I love plants, but I do NOT have a green thumb. As a matter of fact, most plants die within two days of arriving at my house. Not a pretty sight.
Jumping into the middle of the iPhone video camera fray is Qik Video Camera ($1.99) by Qik Inc.which is amazing, and has edged my other favorites iVideoCamera and ShowTime out of the lead.
Apps that make a busy mom’s life a lot easier
In the 1966 song by the Rolling Stones, busy mothers need “a little yellow pill” to get them through the day. In 2010, the iPhone is a far more life supporting way to make a busy mom’s life a lot easier.
And if the factory-installed apps alone don’t do the job, there are over 100,000 applications available to make just about any task easier. Whether it’s a trip to the neighborhood grocery store or a vacation in Paris, the iPhone can help make the life of an on-the-go mom a lot less harried.
I recently had the chance to chat with Zvika Ashkenazi, the CEO of MobileAppLoader.com and I was able to learn some very interesting things about his company, the services it provides and I also learned how to track App Store sales.
Zvika sent me a graphic detailing January 2010 metrics for DIY iPhone apps. According to the graphic, MobileAppLoader was responsible for creating 436 apps for their customers which include realtors, auto dealers, restaurants, and hotels to name just a few categories.
As you know from my previous posts here, a number of companies have launched in the last year or so to help people and businesses create their own applications, not just for iPhones, but also for other platforms like Android and Windows Mobile. Previously, this sort of service was unheard of. If one wanted software developed, it could get pretty pricey. For large corporations, this was considered 'the cost of business', but for individuals and smaller companies, personalized or customized software was often out of reach.
Now, some people themselves are talented programmers themselves and can make their own apps. Some companies have developers on staff, while some companies can afford to hire an outside developer for a specific project - at a cost of $5,000 to $25,000 - to develop an application from scratch, that kind of budget is out of the reach for many people. Of course, one can get it for less, but even so, a ball-park bargain-basement sort of figure is still around $2,500. And most aren't looking to create super-sophisticated software, and don't really need to consider spending that sort of money anyway.
At the present time, MobileAppLoader claims that they are the #1 Do-It-Yourself iPhone App company. These stats do not include companies which build apps from RSS feeds or companies with less than 30 apps. Zvika explained that he generated this information by typing the name of the developer into iTunes. Now that I know how to do this, I anticipate hours of fun
Since MobileAppLoader doesn't build their apps via RSS feeds, I was curious as to their process. It's done by what Zvika described as a unique "App in a Snap" Wizard. A user signs up for an account on their site, and selects their business category. Then they chose a design from Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold offerings and upload four images and type in certain details (contact info, URLs, feeds, text, etc...) and finally hits 'submit'. Behind the scenes, the content is then converted to a native iPhone app using objective-C using the Apple X-code development tool, and that process is then followed by a a quick quality assurance to make sure everything is working properly before the app is sent to Apple for review.
Apps built from RSS feeds can be very handy, but MobileAppLoader is very proud of the real-time interactivity of the apps they build using this method. For example, they've built a number of apps for towing companies and the apps include the ability to tell the towing company where you've broken down, show them a picture of your car and ask them to come and get you. So the app makes use of notifications, GPS and the camera. And that's just one example. Auto dealer apps include the ability of the dealer to notify a customer of their next service appointment. Prices start at $59.99 for setup and $4.99 a month.
A new twist on the old ‘Magic 8” ball is Lucky Day! ($1.99) from Silver Lining Ideas, Inc. This app is as straight forward as they come, turn it on and you're greeted by Ka Ching the Panda who invites you to shake your iPhone and make a wish. Will your wish come true? Well that's between you and Ka Ching. Really there's nothing more to this app. Or is there?
I am not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but a good recipe app is a no-brainer for even me to add to my iPod touch (you never know, I may start). I really enjoy southwest and Mexican cuisine (as my wife is from Mexico, and a good cook), but I can't boil water without ruining it, so if I were to attempt cooking anything in my house, it would best if it were microwaveable. But if you, on the other hand, have culinary skills and have an interest in Jamaican food, you might want to check out Cook Jamaican Recipes.
Cook Jamaican Recipes categorizes and combines the best dishes, drinks and great Jamaican flavors together in an easy to navigate application for your iPhone or touch. Selections from the main screen will provide recipe infomation, pix of finished dishes, and even an encyclopedia of essential ingredients.
The recipes include a full description of the ingrediants and steps to create each dish. Personally I would like to see hot links added between ingredients listed in the recipes, and the table of Essentials where applicable (to save you from switching back and forth). CJR also allows you to e-mail recipes to your friends...
If you enjoy cooking, Cook Jamaican Recipes is a good app to add to your iPhone, but could use a few tweaks. Some of the recipes lacked pictures, and the steps could be a bit more explanatory for a cooking novice like me. There were a few typos, and things that could stand to be cleaned up, but I tested the 1.0 version of the app, and already they have updated to 1.2. The price is currently $1.99, and I think the developers might consider knocking that down to $.99 cents for awhile, until more features are added. A few enhancements I would consider making are added Wiki or web-search links, background and historical information on dish origins, even pix/links of traditional methods of preparing the dishes as well would make it more interesting. Get the flavor of Jamaica, learn about it's history and culture as you prepare your dish, in other words. I will look forward to those features in an upcoming release, but for now, you can still use this app to wow your friends with some authentic Gizzada at your next party, so go check it out...App Store link below.
SWEET News (literally). The California Strawberry Commission has a new app. Did you know that there is more vitamin C in a serving of strawberries than an orange? This super-cool app has mouth-watering recipes. I'm getting hungry.....
Strawberry Recipe App Features:
- Over 50 recipes, categorized by dish type
- Share recipes on Twitter, Facebook and email
- Access nutrition information
- View recipe photos, ingredients and preparation information
- Connect with California Strawberry Commission on Facebook, Twitter and the web
With New Years rapidly approaching, and thoughts about drinking on the holidays, I figured I’d give Timebom LLC's iAlcohol Lite app (free) a try. There is also a full ($1.99) version. Knowing when you’re blood alcohol level is below your state’s limit (in Maine it's .05%) seems like it might help reduce OUI’s.
Our blogger Todd Bernhard has a number of ringtone-creation apps that are pretty neat and that let you do some creative things to make customized ringtones for individual callers. His new app, AutoRingtone PRO TEXT to SPEECH RINGTONES, lets you use speech synthesis to have your iPhone announce your caller by name — or some sort of clever nickname. For example, I created a ringtone for my tennis partner, Bruce. I selected a chime from the 100 introductory sound effects, and then selected a British male synthesized voice.