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  • Essential Smartphone Apps

    What are your essential smartphone apps? Let us know if you're using iPhone, Android, or something else.

    I use iOS. Outside of the basics (Facebook, Twitter, standard stuff that came with the phone) I use Overcast, the MS Outlook app, Dark Sky, and Pocket every day.

    After that, I like Goodreads, Chess.com's app, my Chase card app, MyFitnessPal, Amazon app, Google Drive/Maps/Photos, NYT, and Shazam.

    There are others, but those are the ones I use the most.

    P.S. I'll throw in a couple games, too: Mini Metro (AMAZING), 0h n0, Hidden Folks, Really Bad Chess, Super Stickman Golf 3, Alto's Adventure, and Monument Valley (waiting for the price to drop on the new one).
    Last edited by Downes Van Zandt; 06-09-2017, 01:39 PM.

  • #2
    Signal - As long as both the sender and the receiver are using this app then communication is encrypted. I prefer big brother or bad guys to not be recording my text messages, at least without having to do some work first.
    OrBot & OrFox - Anonymizes internet traffic by passing through many points. These apps uses the Tor browser to make it more difficult to find the origin of a packet. Only downfall is that you should never login to sites while using it.
    TnnnelBear - VPN which helps to hide IP and location information.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sean View Post
      Signal - As long as both the sender and the receiver are using this app then communication is encrypted. I prefer big brother or bad guys to not be recording my text messages, at least without having to do some work first.
      OrBot & OrFox - Anonymizes internet traffic by passing through many points. These apps uses the Tor browser to make it more difficult to find the origin of a packet. Only downfall is that you should never login to sites while using it.
      TnnnelBear - VPN which helps to hide IP and location information.
      I'm very interested in this stuff, but do you open yourself up to additional vulnerability by getting into the Tor network? My (probably baseless) fear has always been that I'd be instant prey to people who know more about the deeper parts of the web, and how to manipulate that sector. Is the whole point of Tor to prevent that sort of thing, or are there people who know how to get on your trail once you're in there?

      And I really like the idea of Signal, but like you said - and like the other thread's discussion of Waze - other people actually have to use it for it to be effective.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Downes Van Zandt View Post

        I'm very interested in this stuff, but do you open yourself up to additional vulnerability by getting into the Tor network? My (probably baseless) fear has always been that I'd be instant prey to people who know more about the deeper parts of the web, and how to manipulate that sector. Is the whole point of Tor to prevent that sort of thing, or are there people who know how to get on your trail once you're in there?

        And I really like the idea of Signal, but like you said - and like the other thread's discussion of Waze - other people actually have to use it for it to be effective.
        There are things you just don't do when using Tor. Such as logging into personal accounts. However, it is very safe otherwise. In fact it is another one of those things where the more people use it the safer it becomes. For instance your ISP can tell traffic that is coming through Tor if you are the only person using it in a small area however if 50 people are using it it gets harder to trace. This isn't a problem however if you have honest intentions.

        Essentially (and put as simply as I understand it) the way it works is that traffic is passed around to different nodes multiple times before reaching it's destination. This make it hard to track and put back together by someone with ill intentions who might be sitting back waiting to catch your IP or surfing habits. It is also hard for law enforcement which is why Silk Road and child pornography reisdes in the 'deep web' only accessible by using Tor.

        Tor is like an onion, in fact deep web sites end in .onion, because it adds many layers between your device and the web site you are browsing too. This obfuscates your traffic.

        Now the reason you don't want to log in to personal accounts is that you don't want to have a bunch of identifying information being sent through the nodes. It defeats the purpose of anonymity and could be captured just like regular internet traffic.

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        • #5
          I'm an iOS user -

          -Reddit
          -Dark Sky
          -Google (this might be considered an essential)
          -Alto's Adventure
          -Monument Valley (planning to download the new one before my flight to South Carolina Sunday morning)
          -You Need A Budget (completely changed my outlook on money)
          -Amazon

          On a side note - I have Google Assistant, and I just can't get into talking to my phone. I use Siri in the car to tell it to play a song/album/playlist or to call someone (my car has a USB port to play directly through the stereo), but otherwise that's it.
          Last edited by Dwight Schrute; 06-09-2017, 10:03 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dwight Schrute View Post
            I'm an iOS user -

            -Reddit
            -Dark Sky
            -Google (this might be considered an essential)
            -Alto's Adventure
            -Monument Valley (planning to download the new one before my flight to South Carolina Sunday morning)
            -You Need A Budget (completely changed my outlook on money)
            -Amazon

            On a side note - I have Google Assistant, and I just can't get into talking to my phone. I use Siri in the car to tell it to play a song/album/playlist or to call someone (my car has a USB port to play directly through the stereo), but otherwise that's it.
            You noticed a dip in Dark Sky's accuracy lately? More than once in the last couple months I've looked outside, seen that it's raining, then checked Dark Sky only to find that it says, "Rain starting in 40 minutes."

