A Busy Baby Boomer's Life

Weather  Channel MaxiNewsAlbert Einstein was once asked how many feet are in a mile. He answered, “I don’t know. Why should I fill my head with things like that when I could look them up in any reference book in two minutes?” Like Einstein, I’d rather not keep everything in my head either. Unlike Einstein, I don’t have to look it up in a book—I’ve got an iPhone in my pocket! 

My iPhone is simple to use, easy to carry, and extremely functional. I use it to manage my personal, college, and business life. I start my morning with the iPhone, use it throughout the day, and it’s often the last thing I look at before going to bed at night.

My morning routine involves checking the Weather Channel, reading iNews and Bible.

First thing in the morning

I live in Oklahoma, where the weather can change drastically in a matter of hours. First thing in the morning, I check the weather so I can decide what to wear and whether or not to water the lawn. To do this, I use the Weather Channel Max app ($3.99, free version also available; weather.com/mobile/pda/iphone). It’s accurate and it features an in-motion weather map that helps me locate tornadoes in the area—another necessity when living in Oklahoma!

Ultimate TodosWhile I eat breakfast, I read the news on my iPhone using the iNews app ($1.99; ptgdi.com/gdiplus/iNews). It provides news from a variety of sources and viewpoints. With this one app, I receive news feeds from USA Today, CNN, Fox News, and BBC News; articles from Scientific American and Macworld; and feeds from blogs such as MacRumors, Seth’s Blog, and others..

BibleI try to read the Bible on a daily basis. I do this using my iPhone and an app called Bible from LifeChurch.tv (Free; youversion.com/iphone). Several different versions are available with this app, including KJV, NIV, Amplified, and the Message. The app allows me to bookmark passages for later reference.

Finally, I review my tasks for the day using Ultimate Todos ($0.99; mmdesoft.com). This app helps me keep track of writing projects and class work. I can organize my tasks in category folders and can even add voice notes. This makes it easier to add details since I don’t have to type them using the iPhone’s keyboard. Best of all, Ultimate Todos syncs with Toodledo on my Mac, so my task list is always up-to-date and available, whether I’m at home or on the go.

Ultimate Todos (left) lets me keep track of writing projects and class work. AroundMe (right) helps me find a good restaurant.

On the go

When I finish reviewing my task list, I’m out the door. The iPhone Clock feature keeps me on schedule with its alarms. AroundMeI have it set to chime Marimba alarms throughout the day to remind me when it’s time to head to class, keep an appointment, or get back to writing!

Because I’m on the go so much, I often need to find a place for lunch. AroundMe (Free; tweakersoft.com) is my favorite app for locating a place to eat. It not only recommends restaurants, but it also shows me how to get there. And when I have time, I invite a friend to join me; an easy thing to do with my iPhone. I just give them a call!

TextMsgStaying in touch

Like most of my Boomer friends, I spend a lot of time complaining that I don’t hear from my kids enough, now that they’ve moved out. Well, I’ve found the answer—text messaging! Since I got my iPhone and added text messaging to my repertoire of skills, I hear from my kids almost daily. Yes, it’s usually short bits, like “Got an A in Geology!” or “Have to work this weekend.” But I occasionally get “Want to go for coffee?” or “I miss you guys!” I still don’t understand why they would rather text me than phone, but they do. And as the old saying goes, “When in Rome…”

I use the Facebook app (Free; facebook.com) as another way to stay connected with my family and friends. FacebookIn fact, I’ve used it to locate and communicate with people that I haven’t seen for more than 40 years. I also use this app to post photos on my Facebook page.

When I take a photo, I use Camera Zoom ($0.99; kenditech.com/Applications). The 4x, digital zoom works great, and you can touch anywhere on the screen to take the picture. CameraZoomThis is handy for putting yourself in the photo!

I stay in touch with family and friends with text messaging and Facebook; when I want to post a photo on Facebook, I use Camera Zoom to capture it.

Doing business

I write and self-publish educational products, as well as write articles and blogs for both print and online magazines. I market myself through my Web site, an e-mail newsletter, and social media. I also review products for Amazon.com, several publications, and my readers.

When I need a photo of a product, I use Camera Zoom and, either e-mail it to myself for use on my Web site or blog, or upload it directly to my Facebook page for an “On the Road” review.

Because of the iPhone, I’m able to transact business even when away from home. As I receive e-mails from PayPal informing me of a transaction, I contact my customer either by phone or by e-mail and provide them with a password to access my products online. I input these passwords to my Web site’s server using Safari. When I need to send my customers a Email PaymentsPDF file or print a document from my iPhone, I use Print n Share ($6.99; mobile.eurosmartz.com/print).

I also use the iPhone for marketing when I’m on the road.Twitterific I write blog entries on Safari, and then inform my readers about these updates using Twitterific ($3.99, free version also available; iconfactory.com). Because I have my Twitter account linked to Facebook, all my friends there get to view the updates too.

I use the iPhone’s Mail app to transact business, and Twitterific helps me with marketing.

Going to college

In addition to creating articles and educational products, I’m finishing a degree in journalism at Oklahoma State University. I do a lot of writing and use a couple of excellent reference apps in the process. I use Wordbook English Dictionary & Thesaurus ($1.99; trancreative.com) when I have Wi-Fi access. When I don’t, I rely on Dictionary.com (Free; dictionary.reference.com/apps/iphone).Wordbook I prefer Wordbook because it has more features, including a Thesaurus and an audible pronunciation guide.

The Wordbook English Dictionary and Dictionary.com are excellent references for professional or academic writers.

When I need a good quote to spice up a paper or article (including this one), I consult iQuote ($1.99, free version also available; swifton.com/products.asp) or QotationaryQuotationary ($1.99; someknow.com/quotationary-iphone.html). Finally, one of the best resources for research is the Web, and the iPhone’s Safari browser lets me access it wherever I am. I sync my Mac’s Internet bookmarks to my iPhone. In that way, when I’m away from home and need to do research, I have everything I need.

Shopping for books

I do a lot of book shopping, for personal use and as part of my business. When I’m at a bookstore and find a title that looks interesting, I use SnapTell (Free; snaptell.com) to take a photo of the book cover. SnapTell uses this photo to search for the book online. Once it’s located, the app displays a list of local and online stores that carry the book, along with the prices, making it easier to find the best deal. It also provides quick access to Amazon.com, where I can read reviews of the book.

SnapTellI use SnapTell to find the best price for books and xLibris to keep track of the books in my library.

I use xLibris ($1.99; option-x-support.com) to keep track of the books that I purchase. Whenever I buy a book, I enter its ISBN number into the app. xLibrisxLibris goes online and imports other details about the book, including the title, author, publisher, number of pages, and more. It even imports a cover image. For those of us with lots of books, it’s easy to lose track and purchase the same book twice. With xLibris, I’ll never make that mistake again!

My time is money!

Because of all the things it lets me do, the iPhone was an excellent investment for me. To protect that investment, and to give me peace of mind, I installed the If Found + app ($0.99, free version also available; polka.com). This app puts my name and my husband’s phone number on the iPhone’s startup screen. Now, if I lose my phone, an honest person has a number to call to let me know where to find it. A way to help encourage honesty is to place the words, “$50 reward for return—no questions asked” on the startup screen.

Some of my friends complain that the iPhone and all these apps cost a lot of money. My answer to that is found in the words of Peter Cochrane, “The world is divided into two kinds of people, those who spend a great deal of time saving money, and those who spend a great deal of money saving time.”

I’m one of the latter, because my time is money. 

A day in the life of a very busy baby boomer—and the apps that help her get things done.
Fall 2009
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