Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Favorite 30 IPhone Apps of 2010

Apple reports that there are 200,000 Apps available in their store for use on one of their great wireless products such as the iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Listed here are my 30 favorite that I used in 2010 on an iPhone 3G.

Here’s the Top 30 that made the cut on my phone (not counting standard Apps that are pre-packaged on the product)

  • Pocket Informant($4.99). This app is a calendar date book (and a to do list with time saving recurring options) that allows me to share calendars with my wife’s phone so that whenever either of us adds a scheduling item the other will see it at the next sync of the shared calendar. It’s pretty important for my household organization.

  • iLogger ($4.99) I use this for tracking the date and information on everything important
    in my life from health appointments and home repairs to movies watched.
  • Text Free + Voice(Free) I use this for texting people for free. It saved me a $10 monthly charge for texting from my cell phone carrier.
  • Shopper($.99) This is another app that allows me to sync with my wife’s iPhone data. We use this to share grocery lists. Either one of us can add an item and whomever goes to the grocery store first can sync the list and pick it up.
  • List Master($5.99) This is a powerful app that allows the creation of custom lists. Generally I use iLogger (see #2) for items with dates as the central focus, and use List Master for information that is independent of a key date.
  • Yahoo! Sportacular(Free/$1.99) I love sports and this is my one app that I use to get notifications sent to me on my phone of in-game score changes for my favorite sport teams. The free version is identical but I decided to pay the $1.99 to get the pro version without advertisements.
  • Pandora Radio (Free) This is a way to listen to random music according to station
    themes. I have several different stations saved, but I listen most of the time to the Sovereign Grace Music station.
  • YouVersion Bible (Free) This contains many versions of the Holy Bible with search capacity.
  • Facebook (Free) Other Apps will offer fancy Facebook access, but this one from Facebook
    itself is the best and simplest template there is.
  • Awesome Note($3.99) This is a great App for storing notes. I use it for notes on things I want to remember later and even have my funeral service wishes embedded within the notes of this App.
  • Car Minder($1.99) I use this App to track maintenance repairs completed on my vehicle. The App will send notification when certain services are due again, from monitoring of the current mileage of the car. There is also a handy fuel log that calculates fuel mileage.
  • Twitter (Free) Other Apps will offer fancy Twitter access but this one by Twitter itself
    is the best and simplest template there is.
  • Foursquare (Free) Foursquare can be played easily from the iPhone with this App up and running on a mobile phone.
  • GedView ($3.99) I use this App to store my genealogy records. It is very versatile and gives a good visual relationship presentation of family groups.
  • My Stuff($4.99) This App tracks the things I own, such as clothes, appliances, books, etc. I can take pictures of them and record the date acquired and other custom fields that
    would be important for insurance purposes.
  • ooTunes Radio ($4.99)
    This is the best radio App because it allows me to listen to diverse stations around the world. This past year I listened to several football games of my old high school team (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan Oilers) and listened to Talk Radio on a local station originating from as far away as the State of
  • Read More($1.99) This App allows me to track the time I spend reading books and it has a formula that calculates when all the pages in the books are projected to be finished.
  • Groups: SMS, Mail($3.99) I use this App the most for storing contact information of people and places because it allows me to assign multiple categories to any contact so I can find it easier later. I think it is the best option in managing contact information.
  • Jot Not Scanner ($.99) This App has been a lifesaver a few times because I can use my camera on my iPhone and it acts as a scanner so the picture taken of the image is turned into a pdf or other format that I can email to someone or save.
  • iQuarium(.99). Created by Infinite Dreams Inc. This is a fun game where I maintain two pet fish on my iPhone and feed them each day and watch their world change. It doesn’t appear to have an ending unless I forget to feed the fish and they die on me (this actually happened once to me and I had to start over)
  • Google (Free) Google search engine. Enough said!
  • Honey Do ($4.99) This is another App that I share with my wife. It allows us to give tasks to each other and it sends reminders of when they are due. I’m wondering how high on the list my wife would place this App (bet it wouldn’t be #22).
  • App Shopper (Free) This is a great App to research and learn about other Apps in a way that the ITunes store can not provide. One of the great features is how it allows tracking of Apps one owns and how it highlights Apps that are on sale. By using this I found out that Runkeeper Pro App was free through the end of January, 2011 (and that is normally a $9.99 App).
  • Google Earth(Free) This is a fascinating App to look at the geographical images of any place in our world.
  • G-Whizz Pro! ($3.99) This is an App that provides one step access to various Google account services. Did I mention that I like Google?
  • Fluent News (Free) This App provides notifications of breaking news, so I always know I’ll be one of the first to know if the sun shines or the sky falls.
  • Detroit Free Press(Free) This App provides access to news from the Detroit Free Press, a local paper I reference for State of Michigan news.
  • IWife($.99) This App allows me to call my wife with the touch of one button. It saves a few steps in dialing the phone.
  • Doodle Buddy(Free) This App simply allows one to do good old fashioned doodling on one’s IPhone. It’s great, because sometimes a Dad just has to doodle.
  • Spark People – Diet and Food Tracker(Free) This is a great App for tracking one’s food intake in order to keep diet goals.
I am frequently looking for better Apps, so in 2011, a few may be bumped off this list with the next greatest thing. I wonder what new Apps will get and keep my attention in 2011. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If They Asked Me to Write the Health Care Law

