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Stick That In Your Ear: iPhone Earrings, Anyone?

February 7th, 2009
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We know a lot of people who consider their iPhones to be a fashion accessory.  Now comes someone who took that aesthetic to its logical conclusion.

For only $22 at Etsy?s, these iPhone earrings display eighteen different apps and tell the world “Hey, who needs a two-year contract with the Death Star people?”  Heck, they’re even smaller that the infamous iPhone Nano.

Doesn’t seem that long ago when this writer thought a tie clip with an old TTL integrated circuit epoxied to it was the height of sartorial-geek splendor.

[Via Walyou]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Will Google Latitude Be The Mother — Or Big Brother — Of Social Networking?

February 7th, 2009
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Lots of people are already using the likes of Facebook and Twitter to let their online networks of friends know where they are and what they’re doing.  Trouble is, they still have to manually do the “telling” part.  And frankly, half of BEING a techno-geek is the automation factor that all your gadgetry gives you. 

So what if your computer, or smartphone, did the telling FOR you?

That’s the idea behind Google Latitude, which is actually an outgrowth of Google Maps for mobile phones (and soon, your iPhone, as an upgrade of the Google Mobile App).  Install the iGoogle gadget on your PC, and you’ll be able to see the location of anyone who’s opted to share their location with you — and you with them.

“Opt” being the operational word.  Google says it recognizes the sensitivity of location data and has thus built
“fine-grained privacy controls” right into the application. Everything
about the new Latitude is said to be opt-in, allowing users to not only
control exactly who gets to see their location, but also what location
they see.

“For instance, let’s say you are in Rome. Instead of having your
approximate location detected and shared automatically, you can
manually set your location for elsewhere — perhaps a visit to Niagara
Falls,” Google said. “Since you may not want to share the same
information with everyone, Latitude lets you change the settings on a
friend-by-friend basis. So for each person, you can choose to share
your best available location or your city-level location, or you can
hide.”

Latitude is currently available in 27 countries on the Blackberry, S60, and Windows Mobile operating systems, with Android support only days away and the iPhone flavor “very soon.”

One wonders if this will signal the end of mobile social networks as we know them.

“Where you at?” indeed.

[Via AppleInsider]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

So Coding iPhone Apps Isn’t Child’s Play? Tell That To This Nine-Year-Old…

February 7th, 2009
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We all know how the younger generation’s always more computer savvy than the boring old farts who proceeded them.

But Singapore’s Lim Ding Wen (above) takes that tech-kid paradigm to a WHOLE ‘nother level.  Lim, you see, is all of nine years old, yet he coded an iPhone app that’s already been downloaded 4,000 times from the App Store.  Doodle Kids — developed for his younger sisters, and aimed, not surprisingly, at kids — is a pleasantly psychedelic painting program that lets you draw random colored shapes on the screen with your finger, then erase them with a shake of the wrist. Here’s a sample screen:


Pretty impressive.  Even more impressive is that, consciously or not, he’s already shown a tendency towards the Open Software mindset.  Not only is Doodle Kids a free iTunes download, he actually published the app’s source code on his web page.  Now THAT’s youthful optimism for ya.

[Via Reuters]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Push To The Background: Will "iPhone 3.0" FINALLY Support True Multitasking?

February 7th, 2009
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Remember how, back in September ‘08, Apple was supposed to unveil push notifications, then opted not to?  Anyway, the whole idea of push technology was to allow events to occur in an iPhone quasi-background, so people would stop grousing about how the House of Jobs’ cash cow didn’t do REAL multitasking.

Now — in the wake of the Android and Palm Pre offering true CPU app-juggling — comes background chatter from Apple that the next-generation iPhone software (v3.0) will multitask too, honest and true.  It would still be limited to one or two processes at a time, but that’s still one or two more than the handset currently does.

(And here’s a great article on why the iPhone, in its current incarnation, CAN multitask — and also, perhaps, why it SHOULDN’T…)

[Via MacRumors]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Hard Copy: How To Print Photos Wirelessly From Your iPhone

February 6th, 2009

You’ve probably noticed by now that your iPhone doesn’t come with a big honkin’ parallel port jack.  Or an admittedly smaller serial jack.  Or a USB port.  Or…aw, you get the picture (pun intended) — there’s no hardware solution for printing your camerawork directly from your handset.

