News coverage on great iPhone apps is sure to ramp up in your readers from here on, and I’m particularly excited to learn more about some stunning apps and report back along the way. Before I dive into the new Apple App store, I'd like to encourage you to take a closer look at a newly released jail-broken app, Instinctiv Shuffle™.
I'm addicted to my music and music gadgetry, but the single feature that I've never been fond of and almost never use is the "random shuffle." True to its name "random" there's no rhyme or reason to how my iPod chooses the lineup, and mostly it leaves me flipping around or onto the next song, rendering the feature an epic fail. Instinctiv Shuffle is the first app that truly seems to understand how I listen.
The application smartly shuffles my music in a few seemingly simple steps (note there’s a bunch of crazy stuff behind the scenes bringing together the brilliant outcome):
Step 1. Instinctiv Shuffle gathers the names of your songs and their associated playback.
Step 2. Via a secure and anonymous connection, this data is uploaded to Instinctiv Shuffle servers.
Step 3. That data is analyzed and new information is returned to your iPhone, enabling your formerly random shuffle feature to now determine the perfect songs and mix for you.
Our publisher, Hoyun, has been after me to start using eWallet, usually after I pester her for the password for one of our accounts for the umpteenth time.
eWallet lets you secure your personal information on multiple PCs and mobile devices using Windows Mobile or Palm OS. And waiting in the wings is the long-awaited version for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which is scheduled for release as early as this Friday when the new 3G iPhones first become available in stores. The software is finished and ready to launch, pending final word from Apple. Today's update from Ilium Software:
"We're not trying to be cagey with iPhone info about our apps - there still are a lot of unknowns. We hope we'll have eWallet in the iPhone App store Friday, but we haven't yet seen confirmation of that. We want to send reviewers copies as soon as we can, but we're not quite sure when the mechanisms will be in place. We're not sure if we'll have a way to give existing users a discount on the iPhone purchases, but we do have a plan in place to be sure they're taken care of."
eWallet safely stores and secures your PIN numbers, bank account information, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information, using government-level (FIPS) 256-bit AES encryption. For me, this means no more using weak passwords just so I'll remember them.
Take a look at the sneak preview on the Ilium Software Blog, and another preview screenshot after the jump.
Will there be iPhone frenzy on July 11? We know that there will be plenty of phones to go around, but still my friends and I are already planning to line up at the Apple Store in the wee hours of July 11th to get first dibs. Why do we care this much about a mobile phone upgrade?
The new iPhone 3G has a lot going for it—simply stated, the pricing strategy alone is a win-win (we'll pay less upfront and about $40 more in the long-term). But, it's not about the price or the 3G tech, or the new plastics involved.
Far more significant than the hardware upgrades, all iPhones will be able to connect to the App Store, an online service from Apple that will allow us to easily install third-party software that utilizes all of the iPhone's capabilities. This newfound ability to run virtually any application will soon let the little, mobile Apple computer in our pockets do things for us that the machines on our desks could only dream of.
But what will all these life-changing applications cost us? Will the $200 I save on my iPhone 3G just eventually get gobbled up by the App Store instead? Will the average iPhone customer even want to pay for these apps? And, how in the world will companies focused on the Apps, like newly launched Instinctiv.com actually monetize the software?
Enter Eric Litman, founder and CEO of Medialets, a New York-based advertising delivery platform whose work I hope will end up saving me a lot of my hard-earned cash. His company encourages developers who might otherwise charge up-front licensing fees to instead give their wares away for free. The costs of development would be supported by showing innovative, dynamic advertisements displayed inside the apps with Medialets technology.
Far be it from me to encourage you to work while you're on vacation, but . . .
If you absolutely must toil while you broil, Download.com has gathered together a nice brief collection of software that will ease the pain. Or at least help you complete your tasks with dispatch and get back to your inflatable pool lounge.
Many of these tools were new to me, but I can attest that one of them. Documents to Go, works as advertised. (It displays several common file types like .doc and .xls on most mobile devices and, even better, permits you to create and edit them.)
Download.com neglects to nag you, so I will: Slathers of sunscreen, please, and keep the work to a minimum. You deserve a holiday!
You know those shopping sites where you have the option to view clothing you're thinking of buying "on a model?" Of course, everything looks great on the model, but for all you know, she's six feet tall and weighs 90 pounds. Some online shopping sites have a virtual model feature where you pick a model based on body type (for instance, you might be given a choice of triangle, upside triangle, or hour glass - but what if you're more of a rectangle?), height, skin tone, hairstyle, etc. I've never found this kind of feature to be useful because the model never looks anything like me.
