This site has only been up for a few days and I’ve written articles to give those unfamiliar with my work a feel for what mobile tools I use and why. I shared what mobile devices are on my desk to show what I like and have spent my money on. Then I detailed which mobile gadgets I use on a daily basis when working remotely. Now it’s time to elaborate on what mobile apps I use and why.
I use different gadgets and platforms so I only use apps that are cross platform. I need my info to be there, no matter what device I am using. That’s a big criteria when I test new apps so app developers take notice. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
I’ll list the apps I use in the order of importance, determined by how significant it is to my daily work and how much time I use each one. I’ve included a screen shot of each app (except the browsers) taken on the iPad Air 2 to give a feel for what each app looks like.
Main production and writing apps
I am online all day and that means the browser is of utmost importance. Since I use one of my iPads all day, Safari is the app of choice. I use Chrome on the MacBook and I have it installed on all of my mobile devices. I only use it on the gadgets if a web site doesn’t work properly in Safari, but that’s rare. My bookmarks are synced with iCloud so all four Apple devices are the same.
Only slightly behind the browser in importance is Evernote. I use it for everything — capturing links and web pages for reference for my writing. I have organized my notebooks by topic, Android, iOS, etc., and capture notes to the notebook I want. This makes it easy for me to find the note I need. Evernote has done a great job making it easy to capture information and I do that all the time.
Capturing information is only part of my use of Evernote, I do all of my writing in the app. This is true no matter what I am writing or what publication I’m writing it for. Over the years I’ve had too many instances when online editors lost my work, costing me hours of effort. That’s why I always write in Evernote and copy and paste it into whatever online editor it ends up in. I always have a backup of my writing this way.
TIP: To avoid getting weird HTML formatting when pasting text, always paste text copied from Evernote (or other app) using the plain text option. Even better, switch to the HTML editor most online systems offer and paste the entire article in the blank editor. When you switch to the visual editor your paragraphs will be perfectly formatted, and there won’t be goofy visual errors.
Since jkOnTheRun is a WordPress blog, I use the app to perform housekeeping tasks on the go. I will sometimes do simple posts using the app, but for more complicated articles I use the WordPress online editor.
Online research apps
Even in this age of social media, my preferred method of keeping up with the news of the day is through the hundreds of web sites I follow. I do this through RSS feeds, and since Google shut down its great Google Reader service I’ve been using Feedly. It presents the vast amount of news items in a magazine (called cards) layout that facilitates swiping through articles rapidly. Both the iOS and Android apps are good, even better than Feedly’s web site.
Twitter is surprisingly good for becoming aware of breaking news as it happens, and Tweetbot on the iPads handles this well. It’s not as fancy as other client apps but it is fast and can handle both of my Twitter accounts (@jkendrick and @jkontherun1).
Zite serves as a big part of my online research and keeps me informed about the topics that interest me. It does so using a fast, fluid magazine layout that lets me quicklyswipe through hundreds of current news articles. Like all of the research apps I use, it lets me share items of interest to the proper notebook in Evernote for referencing later.
This app is a good conduit into Google News that lets me see what’s happening not only in the tech space but also regular news. It uses a simple scrolling layout that isn’t pretty but it is easy to read.
This is the app with a magazine layout that got this type of app started. It lets me follow online publications and social media networks all in one place. Given how good similar apps work, I don’t use Flipboard as much as in the past.
Apple News (iOS 9)
I am running the iOS 9 public beta on both of my iPads (more on this in the future) and Apple News is available to testers. It is slick in appearance and although buggy it has become a bigger part of my online research than I thought it would. I don’t recommend it as it crashes too often, but then it’s a beta.
These are the apps I use every day in my work, and they work together to keep me informed and get my writing work done. I don’t have a single complaint about any of them as they do what I need on my terms.