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My 10 Favorite Apps

It wasn’t too long ago that an app was something an insurance salesman whipped out of his briefcase to close the sale. But alas, the times they are a-changing. And now in 2014, I offer my 10 favorite smartphone apps.

Flipboard. After stumbling over the carcass of our formerly daily newspaper, I looked around for a quality source of online news. There are several good apps in this space, but my favorite is Flipboard. You can select the subject areas you’d like for the app to gather and Flipboard does a great job of selecting quality articles – versus junk – from across the news spectrum. And the material is presented in a pleasing manner that you flip through, hence the name.

Evernote. This neat little piece of software is designed for note taking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of text, a full or partial webpage, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. Evernote Web Clipper allows you to save anything you see online—including text, links and images—into your Evernote account with a single click. I use it for clipping online articles that I want to use in my monthly newsletters.

Dropbox. This app has taken the place of “My Documents” on my desktop, laptop, tablet and iPhone. Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage and file synchronization. Your files are always synchronized and available on any device. The company is financially sound and uses cutting edge security, thereby ameliorating concerns about loosing your stuff. It’s also the most convenient way to email attachments from your smartphone.

TurboScan. This high quality app turns your smartphone into a multipage scanner for documents, receipts, notes and other text. With TurboScan, you can quickly scan your documents and store or email them as multipage PDF or JPEG files.

ScanBizCards. And speaking of scanning, ScanBizCards is, in my opinion, the best business card scanner. You scan the card and the app magically extracts the person’s name, company and all contact information and automatically stores it along with any notes you want to make as a new contact in your contacts program.

Waze. My next door neighbor, a rather tech savvy lady, recommended this app. It’s a full featured GPS with voice directions. A neat feature is that the displayed map automatically moves to a close up view of the streets when you slow down, which certainly helps if you’re looking for where to turn. But the real advantage of this app versus many other GPS programs is that you get real time traffic updates, road conditions, closures, gas prices and the position of any law enforcement vehicles. (Not that I ever drive over the speed limit, you understand.)

RadarScope. For full color weather radar, this is the best app. You can select the location you want from any radar site in the U.S. You can even set it to follow you on the highway, showing the weather ahead.

Alarmed. I’ve found Alarmed to be the best intra day reminder service. As someone who has been forgetful since childhood, it’s nice to be able to set reminders during the day of appointments, meetings and phone calls. (Happy Hour, though, is something that I never forget. Odd how that works.)

Grocery IQ. And speaking of being forgetful, I can never remember what I need when I run in the supermarket. Besides the bachelor staples of orange juice, beer and pork skins, I just can’t seem to get it together. Grocery IQ is a neat little platform on your smartphone that allows you to compile a list at odd times when things pop into your mind. And the app groups the items by department for easier shopping when you’re in the store and offers up any available discount coupons for the items.

Rapportive. And finally, my favorite app of all is Rapportive. But unfortunately, it’s only available for Google’s gmail users. Rapportive replaces the column of ads down the right side of your gmail in box with information on the person you’re sending an email to or receiving an email from. You can immediately see what people look like, where they’re based, and what they do, plus links to all of their social media accounts. If you’re not already using gmail, this might be a good reason to switch.

So there you have it. My favorite 10 apps — for what it’s worth.

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