5 Killer iOS Apps I Used A Lot In 2010

I install a lot of apps on my iPhone and if a month or so goes by and I haven’t used it, then I uninstall it. There are several apps that I started using frequently last year and I figured I would throw a list together since I find that I’m always turning people on to new apps.

Evernote – I don’t think there are a whole lot of people who don’t at least know about this app. And if you’re a friend of mine, you’ve probably heard me rave about it. As much as I hated giving up my Moleskine, Evernote has replaced it. Every note I take is on Evernote. And because there’s a desktop and web counterpart to the iOS app, everything syncs and my notes are everywhere. This is one of two apps that I absolutely could not be without. While I had installed it previously, I started using it daily this year. I think my co-worker Kris said it best:

Instapaper – This is the only app that I use more than Evernote. I think it’s fair to say I use the hell out of Instapaper. At it’s most basic level, instapaper allows me to save articles and read them later in a nice, easy-to-read format. This app also has a web counterpart, which you’ll need to use in order to get the most out of the app. The killer feature for me is that Instapaper can send you a weekly (or daily) digest of the articles you save directly to your Kindle. Whether I come across an article on Twitter, Google Reader or the New York Times, I just send it to Instapaper and read it when I have time. It’s also worth mentioning that I like the fact that Marco Arment seems to be a cool guy and since he’s actively developing Instapaper on his own, I like to support him. This was another one of those apps that I started using very regularly this year.

Calvetica Calendar – I’m not sure there was anything wrong with Apple’s built-in calendar application, but Calvetica is just better. It looks better and I really enjoy the minimalist approach. I’ve also recently started playing around with Dialvetica Contacts, which is a similar app replacement for the contacts and phone apps. It’s still a little rough, but is being actively developed.

Instagram –  I really love Hipstamatic, but I found myself wanting more on the social side of things from it. I somehow wanted an app that was Hipstamatic + Tumblr + Twitter and Instagram is that very app. It’s so simple to use and the ability to apply cool filters to your photos, follow your friends and push your photos out to other social networks at the same time make this one of the best apps of the year. It’s on the tops of everyone’s list, which is a good thing. The more people that know about it, the more friends I will have participating. It’s also worth mentioning that Path is an excellent and similar app. It lacks the extensive social capabilities of Instagram (by design), but is beautiful to use and I recommend you give it try as well.

HeyTell – If you’ve ever wanted a walkie-talkie or two-way for your iPhone, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Honestly, I didn’t know I ever wanted one, but once my buddy @boomcat sent a message to me on it, I was hooked. I’d never heard of the app, didn’t know anyone else that used it, but it’s a blast to use. It even has add-ons that you can purchase that allow you to change your voice in fun ways. I’m sure that more people will be installing this one over the coming months. It’s just too much fun.

Top 25 Albums of 2009 (and a few other things I liked)

Don’t let anyone tell you that it was a shit year for music. I had a tough time narrowing the list down to 25, but here it is in all its glory for you to digest and enjoy. Support the artists (and me) by purchasing the albums. In return, I offer you my Top of 2009 Mix. And while you’re at it, you might as well sign up to get my monthly mixes as well.

1. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
2. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
3. Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy
4. The xx – xx
5. Kings Of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence
6. Air – Love 2
7. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
8. Ramona Falls – Intuit
9. The Horrors – Primary Colours
10. Miike Snow – Miike Snow
11. Fanfarlo – Reservoir
12. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
13. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
14. Maps – Turning The Mind
15. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
16. The Big Pink – A Brief History Of Love
17. Doves – Kingdom Of Rust
18. Great Lake Swimmers – Lost Channels
19. Brakesbrakesbrakes – Touchdown
20. PANTyRAiD – The Sauce
21. Obits – I Blame You
22. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
23. A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Ashes Grammar
24. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
25. Timber Timbre – Timber Timbre

A few other things I liked that couldn’t make the list for various reasons:

