March 2010 - Posts

Starbucks Locations in Target Stores get iPhone Mobile Payments
Wednesday, March 31, 2010 12:06 PM


Starbucks has added the mobile payment feature, that was previously only available at 16 locations in Seattle and Silicon Valley, to all it's Starbucks locations in Target Stores. This is a pretty interesting move for Starbucks, but good to see them put the technology out to a larger range of stores.

The Starbucks iPhone app allows you to use your Starbucks card to pay for your coffee. Just open the app and hit the pay button and a barcode is presented which can be scanned by the barista. It works just like your Starbucks card and you get the same perks for using it including free syrups, coffee refills, and free wifi.

With the application you don't have to worry about losing your Starbucks card and you can refill it or change the card settings right on the phone. I can't wait till all the stores have this functionality, because until then having the app your virtual card would be a bit useless, unless you can have a hard copy of the card to use at stores that don't have mobile payment. I am sure there is a way to do that and perhaps you can just enter your current card number into the app and it generates the code for you.

If you want to find stores that have the mobile payment functionality then you can visit the store finder website.

Starbucks Store Finder – VIA Macworld   
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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April 6th Xbox Dashboard Update to bring USB Storage to All
Tuesday, March 30, 2010 6:19 PM

There are many things that bother me about the Xbox. One is that it's made by Microsoft and the other is all the proprietary hardware and accessories that you are forced to buy. Particularly storage devices for the Xbox are severely over priced. You could spend $30 - $50 on a memory stick that has 256MB - 512MB of storage, which if you have bought a thumb drive in the last 5 years you know that's outrageous. Microsoft made a lot of people angry when they updated the Xbox to exclude a popular third party memory stick and perhaps this is their way of making it up to them.

Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing an update that will allow you to use any USB drive as storage as long as it's over a 1GB in size. They have teamed up with SanDisk and are going to sell Xbox branded USB drives, which in true Microsoft fashion are going to be way over priced. I could care less because any USB drive will do and this means I don't have to spend $50 on an out of date piece of hardware to move my game account and saved games around. You have have up to two connected at the same time and each can have up to 16GB of storage which means you can have a max of 32GB of extra storage.


by willburns1 | with no comments
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Nutrition Menu – iPhone app that tracks calories, Weight Watchers points, and your weight for $1
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 3:33 PM


I wrote a post the other day on how to do Weight Watchers for free and thought I would add this post about the Nutrition Menu application that is pretty much everything you need to do Weight Watchers successfully right on your iPhone.

In order to do Weight Watchers you need to calculate the food points of the items you eat as well as record their points and subtract them from your daily total. Having an index of foods and their point value is key to quickly finding and recording food points. It's also handy to have a food point calculator  where you can enter the calories, fat grams, and fiber grams and get the food's point value.

Nutrition Menu has all these features and more. Not only can you do the things described above but you can also record your weight and graph it on a chart to show your progress. You have access to over 91,000 foods in their database that can be accessed offline. You can enter costume food items and their food point values so you are not forced to find the food item in their database. Nutrition Menu also has a favorite section that allows you to keep your favorite foods close for quick access.

If you workout Nutrition Menu has a workout calculator to calculate how many point you can add to your total after working out. If you don't count points but calories Nutrition Menu has you covered there as well, because it shows a full breakdown of all your calories, carbs, sugar, fiber, protein, etc on your daily journal page.

This application is great! I have been using it for about two weeks and is really everything you need to do Weight Watchers for free. It calculates points for food, records your points, and tells you how many daily and extra week points you have left. It even puts a badge indicator so you can take a quick glance at the icon to know how many points you have left. For only $1 dollar you can't beat the price.

Nutrition Menu @ the App Store
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Instapaper Pro – Save website articles for offline reading good for iPhone great for iPad
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 2:23 PM


If you are the kind of person that likes to save internet articles to read at a time of leisure or when you don't have internet than perhaps the Instapaper applications is for you. Instapaper downloads articles from websites you enter into plain text and lets you read them right on your phone offline. Of course they have already developed the iPad version, which should be available by day one of iPad release, and according to Gizomdo it's pretty good looking application.

If you are on your computer and find an article that's interesting you can't read it now you would either bookmark it so you can find and read it later or simply forget about it. Instapaper has a handy little booklet that sits on your toolbar that can send your current article to instapaper for offline viewing later. Then when you fire up the application later the article is waiting for you to be read.

