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Tech Culture: Ep. 155: Smartphone apps

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Tech Culture: Ep. 155: Smartphone apps

20:20 /

Viewers submitted their favorite apps for BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Nokia and iPhone.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:11 >>Welcome to CNET dot com the Real Deal, I'm Tom Merritt >>I'm Rafe Needleman >>And this is a podcast about Smartphone apps. This week, always taking on a different tech topic, this week we're looking at Smartphone apps. Now both Rafe and I use iPhones so we've got some good iPhone recommendations for you but we solicited some good app recommendations from the audience and boy did we get lots. >Rafe: Tons. Isn't it funny how we both converged on the iPhone? I used to be a Treo user. My wife's a Blackberry user. And I had that weird dedicated good mail hardware. It had no apps. Just mail. >>Tom: Just mail >>Rafe: Anyway, just sayin. Everyone else out there, I don't know why you're not using the iPhone except for the fact that it's slow and expensive. >>Tom: Well Garrett uses the Blackberry Bold and as a college student, loves Cram from Simpleap dot com. That's one P in Simpleap apparently, unless he misspelled it. This is a program available for iPhone and Blackberry, best of both worlds, which assist in studying and test taking. You can check it out for a free trial or pay ten bucks for it, if you want to keep it. Jerry wrote in and said I just want to throw in my two cents about my fave app for my Smartphone. I know it's not cool and it doesn't have a sexy name like Google but I enjoy using Yahoo Go. It's Yahoo's mobile browser and I like it for the same reason I use Yahoo instead of Google. I can put all the info I need and where I can see it at a glance. It has local news, national news, sports, a browser, maps that use my phones GPS and gives me directions. Then he says, love the show. Thank you Garrett. >>Rafe: You know Yahoo keeps improving their mobile stuff and actually it's a finalist in our web R 100, they're mobile products are very good and they keep getting better. So there's nothing wrong with that. I am not, I would not be ashamed to call Yahoo, mobile my friend. >>Tom: Now we will get to Windows mobile and iPhone but we've got a ton more Blackberry stuff. Technomensch put his top ten up >>Rafe: Top ten for the blackberry >>Tom: We will put the full top ten Blackberry apps from him in the show notes at Real Deal dot CNET dot com. In fact we'll put full emails from everybody at Real Deal dot CNET dot com. But just jumping right down to the bottom. Number one for him was a tie, actually number two was a tie, did he have? Oh finally number one for him, the top Blackberry app that I absolutely positively cannot live without is Podtraaper. Ever since I got my Blackberry 8820 and used it to replace my iPod I've been looking for a podcast aggregating tool to download them over the air and now that I have my Bold and I have this incredible software, I don't know how I functioned without it, other than connecting to the computer manually. It is beyond worthy of the $10 I spent on it because the developer deserves every penny for this fantastic app. He goes on and on and on. And we've got another person followed up, I believe this was off the blog posting, followed up and said, yes, Podtraaper is the best. >>Rafe: And worth noting, I think, that technomensch here is kind of a media junky, if you look at his list. He's got also Sling Mobile up there so he's watching TV. >>Tom: Ah, which you cannot get on the iPhone yet. >>Rafe: That's true. >>Tom: Another big advantage to the Blackberry there. >>Rafe: That's right and he's a Skype user. He uses iSkoot. >>Tom: Which Skype's coming to the Blackberry in a few weeks actually so he'll be able to use the real Skype then if he wants to. Blingo tellme, what is tellme? >>Rafe: Tellme is a, well Microsoft bought this company. They do voice recognition stuff. They do like voice 411. But they also have an app which is kind of a combination, I think voice in text out so you talk to it and then it shows you stuff which is a good way to use this. >>Tom: So it's like 411 kind of thing? >>Rafe: Yeah it is. It's a voice search >>Tom: But it does movie times and tickets and things like that? >>Rafe: The usual. Traffic, weather, etc. yeah. >>Tom: Google apps, obviously that's going to be popular on a lot of different phones. And then Google Sync. A lot of