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Jim Karpen's picture

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.

Skype 3.0 for iPhone -- free app adds video calling


Version 3.0 of Skype (free) just came out yesterday and now offers video calling over both WiFi and 3G. Skype has long been the most widely used service for Internet telephony, and now you can use the iPhone 4 front-facing camera to conduct video calls. You can read a great hands-on review on the PCmag.com website. The quality is reportedly quite good, even over 3G. And you can call cross-platform, even to PC users. 

Hyper Facts -- new reference app gives you access to over 9 million facts


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's top 10 apps for 2010


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.

More articles in the Wall Street Journal on how your apps collect personal information

In an earlier post I linked to an eye-opening article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Your Apps Are Watching You." The writer, Jennifer Valentino-Devries, has written a couple subsequent articles on the same theme: "What Can You Do?

Macworld Appstravaganza -- essential apps for your iOS device


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.

Times Square on New Year's Eve -- free app takes you there


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.

Viper SmartStart -- free app uses augmented reality to help you find your car

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.

Entertaining commercial from Motorola on tablet evolution

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.

Free Merriam-Webster dictionary app adds voice search


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!

New Wikileaks app


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. 

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