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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.

Chinon docking station includes 7-inch LCD screen


I love these gadgets. The latest is a docking station from Chinon that includes a 7-inch LCD. The Chinon AVi lists for $199 on their website, but Overstock and a couple other places have it for $179.

Free device lets you read credit cards on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch


This is pretty amazing. You download the free Square app, then use that to place your order for the free Square credit card reader. You plug the reader into your device, and now you can accept credit card transactions. There's no setup fee, no contract, and no monthly charge. The transaction costs 2.75% of the purchase price plus 15 cents to swipe a card. This humorous promotional video shows the device in action.

Movie Vault -- app offers over 1,000 streaming movies


I just finished an article on apps for streaming movies and somehow missed this one. Movie Vault ($2.99 for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad) has over 1,000 classic movies available. You pay for the app but the movies are free. I'm just now watching Here Comes Mr. Jordan on my iPad, and the quality is quite good. The first movie I tried, though, crashed without playing. You can browse movies by genre or search in a variety of ways. If you like old movies, this is definitely a good option. 

News360 -- great free app for perusing the news


One of the main things I do with my iPhone and iPad is read the latest news, so I'm always looking for good news apps. News360 (free), which was just released today, is now definitely a contender on my iPhone. (It appears that there's no iPad-specific version.) One of the nice things about it is that there's no setup or selecting of categories. It automatically gives you the news in a wide range of categories. And if you grant permission, it will automatically use your location to give you local news.

Angel's Choice -- free game app for finding apps uses "prediction market" approach


This is such a cool idea — I hope it becomes a big success. Angel's Choice (free) is a game, an app for finding apps, and an information market all in one. I loved the book The Wisdom of Crowds, which is a good intro to how information markets or prediction markets work. Two of the most popular are the Hollywood Stock Exchange and Intrade. The idea is to create a mechanism that gives everyone an opportunity to predict which apps will be a big success.

Tour Wrist -- amazing free app lets you view 360-degree panoramas around the world


I've just started playing with Tour Wrist (free), and am really enjoying the panoramic views from around the world. You can move around in the 3D panorama in "immersive mode" by moving your iPhone or iPad up or down, or on an axis. Or you can toggle it to "touch mode", so that you simply move around by dragging your finer on the screen. For example, I began with a gorgeous beach scene in immersive mode. As I held my iPad out and turned around my view changed as I moved. Or if I held my iPad above my head, I was looking at the sky.

Selecting the best iPad data plan -- Verizon, AT&T, Virgin, or Clearwire Rover?


Macworld has posted a helpful overview of some of the choices for iPad users who want a data plan. As you likely know, a data plan lets you access the cell phone network to get access to the Internet without having the be in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Your options include buying the iPad 3G, with a cellular transceiver built in, and getting a data plan through AT&T, or using a small, shirt-pocket size device to receive a data signal from a cellular network and then broadcast it to your iPad. The device is itself a highly portable wireless router.

Avoiding unwanted in-app charges

There's been some discussion of unwanted in-app purchases in our blog recently, and coincidentally a recent article on the TidBITS website explains a couple ways that you can avoid this. Both entail changing a setting, and neither is an ideal solution. But certainly both are useful if you're a parent wanting to make sure your child doesn't run up bill in your iTunes account.

Kim Komando explains how to transfer your iTunes library to a new PC


This is something I haven't really had to deal with, because when I get a new Mac it automatically imports all the content and settings from my old one. But if you're faced with transferring your iTunes library to a new PC, popular radio talk show host Kim Komando takes you through it step by step.

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