Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My 10 Most Useful iPad Apps - June 2013

To me, a most useful app is one that I use virtually every day. It helps me get something done or provides useful information to me in a manner I can use. Since I have a vision disability I need larger print so many apps have a bias to this required feature. As a result, many very useful apps are not on my list if I cannot see it well.

I write this article regularly and some new apps move into my Top 10 while others move. This time is no exception.

My Personal Productivity apps:

Mail I am in and out of e-mail on my iPad, smart phone and laptop all through the day. I prefer the iPad's included e-mail app as I like the way it allows me to have all of my e-mail accounts appear in a single mailbox view. This is easy and convenient. The app also allows me to make the text larger so I can see it better. Included on the iPad.

Pocket Informant Pro
I've tried many calendar apps on my iPad as I look at the calendar every day. I am always looking for one where I can get the text large enough for me to read as well as be a good calendar. Pocket Informant is more than a calendar though. I have my contracts, to do list and notes all in one. I have returned to Pocket Informant Pro but I am still looking. $14.99.

Nightstand Central
Since I have to charge the iPad and I need a nightstand alarm clock with very large letters; Nightstand for iPad fits the bill perfectly. I just set the iPad up as my night stand alarm clock and plug it in to charge. The numbers are 1 3/4 inches tall, shows the weather for my location and I can even dim the screen so it doesn't light up the room all night.
FREE but there is a pay version that allows for your own background photos as wall paper. FREE with a $2.99 version that allows for your own photos as a background.

Social Media:

Tweetbot (alternate Twitter app)
I am in and out of Twitter every day and post a link to this Tablet Grandpa blog on Twitter. It took me a while to understand and then love what Twitter provides. It shows short and easy to read quips, information and links to what people are saying and I get to choose the people. See my article on how Twitter is useful.
I gladly paid the $2.99 since I can easily read it throughout the day.

I have a love / hate relationship with Facebook and Facebook replacement apps. Replacement Facebook apps have some extra features beyond Facebook's own app and I like that but none of them have everything. What irks me most is that I cannot enlarge the text enough to make it comfortable to read. I put up with it because I really enjoy staying in touch with my friends and family and communicating with some of them. Eventually, someone will make that perfect blend of features and ability to enlarge the text for me. Until then love / hate it is. FREE

My News and Information sources:

For reading news, blogs and other articles on the web; I've used an RSS (really simple syndication) reader to pull articles into a single place where I can skim and go to the detail if I choose. I've used Google Reader for many years but Google has decided to discontinue it in July 2013. Feedly also works on my Android smart phone too. FREE

AP Mobile
There are many news apps for the iPad, some of which I like very much but none allow me to enlarge text enough to make them comfortable to read. That's right, AP mobile is the only one I have found so far. Also available for iPhone and Android smart phones. FREE

Contra Costa Times (part of the Bay Area News Group)
A new entry to my Top 10 Most Used iPad Apps. My local newspaper has had an iPad app for about 2 years but it was so slow and aggravating that I gave up on it. Well, they improved the performance and I am as happy as can be. My local newspaper, easy and enjoyable to read and I can even share individual articles via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. FREE but requires a subscription.

I love to read but it so difficult with my vision disability. I require large text and a nice contrast between the task and paper in order to see properly. As a result, books and newspapers are out. However, Pocket saves me because I can "clip" web sites, web articles and other news on the web to Pocket where I have the text set to very large on a very white background. Via my smart phone, I can "share" tweets from bloggers that will put the bloggers article right into Pocket where I can read it comfortably. Pocket also strips out web and blog advertising and just shows you the text and included pictures. Pocket is FREE.

Intellicast HD
I am a bit of a weather junkie and have used many free and paid weather apps for the iPad. Beyond being easy to read, I love looking at radar images of weather. I can see a 2 week forecast as wells as an hourly forecast over the next 24 hours. Many free weather apps limit you to one or just a few weather locations but Intellicast allows many cities. Intellicast is my current weather app of choice but I continue to look at the latest and greatest weather apps. FREE

My Personal Health app:

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter
Over the past months I have been on a weight loss program initiated by myself under a doctor's care. Monitoring calories and exercise are two elements and this little gem of an app has kept me informed and provided needed information about calorie intake. MyFitnessPal's screens allow you to quickly and easily enter your food consumption by meal item and portion size to give your precise calories consumed. It's database of food items as wells as a very large list of common restaurant menus, show a very accurate calorie intake count. This way you can precisely know throughout the day how many calories you've partaken or, more importantly, how many calories you have left that you can eat. Exercise is very important to weight loss and how many calories burned from it.
I track calories, water intake (64 oz. per day for most of us), cardio and strength exercises, weight and inches for waist, hip and neck. Available for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 8. See my article about MyFitnessPal. FREE

Here are a few apps that I like very much and use frequently--just not every day.
eWallet Go to remember my passwords.  $4.95
Flixster Movies to see the next show time wherever I am.  FREE
Microsoft OneNote for personal and other notes to save.  FREE
Evernote. Also for note taking but a little different from OneNote. I can't decide which. See my article about Evernote.  FREE
Penultimate for quick and easy note taking on the fly. See my article about Penultimate. FREE

Please share your favorite iPad apps so we can all experience them too. Thanks.

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