The best iPhone apps. Srsly.

Breastfeeding gets boring fast. iPhone to the rescue! Bet I’ve played with more apps than you have. Here are my picks so far:

Blogging: Tumblrette, iBlogger
Twittering: Twitterfon
eReader: Stanza
Language dictionary: Japanese(codefromtokyo)
Music: Beatmaker, Loopy, Bebot
Painting: Brushes
Vector drawing: Zeptopad
Photo editing: Photogene
Photo uploading: Pixelpipe
Remote desktop: Jaadu VNC
Remote mouse/keyboard: AirMouse, iTap
“wow” app: iTracer(3D modeling)

I’ve also loaded plenty of games, but they’re such a matter of taste. Personally keep returning to Touchgrind, but also really liked(in no particular order):

Warfare, Inc
Flick Fishing
Red Sky


January 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm 1 comment

Testing Tumblr

Tumblr always seemed interesting but still essentially pointless. Twitter had miniblogging covered, especially since you could get instant feedback for whatever you posted (since Tumblr lacks comments unless you add Disqus) and for anything more involved, there were blogs.

However, since the advent of the iPhone and a fantastic app called Tumblrette, tumblogging is appealing again because now (with the exception of video from the iPhone) it’s truly mobile. I mean you don’t have to fight with it. Tumblrette makes it fast and simple. It’s lifeblogging, scrapbook-style, not necessarily to inundate your friends with or to cover absolutely everything, but just the choicest bits, a kind of stream-of-consciousness flow of the best scraps of your ideas and inspirations without demanding or expecting a response from anyone, that may make sense as a whole only to yourself.

Of course you can assemble your tumblog for an audience as well, and turn it into “blogging lite” by adding all sorts of categories, feeds, and hacks. But that seems to make its purpose somewhat moot again, and the question arises, if you’re filling your tumblog with all your feeds from everywhere, aren’t you just fluffing up your meager content, the online equivalent of padding an essay with fat margins and triple spacing? I say keep tumblogs lean and meaty in order to retain their potential use and impact. This also allows you to feed them into other services without annoying repeats of other feeds.

In any case, I’ll be trying this for a while. We’ll see how it goes.

December 28, 2008 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

Flashback to ’98: Myth lives!

Of all the computer games I’ve ever played, only three really stand out: Barrack, Myst and Myth. Barrack is dead, and Myst was really exciting when it first came out but there’s not much to replay there. Myth was the only one that did what really good classic boardgames do: it combined a simple interface with endless options for strategy.

Yesterday I was idly browsing through some new real-time strategy titles (finding them all somehow lacking) while fondly remembering the endless hours wrapped up in troop formations and explosions that Myth provided. I googled “Myth-like game”, only to find that the game I loved, which I thought had died after Microsoft bought Bungie in 2000, is still very much alive, with a multiplayer game server, maps, plugins and updates lovingly produced by dedicated developers working for free. Runs perfectly on my Intel MacBook running Leopard. A computer game that still has staying power like this after 10 years is really something you shouldn’t miss–go download it now.

April 20, 2008 at 12:45 pm 3 comments

WiFi Surfing Jewellery

iphonewifiEver since I got the iPod Touch I find myself mapping the city in terms of WiFi-happy areas. I don’t mean which cafes have unlocked wifi, but which street corners, which tram stops, which apartment doorways. It’s also been fun to follow what the various hotspots are called in different areas, where I find large concentrations, and which areas are dominated by a handful of pay-per hour corporate hotspots. (The hotspots causing the most rage are the ones that show up as unlocked, but then open a webpage requiring you to log in.)

But the interesting part is that I feel like I’ve been literally surfing in this extra ocean-like dimension of the city, looking for good, strong waves. I mean literal surfing, not “browsing”. Kind of a neat feeling, though not particularly practical, and I assume it will wear off once my signal-map gets more familiar.

