Of slide rules and apps on my smart phone…

I’ve talked in the past of my search to replace the Circular Slide rule my father got me when I was younger. It wasn’t that I want to continue using the slide rule; I have been chasing the functionality of that device for my entire IT career. At the time I got the slide rule, I was entering into high school math, and the slide rule helped me. First, I was faster with that than my classmates were about slide rules. Second, I could quickly look up formulas. Inside the slide rule was a plastic sheet with printed information on both sides. Today I can do all of that and so much more with my iPhone. I guess what I miss now is that my dad gave me that slide rule all those years ago.

However, today, I wanted to talk about an application I use all the time. The screenshot comes from my phone and is of the Wolfram Alpha application. It allows you to use natural language with mathematics. It is a resource I often use. Beyond Wolfram Alpha, I often use other applications such as the periodic table, and electrical circuit design (that because of a writing issue we’ve been working on in our house). The use of devices that allow you to quickly gather and use information is the value of a smartphone.  That got me wondering what applications do I use every single day on my phone or tablet. Not, applications that you open to clear messages, but use!

1. Wolfram Alpha

2. GPS (Apple Maps and Waze)

3. Email (outlook)

4. Candary (home security)

5. Control 4 (Home Automation)

6. ADT Pulse (home security)

7. Bloomsky and NetATMO (home weather stations)

I know, for the most part, I am more tech-driven than most people. But I also know that the number of applications I use on my phone has increased radically. The concept I introduced now, more than seven years ago is that of BiteSized applications. Where once upon a time, we never used applications on mobile devices because it was too hard, reducing what the mobile did (bite-size) allows us to use the application easily. I love what quite a few people have said to me over the years. It is not how fast technology moves; it is if I wish to keep up with the change!

  • Do you own a smart phone?

    • Yes
    • No
  • if yes will you share the apps you use in the comments?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Or do you not have a smart phone (or cell phone) at all?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you ever get frustrated with your phone?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

6 points

Written by DocAndersen

I am a long time blogger and technology poster.I focus on what is possible, but I also try to see what is coming. In recent years I have been focused on sharing the memories of my family, as part of my Family History Project.


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  1. Q: Do you own a smart phone?
    Yes (3 votes) – 100%
    Q: if yes will you share the apps you use in the comments?
    Yes (3 votes) – 100%
    Q: Or do you not have a smart phone (or cell phone) at all?
    Yes (3 votes) – 100%
    Q: Do you ever get frustrated with your phone?
    Yes (2 votes) – 67%
    No (1 votes) – 33%

  2. I have Google Chrome, Alexa on Phone, Canva for mobile, Pinterest for mobile, Viber, Google Street view, Geo Cam, Map and navigations, My Tracks and some games local apps, most of which I am not using because I don’t use mobile that much.

    • I do often wonder what people use! Thanks!

      I know as an IT person and where I work, I rely on my phone more. I don’t have a desk phone in my office, just my work provided cell phone.

      My daughter doesn’t have a landline at her house. She and her finance only use cell phones.

    • Lots available, but the important thing isn’t what is available it is, does it help you! if it helps you then use it. If it doesn’t help, then it doesn’t matter that it’s available. I tell that to every IT team I work with.

      It is a hard lesson sometimes for technologists!

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