Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Aug 8, 2010
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You know the old song, “Things That Make You Go Hmm?” Well, this list consists of Apps That Make You Go “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Sometimes someone will make an app that seems so obvious you have to wonder why you didn’t come up with that idea yourself.

HeyTell

This app allows me to skip voicemail altogether! With the app installed on the iPHones of both parties, you can have “two-way radio”-type conversations or leave voicemails that arrive instantly and sound clear.

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tvtag – formerly GetGlue

This app is almost a mashup of Twitter, Facebook and Yelp. You check in, but it’s to talk about specific things that you are doing rather than to make pithy (or inane) remarks. The check-in page allows you to say that you are currently reading a book, watching a movie, thinking about a topic, or 6 other options. You can email GetGlue to add other options- and there is my main disappointment; most of the time, what I’m doing is not listed as an option.

Still, there are fun things about this app, and lots of potential. You can see how many others are doing the same thing you are, and others can comment on your posts, allowing you to meet people with similar interests. You can rate books, movies, wines and other things and read reviews on those items.

This app is probably great for people who like Twitter but aren’t so good at coming up with things to talk about, but it’s also a nice way to meet people with similar interests.

I notice that the app appears to emphasize positive over negative- not that that’s a bad thing, but definitely noticeable. For example, you may see that an album’s page was visited by 6000 people and that 3100 people gave it a thumbs up. You simply have to surmise that the rest didn’t like it. This reminds me of the Facebook “Like” button; but while there is no way to “Dislike” on Facebook, there is a “Not for me” option on GetGlue- it’s just that the Not For Me’s don’t appear to be tallied.

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SCVNGR

Who doesn’t like a Scavenger hunt? I have used this app in NE Ohio, where it doesn’t appear to have a lot of users yet, so perhaps this app is more fulfilling in major metropolitan areas where you can check in to popular spots and carry out the challenges of taking a photo of what you’re eating or of the establishment you are visiting. I’d love to see this app get more interesting, with more specific challenges similar to geocaching. As it stands, it’s a fun little app and a natural for the iPhone’s features.

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Video Panorama

I enjoy my Panorama app, but one day a friend sent me a video of a 360 degree view of a Florida beach, and I became obsessed with creating a panorama from the video. Had I known about Vido Panorama I would have saved myself the aggravation. Video Panorama does just what its title designates: it takes your video of a scene and creates stills, which it blends into a panoramic photo. Rendering the photo takes a couple of minutes or so, but the end results are pretty good (although I wish the photos were of higher resolution). An all around fun app.

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GeoRing – instant ringtone shuffle

Here’s an app that lets you bypass the tedious syncing of ringtones you create by letting you use the songs already in your playlist!

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Layar – Augmented Reality

I’m always looking for work, and it’s pretty cool to look “through” my iPhone to see job postings hanging in midair. Looking north-northwest I see a position available for a Senior Accountant. I can also view local tweets, find cafes, read local news stories, and many other “layers” of information. Try it- this is both a fun and useful application of AR.

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iMajiCam — Realtime video effects

I’m forever taking pictures and videos, and I sometimes tweak the images later. With this app I can tweak them while I’m looking through the lens! It’s cool looking around at a world devoid of color or seeing an event as a live-action drawing. There are over 35 filters (magnify, kaleidoscope, hue, and emboss, for example) and they can be combined for many more effects. Have fun!

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Tango

It irks me that those Android commercials make it seem that the iPhone can’t do video conferencing via 3g. I’ve used Tango several times. Of course, there is also the new Skype video for iPhone as well. It’s been a while since we were stuck only with Facetime!

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360 Panorama

Video Panorama (entry #4) is cool, but I’ve since come to believe that 360 Panorama is cooler in some ways. My partner and I were looking at houses and I took photos using this app so that we could show the rooms to the kids later. To take a photo you start the app and then take your photo while turning 360 degrees, stopping where you began (although you don’t have to do a 360- you can create shorter or even flat images). Once the image renders, you can upload it immediately, which creates a 360 degree image using Twitpic or yfrog (I skip the accompanying Twitter announcement). You can then view the image online as a flat image or 360 view via your browser- this means anyone with a browser can see your image. My kids could manipulate the image to see the full image of the bedrooms they could argue over, and we could revisit the images to remind ourselves of the visit. I can see realtors using this technology, but you need practice to create a clear image without poor stitching. Lower light conditions can create lower quality photos. This is a fun app. Check out this example: http://occip.it/pyh4ngauj

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