Top 10 Free iPad Apps

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I’ve had the iPad since launch which is about 2 weeks now. I’ve downloaded most of the free apps that are made especially for the iPad and here are the ones that are I like in no particular order.

Kindle I’ve had the Kindle for a long time and love it. I find it very convenient to read books on my way to work. The iPad version doesn’t have that slick iBooks UI however I find that it’s actually easier for page turning. I also find that the user interface for the bookstore is a bit lacking – it’s essentially the Amazon website in a web view. However, I have access to all my books and that’s all that matter. Download link

Netflix If you have a Netflix account, then you need this app. You have access to all the on demand movies which you can stream instantly to your iPad. My only gripe is that the UI for app is basically the website – which isn’t all that iPad friendly. Download link

WeatherBug I like this weather app better than the Weather Channel app because it displays all the relevant information on the first dashboard. It seems they’ve really thought about the iPad screen and visualize a lot of information on a single screen. Download link

TweetDeck The TweetDeck app for the iPad is really nice. They’ve really thought about the form factor of the iPad and designed their app to fit it really well. It’s perfect for any power Twitter user. Twitterific is great as well, but I feel it’s a little too simple, like the Twitter website and for many people, that’s probably a good thing. The two apps are built for different types of users. Download link

ABC Player If you watch ABC shows this app is a must have. I’m a big V and Lost fan so this is great. One annoying thing about this app is that it doesn’t rotate depending on the orientation. I wouldn’t even mention this except for the fact that it’s a big brand. Download link

Epicurious This was one of the first iPad apps I download. I was very impressed. The design of it is really slick and suiting of a recipe book. It showcases the iPad really well. Download link

NYT Editor’s Choice The New York Times has always been at the leading edge of technology. I was an early adopter of the New York Times reader Silverlight app and AIR app that followed. They’ve always made well designed apps and this is no exception. Download link

Godfinger I am not much of a gamer these days but I was hooked on Godfinger for days. The graphics were cute and clean and the gameplay was incredibly addictive. Kudos to the team for sucking me in with all the game mechanics. I would give this game a negative score on utility because it’s got a high chance of making you less productive. Download link

Marvel Comics I’m not a huge fan of comics but I can appreciate the innovation here. The way that comics are presented here is pretty awesome. You can zoom in to the pane view and swipe your finger to the next pane. It’s a totally new comic book reading experience. Download link

Roambi This is a data visualizer’s wet dream. If you didn’t think the iPad had any business use, this app will change your mind. It turns your iPad into an instant dashboard. From a UI perspective, it’s downright sexy. I love it. Download link

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Video Wars: Episode IV. BLOCKBUSTER’S DOOM

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It is a period of great uncertainty. For generations, the people of Earth have consumed movies and film. With the Internet generation becoming increasingly ADD, and the demand of instant gratification increases, the old brick and mortar video rentals have become increasingly irrelevant. Several factions have risen and are fighting to gain control of the future of video rentals. With so many alternatives, the people must be forced to choose alliances which may have unforeseen repercussions …

OK, I think I’ll stop with the Star Wars reference lest you think I’m some hardcore Star Wars uber geek nerd (which I am). This post was my thoughts on the CNET article about why Blockbuster should give up. I agree with the writer and also think Blockbuster will go the way of the dinosaur unless it makes some serious strategy changes. Aside from the fact that I don’t even go to Blockbuster anymore due to Redbox, I think it’s being left in the dust by some serious players who know exactly where the market is headed.

Although the author seems to focus on Netflix as Blockbuster’s Grim Reaper with its innovations and partnerships, it’s not just Netflix. It’s the whole industry. No one wants to actually leave the house, pick up a movie, watch it and then have to return it. Netflix has proven that with its business model and has certainly done its share of damage to Blockbuster’s stock. Many believe the battle of video rentals will be won not in the store, or on the PC, but rather the set top box. People don’t want to leave the house or watch their movies on their 17″ widescreen laptops, they want to see them on their 42″ LCDs.

The Factions

Netflix and Microsoft Alliance (and Roku too)

Netflix is not taking prisoners. Its first foray into the set top box world via the Roku has proven that people are definitely clamoring for such a solution. If that wasn’t enough, Netflix has partnered with Microsoft to provide their streaming movie service through the Xbox 360. This is a great foot in the door since it doesn’t require yet ANOTHER set top box device in the living room. It’s definitely made me think twice about reinstating my Netflix service and purchasing an Xbox 360even though I don’t watch that many movies or even play games anymore.

Apple

Apple’s success with the iTunes store has made their Apple TV set top box a natural evolution of their product offerings. The fact that it’s integrated to the iTunes store and all your mac content makes it a no brainer for mac aficionados.

Sony

Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Sony has just recently added movie and TV show rentals and purchases to their PlayStation 3 game console. Although PS3 market penetration in the US is questionable at best, the fact that they won the HD wars may prove useful for someone looking for an all-in-one set top box that will allow you to play games, watch BluRay movies, and rent movies on demand.

It will be interesting to see how the video wars will play out seeing as it has already spilled into the console wars. What are your thoughts?

