Now let’s get this clear from the outset; I’m not against wasting hours on end tinkering around with iPhone applications. In fact, it’s actually my favourite way to burn spare time. The original release of ‘Angry Birds’ almost brought on the end of a long-term relationship, because I dedicated every spare minute to finding those damn Golden Eggs. My point is that iPhone apps are an awesome procrastination aid and I’m certainly not immune to their siren-like charms.
All that being said, I’ve recently come to fully appreciate just how much more there is to the wonderful world of iPhone apps than just flinging some irate birds at a pile of smug-looking pigs. For those willing to dig a little deeper, there is an entire marketplace of apps out there, many of which are free, that have the ability to enlighten, entertain and even educate.
That’s right; there are a whole host of iPhone Apps that teach you something and help you become a better, more well-rounded person.
Here are four that you should probably check out right now:
TED / by TED Conferences / Cost: FREE – If you’re yet to hear of the utterly absorbing, genius-filled website, Ted.com then you’ve certainly stumbled across the right guest post today because you’ve got a lot to learn.
The TED iPhone app provides you with optimized access to free videos of talks and presentations given by some of the world’s most inspiring people; leaders in technology, business geniuses, psychologists and much more. The app allows you to bookmark and download the videos directly onto your phone for easy reference and viewing on the go. The talks on TED will educate, motivate and more. Ignoring this app – especially considering it’s free – would be absolute madness.
Survival Guide / by Max Soderstorm / Cost: FREE – I know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen a few episodes of ‘Man verses Wild’ and caught ‘Doomsday Preppers’ once or twice, so you’ve got survival pretty-much down pat, right? Let’s not forget that you likely watched both of those programs while drinking a soda and eating a bowl of chips on the sofa.
Based entirely on information from the U.S. Military Survival Manual, this iPhone app will have your back. It’s a one-stop-reference-shop for Basic Survival Medicine, information on fire craft, shelter and more. You’ll want to have this installed on your iPhone prior to landing on that desert island. Here’s hoping you can build a hut prior to your battery dying though …
Learn Chess / by Tom Kerrigan / Cost: FREE – You’ve obviously found your way to this site because you, like all of us, have an unwavering love for all things modern-technology. Before you scoff at the thought of learning to play a game that wasn’t first launched via a tablet device, take a moment to consider just how awesome the game of chess actually is.
If you’re intimidated and feel that it’ll be too hard to learn, you’re dead wrong. The basics of chess are actually quite simple and can be picked up after just one or two games. This iPhone app gives a thorough walkthrough for newcomers but once you’re hooked – and trust me, you will be – you can dive into more complex strategies and tactics. At the very least, downloading this app will provide you with the information you need to avoid the embarrassment of having your eyes glaze over if you’re ever asked if you know how to play.
Mixology™ Drink Recipes / by Digital Outcrop / Cost: FREE (Paid Version Available) – If you’ve ever had a date or even a member of the opposite sex around to your place at some stage you’ve inevitably asked the question: “can I get you a drink?” While I’m sure your ‘friend’ was pleased with the beer or stock-standard wine you presented them with, wouldn’t it have been so much more impressive to have possessed the knowledge to just ‘whip up’ something a little more fun, (hopefully) setting the tone for the rest of your evening together in the process?
This iPhone app teaches you all the techniques and recipes you’ll ever need to mix some of the most delicious and awe-inspiring drinks ever invented. Everything from Classic Cocktails and Jelly Shots, right through to Hot Drinks and Non-Alcoholic mixes are presented here for your tastebud’s enjoyment.
It’s incredible to witness just how much we can actually learn from the fun, little apps we sometimes take for granted on our iPhones. I mentioned at the beginning of this piece that I’m certainly not running an anti-fun app campaign here; I love popping virtual bubble wrap just as much as the next person! However, it is brilliant to see just how a small sample of education-based apps can turn you so swiftly into a chess-playing, intellectually-minded, drink-mixing survivalist.
Now, imagine how much more there is offered out there.
Until next time, I’m off to mix up a Martini.
==== About the Author ====
Darcy Stach is a professional freelance writer. A self-proclaimed ‘video game junkie,’ Darcy writes about everything geek culture – from what feels is the best flight sim , right through to her thoughts on modern technology, comedy, comics and more. To follow Darcy’s work visit this blog.