The Wikipanion app is one that I use often, and I'm always on the lookout for good reference apps. Hyper Facts ($0.99) is a new offering that gives you access to Wikipedia in a new way, in that it highlights the categories and infoboxes associated with each article as well as giving links to related information. It also integrates locational information and maps. You can do a search by person, location, event, or work (e.g., a song title), or you can search All. The Nearby feature is pretty cool.
Kim Komando, the popular talk radio show host and newspaper columnist, has posted her list of top 10 apps for 2010. Her selections include two freebies that help you save money: Nextag Mobile, which searches retailers to find the lowest price, and pic2shop, which also lets you scan barcodes to find the lowest price. Kim's link above also includes links to her other top-10 lists: videos, cool sites, and more.
Be sure to check out Macworld's Appstravaganza. This isn't another best-of-2010 collection but rather a curated collection of apps that everyone should have.
If you have a hankering to be part of the festivities on Times Square during the big New Year's Eve celebration, download the free Times Square Official New Year's Eve Ball App - 2011. According to the press release, features iinclude the live, six-and-a-half-hour, commercial-free mobile stream of New Year's Eve in Times Square powered by Livestream, including a performance just before midnight by multi-platinum pop sensation Taio Cruz, other live musical performances and the ability to participate in the celebration.
The main purpose of this free app is to work with a gizmo attached to your car so that you can start it remotely with your iPhone. But they've recently added some features that make it useful for you even if you don't want to invest a couple hundred on the remote start hardware.
The competition in the tablet computing market is heating up. Amazing to think that a year ago this market didn't exist, and now every manufacturer is trying to position themselves in it.
The paradox of dictionaries has always been: how do you look up a word if you don't know how to spell it? My students with dyslexia had an especially difficult time with this. And now the solution is at hand — and free. The most powerful voice recognition technology, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, has now been added to the free Merriam-Webster Dictionary app. You can look up a word simply by saying it. Hurray!
I'm not quite sure what to think about Wikileaks and their release of government documents. I can see a certain merit in the arguments relating to transparency. But on the other hand, it just seems like some things need to be kept private, and that the careless release of documents can endanger lives and diplomacy. No doubt things will become more clear as we move deeper into the era of a worldwide network and sharing of information. If you're eager to see government secrets via your iOS device, the new Wikileaks App ($1.99) is now available.
An eye-opening article in the Wall Street Journal details the extent and kind of information that your apps collect about you and share with advertisers. In their tests of 50 different iPhone apps, they found that Pandora, for example, sent age, gender, location, and phone identifiers to various ad networks. It's a bit scary. According to the article, Apple says that they review apps to make sure that you're asked your permission before certain kinds of information, such as your location, is shared. But the WSJ found that this policy is skirted, and that the game Pumpkin Maker, for example, sends information about your location to an ad network.