This post was going to be entitled, Last Minute Stocking Stuffers, but the busy holiday travel schedule precluded its getting posted. So now, it's Apps to Ring in the New Year!
I just couldn't limit myself to 12 apps! I admit it.
This year I just couldn't do it. In the three part series, I actually mentioned about 15 apps or so. But who can blame me? There are over 100,000 of them available!
So, in this final post, I thought I'd toss in a few stocking stuffers for the season. Here you go...
A while back, I posted about my experiment with Feverº. I abandoned the Feverº self-hosted RSS feed aggregator application (which you install on your own server) because of performance issues. On my server, if not everyone's, it just ran way t o o s l o w l y.
I've gone back to NetNewsWire, which now links to your Google Reader account and, especially after using Feverº, feels incredulously fast and responsive. The iPhone application interfaces with your Google Reader account to give you access to your Google Reader feeds through your iPhone.
This application is unlike any of the others I mention; because, I don't own it, nor have I ever used it. I'm keeping my eye on it at the moment. The Fuze Meeting site claims to provide HD content and desktop sharing in real time across computers and platforms, including the iPhone, for global meetings. Their current fee structure is very reasonable when compared to other similar services. However, there are currently some limitations.
This service is of interest to me as it indicates the direction technology can, and probably will, take us. Couple this with the patent Apple filed in 2009 to embed cameras into the active screens on a device, and Star Trek's old communicators ("Beam me up, Scotty.) become vintage. (You know how annoying it is to do video chat right now where the person you see is obviously looking up or down at the camera, and not "at you?" Well this patent is for technology that would allow you to look directly "at the person" because your camera would be in the screen itself somehow. Apple is notorious for patenting technology that never makes it to market, but this would be a great one to really get to use!)
Well, I had to leave out Shazam and SoundHound. I've blogged about Shazam in the past. Now it has some serious competition, and SoundHound is only one of the newbies in the App store that many would argue is even better than Shazam. These applications identify music after listening to it through the iPhone's built in mic. Very clever. With SoundHound, the user can even hum or sing a melody and the app will identify the artist, title, etc. SoundHound has other cool features not currently found in Shazam.
I still like WriteRoom, which made my list last year. Now that the iPhone has Cut/Copy/Paste, this simple little word processor, which syncs and shares, is a nice tool that, for me anyway, beat out EasyWriter.
RedLaser uses the iPhone camera to read product bar codes (astoundingly fast!) and then lists that product and/or similar products for price comparison. My experience with the app is that the "scanning" of the bar code is faster than the scanners at the super market.
Then we have live video distribution via the uStream Live Broadcasting App, the uStream Viewing Application, which allows you to watch live and saved uStream channels, and the uStream Recorder, which lets you record for later broadcast. These applications are among the first of their kind and have limitations. But they indicate where the future will most likely be!
Knocking Live Video allows real-time video to be sent from one iPhone user to another over the 3G network! I haven't tried it yet, but I'm eager to see how well this performs.
ReelDirector is a simple yet surprising movie editor on the iPhone. Students can now shoot and edit in the field.
Storyboard is a nice tool for creating storyboards on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Once students understand how to use the tool (which shouldn't take them too long) I suspect they will be much more thoughtful in envisioning their project before the shoot ever takes place. Users can even play the storyboard back in real time as well as export (email) the completed storyboard project as a PDF.
And who doesn't like the Animoto iPhone app?!
In Part Two of this four part series, I got a little distracted and mentioned
scientific data collection instruments that work together with the iPhone to collect data in the lab and in the field. (See this link at Pasco for an example.) Behavioral sciences are also included in this conversation. School psychologists, teachers, teacher aides, and even parents can use Behavior Tracker Pro to support the behavioral treatment plans for children with Autism and behavior disorders. This section alone could turn into an entire post. And then there are applications for classroom observations...
Let me quickly mention an application that can be used for classroom observation: iObserve. In my mind, the power of this tool is in sitting down with teachers (or students for that matter) to discuss what they value and want to track. This tool is very flexible and can be used, not to evaluate, but to foster professional growth and meaningful conversation toward shared goals.
So many others. Go ahead, check these out too!
And before I call it quits, I have to mention one final stocking stuffer. This isn't an app from the app store that runs on the iPhone or iPod Touch. This is a system preference that installs on your Mac (only, sorry Windows friends) called Airlock. It's so clever. Using your iPhone or iPod Touch's bluetooth signal, your computer keeps track of where the device is. When it moves out of the range you define (up to about 30 feet), it locks your computer screen. When it sees your device within range, it automatically unlocks the computer. You can also run scripts with it.
Since I always have my iPhone on my person, this would keep my computer secure when I'm not by it. Currently, the developer is working with Apple over what they say Apple claims are issues in the Bluetooth firmware. So the software may drop the connection at times even when the iPhone is within range if you are using a wireless bluetooth mouse at the same time. (Which I do.)