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Update to the list of apps that are useful to me

6 Post author: Elo 08 April 2016 01:02AM

on the 22 August 2015, I wrote an apps list of useful apps, in the comments were a number of suggestions which I immediately tried.  This is an update.  Original can be found at this link:

http://lesswrong.com/r/discussion/lw/mnm/a_list_of_apps_that_are_useful_to_me_and_other/

I rewrite the whole list below.  

But first - my recommended list in short:

 

  • Get an external battery block (and own more than enough spare power cables)
  • Wunderlist
  • Ingress
  • How are you feeling?
  • Alarm clock plus
  • Twilight
  • Business calendar
  • Clipper
  • Rain alarm
  • Data monitor
  • Rescuetime
  • Powercalc
  • Es File viewer
  • WheresmyDroid?
  • Google Docs/sheets etc.
  • (possibly pushbullet and DTG GTD but I have not had them for long enough)

The bold are the top selections, but I would encourage everyone to have all the apps in the above list.
New:



The environment
The overlays
The normals:
Quantified apps:
Misc
Twilight - Does a better job and can filter red light as well as brightness.
Social
Not used:


 

Timestamp Widget. - on clicking to open it - it logs a timestamp.  Can include notes too.

Wunderlist - Recommend it - for shared shopping lists, or any kind of list of things to do.  It's not perfect but it works.

T2 mood tracker - as a second backup to my other mood tracker.  This one takes more effort to do so I only enter the data every few days.  YMMV it might be useful to you.

HOVBX - an overlay for google hangouts that sits on top of the call buttons so you don't accidentally call people (useful for groups who butt-dial each other)

Fleksy - A different keyboard - it seems faster but I am used to swiftkey so I don't use this one.

Tagtime - useful to try.  reminds you hourly or so to tag what you are currently working on.  I used it for a while to help keep me on track.  I noticed I was significantly off track and eventually stopped using it because I felt bad about it.  I feel like I spend more time on-task now but because I want to.  This was a step in the journey of deciding to do that.

Alarm clock plus - it's the best alarm clock app.  I don't use alarms often but this one does everything.

Squats/Push ups/sit ups/pull ups - Rittr labs - good at a simple exercise routine.  Just tells you what to do.  designed to get you from zero to "up to N" of an exercise (250 or 100) so gives you instruction on how many to do each day.  Worth trying.  Didn't work for me, but for other reasons about my lifestyle.

Twilight - mentioned above, replaces night mode and does what f.lux with a PC (filters to be less blue at night)

World clock - started talking to people in different time zones and this was handy.

CPU-Z - lists out all the phone's sensors and tells you their outputs.  cool for looking at gyroscopes/accelerometers.

Coffee meets bagel - dating app.  One profile per day, accept/reject.  Has a different feel to tinder

Bumble - US only; Like Tinder but the girl has to message you first or the connection disappears.

Business Calendar - Best calendar I have found so far

Clipper - Clipboard app for holding the last 20 or so things you have copied.  Also for showing you what's currently on the "copy" 

Pixlr - photo editor.  It's a good one, don't use it often

Rain Alarm - Very good app.  Tells you if it's raining anywhere nearby.  Can be enough to tell you "I should walk home sooner" but also just interesting to have a bit more awareness of your environment.

Audio Scope - Cool science app for viewing the audio scope

Spectrum analyze - Cool science app for viewing the audio spectrum

Frequensee - Fun science app for viewing audio spectrum data

PitchLab lite - Neat for understanding pitch when singing or listening to musical notes.  Another science-visualisation app

Spectralview analyser - another spectrum analyser

Pulsepoint AED - Initiative to gather a public map of all AED's worldwide.  To help; get the app and check the details of nearby AED's

FBreader - Ebook reader.  Pretty good, can control brightness and font size.

KIK - Social app like whatsapp/viber etc.  Don't use it yet, got it on a recommendation.

Wildwilderness - Reporting app for if you see suspicious wildlife trade going on anywhere in the world.  Can report anonymously, any details help.  

DGT GTD - Newly suggested by LW, have not tried to use it yet

Pushbullet - Syncs phone notifications with your PC so you can access things via PC.