people using Google Sync. Alright honorable mention should go to PeekaWho, an app that gives Blackberry's a growl like pop up with parts of text and email when they come in over the running programs. >>Rafe: This guy is like a Blackberry guru. >>Tom: I love the fact that you can do background processes on these other mobile phones. That is one major disadvantage to my phone. Shall we move on to Windows Mobile 6? >>Rafe: Let's, Windows Mobile 6. Who's this from? Tavis had a top four, PocketCM which is a contact manager for Mobile. TinyTwitter, which obviously does Twitter on the mobile phone. >>Tom: Yeah a lot of people always asking about what a good Twitter app for a non iPhone is so there you go. >>Rafe: Unapologetic delights. Microsoft Live Search and then finally an RSS reader called NewsBreak. Now does Windows Mobile come with an RSS reader? >>Tom: You can actually listen to podcasts on NewsBreak and read blogs so it's just an RSS reader in the truest since because podcasts are really just RSS reads. >>Rafe: Right >>Tom: Tell NewsBreak what to search for, saves key words, likes it a lot. Check it out. Some other ones from Jon the Banker in Chicago for Windows Mobile, ByondPod, another RSS reader, Nimbuzz, a multiplatform IM client, which that's a handy one, multiplatform, PockeTwit for twitter stuff, TCPMP, a great Windows Media replacement and WinMoble Torrent, great for all those Linux ISO's, he says. >>Rafe: So it looks here like everybody is a Twitter user but they're all using different apps. >>Tom: Yeah and well that's true with the iPhone as well. There's a lot of different folks. >>Rafe: Another Windows Mobile Platform user here >>Tom: This is Mike. He's got a long note. >>Rafe: Let's pick the highlights here. Well he's after my own heart obviously. Evernote, obviously can't say enough about it aside from the fact that it needs a lot more development to run quickly on the iPhone. A data base app called HanDbase, [laughter] I love the name of that. Microsoft Live Mesh, so he's syncing up a folder on his phone with the Mesh. So the apps that he puts on his PC or I guess on the Mac will be on his phone as well. That's very cool stuff. I really like and think the Mesh stuff is important and interesting. It needs a little bit more development but it's cool. What else do we want to point to here? PockeTwit, Powcket Quicken, syncs with desktop Quicken. I haven't tried that. That's interesting. NewsBreak again and Opera as a browser or Opera Mobile. >>Tom: Yeah Opera Mobile was mentioned earlier by another person in the Window's Mobile as well so. Opera Mobile, big app. If you're using a default browser and you have the ability to download Opera Mobile, you should. >>Rafe: I used to have a Blackjack, not a Blackberry but a Blackjack Windows phone and because of the way ATT and the plan I was on, I couldn't actually download apps like that that had some java component. They just didn't work. I was very disappointed. >>Tom: Alright let's move on to the pocket PC sort of a subset of the Windows stuff here. We've got three favorite sites to use to mess with the Windows Mobile phone. We seem to have either cut off or lost, oh no, no, no. You know what? This is from Dr. Karl. >>Rafe: This whole list is from Dr. Karl? >>Tom: I think it might be. >>Rafe: There are >>Tom: Oh know it looks like somebody merged, somebody being me, merged two emails cause it's XDA Dev, PDA, oh these are sites. These are sites that he uses to find different apps and different tweaks to do with his pocket PC. So xda-developers.com, pdaphonehome.com, ppcgeeks.com, pocketpcfreeware.com and then a gizmodo article he said is just great for hacks to revitalize your Windows mobile phone. He also is a fan of opera, Google maps, slingmedia, the slingbox app, Skype and a couple other more interesting ones from him, PHM Regedit, registry editor. That's one thing you don't have to do on most phones [laughter] is edit the registry. Also a TCPMP and VITO Remote, a remote control for your TV app. I've had those before for phones and I never end up using them. I have a Logitech harmony but I know a lot of people do like them. >>Rafe: Well we'll get to my list in a bit cause I actually do have >>Tom: Quick >>Rafe: Yeah I have a sneak peek app for the iPhone. It works really well. But again you can already use it on a bunch of different, you know that's the funny thing, people say, oh but the iPhone has the best apps. Store and you can get so many more apps for the iPhone and everything else. But