Mophie Has Improved My Relationship with My iPhone


Much as I’ve enjoyed using my iPhone for the past 18 months, the comparatively brief battery life has often proved inconvenient for me. I use my phone enough to require a re-charge every night. And there are days, especially when I’m traveling, that require an additional boost before the end of the day. Sometimes it’s enough to use the car adapter while driving. But that’s a slower process and not always what’s really needed. And when I’m hoofing it, using the car adapter is not an option.

I recently returned from a two-week speaking tour that took me to Pittsburgh, Puebla Mexico, and Atlanta. In preparation for my trip, I researched technology that extends the life of an iPhone battery between charges. Thankfully, I discovered the Mophie.

The Mophie Juice Pack Air Case and Rechargeable Battery for iPhone is pretty slick. It comes in two parts that slide onto the ends of the iPhone. The bottom portion plugs into the iPhone’s power port and has a small, inconspicuous on-off switch. The Mophie provides protection for the iPhone while supplementing the iPhone’s battery with an additional battery. If the Mophie switch is on, its battery is used first. If the switch is off, the iPhone battery is used in the usual way. When the iPhone battery runs low, switching the Mophie to on begins recharging the iPhone. The phone works during the charging process. And it’s easy to tell how much charge is left in the Mophie battery, since an indicator lights up on the back when a small button, flush with the case, is pressed.

The Mophie never has to be removed from the iPhone. Both can be charged at the same time, using either the outlet cord or the USB cord to your laptop.

I was initially reluctant to buy this gizmo because of its price of about $80. Having used the Mophie for two weeks while traveling nationally and internationally, I’m happy to say that I have no regrets. Throughout my journey, I was relieved to have the additional battery life, and to know that it would last me to the end of a long day of frequent use.

If you think this might be the solution to your own needs for extended battery life on your iPhone, I encourage you to check it out at Amazon here.

Reviews:

There’s an excellent review of the Mophie at iPhone Spies.

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Heads-up on iPhone’s Upcoming 4.0 Release


Summer is looming and so is Apple’s iPhone OS upgrade. Read more of this post

iPhone Accessory Favorites


In a few weeks my iPhone will be a year old. I have no regrets. The same phone gets better every day with new and tempting apps.

I wonder, though, about accessories: cases, headsets, stands, speakers, car chargers, styluses, screen protectors, arm bands, car mounts, bicycle mounts, replacement batteries, battery boosters/backups, car kits for FM radio, and all the rest.

We iPhone users like the versatility of our gear. And we like telling others about what works for us. So how about it, what are your accessory favorites? What have you found that works well for you and is worth the money?

Please post your ideas in the comments box . . .

iPhone App: Gas Cubby


An iphone application that I now use frequently is Gas Cubby 2.1. This app is convenient for tracking fuel consumption and maintenance for any number of vehicles. Records can be synced for computer backup. Entries can be sorted by date or cost amount, in ascending or descending order.

MPG can be recorded using US, UK, Canada, or Imperial standards. Fuel usage can also be measured in liters, by miles or kilometers.

Vehicle set-up is simple. A separate file is created for each vehicle, including VIN, plate number, insurance policy, year, make and model, tire size and pressure. Oil changes, windshield wiper replacements, and battery installations, for example, are recorded by their dates on the vehicle information “page.”

Entries are recorded in two main categories: fuel and service (or maintenance). For each entry there are fields to complete as desired. Fuel consumption for each re-fill is calculated automatically and cumulatively. Entries for service or maintenance permit recording of date, odometer reading, cost, a checklist of service items (which can be customized), location where service was done, tags, payment type, and any notes that might be useful for future reference. Once the data is entered, a clean page is created showing all the data in a neat and well-organized format.

The application also permits easy searches for specific items or categories of items. Gas Cubby supports service reminders, with the option of showing badges for these.

This is an all-purpose record-keeping app for the automobile owner or operator. After reviewing several applications, and experimenting with stand-alone fuel usage apps, this is the app I’ve settled on and recommend to others.

A complete user manual is available online. For full details, go here.

See also Trip Cubby, app for recording mileage.

Christmas Quote—Do You Know What You Want for Christmas?


“There are things you don’t ask for because you know you can’t have them, and then there are things so far outside the realm of possibility, it would never even occur to you to want them.”

—Fred to Lauren, in the short story “Miracle,” by Connie Willis

First Report on Using the iPhone


Today I received a comment at a different post asking what I think about the iPhone now that I’ve been using it for a few weeks. Here’s my reply.

Almost daily I’m amazed by the iPhone. I never used a cell phone for email before owning an iPhone. It’s a breeze. Text messaging has a cool and pleasing look, and message history person-to-person stays in your stream until you clear it (like Apple Chat application). (Unlimited text messaging with AT&T costs $5 a month.) The Safari browser is incredibly stable and quick, using the network options on the iPhone. And, of course, there’s the ease of syncing iPhone apps and their databases with their corresponding apps on my Apple laptop.

The truly remarkable thing about the iPhone is its power to run applications designed for virtually every purpose. As one of my colleagues told me after I flipped for the iPhone, “iPhone users size each other up based on the applications they have downloaded to their iPhones.” I’ve discovered there’s a little (sometimes large) community of enthusiasts for specific applications. It’s like you join a club and make new friends simply for having such a little thing in common. And I have to admit, it’s pretty satisfying when, (a) you ask someone if they have some application, A, and they say no, then (b) they watch your quick demo of A on your phone and confirm the “Wow!” factor with their own exclamations, and (c) they start searching to download A on their own iPhones. Yep. I’ve had this happen. Always makes me feel my app choice was “right.”

