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kottke.org posts about iPhone apps

Foursquare for movies

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 29, 2010

There are likely several “Foursquare for X” apps out there (and many more to come), but I thought Miso was pretty interesting. From Cinematical:

Instead of checking in to a location (though you can do that too, if you link your existing Foursquare account), you check in with what you’re watching. Miso keeps track of your check-ins and rewards you with badges relating to specific genres (and sub-genres) of film and television. Link your Twitter or Facebook, and suddenly, you’re posting what you’re watching with friends and seeing what movies they’re watching as well. Genius.

iPhone/iPad-only for now.

The iPhone blows

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 25, 2010

Speakers move air to make sound. Some clever developer has used this fact to make a foosball game that uses small puffs of air from the iPhone’s speakers to move a tiny real-life Styrofoam ball around. Video (or it didn’t happen):

Another app from the same company called the iPhone Blower can blow out birthday candles. (via convo.us)

iPhone app for cooking with ratios

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 07, 2009

Michael Ruhlman is turning his Ratio cookbook into an iPhone app.

The best-selling cookbook […] is soon to be an iPhone app that will help you calculate amounts of ingredients in all the fundamental culinary preparations. When you know a ratio, you don’t know a recipe, you know 1,000. And this application does all the calculating for you.

Nice move…an iPhone app is perhaps a better expression of the subject matter than a book.

McSweeney’s iPhone app

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 23, 2009

McSweeney’s has an iPhone app called Small Chair.

We hereby announce the debut of the Small Chair, a weekly sampler from all branches of the McSweeney’s family. One week you might receive a story from the upcoming Quarterly, the next week an interview from the Believer, the next a short film from a future Wholphin. Occasionally, it might be a song, an art portfolio, who knows. Early contributors will include Spike Jonze, Wells Tower, Chris Ware, and Jonathan Ames. This material will not be available online and is pretty sure to be good stuff.

My iPhone usage has been almost exclusively baby-related for the past few days, but I hope to try this app out soon.

Auto-Tuned toddler sings his ABCs

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2009

So, I finally got the T-Pain iPhone app working.

Introducing the first iPhone app to give you Auto-Tune in the palm of your hand. You can sing along to T-Pain’s hits or create your own. You can record and share your genius with the world.

It didn’t work too well with my voice so I tried it on Ollie. Here’s Ollie singing his ABCs in Auto-Tune:

Stick around until the end…it’s the best part.

Sonar ruler iPhone app

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 20, 2009

Sonar Ruler is an iPhone app that uses clicking sounds to measure distances.

Basically it uses the iPhone’s speaker to send out a short click sound and it then measures how long it takes for that sound to bounce off of something in the environment. It can be quite accurate to within an inch or so when used in the right situations. I’ll say right upfront it’s not perfect, and cannot measure something small like a person. It works best on a large flat surface that is perpendicular to the iphone (like a large wall.)

Things that come to mind: “reverify our range to target…one ping only”, the boy who sees by clicking, Daredevil, the last 30 minutes of The Dark Knight, and this app is going to be many architects’ new best friend. (thx, matt)

Bang Bang Diet iPhone app

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 20, 2009

Inspired by the Steve Ward Diet, an iPhone developer wrote Bang Bang Diet to help you “diet like a robot”. Again, here are the rules:

You plot your desired weight on a desired date towards the right side, making sure that you’ve left the correct number of lines in between (one per day). You draw a line from the current weight/date to the desired weight/date. Every morning you weigh yourself and plot the result. If the point is below the line, you eat whatever you want all day. If the point is above the line, you eat nothing but broccoli or some other low-calorie food.

The app takes care of the plot for you and tells you either to “Eat Normal” or “Eat Light” on any particular day. Only $1.99 at the App Store.

Update: The folks behind Bang Bang Diet have cleverly applied the same idea to budgeting with their Simple Budget app…the app tells you to “Spend” or “Don’t Spend” based on how much you’ve already spent for the day.

Typography reference for the iPhone

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 14, 2009

The Typography Manual looks like a nice little iPhone app for designers.

The Typography Manual has several useful features and resources for designers, including a visual type anatomy glossary, a font size ruler, an em calculator, and a enough content to fill a 60 page book. It has the all the essentials of a desk reference in a regularly updated pocket resource.

(via quips)

NYC subway prewalking aid

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 07, 2009

Exit Strategy NYC is an iPhone app that tells you where to get on the subway train so as to be in an optimal position when you get off.

Taking the 1 train uptown to 28th street? Get on right behind the middle conductor. Need to transfer to the L at Union Square from the N downtown? Ride in the 1st car. Detailed diagrams eliminate the guesswork and frustration from your ride, making your subway trip easier and faster.

