A Day In The Life

Posted by Glenn Head on June 23rd, 2009

I'll say it now - I'm an iPhone addict.

Every week, I have to go to a 12 step program designed to wean me off my addiction.* But, you know what? It's not working. You see, to be cured of an addiction you have to want to be cured. I love my iPhone. It's a part of my life. It's never far from my grasp, and I use it many, many times throughout my day. I don't want to be cured.
[caption id="attachment_13153" align="aligncenter" width="509" caption="Paul Pelosi (look at his hands) is also an iPhone addict."]


When I first got my iPhone, I was amazed - due to the superb implementation of the web, that I could actually use it to buy my wife's Christmas presents... from the sofa... while she sat next to me. I would ask her what she wanted, she'd have a little think, then tell me, then I'd buy it, without her even realising her wishes were coming true within seconds of her uttering the words. She might as well have been saying abracadabra. It was magical, and exciting in a way only another iPhone-phile can understand.

This is how my iPhone and I spend the day.

Wake Up Call
Even before I awake, my iPhone is there for me, dragging me from my slumber with the sound of Marimba. Clock has become my Alarm Clock. I've even taught it not to wake me at all at the weekend - at those times my iPhone allows me to dream on (although my daughter does not respect the covenant me and the iPhone have made).

With a swipe of my finger Marimba is quieted for another 24 hours.

Settings is my second iPhone destination, where I turn off the Airplane mode that has so expertly shielded my from all those late night messages and calls. When I go to sleep - oddly enough - I want to sleep.

After doing those most morning-ish of activities (curse, wash, dress, etc.), I unplug my now fully charged iPhone and trudge downstairs, where I flick the switch that pours lovely wireless Internet into my home.

A few seconds later, I fire up the next app of the day. It's another iPhone native: Mail.

My Mail is synced up to my personal Gmail account (which is set-up to receive all the mail from any other e-mail addresses I might have acquired over the years). It's incredibly convenient to receive my e-mail via my iPhone rather than on my Mac. It was not quite so easy to respond, however, but the situation was resolved when landscape mode was enabled for Mail in 3.0.

Destination: Next App is Facebook/Tweetdeck.

I put this down as a twofer because, generally, if I check Facebook I also check Tweetdeck. Facebook is good for on the move voyeurism into your friend's lives, but lacks some of the features of its big browser brother. I'm able to update my status or post an impromptu photo, but little else. I think Facebook for iPhone is good for a small fix of vicarious living, but not enough to replace the full experience. TweetDeck, too, is not without its flaws, but, for me it was an easy download choice when it popped up in the App Store. With those two conduits to the world checked, I put my iPhone away for a while.

I leave the house ready for some early morning, tired, monosyllabic, Neanderthal-esque interactions with my fellow humans (until I'm fully awake, at least) - many of whom are contacts on my iPhone. Contacts is an excellent address and number book. With the ability to add a Note to any contact, it could almost be renamed Dossier.

Throughout the day, Evernote is there, like an alert and faithful stenographer, to record my ideas, notes, musings or mad ramblings. Mostly mad ramblings. It automagically keeps my notes in sync with its desktop and web cousins. And it's a bargain - free.

If it's a weekend during the football (soccer) season, I tap the web link I have saved to my home screen which reads BBC Sport. Being British, it's my go-to place for all sports news. I generally head for the Premier League section where I'll furnished with live scores and updates throughout the afternoon. I have to refresh the browser every now and then, which seems a little 2.x-ish - making this type of App (sports updates and scores) an ideal candidate for Push notifications.

Sometimes, though, BBC Sport takes a back seat to BBC Radio Five Live, which I can listen to via Wunder Radio - an awesome radio streaming App. It really is a Wunder. A list of my favorite stations is available at the tap of a small strip of screen. Instead of refreshing Safari to find out the latest scores, I can listen to a live Premier League match. Thank you, Wunder Radio.

Later in the day I might be visiting relatives - which is an ideal opportunity to whip out the iPhone and indulge in a bout of 'proud parent disease'. Photos and the iPod are my mainstays here. I have all of my photos on my phone. I'll type that again in case you didn't read that right: all of my photos. All of them. Who needs photo albums when you're carrying around in your pocket, every snap you ever took? If I'm inclined - and my relatives aren't already comatose - I can hook my iPhone up to a TV for a slide-show or two. Or, indeed, that video of my daughter's first Christmas. My relatives cannot escape.

