5 Things Everyone Should Have On Their Phone

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Don’t worry, this isn’t a not-so-subtle attempt to advertise for apps that have paid us to give them lip service on our website (looking at you, rest of the internet). Instead, this is simply practical advice for how to maximize what your phone should be used for on a day-to-day basis, rather than a list of apps with neat ideas, but little to no practical value.

1. A solid party playlist

Sure, most of your phone’s music usage will be you hosting a one man DJ show for yourself with your headphones in, but you never know when an audience is suddenly going to need music. And what’s a better way to become the popular guy at a party than being the genius who put “Sussudio” right next to Ginuwine’s classic “Pony”? This is of course assuming that you have good music taste. If you couldn’t care less about good music, and just kinda listen to whatever’s on, don’t bother. In fact, you don’t need to come to the party either. No, really. Please don’t come to my party. I digress. Some might argue that you don’t really need a playlist when you can just put Pandora on at a party. I’d argue the other way around. Pandora is much more suited for personal use. That’s how you discover (or rediscover) songs. When it comes to a party, every song has to be in place. One song that doesn’t fit with the energy of people together to have a good time will kill the mood. Sure, the ‘90s Alternative station will be mostly great hits, but why take the risk that Ben Folds’ “Brick” comes on and collectively harshes everyone’s vibe?

2. A list of your favorite stuff

For someone who talks about movies as much as I do, you’d think that I’d have an encyclopedic knowledge of my favorite films. For some reason, though, every time I get into a discussion about movies in general, and someone asks me what my favorites are, my mind goes blank. It’s like, “’Goodfellas’, and…uh, you know a lot of Scorsese’s stuff.” Which makes me sound like a damn idiot, especially given how much I’ve just talked about how much I love film. So, what was my solution? I created my top 10 list and kept it in my phone’s notes. Underneath that I also have a whole other group of movies that are “In Consideration” for the top 10. Every month or two, I’ll tweak the list based on what I’ve been watching recently. Sometimes a movie gets called up from the minors, or one of my top 10 feels like it’s there for the wrong reasons, and I send it down to the D-League to work on its skills. But it’s a great conversation starter. “Oh, you like movies? Bam. Here’s my list. Now we have something concrete to begin with.” This also works for whatever you’re passionate about. Music, artists, train collecting, you name it. Having a list readily available that’s related to something you’re likely going to talk about at some point is insanely useful.

3. A photo vault

Don’t save your n00dz to your camera roll, ya dummy. Seriously, is there a bigger rookie mistake than keeping scandalous pics in a place where anyone can access them? You’re one rogue finger tap away from tweeting a titty/cockshot to all 75 of your Twitter followers. If you’ve decided that you’re gonna be a person who saves the nudes other people send you (read: a rational person who likes naked bodies), then you need safe storage for them. There are dozens of apps that do this for you. I personally use FloBoxPro (not a plug; they’re all free, and I don’t give a shit which one you use). The icon makes it look like any other general, boring media app. But in reality, it’s a safe for all photos and videos you don’t want prying eyes to have access to. Hit the app, and it immediately forces you to type in a four digit PIN to access it. After that, it’s your own Shangri La of illicit photos. Once you upload a photo, delete it from your camera roll, and call it a day.

4. Some kind of car service

For some reason that is incomprehensible to me, there are people I know who refuse to use car service apps or taxis. Like it’s somehow against their moral code to pay someone else to drive their drunk ass home. So they’re usually in two situations, either drink enough to stay under the legal limit, thus also limiting their fun, or badgering their friends into either coming with them to be the sober driver, or to pick them up. As the person on both ends of the badgering equation, it’s shitty, and we gotta stop. Of course you could always drive drunk and cross your fingers that you don’t get pulled over, or kill someone/yourself. That’s always (not) an option. You know what’s cheaper than a DUI, or annoying your friends? Uber/Sidecar/Lyft/Hail-a-Cab. Don’t have it in your city? Get a taxi. Still cheaper. Don’t have taxis? Go to bars within walking distance, or move to a real fucking city.

5. Wikipedia

I don’t understand why we still have arguments about facts anymore. Things either happened or they didn’t. I once overheard some guys spend five minutes debating whether Jim Thome hit over 600 career homers. It’s on the fucking internet, people (he did, by the way). I really wonder how many arguments pre-smartphone were entirely based on false information. Like you could spend an entire argument back in the early ‘90s with your buddy over whether “Out of Africa” should have beaten “The Right Stuff” to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, only to find out days later that they weren’t even nominated in the same year. What kind of life is that? Arguing about shit that isn’t even relevant. Granted, most of my arguments are along the lines of “Would Christian Slater have been a bigger star if he’d come around 10 years later?” which isn’t exactly geopolitics. Still, it’s nice to know that a free world encyclopedia is now always at our fingers. At least now we know our arguments will be factual, if not exactly important.

Oh, and get the PGP app. It’s pretty rad.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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