Hopefully these apps and accessories will make your life a little easier.
1. Google Voice is an easy way to record incoming calls.
Because you have to talk to humans all day, every day, it’s easy to forget what the hell they said. Google Voice is a web-based phone service that rocks because: a) it’s free for all domestic calls, b) you can use your current number, and c) your recorded calls are stored on the web and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
To set it up, follow these instructions (Settings > Call Options), and to begin recording the call press 4. An automated voice will let both parties know that they’re being recorded.
2. Use TapeACall Pro ($10, iOS) or Call Recorder ($10, Android) to record outgoing calls.
One downside of Google Voice is that it can’t record calls you initiate. Many phone recording apps that can record outgoing calls charge per minute of recording, which can get pricey.TapeACall for iPhone and Call Recorder for Android are two apps with a one-time $10 fee. They’re both rich in features — and if you’re not sure about splurging on these apps, you can try the free version here for iOS or here for Android.
Nothing will ever replace Google Reader in our hearts (RIP), but the Digg app *can* replace the RSS reader on your phone. The app is fast, and the interface is clean. You can add publishers, authors, and blogs easily to your feed, save stories to read later, and share articles on social media with one tap.
5. If you cover tech, Skimfeed.com and Techmeme.com are a great way to skim the latest headlines from publications you visit every day.
These sites ain’t pretty, but they do save you plenty of time (and tabs). Skimfeed puts all of the latest headlines on one page. There are Skimfeed verticals for other topics too, like science, design, and Reddit. Techmeme (as well as its political, media news, and celebrity news counterparts) uses a mix of algorithms and human curation to rank the most read-worthy stories.
6. Breaking News + (Free, iOS and Android) has the quickest push notifications so you can stay on top of your game.
No apps are as quick as the Breaking News app run by NBC when it comes to pinging you when a major story is breaking. It constantly beats out wire service apps in the news alert game.
The app has some other great features, too. When you hide stories, that topic is “muted,” which is an awesome way to get rid of stuff you don’t care about (like Coachella or sports). There are also feeds to live video built into the app’s main feed, so you can watch someone important making an announcement on your way to work. One of my favorite settings is “Quiet Time” which silences push notifications for this app specifically while you’re sleeping, taking PTO, or your partner is begging you to get off your damn phone.
7. BriefMe (Free, iOS and Android coming soon) keeps you on top of trending news stories.
This interesting, new-ish app offers a good snapshot of what people are sharing/actually care about. When you open BriefMe, articles are ranked based on their virality, which is determined by Facebook likes and shares, Twitter retweets, and timeliness of publication. You can read articles straight from the app and filter stories based on topic or view a stream of recently published stories.
8. The BuzzFeed News app (Free, iOS; Android coming soon) has a team of human editors handpicking the most interesting stories around the web.
OK *not* to play favorites here, but the BuzzFeed News app is damn good at catching you up quickly on what’s happening around the world today. The featured articles are from sources all over the internet.
9. AudioNote ($5, Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android) is a simple app that allows you to take notes while you record audio.
Don’t let the app’s silly binder paper interface fool you! AudioNote is a fantastic recorder. You can take notes or draw, while recording audio with the app. You can also attach photos and create visual graphics. I like that it shows you the recording volume as you’re typing, so you know that the interview will sound clear during playback.
10. Rev Voice Recorder (Free, iOS and Android) captures clear audio and provides a $1 per minute transcription service.
This app is beautiful and incredibly simple to use. Rev optimizes your phone’s mic for voice recording and offers a $1 per minute transcription rate with a 24-hour turnaround.
Like the default Voice Memos app on iPhone, Rev will continue to record audio if your phone goes to sleep or you navigate to other apps.
You can sync your recordings with Dropbox automatically and trim each audio file within the app.
Pro-tip: Use your earbuds’ microphone as audio input for better audio quality.
11. Cogi (Free, iOS and Android) saves you time by only capturing the important parts of the interview.
How many hours have you wasted listening to long, drawn-out interviews? This app is indispensable once you start getting the hang of it. Start running Cogi at the beginning of a meeting, and when there’s an “aha!” moment, tap the button to “highlight” that part of the audio. The app will automatically keep the last few moments of recorded audio. You can tap again to end the highlight.
Outlook used to be the most hated application in corporate communications, but it’s reinvented itself as the best email app around.
As far as email goes, deleting, archiving and scheduling messages to resurface later are just a swipe away. But Outlook’s killer feature isn’t the way it handles email — it’s actually the quick access to your calendar, files from the Cloud, and contacts. These shortcuts make it really easy to book appointments and add attachments without ever leaving the app.
13. Byword ($12, Mac; $6, iOS) is a beautiful, distraction-free writing app for every type of Apple device.
Byword lets you start with your nut graf on the bus, and finish your piece at your desk. It supports Markdown (a neat type of code that makes text styling really easy) and syncs across Mac, iPhone, and iPad seamlessly. With one tap or click, you can export the piece to HTML, then copy and paste the text into your CMS.
Inspiration comes in the strangest places and if one of those places happens to be in bed, right before you fall asleep, then you’ll love Byword’s dark theme, which will allow you to jot down ideas without destroying your eyes.
14. iA Writer ($5, iOS and Android; $20, Mac) is a fantastic minimalist text editor for those with a Mac-Android workflow.
Like Byword, this app is a beautiful, distraction-free writing tool. It syncs over iCloud or Dropbox to work with your Android or iPhone and Mac. One of iA Writer’s best features is “Focus Mode,” which highlights one sentence at a time and fades the surrounding text, so you can keep on writing without being tempted to edit.
16. The Anker ($29) is the best external battery pack for the price.
Many photographers I’ve interviewed prefer the Anker battery pack above all else because it simply lasts longer than other brands. It’s also Wirecutter’s top pick in the category because of its size, price, and capacity. The Astro is suitable for most journalists’ daily needs. It holds about three full phone charges.
Now good night, and good luck.
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