Your iPhone can play games, store loads of contact information, take pictures, play music, and of course make and receive phone calls. But it’s also a valid research and reference tool for students, and when equipped appropriately, can retrieve sports scores, let you make investments, check flight statuses, find restaurants, and even tell you what you’ve got in your pantry. Here’s our list of 100 best reference tools for your iPhone, and ones that you’ll actually use.
Students will love these handy apps that let you work and study while on the road.
Little Black Book: Store personal contact information and relationship details that can be locked on your iPhone with this app.
iRec Voice Recorder: Turn your iPhone into a voice recorder you can reference later with this app.
WhosHere: Using this app, you can find friends who are nearby.
Remember when celebrities had to be gorgeous, fit, wealthy and glamorous? Thank goodness times are changing, thanks to the return of slapstick comedy, comic book films and TV shows about the supernatural. Geeks are finally given starring roles, turning them into sex symbols with mega fortunes to rival traditional celebrities. Take a look at our list of 12 celebs who give everyday geeks hope for fame and fortune.
Justin Long: Justin Long is one of Hollywood’s cutest geeks, thanks to roles that highlight his quizzical facial expressions, squeaky voice and lovable underdog persona. Long has appeared in films like Jeepers Creepers, Waiting, Dodgeball, and Live Free or Die Hard, and he’s also known as the Mac Guy, starring in several Macintosh computer commercials on TV. But despite his geeky impression, Long continues to win acting parts in big films, and he’s also the on-again, off-again boyfriend of hottie Drew Barrymore.
Rosario Dawson: Rosario Dawson is a mega-hottie and an award-winning actress, but she’s also a total geek. The New York City-raised actress has appeared in geek classics like Clerks II and several comic book films, like Sin City and Wonder Woman. In real life, Dawson has admitted to being a comic book geek and even has her own series, OCT: Occult Crimes Taskforce.
Jimmy Fallon: Jimmy Fallon attracted fans because of his jittery, hysterical skits on Saturday Night Live, and now he’s landed his own late night talk show on network TV. He’s also a LASIK fan and covered the whole surgery on his video blog, has starred in films like Fever Pitch and Factory Girl, and has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter.
Kristen Stewart: Actress Kristen Stewart got her big break when she starred opposite Adrien Brody and Meg Ryan in In the Land of Women, but her role in the Twilight film made her a teenage obsession. Stewart, though, seems pretty nonchalant about her fame, and after she’s finished playing with vampires, wants to go back to school to become a writer.
Rainn Wilson: Rain Wilson wears big glasses, funny ties, and plays one of the most irritating dorks on TV. But he’s also one of the most hysterical actors right now, thanks to his character Dwight Schrute on The Office. Besides playing Dwight, however, Wilson also acted as an assistant mortician on Six Feet Under, appeared as a store clerk in Juno, worked as a theater teacher and moving van driver before becoming famous, and is the founder of the website SoulPancake.com. Back in Illinois where Wilson grew up, his mother is a karate teacher.
Daniel Radcliffe: Geeky boys who wear big glasses can now aspire to be hot-bodied rich actors like Daniel Radcliffe. When the young actor first broke out in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he was twelve years old and talked out of the side of his mouth. Now, Radcliffe has gone nude for the theatre production of Equus and is one of the richest young actors in the entire world. In 2007, his wealth was estimated at 17 million pounds.
Masi Oka: Masi Oka doesn’t just play a comic book dork on TV, the Heroes actor has been an official geek since the age of 12, when he was featured on the cover of Time magazine as one of "Those Asian-American Whiz Kids," four years after appearing on a game show. Oka graduated from Brown University with a degree in computer science and mathematics and worked at a visual special effects company, where he collaborated on projects for The Perfect Storm, Star Wars, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men’s Chest.
Amber Tamblyn: Amber Tamblyn is a beautiful young actress, but she’s often known for playing humble, awkward teens on TV and in movies like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. In real life, Tamblyn is the daughter of actor and singer Russ Tamblyn and the granddaughter of vaudeville performer Eddie Tamblyn. She is an avid poet and vegetarian, and is the girlfriend of geeky actor David Cross, who is nearly 20 years her senior.
