By Stephanie Critchfield
As 2010 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the ways I've spent the year plugged into technology. The apps I’ve used bubble to the surface of my mind –tweeting, maneuvering traffic jams, snapping artsy photos, staying on top of appointments … countless hours of Angry Birds. This prompted me to wonder: how has the agency been using apps? And so this blog was born – The Must Have Apps of 2010.
To get started, I sent a cattle call email; a near fail as the response was massive. My solution was to bucket responses to make this a smidge easier to digest. Note that the panel of contributors include: Max Weinstein Bacal, Kennice Halloran, Todd Levy, Paul Murray, Julie Adams, Tod Rathbone, Tony Long and Kevin French – a really fun cross-section of the agency.
Now, not all of these apps were necessarily launched in 2010, but they rose high for the panel in terms of usage this year. Most of them are mobile, and most of them are iPhone and iPad. But there are some mentions that cross platforms and the desktop. Conspicuous in their absence … check-in apps (hmmmm).
- Angry Birds: just try to argue with this one. A favorite among our panel.
- Spikey’s Bounce Around: an addictive multilevel game.
- Pocket God: Paul’s summary: “Restore self-esteem by inflicting volcanoes, lightning, sharks and zombies on hapless little islanders.”
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Ragdoll blaster (don’t bother with the paid version, says Tony)
- ShakeItPhoto: it’s Polaroid for the iPhone – and Kennice’s most used app (over Facebook and Twitter).
- AmpliTube: Tony Long says, “Excellent guitar amp modeling app. It’s expensive and requires an external piece of kit, but if you can tell the difference between a 4x12 Celestion loaded cabinet and a 4x12 Peavey loaded cabinet – and can show all work – there is no substitute.”
- Bloom: intuitive music machine from the mind of Brian Eno.
- Hipstamatic: the funky, instantly-artsy camera app.
- Flight Track Pro: “So you know when you’ll really get there,” says Paul.
- Trapster: Speed trap alerts for the leadfooted among us.
- Taxi Magic: Tod Rathbone says it’s really magic.
- TripIt Pro – Per Kevin, TripIt is “travel made more enjoyable than a TSA pat down.”
Workplace & Productivity
- Genius Scan: Todd Levy says it “basically turns your iPhone into a document scanner with the ability to crop and merge images to a PDF suitable for mailing.”
- Ustream Live Broadcaster: an easy way to broadcast live video straight from your iPhone to the web and beyond.
- 37Signals Suite (web apps): get all four productivity tools from 37singals for the price of two.
- Ego: all of your Google analytics reports into one app.
- Evernote: notes anywhere, anytime, any device.
- Dropbox: no need for big email transfers, just drop it in Dropbox.
- Dragon Dictation: Typing is just so 90s.
- Netflix: this made almost everyone’s list. A winner!
- This American Life app: Max tells me, “having the entire show available to my finger tips has changed my life in meaningful ways.”
- Tag Reader: per Paul, there are scads out there, but “Microsoft’s likely to win the QR-reader wars.”
- Groupon – but of course.
- PriceCheck – bar code scanner
- Stickybits – gaining a lot of traction lately, it won favor from a couple on our panel.
- Tower: An awesome repo GUI Git; you’ll never go back to the command line (Mac only)
- Firebug: Behind the scenes of web sites, must-have plug-in for Firefox and now Chrome.
- OmniGraffle & Omni Outliner: The pro versions of these are superb brainstorming and note-taking tools. (Mac only)
- VMWare Fusion – the virtual machine that lets me run Windows 7 on my Mac. Really sails with 4gigs of RAM.
- ZipCar: Kennice says with this app she can “book and manage (extend) a reservation from my phone which has been great when I book hourly and go over. It’s also great to be able to use the phone like a key…”
- Mint: Become constantly aware of how little you make, and how flagrantly you spend it.