Timehop

A lot of people ask me why I use certain social media services, namely Four Square and Instagram. While there are several reasons why I use them a really big one that I think most people are unaware of is Timehop. Timehop is a service which connects your various social media accounts and each day it allows you look back and see what you did (essentially what you shared on those platforms) one year, two years, three years and even as far back as five years ago. I look forward to launching the Timehop app each day, seeing what I was talking about in years past and reminiscing about what my wife and I were doing on that day years ago. Timehop has the ability to pull in data from Facebook, Foursquare, Flickr, Instagram and Twitter so you get location data, photos and obviously tweets. Data is presented in an attractive UI and is arranged in chronological order.

Timehop - 1 Year   Timehop - 2 Years   Timehop - 3 Years

Like I mentioned before I use these services for a number of reasons but I can say that the number one reason I use Foursquare is because of the Timehop integration. It's really entertaining to see where I was in years past and what I was up to.

If you use any number of the services that Timehop supports I highly recommend signing up for the (free) service.

Must Have iOS Apps

I am an avid iOS user and really couldn't live (or at least wouldn't want to try) without my iPhone. Great applications are really what makes the iOS platform stand out and to be honest there are so many wonderful applications I can't possibly know about all of them. In this article you will find information about my favorite applications but I would really love to know about applications that you absolutely can't live without so please feel free to share those in the comments. [Last Updated: February 21st, 2012]

iPhone Homescreen (Nicholas Kreidberg) Above you will see my iPhone homescreen with a number of folders including: Apple (default iOS apps), Games 1-3 (I have a lot of games installed but really only play a few at any given time), Location (location/gps based apps), Multimedia (music & video), Photography (camera/photo apps), Productivity (GTD), Search (directory/search apps), Shopping (apps that make it way too easy to buy stuff), Social (social networking apps) and Utilities. I am going to break this article into sections based on my folder naming scheme to keep things nice and organized however I will skip over the 'Apple' category since everybody has these apps installed.

Games:

  • Angry Birds - This is my favorite time killer and a really fun game to pick up and play for short intervals. Seasons and Rio are also a lot of fun.
  • Cut the Rope - A great puzzle game that features cute characters, bright colors and some fun brain teasers.
  • Flick Golf - This game is a lot of fun to play and as you get further along it gets quite challenging, definitely a fun take on the game of golf.
  • Rage HD - A brilliant shooter from ID software featuring great graphics and really solid gameplay.
  • Ramps - A brilliant little puzzle game that is both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
  • Words with Friends - Online scrabble that you can play with friends or random people fron the internet.

Location:

  • AroundMe - This app uses your geolocation to find things around you such as banks, coffee shops, gas stations, hotels, etc. It's very handy when traveling.
  • Foursquare - Share your location and information about your location where ever you are and compete with your friends to get the most checkins.

Multimedia:

  • Garageband - It is amazing what you can do with this app. Available now for both iPad and iPhone this is truly the best app for multimedia production on iOS.
  • Netflix - Stream movies/shows instantly and manage your instant queue directly from your device.
  • Rdio - The app for my favorite music streaming service (review here) that allows you to manage your playlists, collection and listen to music on the go.
  • Shazam - Ever hear a song in public or on the radio and wish you knew what it was? Open Shazam, hold your phone near the speaker and boom you will get the song title, artist and links to purchase it.

Photography:

  • 360 - Take beautiful panoramic shots with the camera in your iOS device.
  • Camera+ - A great replacement for the default camera app featuring a large number of filters and editing functions.
  • Instagram - A really fun way to shoot/share photos.

Productivity:

  • Dragon Dictation - A terrific speech->text converter.
  • Evernote - Absolutely the best online note taking service available.
  • Gas Cubby - Keeps track of your average MPG, time between fill-ups, etc.
  • Github Issues - Create, manage and discuss Github issues right from your device.
  • Kindle - Download and read books from the Amazon Kindle store.
  • Prompt - A very clean, highly functional SSH client for all iOS devices.
  • WolframAlpha - One of the most powerful "calculators" (it is so much more) that I have ever used.

Search:

  • Google - A native way of using Google Search and other applications from your device.
  • Google Earth - The world in the palm of your hand.
  • Yelp - Find and add reviews for local businesses right from your device.

Shopping:

  • Amazon - Search, browse and buy from the Amazon catalog of products.
  • Groupon - Purchase, manage and use your Groupons right from your device.
  • LivingSocial - Purchase, manage and use your LivingSocial deals right from your device.

Social:

  • Tumblr - Manage and post to your site(s) on the go.
  • Tweetbot - The best Twitter client for iOS.
  • WordPress - Manage your WordPress site(s) and content from your mobile device.

Utilities:

  • AT&T Code Scanner - Scan barcodes and QR codes using the camera in your device.
  • Dropbox - File sharing/sync.
  • TestFlight - An amazing app that lets developers share their beta/dev builds w/o using the app store.

*** Update: People asked for a link to the wallpaper I am using (see homescreen image above) so here it is!

Google+ Thoughts and Review

I have been using Google+ for about two weeks now and I have to say I am really impressed with the service. There are a few things that I want to highlight because in my opinion they are what make G+ great. The first is the integration with Gmail. Not only do you see a handy little notification icon in the top right but you can add/remove people from circles right from the notification box, comment on posts, mute posts and pretty much interact with everything that you are involved with on G+ right from the notification window.
Google+ Notifications   Google+ Notifications

The next "game changer" for me is Google Hangout. This is by far the best video chatting experience I have had online and aside from it not being available on some mobile platforms (yet) I have no reason to use Skype ever again. Hangout supports up to 10 people communicating via video with the ability to share links (via the chat feature), watch Youtube videos and share other content. It is the best implementation of this type of technology that I have ever used and I can already see a lot of cool ways to make use of it.

Google Hangout

I am a big fan of using lists on Twitter and without them I really couldn't consume data nearly as effectively as I do. Google+ takes this a step further with their implementation of circles. Circles serve a number of purposes: they allow you to organize people into groups as well as enabling you to target exactly who sees what content. This means you can view content posted by people in a given circle as well as share content with people in a specific circle or circles. This is great when you have a question about something specific to a given area or topic if you have a circle that is made up of people in a specific area/region or who share a similar interest you can easily target only those users. I really think the intuitive and useful nature of the way circles work is what sets G+ apart from Facebook when it comes to consuming and sharing content. Google+ Circles

I know it is a fairly new service so the novelty has not worn off for most users yet but the level of engagement that I have seen on Google+ is astounding. In the last week the #1 traffic source to my site has been Google+. This is really surprising when you consider the fact I have ~170 people following me on G+ and nearly 850 on Twitter. The G+ community is highly engaged and incredibly active.

If you want to add a redirect to your website that takes people to your G+ profile you can easily do with a quick .htaccess modification. If you visit http://104.236.173.199/+ you will be taken to my G+ profile. The implementation may vary depending on how your server is configured but all I added to .htaccess was:

redirect 301 /+ https://plus.google.com/profile_id_goes_here

My hope is that the high level of activity and interest continues on G+ and that as more people start using the service things will continue to evolve and scale. At this point the response time on G+ is exceptional and I expect Google is intentionally doing a somewhat phased rollout in order to ensure that things continue to scale and perform at a high level.

All-in-all, I am a big fan and highly recommend checking out Google+.