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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, February 23

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / January 27, 2012 10:13 AM

Most days, it's Angry Birds or Words with Friends, but I do use TransitTracker for figuring out when the bus is coming. I've got an Android.

Cecil / January 27, 2012 10:37 AM


Google Maps
COL Reminder
Google Talk (for video chat)
Google+ (for auto photo uploads)
Contract Killer
Fruit Ninja Puss in Boots!
Quick Settings
Barcode Scanner
Google Shopper
Twitter for Android

Monica Reida / January 27, 2012 10:47 AM

I have an Android and I find Evernote, Gmail, Doodle Jump, Twitter, Google Maps, AP Mobile and Thomson Reuters News Pro. While it has some bugs, I do like the Bus Tracker part of RedEye's app.

spence / January 27, 2012 10:50 AM

Trip It is indispensable if you're a traveler. Yelp has saved me from many a bad meal in neighborhoods and cities that I'm unfamiliar with.

Andrew Huff / January 27, 2012 11:17 AM

@Cecil, you use G+'s auto-upload feature? I had to turn that off because it was draining my battery. It's nice not to have to think about it, but not when it means the phone's dead by 3pm.

Mucky Fingers / January 27, 2012 11:17 AM

I don't own a smartphone.

Maardvark / January 27, 2012 1:29 PM

Transit Tracker, the Kindle app for Android, Google Maps, and GMail are the ones I use the most. Shazam is fun, but I wouldn't call it indispensable.

Mike / January 27, 2012 2:12 PM

I'm another without a smart phone. I don't need or want one.

eee / January 27, 2012 4:57 PM

The two I use the most are GoogleMaps and IMDb. Last year I had a pregnancy tracker that told me how my baby was developing, which I found handy. Plus, it was translated from Danish to English so there were random grammar issues that made me laugh.

paul / January 29, 2012 10:29 AM

Gotta know the weather as a pedestrian/commuter in Chicago so WGN/Skilling's app, along with AccuWeather, The Weather Channel and weatherTap (an excellent radar viewer) all help triangulate what weather is coming when.

I've got an iPod Touch and an Android, so for both, HDR camera apps, namely HDR Pro and HDR Camera+ respectively help get proper exposures.

The iPod Touch has a ton of my reference materials, connection to Keynotes and works as my remote during presentations, so Apple's remote and Mobile Mouse.

The iPod also is packed with offline maps since it's WiFi only - Maplets, Topo Maps, Open Maps and others.

Besides all the basics, UnTappd (sort of like FourSquare for beer) is also on both my devices.

I agree it's dorky to carry 2 devices, but I couldn't leave either home anymore, and I never have battery issues since use is split between the two.

David Tortuga / January 30, 2012 9:12 AM

Dispensable. Not just the apps, but smartphones, too. Excessive excitement for products like these seems both expected and sad.

joee / January 30, 2012 3:15 PM

I'm in a masochistic ménage à trois with RIM and ATT. I have no apps, unless you count The Weather Channel and Il Messaggero as apps. If not, I have only guilt and shame.

John / January 31, 2012 8:51 AM

No cell phone. Too much connection.

Kevin / February 1, 2012 2:35 PM

I find the complaining about cells phone apps expected and sad as well. For those of us that have them, they are handy. When I was stuck on the CTA for over an hour getting home during the snow storm, I listened to some music, which helped me relax instead of freaking out about how long it was taking. There's nothing sad about that.

Personally, I love the CTA tracker app. It has helped be on time to work three times this week when I otherwise would have missed the bus.

H. Zinn / February 1, 2012 3:57 PM

Do you think Apple will ever come up with an App that shows the human atrocities Apple is responsible for around the world? Or maybe an App that gives some sort of “Human Footprint” that shows the owner of the device the slave labor used to provide that product?

Now THAT would be indispensable!

Justin Gaines / February 5, 2012 3:09 PM

I like to try new restaurants so Yelp and Inspected for me. Yelp is, of course, for finding new restaurants and reading reviews. But before going to a new restaurant, I use Inspected to read its health inspection history to make sure it's clean.

Mike / February 6, 2012 12:46 AM

Justin: Last night I ate a great meal at a restaurant that I knew was closed recently because they failed a health inspection. I survived. My favorite bar was also shut down a while back. I've eaten there a hundred times, still kickin'.

Kevin: No one's complaining. The question was about what apps are indispensable. It's kind of nice to see a few people chime in and say none are. Calm down. There's most likely an app for that.

Mike / February 6, 2012 1:07 AM

When I was stuck on the CTA for over an hour getting home during the snow storm, I listened to some music, which helped me relax instead of freaking out about how long it was taking. There's nothing sad about that.

First, you have my sympathies. Stuck on the CTA for "over an hour." Fuckin' rough man. Like Ernest Shackleton, I trust you soldiered through the experience and I'm glad you're here today to tell the tale! Thank God you had your iPod! And what an awful snow storm! Was this last year I take it? Because we haven't had a snow storm since February 2011.

I hear you though, man. There have been so many times I've been stuck on a train or bus and without my device I would have gotten bored or maybe even sad!

Other people I saw on the bus or train during these hardships had these bound signatures of paper (some thick with hard-bound sides, others thin, with pictures) with lots of words printed in them).

Personally, I love the CTA tracker app. It has helped be on time to work three times this week when I otherwise would have missed the bus.

Bus Tracker is the greatest thing in the universe. But I challenge you to disclose what this horrible once-an-hour bus you "would have missed" is. C'mon.

David Tortuga / March 8, 2012 9:27 AM

Who is censoring these comments???? There was a great comment about an app tracking human atrocities around the world that make these kinds of technologies possible. (The actual comment was worded far better!) Why is that comment gone? Unless the author removed the comment himself/herself, well, shame on you Gapers Block.

David Tortuga / March 8, 2012 9:31 AM

Oh, never mind. I just found it! But I liked it so much better when that comment was the final word rather than buried in the middle!
(Oh, how embarrassing for me. I am now late for work due to my shenanigans here this morning.)

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