Convention app survival guide for Macworld and beyond
Where to go, who to meet, what restaurant serves the best sushi?
Sure, all of those questions can be answered by another human, but this is Macworld/iWorld. Why ask someone else when there's an app for that?
So we put together a few helpful apps to keep track of business cards, meet other attendees and find that killer sushi restaurant. Though we have suggested a few apps that work especially well for Macworld/iWorld, these apps should help you survive any conference.
Conferences are a flurry of business cards and press releases. Mobile app developer IntSig Information just released a few apps to help keep track of it all. CamCard will scan business cards through the iPhone lens and keep track of them in the cloud. And right now it's 60 percent off, about $3 for a limited time.
The company also offers a CamScanner app that works like a portable digital scanner and fax machine. Though sending faxes will cost a bit, digitizing press releases can be a real help in the chaos of MacWorld/iWorld. But there are three version of CamScanner (free, pro and plus) so be sure to pick the one that works best for you.
But if you are looking to go more high-tech, there's also the option to share digital business cards. Cardflick and my facecard let you create beautiful looking virtual cards and send them through email. Pretty cool if you are looking to go green or if you run out of business cards.
Getting around town
Finding your way around a new city is difficult and San Francisco has its own unique set of challenges. The city's mixture of one-way streets and forbidding turn signs have taken many a driver to the brink of madness.
Good thing San Francisco has an excellent public transit system. It used to go without saying, but make sure you redownload Google Maps–it has the best and most accurate public transit information, telling you where to stand to grab a bus and when it will be arriving. Apple Maps still has to do a lot of catching up and has no info on buses or subways.
And if you insist on bringing your car, check out the SFpark app. It's hooked into a system of smart parking meters and will tell drivers the best places to find parking and how crowded the streets are at a given time.
Just remember to heed California law and don't use your phone while driving.
Finding tasty eats
If you’re on a break and looking for a good place to find Shawarma or some coffee, Yelp and Foursquare are your best bets. Foursquare is a great app to find the best restaurants without having to sort through lists of less appetizing offerings. If you want a bomb burger, just type in your request into the search and recommendations will pop up from other Foursquare users and friends who use the app.
But Foursquare doesn't have a huge list of reviews for eateries. So if you are wondering how a particular restaurant is, Yelp is still the go-to app with a comprehensive collection on what's good and what isn't.
Meeting new people
There are plenty of good location-based social networking apps, like Facebook for the people who are immediately around you. This is another good use for the aforementioned Foursquare, which will tell you about friendly people in your nearby vicinity.
Other good ambient social networking apps include Sonar, Highlight and Kismet. Kismet also recommends people who you should meet and why it thinks you guys will hit it off. Just remember if you are using one of these apps, they will stay on while your iPhone is asleep and will drain the battery.
Sharing the sights through sites
If you’re looking for a good way to share pictures and aren't happy with Instagram's new terms of service, there are plenty of good options from recognized names.
Flickr and Twitter just released new iPhone apps that have much of the same functionally as Instagram, filters and all. And since they're already connected to social networking sites we use, there won't be too many steps to share your photos with the people you know.
But if you are looking to stream some video to the web, check out Ustream's live broadcasting app. It's free and will upload the content to your Ustream channel, which you can also get for no cost. You can even set up to tweet when you go live or broadcast it to your Facebook page.
If the convention Wi-Fi is choked with users and you absolutely need a signal that doesn't cost anything, try Wi-Fi Finder. It will find where you are and show you all the public access Wi-Fi hotspots around you, even directing you to where you need to go and giving you the low-down on the business. Best part is the app costs nothing to use.
For more of Allvoices' coverage of Macworld/iWorld 2013, the Ultimate iFan Event, check out allvoices.com/macworld.