the apps that you can get are pretty compelling on the other phones. Things like Skype, up until today. I mean there are so many things you cannot do on the iPhone >>Tom: Opera >>Rafe: Like video record, MMS, use it when you're in a hurry and all sorts of things. >>Tom: Let's go on to Rory then who has the Nokia 5800, our only Nokia 5800 user said his favorites are Fring which is a mob app, MobiReader, a way to read downloads on Mobile. He's actually said he read my book with it. So very nice, a little book reader. Phone Torch, I'm not sure what that does, oh it's a zip from download manager, its a zip manager I guess and Accuweather. Nokia Step Counter would have made the list but it stopped working and won't be fixed. Hopefully Nokia will release a native version soon. >>Rafe: One page I want to point out from the chat room is SamN3030 recommends HowardForums as a great reference for Mobile Phone users and a place to watch for cool apps. I love that site. I haven't been there lately but when I was a Windows phone user I was all over it. Great site. >>Tom: Alright why don't you go ahead and get into your iPhone apps then. >>Rafe: My iPhone apps, go figure. What's your guess? >>Tom: I don't know. >>Rafe: Yeah, you're right. Ever noticed Rafe taking notes and it syncs with your desktop and the web, which is very cool. Googles app, the Google voice search app, you hold the phone up to your ear and you say, you know, movie times and then you look at it and it shows you movie times. Very much like what TellMe does but it's cuter and makes noises. I'm a San Francisco Muni rider so Routesy which does transit timing, which is cool, paid but cool. I like Yelp despite the controversy over whether Yelp is legit in the way that they promote or demote. >>Tom: Yeah there's a little bit of controversy but I think most users still believe in Yelp. >>Rafe: I really like Yelp and I like the Yelp app because it's the location where you know you're looking for pizza, you call it up and boom you got user reviews of pizza near you. My Twitter app, Tweetie, I occasionally use Wordpress when I update my blog. >>Tom: I just started using Tweetie this weekend to see if I liked it. It's three bucks versus TwitterFon, f-o-n, which is free and I really didn't see that much of a difference. In fact there's a few things that TwitterFon does like highlighting your most recent responses that I like better than Tweetie but the killer thing that Tweetie, as some of you pointed this out to me on Twitter, was that it can handle multiple accounts. So if you want to have an account on one phone for multiple people like say Tweetie. If that doesn't matter to you though, I'd say just stick with Tweetie. >>Rafe: I have found it to be slightly faster on a slow link. >>Tom: Really? I haven't noticed that at all. >>Rafe: I also like, here's where we get into the remote thing, I have a TiVo series two and a half, TiVo with HD, and there's this cool little app called DVR Remote which is also paid, which basically a keyboard remote but it also will give you a line up of everything that's stored on your TiVo on your iPhone. The killer thing is, what kills me about this app is that you cannot then click on something and then play it directly. Oh yeah but you can stop, rewind and all that stuff with it >>Tom: Yeah >>Rafe: But you can't click on something on the interface to play it. But it's kind of cool cause when my wife has the TiVo remote on the couch I can just call up my iPhone and you know, she thinks she has control but I do. I like NY Times, New York Times >>Tom: Really? See I just go to the website. >>Rafe: Yeah I like the Times reader app a little bit better. It's much more easier to navigate than the website so. And Stanza not Kindle for reading books. Now Kindle of course has the library which is great but Stanza is a better Ereader for the iPhone. When gas prices were high I used GasBag to find cheap gas near me and Easy Wi-Fi which automatically logs you into an ATT hot spot so you don't have to go through that stupid SMS thing you just hit this app. and it logs you in? >>Tom: That is a pain for people on iPhone and you feel silly complaining because you're getting free Wi-Fi cause you already have the iPhone. >>Rafe: Hey I'm with ATT. I don't have to pay anything, thank you very much. >>Tom: For those who don't know, you're getting iPhone from ATT it says oh you're an iPhone subscriber, click here to get free access and it sends you a text message and then you have to go to your