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iPhone for Business (and Utility)

I know, I know.  This post isn’t about my work @ Cirtas Systems nor is it about the fundamental shift in storage technologies away from on-premise to cloud. Rather, it’s about the adventures I’ve had since getting my iPhone and attempting to make it a worthwhile replacement for my old Blackberry Bold 9700.

The Basics

I grabbed a 16GB iPhone 4 from my local AT&T reseller friend (let me know if you want one…he’s a killer guy) as my starting canvas.  From there, utilizing the Greenp0ison jailbreak, I installed Cydia and, here’s where it gets interesting.  I’m going to break out my applications by Jailbroken (via Cydia) vs. normative (AppStore).  Let’s start with Jailbroken.

Jailbroken Apps

One of the things that you have to consider is that jailbreaking (for me at least) is being utilized as an EXTENSION of the iPhone capabilities, not as an abject “rage against the man” type thing.  I did it specifically to extend functionality that I expected to be there from the get-go as well as to optimize my day-to-day business experiences.  Here’s what I’ve installed:

  1. SBSettings.  Above all else, this allows for quick toggling of major phone features such as 3G, EDGE, Processes, Brightness, Bluetooth, 3G Unrestrictor (more on this guy in a moment), WiFi, and SSH.  You can add additional settings as you go along.
  2. 3G Unrestrictor.  Some apps require being on WiFi else you can’t download or use them.  AppStore apps above 20Mb and FaceTime are two such offenders.  3G Unrestrictor tricks these apps into thinking that they’re on WiFi when in actuality, you’re not. ;) Good times here.
  3. AptBackup.  You nuke your jailbreak install and you lose your apps (or so I’m told).  AptBackup preserves the essence of these apps and allows you to re-install them.
  4. Winterboard.  themes and Springboard manipulator.
  5. Intelliscreen.  At-a-glance data gathering from your lock screen.  Some irritation with the configuration here (i want to lose the weather report but i can’t lose it), but the ability to look quickly at your latest emails and SMS messages without having to unlock every single time is quite refreshing.
  6. MyWi 4.0.  If you travel you need this. This tool allows you to use your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot and route the data over 3G.  So far, haven’t gotten nailed for tethering charges on this so, hopefully it pans out.  WARNING:  i’d STRONGLY suggest that you leave your phone plugged in as this sucker eats battery.
  7. Iconoclasm.  Instead of 4 icons per line, I prefer a higher density.  This tool allows me to have up to six icons a line which, in my opinion, cleans up my interface and allows for greater density.
  8. Action Menu.  This is a more robust version of the “press/hold” action menu that Apple ships with iOS 4.1.  Allows for better interaction with source/destination.
  9. Shrink.  This app allows me to shrink the text and image of an application on Springboard such that, when combined with Iconoclasm, I can get legible text + iconography for my apps.  Huge UI difference here.
  10. Infiniboard.  Technically, Infiniboard allows me to vertically scroll a dock screen.  Haven’t installed enough applications to test this out yet, but the promise is huge. ;)

Paid/Free Applications from Appstore:

  1. Google.  Enough said here.  You need it, you want it, and it’s FREE.
  2. Foursquare.  Yes, I use this.
  3. TripIt.  I’m a TripIt Pro user.  The information you can gain here is absolutely critical if you travel frequently.
  4. Engadget.  Yup, I’m a “Gadget Head”  Can’t live without this one.
  5. Pandora.  Sometimes you just need tunes on the go.
  6. Financial Apps:
    1. Liberty Mutual.  Great app for getting ahold of my insurance agent.
    2. myWireless (from AT&T).  Good to have for those times when you absolutely need to know how far over your monthly SMS volume you are.
    3. Mint.com.  If you’ve used this, you’ll realize this is critical for keeping track.
    4. Receipts.  Paid App that allows you to capture receipt information for travel expenses, photograph them, send them to Evernote, Google Docs, Bonjour (via Wifi), or email.  Very good app with some small issues with Evernote.
  7. Echofon.  I prefer this to Tweetdeck but I’m not necessarily sold vs. Twitteriffic.  YMMV.
  8. Starbucks and Starbucks Mobile Card.  Enough said here. ;)
  9. Evernote.  One of the KILLER iPhone/iPad apps.  This is almost a requirement for me to keep my data synced up in my ADHD moments.

Got any other suggestions? Let me know and I’ll be happy to give them a whirl!



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Dave Graham is a Technical Consultant with EMC Corporation where he focused on designing/architecting private cloud solutions for commercial customers.