Monday, August 25, 2008

Real World Test: iPhone Apps

I took most of the day off on Friday - I definitely needed a "mental health" day (or more than one!) - and took a day-long ride on my motorcycle. Now, as you probably already know - I recently bought an iPhone - so I thought that I'd use nothing but that to run my whole day. And here's what happened:

I started off checking the weather in various locations - trying to decide where the best place would be (not too cloudy or hot). I used the default app - but then I also downloaded a free app called WeatherBug. It allows you to get all the weather data about a particular place - more than you'll actually ever need.

Then I fired up the browser and Google Maps to plan my route. I decided that I would go from Moorpark to Valencia on the 126, then up the 5 freeway to Fraiser Park, then over the mountain to Hwy 166, into Santa Maria, and then up the 153 into Santa Barbara, then back up the 101 to the 126 and back to Moorpark.

Once on the road I stopped in Valencia to get some water (it was 95 degrees - 3 degrees hotter than the weather thing said). I checked my email while in line (only junk), checked my voicemails (I don't listen to music or phone when riding - it's too distracting) and then hit the road again.

I stopped again in Fraiser Park for gas and some junk food. When the service was unbelievably slow at the Jack In The Box I went to - I fired up the phone and used Twinkle to post to my Twitter account. It's really a great (and free) application.

While eating, I was listening to some streaming music from via their native iPhone app. Because Apple won't allow any background processes to run (except the iPod music?) - every time I wanted to do something else the stream stopped. After a while, I just put on the tunes from the local device, and headed over to my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts - also via their native iPhone applications - to check what was going on.

At various places I was able to take photos and email them to friends - documenting my progress for future posterity. As I rode down into the HOT valley between Fraiser Park and Santa Maria on the 166 - I was thinking about my upcoming ServoyWorld sessions and made some mental notes.

When I stopped in Santa Maria - I used the SpeakEasy voice recorder to capture my ramblings on ServoyWorld, consulted the Google Maps application (to make sure I hadn't passed the turn off for the 153 already), then checked the traffic in Santa Barbara (heavy on a Friday, but only for 2 miles). Then I did a quick check of the Servoy official blog using WordPress - and headed out for the last leg.

The traffic updates from Google were correct - there WAS traffic right where it said - and it really was only 2 miles long (seemed much longer at the time).

I have to say - that all in all - the iPhone performed above my expectations. I was able to have some fun while staying connected to the data I needed where and when I needed it. I didn't have any problems with the 3G reception (unlike a lot of other people) - but the battery life was a bit on the "suck" side.

I even turned off the 3G radio and used the Edge network - which I found to be relatively fast - almost as fast as the 3G network most of the time. Using the Edge network also increased the battery life by almost 50%.

For me, the iPhone honeymoon continues...

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