I have noticed I often wish "Damn I wish someone had made an app for that" and when I search for it I can't find it.  Then I outsource the search to facebook or other people; and they can usually say - yes, its called X.  Which I can put down to an inability to know how to search for an app on my part; more than anything else.

With that in mind; I wanted to solve the problem of finding apps for other people.

The following is a list of apps that I find useful (and use often) for productive reasons:

This list is long.  The most valuable ones are the top section that I use regularly.  

Other things to mention:

Internal storage - I have a large internal memory card because I knew I would need lots of space.  So I played the "out of sight out of mind game" and tried to give myself as much space as possible by buying a large internal card.  The future of phones is to not use a microSD card and just use internal storage.  I was taking 1000 photos a month, and since having storage troubles and my phone slowing down I don't take nearly even 1 photo a day.  I would like to change that and will probably make it a future bug of mine to solve.

Battery - I use anker external battery blocks to save myself the trouble of worrying about batteries.  If prepared I leave my house with 2 days of phone charge (of 100% use).  I used to count "wins" of days I beat my phone battery (stay awake longer than it) but they are few and far between.  Also I doubled my external battery power and it sits at two days not one (28000mA + 2*460ma spare phone batteries) This is still true but those batteries don't do what they used to.  Anker have excellent service and refunded the battery that did not stay strong.  I would recommend to all phone users to have a power block.  Phones just are not made with enough battery.

Phone - I have a Samsung S4 (android Running KitKat) because it has a few features I found useful that were not found in many other phones - Cheap, Removable battery, external storage card, replaceable case. I am now on lolipop, and have made use of the external antenna port for a particularly bad low-signal location.

Screen cover - I am using the one that came with the phone still Still

I carry a spare phone case, in the beginning I used to go through one each month; now I have a harder case than before it hasn't broken. I change phone case colours for aesthetics every few months.

I also have swapped out the plastic frame that holds the phone case on as these broke, it was a few dollars on ebay and I needed a teeny screwdriver but other than that it works great now!

MicroUSB cables - I went through a lot of effort to sort this out, it's still not sorted, but its "okay for now".  The advice I have - buy several good cables (read online reviews about it), test them wherever possible, and realise that they die.  Also carry a spare or two.  I have now spent far too much time on this problem.  I am at the end of my phone's life and the MicroUSB port is dying, I have replaced it with a new one which is also not great, and I now leave my phone plugged into it's microUSB cable.  I now use Anker brand cabled which are excellent, but my phone still kills one every few weeks.  The whole idea of the MicroUSB plug is awful.  They don't work very well at all.

Restart - I restart my phone probably most days when it gets slow.  It's got programming bugs, but this solution works for now.

These sit on my screen all the time.

Data monitor - Gives an overview of bits per second upload or download. updated every second. ✓

CpuTemp - Gives an overlay of the current core temperature.  My phone is always hot, I run it hard with bluetooth, GPS and wifi blaring all the time.  I also have a lot of active apps. ✓

M̶i̶n̶d̶f̶u̶l̶n̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶l̶ ̶-̶ ̶M̶y̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶k̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶c̶h̶i̶m̶e̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶h̶a̶l̶f̶ ̶h̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶r̶e̶m̶i̶n̶d̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶c̶h̶e̶c̶k̶,̶ ̶"̶A̶m̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶h̶i̶g̶h̶-̶v̶a̶l̶u̶e̶ ̶r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶n̶o̶w̶?̶"̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶t̶i̶m̶e̶s̶ ̶s̶t̶o̶p̶s̶ ̶m̶e̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶d̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶c̶r̶a̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶s̶.̶ Wow that didn't last.  It was so annoying that I stopped using it.

Facebook chat heads - I often have them open, they have memory leaks and start slowing down my phone after a while, I close and reopen them when I care enough.✓ memory leaks improved but are still there.

