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It used to be that ordering takeout was a pain. Unless you kept a paper menu on your fridge, you had to look up the restaurant online to see its menu. Then you had to call it up and place your order. This meant talking to someone on the phone, which is the worst, especially if the person on the other end doesn't speak great English.
Now: I get out of the subway. I open up Seamless. I use my thumb to order to dinner from any of the two dozen nearby restaurants in 2 minutes. It shows up at my door 30 minutes later. My wallet stays in my back pocket the whole time. Magic.
I use Evernote to remember everything from what kind of Oysters I like to eat, gifts ideas for my wife's birthday next October, what kind of golf clubs I like to use from 100/75/50 yards out, and notes from my last meeting with a source.
All of it is searchable and organised into clearly labelled notebooks.
Evernote also has other neat tricks.
You can take a picture of a hand-written note, and the words on the page will become searchable later.
It's aware of your calendar. If you have a meeting on your calendar, it will automatically label notes you take during that meeting 'Notes from meeting with Henry.'
Clear is a to-do list app. It's very simple. I use it to list out the stories I should write or assign. I use it to remind myself of things I need to do at some point during the afternoon that day. I use it to list out the unhealthy food I'm going to allow myself to eat each month.
In New York, where I live, cabs are everywhere and always available -- except when its raining.
Suddenly there are none. It used to mean that I was them doomed to take the subway or a bus from wherever I was.
That's when I pull out my iPhone and use my thumb to summon a taxi. Then, a driver shows up and takes me where I need to go and I never have to take my wallet out.
I used to have the truly awful, horrible habit of sometimes forgetting that I was supposed to be somewhere.
Then I got Fantastical, a calendar app.
Fantastical has a nice UI, but what's really great about it is how easy it is to schedule something with it.
You type into it 'meet with Jay at 4p on tues' and it knows exactly what you mean, and creates the exact right even, with a standard alert you've set up in your preferences.
By making it so easy and quick to input events, I'm inputting a lot more of them -- and forgetting zero. Which is exactly how many a respectable adult should forget.
I sit on the subway for an hour plus every day. If I don't have a good book to read, TV show to watch, or iPhone game to play, that hour can be painful.
I've played a bunch of great iPhone games -- Pirates, civilisation, and FieldRunners 2 stand out in my memory -- but none have been as great as Block Fortress.
Block Fortress is a turn-based tower defence game that turns into a first-person shooter. Every turn, you set up your defenses for an onslaught of foes. Then you press a button and drop down into the fortress you just built and start fighting.
Playing it, the time flies.
Everyone hates on Apple's default Podcast app. I like it. I walk 30 minutes plus a day, and I use it all the time, and am not desperate to try replacements.
Business cards seem kind of antiquated in an age of Google, email signatures, and LinkedIn.
But CardMunch makes it useful to get them.
When someone hands me a business card, I open up CardMunch. In the app, I take a photo of the card. It's then uploaded to the cloud, and someone somewhere writes inputs what's on the card. Next time I open CardMunch, I have that person's contact in a digital address book, and we're connected on LinkedIn.
Splitting a check, joining an office betting pool, or putting money into a fantasy sports pot is easy thanks to PayPal's app. I just open it up, type in the email address for the person I want to send money to, and pay.
My bank, Merrill Lynch, doesn't have any local branches. So des positing checks used to be a real pain; I had to mail them in!
Now, thanks to an app update after Merrill was acquired by Bank of America, I can just take a photo of a check and it gets deposited. SWEET.
These days, I do all my 'online' shopping with my thumb, from my phone, using these apps.
You will judge me for my Dominos app, but it is so nice ordering pizza with a thumb-stroke and a tap, that I will eat chain store pizza if that's what it takes -- even in New York.
I haven't used eBay Now yet, but I'm exited to try it.
Remember when you couldn't rent a car, book a train ticket, or fly across the country with a mere set of thumb movements? Those were dark days.
Business Insider is 13 floors up. That's my Instagram, Vine, and Facebook time.
Twitter and Tweetdeck really belong in a 'business' folder, since they are so crucial to my profession.