FREE iPhone Apps Dad Will Appreciate More Than Soap On A Rope

iTieJune 19, 2009 Let’s face it, young kids win ‘em over with artsy casts of their little hands, or fingerprinted cards and plates, poems, rhymes, recitals and songs…

…But some tweens and teens start running out of useful ideas once they’ve gifted freebie music mixes, personal playlists, chore chart IOUs to wash the car and all that good stuff. So how can kids dodge the stereotyped ‘soap on a rope and necktie’ routine and be free, meaningful and useful to boot?

Two of my favorite media freebies are a Father’s Day Animoto video (an amped up ‘e-card’ of personalized thoughts and photos set to a music montage which will make dad feel like a rockstar with his own movie trailer)…And a a retro flashback to something simple and carefree dad loved as a child (shades of Judge Reinhold and that ‘Oscar Meyer wiener whistle’ in the Santa Clause movie!) along with a sweet gesture like a lovingly filled “frequent user” card from a child’s favorite eatery ready to redeem (very touching to see a child gift dad that hard-earned smoothie, soft pretzel, etc. they’d been working on!)

Today I’m focusing on FREE iPhone apps kids can gift to a digital generation of Apple-toting Dads. An  iTie instead of a necktie? You bet. Here are free “lifehacks” to make Dad’s Day a bit easier.
iPhoneClawLogan Lape of Gizmodo created a great visual (at left) of the grab bag of offerings out there in Jason Chen’s post on favorite Gizmodo picks…and Co-Ed Magazine offered these 14 recent iPhone picks for Dads.

But I’m goin’ for FREE here. In this economy, free is good. Very, very good.

So I’ll assume the free apps like Yelp, Google Mobile, Twitterific, Yellow Pages, Skype, Facebook, and various news feeds like Net News Wire and the New York Times are a ‘given’ for iPhone toting data dads, but what about cool apps to find the closest free Wi-Fi or keep tabs on where you parked the car?

I’ll also do an “under $5” list tomorrow for last minute gifting when kids want to ‘buy a little something with their own money’ this Sunday without breaking open the piggybank. For now? Freebies it is!

Shaping Youth’s FREE iPhone Apps for Dear Ol’ Dad (part one of two)

itie2iTie: An update on the quintessential Dad’s Day gift, iTie is a perfect iphone app for the casual Friday generation of dads in jeans who are least likely to know how to tie more than one kind of knot.

This app instructs dad on a Half Windsor, Double-Tie Knot, Four-in-Hand, The Onassis and the Oriental Knot with speed settings to ‘wrap-n-repeat’ which any teen son might want to snag for HIS phone too!

Where: By uLocate Communications is a stellar freebie find for pulling in data to get what you need when you need it, whether it’s cheapest gas, nearest coffee, movie/concert times and directions, best restaurants (via Yelp) it’s like a one stop powerhouse crammed into an easy, location-aware resource for those dads who refuse to ask directions and want to look like a local at all costs.

keeper Keeper: Jason Bourne would be proud…Okay, SpyKids, this is a ‘Mission Impossible’ style app that ‘self-destructs’ all your Dad’s important password data held on his iPhone after five failed attempts to enter the master password.

Great for Dads who want to secure sensitive information in one fail safe ‘vault’ on their mobile (bank details, SSN#s, etc.) using military-grade 128-bit AES encryption. Perfect for misplaced iPhones, assuring all secret data will be wiped out if it falls into the wrong hands. (Applelinks review here)

natural curesNatural Cures: Crunchy dads will appreciate having a pocket encyclopedia of ‘alternative’ remedies that ditch the pill popping big pharma prescriptions for indigestion, headaches, jet lag, insomnia and such in favor of the green scene. Love this one.

Bloomberg: Financial whizzes won’t miss a beat managing their portfolios since this app sucks in data from multiple sources for up-to-the-minute analysis of commodity, bond, currency markets and your own customizable stock news. Hard to believe it’s free with all this richness of resources…

Carbon Tracker: A very personal mindfulness tool to track your own ‘carbon footprint’ every time you’re running errands, ‘leavin’ on a jet plane’ and hustling hither and yon.

