By Cindy Downes
By Jim Karpen
The website 148Apps has created a competition for the Best App Ever Awards. The goal of the competition is to identify the best apps and games in the iTunes Store — not just the best-selling. Nominations will be closed on December 31, so head on over and make sure your favorite apps have been nominated. The finalists will be announced on January 1, and then you will be able to vote on these finalists through January 31. Click here to nominate, and here to see what apps are currently the popular vote leaders in each of 56 categories. The winners will be announced at MacWorld.
By Cindy Downes
Here’s a fun way to reinforce learning - use the iPhone or iPod Touch and the TeachMe Kindergarten app. With TeachMe Kindergarten, your child can practice addition, subtraction and reading skills using a variety of learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. This is the most effective way to learn.
By Cindy Downes
I took the reviveLITE with me to Stillwater when I stayed overnight for my graduation. The reviveLITE is a nightlight and iPhone or iPod charger in one. I like the idea of having a nightlight with me when I’m traveling, and the fact that it charges my iPhone at the same time makes it even better – less cords to bring. (You can turn the nightlight off if you want.)
The biggest problem you may have is finding a suitable outlet in the hotel room. Some rooms do not make them very convenient. But, if you do find the right outlet, this is the gadget to have. I definitely recommend it for travelers.
By Nate Adcock
Being a tech news Junkie, and fond of the superior Ziff Davis line of publications, especially eWeek, I recently noted their list of top 20 iPhone Apps, which were ok, in my opinion--but then some were aimed at System Admin geeks like me. Anyhoo, after monitoring our own blogs and noting the excellent products being reviewed here, I thought we might do our own little end of year round-up. So, I will start it off with some of my favs after the break below (which will include at least one hardware item), and then hopefully a few more bloggers can pile on with posts of their own.
By Tracy Sebastian
I have been taking full advantage of the Voice Control feature of my 3GS. It works great. Some names do need to be simplfied.... It confused my husband and my father-in-law's names. I changed my husband's name to "Husband". Now, I press and hold my earbud mic and say "Call Husband". Problem solved. My wish: a sexy male voice - preferably Scottish.
By Jim Karpen
Our blogger Tari has posted a couple times about the recent influx of programs for recording and broadcasting video via your iPhone, including the first generation and 3G iPhones. iVideoCamera ($0.99) is currently the most popular video recording app. Now ShowTime - Video Recorder ($0.99) has entered the fray, and has much greater capability. iVideoCamera records at 3 frames per second, whereas ShowTime does 6.
By Conrad Blickens...
There is one thing that really frosts me with some iPhone apps: When they sneak advertising into an app under the pretext that it's an upgrade or as part of an upgrade.
I understand that content providers somehow have to pay for their content. Newspapers are closing left and right, magazines are struggling, and no one quite knows how to make money by taking the content online. I really understand that. But please be honest about it! Simply sneaking an obnoxious ad feature into an app as part of an "upgrade" is just not right. Announce it, give people an option, but don't make them "upgrade" to an app that'll then be polluted with ads without first telling them!
By Timothy Prentiss
The MusicSkin (for my iPhone) with John Lennon in front of the Statue of Liberty has arrived, just in time for holiday photo-taking.
The plastic skin fits nicely on the back of the phone. Line up the camera hole (after first punching it out of the plastic) and the rest should fit. It was easy to peel off and reposition. I notice only a few wrinkles.
It changes my color scheme from pure black to a mix of black-and-white. (Other MusicSkins are quite colorful, but this one is more stark.) But it's noticeable. The first time I used it my cool nephew asked, "Where did you get the Lennon phone, Uncle Tim?!"
The image is so clear that you can even read the sign behind John and right at the base of Lady Liberty, which says "Keep Off Grass." I wonder if he thought that would be in the picture. Hmm...
One mistake I made was assuming there was also a clear sheet for the front of the iPhone, so I took mine off. When I put the old one in place I had way too many air pockets and bubbles, so I'll probably have to replace that and do a better job of it.
