Handy iPhone Apps For Staying Connected

If you are like me, you’ve got to live in a mixed OS environment, at home is Mac and at work is Windows. And, you’ve got an iPhone or iPad which works great with Mac, but doesn’t play quite so nice in a corporate environment. Here are some great apps for your iPhone that will help you bridge the gap between those worlds.

DropBox: FREE — sync files — with this iPhone app, you have access to your files on the go. And since the storage is cloud-based, and dropbox works on both Mac/Win you can have your files synced effortlessly. See my previous Dropbox article about the software versions and how to download and install on both platforms with FREE 2GB + 250MB of storage.

Evernote: FREE — sync notes — while the iPhone app isn’t as robust as some other Note applications, it will sync with their incredibly handy Mac and Windows application. So, if you’ve made notes or clipped screenshots at home for your big presentation at work, you can edit it on the way with the app, and then have it synced and ready on your work PC. See my previous Evernote articles for more details.

LastPass: FREE (requires $12/year subscription) — sync passwords — there you are visiting a favorite website at home or on your iPhone, but you can’t remember what password you used. Not any more with LastPass. LastPass works as a browser add-on that will store and sync your login information. Plus, anywhere you travel, you can log into the LastPass.com site to find those passwords. Find out more about LastPass with my previous article on it.

Skype: FREE — cheap talk — sure iChat is great on the Mac, but it’s limited to the Mac. Skype works on both platforms and even on your iPhone. With Skype, if you subscribe to one of their unlimited talk plans (US = $3, Japan = $6), you can not only talk all you want at home, at work, and on your phone. (NOTE: Skype currently requires you to use WiFi to make calls on your iPhone. To get around this limitation, you can use the FREE Fring application, which allows you to make Skype Out calls over the 3G network.)

Pandora: FREE — cheap music — if you love music, this is one app you need to have. Set up “stations” of your favorite music and let Pandora stream that music to you via this iPhone app. Pandora.com works great in Firefox and Safari also, so you can listen to those stations at work or home too.

Toodledo: ($3) — sync to-do’s — with this iPhone app you can edit/add/delete your To-dos. Toodledo’s website offers links to sync your account with both Mac and Windows, so those changes you made will be reflected wherever you go.

Photo apps: — see your photos — there are several good apps to show and upload your photos to a photo site, including Shutterfly (FREE), Flickr (FREE), Eye-fi (FREE), and Picasafoto ($.99, for Picasa) . If you take a lot of photos and want to see them on the road, these apps will help you stay connected to those images.

Yelp: FREE — great tips — Yelp’s iPhone app can help you find local businesses quickly. The “bookmark” feature is really great for keeping your favorite places’ phone numbers handy. So, you can order your favorite Thai dish in advance for quick pickup. User reviews can also give you tips what to order or avoid.

MAC ONLY:

AirMouse: ($2) — control your Mac with your iPhone. This app will work with your local WiFi network to become a trackpad to control your Mac wirelessly. Much more robust than Apple’s free Remote app, and cheaper than a Magic Mouse.

Prowl: ($3) — get PUSH notification on your iPhone from any Growl messages on your Mac. If you have Growl installed to display notifications on your Mac, Prowl allows you to send those notifications to your iPhone. You can be notified of things like disk errors, completed downloads, or whatever you want.

Well, I hope that’s helped you with some cool apps for you iPhone.

[Note: originally published on HMAUS.org ]

Microsoft Security Essentials — free anti-virus for Windows computers

Looking for an anti-virus software for your home PC? Want a great application for FREE? Try out Microsoft’s Security Essentials. This program will run in the background protecting your computer from all the nasties out there that might come your way on the Internet.
After suffering from years of bad publicity about how susceptible Windows computers are to viruses, Microsoft came out with this free software for users. And, it works really well.
So, goodbye to the those other free anti-virus programs like AVG Free and hello MSE.

Two Great Web Apps Together: LastPass Acquired Xmarks

xmarks and lastpassIf you are looking for two really great ways to stay synced across multiple computers and platforms, Lastpass and Xmarks are at the top. So, I was very happy to hear that LastPass was the company who acquired Xmarks.
As a web developer, I found LastPass (reviewed here) amazing for keeping all my passwords synced across all the various computers I use. I can’t tell you how many “test” sites I build, review, checkout — sometimes I go back, sometimes I don’t. Either way, LastPass keeps those records safe and sound.
And Xmarks works just as well for bookmarks — keeping your “cool sites” ready at hand, on Mac, PC, Safari, Firefox, and other browsers, plus a mobile version for iPhone.
There are premium editions of both that offer greater mobility and features with a lost cost for both, making the two a terrific deal for people on the go.

Evernote: Syncing Your Notes (and Files) Wherever

Evernote Man, I like this product! Evernote is like Yojimbo with tentacles, “Tako Yojimbo”. Let me explain. Evernote is like a journal that you can type in, paste in, add screen shots, even drop files into, and it will sync those across multiple platforms. Evernote is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Windows Mobile. Plus you can log into their site and add/edit/delete notes there. Or, send an email to your Evernote account and that will get synced.

In other words, you can write up your ideas from work, edit them in the car, tweak it some on your friend’s browser, and have it complete to print out when you get home! You can tag your ideas, like Yojimbo, to make it easy to organize and find. Evernote will even search within your PHOTOS for text to add as tags!

So, let’s say you want to write a journal of your life and work on it wherever you go. Or, a blog article (yep, this one was an Evernote). Or, you find a cool product on the web — take a screen shot and save it for later. Or, for researchers, it’s perfect for keeping track of those “finds”!

Sounds good so far, right?! Well for FREE, it is good! But for $5/month you can also sync any type of FILE, not just photos, pdfs, and text with the free account. Wow! You could even skip Dropbox if you upgrade!

Evernote is a great way to keep your thoughts in sync: a notepad in the clouds…

[Note: originally published on HMAUS.org]