Staff Picks: 2012’s Best Apps

By Lizzie MacNeill, Communications Officer, Calgary

As pioneers setting up base camp on the edge of Alberta'€™s tech frontier, we'€™re used to hunting and gathering for the new and the neat. Here are our staff picks for best apps of 2012 '€” these babies are must-downloads over the holiday season!

David Chan, Project Manager

'€œMy favourite app is pocket. It allows you to pocket any stories you've seen on the web for later viewing. It's really handy when you see an interesting article but don't have time to read it right away. You simply hit the button and then read it from any device later on. It can also be archived for later reference."

Jean-Francois Amiot, Technology Operations Manager

'€œI tend to be scatter-brained. I need something to take notes reliably, and I really like EverNote because you can also save pictures as notes. I often take picture of books I want to remember to buy!

"I also like the Calibre app, it'€™s like the munchkin of e-reading. If you have an e-reader, this is absolutely required to help you convert e-book formats and organize your library.'€

Robin Winsor, CEO

'€œMy can'€™t-live-without app is Tripit '€” I use it for all of my travel. It keeps all of your trip details like your flight info, rental car reservation and even directions to your hotel in a master itinerary. It can also share trip updates via e-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter when you land and takeoff.

"Paper is also a wonderful app. I use it as a notebook to take notes, draw diagrams and mindmaps, etc.'€

Lindsay Sill, Interim Executive Director, WestGrid

'€œOne of my favourite apps right now is MyFitnessPal, which is used for tracking your diet and counting calories. I recommend this app because it helps you moderate how many of those little squares you can eat at the next conference you attend. Or might inspire you to hit the treadmill at the hotel. This is a great app for the New Year if your resolution is to get in shape and lead a healthier lifestyle! 

"I also love goodreads. It's probably my most used app. I use it to read books on my iPhone. Perfect on the plane or at (dreadful) times when you don't have connectivity, as you can download the e-book and read it anytime, anywhere. It's great for finding books to gift, as some books have been rated by thousands of people. It also has a social media side to it. Super awesome app!'€

Alvaro Pereira, Network Analyst

'€œIf you need Wi-Fi access on the go, this Wi-Fi finder is essential. It helps you dodge the coffee shops that don'€™t have Wi-Fi. It has Wi-Fi hotspots logged in over 144 countries."

 Luke Tymowski, Systems Administrator

'€œI like Letterpress '€” it'€™s sort of like a mix between Scrabble and Go. It's a very addictive word game that you can play with friends and family. The app has been causing quite a stir with the tech community.

"This second app is only available to Australians, but the National Health Services Directory is a really interesting app that tells you where the nearest doctor, hospital, pharmacy or clinic is. The app has a lot of potential uses and would be a goldmine for a parent with a small child on the lookout for a pediatrician close to home, or someone who needs to find pharmacies when they are on the go.'€

Joe Topjian, Systems Administrator

'€œMy favourite app is Kindle. I can copy a wide variety of doc formats to my phone or tablet and read them with Kindle. Additionally, when I buy books from Amazon, they sync to all of my devices. I can read something on my way home from work on my phone, and then continue on my tablet when I get home '€” Kindle will even jump to the page that I left off at.'€

David Ackerman, Senior Developer

'€œI also like EverNote. It's a really simple note-taking app, but has great integration between desktop and smartphone (or tablet/web), the ability to take audio notes, etc. I'm a big believer these days that "creativity" is really just being able to catch all the ideas that occur naturally and then have the time/skills to work with them. This helps me have fewer obsessive all-nighters chasing the muse (or days at work where I feel I'm losing something brilliant) because wherever I am, I can just jot it down and forget it. Having a permanently available notebook that adapts itself to whatever tool you happen to be using at the time '€” I know it's nothing new, but it's finally been done so well that I've stopped thinking about it, and it has just become a natural part of my routine."

Wishing you a happy holidays and speedy downloading!