Photo from New Launch
Even if you are thousands of miles from the nearest land you probably didn’t miss the big news in the technology world this week; the launch of iPhone 2.0.
The secret, however, is that you don’t need a new 3G iPhone to get the best features. Simply connect your existing iPhone or iPod Touch to iTunes and click update. Once completed your firmware will update to version 2.0 providing access to the Application Store.
Here are the Top 10 Applications that will be of use to a mariner:
10) Bloomberg Fiance
Have a portfolio of stocks you need to track? Bloomberg’s free iphone application harnesses much of the power of their pricey terminals and displays the results on your iPhone. Charts, company news and fistorical price data are all included. And, yes, you can track the price of oil!
9) Scientific Calculator
This application you don’t have to install. Just click on your iPhone’s calculator and turn the device 90 degrees and the built in 4 function calc turns on the scientific data.
8) Dial Zero
Sometimes you need to spend your precious moments of port time sorting out your personal finances. Why spend this time listening to a computer tell you to “Press 1 for English…”? Dial zero gives you the codes to jump directly to a representative. Neat, eh!
7) Check Please
While some of you mariners fly high on expense accounts (those guys should try the app Expense2Go), most mariners need to pay for their own meals both in port and at training classes. This application takes the simple Tip Calculator found on many phones and gives it a much needed redesign.
6) Epocrates Rx
We are not doctors and the Medical PIC training most of us have taken simply allows us to administer care under the direction of a doctor. For small problems or when the doctor is talking over your head Epocrates might come in handy. This free drug reference manual lets you access information quickly at the point of care.
While this application can do everything short of send flashing light messages it’s most basic function will be the most useful on the bridge of your ship. Set the color to to red, adjust the brightness and it turns your iphone into a dim flashlight that won’t ruin your night-vision.
In port for only a few hours and want to have a nice diner, do some shopping and maybe pick up a latte? Where gives you restaurant reviews, zipcar locations and will even locate find the cheapest gas station in town.
If you want to have a good chance of doing banking in any port in the world HSBC is by far the best choice but in the US they only have locations in a few states. For American mariners the best choices are Washington Mutual and Bank Of America of which B&A has, by far, the best technology features that make banking from the road a breeze.
Bandwidth is precious aboard ship so why waste it on gCaptain’s beautifull banners. Instead set up NetNews and subscribe to our RSS feed. This application takes the text and article photos only, displaying then on iphone’s screen in a bandwidth friendly format.
This application does one thing but does it well! It recognizes handwriting in pictures and lets you search through your notes. This is the perfect application for digitizing and searching the logbook.
Be sure to check out their desktop application too. It has many advance features in an easy to use format and… it’s also FREE.
This is not a comprehensive list and many other applications will be of use to mariners worldwide. Runners up include translation programs for a half dozen languages, weather applications that give you basic charts from NOAA and web 2.0 offerings like Jott (transcribes voice notes), Truphone (free wi-fi based phone calls) and To-do.
Should I upgrade?
If you need an excuse to upgrade the 3G iphone just tell your significant other “Combining the higher speeds of 3G with the new phone’s GPS will allow it to become a mini ECDIS. Soon I’ll be able to watch the ship navigate down the channel in real time”. While this feature doesn’t exist yet, the phone has all the hardware needed to enable this possibility. It’s just a matter of time for the guys at EarthNC, ActiveCaptain, Jakota Systems and others to write the software to make it happen.