 

Facebook - communicate with people.  I do this a lot.✓

Inkpad - its a note-taking app, but not an exceptionally great one; open to a better suggestion.✓

Ingress - it makes me walk; it gave me friends; it put me in a community.  Downside is that it takes up more time than you want to give it.  It's a mobile GPS game.  Join the Resistance. Highly recommend

Maps (google maps) - I use this most days; mostly for traffic assistance to places that I know how to get to.✓

Camera - I take about 1000 photos a month.  Generic phone-app one. I take significantly less photos now, my phone slowed down so the activation energy for *open the camera* is higher.  I plan to try to fix this soon

Assistive light - Generic torch app (widget) I use this daily.✓

 

Hello - SMS app.  I don't like it but its marginally better than the native one.✓

S̶u̶n̶r̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶e̶n̶d̶a̶r̶ ̶-̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶n̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶e̶n̶d̶a̶r̶;̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶e̶n̶d̶a̶r̶.̶ ̶ ̶T̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶b̶a̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶n̶d̶.̶ ̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶"̶f̶a̶c̶e̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶s̶y̶n̶c̶"̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶s̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶e̶n̶t̶e̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶f̶r̶a̶c̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶l̶i̶f̶e̶.̶

Business Calendar - works better, has a better interface than Sunrise.

Phone, address book, chrome browser.✓  I use tab sync, and recommend it for all your chrome-enabled devices.

GPS logger - I have a log of my current gps location every 5 minutes.  If google tracks me I might as well track myself.  I don't use this data yet but its free for me to track; so if I can find a use for the historic data that will be a win. I don't make use of this data and can access my google data just fine so I might stop tracking this.

 

Fit - google fit; here for multiple redundancy✓

S Health - Samsung health - here for multiple redundancy✓

Fitbit - I wear a flex step tracker every day, and input my weight daily manually through this app✓

Basis - I wear a B1 watch, and track my sleep like a hawk.✓

Rescuetime - I track my hours on technology and wish it would give a better breakdown. (I also paid for their premium service)✓

Voice recorder - generic phone app; I record around 1-2 hours of things I do per week.  Would like to increase that. I now use this for one hour a month or less.

Narrative - I recently acquired a life-logging device called a narrative, and don't really know how to best use the data it gives.  But its a start. I tried using the device but it has poor battery life.  I also received negative feedback when wearing it in casual settings.  This increases the activation energy to using it.  I also can't seem to wear it at the right height and would regularly take photos of the tops of people's heads.  I would come home with a photo a minute for a day (and have the battery die on it a few times) and have one use-able photo in the lot.  significantly lower than I was expecting.

How are you feeling? - Mood tracking app - this one is broken but the best one I have found, it doesn't seem to open itself after a phone restart; so it won't remind you to enter in a current mood.  I use a widget so that I can enter in the mood quickly.  The best parts of this app are the way it lets you zoom out, and having a 10 point scale.  I used to write a quick sentence about what I was feeling, but that took too much time so I stopped doing it. Highly recommend I use this every day.

Stopwatch - "hybrid stopwatch" - about once a week I time something and my phone didn't have a native one.  This app is good at being a stopwatch.✓

Callinspector - tracks ingoing or outgoing calls and gives summaries of things like, who you most frequently call, how much data you use, etc.  can also set data limits. I dont do anything with this data so I think I will stop using it and save my phone's battery life.

 

Powercalc - the best calculator app I could find ✓

N̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶m̶o̶d̶e̶ ̶-̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶s̶a̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶b̶a̶t̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶(̶i̶t̶ ̶d̶i̶m̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶s̶c̶r̶e̶e̶n̶)̶,̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶u̶s̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶o̶f̶t̶e̶n̶ ̶b̶u̶t̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶g̶o̶o̶d̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶d̶o̶e̶s̶.̶ ̶ ̶I̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶s̶i̶d̶e̶r̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶d̶i̶m̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶l̶u̶e̶ ̶l̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶e̶m̶i̶t̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶s̶c̶r̶e̶e̶n̶;̶ ̶h̶o̶w̶e̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶I̶ ̶d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶i̶c̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶n̶e̶g̶a̶t̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶s̶l̶e̶e̶p̶ ̶e̶f̶f̶e̶c̶t̶s̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶I̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶e̶n̶ ̶p̶u̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶f̶f̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶i̶t̶.̶ ̶

Advanced signal status - about once a month I am in a place with low phone signal - this one makes me feel better about knowing more details of what that means.✓

Ebay - To be able to buy those $5 solutions to problems on the spot is probably worth more than $5 of "impulse purchases" that they might be classified as.✓

C̶a̶l̶ ̶-̶ ̶a̶n̶o̶t̶h̶e̶r̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶e̶n̶d̶a̶r̶ ̶a̶p̶p̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶s̶o̶m̶e̶t̶i̶m̶e̶s̶ ̶c̶a̶t̶c̶h̶e̶s̶ ̶e̶v̶e̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶r̶s̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶s̶e̶s̶.̶ Nope just using business calendar now.