See also prewalking. (via @dens)

Update: The Times writes 650+ words on an app that calculates prewalking coordinates but doesn’t use the word “prewalking”.

Update: Exit Strategy NYC has been updated to include every stop in the subway system and subway entry points.

Birdhouse

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 13, 2009

The introduction video for Birdhouse is just really fantastic; the best iPhone app intro video in the universe probably.

Foursquare is the new Dodgeball

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 11, 2009

Dennis Crowley is making a successor to Dodgeball called Foursquare. It’s an iPhone app that treats nightlife like a video game.

Users rack up points based on how many new places they visit, how many stops they’ve made in one night and who else has been there. You become a “mayor” of a hot spot if you’re there often. […] “People get kind of competitve about this.” There’s a “Leaderboard” which lists the most adventurous users with the most points.

(via fimoculous)

Kindle for the iPhone

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 04, 2009

Now you can go to the iTunes Store to buy the Kindle app from Amazon that lets you read ebooks made for the Kindle device on the iPhone. Yes, it’s that confusing! Maybe they shouldn’t have called the app the same name as the device…I thought “Kindle” was the device? A noun and a verb form of the same proper name is ok (e.g. “I googled you on Google” or “Please digg my link on Digg”) but two nouns seems like a no-no.

RJDJ, maybe the best iPhone app out there?

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2008

Here’s how to use the RJDJ iPhone app. You install the app, plug your headphones in, launch it, and press “Now Playing”. A song plays, the app starts to sample the sounds in your environment, and those sounds are remixed in real time and played back to you. It might be the coolest thing ever. Check out this video and this other video for a quick look at how RJDJ works. The first video shows some songs that use the iPhone’s accelerometer to modify and scratch the beat. (via waxy)

PS. It might only be the coolest app in theory…it’s also flaky as hell. It was working fine for me and then crapped out…there’s no music now, only sound sampling and it’s really quiet. Maybe you need to use the Apple headphones with the mic?

PhotoSwap

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 20, 2008

PhotoSwap is a simple iPhone app: you take a photo, the app sends it to another user at random, and you get a random one in return. Check out a review and a bunch of photos people have received through the app. (thx, david)

The $1000 iPhone app

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 06, 2008

Yesterday developer Armin Heinrich posted an iPhone app to the App Store called I Am Rich. The program displays a red gem, has no function but to display your wealth to others through ownership, and costs $1000. It has since been removed from the App Store, although no one knows whether Apple or Heinrich pulled it.

I Am Rich isn’t the most clever piece of art, but it’s not bad either. For some, the iPhone is already an obvious display of wealth and I Am Rich is commenting on that. Plus, buying more than you need as an indication of wealth is practically an American core value for a growing segment of the population. Is paying $5000 for a wristwatch or $50,000 for a car when much cheaper alternatives exist really all that different than paying $1000 for an iPhone app?

When news of the app got out onto the web, the outcry came swiftly. VentureBeat implored Apple to pull it from the App Store, as did several other humorless blogs. Blog commenters were even more harsh in their assessments. What I can’t understand is: why should Apple pull I Am Rich from the App Store? They have to approve each app but presumably that’s to guard against apps which crash iPhones, misrepresent their function, go against Apple’s terms of service, or introduce malicious code to the iPhone.

Excluding I Am Rich would be excluding for taste…because some feel that it costs too much for what it does. (And this isn’t the only example. There have been many cries of too many poor quality (but otherwise functional) apps in the store and that Apple should address the problem.) App Store shoppers should get to make the choice of whether or not to buy an iPhone app, not Apple, particularly since the App Store is the only way to legitimately purchase consumer iPhone apps. Imagine if Apple chose which music they stocked in the iTunes store based on the company’s taste. No Kanye because Jay-Z is better. No Dylan because it’s too whiney. Of course they don’t do that; they stock a crapload of different music and let the buyer decide. We should deride Apple for that type of behavior, not cheer them on.

Hold-On iPhone app

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 17, 2008

The world’s most funnest iPhone game productivity app is Hold-On. To play, hold the button on the screen as long as you can. (via andre)

Cool iPhone apps

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 10, 2008

So, what are the cool must-have iPhone Apps? The iTunes Store lists the most popular ones but that’s often not a good indicator. Obvious choices thus far: Twitterific (read and post to Twitter), Remote (control iTunes or Apple TV with your iPhone), and AppEngines’ individual ebooks (like Pride and Prejudice). Let me know what your favorites are in the comments and I’ll compile a list. Bonus points if you actually explain what the app does and why it’s worth the effort.