It gets me thinking about wifi-enabled jewelry again. What would it be like to feel the signals around you, instead of reading them off a list? How could one translate a locked signal vs. an unlocked one (into, say, vibration), or a favorite, trusted signal vs. an uncertain one? And what about those names? Could corporate/Wippies/FON/private signals also have a different “flavor”? I’d love to just be able to “feel” that I just walked into a happy grade-A wifi zone.


February 9, 2008 at 11:58 am 2 comments

A little iPod Touch app hack

Stocks widget on the iPod Touch? Oh la la how 90’s! What will those of us not addicted to the stock ticker to do with this app, then?

Enter magic Yahoo Finance codes to turn Stocks into Currency Exchange watch.

Type “EURUSD=X” as a stock code to get the neatly updated EUR to USD exchange rate. You can guess the rest from there. Travelers rejoice!

January 16, 2008 at 8:02 am 1 comment

OSX apps to discipline your desktop

Even if you’re not hooked into the ADD world of Twitter/Pownce/Jaiku, you’ve got email, web, and probably a dozen open windows and applications all screaming for your attention while you’re trying to get work done. Here are some apps that will tell them all to shut up and try talking one at a time:

Think by Freeverse: Hides everything except your one chosen app behind a dark translucent backdrop. Free.

Spirited away by Hides windows if they’ve been unused for a certain period of time.

Writeroom by HogBaySoftware: A text editor that fills your entire screen, including the menu, black, and leaves you with nothing but a blinking cursor. Criticized by Niko for cashing in on retro nostalgia, but, well, it twangs the right heartstrings for me.

October 25, 2007 at 8:19 am 3 comments

The Short List (for now)

The web is filled with more tools than anyone can bear to shuffle through. Unless you’re glued to the web like me. So for all of my friends out there who keep asking me what’s good, this is what I suggest right now:

If I missed something, or if there’s something you’re looking for, let me know–I’ve probably already found it. Now go play outside.

May 26, 2007 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

6 Practical applications of Jaiku

After the past week or so of using Jaiku(as opposed to Twitter), I have found the following uses for it, some highly personal, some more generally useful: (more…)

April 7, 2007 at 11:39 pm 2 comments

Twitter vs. Jaiku and the MySpace problem

Twitter is like standing in a room with all your friends in it, screaming out what you’re doing every now and then so everyone can hear it. Sometimes it’s useful, as in “Beer, anyone?” and sometimes it’s annoying, as in “I just fed my cat!”.

You can also hear your friends’ side of conversations they are having with other friends, which is like sitting beside someone while they talk on the phone. So in addition to the above, you get messages like “Wednesday is fine” with no context, or even “Beer, anyone?” not directed at you, but still landing in your SMS inbox.

This falls into a category my friend calls social noise. Like zoning out in a crowded restaurant, you hear lots of people talking, but without context it’s just buzz. You might as well be at home alone–it doesn’t make me feel connected, it makes me feel like I’m missing things all the time. Compound this with the fact that each above message represents an SMS to be deleted, and it quickly becomes a chore.

Twitter SMS messages all have the same level of importance, and they are relentless. You can’t tell from the beep in your pocket whether it’s your girlfriend asking you to pick up some milk before you come home(useful), or Joe telling some stranger he’ll be “there” soon(pointless). And the beeps just keep coming.

My text message inbox also serves as a loose to-do list, so general statements of la-la are somewhat unwelcome in bulk quantities. I like knowing what my friends are up to though. What next?

Enter Jaiku. Jaiku is developing passive presence. I only see what my friends are doing if I feel like it. And I don’t have to tell them what I’m doing all the time–my phone does that for me, automatically reporting my general location as I move around. My friends can go look at my “presence” in a kind of address book on my phone, but my status reports won’t be filling their inbox.


April 1, 2007 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

Web comics

Part Addams, part Far Side–I don’t tend to have the patience for web comics, but these are delicious, not only twisted funny, but satisfying to look at: The Perry Bible Fellowship

They’re drawn in an incredibly broad range of styles, it’s hard to believe it’s all the same guy. He’s threatening to publish a book soon too.

March 9, 2007 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

Older Posts

Today is a good day to play

A collection of potential future projects, to dig deeper into when I find the time. links