Sunday, November 30, 2014

All About Apps

Using computers is all about apps, especially nowadays with the rapid growth of tablets and phones. Computer devices are tools and are only as useful as the apps you use meet your needs best.  Like bookmarks or favorites, they organize your work

Usually the best apps are those that run on many different devices. Having gone through a huge number of apps, here are the ones I use mostly throughout the day.


Very often the first thing I check in the morning is the weather. The main ones are the Weather Channel, AccuWeather, the Weather Underground, and the WeatherBug.


I check my mail with Gmail, and newly with Inbox, which organizes things a bit better.

Calendar & Tasks

I check Google Calendar for what is coming up. Separately I check tasks.  For a long time I had been using Anydo, but I am shifting to Wunderlist because it can be used on many more devices, being what is called a cross platform application.


Next I get to the news. Google News is my first choice. Then I alternated between the number of excellent news sources. These include Google News, the BBC, The Guardian, the network apps, and local online apps.

Every day I also go to gReader, which summarizes news from my selection of many sources.

There are also apps which read the news in either a computer or human voice. This is handy if you're doing something else. The principal such apps that I use are you Umano and web2go.

Read Later

By the way all of this happens very very quickly. If I see something I have not got time to read now I send it to Pocket to read later. To keep vital information I use Evernote.

Look Up

Then, all during the day as questions arise, I go for help to Chrome browser, Wikipedia, or YouTube.


YouTube is my main source for how to do things, as it is for music. Tech how to do it sites include CNET, Tom's Hardware, Lifehacker, Phone arena. I have come to know the reliable sites for my perticular interests.


For music I use Pandora, Spotify, and my own collection of music which I keep on both Google and Amazon and on devices which have enough memory so that I can access it away from wifi.


For reading books I do mainly use Kindle but Kindle does not support all formats so that I need to use other apps as well. I use Google Books and also Overdrive for library books. I use Mantano.For heavy readers I recommend and a PC and Mac app called calibre.


For printing I use Cloud Print and a particular app for my Brother Wireless printer.


Then, for writing I of course use Blogger for my website. When I am near my iPad I now use Windows Word, free on my iPad, an ideal combination. Word, free, is also in the works for Android next spring.

Meanwhile, when using a non iPad device, I use Google Docs. I use Google Slides for presentations. I dictate everything and type almost nothing.

TV & Video

As the day wears on I eventually get to TV & video, for which I have a limited tolerance.

The PBS app and website both offer much to see and hear.I use them usually with our 42 inch HDTV by mirroring my device at times.

To get the most and the best results requires my switchbox to choose between dongles,  each offering its own unique capabilities and choices of media.

Each dongle varies in ease of use, too.  Some rely on remotes and some rely on devices while some mirror devices. Each also uses its own technical procedures to accomplish this work. Some are faster or slower than others.

For example, the iPad with Apple TV works well with mirroring, as does the Microsoft Device with Android devices, of all things, while the soon to be available Amazon Fire Stick dongle offers voice commands as well as reliable mirroring.  It uses the latest technical capabilities to speed up video and therefore provide the best reliable and resolution.


On days when I need to deal with health issues, I of course, use MyChart to keep in touch with doctor and hospitals for messages refills and referrals. For medical information I rely on websites, especially National Institute of Health, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins with its many publications available for download. I search for specific information, of course.


When traveling, I rely heavily on Waze both before starting the trip and enroute. I consider it a safety app to be able to avoid bad traffic and accidents.


For radio listening, both at home and elsewhere, I, of course, use Tunein. I also recommend stitcher which allows me to choose from what is being broadcast.

Away from home, I need data service from cell tower which I get either from Republic Wireless or Freedompop hotspot.


Then, for phoning, are you use cell phoning but also newly Google Hangouts which is widely available on most devices. It is the best yet for video phoning, such as conferencing your family members.

I still use Skype to dial phone numbers. I also receive calls using Google Voice which makes it possible to ring all my phones at one time and access me wherever I am.

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