Top Ten iPhone Apps For Washington Insiders

By Marc Ambinder

Geography is destiny. And there are some iPhone apps that Washington insiders just gotta have. 

I should say that I do not intend to endorse the iPhone above all mobile devices; I carry a Blackberry for work-related e-mails because my stubby fingers can't negotiate the iPhone's ridiculous vertical keyboard. (The next software update will supposedly help me with that problem.) 

There are about 3,000 aps for RIM devices, but there are so many more -- and so many more useful apps -- for the iPhone. 

In random order, here are ten iPhone apps that folks who work in the politics and policy arena must have. If you've got other favorite apps, e-mail me, and I'll update the list.

Open Table  -- In DC, a great app for quickly scheduling -- or canceling -- fancy lunches and dinners with sources, spies, contacts or consultants. Price: free.

WikiMobile  -- I don't know why you have to pay for this app, but it does have the benefit of organizing Wikipedia's data in a much more Iphone-friendly way. Price: $1.99
 
WSJ Online -- Annoy Rupert Murdoch. Download this app and read the Wall Street Journal for free. 

Vlingo  -- Lots of voice dial apps out there; this one incorporates voice search and voice address mapping, too. Very easy to use, and pretty accurate in interpreting what I'm trying to say. Price: free.

Bloomberg News --  The best way to follow the markets. Price: free.

WunderRadio  -- Not just for work, but for fun too: use this app to listen to hundreds of radio stations worldwide. Your favorite talk radio host's programs are easily accessible; if you've got a jonesing for Michael Savage at 4 in the afternoon -- and really, who hasn't? -- chances are you can easily find a station he's on. WunderRadio also manages to archive recent shows.  The app also links you to live Air Traffic Control radio, police and fire scanners and hundreds of stations in foreign countries.  Price: $6.99

VR+   I've tried virtually every Iphone voice recording app, and VR+ is the most reliable.  The interface is clean and helpful; no need to log the time and date of the recording, because VR+ does it for you. You can upload the recording to a central VR site, e-mail it to yourself, or share it with someone else. The sound quality is great, and there's a special voice activated function that works quite well. Price: free/$2.99

iBlogger  -- This expensive app ($10.00) is worth the price for journo-bloggers. You can update blogs on almost any platform with ease. I use it to correct typos I notice -- or YOU notice -- after I post. It's easier  -- and quicker -- than finding a place to sit down, pulling out the netbook, waiting for the thing to boot up, etc.

Tweetie  -- There are several good Twitter clients for iPhones; I've tried most of them, and I find Tweetie to be the best, the easiest to use and the one least prone to crashing. It's very functional. Price: free.

Evernote:  this extremely useful and simple program allows you to effortless transfer notes taken on one device or computer to another. Evernote's free version allows you to store your work on their servers, which does presume some risk, so I wouldn't recommend this for sensitive information. With password protection, though, you can safely synch your files, photos and audio recordings with a single click. No more printing out docs from work -- I just upload them to Evernote and they're there, waiting for me. Evernote also installs an icon in web browsers; if I see an article I want to read or a passage from an article I want to re-read, I can save it to the Evernote file in seconds. Evernote's capacity for organizing these notes could be better, but I haven't found a better, more versatile data sharing program. Ive got Evernote installed on four devices now: my work computer, my netbook, my home computer, and my iPhone -- and I can send additions to the file from my Blackberry. Price: free.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/05/top-ten-iphone-apps-for-washington-insiders/18067/