iPhone Sound Amplifier: a video review

So WirelessGround, out of the blue, offered to send me an iPhone Sound Amplifier in exchange for a review of the thing. So I agreed – here’s the video review:

If you watched the video review – it’s sorta cool, huh? Basically, the Sound Amplifier works just like a small megaphone – no wires needed. Just place your iPhone in the Sound Amplifier, and the volume will get boosted by about 12dB naturally.

So – if you’re interested, go here and check it out. If you end up buying it, use this special coupone code – davidleeking – and you will get 15% off.

Enjoy!

iPads, iPhones, and Flash

I have an iPhone. I also have an iPad2. And apparently, I don’t have Flash.

I say “apparently” … because I haven’t really missed it. Sure, there’s been a couple of times that I’ve run into the “you need to install flash to view this” message – usually on a poorly-designed website that I tried to get to from a link in an article I was reading.

But have I missed Flash? No, not really. Most of my browsing activity comes from reading RSS feeds, which I get just fine. Most of my video viewing comes via Youtube, which I also get just fine.

If I need to test something from my library’s website, our library catalog, or our databases, I get those just fine too. No Flash required.

How about you? Do you find yourself missing Flash? Is it a problem? If so, how come? Please share!

The Glif – an iPhone Tripod Mount

This video was created for the sole purpose of testing out the Glif, a stand/mount/tripod attachment for the iPhone. It works great! Here’s a photo of the Glif in action, acting as an iPhone stand.

The guys who created the Glif did it in an interesting way – they raised money for the project via Kickstarter. Kickstarter helps raise money for creative projects, and has a “unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.” Cool way to raise money!

i-Microphone for the iPhone

**warning** the first part of this video is very quiet, and the last part is LOUD – don’t scare your office-mates!

I occasionally shoot video with my iPhone, and have noticed that the internal iPhone microphone really isn’t all that great. Which is one reason I don’t use the iPhone video feature more often – the audio it records for video varies pretty wildly. For me, anyway!

So when I saw a link to Amazon for the i-Microphone, I clicked and read. And bought.

It’s cheap – it’s listed at $25.99 at Amazon right now. And it’s LOUD. The manufacturer’s website claims the i-Microphone boosts the audio level “up to 12 dB louder” – and I believe them!

Check out the video I made (embedded in this post). For the first part of the video, I’m using the built-in iPhone mic. Then I plug in the i-Microphone … and you can suddenly hear me. There is a HUGE difference in levels. HUGE.

So – if you like to shoot videos (or record audio) with your iPhone (or pretty much any device that can use a headphone jack plugin for audio) – you might find the i-Microphone pretty darn useful.

My Favorite Apps

AppsWhich apps have I been using enough that I want them on my main iPhone screen? Here’s a rundown (right now, I have two more screens of apps that I don’t use nearly as much, but are pretty handy once in awhile … like a flashlight or the calculator app):

  • Messages – default text messaging app.
  • Calendar – self-explanatory, and used a lot!
  • Clock – I set lots of alarms to remind myself to do stuff (like picking up a child from dance practice). I also use the alarm clock feature when I’m traveling.
  • Camera – self-explanatory. Does video too.
  • Evernote – I use this for random note-taking, jotting down quick ideas, that type of thing. I also keep some lists here (ie., lists of books I want to read)
  • RTM (Remember the Milk) – It’s a to-do list that works well with the Getting Things Done method.
  • reQall – Very cool app that I just discovered. It’s replacing the Jott service I’ve been using, and doing a nice job of it, too. Basically, you can record a 30-second voice memo, and it turns it into text and emails that text to you. You can do a lot more with it … that’s for another post
  • Photography – These are all different cameras, photograph editors, or effects that I’ve been playing with:

    • CameraBag – has some neat filters, like 1962 (looks like an old photo, Fisheye, etc.
    • Darkroom Pro – alternate camera I was playing with, until …
    • Camera+ – I discovered this one! They were kicked out of the iTunes app store for awhile – not sure if they’re back yet. But it’s a great camera app – better than the default one, plus it has some great filters built-in. The only reason I haven’t replaced it with the default app is video (as in, it takes none).
    • CameraPlus – not sure why I still have this here … must play with it again, then probably delete.
    • PS Express – as in Adobe Photoshop Express. Great little app with some handy editing features.
    • Flickr – a flickr browser.
    • TiltShiftGen – makes those funky tiltshift “miniature” style photos. It’s fun!
    • Photos – default iPhone photo browser.
    • Qik Video Pro – this one’s been a disappointment. I bought it because it has some fun video filters (like black & white, frost, etc.). But guess what? It doesn’t do the 16X9 HD video that my iPhone 4 can do (even though the iTunes app store description says “works with iPhone 4!”). So that’s no fun! Otherwise … the app posts live video to Qik, and sends to other places like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.
  • Bibles – a couple different Bibles I use:
    • AcroBible – the NIV version. A classic.
    • Bible (YouVersion) – I use the Bible part of this app, primarily … but it’s really more of a social network with a Bible in it. You can friend people, see any notes they create, set up virtual Bible studies, hook your calendar up with a variety of Bible reading plans, etc. The app comes from lifechurch.tv – a church that makes apps and social networks!
  • TWC – as in The Weather Channel. Hey – I live in Tornado Alley!
  • Wikipanion – a Wikipedia app. I bet I use this app almost every day…
  • Reeder – a Google Reader app. Also used almost every day.
  • Location Stuff – I’ve been experimenting with location-based services, so…
    • Foursquare – you can be the mayor…
    • Gowalla – another cool tool.
    • Brightkite – a third service I play with.
    • Loopt – the first location-based service on the iPhone.
    • check.in – web-based app that lets you checkin to multiple places at once. Right now, I have it hooked into Foursquare, Gowalla, and Brightkite. It’s very beta, so doesn’t always work.
    • Mayorama – lets you see how many checkins you need to be mayor (Foursquare only). Sorta fun playing with this… 31 more checkins until I’m mayor of Lake Shawnee!
    • Whrrl – another location service.
  • Shazam – cool music service. If I hear a song, I can hold it up, press “Tag Now” and find out who it is, and most of the time, it works great. Unfortunately, I’m often listening to weird college radio or a christian station … neither of which are mainstream. So I sometimes get an “unrecognized” out of it.
  • Facebook – self explanatory.
  • Twitter – self explanatory.
  • And of course, my phone/mail/safari/ipod apps that show on every page.

So, that’s what I’m using. What do you have on YOUR smartphone’s main app page? What can’t you live without?