Now that the new generation of Super Phones have arrived I have spent some time trying to find apps that help improve my personal productivity. Since I am a dairy farmer I’ve been looking for apps to help me be more productive on the farm. Most of these apps will benefit you no matter what your profession.
I have posted this article partly to help my friends who are moving to the Android platform. But I am also interested in starting a conversation here with other farmers about the use of mobile computing on the farm. If you have some apps you really like that I didn’t mention here, please include them in the comments. I just ask you try to relate the app in some way to on-farm productivity.
I included iPhone in the title since many of the apps I list below have iPhone equivalents. As a side note I think competition in the Android market is going to drive super phone technology and as a result all of us users will benefit. It is amazing to me how great these devices are, and they are really only in their infancy. 5 years from now things are going to look much different. I can’t wait.
I use a Motorola Droid but am looking forward to upgrading to the HTC Incredible or whatever next generation Motorola comes out with by the time I am eligible for an upgrade.
I should also mention I wrote this entire article while driving a tractor planting corn. I will post another article some day on how that works. For now I hope you find these productivity tools as useful as I do.
1. Remember the Milk – $25/Year – Free Online – RTM, oddly enough, has nothing to do with dairy or cows. It is a Things To Do list. It is a very advanced web based application that synchs to your Android phone. One thing I loved about the palm was the ease and power of its task list. I used this feature intensively. The only down side to RTM is there is an annual fee to use the Android app but I feel the $25/year more than pays for itself in increased productivity.
2. Evernote – Free or $45/year premium – Evernote is a multi-platform note taking program. You can use it on your desktop, on the web, or on the phone. I use Evernote on my laptop to take notes at meetings, keep track of important pieces of information like frequent flier numbers, tractor and equipment maintenance and parts numbers, etc. I do a lot of inputing on my desktop then access the info from the phone. I also use the voice note feature on the phone when I am driving around and want to leave myself a note for later retrieval. I currently use the premium version. I use it to synch files between my desktop computers and backup important documents.
3. Bubble – Free – (Search Android Market) Bubble is basically a bubble level. You will be suprised how often you need a level on a dairy, farm, or around the house. I used this app just the other day to level the tool bar on a John Deere 1700 Corn Planter. You need to calibrate the level when you first download it. Use a regular bubble level for calibration.
4. Target Date (lite) – Free – (Search Android Market) – Target Date is a simple program that calculates time between two dates. It also will tell you a date in the future or past by simply typing in a number. For example you can ask it what will the date be in 100 days from now. Or how many days are there between now and Dec 25. I use this to figure out planting and harvest dates and all kinds of fun other stuff. – No image available.
5. Ultra Chron (lite) – Free – (Search Android Market) – This is a stopwatch and count down timer. Basic. Useful. I use this to calibrate spray equipment. It was even used recently at our farm bureau’s candidate forum to keep time for the candidate’s speeches.
6. Weather Bug Widget – Free – (Search Android Market) – Weather Bug is a weather website. I like the Weather Bug Widget for android because the app gives you a lot of detail about the weather. Wind speed & direction, radar maps, and severe weather alerts. Very useful for planning on the farm. Especially the Radar. I also use an app called Radar Now which does only radar. It has a bigger map and higher radar resolution than most phone based radar services.
7. Calendar Pad – Free – (Search Android Market) – This is app extends the functionality of the default Android calendar which I found inadequate for the amount of use I give it. Calendar pad gives you month views that show your appointments. It also makes it easier to add entries into the calendar.
8. Real Calc – Free – (Search Android Market) – Real Calc has saved my life. This is the only calculator I’ve found for Android that does on the fly unit conversions. I use this feature a lot.. For example I want to know the number of acres for any given pass of the corn planter. I can enter (L) 1280ft x (W) 20 = 25600 sq ft. Then hold the conversion button and click SQFT then Acres. It will then return the number .587 Acres back to the calculator where I can then multiply by number of passes to get the total area. This is just one of many examples of what makes this the best Android calculator on the market. It’s a must have.
9. GPS Measure – Free – (Search Android Market) – This is a very cool app that will measure distance using the GPS in the phone and Google Maps. I use this tool to measure fields, check distance traveled for water, measure corrals and shades on the dairy, etc. It is not accurate enough to build a house with, but for big jobs it does good enough. I plan to send the author a note and ask if he can make the app have the ability to measure three or more points and give you the area contained within. This would be very helpful for measuring fields. – No image available.
10. My Maps Editor by Google – Free – (Search Android Market) – All this app does is allow you to access “My Maps” in google maps. I use google maps to mark and keep track of field data. I can use this little app to access that info from my phone in the field. You can also set up lists of places for a trip on your computer then access those points from the road.