In Japan, Avielan Company has developed software for a virtual fitting room called Awaseba that lets you create an online model of the real you rather than a cartoonish avatar. The software application is sold to online merchants who provide the service for free to their customers. To use it, you simply upload a photograph of yourself in the designated pose (face forward, standing straight up, arms at your sides not too close to your body).
Believe it or not, there are actually still folks out there who design websites and applications for devices other than the iPhone. It may sound like crazy-talk to Apple die-hards, but it's true.
The latest company to recognize that people do use other phones is Godiva, which has teamed up with Digby to create a mobile application that provides BlackBerry users with secure shopping and quick access to the chocolatier's bestsellers. Featuring full-color images, Godiva Mobile integrates with the phone's address book and BlackBerry Maps to simply on-the-go online purchases and identify the nearest retail store for in-person browsing.
To download Godiva Mobile, simply fire up your BlackBerry browser, visit www.godiva.com/mobile, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Via I4U News.
More and more, it seems that what comes up at the top in browser search results is determined by factors having little to do with what I'm really looking for. Google search results may be comprehensive, but what I'm looking for may be buried so deep that I'll never find the one thing I'm looking for. I might accidentally come across just the right keyword to bring up some relevant results, but it's often hit or miss. Human-powered search engines such as Mahalo and iRazoo aim to create and "curate" search results to get around this diving-in-a-garbage-can feel of the big search engines. But humans are flawed and prejudiced, so you're not going to get objectivity with this method, nor will the results always be current (how do a few humans keep up with the volume of new content that comes on daily?).
I've been trying out Surf Canyon, a browser extension that works with Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. This browser add-on (which currently works with Internet Explorer and Firefox) gives you the option to narrow your search results by clicking a bull's eye icon next to a relevant search result to get more link recommendations that you might otherwise not see until you've clicked many more pages into your search results (which, for me, is usally never, as I get impatient after 3 or 4 pages). Using "real time semantic personalization technology" (how's that for a mouthful?) Surf Canyon "sits atop" your search engine to help you hone in on what you're looking for.
I personally don't receive a tremendous number of rambling voicemail messages, so I've never entertained the wish that I could have my messages transcribed into text so that I have the option to read them instead of listening to them. However, putting myself in the shoes of someone who's important enough to be relentlessly pursued by callers, I can see where such a service might prove to be a real time saver. Imagine having 50 voicemail messages to go through - you would actually have to listen to each message from beginning to end to know whether it contained something urgent and important (especially if the caller is someone like my mother who always waits to the very end of a message to get to the main point). Contrast that with email, where you can quickly browse the text and, thereby, triage your callers.
Lynda.com, which offers very affordable online training courses for learning software and Web design - for geeks as well as ordinary people - has introduced closed captioning to their learning library. Because Lynda.com courses require that you follow the instructor's voice as he takes you through various pages on your computer screen, up until now, they weren't accessible to the hearing impaired.
The other benefit of closed-captioning is that it enables users to search within specific lessons as well as across the Lynda.com website. As a user, I sometimes find that I want to go back to a very specific topic wthin a lesson, but don't always remember which section contained that topic. The ability to search closed-captioning text would make this kind of review much simpler. Lynda tells us that the conversion to closed-captioning throughout the library is well underway and should be completed in a few months.
Check out their list of 412 lessons.
I've been holding my breath for news of the release of iPhone applications that will offer some of the smartphone features I lost when I gave up my Treo (which I was perhaps a bit hasty in doing). For starters, I'd settle for a simple password keeper (there are web apps for this, but I don't want to send secure information into the big wide uncertainty of the web, and I've found that I'm too impatient to wait for pages to load). After that, something that lets me create and revise documents would be nice, and a program that syncs with Quicken.
Wired predicts that the release of Apple's iPhone software development kit will be followed by iTunes become a software store for the huge community of developers that will arise. Apparently, some developers are a little worried about the loss of control of their products that will come with having iTunes as the primary or only distribution vehicle. For iPhone users, there are obvious advantages to being able to go to one shop to browse through all (or most) offerings. While I enjoy browsing different stores for most categories of products, I've never enjoyed that process when purchasing applications for my smartphones (though I suppose exorbitant pricing may change my view on that).
Read more at Wired.