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Ting Staff Picks: Andrew’s top six

staffpicksI’m a little upset to see that my colleagues have already covered a lot of my favorite apps.

Brad’s post covered Mailbox, Ben stole covered Waze, Kyra talked about Asana.

With over 1 billion apps in the Google Play store (oh right, I should mention I’m an Android user), there are plenty more where those came from.

jsterminalJS Terminal

I certainly wouldn’t consider myself any kind of elite hacker, but I can follow along with an XDA tutorial with the best of ’em. Or at least the rest of ’em.

JS Terminal lets me, for example, connect to my Amazon Fire TV sideload applications I’ve downloaded to my phone. Just about anything that requires terminal / command prompt to accomplish, I can do with JS Terminal. It saves me pulling out the laptop or running back and forth between devices to accomplish what should be a simple task.

JS Terminal is available on Android.


I use 1Password at home, at work and on my mobile. I paid $50 for the Mac application and I feel I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth.

1Password stores all your passwords in one secure place. It creates an encrypted file in Dropbox storage and keeps all your passwords in sync across all your devices. That frees you up to focus on creating strong passwords as opposed to memorable ones. It also stores software license keys and credit card details, if you wish.

The browser extensions on a desktop or laptop is where this service really shine. For the ability to quickly look up a password when away from your main computer though, this app is invaluable.

1Password is available on Android and iOS.


I bought in to the Pebble smartwatch on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. The Glance app on my smartphone lets me customize my watch to show the weather, unread messages and missed calls. It also lets me configure simple text messages that I can then send with a couple of presses on my watch buttons. It’s a powerful app that makes the simplest of the smartwatches a little smarter.

Glance for Pebble is available on Android.


Screenshot_2014-09-22-12-25-14Yo sends a simple message to people you’re connected with. It fills a gap somewhere between not saying anything and sending a text message.

I like Yo because it’s basically a blank canvas. Developers or users add the context. Just one quick example: the content coordinator (and all around swell guy) at Ting, Jesse, will Yo me in the morning if he decides to stop for coffee. If I Yo back, I’m asking him to grab me one too.

I also receive a Yo if it’s going to rain in the next hour. As a cyclist, this is invaluable. That Yo comes from the appropriately named RAINHOUR account and when I receive it, I know to make haste (given that my commute home is about 40 minutes).

Where a Text message lets you ask what’s up or say something that needs to be said, a Yo is just a simple “hello.” It’s the smartphone equivalent of passing someone in the hall and saying hi. Or perhaps just nodding acknowledgement. When you receive a Yo, no response is required… but a simple response is available.

Yo is available on Android and iOS. Check out our video review.


There are a few podcasts I try to follow. Some are entertainment, some are educational, some informative. My favorites, like Freakonomics and Under the Influence check all three boxes.

PocketCasts connects you to a thorough list of audio and video podcasts. It lets you subscribe to shows and can be set to automatically download the latest episodes any time they’re available. Importantly, there’s an option to only download automatically when connected to Wi-Fi at home or in the office.

I commute by bike and so I don’t listen to music or podcasts while in transit. As such, my podcast listening isn’t a matter of routine. I like the flexibility to keep a series of episodes of my favourite podcasts on my device for those times when I have an opportunity to listen.

PocketCasts is available on Android.

ourgroceriesOur Groceries

This app offers a super simple way to keep a shopping list in sync. My wife and I each have the app installed on our phones. Any change I make to our shared shopping list is near instantly reflected on the her phone too. When one of us stops in to the store to pick something up, a quick check of Our Groceries lets us know if there’s something else we should pick up.

In the same vein, when we’re at the store together, we can split up the shopping list and get the chore done twice as fast. When I grab something from the list, I just long press to cross it off so we don’t end up with duplicates in the cart.

Our Groceries is available on Android and iOS.


What are your essential apps? Let us know in the comments!