Speaking of apps, here are the ones I have on my phone as of this moment:

(1) First screen (left to right, top to bottom): Things, iCal (standard), Google Calendar, Camera (standard), Settings (standard), TripCase, Packing, Maps (standard), Clock (standard), Stocks, Weather (standard), Quickvoice, Text (standard), iTunes (standard), Notes (standard), WunderRadio

(2) Screen two: SplashID, Calculator (standard), Corkboard (standard), iTweet 2, Photos (standard), Fast Web, App Store (standard), AppSniper, link to home page on my laptop browser, Pandora, AOL Radio, Contacts (standard), iFitness, Fandango

(3) Screen three: iPhoneHome, iLounge, iPhoneApplication List, iPhone Widget List, Widgeteria, Wordress link, PocketExpress

(4) Screen four: White Pages, Yellow Pages, IMDb link, iCafe, iPhone Freak, WOWIO, Tor.com, Memoware, WebScription, Biola Portal link, Night Stand, YouTube (standard)

(5) Screen five: Alarm System, Equate, Quip, Eye Security, KitchenCafe, iRuler, Google Earth

(6) Screen six: Stanza, WordBook, WordBreaker, Dictionary, eReader, Classics, 3000Facts, History

(7) Screen seven: Travel, Urbanspoon, Park Maps

(8) Screen eight: iTakeCredit, Daily Finance

(9) Screen nine: FlightControl

Many of these “apps” are links to online services or web pages, which are launched when you select the app. Notice that I have nine screens. The first screen utilizes all the screen space available, with the maximum of 16 apps visible (four across and four down). Other screens show fewer apps. This is because I’ve organized my apps into broad categories or themes, and separated them by placing them on screens by theme. I discovered this possibility quite by accident. But it’s very handy. (There’s lots about the power and versatility of the iPhone that you learn simply through use. I’ve also perused three or four books devoted to iPhone use and discovered a handful of useful tips I probably wouldn’t know about otherwise. For example, holding down the caps key—a metaphor for keeping your finger on the shift “key” on the keypad—and sliding it to a letter of the alphabet capitalizes the letter. This is convenient when you want to cap a word in the middle of some text, for instance. Simple trick, but very handy.)

Some of the apps are iPhone versions of applications I’ve been using consistently on my laptop (Things and Splash ID, for example). I haven’t used all of the apps I’ve listed. The ones I use the most are: everything on the first screen plus Splash ID, Fast Web, App Store, AppSniper, Fandango (used it last night to find a movie and location while on the road), and FlightControl.

FlightControl is the only game app I mess with. You get addicted to landing airplanes and helicopters. I enjoy recommending this one to people (especially guys) because they have all liked it so much. I’ve found that if there’s someone in a small group who isn’t interacting and looks bored, I can launch this app, hand it to them, and watch them come to life.

It’s easy to move apps around onscreen and from screen to screen. So in recent days I’ve had two travel-related apps on the home screen: TripCase and Packing. This is because I have a trip to St. Louis this weekend. When I return home, I’ll move these apps to the screen reserved for travel apps. TripCase stores my flight itinerary and tracks any changes in flight schedule, keeps me posted, and sends the same information to designated “followers” (e.g., anyone meeting me at the airport). TripCase has other features I’m not using for this trip. Packing is a database app that keeps a master packing list arranged in categories, and any specialized packing lists I create for specific trips or kinds of travel. I’ve created a packing list for St. Louis, so that everything I take with me is included. I’ve kept list like this on my laptop until now. This app puts everything at much more convenient disposal. And I’ve often wished I had a list I could consult before returning home to make sure I don’t leave anything behind.

I haven’t actually used FastWeb so much yet. But it speeds of web surfing on the iPhone without launching Safari. Fandando speaks for itself. AppSniper is great for tracking applications you have discovered but haven’t purchased, and for being notified when the price on those apps is lowered.

Every phone is fully customized by the configuration of apps.

Are you convinced yet?

***

Thanks, Tim, for asking the question that prompted this post!

Stylus Pen a Good Idea for the iPhone


Apple iPhone 3g Stylus Pen

Apple iPhone 3g Stylus Pen

I’m starting to like the touch-screen experience on my iPhone. I notice, though, that the QWERTY keypad is more difficult to use when I’m typing notes. I like to do this when I’m listening to presentations, or writing out ideas when I’m away from my laptop. For this I need speed. And, wheer accarucy matters, the fingers are better at walking than sprinting.

Because of my Palm Pilot days, I’d been wondering whether a stylus might work in these situations. Today I discovered a stylus that is an iPhone accessory. Called the Apple iPhone 3G Stylus Pen, it looks like it would do the trick.

As of this moment, this tool is 97% off at Amazon.com. It’s also listed as the #1 selling item in women’s apparel, and #10 in cell phone accessories. This is initially puzzling. I figure women buy more apparel than cell phones. But maybe there are women who are accessorizing with the Apple iPhone 3G Stylus Pen without using it on an iPhone!

It comes in silver or black.

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