Fulgeance – Smartbanging EP – An EP is not an album, but I almost made an exception for this masterful synth orgy. It’s a sexy mix of French disco and Hip-Hop beats. 
Here We Go Magic – Here We Go Magic – I cannot in good conscience recommend this entire album, but you’d be wise to download tracks 1,2,3,4 and 6. 
Nirvana – Live At Reading – I’ve owned the bootleg of this for years and it’s one of the live shows I own (bootleg or not) that I’ve heard. The fact that it’s Nirvana just moves it to the top of the list. If you’re even a casual Nirvana fan and you want to see and hear the band in top form, pick this up.
Nirvana – Bleach: Deluxe Edition – Sub Pop did an amazing job on this package and the album never sounded so good. It comes with an early live show as well. All on white vinyl (if you opt for that like I did).
The cover art for Neko Case’s album Middle Cyclone – I like the album, but don’t love it. The cover, however, is one of the best album covers I’ve seen in a long time. 
Victoire – A Door into the Dark EP – Why an artist would agree to do something with eMusic only is beyond me, but it’s worth getting your hands on this gorgeous new classical EP. It’s pretty mind-blowing.
Various Artists – Forge Your Own Chains: Heavy Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges 1968-1974 – The first thing that came to my mind after listening to this was that I was clearly born at the wrong time. The music is amazing, but the painstaking effort that went into the packaging for this package does not disappoint.
Finders Keepers Records –  You think I’m a music fan? Finder’s Keepers releases make me feel like I should be sent back to grade school with dunce cap. This UK-based label unearths some of the most incredible music from all over the world. I wish I could relay my amazement and excitement in words. I will own the entire catalog from this label.

The Top 25 Albums Of 2008

1. Flying Lotus – Los Angeles
2. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
3. Sigur Ros – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
4. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
5. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
6. Department Of Eagles – In Ear Park
7. Kid Cudi – Plain Pat & Emile Presents a KiD named CuDi
8. Everest – Ghost Notes
9. Deastro – Keeper’s
10. Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
11. Portishead – Third
12. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
13. Imaad Wasif – Strange Hexes
14. Fink –Distance and Time
15. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
16. Kings Of Leon – Only By The Night
17. Frightened Rabbit – The MIdnight Organ Fight
18. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
19. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down In The Light
20. R.E.M. – Accelerate
21. The Whigs – Mission Control
22. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
23. Jim Noir – Jim Noir
24. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
25. Deerhunter – Microcastle

Some current favorite albums

I think about my music listening habits all the time. The music sometimes reflects my mood and I’m fickle as all hell. On to the next favorite band. It’s too easy to find a new band all the time with the amount of music I find online and get turned on to . I make my monthly mixes every month, which reflect my listening habits and sometimes a guilty pleasure or two. And then there’s the albums that I always seem to go back to, some of which you can see reflected in my last.fm profile. There have been a lot of great records so far this year and it’s never too early to start thinking about my year-end, best-of list, right?

Deastro Keeper’s
I originally heard Deastro on the free and absolutely amazing Ghostly Swim compilation. The whole thing is pretty stunning and you can’t beat the price. The Deastro album is only available through eMusic for the time being.

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, you probably will at some point this year. They get compared to Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket, but that’s only because of the lead singer’s voice. The similarities stop there. This band must be experienced live as well. They put on a Majestic show.

Jubilee In With the Out Crowd & Rebel Hiss
Jubilee hasn’t released their debut album yet, but that didn’t stop me from giving them the best $20 I’ve spent this year. If the singles are any indication of what’s to come, this band could be on their way to greatness, which they deserve. Powered by Topspin, this is some of the best rock I’ve heard in a long time.

KiD CuDi A Kid Named Cudi
One of the best hip-hop mixtapes I’ve heard all year and another free album that I would happily pay for. Save your money for his debut, which is due later this year. Everyone is gonna be talking about this dude.