The Modern Day Swiss Army Knife

It’s official.  I love the iPod Touch/iPhone.  Hell, I have a 1st Gen iPod Touch, so I know there’s more to love in the latest versions.  Why?  Basically because it’s the cyberpunk version of a Swiss Army Knife.

I know I’m not the first to make this comparison, but I’m the kind of guy who likes to be prepared.  I always have a Swiss Army Knife on me at the very least, and often times carry a bag with all kinds of odds and ends.  Not for the reasons I can think of, but for the reasons I can’t.  You never know when something will come in useful in an unexpected way.

For example, while in Japan I came across a woman whose shoe sole came right off.  I had some superglue in my bag and was able to affect an on the spot repair that would at least see her home.  Last week at work I fixed one of the drawers that had broken at the bookstore with my screwdriver.  I used the rope in my bag to affect a means to drag a heavy box that was far too heavy to carry.

In much the same way, the new iPods are a modern day Swiss Army Knife, and I’m constantly amazed by the apps that continue to come out for it.  For example, what I have on it right now (all free apps or already installed):

  • Flashlight
  • Calculator
  • eBook reader
  • Dictionary
  • Cookbook (that not only have recipes but will help create and organize shopping lists)
  • Bank app that allows me to check my accounts, make transfers, etc (especially handy right now that we need to pinch pennies)
  • Map function that has a poor-man’s GPS built in that lets me know roughly where I am in Vancouver.
  • Netflix (so I can watch movies or TV shows anywhere there’s internet access)
  • News feeds (for Globe and Mail, BBC, CNN, etc)
  • Web Browser

And there’s more, of course, but this gives you an idea of its versatility. And those are programs I didn’t even pay for.  There are some impressive paid apps out there, and always new ones being made.

Granted few of these things other than the flashlight have a practical physical use.  Most of it is just information in one way or another.  However I only have the 1st Gen model that my dad gave me second hand, and am drooling at the prospect of getting a newer model – one that has a microphone (so I can use it like a phone with Skype) and camera built in.

The camera feature is so popular some people have called their iPhones cameras with a phone feature rather than phones with a camera feature.  Given how often I forget to bring my camera with me when I go somewhere interesting, that would be a handy thing to have.


One thought on “The Modern Day Swiss Army Knife

  1. It’s funny you mentioned this. In the story I’m working on, I actually have one of my characters use the flashlight app on their iPhone during an investigation – it amused me.

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