text message. You have to click on that to say, ok I got the text message and then it logs you in. >>Rafe: Dumb >>Tom: So with Easy Wi-Fi you don't have to go through that whole thing. >>Rafe: Just click a button, done. I have others too but let's hear some of yours. >>Tom: Alright yeah I got a few here. I talked about I'm using Tweetie now. Chess is a great little game. You can play against folks. So you can just go through your contact list and say, hi I want to play Rafe in chess and then you're playing an online chess game. Every time you check in the app it will tell you if it's your move or not. There's a little chat application there. You can talk trash as well. Foursquare, I started using it South by Southwest. It's from the guys who made Dodgeball and it allows you to check in at a certain place so right now I'm checked in at CBS interactive and I can see who else is checked in. Like earlier when I went out to lunch I saw that Caroline McCarthy [assumed spelling] was down the street at the Toaster Oven and I was like you know maybe I'll run into her. I didn't but I've used it when I was out at conferences to say oh look Eddie and Nicole Lee are over at the Ginger Man in Austin. I'm going to head over there. And that worked. I did see them. >>Rafe: But they are Foursquare users. >>Tom: Only other friends who are using Foursquare and participate in it do it. >>Rafe: The same thing happened with bright kite. I mean it sounds cool if people are on it. >>Tom: And people are right now. I know where my friends are right now. The thing is I think it will fade away. Although they've done a smart thing where they've added the ability to gain points and become a leader for the week in going out and you get badges for doing different things. So they put some motivation in there to try to get people to do it. In fact my wife is now the Mayor of several places because if you check in regularly at a place you get named the Mayor. So she is the Mayor of Wholefoods Oakland, Treasure Island, Lucas Taproom and Lounge, Revision 3 because she's constantly checking in. I'm the Mayor of nothing. >>Rafe: That actually sounds pretty cool. But these things are all about the community not about the technology. >>Tom: Wurdle is not though. W-u-r-d-l-e >>Rafe: I'm addicted to Wurdle >>Tom: Love Wurdle. I haven't played it as much lately. It's been falling down lately but it's like a little boggle game. You do little word find things. >>Rafe: What's your high score? >>Tom: It's in the 2000's. Not that high. I know people who, what's yours? >>Rafe: 4500, 5000, something like that. But I got so lucky. I had a lot of ing words. >>Tom: So you don't have a lot of 5000's? >>Rafe: Every now and then I break 3500, once in a while. >>Tom: See now I can get up there close, 2800, something like that. SimCity is fantastic on the iPhone. >>Rafe: Is that free or paid? >>Tom: It's paid. I think it's a $10 app but it is worth the $10 because if you like SimCity it is like SimCity 2000 except on the iPhone. In fact in some ways it's easier cause they put in some error correction stuff because of the touch screen and the smallness of the interface, where you can lay down a road and then you get a chance to move it around and put it wherever you want instead of having it locked down right there. So I really like that one. Some other ones, BBCReader I use. It only reads the BBC. It's an independent app, not part of the BBC but it catches it so I use that when I'm on a plane. I have it download the BBC website right before I take off and then when I get up in the plane, if I don't have Wi-Fi, I can still read current BBC articles. And then real quickly Tip is a way to calculate tips. There's a lot of these. Tip seems to work the best for me. Kindle I use because I have a Kindle so if I'm reading on my Kindle it will sync it to the Kindle app and I'll be able to pick up right where I left off on the Kindle, which is nice and then Ustream which I use to watch different people's streaming stuff although it only works over Wi-Fi. >>Rafe: Yeah I did want to mention one other that I forgot from my list which is public radio which will stream basically every U.S. public radio, NPR, etc. station around the country. >>Tom: Yeah there's an app just called radio as well that does like various public radios from around the world and then there's of course AOL radio which has all the CBS radio affiliates on it. >>Rafe: Yep and a couple of other things I do want to mention, I won't go into the games