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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.

Vote now for Best App Ever



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Again this year Jeff Scott of the website 148apps.com is hosting a vote for the Best App Ever. Nominations are now closed, and he's selected the top 10 nominees in each category. Voting is open until January 25, with the winners to be announced at the Macworld Expo. There are 35 categories overall, with 15 of those related to games. Check out the nominees if you want to find some great apps.

Verizon announces they'll be offering their iPhone in early February

The long-awaited Verizon iPhone is finally here! On Tuesday Verizon announced that their iPhone 4G would be available to current customers on February 3 and to everyone else on February 10. There was a bit of good news/bad news. The good news is that their iPhone will come with tethering. You'll be able to use your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 computers and devices. The bad news is that it'll be 3G — and won't be able to use the 4G network that Verizon is rolling out. It's basically the same phone as the current iPhone 4, but with CDMA chips instead of GSM and the ringer/mute switch in a slightly different location.

WSJ says Verizon to announce iPhone next Tuesday


The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Verizon will be announcing their iPhone at a special event on Tuesday. Invitations from Verizon went out to the media yesterday, but didn't say what would be announced. Rumors are even saying that Steve Jobs will be present at the event.

Chinon docking station now plays iPhone videos


I got pretty excited about this gadget when I first posted about it last October. But I mistakenly thought that the 7-inch LCD would play videos stored on the iPhone. Nope. Music, but not videos. Now they've announced their new AVi Alpha docking station that can play iPhone video, and at $149 it's $50 cheaper than before. Of course it has a bunch of additional features, such as a digital photo frame and the ability to stream web videos from popular sites such as YouTube or Netflix onto the LCD (if you're connected via WiFi). Oddly, their website still seems to have the previous model.

OverDrive Media Console -- free app lets you check out ebooks and audio books from your library


Ever since I heard that our public library in this small town had audio books that you could download from their website, I've been wanting to give it a try. But as with so many things, I never got around to it, mainly since it entailed going to their website, downloading, and them moving to iTunes to put it on my iPhone or iPad. Now the free OverDrive Media Console makes the whole thing a snap: you do everything from within the app.

New Year reveals bug in iPhone alarm


Those who rely on their iPhone alarms found that as we moved into 2011 their alarms were no longer working. Apple acknowledged the bug on Sunday and said that the problem would only be evident on January 1 & 2, and that it wouldn't affect any days after that. Also, it only affected one-time appointments, not repeating alarms. You can read more about it in the New York Times.

Jon Stewart does the Verizon iPhone


Jon Stewart and his sidekick John Oliver give us their hilarious take on the Verizon iPhone in this video. It goes a bit over the top characterizing the dislike of AT&T, including a montage that juxtaposes the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue and the toppling of an AT&T sign. Also, the New York Times has a video recorded at the event that gives you a good overview of the new phone.

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.

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