With just over a week until the #ASHA12 Convention, I am starting to calmly pull everything together in an organized fashion. Read: I AM FREAKING OUT!!! There are about 101 things I need to do before I leave, and then there are another 202 things to do when I arrive! I’ve listed my top ten apps I am using to help me through the chaos. Almost all of them are available on both Apple and Android (or give suitable alternatives), and almost all of them are free.
1. Checklist/Planner. Sure, you could use your calendar app or jot down notes in a note-taking app. But I’ve found Remember the Milk is a much more effective way for me to keep track of these things. Check out my review to get more details on how it works. Price: Free. Apple Android
2. Calendar. Since I like to keep my to-do planner and calendar separate, I am using Google Calendar to keep track of when I need to be at sessions, practice times for the #ashamob, tweet-ups, etc. I have separate calendars (color-coded, of course) for the various functions to help keep me straight. Android extra: Jorte Calendar widgets are BY FAR my favorite. Price: Free.
3. In-Flight Game. I am one of those people who gets the best sleep of my life on planes; however, I recognize that this may not be the case for many of you. ;-) If not, find a fun app like 7 Little Words to challenge you mentally, and your flight will…well, fly by? Price: Free. Apple Android
4. Navigation. Basically, I am counting on getting lost in Atlanta at least a few times. If you have an Android device, just use Google Maps. If you have an iDevice, use Apple Maps–that is, if you wish to end up in a surprise location hundreds of miles from where you wanted to go. [Insert generic rant about how Apple Maps is almost guaranteed to get you lost.] Anyhow, my iDevice navigation alternative is Waze. Price: Free.
5. Caffeine. Let’s be real–most of us are going to have a sleep-deprived next couple weeks. Make sure you have your Starbucks app handy for easy location look-up, quick payment, and awesome rewards points. I reviewed it before if you want more details on how it works. (If you’re not a Starbucks fan, well…the convention is all about proper education.) Price: Free. Apple Android
6. QR Code Scanner. If you’re not familiar with QR codes, the non-techie explanation is that they are basically a type of bar code. At ASHA, you will likely see these on many business cards or vendor booths. With a QR code scanner app, you can scan them and they will take you directly to a blog, product info, promo deals, etc. Price: Free. Apple Android
7. Twitter. If you are going to the convention and aren’t on Twitter, you will be majorly missing out! Seriously, go sign up, and start by following anyone on this list. Now, I am about to admit something that will absolutely horrify some of you: I use the regular Twitter application on my iPhone/iPad. Yes, I know, TweetDeck/Hootsuite/other Twitter clients are supposed to be wayyy better. In my experience, they don’t work right and/or make Twitter far too complicated. Feel free to voice your disagreements in the comments section, ’cause I have a feeling I am one of the few people who feels this way. :) For my Android tablet, on the other hand, I have found TweetDeck to work marvelously. The widgets are particularly wonderful for keeping track of different hashtags, such as #asha12 and #ashamob. Price: Free.
8. PDF Annotator. I use ezPDF for writing on documents. This will come in particularly handy at the convention for annotating session handouts. Check out my review to see if it could be useful for you. If you’re looking for something different, see this Facebook thread for more suggestions. Price: $1.99 for Apple, $3.99 for Android. Apple Android
9. File Storing/Sharing. If you’re in the #ashamob, this is a big one! Use DropBox to watch the mob video and learn how to do the dance moves! If you’re not in the flash mob, 1. you should be, so email me at atklingensmith @ gmail . com, and 2. you can still use the app to store and share session handouts between devices. This will likely be particularly useful for those of you “hybrids” (like myself) who have a mixture of Apple/Android devices and cannot use iCloud to sync everything. Price: Free. Apple Android
10. Movie Editing. This might appeal more toward vendors, presenters, or event organizers of some sort, but iMovie is a wonderful app (for computer or iDevice) that makes editing and mashing together movie clips a cinch. You can record within the app or import recordings. Unfortunately, it isn’t available on Google Play. Price: $4.99.
So what apps are going to help you get to and through the 2012 ASHA Convention with your sanity and sense of humor intact? Can’t wait to see you all there!!!