Guest post by Mike Poynton
Smart phones have revolutionized the way many of us travel. The first iPhone running the iOS was released in 2007 and only 3 short years ago the Android OS was just a buzzword. Since the advent of both, the world just hasn’t been the same. My friend and fellow geek, George McGolrick – owner at Hotel la Finisterra – has his fingers on the pulse of mobile technology, as do most of his guests – they’re a pretty tech savvy bunch! He’s noticed 4 apps that just about all of his guests with smart phones use. Here’s the Hotel la Finisterra’s list of the top 4 mobile apps for the Techie Traveler.
1. magicJack APP: If you live in North America, travel and have not heard of magicJack, you’re either dead or living in a cave. magicJack is a device that plugs into a USB (Not USB3) port on the user’s computer (or in the case of magicJack Plus, plugs directly into a router), and that has a standard RJ-11 phone jack into which any standard phone can be plugged. It provides Internet-based telephone service (VoIP) to the United States and Canada. Pretty cool, right?!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Now anyone with an iPhone can use the magicJack APP to call anywhere in the U.S. or Canada for FREE! You don’t need your computer to place calls. All you need is a WiFi connection and you’re able to call and receive calls via your iPhone (You’ll actually get a free telephone number from magicJack so your friends and family can call you on your iPhone). Existing magicJack customers can sign in to magicJack APP with an active U.S. or Canadian phone number on their magicJack account and may use it to make and receive calls with magicJack APP.
I think this one’s revolutionary!
2. Instagram APP: A few days ago, Instagram celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the first photo taken with Instagram.
Since that date over 50 million people have shared more than 1 billion photos on Instagram. In April of 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram (and its 13 employees) for $1 billion. What’s my point: it’s a pretty popular app, to say the least!
So what is Instagram? Instagram is a free photo sharing program that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it and then share it on a variety of social networking services [Twitter, Facebook (personal and business Timelines), Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare] as well as Instagram’s own network. Photos are confined to a square shape – a throwback to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images – and the filters allow users to be creative and add even more personality to their photos. I find it, frankly, addictive. Once you start taking photos with Instagram, you probably won’t stop!
3. Google Translate APP: Supports 64 different languages – one of them happens to be Spanish. This little app is not only useful, it’s pretty darn fun too! Travelers can either type or speak their native language into their smartphone and then see the written translation and/or listen to the spoken translation via the app. This one becomes a hilarious bar game after a few Finisterra margaritas! ¡Pura vida!
4. Google Earth APP: OK… So this one is just plain cool. If you’re like me and so many others like me, you can immerse yourself in Google Earth for hours without knowing the time is passing. I didn’t list any GPS APP’s here because there are so many. But if you have one on your smart phone, like most techie travelers do, you can plug in your coordinates and zero in on your location on the Google Earth APP and see what’s interesting nearby. I love taking screen captures and posting them or tweeting them out to my friends, family and followers to make them jealous! Have fun with this one!
So even though your SIM card may not work in Costa Rica and you may not have cellular coverage, there is plenty of WiFi available – especially at the Hotel la Finisterra. And with these apps you can stay connected with friends, family and co-workers and have a wonderful time here poolside or at the beach, sipping a cold tropical drink while you make everyone jealous back home.