A Global Business Traveler’s iPhone (updated 21 Nov. 2015)

iPhone Travel folderBelow is a list of apps I use while traveling the world and keeping up with business and personal calendars. A few things on my iPhone and iPad make it simpler, more enjoyable, or both. The best apps give me abilities I couldn’t before – Made for Mobile(tm) is the IBM term.  I change flights while walking between appointments (Airline app) and re-book a car (National Car app). I land and get to a destination with only an address (GPS, usually Motion-X). Check prices, look up documents, and find better store nearby. Respond instantly with links to IBM Connections (IBM’s social business environment) stored in Evernote on every device (PC, iPhone, iPad). My life demands speed and range and the right apps and knowing how to use them makes it both possible, easier, and more enjoyable.

Three items of caution: First, I use an iPhone and iPad which works for me as I find the interface more consistent and elegant than others, but I am confident that other mobile OS’s have wonderful features and capabilities such as Android’s heavy integration with Google and especially Google maps.  Second, this is not an exclusive or comprehensive list nor do think these are the best, but a list of what works for me.  Third and final, I don’t work for any of these companies nor did they compensate me in any way in fact in some cases I paid them to get the app if it wasn’t free.

My SmartPhone Applications

* means I use it heavily or wouldn’t consider a phone w/out it.

Business

  • *ApptDialer – dial conference calls, best $4 I ever spent
  • *Linkedin – business connections
  • *Evernote – multi-platform notes & more, once you get it, you’ll wonder how you lived w/out it
  • *google – Apple doesn’t like them, so you’ll have to install it
  • *CamScanner – Use your mobile phone as a scanner
  • bump – lets you xfer business cards between phones by bumping them
  • webex, blackboard, IBM Meetings (and 3 others) – conferences on the go, great on iPad

Weather: What is it like outside and will it be next week

  • *Weather Underground – great weather & weather science (membership $5/yr), loved it since day 1 on the Internet, membership gives you add free everything
  • *Wunder Map – best weather maps using google maps overlay, also via Weather Underground
  • Every other weather app and there are lots of them
  • Navigation: Seriously, I usually have an address, no directions, & no time when I land
  • MotionX Drive – was an excellent navigation app, but after getting me lost several times, I dropped it
  • *Waze – FREE navigation app that beats most dedicated GPS units with constant social updates like Police, accidents, road changes, and vehicles stopped. It becomes an Adult version of I-Spy. Voice navigation is accurate, easy to understand and give sufficient warnings. The voice recognition is better than typing and it integrates into your contacts and calendar and gives you directions to your next appointment.
  • google maps – not native and clunky on iOS, but useful
  • google earth – cool way to look for a vacation spot or house
  • iExit – whats on the next exit on the interstate, free

News & Information: Even when traveling, I want to know what is happening in the world

  • *nytimes – my daily news of choice due to level of coverage of national and international
  • *kindle – yes, you can read all your Amazon kindle books on your iOS devices, but you can’t shop for them in the app, so you just have to use a browser
  • nyt now – a more modern look at NY Times
  • NPR News – NPR via internet and I do use the station finder when the hotel radio will work (not often)
  • TED – Short, important topics via well done lectures, makes you think
  • Flipboard – never got into this, but it has high potential for news, there are others, too.

Entertainment: All work and no play makes me cranky

  • *Pandora – listen almost daily, pairs well w/ good bluetooth speaker, repeats too much, but I want to set & forget when I listen
  • *tunein radio – listen daily to NPR, pairs well w/ good bluetooth speaker, has a sleep timer, hate hotel radios
  • *Amazon Music – stream every album Amazon sells for free if you have Amazon Prime. I’m in heavan. Can play for days w/out repeats. Playlists are decent.
  • at bat – if you like baseball, sound works over wireless, TV works better on a hotspot
  • netflix – the cord cutter staple
  • amazon instant video – free w/ prime, some good stuff including paid content
  • youtube – video by someone to show some of everything not totally obscene, actually a really good teaching / learning tool
  • soundhound – ID a song
  • night sky – (if you like looking up at night)
  • remote for electronics – most smart devices have smartphone apps

