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Mac App Store Opens Today

With a little fanfare during CES 2011, the Apple Mac Store is wedging itself into OS X 10.6.6. With a modest standard software update on your MacBook (or other Mac computers), you will find a rounded version of their standard App Store icon in your dock that pretty much anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch would recognize.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, I sprinted to my MacBook today and downloaded the package and got to work.

My first impression is really two fold. First, it basically behaves just like the iOS version. Fire up a quick search, maybe browse if that is your fancy, click on the free or price icon and it downloads directly to your dock, and placed in your applications folder.

Second, this makes installing Mac software mind-numbingly easy. One of my main frustrations with Mac since I became a regular user a year ago was the app installation process, especially coming from Windows. You would have to download a disk image, open that, sometimes you would have to drag that to the applications folder, sometimes not…there was lot of guesswork, especially for a newbie. Apple has successfully ported the idea of software installation from the iPhone and iPod touch to the Mac with the same ease that made the “app” as popular as it is now.

The usual Apple rules apply, such as rev share agreements and an approval process – but for the Mac developers out there that make great software, this is the ultimate distribution portal. I wouldn’t have discovered Tweetie unless I did some browsing/research and then downloaded. Now, it will probably end up being a top Mac store app with a built-in audience to discover it.

So, download your software update today and get to browsing. Lastly, for everyone that was wondering, Angry Birds for Mac is also available today in the App Store. Go take down those pigs!

Filed under: Computers, Mobile Apps, Technology, , , , , , , , ,

My Unofficial Rules of Foursquare

As an avid Foursquare user now for some time, I think it is cool that more and more people are starting to discover the “game” of it all and using it as a way to meet up with friends.

There has been a few times where I have used it to meet up with people who were near me, discover new places and also as a Superuser, close venues that are no longer with us.  I also feel since I was an early adopter (shout-out to by friend Ken who introduced it to me), then I get to make some rules for all the newbies that are getting on board.

So, I give you – my unofficial rules to Foursquare, as I have declared myself the official arbiter of what can and can’t be done.

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Filed under: Mobile Apps, , , , ,

iPhone 4 – Has Google Truly Closed The Gap?

With one swoop, the mobile world took notice as Steve ushered out his latest iPhone on his terms, the iPhone 4.  One nice thing about the product leak heard around the world, is that Apple had to tell a different story than they planned to fire up the hype machine to drive people into line on June 24th.

Steve Jobs gets ready to conference in Mr. Ive

Here's To You Mr. Ive, Hopefully Wi-Fi Holds Up

There are several unhearalded features in the new iOS 4 that will be coming to the 3G, 3GS, and now the iPhone 4.  I am not going to go deep into some of the big features that Steve talked up, such as FaceTime and the “Retina” display, but some of the other features that Google should take into account when trying to knock the iPhone off the proverbial mobile pedestal.  For all of those thinking they may ditch their iOS device, read on.

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Filed under: Mobile Apps, Technology

MobileMe: Apple's Unsung Sharing & More Service

I previously covered in my last post a quick, easy and really cool way (at least in my opinion) of sharing your iPhone photos.  Flickr is a feature rich, free service that really fits the bill for what most users need, the ability to share images with large groups of people and be very straightforward and easy in doing so.

This post is more for Mac OSX users than it is for Windows users, but something still that everyone can take advantage of.  The reason most people haven’t, is that this service costs $99 a year.  Is it worth it?  So far, it isn’t anything you couldn’t get from Google in one way, shape or form, but it is something that is very easy to integrate with existing Mac OSX offerings and has some cool features as well.

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Filed under: Mobile Apps, Photography

How to Share your iPhone Images, Part 1

Half of the fun in taking photos on your iPhone is sharing your candid and/or artistic attempts with your friends.

Now, with a traditional digital camera, you would have to go through the process of downloading the photos to your computer, and then uploading them to the service of your choice for sharing.  With the iPhone and it’s advantage of being constantly connected to a “high-speed” internet connection (this is AT&T we are talking about here) as well as the ability to geotag, sharing photos with your friends is even easier than before.

Now I am not going to go into the upload to Facebook option within the iPhone app to share your photo among friends.  I know that exists, so there is no need to remind me, and the features of the app I am going to talk about surpass the abilities of the Facebook application.