I’d make it illegal for any school to call two snow days in a row because it can stress the health care system with lots of parents having nervous breakdowns.
All people would be required to purchase snow insurance, so that professionals would shovel their driveway and the health system wouldn’t be stressed with back injuries in the Winter.

The EPA would be charged with a top priority to locate and destroy poison ivy, giving them massive powers to enter people’s private backyards to accomplish this.

If people refuse to purchase health insurance their penalty is they would be required to join a health club/fitness center of their choice and get a weekly massage.

Health insurance would be required to cover all dental care without any yearly maximums.

Death panels would be created to provide counseling so that people over age 40 understand they have the right to end the life of their warts.

Patients may not be forced to stay on any medicine just because they have a pre-existing prescription.

Water companies will be required to stop adding fluoride to the water and instead add H2O.
Children can stay on their parents health insurance until they get a real job.
Clinics will be created in all airports and people can avoid the TSA security check-in if they schedule their annual physical exam prior to boarding a flight.

Since dog owners live longer and are healthier, every family who owns a dog will receive a tax credit.

Doctors will be required to acquire a Facebook account and “Friend” all their patients, to encourage better communication between doctors and patients.

This is just a start. President Obama can call me anytime for the rest of my ideas.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Top Ten Sport Movies

The following are my top ten personal favorite sports movies.  These are movies in which sports is a theme or an important part of the character’s life.  Some of these are so funny, romantic, and inspiring that one does not have to love sports to appreciate them. 

“You know, I believe we have two lives.
The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.” – Iris Gaines (The Natural).
10. The Pride of the Yankees (1942).  A classic movie about the legendary life of Lou Gehrig.
9. Field of Dreams (1989).   A great movie that is more about dreams than the field, based on the novel “Shoeless Joe”. 
8. Cool Runnings (1993).   A hilarious comedy about the true story of the Bobsled team from Jamaica that performed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada.
7. Miracle (2004).  The story about the United States men’s hockey team, led by coach Herb Brooks, who defeated the heavily favored Russian team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. 
6. The Blind Side (2009).  The true story of Michael Oher, an NFL player. 
5. Seabiscuit (2003).   A story of the lengendary “underdog” race horse Seabiscuit, who lived from 1933-1947.  
4. Hoosiers (1986).  The story of a small town high school in Indiana that won the state championship in 1954, as a tribute to all the little schools. 
3. Finding Forrester (2000).    Loosely based on the life of author J.D. Salinger, this inspiring story shows that writing and sports can coexist, but in the end writing is more superior. 
2. The Rookie (2002).  The story of Major League baseball player Jim Morris. 
1. The Natural (1984).  Baseball’s (and Robert Redford’s) version of Rocky, this movie is simply astounding on many fronts.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Top Ten Medical Movies

