3 Free iOS Apps for The Reader, The Dreamer, & The Planner

It sucks being sick.

For the past few weeks I’ve been suffering through seasonal allergies which seems especially bad this year. I’ve taken all manner of drugs to alleviate the symptoms, but, unfortunately, they’ve only made me sleepy while providing moderate relief. And now, as if to add icing on my mucous filled cake, I’ve developed a sinus infection.

I feel miserable! I get restless sleep and when I’m awake it’s all I can do to tend to my nose-turned-faucet. I’m typing this between tissue box raids, so I suspect this won’t be my most coherent prose.

My doctor has prescribed antibiotics, antihistamines/decongestants, and rest. I’ve taken my drugs, and as mentioned earlier, resting isn’t working out. What being sick does allow me to do is read, dream and plan.

Reading is easy. I’ve got several books on hand, both in analog (paper pages) and digital form. I also have McSweeney’s. It’s an app I’ve mentioned before, but, being delirious with fever, I believe I’m allowed to mention it again.


McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is full of stars

McSweeney’s is hard to describe because it covers so much ground, but for our purposes here McSweeney’s is the app to go to when you want bite-sized chucks of reading material. See, McSweeney’s offers Internet Tendency which is a collection of interesting tidbits from around the Internet. The articles are usually essays on various subjects, but the authors often take a skewed view of the topic at hand. An example seems to be in order. This is from THE CHORUS BOY CHRONICLES: OF MICE AND MENSCHES. By Brian Spitulnik

“We were sitting in the living room of our apartment on St. Marks Place, me on the futon, Danica at her keyboard, both of us positioned in front of the feeble A/C unit we’d balanced in the window overlooking 2nd Avenue. I was scrolling through the Actor’s Equity website, looking for auditions to attend. But it was the dead of summer, and nothing, nothing at all, was happening in New York. If you were an actor and you were in the city in July, it meant you were either enjoying margaritas at sidewalk restaurants every night after performing in a Broadway show, or it meant that you hadn’t gotten any summer stock gigs and were stuck, like me, working at a job a friend of your mother’s friend had found you, spritzing perfume on shoppers at Bloomingdales.”

McSweeney’s is full of stuff like that. And it’s free, but if you’re willing to part with a few bucks you can get more content, and even an analog quarterly review, if you’re into that sort of thing. But you don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy offbeat prose while convalescing, or standing at a train stop.

When I’m sick I don’t sleep long enough to dream anything fun. More often than not I lie in bed, surrounded wads of used tissue, and wish I were anywhere but in bed. That’s when I fire up my iPad and peruse Fotopedia’s Wild Friends.


Fotopedia’s Wild Friends gets you up close and personal with Europe’s wildlife

If you’re familiar with Fotopedia then you’ll know that you’re going to see some astounding photos. What sets Wild Friends apart from other Fotopedia apps, besides the fact that they are all wildlife photos, is that that catalog are updated with new sets appearing every several days. Along with each set of photos is a short essay about the subject and each photo has a caption explaining the content. As with other Fotopedia catalogs you can see where in the world the shot was taken. These are all in Europe, where I wish I were right now.

Ah well, I can dream.

I can also plan, and I plan to take a trip somewhere when I get better. Where exactly I can’t say. The world’s a big place and I am a man of limited resources, so I must choose my destinations carefully. Truth be told, I’ll likely visit my son, who lives in San Diego, then visit my daughter, who lives in Tucson. To help me do that I need an app to help me figure out costs for flights, car rentals, and hotels if needs be. Kayak’s free iPad app should do the trick.


Kayak HD’s Explore Screen shows lot’s a places you can go today

Kayak HD will search the Internet for flight, car rental, and hotel prices and report said costs back to you. The interface makes it easy, even if you’re planning a multi-city trip. Touch the bed, and car icons and your flight info is carried forward and you get hotel and car rental prices for your destinations. Easy!

Kayak HD also tracks your flights, useful if you have someone visiting and you want to know when they’re arriving.

It’ll also keep a record of you trips. If you have a Kayak account you can book it all right from the app. An account is not necessary if you just want to look up fares and track flights. The coolest feature is the Explore screen. Set your place of origin and Kayak HD will display fare prices to any destination around the world. You can select when you want to travel, even the type of activity you want to get into once you get there, and the map will show all the destinations meeting those specifications. Sweet!

I do wish it would help me figure out which days are the cheapest to fly on or alert me to money saving deals on the flights I want. Oh well.

If you’re planning a trip Kayak HD can help you do it.

That’s a wrap for this week.

More free travel stuff below with direct links.