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What’s Your Widget?

You can tell a lot about people by their apps. Here, randomly selected locals— some recognizable names, some not— reveal their current smartphone obsessions.


Illustration by Peter Arkle  

Navigating the City

Jimmy Fallon, late-night host, NBC
Favorite app: Bionic Eye (iPhone/iPod Touch), $.99
“Basically, you aim your camera down the street and it will show you floating graphics of where, say, the nearest Starbucks is.”

Jonathan Ames, creator, HBO’s Bored to Death
Favorite app: GPS (Palm Pre), free
“I feel very futuristic sitting in the backseat calling out turns.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, tech editor, Huffington Post
Favorite app: Exit Strategy NYC (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“I was running late last week and used it to figure out the exact subway car on the B to get on so I’d hit my exit at Broadway–Lafayette. It worked!”

Michael Goldberg, marketing exective, Zimmerman Advertising
Favorite app: CrossWalk (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“Punch in an address, and it gives you the cross street in two seconds.”

Eric Hahn, process server
Favorite app: UpNext (iPhone/iPod Touch), $2.99
“You can zoom in and see an outline of every building near you. Touch one, and a list of every business located in there pops up.”

The Naked Cowboy, busker
Favorite app: Beyond411 (Blackberry), free
“When I’m out in the field (Times Square in my underwear), I can look up a phone number or address, then sync it by Bluetooth to the GPS in my 2010 Escalade.”

Philip Blake, IT specialist
Favorite app: SitOrSquat (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“It shows you the closest public restrooms. It’s comforting.”

Connecting to People

Salman Rushdie, writer
Favorite app: Bump (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“It’s the one where, if you and I both had iPhones, you bump yours against mine and it exchanges our information.”

Katie Couric, anchor, CBS Evening News
Favorite app: TwitterBerry (Blackberry), free
“Makes tweeting really easy, like sending a text message.”

Behnaz Sarafpour, fashion designer
Favorite app: iDoodle2 (iPhone/iPod Touch), $.99
“I do little drawings that I attach to e-mails when I am trying to visually explain an idea to pattern-makers or factories overseas.”

Scott Plimpton, teacher
Favorite App: WhosHere (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“If you’re in, say, Bryant Park, it shows you people who are there too. I’m happily married, but I have friends who use it for hooking up.”

Fiddling Around

Matthew Settle, actor, Gossip Girl
Favorite App: Attractor (iPhone/iPod Touch), $4.99
“You type in what you want in life—I put in ‘daughter’ even before I found out my wife was pregnant—and it reminds you every day, so it gets stuck in your mind.”

Sean Cassidy, president, Dan Klores Communications
Favorite app: X-Plane Airliner (iPhone/iPod Touch), $9.99
“It replicates being in an airplane cockpit. Right now, I’m learning how to take off and land a Boeing 747.”

Al Roker, weatherman, Today
Favorite app: Pow (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“You hit the air with it and it makes a punching sound, like you’re having a fist fight. Guys like doing fist fights.”

Will Swenson ,actor, Hair
Favorite app: Sheep Launcher (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“You have to launch a sheep into space. If you’re good, he goes to the planets. I’ve gotten to Jupiter, but my 8-year-old son has sent him all the way to Uranus.”

Richard Kirshenbaum, advertising executive, kbs+p
Favorite app: Swakker Doodle (iPhone/iPod Touch), $.99
“It’s a drawing app that lets you draw in real time with one or two other users. I play tic-tac-toe with my kids in real time.”

Melanie Dunea, photographer
Favorite app: Scramble (iPhone/iPod Touch), $.99
“It’s a puzzle I’m so addicted to, that I almost fell down the stairs walking into the subway because there is no pause button.”

Tuning Out the World

John Flansburgh, songwriter, They Might Be Giants
Favorite app: Public Radio Player (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“Lets you hear local stations all around the country, including my favorite, WJFF, in Jeffersonville, New York.”

Ivanka Trump, real-estate developer
Favorite app: Pandora (Blackberry), free
“I listen to music—Lady Gaga, Kanye, Jay-Z, the Beatles, Robert Plant—while I’m walking down Fifth Avenue to my office in the Trump Tower early each morning.”

Lou Antonelli, financial-services account manager
Favorite app: NYTimes (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“The day’s articles are downloaded onto your phone, so you don’t need a cell signal to read them—great for the subway.”

Jason Chen, editor, Gizmodo
Favorite app: Kindle (iPhone/iPod Touch), free
“It’s basically the equivalent of a Kindle e-reader you can have with you anywhere.”

Jesse Mann, general manger, The Bowery Presents
Favorite app: FlyCast (Blackberry), free
“A fantastic streaming radio app with a good bitrate, so the sound quality is excellent.”

Adam Balkin, tech reporter, NY1
Favorite app: SlingPlayer (iPhone/iPod Touch), $29.99
“It allows me to access Slingbox, which is connected to my cable box at home. I can still watch Penn State football live even if I happen to be sitting through a wedding.”

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