Apps We’re Thankful For

November 22, 2012

9:00 am

There’s a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, especially as our friends in the Northeast continue to put their lives back together after Hurricane Sandy.

Most of us are thankful for a job to go to each day, a place to come home to each night, and family and friends to share our lives with.

That said, there are plenty of little, everyday things that make our lives run smoothly and keep us connected with colleagues and friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m very thankful for the technology that helps me live my day-to-day life!

Here is a list of the apps the Tech Cocktail staff and contributors are thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day:

Jen Consalvo:

“I’m so grateful for apps in general and to all the people out there who think of the most random ideas and turn them into apps. I’m most thankful for some of the basics, like the camera and calculator on my phone which I use daily, the new maps app with voice so I no longer need to look at my phone while driving, Tripit to keep my travel organized, and Instagram (especially grateful that Facebook hasn’t changed Instagram much). And of course, I’m thankful for the Thankfulfor app, where I can read what people are grateful for all year long.”

Clint Costa:


“You can call for a taxi or black car anytime and anywhere without needing cash, and track progress on a map so you’re not waiting on the street for long.”


“Log, categorize, and describe your reimbursable expenses with your smartphone. The best part is that at the end of the month, Expensify creates and emails a high-quality report that can be submitted to your employer. All without ever having to keep a single receipt.”

Zach Davis:

Yahoo! Fantasy Football 2012 for iPhone

“Reading the inappropriate thought-stream of friends by way of fantasy football message boards has never been so easy. When I’m on the go, Yahoo!’s Fantasy Football app allows me to bench Mikel Leshoure just minutes before a breakout 3 TD game. Thanks Yahoo!”

Julia Fischer:

American Airlines App

“The American Airlines app is a life saver and allows me to stay a step ahead while traveling. All on my mobile device, I can access my boarding pass, terminal maps, create flight status notifications, and know if I will have GoGo access on my flight. Plus, it saves trees.”

Glen Hellman:


“Flashlight on my Android – because a cranky old guy is made slightly less cranky when I can actually read a menu in a dimly lit restaurant.”

Lindsey Holmes:


“Okay, so how cliche, but I am most thankful for Evernote (surprise!). I am obsessed for a good reason – Evernote has been at the center of my business workflow, allowing me to organize research, thoughts, and files and templates, and ensuring that I can focus on the creative versus the more ancillary things of business. I’ve used Evernote to keep pictures of my family and friends, inspirational quotes and vision boards to stay progressive in my life. I even use Evernote for blogging and sharing to social media. With a ton of free to low-cost integrations, I can do virtually anything with Evernote. For a cost-effective, all-in-one, on-the-go solution for my work, life and GTD goals, I am thankful for Evernote.

Heather Huhman:


“I’ve found InboundWriter is a great tool for optimizing posts and improving SEO. But it actually goes beyond simple SEO — it follows other best practices for online marketing and provides suggestions based on the content at hand. After initially testing it out on the Come Recommended blog, which was recently named one of Forbes’ Top 75 Websites for Your Career, we noticed a 200% increase in traffic, which has only grown since then. Needless to say, I’m hooked!”

Barbara Maldonado:


“Pinstagram (now Pictacular) – not only is it a great way for me to sort through my Pinterest and Instagram photos, it is also an amazing and untapped social media monitoring tool. I use it daily to get a pulse on trends and how consumers are capturing their brand affinities as well as what photos are posted from the brand events my agency hosts.”

Kira Newman:


“Gojee is a gorgeous recipe site that helped me discover one of my all-time favorite treats: a coconut cream pie milkshake.”

Call Recorder for Skype

“On a more practical note, Call Recorder for Skype helps me record all the interviews I do for Tech Cocktail, and it’s only $20. And, since it’s set to automatic and I forget to turn it off, I also have an audio history of random conversations with friends and family.”

Stephanie Nguyen:

Dinner Spinner

“From casual Wednesday potlucks with my friends to holiday dinner gatherings with family, there’s always that guy who brought the instant buttermilk biscuits or a side of store-bought coleslaw. I’ve proudly avoided being that guy with the Dinner Spinner App. Think casino-slot-machine-meets- creative-dinner-meal. Simply put in your parameters: dish type, ingredients, and the amount of time you’d like to spend cooking, and hit “Spin Categories.” You’ll narrow your list of options by relevance, ratings, and popularity. So, for all of you indecisive aspiring chefs-to-be or busy bees who just want to use what’s in your pantry, Bon Appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!”

Meg Rayford:

Remember the Milk

“I’m a To-Do list junkie, and Remember the Milk is my go-to app for keeping all my lists organized. I like that it can integrate with Gmail because that is the source of many of my To-Do’s!”

Marla Shaivitz:

Words with Friends

“You’d think I’d be over that particular app by now, but it keeps sucking me in. I play friends I see in real life, friends I haven’t seen in ten years, and when things are slow with those games, I’ll start games with friends I just haven’t met yet (otherwise known as strangers).

When I hear the chime that a word has been played, I know it’s ON.

I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if there were no Words with Friends. Would I be more productive? Would I be reading more? Would I know that Qi and Za are real words?

Either way, I’m thankful to Words with Friends for bringing more people into my word game geekdom.”

Jeff Tong:


“The flashlight app has definitely come in handy, especially when serving as a light source, as utilized when power outages occur in the DC region. When the lights go out, the flashlight app is great for playing chess and avoiding furniture (during power outages), searching for dropped items under furniture, and makes for a great camping light.”

Google Voice

“The Google Voice app is invaluable if you can’t answer a call, but still want to be able to read the message. Having the options 1) to have voicemail recorded for playback and 2) a voicemail transcription service to text messages, rocks!”


“Do you like camping? Or maybe you just can’t find the right address for your location. If you’re not sure what your exact address is but still need to return to that location, the Footprints app is for you. Footprints takes a photo and maps the exact GPS coordinates of your location for you to revisit or share.”

Frank Gruber:

“I have a bunch of applications that I use regularly like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Path, etc. But for brevity I’ll name three that may not seem as common. First, I would say Flipboard. It use it everyday to read news – it’s my morning paper. You can read Tech Cocktail news on it as well. I also like the Draw Something Free app. I play the game with family members while waiting in line a coffee shop or for an elevator. It’s fun to stay connected through the Pictionary-style game. Third and finally, I would say WordPress. I just added this part of this article via the WordPress app. Enough said.”

How about you? What are the apps you are thankful for today and every day? Share your favorite apps in the comments section below.


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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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