Author: Paul Lamkin
Top 50 iPhone Apps 2009: Part 5 – The Top 10 Apps
Dunna na na, dunna na na na…..It's the final countdown! Here is our list of the top 10 iPhone apps for 2009.
Top 50 iPhone Apps 2009: Part 4 – Top 10 Entertainment Apps
30 down and only 20 to go. Which apps will make it in to our latest top 10?
Top 50 iPhone Apps 2009: Part 3 – Top 10 Useful Apps
Our run-down of the best apps of 2009 continues. Today it's the turn of the useful apps – the ones designed to make our lives that little bit easier.
Top 50 iPhone Apps 2009: Part 2 – Top 10 Music Apps
We continue our look at the top apps of 2009. Today it's the best music apps.
Top 50 iPhone Apps 2009: Part 1 – Top 10 Games
2009 has been the year of the app. We kick-off our list of the top 50 apps with a look at the 10 best games available for your iPhone.
Ocado launches the first supermarket iPhone app
Online supermarket Ocado has launched an iPhone app – allowing users to browse their virtual aisles and shop for over 18,000 products.
Ocado, which is partly owned by John Lewis and stocks Waitrose-branded products, say the app is just “the first step of a journey that will eventually see Ocado available on several digital platforms”.
The app stores all of the product info on the iPhone so browsing can be done offline. The order will be complete once a connection is made.
I can see this catching on and other supermarkets getting in on the act. Online grocery shopping is a massive business and free apps will surely help to grow the industry further.
(via Brand Republic & Ocado)
VTech announces baby monitor range
Sure, having a baby can be a huge drain on your finances. Yes, having a baby will seriously impact your 8-hours-a-night sleep-plan. And, of course, you may as well forget about any sort of social life you may have had.
But a baby also brings with it new possibilities – including a whole new world of tech you were probably never even aware of.
Tech like the range of baby monitors announced by VTech. VTech has taken its expertise in telephony technology and applied it to the range. Technology such as the DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) and HD sound, which guarantees crystal clear sound and zero interference from any other device.
First up is the VTech Clear Sounds Digital Baby Monitor Deluxe which includes a temperature sensor with set limits to allow parents to ensure the best temperature for their baby’s sleep.
The parents can talk to their baby via the monitor as well as recording songs. There are 50 pre-recorded melodies, including 4 sung-songs and gentle nature sounds. There’s also line-in for an MP3 player. I hear babies love The Prodigy.
The VTech Clear Sounds Digital Baby Monitor Deluxe is £69.99. There’s also a non-Deluxe version available that’s £20 cheaper. You don’t get the temperature sensor or the LCD display and there’s only 20 melodies and just a solitary sung-song but, come-on, it’s cheaper.
The pick of the bunch, as far as baby will be concerned, is the VTech Sleepy Bear Digital Baby Monitor. You see, for this model baby gets a teddy-bear based monitor.
It’s got the same DECT technology as the Clear Sounds models and comes with 30 melodies including two sung-songs as well as those gentle nature sounds. There’s also a soft, glowing night-light that should help baby drift off to sleep.
Parents can even activate features without disturbing their little one’s sleep, as the portable parent unit operates the monitor remotely.
If you’ve got babies or you’re expecting one soon then these could be just the job for you. Get them direct from VTech. If you haven’t got babies and you’re not planning on having them some time soon, then you really have to ask yourself why you’ve just read this post. That’s five minutes of your life you’re never going to get back.
Datawind UbiSurfer netbook – free internet wherever, whenever
Canadian company Datawind, the guys behind the Pocket Surfer, has entered the netbook market with the UbiSurfer.
Spec wise I’m afraid it gets absolutely blown out of the water compared to other netbooks available. An Arm processor with just 128GB of RAM is pretty poor. As is the SSD of just 1GB. But it does have a few features going for it that make it an attractive proposition.
Firstly, it’s tiny. If you’re looking for a really compact netbook you’ll struggle to get more compact that this. The screen is just 7-inches and it weighs just 700g. Secondly it’s only £159.99. Lastly, and by far the most crucial aspect of the UbiSufer is that it comes with a pre-installed Vodafone SIM that will allow 30 hours of GPRS web surfing a month. It’s not 3G but it’s better than a poke in the eye.
If more than 30 hours are needed a £5.99 a month fee will allow unlimited usage. The 30 hours a month deal lasts for a year, and then it’s just £29.99 a year after that. Roaming charges are pretty cheap too – just 5p a minute in Europe and the States.
30 hours should be more than enough for most surfers – the netbook has Wi-Fi as well so it wouldn’t be totally dependent on the Vodafone connection.
So overall, fairly poor netbook, fairly good data deal. For £159.99 it might be worth a punt. Get it online from Maplin.
Google Maps adds some new functionality
There’s been no big announcement but Google has added a couple of new features to the full-browser version of Maps.
Firstly, and most useful, is the layers function that allows users to do multiple searches and layer the results on top of one another in a colour-coded system. The example below shows a search for pubs and kebab shops around Upton Park, home of the mighty (yes, mighty) West Ham United:
For the record, if you’re planning on visiting Upton Park, I’d recommend a jar or two in The Duke of Edinburgh followed by a kebab from Kebabish.
The other new feature is the My Location button – which smartphone users will already be aware of. I can’t really see the point of it on a desktop version though. I suppose it may be useful if you’re out and about and lost with a netbook.
My Location will try work out your location based on Wi-Fi points nearby, or via your IP address. Neither is guaranteed to be accurate though. It didn’t work on my desktop here in TD Towers. I’m running Firefox 3.5 so I’m not sure why?
Does it work for you guys?
(via Search Engine Land)
The longest tweet of all time – 247 characters
Taylor Buley, a writer for Forbes, has broken the Twitter world record. His tweet about Benjamin Franklin’s maxim about the inevitability of taxes was a humongous 247 characters long.
I wrote humongous to add a bit of oomph to the opening paragraph – I think it worked.
He used Twitter’s API for the feat. It allows for 247 characters. It cuts the message at 136 characters and uses the remaining four for a space and ellipses. An ellipsis is three dots in case you didn’t know. I knew, of course. I didn’t have to ask anyone. The 140 character tweet is what is displayed in the Twitter stream.
The ellipsis is hyperlinked, however. When clicked it displays the full message in all of its Twitter rule-breaking glory.
It’s not clear if it’s a bug or a feature as of yet. What is known is that Taylor Buley is a record breaker. He wanted to be the best, he wanted to beat the rest. He had the dedication. Norris McWhirter and Roy Castle will be looking down and smiling.