The app that I am going to talk about in this section is the Flickr application for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Oh Hai Flickr for iPhone

Now there are many nice advantages to a Flickr account in general, but you will need to create one to use it on  your iPhone.  With Flickr, you can upload tons of images for free, share them with friends, find like-minded friends, burn hours looking at those like-minded friends, and so on – but what’s great about this is that these functions are available on the mobile app, along with the ability to tag your location of where you uploaded the photo from, and put it on a map.

Upload Screen for Flickr

Andy is quite the scenery photographer

So when you download the app and also find your friends on the service, the app does this cool little montage of  your friend’s photos.  In this instance, I am greeted by an awesome vacation photo from Andy, our flag football quarterback.

Flickr Upload Screen

Tag it!

Go ahead and tap on the camera in the right hand corner, snap a photo or select one from your library on  your iPhone.  Feel free to enter the meta data provided (I actually recommend doing it later when you are online, but that’s just me) but be sure the “Tag Current Location” switch is on.  Now, when you upload this photo, the GPS coordinates are stored with the photo, and Flickr will then display where you took this photo on a map.

To me, this is where the fun starts.  I have been at this whole Flickr thing now for a few months, and it makes me realize a few things.

My Flickr Map

My whereabouts, according to Flickr

  1. I need to upload more photos
  2. I need to go more places

As this gets built out, I can then see my photo stream, where I took them down to the street address and click through  my memories, and where they were taken.

To me, this is the killer feature.  Plus, you can also have prints of your iPhone pictures made, have them put on a hipster framed canvas, make a cool card or photo book, just stuff you can’t do on Facebook if you upload your photos.

Next post, I will go into the MobileMe feature for Apple users (Windows peeps can use it too) as a venue for photo sharing, storage, and other perks.

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Filed under: Mobile Apps, Photography

iPhone Photo Editing – First Rounds

The camera on the iPhone 3GS is quite an upgrade over the camera used in the iPhone and the iPhone 3G.  Sporting the 3.2 MP camera with autofocus, you get slightly clearer photos as well as the ability to set the subject in focus.  It is not a bad camera to have on your person most of the time for candid shots, and also gives the flexibility to edit photos as well as leave your artistic touch on a photo.

With roughly $8.00 in your iTunes account, you can crop, color correct and otherwise edit away with your two fingers.

Below I used the photoshop.com application for iPhone (free, iTunes link here) to turn this photo of the Pioneer Square Pergola from a standard color photo, to a much more vintage black and white photo.

There are many more things you can do with photos, which I will slowly start to publish here.

Pioneer Square Pergola Before Image

Pergola Before Photo

Seattle Pioneer Square Pergola After

Pergola After Photo

Filed under: Mobile Apps, Photography

Play TrenchesVS, Win an iPad!

A new angle I just found in an app update which I find very interesting. Play a game, and be entered to win an iPad.

The game is TrenchesVS (pretty popular iPhone game) that with the latest game update will enter you to win the magical iPad with every game played. You get more chances to win if you play multiplayer.

Interesting strategy, considering I have heard that Apple frowns upon the apps in the App Store turning into contests. But if it promotes the iPad? Apparently that’s good to go!

Filed under: Mobile Apps, , ,

Scout is Freaking Amazing

For me, Craigslist is the first place I go to look for great deals on anything that plugs into a wall. I have purchased cell phones, computer parts and MP3 players several times and have secured some great deals.

One of the nuances about Craigs many times is that you have to be first in with the email or a call to get what you are looking for. Listings are priced to move, so if you don’t move quickly – you can be left in the dust by someone that just had better timing or luck.

Using Scout for the iPhone is now an easy way to get instant notifications when something you are searching for has hit the internets.

Set up your filters, turn on notifications, and get to browsing. The simple and clean interface make it a breeze to start pining over a new MacBook Pro.

Scout is $4.99 and on the App Store.

I can't get enough of the MacBook hardware.

Extremely clean!

...but right now I am a Win 7 guy on Asus hardware.

Filed under: Mobile Apps, , , ,

New NHL fans – Keep Track with this App

After the gold medal game last Sunday, I am sure a few Zack Parise fans were born and Ryan Miller jerseys purchased.

For those of us who already knew hockey was awesome and enjoyed this possible last showdown between NHL-lead United States and Canadian teams, I would like to share an app that can keep you following your favorite American players for free.

The CBC has created a Hockey Night in Canada application for thr iPhone and iPod touch that even features the opening of the show the first time you open the application. To most hockey fans, this is music to the ears.

Now I just need Parise to take Modano’s spot in Dallas when he decides to hang up the skates.

Filed under: Mobile Apps, , , , , , ,

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