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Top 5 Useful and Free iPhone Apps

August 4th, 2010 1 comment
 Top 5 Useful and Free iPhone Apps

Top 5 Useful and Free iPhone Apps

There are thousands of apps available to use on your iPhone, iPod and now your iPad as well and, surprisingly, many of the best are free to download.

The following list shows 5 of the very best free apps that also happen to be extremely useful as well.  There are loads of apps out there that can help make your life that bit easier so it’s well worth going through them to find the ones that will apply to you and your life.

Here are a few of the best useful apps out there that are well-worth a look.

Thetrainline – For those of you who commute to work by train, Thetrainline is a free transport app that outshines all of the others – and it’s free. The app can help you to plan your journey, obtain offline results and timetables and also has a location-aware ‘next train home’ option.  All of these features are available on Thetrianline’s clear and streamlined interface. There are of course other train apps available but many will cost you upwards of £5 and when you can get this one for free and it does the job – why look elsewhere?

Skype – This is a great money-saving app and allows you and your friends to chat to each other for free via your Skype app. The interface is simple and usable, enabling anyone with a Skype account to make free calls to other Skype users and also offers you the ability to make cheap calls to anywhere in the world. Pay as you Go users will find this app particularly useful but so will iPod touch owners as this app also allows them to make calls to other Skype users.

Dropbox – There are many apps out there that transfer content between your computer and your device but this one is free and actually a lot easier to use than many of the paid ones out there.  Any files you want to sync up – just drop them in to a folder on your computer and Dropbox will enable you to access them.

Around Me – Around Me is a great app for when you’re out and about.  It works out where you are and then shows you all the local banks, bars, petrol stations and restaurants etc that are in your vicinity.  The app is really useful when you happen to be in unfamiliar surroundings and the ‘augmented reality’ landscape mode is great for getting to know the area, just be aware that this new technology isn’t completely there yet so expect that you may come across a few little errors.

Moneysupermarket.com Voucher App – No matter what you’re looking for, moneysupermarket.com will no doubt have a voucher for it that will help make savings on your purchases. There are thousands of free discount codes and vouchers on this iPhone app that can help all UK shoppers save money on whatever they want to buy.

Philadelphia Apple Store Grand Opening on Walnut Street Friday, July 30

July 27th, 2010 1 comment
apple store philadelphia Philadelphia Apple Store Grand Opening on Walnut Street Friday, July 30

After years of rumors, Apple will finally open an Apple Store in Philadelphia on Walnut Street! I walk by here almost every day. It’s amazing how Apple can keep its store openings and product releases so secret.

Apple will hold the grand opening celebration for Apple Store Walnut Street in Philadelphia on Friday, July 30, 2010 at 5pm ED

Address: Apple Store Walnut Street
1607 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Apple Store Walnut Street is the best place to learn about all the latest products from Apple, including the new iPhone 4 featuring FaceTime, which makes the dream of video calling a reality, and Apple’s stunning new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone. Customers can experience Apple’s entire product line hands-on including the magical new iPad that lets users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more. Visitors to the store can also try the updated MacBook and MacBook Pro with the NVIDIA processor for up to 80 percent faster graphics, and the incredibly popular iPod touch with access to more than 225,000 apps offered on the revolutionary App Store.

Every Apple Retail Store offers a range of free services designed to help customers get the most out of their Apple products, including face-to-face support and advice at the Genius Bar, hands-on workshops and special programs for kids. Customers who buy a Mac®at the Apple Retail Store or Apple’s Online Store can also join the popular One to One program. For just $99, owners of a new Mac get Personal Setup to customize their computer and transfer files from their old Mac or PC, plus a year of Personal Training sessions and Personal Project support on a wide range of topics, from getting started on a Mac to advancing their digital photography or moviemaking skills.