So who needs wires?  These wireless printing apps sure don’t!


From Sudobility (the Night.Camera people) comes Air.Photo, a client-server solution that’s hardware-independent.  Buy the US$2.99 app from iTunes, download the PC (XP 32-bit or Vista32/64-bit) or Mac (10.5 Leopard) server software, and start bangin’ those prints out.  Air.Photo auto-rotates your image, and lets you pick between cropping to size or “letterboxing” your original image.  One caveat: Air.Photo only prints photos, not web pages or documents.

Of course, when you talk printers, you have to talk Hewlett-Packard.  By a funny coincidence, HP offers iPrint Photo, a free app that’ll talk to most HP networked ink jet printers connected to a local WiFi network.  Like Air.Photo, it only prints photo files; unlike Air.Photo, it also only prints 4″x6″-sized photos, no cropping or letterboxing.

EuroSmartz’s Print, on the third hand, actually beats both Air.Print and iPrint Photo in that it can print web pages and contacts, as well as images — and their “Print and Share” app ups the ante by including emails and stored files — PLUS  it also shares files from your desktop computer.  Like Air.Print, it requires a server program running on your PC or MAC.  Print only costs US$2.99 from the App Store, while Print and Share’s added functionality will set you back a full sawbuck.

Printer cables?  We don’t need no steenking printer cables!

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Apple Tells German Web Store "Sell Our iPhones, Just Don’t Use Our Pictures"

February 6th, 2009

And now, an example of “Kreis-Logik.”  (That’s German for “circular logic…”)

The Deutsche website 3Gstore.de sells unlocked iPhones.  Now, they buy these phones legally from other countries in the European Union that offer the phones for sale to prepaid customers, then sell them to anyone who doesn’t want to spring for the T-Mobile or Simlock contract.  All well and good.  In fact, 3Gstore even advertised their handsets with Apple?s official promotional pictures.

Until the House of Jobs yelled “FOUL!” and hit 3Gstore with a cease-and-desist order forbidding them to use Apple production photos — and, to add beleidigung to verletzung*, tacked on a bill for EU1780 (a bit over two grand in “real money”) for legal fees.  When challenged, Apple Inc. invoked their Image Use Agreement that disallows all image editing and usage in any commercial context, such as competitions or other non-editorial appearances.

Amazingly, 3Gstore ended up taking the high road: they commissioned a photographer to create iPhone images, which they then made available under the very liberal Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which allows both editing and commercial usage.

*Translate it yourself.

[Via The Randolf Jorberg Blog]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Going anywhere? Seven travel Apps you can’t leave home without

February 5th, 2009
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Whether you’re traveling to Denver or Dubai, your iPhone can make for one savvy travel companion, thanks to a selection of Apps that offers information on dining, transportation, and even restrooms.  Below are seven Apps that any traveler should add to his digital suitcase.


Currency Converter

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t share a universal currency. Fortunately, there’s Currency Converter ($1.99), which not only provides support for more than 200 worldwide currencies, but also commodities (such as gold) and even virtual currency (such as Linden Dollars from Second Life).  Other notable features include inverse conversion support and up-to-date exchange rate information. 

Flight Status & Flight Tracker

Don’t let delays catch you by surprise. Flight Status & Flight Tracker  ($4.99) allows users to track flights from an astounding 1,143 airline carriers among more than 4,000 airports worldwide.  This App provides detailed information on estimated takeoff and arrival times, gate and terminal locations, baggage claim, and more.  Plus, users can develop a travel itinerary under the Trips module, which also allows for several flights to be tracked at once.

Mobile Translator



If you’re unsure of how to say, “Where is the hotel?” in Chinese or need to know what “Il bagno” means in English, Mobile Translator ($4.99) can provide a translation in a snap.  This intuitive App utilizes Google Translate and features support among 37 languages, including speech in English, French, German, and Spanish.  One minor drawback is that this App is only at its most effective when connected to the Internet.