The following are my top ten personal favorite medical movies.   These are movies that deal with characters who have serious medical diseases at some point in the film.  A few have humorous parts, but for the most part they are intense and emotional movies for those that appreciate a good cry and then can remember it is just a movie.
“When my son was born healthy, I never asked why. Why was I so lucky? What did I do to deserve this perfect child, this perfect life? But when he got sick, you can bet I asked why! I demanded to know why! Why was this happening?”–Mrs. Lowe (Awakenings)
# 10.  The Bucket List (2007).  Because of this movie, many healthy people have started their own bucket lists, without needing a terminal diagnosis to do it.   
#9. Seven Pounds (2008).  It’s amazing how one can change people’s lives by giving part of themselves. 
#8. Patch Adams (1998).   Based on a true story of an unconvential doctor who made his patients laugh. 
#7. Step Mom (1998).  This almost missed the list, because it is mistakingly portrayed as a comedy, when it really is about the unfairness of medical problems.   
#6. The Doctor (1991).  I’m sure we all wish our personal physican had learned the wisdom that can only come from being a patient.
#5. Shadowlands (1993).  The real life story of C.S. Lewis and his wife Joy is very touching. 
#4. City of Joy (1992).  It is often in the unexpected things in life that we find the joy in helping others. 
#3. Extraordinary Measures (2010).   When it’s a matter of life and death for a child, parents will go to extraordinary measures. 
#2. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992).  It’s amazing how the simplest discovery can help the quality of life of so many, if the powers that be will only listen.
# 1. Awakenings (1990).   We don’t measure a medical treatment by the length of days it provides but by the beauty of those days.   

Friday, June 18, 2010

Keeper of the Special Dreams

Keepers of the Special Dreams
“When fathers learn that their child will have lifelong special needs or that they have a dangerous illness, their reactions can range from shock, to acceptance, to greater love. Fathers often try and meet these challenges with courage and ingenuity. Many fathers are highly committed to their special needs children and devote long hours to the physical and emotional care of their children” (Brotherson & Dollahite, 1997).

Father involvement is a key practice to preventing child abuse among all children, especially those with special needs. Accessible fathers are exceptionally suited to both protect their special needs child and move them toward independent self-protection. This is done by being the keeper of their dreams.

Children need a father who believes their unique dreams are both significant and attainable. At the start, special needs children may need dreams of doing what others do so easily and routinely—things like speaking for the autistic or walking for those with cerebral palsy. But their hard-fought accomplishments are just as significant. As life progresses, the dreams for these children will take various forms as they make their life choices for work, relationships, and hobbies.

Despite the best intentioned efforts of communities to understand the special dreams of these children, they may often feel isolated and alone. Having a father who understands their dreams and helps them achieve them is priceless.

When Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Ryan Perry earned his first major league save on April 11, 2010, he gave the ball to his dad. Two weeks later when Detroit Tiger’s rookie Austin Jackson hit his first major league home run, he gave that ball to his father for his trophy case. Most fathers can dream of being in this situation, even if the odds are against it. However, fathers of special needs kids are unlikely to entertain the dream of professional achievements for their children, as the goal is often independence and respectability as a person and citizen.

But a game ball should go to all the fathers of special needs children this year, because what you do at home can save the dreams of your child and make the difference between laughter or tears, socialization or stagnation, hope or despair, and independence or institutionalization. Brandi Snyder said something that aptly describes how special needs children depend on their fathers: “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

Reference: Brotherson, S. E., & Dollahite, D. C. (1997). Generative ingenuity in fatherwork with young children with special needs. In A. J. Hawkins & D. C. Dollahite (Eds.), Generative fathering: Beyond deficit perspectives (pp. 89-104). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

The above article was originally published as part of the