This past summer I got an iPod touch, and it’s easily the coolest gadget I’ve had in quite some time. Despite being pocket sized, it’s somehow big enough to do just about anything computer-related that I want to do. While the hardware itself is nice, what really makes it useful is all the applications available for it.
Now keep in mind, I have an iPod Touch, not an iPhone. Whereas an iPhone can be connected to the internet at any time, an iPod Touch is only internet-enabled when you’re in range of a wi-fi connection. What this means is that I’m largely interested in offline apps that can make the most of an occasional internet connection. Since I’ve been fooling with it for months now, I figured I’d share which of these apps I find the most useful. Here are my top 5, in no particular order.
Dropbox is an online service that allows you to store files and sync them to multiple computers. I use it and it works great, but the iPod app provides a notable feature that is missing from the iPod Touch: the ability to store and view PDFs and other file types offline. When you set up a Dropbox account and sync the iPod app to it, you can mark some of the files as “favorites.” These favorites are stored locally and available offline.
Byline is an RSS reader for the iPod/iPhone that syncs with your Google Reader account. What this means is that you can add your favorite blogs, news sites, web comics, etc. to Google Reader and view them aggregated in Byline. My favorite feature is the offline support. When you have a network connection, hit the sync button in Byline and it will download all new entries, including embedded images and snapshots of the linked web pages. Then, when you’re away from a network connection, you’re still able to read the full articles (especially useful since some feeds like CNN put very little content in the feed and instead expect you to click over to their site). Next time you sync, the entries you read will also be marked as read in Google Reader.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your to-do list organized and to help manage your time, I’d recommend taking a look at Toodledo. It’s a web-based task list with lots of useful integration with other services. The iPod app works with the free Toodledo service and syncs tasks between web and mobile using push notification. I used Remember The Milk for a long time, but when I discovered Toodledo I quickly switched over.
One of the great things about having a mobile web device is being able to look something up wherever you are. If you don’t have a wi-fi connection, you’re a bit more limited but you can at least look up definitions using Dictionary.com. It’s based on the Random House dictionary, and takes a fair amount of storage space, but doesn’t require a connection.
Not everyone will find this useful, but if you have a blog based on WordPress, the WordPress app lets you do some limited work on your blog even offline. Right now, I’m editing this post on my iPod using the “local draft” feature. When I get back to an Internet connection, I can publish it to my website or save it as a draft for further editing.
- The Creeps: an excellent tower defense game, and the only game in years that has hooked me
- Instapaper: saves web pages for offline reading
- Remember The Milk: a good to-do list manager, even though I prefer Toodledo
- Fast Food Calorie Counter: nutrition information for choices at fast food places
That’s about it for my must-have offline apps, but if you have a good one I didn’t mention, please comment! I don’t want to miss out!