a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Feb, 2013

iPhone apps – my latest picks

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

Good company

When I first got my iPhone I spent a lot of time shopping for apps. I was in awe of how many awesome things my phone could suddenly do. I must have downloaded a hundred different little apps, for everything imaginable. And you know what, I never opened most of them every again.

I was reorganizing my apps the other day and I thought it’d be cool to share a few that I’ve been using lately… not including photography and social media apps, because those are kind of a given around here. :)

I wrote about my top iPhone apps back in March (and that list still applies) but these ones are new on my list. And you know what, they do make my life easier!

The Ottawa Public library app is AMAZING, and I use it all of the time. I check library hours, browse the catalogue, renew items, place holds, see when my books are coming due, check fines, and more. And did you know that the app keeps a copy of the bar code that’s on your library card? You never have to carry your card with you ever again!

The City of Ottawa Collection Calendar is ridiculously basic, but it does what you need it to do. I find myself consulting it very week because we can’t ever remember if it’s black box or blue box day.

The Powercents app for hydro usage is also useful because I am incapable of remembering when peak periods for hydro begin and end. You can set it to send you push notifications, which comes in handy so you can set the dishwasher to go off at the right time. For people who work at home during the week you can end up saving mucho dinero just by getting into the habit of timing your hydro usage at off peak times.

The Timehop app is a personal time-capsule app of sorts, and it is charming. You enter your blog/FB info and it tells you what you were doing on this day last year, or the year before, or the year before if you’ve been online that long, and it sends you push notifications to that effect. It’s like a Happy Memory Reminder Machine!

The iHandy Level and Flashlight are two very utilitarian iPhone apps (outside of the calculator and the unit converter) which I find myself using fairly regularly. Speaking of calculators, did you know that Siri can do math? I often use Siri to add up a column of numbers because it’s easier than tapping it out with my chubby little fingers.

I don’t play many games on the iPhone, but two that I do like right now are 7 Little Words and Icon Pop Quiz. Both are great little brain games, and the kids have gotten into them too. (In fact, these games require a team effort sometimes!)

What iPhone apps are you loving right now? I’d love to hear about them!

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7 Responses to "iPhone apps – my latest picks"

1 | alison

February 4th, 2013 at 10:09 am


The one that gets the most usage this time of year is the Rideau Canal Skateway app that lets you know the ice conditions for the skateway.

2 | Ross Brown

February 4th, 2013 at 10:15 am


Great recommendations, Andrea. Other apps that are handy are the iTorch flashlight (I use that more times than you can imagine), Dropbox (so I can access files & photos from all my devices), and my most-important app, Starbucks (I never have to fish for change or pull out my wallet when I want a coffee).


3 | Sasha

February 4th, 2013 at 11:23 am


Love love LOVE the OPL app. Although I find it always hangs when I’m at the library and trying to get my barcode, so I took a screen shot and use that instead :)

4 | Heather

February 4th, 2013 at 1:45 pm


Ottawa rinks and ottawa pools apps are great just like OPL.
I also enjoy the Winterlude app. Super informative !

5 | Heather

February 4th, 2013 at 1:49 pm


One more although its not free $5.99 is the Larousse English/French dictionary. Great for those if us not bilingual with kids in French immersion.

6 | Angela - My Personal Accent DIY Blog

February 5th, 2013 at 12:53 am


I just got a iphone 4s and I love the apps. I especially love the imovie app. it turns the phone into a 1080 HD camcorder. It is very awesome.

7 | Barbara

February 6th, 2013 at 10:58 am


I get a DM from the city reminding me what to put out – the app would require that I actually open it ;) I’m going to have to check out the rinks and pools app, though, in case they’re available for Android.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times, Capital Parent Newspaper, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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