Sept. 7, 2011 – Mobile technologies such as iPhones, iPads, and Android devices are more prevalent than ever. Many of us have transitioned part of our workflow from our desktop or laptop to these new tools. With this increased use comes a desire to identify applications to streamline our day-to-day activities.
There are several “must-have” apps that continually receive high praise. Those include Dropbox, Evernote, Dragon Dictation, Atomic Web Brower, GoodReader and Read it Later. FastCase also offers a nice app for case law and my July 2010 Inside Track article lists other legal apps. Availability of apps still favors the Apple products, but the Android market continues to grow.
Below is a sampling of free or reasonably priced apps worth investigating. Some are exclusively for iPhone and iPad.
FastCustomer – This free app is available for iPhone and Android phones. It allows you to skip being on hold when calling a company and notifies you when a live person is on the phone. I recently learned about this app from a post on Lifehacker.
White and Yellow Pages – Access both the white and yellow pages from one free app. “Search for people or businesses by name or landline phone number. Includes GPS driving directions, add contacts, save favorites, track history, and when available the business’ websites.” Android and iPhone/iPad applications are available.
Library – Keep track of your books with this free app. This is a simple tool that tracks the books you have read, the titles you are reading, and ones you would like to read in the future.
Digits – This calculator ($1.99) offers features aimed at improving your productivity. Use the Digits calculator to tally, label, and email your expenses. Making corrections is easy, and just like your adding machine at work it keeps a running tape of figures.
Flight Track – This app by Mobiata ($4.99) is available for iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. It offers great maps and can be accessed offline. Per the creators, “Track every aspect of your domestic and international flights with real-time updates.” Features also include the ability to check on gates, delays, and cancellations. Mobiata also offers a “PRO” version ($9.99) with additional features.
Remember the Milk – Remember the Milk has been around for quite some time and was created as a task management tool. Users can prioritize and tag items, and it features push notifications. The app is free and available for the various mobile technologies. If you prefer something different, another quality task manager is Toodledo.
CIA World Countries Factbook – Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry, this app provides mobile access to the CIA Factbook. Costs vary depending on the developer. The Android app appears to be free, while the iPhone/iPad app is 99 cents. Check your appropriate app store. The factbook, which is updated monthly, “provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.”
Night Stand Central – There is a large selection of alarm clock apps available so it was difficult to choose one. I selected Nightstand Central because of the variety of features. Users can choose from a basic free version to a more robust version ($2.99) which includes “music alarms, a built-in sleep timer, weather, customizable photo backgrounds, and even an included shake-on/shake-off flashlight.”
Travel Wisconsin – Available at both iTunes and the Android market, this free app relies on your phone’s GPS to find nearby attractions, events, dining and accommodations. The browse functionality allows the user to find events by category or date and narrow accommodation requests by amenities offered.
About the author
Bev Butula is the manager of library of services at Davis & Kuelthau, Milwaukee. She is a past president of the Law Librarians Association of Wisconsin. Butula has written articles and spoken to numerous groups on issues such as effective Internet research, evaluation of websites, and legal research. Prior to obtaining her Master’s Degree in Library Science from UWM, Butula was a litigation paralegal.