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For MattyJ who finally got an iPhone last night

Dear MattyJ,
Welcome to the iPhone. As you know, even though I am not a super mac fanboy, I adore my iPhone. It is the single greatest piece of consumer electronics I have ever owned.
If I am not gazing at my wife or my wine cooler, I am probably gazing at my iPhone.

It’s not perfect. There are issues. But they tend to be dorky issues, and I am trying not to be such a dork so it’s all cool.

Here’s some random things about the iPhone that you might find interesting and/or handy.

The Home Button
If you hit the home button twice, it will take you to the phone’s favorites.
I only learned that recently.

The Smart Playlist
Being that the iPhone is fairly small in terms of capacity, you can’t just sync your entire music library onto your iPhone. For mine, I just sync my iPhone to a number of Smart Playlists I have set up. Say what you will about iTunes, the Smart Playlist is pretty well put together. For my iPhone, I have a number of playlists based on genre or artist or year or whatnot. The trick is that I limit the playlist to a certain number of tracks and then also tick the option to choose the songs by random.
So, in theory, you will get new random choices of music each time you sync the phone.

The Apps!

This is an insanely great application. We have this snazzy new compact stereo and it has an iPod dock. I start up Pandora on my phone and then put the phone on the dock and suddenly I have music from Pandora playing in my living room.
Note, you can’t put it in airplane mode – since Pandora has to connect to the web.
I also don’t have that interference you get when the phone is near a speaker because the phone isn’t, um, near a speaker.
What happens if the phone rings?
I don’t have that problem as no one ever calls me.

Apple built this and it is brilliant. Control your iTunes from your phone.
Very well put together. It makes me want to throw a big party so I can play DJ via my phone.

A lot of people think this is a stupid application. It could be so much more, but it is a good start. It allows you to search the web and your contacts – kind of like a baby Google Desktop.
I find it handy when searching because it gives you choices as you are typing in your query – it then spits you to the browser with the results.

The FaceBook application works fairly well. Wish it would cache the content so you could read it when underground and/or in airplane mode (actually, that is true about most iPhone apps).

This is, currently, my favorite tip calculator.

iPhone version of the game Othello. It is kicking my ass.

So far, the best movie showtime application I have found. The other one I tried was something called Movies.App. It never worked.

Get this. The kids will love it.

This is a nice little application that links to your FLICKR account and you can see your images and some other things. Nice and all, but the best part is the “Near Me” feature that will show you images that were geo-tagged for your current location.
If you neighbors geo-tag their images, it can be voyeuristic fun.

The killer application in my book for finding restaurants, bars, and other retail places. You enter a term, for instance “Mexican” and it uses your current location to build a list of places nearby. Naturally, the entries include all the address info, maps, and reviews.
Remember Vindigo on the Palm? This is what I have been missing.

The New York Times v. Associated Press news applications
If there was ever a need for a merger of applications, this would be it.
The AP one works a lot better – it is way smoother.
The NYT, IMHO, is more handsome.
The NYT has better news items whereas the AP one seems to not be as up to date as the NYT – even after syncing.
The AP one seems to consistently work better in 'airplane mode'.

What neither of these have an automated process that could sync the news for you. In a perfect world, you could set the application to sync the news feeds every morning and then you’d have something to read on the train. You have to do this manually right now.

What I haven't found yet...
- A decent RSS reader. Tried many. Many sucked. The NewsGator one *was* working great the first week, but then basically would just hang up when loading.
- Document reader. Ideally I'd like to be able to take PDFs or TXT files and be able to read them on my iPhone. There are a few applications, but they are seem to have deal breaking short-comings.

What'd I miss?

The Google App is actually much much better. It's built by the guys who made Quicksilver, the best application ever (for Mac). If you click on the "more options" button, you get access to Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Reader, and a host of other Google applications, all set up specifically for iPhone. Google App didn't seem like much, at first, but it's one of the awesomer ones out there.
»stu ||  7/30/2008 ||  12:19:03 PM
I also highly recommend Twitteriffic, if you use Twitter (and you should. The rest of us are doing it. You want to be cool, don't you?), and Zenbe Lists (but only if you're a particular type of anal retentive list making person. if that's you, this is perfect for you)
»stu ||  7/30/2008 ||  12:23:24 PM
Well, this is pretty mundane, and useless if you don't do much driving, but I am all about the Google Maps traffic thingy (technical term, sorry.) It really came in handy this weekend coming back from the Catskills when 87 was a parking lot.
»dorf ||  7/30/2008 ||  1:04:25 PM
I like the cowbell one.
»cromulent ||  7/30/2008 ||  2:30:39 PM
There's also the flashlight.

And the lightsaber.

The one where you shake it up like a magic 8 Ball to get a restaurant nearby actually sucks, though.
»stu ||  7/30/2008 ||  2:49:50 PM

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