9 favorite apps that can make life easier

Apps are the building blocks and basis for every smartphone. Smartphones have three separate operating systems (OSs) that do not mingle: Apple has iOS, Nokia and Windows phones use Windows Mobile, Samsung and Google phones use Android. Not all apps are available on all operating systems. You can’t put an app on a smartphone or device if it wasn’t made for that OS. 

Senior Life writers Muffy Berlyn, Flora Reigada and Jeff Navin share apps that they use during their daily activities. Feel free to adopt some our favorites or let us know if you have some favorites of your own.

Muffy Berlyn

Jigsaw Puzzle is a free app I enjoy and can be used while watching TV and relaxing. It lets you choose the size puzzle you want to work with on any given image they supply, from four pieces to 100 pieces, and whether you want the pieces rotated or all straight up. You can choose a background color for the board, and single out the straight edge pieces for a jump start. 

Flora Reigada

The Gas Buddy app keeps travelers informed of fuel prices at individual gas stations. These change to keep information current and users may inform Gas Buddy of any changes. Gas stations are listed, enabling the consumer to do comparison shopping. This app can be used locally or to research gas prices around the nation. 

Muffy Berlyn

Voice Memos app for the iPhone records conversations and keeps the recordings in a simple list with a title you create that includes a date stamp, and length of time of recording in seconds, minutes, hours. I use it for interviewing people for freelance articles I write. But I have also found it is good for recording what doctors say during my doctor’s appointments. 

Muffy Berlyn

My husband and I have taken to looking at the night sky from our back deck using simply a pair of binoculars, and also the app called SkyView which is free. SkyView maps out what you are looking at just by pointing your phone at the sky with varying small to large white points representing the star or planet, mapped in the correct pattern. While you look at your phone to see the real thing, their mapped version is overlaid onto what you see and you can easily select individual points of light to get the name and description of what it is. With SkyView, you can see solar system objects, stars and constellations.

Jeff Navin

DirecTV offers an app that allows its subscribers to watch programming that they subscribe to on their phone. It also allows its viewers to set up their DVR if they forgot to tape a program before leaving the house. That feature is bound to prevent a lot of family discord. A delay at the airport isn’t too bad if everyone can watch a baseball game, an HBO movie or a favorite show on their cell phone. 

Jeff Navin

For the basketball fan, the NBA app is a good choice. A quick glance can give updated scores of live games or a detailed archive to look up box scores from games played throughout the season. League pass subscribers also can watch games from their phone. The app is filled with feature stories and news. 

Flora Reigada

Some prefer the feel of a physical book, but the Kindle app is for those who prefer a virtual library at their fingertips, accessible by phone, tablet or computer. This app reduces the clutter of books gathering dust and silverfish in one’s home. Economy is a factor as well, because e-books are considerably cheaper than paperback or hardcover books. Many are available on Amazon and can be downloaded instantly. 

Flora Reigada

While the calculator app may not be entertaining or exciting, it can be a budgetary aid. This is especially important for those living on fixed incomes. In the grocery store for example, adding each purchase helps the shopper make decisions. It also helps avoid sticker shock and a potential coronary at the checkout. 

Jeff Navin

The MLB.com app also is desirable for baseball fans. MLB Extra Innings subscribers can watch live games or, for those who do not subscribe to this wonderful service to watch your favorite team no matter where you live, there are live pitch-by-pitch updates from a simulated baseball diamond of all live games. The app is full of statistics in a sport that lives by the numbers. 

For the baseball fan who takes his allegiance perhaps too seriously, the MILB.com First Pitch app is a way too keep track of future stars learning the craft in baseball’s minor leagues.