ES file explorer - for searching the guts of my phone for files that are annoying to find.  Not as used or as useful as I thought it would be but still useful.✓

Maps.Me - I went on an exploring adventure to places without signal; so I needed an offline mapping system.  This map saved my life.✓ Have not used this since then, but I will not delete it.

Wikipedia - information lookup✓

Youtube - don't use it often, but its there.✓

How are you feeling? (again) - I have this in multiple places to make it as easy as possible for me to enter in this data✓

Play store - Makes it easy to find.✓

Gallery - I take a lot of photos, but this is the native gallery and I could use a better app.✓

 

In no particular order;

F̶a̶c̶e̶b̶o̶o̶k̶ ̶g̶r̶o̶u̶p̶s̶ was so annoying I got rid of it, Yahoo Mail, Skype, Facebook Messenger chat heads, Whatsapp, meetup, google+, Hangouts, Slack, Viber, OKcupid, Gmail, Tinder, Chatango, CoffeeMeetsBagel, Signal.  Of which I use very little.

They do social things.  

I don't really use:  Viber, OKC, Gmail, Tinder, Chatango, CMB, Signal, whatsapp, G+.

I use: Slack, Facebook messenger, yahoo mail  every day.

(ticks here mean they are still in this category and are not used)

Trello

Workflowy

pocketbook

snapchat Deleted.

AnkiDroid - Anki memoriser app for a phone. ✓

MyFitnessPal - looks like a really good app, have not used it ✓

Fitocracy - looked good✓

I got these apps for a reason; but don't use them.

 

Not on my front pages:

These I don't use as often; or have not moved to my front pages (skipping the ones I didn't install or don't use)

S memo - samsung note taking thing, I rarely use, but do use once a month or so.✓

Drive, Docs, Sheets - The google package.  Its terrible to interact with documents on your phone, but I still sometimes access things from my phone.✓Useful for viewing, not effective for editing.

bubble - I don't think I have ever used this Deleted

Compass pro - gives extra details about direction. I never use it.Deleted

 

(ingress apps) Glypher, Agentstats, integrated timer, cram, notify Don't use them, but still there

TripView (public transport app for my city) Deleted

Convertpad - converts numbers to other numbers. Sometimes quicker than a google search.✓

ABC Iview - National TV broadcasting channel app.  Every program on this channel is uploaded to this app, I have used it once to watch a documentary since I got the app. Deleted

AnkiDroid - I don't need to memorise information in the way it is intended to be used; so I don't use it. Cram is also a flashcard app but I don't use it. Not used

First aid - I know my first aid but I have it anyway for the marginal loss of 50mb of space. Still haven't used it once.

Triangle scanner - I can scan details from NFC chips sometimes. Still haven't used it once.

MX player - does videos better than native apps. Rarely used

Zarchiver - Iunno.  Does something.  Rarely used

Pandora - Never used Deleted

Soundcloud - used once every two months, some of my friends post music online.  Deleted - They have a web interface.

Barcode scanner - never used

Diskusage - Very useful.  Visualises where data is being taken up on your phone, helps when trying to free up space.✓

Swiftkey - Better than native keyboards.  Gives more freedom, I wanted a keyboard with black background and pale keys, swiftkey has it.✓

Google calendar - don't use it, but its there to try to use.✓

Sleepbot - doesn't seem to work with my phone, also I track with other methods, and I forget to turn it on; so its entirely not useful in my life for sleep tracking. Deleted

My service provider's app.