Photography: Now everyone has a camera to use everywhere all the time

  • Mostly use the native iOS camera app, but sometimes…
  • Fast Camera – rapid series of shots
  • 645 PRO Mk II ($4) – makes your iPhone nearly DSLR minus lenses
  • Camera+ ($2) – makes your iPhone super good point & shoot
  • I don’t edit on my phone or iPad, but iPhoto seems useful

 Dining: I’m always up for a great dining adventure

  • *opentable – high end dining, limited, use for business rsv mostly
  • *yelp – low end dining, the open now feature is great, heavily influenced so read w/ caution
  • starbucks – caffeine addiction & snacks, made coffee cool again

 Shopping: It is not a sport or fun for me, but my credit cards don’t lie and I do buy stuff

  • *keyring – put all your loyalty cards in the app. (lots of after midnight eating out of 24 hr grocery stores for this consultant)
  • *amazon – get Amazon’s price by scanning a bar code
  • Every big box retailer (Lowes, Home Depot, Target, etc.)

 Travel: makes sitting hours in small seats inside flying tubes slightly easier

  • *flightaware – track a flight in flight
  • *uber – get a taxi, car, SUV in most major cities (signup & CC required)
  • flightboard – nostalgic look at what is departing and arriving at an airport
  • hipmunk – travel planning and discount fares – love the interface, so powerful on web & as an app
  • tripadisor – use for cities, hotels, & restaurants, etc. some helpful materials, I write reviews under ccflroadwarrior (Cape Coral FL Road Warrior)
  • worldclock – the iPhone / iPad has a decent one, but this is better
  • Your Hotel chains (mine is mostly Hilton)
  • Your Auto Rental company (mine is mostly National Car, Hertz sometimes)
  • Your top airlines mobile app (mine is mostly Delta and sometimes American)

I hope this helps you with travel and the necessary work / life integration (replaced work / life balance since mobile device proliferation).  Feel free to share and reply with your favorites and thoughts. I’m always open to better ideas for better outcomes.

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Oracle & SAP: Please focus on innovation, please, please!

Boxing DogI’m glad to see the SAP, TomorrowNow, Oracle debacle drawing to a close as reported in Forbes.  While we all want to be fairly paid for our innovations and no one wants to be ripped off, we don’t need individuals, leaders, and whole companies spending all their efforts and focus on  suing, counter-suing and legal maneuvers.   I’ve always believed that as soon as you start involving lawyers, you are already losing or at least skimming off your capability.  It is pretty clear to me that TomorrowNow was wrong and SAP owned them, so I’m not arguing the verdict at all, but the huge waste of energy, focus, and innovation.

The recent announcement on the settlement seems reasonable in that it compensates Oracle for damages plus penalties. Forbes reported ‘A three-judge federal bench upheld the judge’s ruling and awarded approximately $357 million in damages, with about $121 million in lost profits for Oracle and $236 million in infringement profit for SAP, stating the previous award was “based on undue speculation.”‘  This is long way from the $1.3B initial reward which was headline worthy.  It also seems large enough to discourage bad behavior and compensates Oracle, or at least their lawyers, fairly.

Putting aside the huge dollars here, can you imagine how much of the Oracle and SAP teams’ energies went into this lawsuit?  What if both companies just focused on building better databases? tools? products? ERP systems? clouds?  It seems when companies get sucked into these types of legal battles, the only winners possible are weaker competitors who can focus on innovation and clients while the big guys “duke it out” in the courts. 

Can SAP and Oracle just go back to creating great products because while you were filing legal briefs, you competition didn’t rest.  Ultimately, the real loser was the consumer who is paying for all the legal overhead and distractions when they buy your products.  So please, please, please, go back to building better mouse traps.  I got lots of mice.