It’s not a long time I have converted to a smartphone, but I have already found a group of app I cannot live without. So, a quick post about apps I find very useful.
First of all, a quick reminder about the importance of having a tracking app (personally, I use “Where’s My Droid” – but there are many of them around): not only it helps you whenever you lose your mobile, but it is essential to activate remote controls and locate your smartphone in the unfortunate case that it is stolen.
Then, of course I also have a whole bunch of social media and apps to keep in contact with people around me – I don’t even need to share my mobile number anymore, my friends can just find me on WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk.
Other apps are useful to organise my life: I use Google Calendar not only to remember all what I have to do, but I also try to keep it updated with my “to do list”, so that I’m always remembered of what I should be doing (instead of being surfing the net, for example…).
When I have to go to workshops or conferences, I try to save on Google Maps the place where I’m supposed to go, so that I can easy find my way while moving into a new city. Moreover, since I’m almost always desperately running to catch the train, the National Rail app saves me precious seconds pointing me out to the correct platform.
At this point, let’s see the most useful apps: those that are definitely central to my student life. A quick version for office, so that I can easily read or update documents on the go (I use ThinkFree Office – which offers writing, presentation and spreadsheets visualizing and editing – though there are many you can choose from). Then, Adobe Reader is always a must have. A cloud service, like Dropbox (my favourite) or Google Drive, and Photo Editor that has unexpectedly saved me a couple of times (allowing me to quickly editing a photo I needed to work on).
Finally, Evernote, which is probably the app I use more, both for study reasons, but also for more light tasks. It allows you to take notes, snapshots, attach documents, voice memos, webpages or web clips, and organise them in various folders. The notes can be tagged, commented, edited and easily searched at any time. And, since it is a cloud service, you can access your notes from any device: I have installed on my smartphone and on my laptop, but then I often access it from University clusters via the website.
For example, when I’m writing on my laptop and I find an interesting book, I just copy the webpage of the library catalogues with all the references, so that when I go to the library I can just check on my mobile the data and easily find the book: once I used to take some quick notes with the collocation, but then, if the book had been moved around, I was always struggling to find it again. Now, instead, I can just check all the data and have a direct link to the online catalogue – it does not change everything, but at least it is much more quicker than in the past. The other way I use Evernote most is when I get an idea, and I don’t have any chance to write it down properly – so, I just take a note on my smartphone, and whenever I will reach a computer I can just start from where I had left, import it into word for example, and create a proper document. Last but not least, for anyone who is doing qualitative research, another advantage of Evernote is that the notes can be imported also into Nvivo – with all their tags.