Kristen Bell: Twenty-eight year-old Kristen Bell is a teensy blonde actress who started out enjoying marginal success on Broadway and has since starred in popular TV shows and film comedies. On TV, Bell appeared as a geeky teenage detective on Veronica Mars and as a young woman with supernatural powers on Heroes; and narrates for the title character (and teenage techie) on Gossip Girl. Bell, thanks to movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is starting to be viewed more as a Hollywood hottie than a total geek, and also has a lazy eye which she named "Wonky."
Sarah Silverman: Comedian and singer Sarah Silverman has her own TV show on Comedy Central, is the star of viral web videos, and pops up in cameo appearances in numerous documentaries, films and TV shows. But the Jewish star is also the poster child for self-deprecating geekiness. Fired from her job as a writer for Saturday Night Live after just one year, Silverman is also the on-again, off-again girlfriend of talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and loves playing Scrabble online.
Michael Phelps: On one hand, Michael Phelps is considered to be one of the greatest athletes in the entire world. The Olympic athlete has 14 gold medals, an extremely enviable physique, and a sweet devotion to his mom and sister. But if you take away all the medals, Phelps is a lanky, awkward young man with a slight speech impediment and ADHD. To hyper geeks everywhere: get in shape, become a national hero, and chicks everywhere will fall in love with you.
Michael Cera: Who says geeks can’t evolve into teen heartthrobs over night? Canadian actor Michael Cera was the #1 geek superhero of 2007 and 2008, starring in new teen classics like Superbad, Juno and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, in addition to his recurring role on Arrested Development. And even though Cera is pale and has a squeaky voice and chicken legs, he gets hot girls like Alexis Dziena and Kat Dennings. Before getting his big break, Cera voiced roles on Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! as well as Brother Bear in The Bernstein Bears series.
The TED movement is both viral and tangible: Technology, Entertainment, and Design are three areas in which innovative leaders ask us to explore the way we learn about and change the world. These 25 talks from the online TED portal will provoke you to consider how you learn, love and make a difference globally and at home.
Get inspired to better your own community and change the world when you listen to these talks form botanists, reporters, doctors and more.
Corneille Ewango is a hero of the Congo: When he was a young man, botanist Corneille Ewango turned his back on his family’s tradition of poaching in the Congo forest. In college, Ewango wanted to be a doctor but ultimately studied botany and ecology. His speech follows the challenges and rewards of fulfilling a mission that many times seemed impossible.
Eve Ensler on security: Vagina Monologues creator considers our need for security and what defines real, satisfying security, if it even exists. Ensler’s talk mimics the casual, honest style of the Vagina Monologues: she sits on a chair and shares stories from around the world about women who sacrifice their security in order to affect change.
Ory Okolloh on becoming an activist: Kenyan reporter Ory Okolloh discusses how images, the media, and messages influence the potential of a country. She shares her story of an Africa that isn’t always covered in news stories or nonprofit campaigns, and how she became an activist.
Aimee Mulins on running: This talk from double amputee and Paralympic Games record-breaker Aimee Mullins is from 1998, but it’s still an inspiring account of how she’s never let physical or social limitations affect her future, especially when you consider what she’s accomplished since then.
Philip Zimbardo shows how people become monsters…or heroes: After listening to this speech, you’ll think twice about judging others, especially if you have no knowledge of their past experiences and relationships. Zimbardo, who led the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment and was an expert witness at Abu Ghraib, explores how human devils are created, and how human heroes evolve in response.
Larry Brilliant makes the case for optimism: Despite all the crises, diseases, and horrors of the 20th and 21st centuries, Dr. Larry Brilliant is an incurable optimist. He has lived in a Himalayan monastery, founded the nonprofit group Seva Foundation, helped bring an end to smallpox through his work with the World Health Organization, and has been called a "technology visionary" by Time and Wired magazines. Listen to his speech to learn how to mirror his positive attitude and help change the world, little by little.
Jose Abreu on kids transformed by music: This speech and presentation is pure goodness. Jose Antonio Abreu was awarded the TED Prize for his decades-long commitment to bringing music education to poor Venezuelan youth. Since he began his project, he has created 102 youth orchestras, inspiring hope, confidence and beauty in the minds and hearts of his young countrymen and women.
David Hoffman on losing everything: Nine days before giving this speech, David Hoffman’s life work was destroyed in a fire. His forward-thinking attitude and resilience are truly inspirational for anyone who’s having trouble finding the courage to move on.
