This post was written prior to the news of Steve Jobs’ death on October 5, 2011; it seems eerily timely. The world will miss the man who played a role in changing the world. It seems only fitting to tie this statement from Apple to this post. Click the box below to head over to Apple.
For the longest time I was opposed to smart phones. Sure, they’re cool; but I already had an unhealthy obsession with email. Did I need to fuel that addiction? No. Smart phones quickly advanced and then the iPhone came on the scene, with improvements to follow. I knew a bunch of people with Blackberries, but they never seemed to work properly. I always figured that if you were going to get a smart phone, the iPhone was the way to go.
Back in April, Vinny and I cracked and we entered into the world of iPhones. Awesome. Sure, it reinforces my email addiction, but I decided that I would do my best to use the full potential of my iPhone. The wonders that it could do for blogging, photos-on-the-go, directions on the go, and much more. I’ll admit it – I love it. But I maintain that it is a luxury item, it is something I could live without. I like to remember that distinction. If you are wondering, my iPhone has a pink and black case; must include some PiP reference in all digital objects I own.
I’ve been working on compiling a list of iPhone apps that are useful for the historic preservationist. i don’t know of too many, so I’ll share my short list and hopefully you can add to it. Now that the unbelievably advanced iPhone 4S is out, my iPhone 3GS probably seems lame to iPhone addicts, but I’m still happy with it. Let’s start with my favorite app:
1. Field Notes LT (free version): I found this one by searching for notes and GPS. I needed to be able to photograph a structure, take the coordinates and add notes to create one single file. Field Notes LT will do just that, and then you can email your note as a .kmz or zip file. The .kmz files can be opened in Google Earth, for example. It has been incredibly useful (more on that another time).
2. Compass: The compass comes on the iPhone utilities already, so I didn’t find it. Regardless, it is incredibly easy to use. While I was a Girl Scout, cardinal directions on the fly aren’t my forte. This compass is easy to use and helpful for site descriptions.
3. Sherwin Williams Color Snap: Take a picture (or choose one on your phone already), zoom in to the color that you want and it will match that color to a Sherwin Williams paint color, providing the name and product number. Fun! Other paint companies should get on this. I haven’t used it for anything other than just playing around. Has anyone used it professionally?
4. WordPress: Of course this one is useful to me! I have written many posts from my iPhone. It is a bit more tedious, and until recently you couldn’t add in links or special fonts, but the most recent update is amazing. The app allows me to approve comments on the go, check stats, add photos and write posts. And publishing from the iPhone still alerts Twitter and Facebook that a new post is up. I love how they can all be integrated.
5. iHandy Level: That’s right, your phone can be a level. I’m not sure what carpenters think of it, but it’s good enough for hanging pictures and other minor household tasks.
6. Miscellaneous city guides, museum and road trip iPhone apps, though I haven’t tried any yet. I have only used free apps so far. If you’re taking a trip, you should check out available apps before heading out. Google iPhone app and road trip or New York City or trip planner – there are many.
7. NCPTT app for assessments. I am anxiously awaiting the release of this one.
If you know of helpful smartphone or iPhone app for historic preservationists on the go, let me know. I’ll add it to the list! Or if you have advice for general iPhone usefulness, I’m happy to hear it.