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5 Ways to Accessorize and Customize Your New MacBook Pro

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My previous post about 5 essential Mac software for the recent convert proved such a hit with my friend that I decided to recommend him more stuff. Anybody who knows me knows that I like to personalize my gadgets and tech gear. A brand new Macbook or Macbook Pro feels naked. If you plan to do any moving around with it at all and not have it sit permanently at your desk you probably might be interested in some of these really cool products.

5.

Speck SeeThru HardCase is basically a hard plastic shell that fits over your Macbook perfectly to help protect it from scratches that may come from moving it around. The 2 pieces of plastic covers snap snuggly onto your Macbook or Macbook Pro. I have the green one shown here. I like the idea of the black leather case but I was ready to write it off due to my concerns of the laptop overheating with a leather case until I read one of the Amazon reviews that said that the temperature actually dropped with the case.

4.

GelaSkins Protective Skin are vinyl skins that adhere to the surface of your laptop to provide both some level of protection and personalization. Their website has a whole bunch of designs and I like the one shown here. Now I personally don’t have one of these, but that’s because I’m still debating about getting my MBP laser etched. Also, I kinda like the illuminated Apple logo, and I’m not sure I’d want to cover that up. However, some of my friends with iPhones have gotten these and are extremely happy with them.

3.

Andrew Christian Messenger Bag You can’t have a laptop and not have a laptop bag. These bad boys provide the perfect balance between protection, price, and style. It’s really hard to find laptop bags that are affordable and not drab like those depressing black nylon corporate bags. Currently I’m using a leather messenger bag I found at Target, but I honestly can’t recommend it because it’s so thin that the laptop pretty much fills the bag and anything else in it makes it impossible to close it.

2.

incase makes these really cool neoprene sleeves for pretty much all the mac laptops. They come in various colors and I have a green one that matches my green Speck hard shell. They sell these at the Apple store too, but don’t get them there because they charge you more for it.

1.

More RAM I would consider this THE most important addition to your Macbook or Macbook Pro. More RAM lets you run more applications at the same time and let’s them run faster. You can be an idiot and pay Apple $200 more for essentially the same thing that Amazon sells for less than $100.

I’m always on the lookout for cool Macbook stuff. If you readers find any please do share. Thanks.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Top 5 Must Have Mac Software for the Recent Switcher

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A friend of mine just got his first Mac. I’ve finally brought him into the light LOL. He’s been a PC guy for as long as he’s been using a computer so this is a big deal. I want to make sure his transition is smooth and that he doesn’t feel lost or unproductive. Just to set the context, he’s a business guy who works in technology. Thus his needs may be different that say a graphic artist or a journalist who makes the switch.

5.
Adium Green Duck

Adium is free open source instant messenger client for the Mac. What’s really cool about it is that it integrates with AIM, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk and a whole lot more, all in one neat little app. No more having a whole bunch of IM clients on your already cluttered desktop. Plus, it’s mascot is a friggin green duck! How cool is that? Not some glassy pawn, or a smiley face, a flower, or the word “talk”.

4.
Quicksilver

Quicksilver is free app launcher that lets you start applications using keyboard shortcuts. You can do all sorts of tasks via quick keyboard shortcuts including: launching apps, opening documents, move files, email files, or even uploading files. This is a must for any power user. To put it bluntly, Quicksilver makes the Mac Dock archaic. It just takes longer to move your cursor to the desired app on the Dock than it does just to make a few keystrokes.

3.

iWork is the productivity suite for the Mac. With this you get: Pages ’08:a word processor, Numbers ’08:a spreadsheet app, and Keynote ’08 which is the Mac presentation app that runs circles around Microsoft Powerpoint in terms of ease of use and style. To this day, I still haven’t figured out the “Ribbon.” Not to mention iWork costs $68.99! For $129.99, you could get the uber crippled *Student Edition* of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. Hmmmm. No brainer. Personally, for home use, I’ve mostly been using Google Docs. It’s able to import my Word documents. I have the added benefit of just having them online. But, some companies probably frown on having their documents stored on the Google cloud.

2.

VMWare Fusion is a virtual machine application that lets you run multiple operating systems on your Mac, without having to reboot. This is crucial for the knowledge worker that needs to occasionally run those obscure corporate applications which were written only for Windows. I use it to run Windows XP so I can Remote Desktop into the machines at work. With this piece of software though, you can install just about any old operating system like Windows XP, Windows 2000, Linux, whatever. There’s another application that does the same thing called Parallels, but based on feedback from people I know, most users preferred VMWare Fusion.

1.
Undercover

Undercover is the ultimate software in Macbook laptop security. This app runs in the background on your Mac and periodically reports to the Undercover Recover Center. If your Mac gets reported as stolen, this software will not only collect vital information like IP addresses, but also screenshots of your Mac in use in hopes that it will help reveal the identity of the thief. Here’s the best part – it uses the built-in iSight camera of your laptop to take pictures of said thief and sends it over. If my Mac ever gets stolen, this thing would be worth its weight in gold – provided the thief doesn’t just throw away my harddrive and gets a new one.

Popularity: 4% [?]