My parents gave me every opportunity to learn an instrument, and every time, from piano to electric guitar, I turned them down. Then in university, when all my roommates were playing in a punk-rock band and invited me to learn guitar or drums, I decided to stick to being a roadie. I really regretted that I didn’t take those opportunities as they happened, but now, thanks to Steve Jobs, I can play the Ocarina (an ancient South American wind instrument).
Okay, I can’t really play — yet. But I have been practicing and can kind of play Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face”. The app is called “Ocarina” and to be honest, it’s the only app I’ve ever paid for from Apple’s AppStore at $.99 (I’m pretty cheap so I only get the free stuff). But since I got it I’ve become a rock star in my office, among my friends, and, well, mostly in front of my mirror. It’s just one of a bunch of apps I’ve discovered on the iPhone that have worked their way into my functioning job life. Let’s explore some others.
It pays to know things, and instead of knowing about the World of Warcraft, try knowing about the World, period. The New York Times is the newspaper to end all newspapers, costs $8 in print — but free to download the app and it’s the most current news you can get. Get it while they’re still in business! Every manager loves when they’re employee starts with “I read in the New York Times this morning…”
Facebook. Admit it, this is the first thing you downloaded when you got your iPhone. Need I say more?
If you have Facebook and care about your career, you probably don’t let friends tag pictures of you with a toilet seat wrapped around your neck. Good for you. But now that you’re all grown up, join the professional’s Facebook: LinkedIn. Set up an account on your computer, maintain it with the iPhone app, and network your way into a sweet job.
Have you ever been at work or at a party and wished you could get access to your computer at home to work on that spreadsheet detailing your Norman Rockwell decorative wall plate collection and it’s declining worth? With the TeamViewer app you can access the desktop on your computer and point, click and operate it right on your iPhone screen. Seriously. I freaked my girlfriend out once by taking over the mouse and playing Wu Tang Clan on iTunes while she was trying to do homework. I got home later that day and she’d hired a priest to give the thing an exorcism.
Sometimes when I get an email on the road I know what I have to say, and I’m not going to say it in just a few words; I’m going to tell you a short story. The problem is that my fingers are too fat for that little touch-screen keyboard on my iPhone. Enter Dictation, by Dragon. I just press record, start talking and this app takes it all down for me. It’s not perfect, but instead of typing paragraphs I give it a once over and add a few punctuation points. Better than trying to type “hardcopy” and being auto-corrected to “Harefoot” (What the hell is a Harefoot?!).
If you’re starting out on your own and planning on doing some freelance work — whether it’s painting fences, mowing lawns, or creating flash websites — you’ll want to look professional which means providing an invoice. Yes, you could go to the Dollar Store and buy a pad of invoices then keep a small pile in a drawer at home — or you can (should) go digital. Invoice2go lets you customize and build your own invoices on your iPhone, send them directly to your customers, and you keep a copy on your phone. Simple. In fact, I’m going to send my invoice for this article to the editor right now. jp