It basically calculates the distance of trips, lets you set units and vehicle type (air, rail, bus) to help you understand it all, and enables you to set monthly goals reminding to reduce global warming on an individual basis. (think ‘biofeedback’ for going green)

imapmyrunHey Sports Fans! Find out specific conditions like the Surf Report, iSki App, or mobile guide to the Masters Golf Tournament, or opt for a broad overview of stats, news and scores from portals like Sports Tap or Fox Sports.

Then turn your apps into abs with this el cheapo personal trainer using iPump Free Workout, Meal Diary, iMapMyRun, and other fun fitness freebies to get you in shape via smart phone.

All the Countries: For all the kids that think Dad knows EVERYthing about the world, this app ensures the knowledge is at least at his fingertips, covering every single country on the globe in snapshot format of simplified wiki style. Next time junior asks “what’s the capital of Uzbekistan, Dad?” he’ll be all set.

European Union Factbook & Quiz: Similar to the app above, this one is Euro-centric with a direct link to the wikipedia page, and a quiz to ‘test yourself’…Good stuff to know for globetrotting Dads, backpacking students, or waiting room windows of ‘downtime.’

bookrowStanza: Long wait at school pick up? Forgot a good book for the plane?

Never be caught without free reads and a literary library a tap away with over 50,000 free e-books and classic authors, plus pay-to-read access of bestsellers and an even larger selection. I’ve never been one for screen reading, but this catalog concept provides unprecedented value and reshaped my thinking…

It’s right up there with the freebie Shakespeare app offering the entire works of the bard (20 plays, 6 poems, 154 sonnets, etc.) to add a little ‘kulchah’ to Dad’s Day…

love lightJust For Fun: Music fans will get a kick out of the “Virtual Zippo” to replace the encore flame flicking at concerts…(yep, I’ve downloaded it and I’m using it at the Fray August 1st!)

Babelgum is a free smattering of random video clips in thumbnail form that’s quicker and more diverse than browsing YouTube, drawing from the BBC, silly spots, concerts and more, reshuffled with a quick little shake to see what pops up. (you can also define by popular picks, top rated/buzzworthy, etc)…

“Top Blogs” app (14 in 1) Commuter dads can quickly scroll through 14 of the blog biggies including digital dad favorites like Gizmodo, Engadget, Kotaku, Consumerist and Lifehacker zapped right into their iPhone via updated RSS feed with one simple free app.

scribbleFor Dad? Or For dad to keep kids busy?

Get your seatbacks and tray tables ready to use Scribble, a colorful doodle tool to literally fingerpaint images, sketches, and tracings to life…Perfect for ansy kids and creative director dads to replace the ‘cocktail napkin’ brainstorming visuals to get clarity of concept across quickly.

Spanish Tutor: This is a must for Californians like yours truly, (whose teen would rather go the immersion route than drills) as it has helpful repetition, flash cards, quizzes, pronunciation tips, puzzles and more. (Right up there with the free ‘times tables’ drills to multiply kids’ knowledge when you have to hand off the iPhone waiting for the orthodontist)

iTranslate: Based on the Google translation engine, you can put 42 languages in your pocket with a quick click to translate a sentence and send it via email. There are glitches like most translation tools (I’ve heard the Arabic left to right readability and Japanese translation to Kanji characters are both major foul-ups) but hey, what d’ya want for FREE?!

Speed Geek dads who want to instantly know whether their gear is running afoul can check their iPhone or iTouch with this app using a massive global infrastructure to test bandwidth across hundreds of servers. (Hat tip to my IT guy, Sky for this one!)

More tomorrow in the ‘under $5 spot’ gestures for kids to gift to Dads…

Meanwhile, what are YOUR free finds in the media or marketing space?

Here’s a yummy one I just found for a FREE cup or cone of yogurt for Dad at participating TCBY yogurt on Sunday and there are several ‘Dad eats free’ promos landing in my inbox today…You?



  1. I have been looking looking around for this kind of information. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be grateful if you will.

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  3. Very cool….will try to write this up in a back to school math roundup…thanks!

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