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.
Here's a neat free app if you're someone who occasionally creates screenshots. AutoScreenshot 3D lite, developed by fellow blogger Todd Berhnard, lets you give your screenshot a 3D and mirror effect (see image at right). A pro version (AutoScreenshot 3D, $0.99) lets you use your own background, choose different angles, adjust size, position, and tint, and more.
Gestures are the big thing these days, with Apple's new operating system for the Mac relying heavily on them. Glissando ($0.99) is a new app that lets you control music playback with gestures. The app emphasizes simplicity with a set of intuitive gestures that allows you to play and pause, skip tracks, fast forward, rewind, and more — without glancing at the screen. For example, you can toggle pause and playback by simply tapping anywhere on the screen. Or swipe to the left or right to listen to the next or previous track.
I guess there's an app for just about everything — including a new one called Bed Bug Alert ($1.99) that alerts you to infestations, and allows you to report sightings. You can view by your current location, view top 10 cities with infestations, and look up specific locations. The app also has facts about bed bugs, and you can use the app to report sightings.
Google+ (pronounced Google Plus), which is Google's new social networking site meant to compete with Facebook, has had explosive growth, hitting 18 million users after being introduced only three weeks ago. AND, it's not even yet publicly available. It's rolling out gradually via the invitation model, which is how Gmail began its life. I've used it a bit and it's impressive — more intuitive and friendly than Facebook.
Just out today, Thrutu (free) seems an amazingly useful app. You can actually share data and media with someone while you're talking to that person on your iPhone. It works with other iPhone users — and also with Android users. You can share your location such that you see each other's position updating live on a map. You can snap and share a photo, or send one from your gallery. And you can send contact information such that contact details appear instantly in the other caller's address book. One feature is perhaps more playful than functional: you can vibrate the other person’s phone.
On Sunday AT&T introduced new data plans for those in the U.S. traveling abroad. And if you plan to travel overseas, you absolutely must activate a new plan, or you will be charged at the rate of $19.95 per MB. The new plans offered start at $24.99/month for 50MB of data, up from the previous allowance of 20MB. The plans top out at $199.99/month for 800MB. Obviously, even with a plan you'll want to be very careful about your data usage. You can read more in a helpful article on TidBITS.
OrbLive (free, $9.99) is a great app that lets you stream any media from your Mac or PC to your iOS device, as long as both of them are connected to the Internet somewhere in the world. You simply download some free software to your desktop computer, and download the OrbLive app to your device. Then any content on your PC, whether it's live streaming TV, or music, or videos, can be streamed to your device via the Internet.
Deals.by is a free app that aggregates location-based deals, such as free items, coupons, daily deals, and more, and locates them on a map. The app currently has information for 18,000 cities. You can also try their website, Deals.by, to see if they serve your city. You can filter the deals by category, and a social networking component lets you rate and share deals with others.
I just received a press release saying that Onavo (free for a limited time) has just won another award. This app helps you get the most out of your data plan. It works in the background to compress your data usage so that you are effectively doubling or even tripling the amount of data usage available to you. The app is optimized for travelers, when data usage can be most expensive. Note, though, that although they're intending to add this capability, the app doesn't currently compress streaming video or VoIP usage such as Skype.
Let's say you want an iPhone 5 so bad that you're willing to camp out in front of the store to be first in line. And let's say you're British publicist Rob Shoesmith, who plans to camp put for several weeks. Why not, he asked, see what I can can reap from this. He sets a simple rule: "I cannot spend any cash whilst I'm there." So he contacts vendors to see if they'll support his stunt. And lo and behold, the booty has been riding in to the tune of $24,000 so far.