Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane HD for the iPad

If you're even the least bit worried about the storms in your area and an iPad, you should get Hurricane HD [iTunes link].

It's $3.99 right now but how you can put a price on peace of mind?  I have to admit, I did get it while it was on sale for $2.99 and when Fernanda started off in the Eastern Pacific.

Now, I am a former weather producer and I know a little something about weather.  Although I'm not a meteorologist, I've used the tools they use to bring you latest about the weather and storm tracking.

I am very impressed with Hurricane HD.  Once you enter the app, you see right away the current storms by name at the top of the screen.  You see a storm track and the areas that might be affected.  While this will not replace what a meteorologist uses, this is more than capable for the layperson who just needs to know how the storm is tracking.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

R.I.P. webOS (For Now)

Okay, webOS isn't dead yet.  But, it was barely alive anyway.  Although webOS is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, operating system in the smartphone market neither Palm nor Hewlett-Packard could get traction in an industry already crowded by iOS, Android, BlackBerry and, most recently, Windows Phone 7.

In today's HP earnings call, the company revealed it is spinning off its PC division and no longer making hardware for webOS.  Although it is no surprise that the TouchPad was selling so poorly, it is surprising that HP is giving up so early in the game.  The Pre3 hadn't even been released in the U.S. yet.  Anybody admit to buying the Veer?  Even with this dismal news, webOS could rise from the ashes yet a third time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photovine Goes Public!

Google has officially entered itself into the iOS photo sharing race.  That's right.  Google.  The company that owns the mobile operating system called Android that's going head-to-head against iOS in the mobile phone universe. An app called Photovine is out of beta and now available to the general public.  Interestingly, the app is NOT available for the Android OS.  Only for iOS (for now).

So, that means Photovine is not trying to compete against multiplatform apps like picplz or even Flickr.  Google is looking straight at Instagram.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wolverine Invaded My iPhone 4 Case!

I ordered a new iPhone case from Performance Designed Products which is part of a line of Marvel Comics-themed cases.

The $29.99 cases are 20% off for the month of August if you use the code "comiccon2011."  I thought, "Hey, they're cool!" so I bought one.  I originally wanted the Captain America shield case but it was sold out.  So, I got the next best thing - The Wolverine Red Rage case.

While this is a very nice case, there is a HUGE problem with these hard cases.  I'll explain after I give some thoughts about the case itself.

Google Buys Motorola Mobility

The story sending shockwaves throughout the tech industry today is Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility to strengthen the Android ecosystem.

Now, for the record, although I am an iOS user I support anyone who wishes to use the Android ecosystem.  I always tell people that I feel iOS works best for me and it may not work well for everyone.  I don't feel there is a mobile operating system that is better than all other operating systems, although some may disagree with that statement.

I applaud Google shoring up 17,000 patents with Motorola Mobility to defend itself from other companies like Microsoft and Apple.  That is smart.

After reading the news, I thought the take on all of this would be that Google is standing up to the tech giants like Apple and Microsoft and becoming a bigger player in the world tech market.  Sure, I found some of that take.  But, I was surprised that people are now worried that the Android ecosystem will be drastically changed.  And some of that is from the Android community itself.  Articles like this one could be spreading the panic amongst dedicated Android users.  I've even seen some Android users say that the reactions from the different Android vendors are so alike that it's obvious that Google gave them a cut-and-paste reaction.

I really don't want to buy into the panic.  I think what Android has done is good for the marketplace.  And this is from an iOS user.  What do you think?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What To Expect From iOS 5

It's been more than a year since a major revision of iOS has been released.  We're ALL waiting for iOS 5.  We're also ALL waiting for the announcement of the next iPhone.

Those who saw the iOS 5 announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June can't wait until it arrives.

And to this day, my most popular post is "What To Expect From iOS 4."  It's probably not because everyone wants to read about an operating system that's more than a year old.  It's because people are searching for hints about the NEXT operating system.  I've held off going over all of the features of iOS 5 because we've been bombarded by them in the mainstream tech websites.  So, now that all the hoopla is over and we're just waiting until Apple sets a date for its Fall Apple Event I guess it's time for me to remind you what we're all waiting for.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Level HD for the iPad

I was able to hook up with one of my Instagram friends and try out a new iPad app called Level HD [iTunes link].

It's basically a trio of levels, inclinometer and rulers.  It's really that simple.  On one hand, it's really precise.  If you have an iPad 2, it appears to make full use of the accelerometer and gyroscope.  On the other hand, it's $4.99.

Talking with one of my woodworking friends, he said at the $4.99 price point it's a little too expensive for something you'd use only around the house.  Unless you like to take chances and are willing to use your iPad in your wood shop.

UPDATE 8/13/2011:  The app is now 60% off at $1.99!  If you want this app, NOW is the time to get it!

If you are willing to spend $5 and don't want to go to the store for levels and an inclinometer to use around the house, then this is the app for you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Google+ Took A Leap In Usability For iOS

This morning, the big news about the Google+ [iTunes link] iOS app is that it gained support for the iPad and iPod Touch.  Like everyone else, I thought it was going to be an iPad-specific app.  But, no.  It's just the iPhone app on the iPad.  Strangely enough, the first two revisions of Google+ could not be installed on the iPad without some hacking.

Here's the list of features added with today's update:

  • Huddle settings
  • Aggregated circle add notifications
  • iPod Touch & iPad support
  • Performance and stability improvements

All of that sounds good, but I found a game-changing feature that will help me to use Google+ on the iPhone and iPad a lot more.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Skype for iPad Released! (Then Pulled, and Back Again)

Skype for iPad has been released in the U.S.!

I tested the mic using the iPad 2's mic and it sounded super clear.

My co-worker tested the video calling with her sister who is in New York and it worked well!  She was on it for 15 to 30 minutes.  Her sister has a Verizon iPhone so it was a solid signal but Verizon's 3G is slower so it looked more pixelated when there was a lot of motion.  But, it's a good alternative to FaceTime!

iCloud Webapp Goes Live is now live.  This is where your can get your .me email account, your contacts, your iCal calendar, Find My iPhone and your iWork documents on the web - no matter what type of computer you're using.

Only developers have full access to the iCloud now.  But, if you have an Apple ID, you can still browse around.

I don't have a .me email account so I can't go into the Mail app.  Although my contacts are not backed up with Apple's MobileMe, I can still go into the Contacts app.  It looks just like the Contacts app for the iPad.  I don't have a Mac so I don't have iCal.  Still, you can go into the Calendar app and check it out.  This also looks just like the Calendar app for the iPad.

Find My iPhone has been available on the web for a while even without a MobileMe account.  This is just put in a better place with all of the other apps.  And then there's the iWork app.  Even though I do have Pages on the iPad and iPhone, this feature does not work for non-developers.  Can't wait until this goes live with iOS 5.  I won't have to use Dropbox anymore. is a bit buggy.  Even if you check the box that says "Keep Me Signed In For 2 Weeks" it won't keep you signed in.  At least not from my experience.

I also noticed for some reason I kept typing in my password and it wouldn't accept it.  I eventually got it to work, though.  I also found this cute response if you don't type in your password correctly:

UPDATE:  The day after I was able to get in, Apple locked it down for only developers.  I didn't think I was going where I'm not supposed to go but I guess the whole shebang was only for developers.  Since many websites got screenshots, I never thought to take my own since I didn't think I'd lose access to it.  Anyway, isn't really "magic" unless you have iOS 5.