AdobeAcrobat - use often; not via the icon though. ✓

Wheresmydroid? - seems good to have; never used.  My phone is attached to me too well for me to lose it often.  I have it open most of the waking day maybe. ✓ I actually set this up and tested if it worked.  It doesn't work from install, needs an account (which I now have) make sure you actually have an account

Uber - I don't use ubers. Deleted

Terminal emulator, AIDE, PdDroid party, Processing Android, An editor for processing, processing reference, learn C++ - programming apps for my phone, I don't use them, and I don't program much. Deleted some to make space on my phone.

Airbnb - Have not used yet, done a few searches for estimating prices of things. Deleted - Web interface better.

Heart rate - measures your heart rate using the camera/flash.  Neat, not useful other than showing off to people how its possible to do. ✓

Basis - (B1 app), - has less info available than their new app. ✓

BPM counter - Neat if you care about what a "BPM" is for music.  Don't use often. ✓

Sketch guru - fun to play with, draws things. ✓

DJ studio 5 - I did a dj thing for a friend once, used my phone.  was good. ✓

Facebook calendar Sync - as the name says. ✓

Dual N-back - I Don't use it.  I don't think it has value giving properties. Deleted

Awesome calendar - I don't use but it comes with good reccomendations. Deleted Use Business Calendar now.

Battery monitor 3 - Makes a graph of temperature and frequency of the cores.  Useful to see a few times.  Eventually its a bell curve. ✓

urbanspoon - local food places app. ✓use google mostly now.

Gumtree - Australian Ebay (also ebay owns it now) ✓

Printer app to go with my printer ✓

Car Roadside assistance app to go with my insurance ✓

Virgin air entertainment app - you can use your phone while on the plane and download entertainment from their in-flight system. ✓

Two things now;

What am I missing? Was this useful?  Ask me to elaborate on any app and why I used it.  If I get time I will do that anyway. 

P.S. this took 1.5 hours to review and rewrite.

P.P.S - I was intending to make, keep and maintain a list of useful apps, that is not what this document is.  If there are enough suggestions that it's time to make and keep a list; I will do that.

My table of contents links to my other writings

Comments (12)

Comment author: gjm 11 April 2016 01:28:34PM 1 point [-]

My apologies for the superficiality of this comment, but: Why on earth is most of this in Comic Sans?

Comment author: Elo 11 April 2016 10:37:33PM 1 point [-]

thanks for pointing it out to me. I use "comic sans browsing" and don't notice it any more. Fixed.

Comment author: gjm 12 April 2016 01:07:07AM 1 point [-]

Yup, better now. Thanks.

Comment author: malcolmocean 28 January 2017 08:15:00PM 0 points [-]

Aaaaand unfixed.

Comment author: Elo 30 January 2017 07:13:21AM 0 points [-]

fixed

Comment author: username2 08 April 2016 06:14:17PM 1 point [-]

T2 mood tracker

I'm the anon who misreads things. I misread this as "mood hacker". Was very interested.

Comment author: Elo 12 April 2016 08:49:38AM 0 points [-]

also worth considering: Lastpass or Dashlane.

Comment author: Dustin 08 April 2016 07:02:53PM *  0 points [-]

I moved on from Pushbullet to Join when Pushbullet changed their revenue model in a manner that didn't really work for me...now I think I like Join better.

Comment author: rpmcruz 08 April 2016 11:20:10AM *  0 points [-]

Wow plenty of apps. :) But I did not notice anything to read RSS feeds (blogs and etc).

Personally I use few apps:

  1. Feedly (to read blogs)
  2. Google News (news and weather)
  3. Opera Mini (for fast browsing)
  4. YouTube
  5. Google Maps (sometimes, for the GPS)

Ah, and I have in the "background" these:

  • Google Calendar
  • Tasks Free
Comment author: ChristianKl 08 April 2016 10:15:00AM 0 points [-]

WheresmyDroid?

What advantage does that App have over the Android Device Manager that's build in?

Comment author: Elo 11 April 2016 12:01:32AM 1 point [-]

has some powers to remotely wipe the phone. Worth checking out.

Comment author: ChristianKl 11 April 2016 12:12:08AM 1 point [-]

The Android Device Manager can also do remote wiping of the phone.

Giving additional companies the ability to wipe your phone seems to me unnecessary. The App also takes up RAM and if it regularly contacts a central server to be able to locate the phone it's going to waste part of the battery.