Call Home
Once back home, and a couple of hours have passed by on Scrabble or Real Racing, I check my fantasy football scores (have you noticed the sporting theme yet?). This is where Bookmarks takes a bow. Bookmarks hooks up with my online Delicious library, keeps it all in sync with my Firefox plug-in, and allows me to dispense with recreating my favorites on every device I own. Once opened, I navigate to the fantasy football link I've saved, to check out how far down the league I've slipped this week. Up until this week, this process was slightly annoying in that I had to log in to the site every time I wanted to check my faltering progress. But with Autofill finally brought to mobile Safari, this niggle is salved.

Dinner has been served, eaten and is well on its way through digestion, when I sit down to start writing another review, article, short story or shopping list. To help with this, into action springs SimpleMind (and, before you say it, no, that's not a description of me). On it I find the mind map called The Europa Transmissions and use it to aid the writing process.

It's now time to do my weekly groceries. So I open up Ultralist, where I've saved an evolving list of products I usually buy. I run through the list with my wife, crossing off all the items we already have in our home - whatever is left we go and buy. Ultralist is a good, basic list App (although it has some fancier features if you want to complicate matters).

Once back from shopping, it's time for a bout of some serious casual gaming - life permitting -.

My DS has been relegated to the back of the drawer. Since I got my iPhone, the DS has become like an embarrassing drunk, crying out to be noticed, but, ultimately, ignored and avoided. The iPhone is where it's at for me and portable gaming.

The list of games I like to play is long. Too long for this article in fact. If you want to hear about some games why not check out a reviews website? 148apps is good, I've heard.

But... a special mention must go out to a recent discovery of mine - Mecho Wars. If you've ever played and enjoyed Advance Wars on the DS, you'll love this game. The game is maybe a little on the short side and maybe not quite up there with Advance Wars. But Mecho Wars does show us two things - firstly, how perfect for strategy games the iPhone is, and secondly, how amazing Advance Wars would be if it were ever brought to the iPhone.

The most important thing I want to impress upon you right now is this: the iPhone has some excellent games on it. Not casual or fleeting games, but in depth, involved, absorbing, brilliant games. And it's only going to get better. Mark my words.

Ignore the naysayers, berate the boors, and banish the other type of bores: iPhone gaming is here to stay.

After gaming, I might find time for a spot of drawing. Brushes is a pleasure to use, not because I'm a particularly good artist, but because it's a shining example of what can be done with the iPhone. I can actually paint on my iPhone. Anyone who saw the recent cover for New Yorker knows how awesome this app can be in the right hands.

Later in the evening I sometimes turn to Star Walk.

Star Walk is an astronomy App which dovetails perfectly with my nerdy desire to know exactly what star I'm looking at. Honestly, it's always good to know where you are in relation to the Andromeda galaxy. Try it. Star Walk is brilliant as it is, but with the 3G S's compass incorporated, Star Walk could become amazing. Hopefully that's something that, Vito Technology Inc. - Star Walk's producers - will introduce in an update.

Even later at night, I turn to another App: MLB.com At Bat 2009. I'm English, but I do have a place in my heart for baseball.

With At Bat 2009 that particular desire has been sated. The App is excellent - although its newest feature - LIVE STREAMING GAMES! - (this feature is amazing! -Chris) doesn't currently work in the UK. I have my fingers crossed that this situation is resolved soon.

Call Waiting
Time for bed now. For a moment, before contemplating sleep, I sometimes think about what my iPhone is missing. One thing stands out: Spotify.

[caption id="attachment_13159" align="alignright" width="257" caption="Spotify, please come to the US."]

[/caption]Spotify is the giant in the world of free streaming music. As far as I'm concerned it kicks Pandora's ass, bloodied, broken, and confused, into the middle of last year. Spotify is frickin' awesome. No - it's f***ing awesome. (It's sadly not available in the US, chalk one... just one, up for the UK - Chris)

I'll sleep easy tonight, however, because I've heard rumours Spotify is on its way.

If you Spot it, let me know.

End Call
One final note: after all this joy and smooth iPhone utility, I get to do what I've always wanted to do with my iPod/Games Console/Mobile Internet/Anything You Want device - make a phone call.

Occasionally I hear those voices of criticism - you know, the ones who just don't get the thrill of owning and using an iPhone.

"It's just a phone," they say.

Is it?


* Not true. But it could be.

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