Travelling with the iPhone

February 15, 2009

Having used my iPhone for lots of things that i would normally have booted up the Macbook Pro for I made the decision that when I went on my trip I would just make use of my iPhone and nothing else.  It would be my entertainment, camera and way of communicating with friends, family and for use helping me booking tickets, directions etc.

iPhoen Cinema

iPhone Cinema

Of course my girlfriend still took her camera and iPod but my goal was to use the one device.

Before leaving I made sure that the iPhone was unlocked by inserting a simcard from another service provider just in case OPTUS hadn’t come good in the unlocking department, all was fine.  I then made sure that it was filled with sufficient music, podcasts, video and applications that would see me through the 14 weeks that I would be away in total.

I had made a decision not to activate international roaming on my OPTUS account and settled for purchasing a local simcard from the county that I would be spending most of my time, in this instance India.

First port of call Borneo, Malaysia.  I found myself really loving the fact that I had everything to hand in one device, OK the camera is not great but for recording the days activities it was just fine, to be honest when you have good light the camera for shots that are to be posted to the web are pretty dam good.  Although the one thing I did start to find annoying was that I did not have any means of connecting to the web, easily rectified of an evening because as in many places there was lots of unsecured wi-fi that  I was easily able to latch on to.  Meaning that emails got through, pictures could be posted to the likes of Flickr and the big thing was that we could make Skype calls to family via the iPhone app Fring.  Things were going well.

As well as the great ability to communicate for free I was finding the games that I had loaded onto the iPhone pretty enjoyable as well.

Next location Nepal.

Once again the iPhone proved a very capable bit of kit taking great pictures and helping me relax at night with a great selection of music, plus in the more populated areas such as Katmandu and Pokhara once again wi-fi connectivity was never an issue.  I was really glad that I did not commit to bringing my big heavy MBP with me.

Once we headed into India it was time to grab a local simcard, this was really cheap to purchase as were the calls, txt’s and data.  Easy to set up on the iPhone and worked just as good as it does in Australia, there is no real 3g coverage but gprs and edge served me well to keep the emails coming in and wi-fi was always pretty easy to find especially in the more populated area’s, which is pretty much everywhere.

So in summary the performance of the unit, its ability to take over the tasks that would normally require a laptop with internet connection or a cyber cafe was simply awesome.

Is the iPhone rugged?  I happen to thing it is, the invisable shield kept the wear and tear to a minimum and protected both the screen and case with ease.  having also dropped the unit a few times I was pleased to find everything held together with no issues.  I did however in a moment of madness throw my bum bag at the wall in a temper from not being able to unlcok my back pack, not realising that my beloved device was in the bag.  It did recieve a bit of damage but everything is still working 100%

So next time you go on a holiday/trip that you were thinking of taking your laptop on, maybe travel light and just go the smartphone option.

Applications I used.

Fring – skype client, also supports msn, google talk etc

Maps – Helped me find my way many a time.

iBlogger – ability to post to your blog away from your computer.

Twitterific – keeping upto date with the world of twitter

Facebook – Letting people know whats going on.

Currency – Ideal for keeping track of the excchange rate

iShoot – to relieve the stress.

I also have to say that the guys at mactalk.com.au did a great job of keeping me upto date with there podcasts.  Its nice to keep in touch with the things you enjoy, makes the whole time away feel less foreign.

ShowTime iPhone App

September 22, 2008

Ok for those of you who use an iPhone and also love going to the movies (most of us I guess) I thought I would scribble down a small review of the iPhone App Showtime.

ItÕs essentially a movie time application so you can see what movies are on and what time. However this app takes things to the next level. It retrieves your location via GPS, brings up a list off all your local CinemaÕs, gives you access to maps if your not sure how to get there and also a scoring system for the movies that are showing.

I found it useful straight off the bat as I wanted to watch ÒStep BrothersÓ I opened the app, it brought up my local movie house and told me what was on, awesome. One problem was that the movie was not on at a convenient time, so I clicked on the movie title and then it brought up a list of the cinemaÕs showing in and at what time.

It also has the ability to pull down trailers off the movies, although I donÕt think that works in Australia just the US. Add this to the list of popular titles showing and rated titles and you have all the info to make a great choice of what to watch at the movies without the hassle

RunKeeper App update

September 22, 2008

Also there has been an update to Runkeeper, which I use to track my runs, there is a review of the app on the blog in a previous post.

This time you have more control over your workouts, plus the ability to upload manually rather than whilst your exercising, this means that you can now wait till you go home and upload the route via wi-fi rather than using your data allowance.
Also improved GPS fix and a signal meter so you know how strong the signal is. Not a massive upgrade but non the less a worth while one.

Ok I thought I would review my latest App Store purchase, Run Keeper.  Its a GPS based training device designed with runners in mind.  I do a little running, not much maybe 30k a week on average, I’m no expert or am I into it that much, however the app seemed appealing so I thought I would fork out the 12 bucks for it and try it.

The main features of the product are :-
  • Map your runs using GPS in Google maps on a personalised web page
  • Tracks speed and pace
  • Tracks distance.
This product will only work with 3G iPhones.
Ok so here goes.  I set ou ton my first run with Runkeeper yesterday just to test it out.  My usual 5k or so around the local oval was an ideal test run, as it just a short jog to get a feeling for the device working.   
First up open the App by clicking on it, you will then be presented with a initial screen asking you to input an email address and a password, this is used to track and log your runs at the end of your session should you want to.  Once that has been completed you will be presented with the actual screen that is used to start and stop your session.
The program will then start to report, several things which are of interest to runners, speed, pace and distance.  They are all displayed and updated in real time, although I just used my arm band and let it do its thing until the end of my exercise.  The app must remain open during your activity, however you can also listen to your ipod part of the iphone whilst using it.
The program also gives you a graph for every minute of exercise you have completed, showing average speed and pace for that minute, something that is handy to see where in your run you hit a low point.

Once you have completed your run, just hit save and your information will be saved to the device and also uploaded to your personal webpage, this time giving you  a map showing the route and KM/Mile markers along the way.  

All up this is a great way to track, runs, bicycle rides and even walks.  It gives you a pretty accurate picture of how your performing on your activities, the big plus for me is that I can se if I am improving, I can compare my performance for say a morning run  to an evening run.  I can compare how fast I am on one route to another of the same distance.  
There are a few things that I would have liked to have seen in the App, it would have been awesome if it could have pulled in data from the weather app and recorded the weather against each activity, as again the weather has a bearing on sports performance, also the ability to out put a file that is Google Earth compatible.  Maybe these are things that will appear in future releases.
But for now I am very happy with how it has turned out and for 12 bucks its something I will use more than Super Monkey Ball.
My score 8/10