The Pieces of ESI: Applicable Apps

Posted May 17, 2010


Every time I bring a friend to the ESI Design office on 5th Ave, they comment on how amazing the office looks. The ceiling is high, the cubicles colorful and open, and the library towers above all. The technology that we play with is hidden throughout and always brings joy to a newcomer. Our space, though, does not define who we are. While the comforts of a large desk with multiple screens makes work more efficient, the reality is that we could be virtually anywhere (or anywhere virtually) and produce the same incredible work. The secret is the people. The Pieces of ESI is a series of entries about the people behind the designs.

Applicable Apps

My name is Pete and I am an Appaholic. I love logging into iTunes and checking out the latest additions. I have an incredibly hard time not spending a couple of dollars daily to get a highly rated or praised app, regardless of whether said app will be useful. The App Store is not well organized for a person like me. I want to be able to sort and filter based on complex parameters.

There is a phenomenon called Astroturfing (which I read about first in Ars Technica) where the online reputation of a product is unfairly biased by individuals affiliated with the product. Imagine if I released a game in the App Store and had everyone of my family members, friends, coworkers, Twitter followers and Facebook friends give the game a five-star rating. Now the game has a really positive reception regardless of the reality of the experience. The current state of the App Store makes it difficult to avoid being fooled by Astroturfers.

The App Store is so immense that there are bound to be hidden gems scattered deep throughout the collection. This is why I employ an entirely different strategy for finding the killer apps to fill my Appetite – I ask around. Here is a list of some of the most useful iPhone / iPod Touch apps according to the people of ESI Design:


Susan and Karen both recommend the Shazam music identification program.
“I love to download new music when I hear it.” – Susan

Guitar Toolkit
Gideon loves the Guitar Toolkit app for “pure usefulness.”
“I have two $90 tuners that I can never find and I basically replaced them with this $10 app that’s always in my pocket.”

Sonic Wire Sculptor
Hugh and others love the creativity behind Amit Pitaru’s amazing app Sonic Wire Sculptor. Our adoration for this app has nothing to do with the fact that Amit worked for ESI Design in 2009.


Plants Versus Zombies
Just about all of the self-identified gamers at work adore Plants Versus Zombies (including me!).
This is useful “because there is nothing better for making a train ride go by in the blink of an eye.” – Tricia

Angry Birds
John told the office about this game and many of us have been hooked ever since.
“I wish you had never uttered those two words – since then I have not stopped playing.” – Jonathan

I am a huge fan of the strange addictive race-puzzle Edge.
“It’s like Marble Madness, except I can beat it without cheating.”

City Life

Songul finds SitOrSquat to be the ultimate bathroom-finding resource for anyone living in the city.

Zip Car
Ariel can always get a car when she needs one using the Zip Car app.
“You can even unlock the car from your phone.”

Kris uses the crowd-sourced information from the Trapster app to avoid road closings and speed traps.

General Usefulness

Joe suggests Epicurious as one’s iPhone recipe book.
“It told me how to cook Mediterranean Couscous… without leaving the kitchen.”

Day Bank
Rich uses Day Bank daily.
“This helps me keep track of the balance in my checking account and helps me visually see where I am spending my money.”

Debra and Jonathan are huge fans of the Internet Movie Database.
“I don’t have to stay awake at night trying desperately to remember the name of an actor!” – Debra

Pete Vigeant

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