What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

11 thoughts on “What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

  1. Photobooth Journal

    Just had a quick look at you Statigram link. I guess that is how one sees people’s instagram stuff. I will try to explore other people’s stuff later. Some of your work reminds me of the finish in old tintype photos. Very evocative. I love the fact you seem to work mostly in B&W. The skulls are cool. I love bones. Wild Mood Swings is a favourite!!

    Hooray. I think you have lead me to a place I want to be without answering my previous comment. You are a star!!!

    Reply
    1. rsmithing

      That’s another good one! I remember first discovering that and thinking there must be a room full of workers with headphones somewhere, listening to all these requests coming in from Shazam – I mean, how else could the app possibly work?

      And as much as I loved Shazam, I’ve left it for Soundhound. It does lyrics in real-time and works much better for sharing via Twitter/FB, etc.

      Reply
  2. Photobooth Journal

    Richard, I don’t have a smartphone and my I-pod is pretty old, so don’t have many apps to play with. I love language apps. The Japanese phrases app from http://www.thejapanshop.com/ is brilliant fun and great for boning up on general vocab and grammar. Any dictionary app gets my vote too. God I am sooooo dull!!

    Re. Instagram, I have tried to browse the photos people put up online but it will not allow it unless I have the app on a device. It seems you cannot join as a viewer without doing the download. Not having a device that can use Instagram, I feel I am being excluded from a great world of photography. Do you know anywhere I can see what people are doing with the app that doesn’t involve being a user?

    Reply
    1. rsmithing

      In addition to statigr.am, as you have since discovered, you might check out gramfeed, or the Instagram site itself, now that they host pages of users’ galleries – http://instagram.com/rsmithing, for example.

      Reply
        1. Photobooth Journal

          Now that is why I can’t figure out instagram. It won’t let me see your pics or anyone else’s unless I am logged in as a user and I cannot be a user if I don’t have the app. Very annoying. I’ll look at gramfeed and some more of statigram. That will keep me going!

          Reply

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