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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.

Great sources for free iOS apps


CNET has posted a slide show with screen shots and commentary titled "Seven great sources for free iOS apps." The slide show highlights websites and apps that clue you in to great free apps, and those that are temporarily free. The resources include websites such as AppGiveaway, which is updated daily with giveaway codes from developers, and AppShopper, which alerts you to price drops.

Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot -- free app helps vacationers find campgrounds


Summertime is vacation time. And if you use campgrounds when you're vacationing, you'll want to check out Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot (free). It lists more than 12,000 private and public campgrounds and RV parks in the United States and Canada, plus Mexico. It offers campground information, including amenities, services, types of campsites, on-site recreation, as well as identifying many camping discounts offered at parks. Private campgrounds also include Woodall's 5W/5W Rating System.

speedClock -- $0.99 app lets you use camera to measure the speed of objects


I like to write about novel uses of the iOS camera, and here's yet another astonishing instance: an app that lets you measure the speed of cars, boats, skaters, skiers, cyclists, running dogs, model cars, tennis serves, baseball pitches, soccer free-kicks — and anything that can be recorded by the video camera. Version 3.0 of speecClock - velocity radar ($0.99) was just released, adding the ability to measure small objects such as a tennis ball or baseball.

Apple announces 15 billion downloads on 3rd birthday of App Store


Apple announced today that over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store: “In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. There are over 425,000 apps, including over 100,000 native iPad apps. The App Store launched almost exactly three years ago today. What a game-changer it's been.

Free apps to aid your movie-going


I don't usually go to movies, but while on vacation in June I had the urge. So naturally I turned to my iPad. I downloaded Movies by Flixster (free) and was astonished at how useful it was. It immediately identified my location and gave me at a glance everything I needed to know: showtimes,how well liked, links to reviews, and a map to the theater. I really wanted to see a 3-D movie, but the reception for Green Lantern wasn't so hot. I ended up seeing Super 8.

iPad news: over 100,000 apps, possible sharing of data plans with the iPhone


There are now over 100,000 apps for the iPad, including both those that are iPad-only and those Universal apps for the iPhone that are also tailored for the iPad. You can read more on MacStories.

Hot App Finder -- free app alerts you to those apps with most-improved sales


You're likely often looking to find the best apps, and what better measure than those apps that are surging in popularity in the App Store? Hot App Finder (free) alerts you to the apps whose sales have had the highest rate of increase. The information is updated 4 times a day, and you can view the app descriptions and screenshots without leaving Hot App Finder. The app polls App Stores around the world, and ranks the top 100 paid and top 100 free apps in each of the 21 App Store categories.

Fring -- free app offers GROUP video chatting


Fring (free) recently released a new version that offers the first ever group video chatting on the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android, and other devices. You can have up to four people chatting at the same time -- as long as they all have Fring. Video chat can be done over both 3G and WiFi. You can also use Fring to call regular phones by making in-app purchases of call time, with packages starting at $9.99. 

Film One Fest -- free iPad app gives you access to collection of one-minute films


Film One Fest (free), a new iPad app released yesterday, gives you access to a collection of one-minute films from filmmakers around the world. In addition,  includes supporting stories, artists' statements, and interviews. The films are from an annual outdoor film festival of the same name that shows approximately 60 one-minute films chosen by a panel of judges.

im360 Lite -- another free, you-gotta-try-this app lets you view 360-degree videos


I had no idea there was such a thing as 360-degree videos. Sure, I've seen 360-degree pictures: you move your device or swipe the screen to view a scene in every direction. That alone is pretty cool. But im360 Lite is more than that. These are 360-degree videos. I'm watching one right now — a helicopter view of Las Vegas. As the helicopter flies above the city, I can move my iPad in different directions and see forward, backward, up above, down below. Or if you prefer, you can swipe the screen in whatever direction you would like to view.

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