Read more…

DIY Touch screen gloves

January 19th, 2010 No comments

With everything being about touch screens lately it only makes sense that eventually the problem of using gloves would come up. It’s cold outside, you’re wearing gloves, your iPhone rings, and you have to take the gloves off to answer it because otherwise the screen won’t register the change in capacitance between the screen and your finger in order to execute the command you are trying to give it.
See, that’s how touch screens work. The human body is a conductor of electric current, and when you touch the screen of a capacitive touch screen device it detects the distortion of the electrostatic field (apologies to those of you who know this already, but I’ve found myself explaining it to several of my friends recently who have iPhones but know nothing about how they work).
I’ve heard there are special gloves on the market that you can use to solve this problem. But why purchase a whole new set of gloves (expensive ones probably) when yours are just dandy?
There is a solution. A really really CHEAP solution, that takes just the tiniest bit of DIY spirit.
There is a whole how-to article on Instructables.com, so I won’t go through the steps here. But the gist of it is that you sew a little conductive thread (yes, there is such a thing) into the tips of the fingers of your gloves. It completes a circuit with your flesh and blood finger, and viola! You can now use your touch screens without taking off your gloves.

Now go and check out all the other fun stuff you can do with conductive threads, you crafty DIY nerds you!

Making A Glove Work With A Touch Screen DIY Touch screen gloves

Also, if you don’t want to order a whole spool of thread, you can order just a few feet of it from here

Via Coolest Gadgets

Dots Gloves – A Review

January 3rd, 2010 No comments

splash d100 d110 600x263 Dots Gloves   A Review

In case folks around here hadn’t noticed, it’s gotten rather cold of late.  And one of the difficult things about being cold is that using electronics in the cold is just a rotten experience.  In tech’s never ending quest for miniaturization, designers seem to forget that there may be impediments between your tech and your hands that prevent proper usage.  I speak, of course, of the glove, bane of gadgetlovers everywhere there is snow and ice and freezing rain.  This problem is a lot worse with devices that use capacitative screens, such as the iPhone/iTouch.  Those devices rely on the electrical resistance provided by skin to do their thing.  In the case of the iPhone, you can’t even make an emergency call without touching the screen.  DOTS gloves were designed to address this issue.

The company itself is a couple years old.  I remember reading about them last year but by the time I’d gotten around to ordering them, they were out of stock.  They also only had one model last year if I remember correctly; this year they have three.  And this year, I went and ordered my pair early before winter really started so that I could be assured of having a set.

The DOTS gloves work by providing a small patch of thermally conductive fabric on two fingers plus the thumb portions of the gloves.

 Dots Gloves   A Review

(Please excuse the crud on the gloves – the large animal in the background enjoys gloves for breakfast and dinner, and it’s a constant battle to ensure the gloves survive their daily use.)  If you look closely, you can see the two dots on the tips of the first and second fingers of the glove.  A similar dot adorns the thumb.

The conductive patch allows the gloves to pass electrical resistance from your skin to your device while keeping your hands warm and comfortable.  They come in three sizes – small, medium, and large.  My advice is to err on the smaller side.

I purchased the D200 model, which is their warmest one.  I originally ordered the medium and then ended up switching them for the small.  It’s critical to have a tight fit with these gloves, and the medium made me feel like my hands were swimming inside fabric.  Even with the smalls, my hands still have plenty of room, and therein lies the problem.

The gloves themselves do OK at keeping your hands warm.  They aren’t going to be a lot of use in really intense cold but then again, few mass market gloves will, so that’s not a big problem.  I’d rate them at about the same level as a good pair of Isotoners.  But in terms of letting you use your iPhone while gloved, I’d have to rate them as only so-so.  I don’t know if other reviewers had really big hands or if there’s a smaller size I could have gotten that would have fit better but I just couldn’t get the gloves to be tight enough against my skin that the dots would consistently make contact.  And without that contact, it’s like wiping a microfiber cloth against your screen – nothing happens.

I freely admit that I have delicate hands – my piano teacher called them bird hands they were so thin.  But in a way, I represent a subsegment of the potential user base that DOTS is eventually going to have to figure out how to handle, namely women.  I can’t imagine that women would find the size small versions to be a good fit.  I know girls who have hands even smaller than mine, and there’s no way they would be able to use these gloves in the way they were intended.  Even women with big hands could be challenged because in general, women tend to have thinner fingers than men.  Maybe the other DOTS models provide better fit and contact, but in my daily use, I ended more often than not taking the gloves off, working my iPhone, then putting the gloves back on.  I think if they could incorporate some Lycra into the gloves so that the fit were tighter and if they made the dots bigger so that they contacted more skin surface, the gloves would work better across a wider range of people.

