More applications

I’ve been adding applications almost daily – Koi Pond, Monkey Ball, Whoishere …

Koi Pond – a nice calm application. Though I seem to remember that real koi would be attracted to your finger rather than repelled. The graphics are what are most astounding. This is why the iPhone is not your ordinary cell phone.

Monkey Ball – a not so calm application, especially for those of us hand eye coordination challenged folks. Still it’s a fun game.

MPG – a small application to keep track of my car milage. It would be nice if it interfaced with my car, and my car kept a similar record.

Whoishere – is a social application. Intersting but perhaps buggy at this point. When I signed on, the nearest people it found were in Montreal – which it knew was 150 km away …

Then, not a true application, at least not explicitly …

Google Maps – I was chatting with Will about Whoishere, and it also gave him Montreal based fiends, but he is in Minnesota, not Vermont ! So, while sitting in the Waterman Cybercafe, I fired up google maps, searched for the Waterman Building. Google decided that my current location was at Main and South Prospect, and then gave me the one block walking directions to reach the Waterman building.

So, even with Wi-Fi, my location is well enough known for my uses.


Six more applications

6 Apps Screen Shot 200808-07-21

6 Apps Screen Shot 200808-07-21

WordPress – so now my posts can say “posted with my iPod” … as this one does …

Graffito – a geo-tagging application. Go to a spot – a museum, a park, a public square, a shopping mall, a cemetary, … – and post your remarks. The next person to come by will be able to read them and respond. Of course, since it is spatially based, you won’t be able to read the reply until you to back to that location. The concept is intriguing, the comments on the developers board even moreso. Definitely mind bending.

NYTimes – provides a clean repackaging of the paper for the iPhone. They clearly see what’s coming down the street.

Scribble – a doodle pad that may allow you to email the sketches. It crashed the first time I tried it; will try again later.

BubbleWrap– pop virtual plastic wrap bubbules. Nice simple game to pass the time of day.

Banner Free – make psuedo LED display bnners you can show to your friends.

Ok but trying to type in the links is not going to be fun.

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The Top Ten Free Applications

top_free_apps_080720.png top_free_apps_080720_jp.png

Like it’s parent iTunes store, the App store shows a list of popular downloads – on the left are the most popular free downloads for the US, on the right, those for Japan.

For most of the week, the top spot in the US has been stable, with only the bottom few shifting up and down, AOL and Facebook squeaking in there.

iPhone 2.0 and beyond.

android.jpgProbably the best thing about iPhone 2.0 is Android. Or maybe I should say, no Microsoft.

The iPhone is a good example of the post-PC (computer, keyboard, mouse) world, but if Apple were going that road alone, things would move slowly. With Google entering the field, there is now, or soon will be, serious competion – both for technology and vision. has an nicely written article on 10 things you didn’t know about Android. Details aside, the basic case made is “anything you can do, I can do better.” Missing is the important reply, “so can I.” Both are unix systems, and, when push comes to shove, both are open systems. The result will be good, a variety of “choices,” or at least a semblance of choice.


Today being Sunday, the application du jour is the New York Times. Again, they did it right. It does not emulate the webpage experience but gives you New York Times articles that are perfectly readable on the iPhone. The articles had a small mini-banner at the bottom, taking up maybe 2 or three lines of article text. But when you scroll through the article, the ad stays fixed and is totally unobnoxious. The only annoying things about it is that, like a lot of NYTimes ads, they are for things I’m not really interested in – the Westin Hotel Chain, Hewlett-Packard Printers, Sun Servers, etc. I’d almost prefer real ads from the real sunday newspaper. Book ads on editorial and review pages, music ads on arts pages, and hey, while you’re at it, if I’m in the city, how about a link to MOMA or the Met so I can buy a ticket on my iPhone, and just go there and show them the ticket on the screen when I show up. (And then, yes, buy the program and museum guide and install it on my machine.)

iPhone 1.99 – Now for some Google Tricks

Google-Apps-Home-Screen.png Google has adapted to iPhone 2.0 at high speed – with a half dozen or so applications mobiized:

  • google
  • google/ig
  • gCalendar
  • Gmail
  • gNews
  • gNotes
  • gReader

    Some, like mail and calendar, are SDK applications. Others, like reader and news, are Safari based.

