A World Without an App Store

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Imagine a world without the app store. Now breath and collect yourself. You probably imagined a barren waste land-desolate and terrifying. You might think you can’t live without your favorite apps but the truth is you wouldn’t be totally in the dark. There are some great apps that come stock on every iPhone. Many of which get tucked away in a junk folder when you replace them with something third party that’s only better in some niche way.

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These apps are underrated and deserve far more credit than they get.

The calendar app that comes stock on iOS is something the ultra-productive schedule oriented businessmen and soccer moms of the late nineties would have gone bonkers over. Maybe you can’t input new events as smoothly as you can on something like Sunrise Calendar but it can keep up with everything from important events, meetings, and even manage your billing cycles. The app is fairly intuitive with various simple ways of viewing every important event at a glance.

If I didn’t have Evernote I admit I would feel pretty lost. However I know I could get by with the stock Notes App. I’ve done it before and since last I used it the folks in Cupertino added some great features to it. Not only can you take simple text notes but now you can save photos to it and even draw within the app if you are so inclined. The app even supports checklists so it can handle everything from grocery lists to writing prompts and daily journaling. Some people even prefer their stock app because its simple and not as bloated as something like Evernote.

I am a to-do list kind of guy. If it needs to be done I have to put it in some type of checklist. Reminders isn’t Todoist it has no natural language input and no you can’t create subtasks, but it does get the job done. Reminders allow you to create multiple lists. So if you want to keep up with homework, or which movies you haven’t seen yet you can do that. Reminders is simple and functional. Oh and something else noteworthy-it actually works with Siri. You can’t really say for third party apps.

Without an app store you don’t have candy crush or YouTube to pass the time but you do have Podcasts. Podcasts not only can replace mobile games on your long commute but listen to the right podcasts and you might become a more interesting intelligent and entertaining person. If you don’t already listen to podcasts I recommend the Tim Ferriss Show for those of you into life hackery and interviews of world class people. I also recommend Welcome to NightVale if you like a good horror-comedy-Scifi narrative. If you already listen to podcasts but you use a different app like PocketCasts or Overcast you will miss some basic features but nothing too damning.

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Perhaps the most underrated app on your iPhone is Safari. In an alternate reality where you are stuck with only the apps that come pre-installed Safari does a lot of the heavy lifting. Safari can replace almost all of your social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. As far as YouTube goes the mobile site and the app are pretty similar. The reason I use Safari over Google Chrome on my phone and laptop most of the time is because of its article view feature. By simply clicking the little four horizontal lines in your address bar you can declutter blog posts and news stories and read them as plain text. That feature alone gets more use day to day than some of my less important social media apps.

I recommend playing around with the stock apps before you download your go to suite of apps that you think you can’t live without. You might be surprised to find that you can do a lot with them and if you bought the sixteen-gigabyte iPhone you might not even go back just in order to free up space for more selfies.

 

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You Are Who You Google

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Jim Rohn was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. Maybe you don’t recognize his name, but you might recognize his quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

This is a quote that I often see tossed around by life hackers and in articles about self improvement. I can see the validity in this claim. However, I think this quote can be updated for the modern age. “You are the average of the five people you google most often.” Of course co-workers and friend groups do rub off on one another, but how many of us mentally check out at our jobs and at social events waiting to be back home on our computers soaking up every bit of data the internet has to offer on a handful of people we have never met but that have shaped our lives so significantly? Following is the philanthropist, entrepreneur, film maker, rapper, and comedians that have shaped myself and my search history over the years.

The Philanthropist
John Green author of The Fault in Our Stars, one half of the youtube series Vlogbrothers, and an inspiring philanthropist who raises millions of dollars each year with the help of the youtube community and his brother Hank. He has also teamed up with Bill Gates to bring clean water to Ethiopia. I don’t often read fiction but I always look forward to John’s book releases and have seen every one of his youtube videos. Over the years John has taught me two important lessons: One featured near the end of this video , “What you do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting or important as who you do it with.” The other lesson is featured at the end of many of his videos and that is- Don’t Forget To Be Awesome, or DFTBA for short.

The Entrepreneur
I don’t remember how I managed to come across Tim Ferriss but I do know that every time he puts out a new podcast or blog post I pay close attention because I know that whatever content he produces is full of insight. Tim has taught me many things like the 80/20 principle and the importance of morning routines but the most important thing he has taught me is how to learn. In his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show he interviews world-class-everyone. From technologists to athletes, actors, comedians, CEO’s, and more Tim sets down with some of the best people in their respective careers, piques their brains and teases out the very best most useful advice and practices they have to offer and shares them with his listeners forever cementing the idea that being world class is more achievable than one might think.

The Film Maker
I first came across Casey Neistat when he was featured on a channel called Youtube Nation. The purpose of this channel before it got discontinued was to shed light on the best unknown channels youtube had to offer. 2,369,846 subscribers later I think they were on to something with him. Casey’s videos are so simple but clearly the result of handwork so much so that he makes anyone feel like they could make viral videos. The truth is anyone can and theres only two things anyone needs to know according to Casey Neistat. Number one-gear doesn’t mean anything. Casey has pointed out time and time again that anyone with a smartphone, a little bit of creativity, a great idea and hard work can make viral videos like clockwork. Number two-be willing to take risks. One of Casey’s most famous videos is a commercial he did for Nike titled Make It Count. Casey and Nike had an idea of what the video was going to be and Nike gave Casey a huge budget to work with. However, last minute Casey decides to scrap that idea and use the entire budget to travel around the world with a friend until the money ran out. Nike loved it and Casey made millions of fans.

The Rapper
Rap is not my favorite genre of music but it has brought me one of my favorite artists. George Watsky first came to me in the form of his video Pale Kid Raps Fast. After seeing this video I just thougt “Well thats neat” but later when I found out that he was a serious rapper and not just a one hit wonder I listened to his album Cardboard Castles and I kept listening to it and I still find it relentlessly entertaining and relatable. Two songs on this album in particular stick out to me, “Strong as an Oak” and “Moral of the Story”. With lyrics like “Because beer is cheap and because love is free,” “Strong as an Oak” just reminds me that even though I’m a broke college kid life isn’t all that bad and there is plenty to be thankful for. Moral of the Story however, is my productivity jam. In this song Watsky raps about working until your arms fall off and he really relays the message that if you’re not in your work for you you’re not really in it at all.

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The Comedian
Demetri Martin is a genius. I knew he was a genius when I first flipped the channel to Comedy Central and saw him flipping through his giant notepad with jokes so obvious and so simple that they just make you put your palm to your head and be bewildered that you never considered the hilarity of whatever simple thing he has just pointed out. My favorite show of his however is called If I. It is in this act that I learn two really important things. Firstly, that inspiration is in everything. For starters the entire show is based around the four simple definitions of “If” and within the show he makes poetry using only the words on a bottle of Rolling Bock beer, turns anagrams into poignant ah-ha moments and points out the ridiculousness of his many useless talents. Demetri’s special If I tells a narrative about how he had planed his whole life to be a lawyer until tragically, when he almost reaches his life’s ambition he realizes that he hates it. He drops out of law school and has to discover himself all over again. He teaches the audience that self discovery is a journey, not a plan.

Over and over again I find myself re-reading, re-watching, and re-listening to these people and each time I find something so intrinsically valuable in their work and in their words. I can only hope to become at least a fraction of the average of these awe inspiring individuals.

 

 

 

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Haven’t read my first post? Eight Life Lessons: Fight Club (film)