I like the concept of these gloves, but now that conductive thread has come out, I’m tempted to get a really close fitting pair of regular gloves and sew a couple of big fat patches onto the fingertips.  Better fit and bigger usable surface.

12 Things X-mas list, part deux

December 2nd, 2009 No comments

Part 2 of my “12 Things That Would Be Really Cool To Have For Christmas” list relates to items found on the Inhabitat Green Gift Buyers guide.

First, the Macally ECOFAN Bamboo Laptop Stand with Fan from Amazon.com ($36.69).

41ZGJDu4TML. SS500  12 Things X mas list, part deux

I’m on my laptop a good portion of every day and yes, it does get hot, even with the Lap Desk I currently use. Not only is the bamboo laptop stand stylish, but it has a built in fan to keep my laptop cool.
Strangely the Pro version, which features three height adjustable levels, is actually cheaper. But I still haven’t found one I can comfortably put on my lap (my preferred modus operandi).

Keeping in the sustainable and stylish spirit of bamboo, next is the VerseAudio iPhone Bamboo Hard Case.

versaudio ipod 12 Things X mas list, part deux

$39.99 from Vers Audio. It’s beautiful, practical, sustainable, and not too expensive. Except that I’d also have to get an iPhone for x-mas (hint hint). Excellent dual gift, imo.

Finally, if I do get said iPhone for x-mas, well then it would only make sense to get the first Apple-licensed iPhone solar charger to go along with it.

surge gg1 12 Things X mas list, part deux

The Surge for iPhone, $70 from SolarArcadia. Two hours of direct solar exposure provides 30 minutes of talk time on a 3G network, or 60 minutes of talk time on a 2G network.
It also includes a USB port so you can charge or sync with your computer without taking it out of the case.
My preferred color is green, btw.

Video – SixthSense Technology Is The Real iPhone Killer

November 23rd, 2009 No comments
sixth sense paper laptop Video   SixthSense Technology Is The Real iPhone Killer

Sithsense Paper Laptop

I have been following Pranav Mistry’s SixthSense technology since his debut at TED conference in which he had a standing ovation. SixthSense allows for an ultra portable and interactive augmented reality based on genstures. It enables interactions between the real world and digital information.

His latest invention which he displayed at TED will kill any iTablet rumor from Apple or likes. Better yet, it is the introduction of the paper “laptop”. It works by attaching a microphone on the paper to sense the touch. Check out the whole video.

Via Engadget

Please Android – give me hope

October 28th, 2009 No comments

I don’t want to get my hopes up.  I was so disappointed by the Palm Pre and I was not terribly impressed with iPhone 3.0  But I watched the promo vid for Google’s Android 2.0…

And I gotta say that I’m liking what I’m seeing. Oh please dear lord don’t let me be disappointed yet again. I gotta renew my two year ball-and-chain with the iPhone in July 2010, and it’s probably going to come down to a choice between iPhone 4G running OS4.x and an Android phone running Cupcake Eclaire 2.x. And I really really really wanna choose the Android OS because I’m getting pretty sick of the Apple monolith.

I think I’ve downloaded roughly 200 apps since I’ve owned the iPhone. I’ve paid for probably 40%-50% of those, maybe more, I’m not sure cause the App Store makes it so easy to buy junk you don’t need. Of those apps, I use maybe 10 on a regular basis. Maybe. Might be as few as 5, depending on how you define regular use. So it makes absolutely no difference to me that Apple has 100K apps in the store. I’m never going to know about 99% of those apps, and of the ones I do know about, I’ll want to try maybe 5% of them. And here’s where the sheer inertia of Apple’s store comes into play. Too many choices that people will never ever find out about. It’s like going to the local convenience store and standing in front of the drinks fridges. You have 50 kinds of ice tea, 90 kinds of soda, 30 different bottled waters – how many of those choices do you actually consider or even know about?