.!

19. Always, ALWAYS up-to-date on the breaking stories
Between the AP Mobile app, the New York Times app, the Fluent News app, the HuffPo app, and, of course, the Daily Kos app, I’m never out of the loop on the latest stories.

20. Never have to carry a level, a cowbell, or a stock ticker ever again!
Yes, I have a cowbell app. No,I have no shame.

So tell me: how has your iPhone changed your life? What cool apps can YOU share?

I’m just askin’…

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