            Oh, and we seem to like at least a couple of the same games, so give Mini Metro a try. It was .99 a week ago, so if it still is, jump on it now.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Downes Van Zandt View Post

              You noticed a dip in Dark Sky's accuracy lately? More than once in the last couple months I've looked outside, seen that it's raining, then checked Dark Sky only to find that it says, "Rain starting in 40 minutes."

              Oh, and we seem to like at least a couple of the same games, so give Mini Metro a try. It was .99 a week ago, so if it still is, jump on it now.
              I've noticed it, but mine is just the opposite - it'll say "rain ending" and I'll look outside and it's still pouring rain. I've had the app for about 4 years now, and I've noticed it struggles with these spring and summer popup showers.

              I'll give mini-metro a shot. It's back to $4.99 it looks like, but the game seems fun. I like these games that seem like they can keep my attention for awhile.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dwight Schrute View Post
                I've noticed it, but mine is just the opposite - it'll say "rain ending" and I'll look outside and it's still pouring rain. I've had the app for about 4 years now, and I've noticed it struggles with these spring and summer popup showers.

                I'll give mini-metro a shot. It's back to $4.99 it looks like, but the game seems fun. I like these games that seem like they can keep my attention for awhile.
                Yep. But for my money, it's still the best.

                And knowing what I know now about Mini Metro, I'd still pay $5. It's great, dude.

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                • #9
                  I have a flashlight app I have found very useful. I use it more than a regular flashlight.

                  MLBAtBat is must if you like baseball.

                  I also have an ADT app for our home secuity system. I can look at the videos it takes make changes to the alarm and just about anything else with it.

                  Google maps comes in real handy too. Easy to use and accurate.

                  ESPN app is good for checking scores of games. You can set up your favorites and they appear first. Comes in very handy when UK is playing a late game and you wake up in the middle of the night wondering how they did.

                  Bible ESV app is good. I use it at church every Sunday. I have used it too when I am asked to read scripture before the sermon. Easy to use.

                  Also have used the Amazon Kindle app to read books I have on Kindle. Very handy when you are stuck in the store with the wife. Just find a seat and set down and read.

                  Also use one for the DC Metro to check when a train is arriving or in most cases not arriviing. It's reasonably reliable.
                  Kentucky fan since 1971.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Downes Van Zandt View Post

                    Yep. But for my money, it's still the best.

                    And knowing what I know now about Mini Metro, I'd still pay $5. It's great, dude.
                    Maybe I'll download this in lieu of Monument Valley.

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                    • #11
                      On my android Galaxy S4 right now:

                      Free Caddie - Hundreds of courses available providing accurate distances on each hole.
                      The Weather Channel
                      Google Earth (for work related municipal utilities locations)
                      SD Maid Pro - utility that scans my phone on a schedule that I can set. It removes unnecessary files and keeps the phone storage from getting overloaded.
                      Netgear Wifi analytics - allows me to trouble shoot wireless router issues.
                      Speedtest - another tool for determining if an issue is router related.
                      DirecTV - allows me to schedule recordings away from home
                      Music apps - Pandora and Spotify
                      I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio. Rodney Dangerfield

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                      • #12
                        Andriod user. On my Note 5 I use the followinv regularly:
                        Watch Espn
                        Spectrum
                        Bible App
                        Skillz
                        Chromecast
                        I deleted Super Stickman Golf but Downes convinced me to get it again
                        Netflix
                        Google Maps- I use the "start driving" a lot. The satellite view gets me to fishing spots as well.

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                        • #13
                          I'm going through my Pocket saves, and I'm reminded how much I like this app and how handy it really is. If you guys aren't using Pocket, you should change that today. It lets you stash any article, video, etc. to be read/viewed later, and once you've saved something you can access it while offline.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Downes Van Zandt View Post
                            I'm going through my Pocket saves, and I'm reminded how much I like this app and how handy it really is. If you guys aren't using Pocket, you should change that today. It lets you stash any article, video, etc. to be read/viewed later, and once you've saved something you can access it while offline.
                            I've been using Instapaper, which does essentially the same thing. I love it.

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                            Essential Smartphone Apps

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