A certain Agri-guy who is a pretty tech savvy dude, and prolific tweeter, has stated he doesn’t really want a smartphone. I am therefore inspired to write down why I don’t want to be with out one!! (I seriously would rather forget my wallet when I leave home, than my phone…)
Sooo… top ten things I do with my smartphone:
1- Weather: as a sheep and crop farmer, it is great to be able to look up weather at the moment you want to know – from how cold it’s going to be over night – to the radar image of how long I have until it rains and my seed corn is going to get wet. Up to the minute (ok, so it’s a 10 min delay) is awesome!
2- Spreadsheets: yes, I use excel spreadsheets on my iPhone. and it works fine.. Data entry is never that fun on a phone, so I don’t really do it, but I keep livestock summaries as well as crop/field data in spreadsheet format on the computer. I simply put that onto the iPhone, and I can look up who that ewe is, or what variety of seed I planted in that field, right when I want to know.
3- Calculate stuff: lots of phones have calculators, but I also have an app for calculating spray volumes, in Litres per Acre (a distictly Canadian unit of measure!!) as well as a unit conversion app, and even a GPS app that measures how far I’ve gone from one point to the next, or number of acres enclosed within a loop I make! One trip around the outside of the field, and I know how big it is! (not as accurate as a GPS in the tractor, but still close..)
4- Flashlight: This is not the reason I bought a phone, but the app that turns my camera flash into a (surprisingly bright) flashlight, is absolutely great for those ‘I just need to see for a minute’ situations. And, of course, it’s always with me, so it’s handy!
5- Maps: I’m a pretty good-with-directions guy, but the map feature with the GPS you-are-here dot is actually quite handy when you’re heading to a meeting in a town you’ve never been to before.
6- Camera: Those of you who follow this blog, are benefiting from the increased ease of having a camera on the phone. And yes, every phone now has one, but I like the ability to shrink and email them to the home computer, all ready to blog! I also use it for taking the written records from the barn, to the computer at the house, without having to bring the stinky book home, or forget to take it back! Not to mention sending the picture of that broken part to the wife so she can pick one up and know what the heck she is trying to get!
7- the Phone: it’s just a really good phone! But mostly, it’s the depth of the contact list. I have everyone I know on there, and it’s easy to find them, and it syncs back to my (microsoft) computer address book, so it’s up to date. You just never know when that person you never call, is the person you need to ask one quick question right now!
8- Google Calendar:This is mostly due to the wife being organized.. but we have a google calendar set up for each member of the household. It syncs automatically with my phone, and she puts alerts on the ones she thinks I’ll forget! So if I have to pick up a kid from something, it beeps at me just before I have to leave (because I do get wrapped up in what I’m doing and forget what time it is!) or if I get home, and don’t know where anyone is, I look it up, and it’s usually there. It is something we all find very helpful
9- Prices: From the noon hour tweets from the local elevator, to looking up whatever future prices I like to know. When some one says “what’s the price of corn today?” I don’t have to remember, I just look it up! This also applies to livestock prices, as well as gas station prices -I love my new ‘Gas Buddy’ app!
10-OK, so 10 isn’t really enough ’cause of all that other fun stuff: between facebook and twitter, online banking, angrybirds, eBooks, or that iHandy Level, there is just a tonne of stuff that is available to me. I don’t use these alot, but every once in a while…? definitely worth it.
In the end, it’s like anything you buy. Whether it’s worth the price of admission depends on how much you use it.
P.S. Ironically, after writing this, we went out for diner, and I forgot my wallet! (but I had my phone!) My dear darling wife had to pay…