Clothes Size



If your shoe size is 12 in the States, what would it be elsewhere?  Clothes Size ($1.99) compares men’s, women’s, and kids’ sizes among the US, Canada, UK, Europe, France, and Italy.  Users can also create their own profiles, consisting of their personal measurements. Hopefully, more countries will be added in future releases but even in its current state, it serves as a valuable resource for those who love to buy clothes abroad.

Zagat to Go ‘09



If you’re itching for something fun to do, rely on the extensive guide featured in Zagat to Go ‘09 ($9.99) for some prime tips.  Over 40,000 listings for restaurants, nightlife hot spots, shopping, and hotels spanning the world’s top metropolitan cities will be at your fingertips.  And unlike a traditional paperbound guidebook, Zagat to Go ‘09 will automatically update throughout the year.  Other features include integrated Google Maps and booking reservations.

Rocket Taxi



Calling for a cab can be stressful and often fruitless.  Rocket Taxi ($1.99) eases the frustration, with a directory that includes over 17,000 cab companies in over 10,000 cities. WiFi or GPS guides users to nearby cab companies.  Also included are a fare tip calculator and personal rating system.

SitorSquat



If nature grips you so bad you have no time to ask where the closest bathroom is (or look up how to say it in another language, for that matter), there’s SitorSquat (free).  This user-based program not only provides locations on the nearest toilets, it also gives information on which locations have handicap-friendly stalls, changing tables, vending machines, and more.  This self-described “Wiki” for worldwide lavatories offers over 50,000 listings, and is still growing.


The above Apps are excellent for universal usage.  However, plenty of niche travel Apps also exist for more specific needs.  For instance, you can download the Disneyland California Mini Guide (99 cents) if you’re planning on paying Mickey a visit, or TubeDeluxe (99 cents) if you want to make the most of London’s renowned public transportation system. 

Forget lugging around a guidebook or harassing locals–just load your iPhone up with these handy Apps and have an enjoyable trip.  Bon voyage!

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Phone-based Mobile Medical Lab in Star Trek Style

February 5th, 2009
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Research scientists at UCLA were able to hack an ordinary Sony Ericsson phone to act as a blood testing medical device.  Their prototype can test blood for HIV, malaria, leukemia and other diseases.  All that can be done with $50 worth of off-the-shelf hardware and a mobile phone. 


This device is called LUCAS - Lensfree Ultrawide-?eld Cell-monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging.

[via CNN more at UCLA]

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Social Networking Site Now Offers Cataloging Of Your iPhone Apps

February 4th, 2009
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LivingSocial is a social networking site that, unlike the MySpaces of the world, is more interested in its members sharing and cataloging their passions: movies, music, games, food.

Add iPhone apps to that list.  A new iPhone-centric area of the site shows you what apps your friends, have tried, reviewed, and rated.  You can then add your own rating, share your perspective, or purchase apps that look interesting.  (One caveat: you have to manually create your list of apps yourself.)

Like Facebook, LivingSocial also has a free app available from iTunes.  And the two sites are on good speaking terms: you can syncronize all kinds of info, iPhone-related or otherwise, between them.

iPhone, iSmashPhone

Will iPhone FINALLY Support Flash? The Ball’s In Adobe’s Court

February 4th, 2009
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So what’s holding up the long-awaited Abobe Flash support on the iPhone?  Believe it or not, right now neither of the current flavors of Flash are optimal, and Abobe is creating a third version just for the House of Jobs’ do-everything-else handset.

Interviewed by Bloomberg Television from the World Economic
Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said, ?It?s a hard technical challenge, and that?s part of the
reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating. The ball is in our court. The
onus is on us to deliver.?

Despite the fact that Flash is installed on 98 percent of the world’s computers — as well as more than 800 million handsets — it turns out an iPhone implementation isn’t a walk in the park.  Back in March of ‘08, Steve Jobs stated that full-blown Flash runs too slowly for the iPhone (dragging down CPU performance — and with it, battery life), while the slimmed-down
Flash Lite, ?isn?t capable enough to be used
with the Web,? and called on Adobe to write yet a third version of Flash just for the iPhone.

[Via Bloomberg.com]

iPhone, iSmashPhone