[iphoneupdates] Test send of first newsletter -- Feedback appreciated!

iPhone upDates #1 - 6 Feb 2009
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by Piers (iphoneupdates@xxxxxxxxxxxx)

Foreword:
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Due to an overwhelming positive response (well, two out of three people), I'm going to try and put out a newsletter every few weeks with stuff about the iPhone. It'll include info on cool apps, both free and paid, apps to avoid, and I'll try and include some tips and tricks that you can do with your iPhone. If there's any specific app that you've heard of and would like to know if it's any good, feel free to ask :-)

I'm including information both for those with jailbroken iPhones, and those without. I don't plan on supporting jailbreaking iPhone myself, but I'm happy to point anyone who wants to do so to the right places, and I highly recommend it if you'd like a lot of extra functionality out of your phone.
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+===============+
| Cool Apps     |
+---------------+
| @ AppStore    |
+---------------+
AppSniper ($1.19)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=294706770&mt=8
Well written little app that simply tracks new and updated apps on the AppStore and lets you know of any apps that have dropped in price, or even become free for a short time (this happens more than you'd think). It also lets you flag specific apps so you can be notified when they drop in price to meet your target price point. Will pay for itself on your first use!

Currency (Free)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284220417&mt=8
Nice and simple app for converting between currencies. Gets the latest exchange rates at launch, and just works!

Fring (Free)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=290948830&mt=8
Instant Messenger client for Skype, MSN, GoogleTalk, ICQ, Twitter, Yahoo, and AIM. Handles both text chat and (depending on protocol) VoIP voice chat. Works very cleanly.

Metro Melbourne ($3.99)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=289029560&mt=8
Great app for those who use public transport a lot. It has up to date info on trams, trains, and buses all around Melbourne. It updates at launch with details of any delays or problems, lets you specify a list of favourite stations or stops, or just lets you find the closest ones to your current location, and gives you a list of the next five trams/trains/buses arriving at your stop! Also a Perth version available.

iStat ($2.49)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=303034517&mt=8
Not just a way of checking the basic stats on your iPhone (memory usage, drive usage, performance, and network details), this is also an interface to the iStat Server software (available at bjango.com), the best Mac monitoring software around!
Highly recommended.

Tap Tap Revenge (Free)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284972147&mt=8
This game topped out the charts on the AppStore since it's release back in July '08, and is great fun and highly addictive. It requires you to tap in time to the songs, and comes with a huge selection of cool music, with new downloadable tracks availabe free each week.

I Love Katamari ($9.99)
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=299484013&mt=8
While a bit on the expensive side, this is still a fun game, especially for existing fans of Katamari Damacy. The idea is to roll your ball of "stuff" around, picking up bigger and bigger items as the ball gets bigger and bigger, until you're able to collect the specific item needed to complete the level. Strangely addictive!

+---------------+
| @ Cydia       |
+---------------+
Clippy (Free)
Adds in something that should have been in the iPhone from the beginning: Cut/Copy/Paste! Still in Beta, and only works with the standard iPhone apps, but being able to copy between Contacts, Safari, Messages, Notes, and so on is incredibly handy at times.

Mobile Terminal (Free)
Console access to your iPhone, what could possibly be more useful than this? Lets you access the real nuts and bolts of your iPhone, as long as you know what you're doing ;-)

Five Icon Dock (Free)
Simple yet incredibly useful, this lets you have an extra icon in the dock! Just drag your extra app onto the dock the same as you do normally.

Categories (Free)
Incredibly handy once you start getting more than a couple of screens worth of apps, this basically lets you create folders to store your apps in. For example, create a Games folder and stick all your games into it. They vanish off the main iPhone screen, and you have a single icon called Games which you can open to see and launch your games!

Cycorder (Free)
Allows you to record video on your iPhone! Capture video at up to 15 fps, with realtime compression. Another one of those things that really should have been in the iPhone to start with.

+===============+
| Crap Apps     |
+---------------+
| @ AppStore    |
+---------------+
iPark ($1.19)
Supposed to help you remember where you parked (in a carpark or other busy parking area), whether by tracking the GPS loc or entering the level/street/whatever details, but just doesn't work too well. Easier to just use the normal Notes app if you have difficulty remembering where you parked!

Memory Monitor ($1.19)
Very basic app that shows memory usage/available/etc. Not worth bothering with when you have something like iStat available (see above).

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| @ Cydia       |
+---------------+
AdBlock ($?)
Would be great if it was free, but requiring a subscription fee just makes it not really worthwhile. All it does is updates your hosts file on your iPhone to try and stop ads appearing in Safari. You can manage the same simply by googling for an up to date hosts file and installing it yourself.

+===============+
| Tips & Tricks |
+---------------+
You might easily have missed it, but the earphones that came with your iPhone also have a tiny little button situated on the microphone that lets you control your music playing, or answer or deny calls! You can answer a call by pressing once, or deny the call by holding it down for two seconds. While listening to music, pressing once will Pause/Play, pressing twice will skip to next song.

To silence an incoming call, just hit either the volume control on the side of your iPhone, or the Power button at the top. Hitting the Power button twice will deny the call.

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