Education and Innovation
Discover the people, ideas and tools that are changing the world through technology, collaboration, global health policies, and more.
Erik Hersman on reporting crisis via texting: This extraordinary story underscores how ingenious developments in technology have helped everyday individuals track their lives and become influential news reporters, particularly focusing on a group of TED fellows in Kenya who reported on the 2008 election violence. Hersman also considers the future of democratic reporting and how to develop a "crowdsourced filter" to organize information.
Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises: Economics blogger, writer, professor and Director of Research for the Independent Institute, Alex Tabarrok opens his 14-minute speech by reviewing the disasters of the first half of the twentieth century. The second half of the twentieth century, he argues, witnessed an era of global cooperation which has helped us become more efficient and innovative in politics, transportation, trading, and more.
Hans Rosling on HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals: Swedish global health professor tracks trends in poverty and health, and transforms the way we view developing countries. He passionately argues potential solutions for pinpointing the causes of HIV epidemics and treating the crisis.
David Gallo on life in the deep oceans: Let ocean explorer David Gallo guide you through some of the most fascinating, beautiful, and terrifying images of the ocean. With interactive maps, footage and photos, his speech covers biodiversity, underwater mountain ranges, and some "of the greatest stories right now that we’re seeing from the bottom of the sea."
Carl Honore praises slowness: What if multitasking and efficiency were actually counterproductive? Honore’s energetic speech reveals how society’s extreme need for speed is taking a toll on our relationships, the environment and our community. Learn how to live the good life instead of the fast life.
Robert Neuwirth on our "shadow cities": Robert Neuwirth highlights the "cities of tomorrow," squatter cities in Nairobi, Mumbai, and other traditionally poverty-stricken communities. Neuwirth argues that these intensely packed urban centers have more potential than conventional capitals for producing ingenuity and innovation.
Jonathan Drori on what we think we know: BBC Online Head of Commissioning Jonathan Drori considers the nature of learning and human learning systems, while conducting an interactive experiment involving science and knowledge. You may be surprised to learn that Drori believes his 7-year-old guinea pigs do better than adults.
Society and Relationships
Listen to these talks to improve your relationships with your family, friends, community and the world around you.
Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world: Agriculture and sustainability expert and former UN director Louise Fresco explains how agriculture needs to be appreciated as a vital economic player in a world that pursues environmentally-conscious, responsible living.
Phil Borges on endangered cultures: Here you can listen to photographer Phil Borges’ account of indigenous cultures, in Tibet, the Amazon, and beyond. His speech shares stories and honest photos from extraordinary individuals of groups that may not survive the next century.
Samantha Power on a complicated hero: This provocative speech from author and activist Samantha Power will make you reconsider the idea that morality is a black-and-white issue. She shares insight into how Americans view genocide and how they can possibly help eliminate it.
Jimmy Wales on the birth of Wikipedia: Discover how open source collaboration became mainstream with Wikipedia, an encyclopedia that aims to connect every single person on the planet. Jimmy Wales is a former option trader who co-founded Wikipedia in 2001.
Helen Fisher studies the brain in love: Discover what the brain looks like in different phases of love. Helen Fisher is an anthropologist and author, and in this speech, she wonders why humans desire love and the physical factors that support our emotions.
These three talks reveal different ways of looking at the world and understanding concepts like free will, happiness and purpose.
Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness: Former French biochemist Matthiew Ricard became a Buddhist monk and now lives in the Himalayas, when he’s not sharing the secrets of happiness and personal fulfillment. His tranquil voice betrays his quick sense of humor, but his message of well-being and discipline is seriously moving.
Rick Warren on a life of purpose: Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose-Driven Life, speaks on the journey of combatting spiritual emptiness and finding something to live for. Warren believes that God has a plan for every human, and that every human has a role to play in society and in history.
Dan Dennett’s response to Rick Warren: Philosopher Dan Dennett responds to Rick Warren’s belief that living purposefully means rejecting evolution. Instead, Dennett asks us to consider religion and free will as natural phenomena, just as evolution and natural selection are natural processes.
Who says you have to have big bucks and a genius IQ to be a computer science whiz at one of the top universities? Thanks to the Internet, and the generosity of schools like MIT and Harvard, everyday students and computer enthusiasts can find study resources open to analysis and review. And you don’t even have to worry about tuition.
Brush up on basic skills or start from scratch by studying these courses.