June 28, 2012 |
A dose of history can't hurt around Independence Day, and application makers have stepped up with mildly successful attempts to remind Americans why they'll be celebrating the Fourth of July. U.S. Pocket Reference , $1.99 from Double Dog Studios, is a package of historical documents and narratives on the branches of the federal government and their various agencies. Once it is open on iPhone, tap the screen to show navigation tools. Document texts include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, excerpts from the Federalist Papers, and key Supreme Court decisions such as Marbury v. Madison, which in 1803 helped establish the high court's authority, and the landmark 1954 civil-rights case, Brown v. Board of Education.
June 15, 2012 |
When a video won't run on your smartphone's native browser, or you need to scan and share a document, it would be good to have some software applications on hand that serve the moment. Here are some to keep in mind. Skyfire Web Browser , by Skyfire Labs Inc. is $2.99 on Apple devices and $4.99 for the full version on Android after a three-day free trial. Skyfire's usefulness on the iPhone is its ability to play many videos that run on Adobe's Flash software — something Apple's Safari browser doesn't do. The Skyfire trick for both Apple and Android devices is to compress incoming video, dramatically shrinking your data usage.
May 10, 2012 |
Some smartphone applications will relieve you of having to lug around a deck of reward cards for supermarkets and retail outlets, offering not only convenience but reduced pocket clutter. And, if you're intent on posting your every move as a social-media event, such apps help to turn a trip to the drugstore into a likable moment among your Facebook friends. These apps include tutorials that explain how to get your loyalty and reward accounts loaded into the phone and ready to flash at the cash register.
May 4, 2012 |
You may not recognize the term augmented reality, but you've probably already benefited from the concept: enhancing the real world with digital information. That bright-yellow line on the football field showing how far to a first down? At times you may wish your team's players could see it. Sadly, it's visible only on a TV monitor. With the right equipment, you may someday be able to see digital overlays everywhere you look. A name for that face you can't quite recognize.
April 28, 2012 |
The Federal Trade Commission hired a top Washington litigator to run its antitrust investigation of Google Inc., signaling that the agency might be preparing a lawsuit against the world's largest search engine. The FTC is bringing in Beth Wilkinson, who is known for winning the death sentence against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Wilkinson, 49, has never lost a case. Google disclosed in June that the FTC had opened a broad antitrust investigation of its business practices.
April 25, 2012 |
Allergy and asthma sufferers are often on the lookout for the triggers that may turn a good day into a bad one. Here are some smartphone apps for early warnings on airborne and food allergens, and for tracking symptoms. AllergyAlert is a free iPhone and Android app that displays Pollen.com's allergy and pollen forecast for your zip code. You'll either enter a zip manually or allow the app to access your location. Additional indexes show risks for those suffering from asthma, the relative danger of ultraviolet exposure, and the prevalence of cold and flu symptoms.
April 11, 2012 |
Discovering new music that's to your liking is simple and fun with the help of a few well-chosen applications for your smartphone. Shazam, by Shazam Entertainment Ltd., is a free app for Apple and Android that does one fine trick. Say you are out and about, and hear a song you like. Shazam will listen to a few seconds of music, identify the song, and link to all sorts of information about it. You can "tag" a song and share it on Facebook and Twitter, or send your find by e-mail to anyone or to your "Shazam friends.
April 9, 2012 |
Philadelphia Media Network Inc. released its 2012 Philly Pro Baseball app for the iPad, iPhone, Android phone, and Android tablet Monday. The publisher of The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com said the app, which was developed in-house, will provide Twitter updates, blogs, columns and articles from the newspapers' Phillies' sportswriters. It also incorporates a play-by-play feature that will enable Phillies' fans to follow the progress of a game. The price of the app is 99 cents for the iPhone version and $2.99 for the iPad on Apple's iTunes, free on the Google Play app store, and 99 cents for phone and $1.99 for tablet on Amazon's Appstore for Android.
April 5, 2012 |
The Inquirer is launching a service that seeks to enhance the newspaper through interaction with tablets and smartphones. Using the cameras embedded in such devices, readers will be able to scan photographs or advertisements in the newspaper to access hidden content, which will then be streamed to the devices. Readers could, for instance, watch a special video or hear an interview associated with a newspaper story, or they could get updates through the day on a breaking news story.
March 21, 2012
Don't use your smartphone as a shovel, but take it to the garden this spring anyway, and you'll find it's a handy tool. Gardening Toolkit, an app from Applied Objects, is $1.99 for the iPhone and $3.99 for the iPad version. The application has a subtitle, "The easy way to garden!" When you start it up, there's a prompt for your zip code that will establish your plant-hardiness zone. Then go straight to the advice section, where there's general guidance for what garden chores you should be about this month.