My most-used apps of 2011 are probably the built in iPhone and iPad Safari browser, Mail client, and anything and everything Siri can now easily and instantly manage for me like Reminders, Calendars, Alarms, etc. But that's mundane, boring, and way too Spock for a list like this. So if I take the defaults off the table and focus only on the App Store fare, here's what I spent most of my time with this year.
I use Twitter a lot. I try every new client that comes out and I use several at a time for different things. I read a lot in Twitterriffic due to the unified timeline. I still occasionally compose in Birdhouse for things I'm mulling but haven't completed yet. I love just scrolling through Twittelator Neue for the sheer eye candy of it. Instagram is also good for sharing pics to Twitter. But for most of the year I stuck with Twitter for iPhone for my heavy lifting -- checking @mentions and quickly firing off replies. Recently, when Twitter remodeled for what I can only imagine is the new, Britney Spears-following user, I remodeled as well -- to Tweetbot. While it looks significantly different from Loren Brichter's Tweetie, the original basis for Twitter for iPhone, Tweetbot works in a similar enough way that's it become my go-to Twitter app.
I've always watched a ton of TV. I leave it on while I work as background noise, and if there's anything that competes with gadgets for my geek love, it's story -- characters through conflict coming to conclusion. Like many others, I cut my cable TV off this year and went all in on apps. I use Air Video to watch almost everything I already have on my hard-drive, automagically transcoding it on the fly and beaming it over AirPlay to my Apple TV. I use a bunch of Canadian TV network apps for watching new shows, namely Global, CTV, and Citytv. Despite their inexplicable spiral into business insanity this year, however, I've been watching more and more Netflix. It's older stuff, but it's a lot of stuff, with no annoying ads, and a lot of complete seasons of shows. In addition to re-watching the best of Buffy and Angel, I've plowed through Mad Men, The Unit, and a bunch of other great shows.
I don't listen to as many podcasts as I used to. The more time I spend writing the less time I have to read, and now the more time I spend producing and hosting podcasts means the less time I have to listen and watch them. That's not entirely a bad thing; several of the shows I used to listen have grown to the point where they now seem a tad out of touch with the subjects I enjoyed, or the personalities have somehow decided that interrupting with lame jokes is more important than letting the interesting, informed guest actually finish a sentence. (And yeah, I'm as guilty of all that as the next podcaster -- we often find most annoying in others the traits that we find most annoying in ourselves). But I do have to keep track of all the Mobile Nations shows and make sure all the feeds have the right episodes, all the downloads are working, all the art is showing up, etc. etc. and when I do have time to listen to something like Hypercritical or The Sci-Fi Cast, I use Instacast and now Instacast HD
Twitter has replaced a lot of what I used to use RSS for -- finding interesting stuff to read and post about -- but it hasn't replaced everything. I still check RSS daily. I'll use The Early Edition when I want to sip latte and skim the news, or Flipboard when I want to check out a social stream of news. For churning through a ton of feeds, however, Reeder for iPhone and Reeder for iPad are still my workhorses. They sync with Google Reader quickly and the interfaces are nearly frictionless. Anything that's super-interesting gets mailed off or saved to [Instapaper], and I get back to work.
Whether it's on iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows, whenever I'm setting up new a device or computer -- which I do often -- the first thing I do is log into iCloud, then install Dropbox, then install 1Password, and then I'm pretty much done. 1Password hooks into Dropbox to keep all my logins, credit cards, accounts, and other information secure yet easily accessible. It also generates super-strong passwords when I need them. I have to keep track of so many accounts that there's just no way I'd be able to do it without 1Password. Once that's done, I'll get Screens, Skype, and my other go-to utilities up and running.
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