here, if you have kids check out Animals and ZooBox which basically are two different ways to make animal noises. Believe me, it's a huge hit. And then Skype, definitely have to mention Skype. Have you tried it yet? >>Tom: Yeah I just tried it out last night and it worked really well. The only problem of course is the background processing so you have to >>Rafe: Leave it on if you want somebody to call you. >>Tom: And you can't Skype out to a phone line. >>Rafe: You can't? >>Tom: No you can only call to somebody else that's in your list, in your buddy list. >>Rafe: Huh interesting but a very cool app. >>Tom: Yeah it works really well. >>Rafe: And then there's these other cool apps which are so cool in theory but I just don't use them like Snaptel which takes a picture of a product and it will tell you how much it is and what it is and GoodGuide which tells you what products are green and healthy and stuff like that. Very, very cool app I just haven't used it yet, which is kind of a bummer because they're really cool. >>Tom: Alright shall we move on to the comments? >>Rafe: Let us >>Tom: That's all our apps for today folks. Thanks for sending those. If you've got apps that we left out instead of emailing them to us why don't you go ahead and go to the blog Real Deal dot CNET dot com, add them on in the comments so that anyone coming to the show notes can look for app recommendations, see's your recommendations as well. Go ahead and leave us off with a comment from Donald. >>Rafe: Donald says, in response to Tom the doppelganger's question about media management I use iTunes to organize all of my media. I use a program called MetaX to input the metadata before I import into iTunes. After I rip a movie all I have to do is type in the name and let it search through its database. Almost always I come up with usable metadata which includes cover art, actors, year, description and even chapter titles. TV shows are a bit harder because of titles but if you batch edit them to make your life easier, it will make your life easier. I use the Mac version but they have recently come out with a windows version. >>Tom: Now Tom the doppelganger who had put this question to the audience actually wrote in and wanted to say thanks for reading the question out. In the end a fellow listener, Eric suggested mediaman at imediaman dot com to manage all his movies. Tried it and think it's great. It allows you to list all of your movies, CD's and videogames, heck you can easily add more categories too. It has a nice feature where it will search any Amazon site in the world for your movies, music and books and retrieve the info along with a small image. You can then search through your database either by text, icons or even a library shelf of DVD cases, CD cases, game cases or books. You can link directly to your files too so you can access/play them with this program. It also allows you to tag your items to say if you've loaned them out to anyone. Very simple to use. So he found his answer there. Although someone else wrote in and said for those who need to keep track of movies on their own a for-free software that may be useful is DVD Profiler. >>Rafe: Huh, cool >>Tom: So that might be another one for folks out there wanting to manage all of the different media. >>Rafe: And finally Ross in CT which is Connecticut >>Tom: I believe so, yes. >>Rafe: Home of Ernie Wade >>Tom: Really >>Rafe: The late departed Ernie Wade >>Tom: Sorry Ernie >>Rafe: Hi Tom and Rafe, I remember in previous episodes that you mentioned how you used Synergy to use multiple monitors easily with one keyboard and mouse and how it hasn't been updated in a while. Well a group of people decided to continue the project of Synergy and it is now updated and there's a link to the article about that. Cool, which is good. >>Tom: Good to know. Alright folks thanks for listening. We don't know what our next episode is because we haven't talked about it yet so big surprise. >>Rafe: To everybody >>Tom: Yeah including us. [laughter] >>Rafe: It will be great. You will not want to miss it. >>Tom: Tune in and hear it. If you have suggestions we'll probably figure it out by then but you can always send us comments, Real Deal at CNET dot com. The blog is Real Deal dot CNET dot com and of course chat with other users in the forums, forums dot CNET dot com and give us a call 877-600- CNET. [background music] Thanks for listening folks. >>Rafe: Thanks guys. ^M00:20:13 [ Music ]

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