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.
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.
Snipper (free) isn't simply yet another web-based video sharing service. Rather, it's phone to phone. You use Snipper to shoot videos with your iPhone (limited to 60 seconds or less), and Snipper pushes those videos to the phones of other Snipper users that are subscribed to your channel/s. From your phone to theirs — no need for a link to a website and then streaming of the video off that site. The film is downloaded, in the background, to their devices so that once they receive notification the film is already on their device.
CNET has posted a slide show with screen shots and commentary titled "Seven great sources for free iOS apps." The slide show highlights websites and apps that clue you in to great free apps, and those that are temporarily free. The resources include websites such as AppGiveaway, which is updated daily with giveaway codes from developers, and AppShopper, which alerts you to price drops.
Summertime is vacation time. And if you use campgrounds when you're vacationing, you'll want to check out Woodall’s RV & Camping Copilot (free). It lists more than 12,000 private and public campgrounds and RV parks in the United States and Canada, plus Mexico. It offers campground information, including amenities, services, types of campsites, on-site recreation, as well as identifying many camping discounts offered at parks. Private campgrounds also include Woodall's 5W/5W Rating System.
I like to write about novel uses of the iOS camera, and here's yet another astonishing instance: an app that lets you measure the speed of cars, boats, skaters, skiers, cyclists, running dogs, model cars, tennis serves, baseball pitches, soccer free-kicks — and anything that can be recorded by the video camera. Version 3.0 of speecClock - velocity radar ($0.99) was just released, adding the ability to measure small objects such as a tennis ball or baseball.