WebCamera, Layar update top Fresh iPhone Apps of the Week

Jan 7, 2011
Tech

This edition of Fresh Apps of the Week includes some interesting picks, including an app that turns your phone into a webcam and  also a way to track how much you spend on your vices (even coffee). Enjoy! WebCamera (iPhone) $2.99 Turn your iPhone into a working webcam by plugging it into your computer. After […]

This edition of Fresh Apps of the Week includes some interesting picks, including an app that turns your phone into a webcam and  also a way to track how much you spend on your vices (even coffee). Enjoy!

WebCamera (iPhone) $2.99

Turn your iPhone into a working webcam by plugging it into your computer. After downloading developer Mobiola’s free software onto your computer, connecting your iPhone using its USB cable enables you to use its built-in camera as a webcam for a number of services, including Skype, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger.

Web Camera doesn’t currently support sound, but Mobiola is working on it, so expect it in a future update. Even so, WebCamera is a lot cheaper than purchasing a webcam in an electronics store, and it seems to have almost the same level of functionality.

ViceCalculator (iPhone) $0.99

We all spend a lot of money on little things that add up — Starbucks coffee, McDonald’s burgers, DVDs, take-out food, cigarettes, whatever. It’s easy to buy stuff when it seems like a small expense, but ViceCalculator helps you see the truth by presenting the big picture, like how much your cigarette habit runs you per hour or per year.

Once you’ve got the information of how much money you’re spending on minor vices, ViceCalculator gives you good news by showing you how much you’d save if you refrained from engaging in your vice for a day each week. It’s kind of a refreshing wake-up call, and can help figure out what’s worth spending your money on, and what isn’t.

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Layar Reality Browser update (iPhone) Free

An augmented reality app, Layar is meant to show you what’s around by overlaying information about your surroundings on your iPhone screen as you pan its camera around. It features a ton of different “layers,” which are various augmented reality sets to go into the app, both free and paid, and includes search functions for area businesses and attractions.

Layar’s recent update deals with fixing some camera issues, making sure you can always use your layers effectively, even when your camera’s jostling around. Users using versions of iOS 3 should refrain from downloading Layar until a fix is issued, however — there’s a bug in the app that causes it to crash on earlier iOS versions. Shouldn’t take long, as the App Store seems to be pretty well abuzz with the problem, and developer Layar B.V. is working on it right now.

GeoRing (iPhone) $0.99

GeoRing lets you tag your calls with different music and GPS information, as well as monitor their length and incoming time. Those things are pretty standard, of course, but the real useful feature of the app is that it allows you to use any song as a ringtone without additional setup, and without paying for conversion through iTunes.

After downloading a place-holder “silent” ringtone and syncing it to iTunes, you can let GeoRing run in the background and replace the silent ringtone on your incoming calls with any song from your iPhone’s music library. You’ll need an iPhone 3GS or 4 for the app to work, but people who like to change up their ringtones often will find a lot of value here for just a buck.

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TransLens (iPhone) $1.99

By now you’ve probably heard about Word Lens, an augmented reality app that scans words with your iPhone’s camera and translates them in real time on your phone’s screen. TransLens is a similar app with similar functionality: scan words with the camera and the app provides the translation. But TransLens works a little differently — it doesn’t require in-app purchases of $4.99 per language translated and offers a wide variety of supported languages, but it also requires an Internet connection.

TransLens lets you highlight which words on the screen you want translated, and supports up to 16 languages. Like Word Lens, it still seems best in small doses, like on signs in foreign countries. If you’re looking for an alternative to Word Lens or you need additional languages, TransLens is for you.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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