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There’s an indispensible app for that

In 2008, we needed to buy a new computer. I was getting bored with Windows OS and decided to learn something new. Many of our friends were raving about how great their Mac was, so we bought a fancy all-aluminum body one when it came out.

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We have been pleased with our purchase.

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So much so that when Sandra’s Mom needed a new computer, we suggested an iMac. The Nanamaw has been pleased.

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In the fall of 2009, my 2nd-hand Treo had to retire. It stopped syncing with our computer. Not so great. But the kicker was that the ‘O’ and the ‘Z’ keys stopped working. I can work my way around that if I were typing in English, but most of my texts are in Chinese and these two keys are used quite frequently.

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Since my favorite Chinese dictionary, Pleco, was only available on a couple platforms, I decided to go with the iPhone.

Now that I’ve had it for a year, I’ll give you my two bits.

  • The iPhone, like the Mac, is focused on the user experience. That said “it just works.” Everything is really well tied together.
  • The apps available for the iPhone number in the hundreds of thousands. When the commercials say “there is an app for that”, they’re probably right. (I’ll list the ones I use regularly below.)
  • I thought that I would have trouble typing on a touchscreen, but it turned out to be naught. The keyboard is able to figure out which key I was wanting to type and autocorrect takes care of the rest.

Now, there are a few limitations.

  • Any accessories are generally a little expensive. A certain video-out cable costs $50…a cable! There are ways around that… usually involving jailbreaking.
  • With the stock iPhone, you’re limited to apps and accessories that Apple or approved third parties offer.

All that said, I use the iPhone daily. It would be difficult to keep up with several hundred students and friends without it. It is, as Schäfer would say, a “really useful engine.”

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Now for the List:

My Appshopper List

These are the apps I use regularly and recommend. I am always partial to free apps, but occasionally I find something that’s well worth a dollar or two.

I use Appshopper.com to keep my list of apps owned and apps wanted. When there is a change in version or price, it notifies me by RSS or email. Pretty handy – especially when there is a limited time only free download!

Happy hunting! Let me know in the comments whether you have any recommendations for essential apps!

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