The packaging says you can also download matching wallpaper from the MusicSkins.com web site, but when I tried from the iPhone I got an error message, telling me it couldn't download the file through Safari. Huh!
This $14 accessory is certainly not essential -- unless you're a Beatles freak. Smile, and say "Peace..."
By Cindy Downes
Do you wonder where that book is you enjoyed so much last month? How about your favorite drill? Maybe you lent it out and can’t remember who you lent it to. You need iLend.
This simple little app easily keeps track of whom you lent what, whether it’s a book, tool, article of clothing, or any other object.
By Eric Pankoke
Games starring Santa seem to have taken a turn towards the violent this year, and Bloody Xmas is no exception to that rule. I'm never thrilled to see Santa spill some blood (though at least you wouldn't be able to see it against his suit), but I'm willing to try and look past it if there's a decent game to be played underneath. Unfortunately, Bloody Xmas just didn't do it for me. There are other games with a similar theme that I found much more enjoyable, and that didn't go quite so overboard in the gore.
By Timothy Prentiss
At a college bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, students can enter to win a free iPhone every day, simply by reselling their textbooks. Staff members said that they have been noticeably busier this sell-back season, though they can't credit the iPhone giveaway completely.
Students who sell their books get to spin the big iPhone-A-Day Giveaway wheel. There are prizes on nearly every slot - though some are freebies such as "An Encouraging Smile" and "A Word of Wisdom." The grand prize is awarded when the wheel lands on a small slice of black with the image of an iPhone.
If the student's spin ends up stopping at the spot next to the iPhone winning area, bad news. That's the only place on the board that doesn't result in a prize of any kind. Nada.
But just think of the excitement as a student spins the big wheel and it finally stops directly on the iPhone space. Pandemonium, right? Joy?
Not for one student. He told store employees that he already had an iPhone, and asked if he could get a Snuggie instead. Staffers convinced him that an iPhone was worth a lot more than a $20 blankie.
And this guy went to my university?? Standards sure have fallen...
By Tari Akpodiete
Until recently, it hasn't been possible to shoot video with an iPhone (iPhone Life coverage here and here). And while there are any number of clever holders and mini tripods to help people take steadier photographs with their iPhones, until now, there hasn't been anything like the OWLE (Optical Widget for Life Enhancement) Bubo.
Created specifically for the iPhone, the Bubo is an aluminum and silicone case combo which is designed to improve the iPHone's audio and video capabilities. The stabilizing rig - which can be mounted onto a tripod - includes a high-quality Vericorder microphone and 37 mm wide-angle/macro lens and retails for U$129.99.
Each corner of the Bubo has a drilled hole so you can screw in anything you can find or make to enhance it (like this guy from Handheld Hollywood who made a neck strap after visiting the hardware store for some 1/4" x 2.5" eye bolts). Additionally, since the mount for the lens is a standard 37mm, you can mount any number of lenses there, and not just the one which comes with it.
Don't worry about the no-flash-synching thing. There's a shoe to mount a light. As well, the microphone can be replaced with one of your choosing. Probably, you can even plug in a wireless receiver and have the microphone itself elsewhere (hidden camera fun, anyone?).
It would be great to have an option where the Bubo ships just with the aluminum case and silicon holder for a reduced price. Oh, and other colours, too, please. I can't wait to try one of these out!
* Anodized aluminum case improves iPhone camera with upgraded lens and boom mic
* Improves video or still shots
* Works with iPhone 3G or 3GS (However 3G requires additional app to shoot video and the quality is poor)
* iPhone fits inside included silicone case, then mounts inside the aluminum housing for full protection
* Constructed from a solid block of milled aluminum
* Shoe mount on top allows you to add camera accessories (flash will not work, since there is no way to sync it to the iPhone camera shutter)
* Four screw mounts on the corners of the case enable you to mount to a tripod
* Comes standard with 37mm lens threading, as well as a 0.45x Wide angle/macro combination lens
* Add any other lenses with a 37mm mount
View some stills shot with the OWLE and here are some videos (view more here on their YouTube channel):