    What’s most fun about them is that they, like AIM, Twitterific, and Facebook, break away from the “web page” syndrome. Or at least they do so on the first level. Once you get into, for example, a news source or a blog source, you have to deal with the original site and it’s idea of a web page. I wonder how far Google will go to extracting information, leaving the style sheets, site advertisements, site navigation – eventually the whole site – behind.

    Or perhaps, what we will see are sites adapting to the new media. Computing without computers, browsing without browsers. No mice, no keyboards, no Internet Explorer.

    The Google Mobile Blog has a nice article on Google’s recent efforts, see “New updates to for the iPhone,” Friday, July 18, 2008

  • iPhone 1.98 – Some Silly Fun

    Friday, and some time to play with the less serious side of the phone.

    animals-cute-dog.jpgFirst some wallpaper. Sciphone is a repository of cellphone and iphone wallpaper. Most of it is either tasteful or tasteless, hopelessly cute or hopelessly crass. Occasionally there is a photo, however, that is striking and cellphone apt, at least in my eye. Here’s what I’ve chosen, with homage to Wegman. One wonders what Andy Warhol or Ray Lichtenstein would have done with the wallpaper medium. Or even Pablo Picasso. Another hit towards the future, perhaps.

    As an official project, I installed the Cisco VPN client. The major sticking point was the long url that advertises it … 80 some characters. TinyUrl reduced it to 25. There were a couple of certificate warnings along the way to add to the confusion (and, if kept in place, to encourage unhealthy habits.)

    Then finally, another game. Tap Tap Revenge, or TTR, is a crazy disco fever Dance Dance Revolution for your fingers. (An earlier version of the game was indeed called Tap Tap Revolution.) The video below shows it in play, though I wonder how they got two earphones on the system :). The lead to this came from TechCrunch via the Washington Post which noted “The game, which was released by new startup Tapulous, is currently number 7 on the list of top free applications overall (ahead of AOL Radio and MySpace Mobile) and number 1 on the top games list.” [1]

    Here’s a quick video of the game in play.

    If Carl Icahn and Steve Balmer knew what they were headed into, they would be trying to buy Sony or Nintendo, rather than Yahoo.

    [1] Michael Arrington, Tap Tap Revenge For iPhone Launches Late, Surges Up App Store Rankingsm, Tuesday, July 15, 2008; 1:44 AM.

    iPhone 1.97 – More applications

    Alas, this time some applications without icons. Narrative rules.

    • Remote Control. Sort of a disappointment, so far. Sure, I can control my MacBook, but I really want to control, say, the home TV set or the lecture hall projector :). This is from Apple, so we expect it to be maybe more suggestive than operative. I guess we will put those in the shape of applications to come.
    • Moonlight Mahjong Lite. This is the simple tile game, with a three dimensional visualization option. Using multitouch, you can rotate, pan, zoom, and otherwise explore the area. Good thing this is not a driving game, I would have wiped out a dozen times. 3D navigation is not easy, with or without multi-touch.
    • Molecules. This is a port of a BSD open source project and shows that, hey guys, there is a real computer in here. New molecules can be downloaded from the RCSB Protein Data Bank. ( This is a bit overpowering for Chemistry 1 and Chemistry 20 students, but I’m sure those molecules will soon become available.

    • Weatherbug. I’m addicted to weather radar and weatherbug meets that addiction nicely. It’s always such a pain to go to a portal page, click on the weather icon, reach a weather site, click on a feature, find the map i want, click on it, and then finally get to see where that storm is. Weather bug puts that radar image right up front. Bingo. [Double bingo. I woke up Friday morning and heard that there was a weather alert – a supercell was headed into the Champlain Valley, due to strike at 7 AM. Weatherbug showed that this would pass well to the north of Burlington. Whew!]

    What I like about theses applications is that they are real applications. You can immediately see where the iPhone is blowing away the telco model of the cellphone. Ditto why so many programmers are frustrated by the compromises Apple has made to that telco model. This is a real computing platform.

    Google’s Android and the OLPC programs will, I bet, help those disruptive ideas bubble up.