Saturday, 15 October 2011

iPhone Apps for Expats, World Travellers and Writers


As much as I was fighting back and as much as I loved my little Samsung flip phone (it was smart enough for me)… it finally died.  After a brief grieving process, my husband returned from a trip to LA with a new iPhone 4 for me .  After I stopped sulking that I’d been “forced” into the Apple tribe (I recently blogged about the Steep Learning Curve of switching from a Toshiba laptop to a MacBook Pro), I started exploring the wonders of this device that was foisted upon me.

Finding Your Way
I admit, I am getting a little smitten with it but not addicted just yet.  However, my first favorite thing about this new little genius that I carry around in my purse is some of the cool apps that do truly help you get through the day.  Enter the Google Maps application.  Holy cow!  It actually shows exactly where in the entire world I’m standing at that very moment.  I can zoom in for detail or zoom out for orientation (to establish the direction I need to head in order to get where I want to go).  For the directionally challenged (my hand is up in the air), it’s a lifesaver!  I love watching the little blue dot (which is me) come closer to the little red dot (my destination).  This is quite often happening as I’m sitting on the back of our motorbike as my husband weaves his way through the busy traffic of Phuket, Thailand.  It’s best if I don’t look anyway so it gives me something else on which to focus.

Making Yourself Understood
The next amazing little nugget that we found was LingoPal.  For only 99 cents (US) you can carry around your very own translator (and you can choose whatever native language you speak and what language you want translated).  And, there's no need to worry if your pronunciation is crap (in Thailand there are many inflections that make the same word mean tons of different things… you think you’re saying ‘yes’ when you’re really saying ‘cow’ or something equally as ridiculous).  You can just hit the play button and a sweet little Thai lady’s voice melodically delivers the phrase you were innocently butchering so that your puzzled taxi driver/waiter/doctor or any Thai person (or whatever country you're living or traveling in) you’re desperately trying to communicate with, understands.

Global Communications
Of course, there are always Skype, Facebook and Twitter apps for iPhone too.  I always felt that I didn’t need to be connected 24/7 (and still feel that way) and I certainly won’t be typing obliviously away while in the company of others.  But, there are times that I’m sitting by myself in an airport, doctor’s office, restaurant, hairdressers and such that it comes in handy.

For Writers
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a couple for writers.  If I’m on the fly, doing a quick draft of a blog or article and I’m stumped for the right word, I’ve got Dictionary.com right there on my iPhone.  It has both a dictionary and thesaurus, gives synonyms and antonyms and even an audio option to give you the right pronunciation or for you to speak your word instead of typing it.  Cool, eh?  Then, for writing guidance and inspiration, there’s the Creativity Portal (it made Writer’s Digest Magazine’s 2011 list of best web sites for writers).  I also devour apps that offer ebooks like Wattpad and Good Reads.

I know these are pretty elementary but it’s probably because I’m such an iPhone newbie, but I just had to share!  What are your favorite apps?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for heads up! I just booked a trip to Canada for this summer so some of these will definitely come in handy to help kill time. My favorite app is the TV everywhere app from DISH Network…as a DISH customer and employee I can kick back and watch live or recorded TV off my home receiver on my phone, tablet, or laptop from anywhere in the world that I can hook up the 3G

Anne said...

Wow...I wonder if there's a similar app for non-Dish customers? I'm so glad this was helpful. Have a great trip!