This is a pretty handy little application and as soon as the iPad comes out I am sure it's going to be a popular one. The iPhone is't a great device to read on but I imagine the iPad is going to be a pleasure to read on and this app will make it even more useful.



by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Xbox 360 and Windows PC Game Room Now Live
Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:36 PM


Game Room, a retro gaming application for xbox 360 and Windows machines, is now live. Game Room allows you to play classic arcade and retro console games right on your Xbox or Windows PC. Games from companies like Atari, Konami and Intellivision are going to present for your gaming pleasure.

You can play a game for $ .50 a play or purchase the game for $3 or pay $5 to purchase the PC and Xbox versions. You can challenge your friends to try and beat your high score and you can send challenges across platforms.

The game room application launched on the Xbox this morning and was seeing some problems. Apparently nothing was loading properly but it seems that the problem has been solved since the early launch.

Xbox has been trying really hard to generate more revenue with applications like these that offer the ability to purchase games on demand. I think it's a smart idea and with the ability to purchase and play indie games, original Xbox games, and even 360 games on demand there will soon be no reason to go to a store and purchase games.

I think that transition will happen slowly because it's still far more cost effective for the user to go out and buy a used game at a store than it is to pay the expensive prices on the Xbox for downloadable games. As soon as Xbox delivers cost effective games for download and resolves the problem of storage you can be sure that fewer and fewer people will go to a store to buy games.

Microsoft Game Room

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Opera Mini submitted to Apple App Store for Review
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 3:46 PM


I wrote last month that Opera is making a browser for the iPhone. The browser named Opera mini has been submitted to the app store as of this afternoon. Now there is no telling how long or if the application will make it to the app store but we can only hope Apple doesn't reject the app.

Opera mini is supposed to be 6 times faster than safari and have 10 times smaller data traffic. What makes opera mini so much faster is it's server side compression that will compress the pages before sending them to the phone. The Opera mini browser will allow you to sync your bookmarks with other Opera web browsers and offer in page searching, something safari doesn't have. Opera mini will also remember the state of the browser and tab placement so when it's reopened everything is how you left.

CEO Jon von Tetzchner doesn't think the app will get rejected because it doesn't execute any code outside of the SDK, which is one of the major things that will get your app rejected quickly. They might have to worry about the duplicate feature clause because the iPhone already has a browser, but apparently there have already been other browsers in the app store before so I guess we will just have to wait and see.

The video of the app on Gizmodo is done on the edge network to show you the speed. The Edge network is pretty slow and considering how fast the pages load I am very impressed. We shall see if the app lives up to the hype when and if it reaches the app store.

The image above is from Opera's website they are counting how long it take Apple to Approve their app. Should be interesting to see how high it goes. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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New iTunes feature lets you gift iPhone apps to people
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 3:01 PM


There's a new iTunes feature that lets you give the gift of iPhone apps. The new feature works just like the giving music feature does. You can find an app that you want to buy for someone. You enter their information and they get an email with a link so they can claim their iPhone app. It's that simple and it's a great way to give someone a specific application.

You have always been able to give people generic iTunes gift cards where they could buy anything. This is a little bit more personal and brings just a little more to the iTunes app store. You have been able to gift people music through the itunes store for a while now, and it's good to see them pull that feature into the apps store as well.





by willburns1 | with no comments
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Zosh – fill in PDFs and documents right on your iPhone
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 12:29 PM


I wrote a post about fillanypdf.com where you can upload a PDF or other document type and fill it out online and either send a link to the document, print it out, or download it so you can put it in an email. Well Zosh is very much like that except you can do it right on your iPhone.

Zosh works with PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF and BMP documents. You send the document you want to fill out to a special email address at documents@zosh.com. They know the document is associated with your account based on your email address you send it from. When you open the Zosh app on the iPhone the document is waiting for you there.

You can then add text, dates, and even sign the document with their patent pending signature feature. You can change fonts and colors as well as the size of the text. The ability to drag and resize text with your fingers makes moving and sizing text simple and easy. Zosh even can remember common words you so don't have to retype words you use often. There's an “approved” stamp for documents that need approval, that you can place anywhere on a document.   

After you are done editing and signing the document you can email it to your colleagues and yourself if you desire. The process couldn't be easier and the fact that you don't need a printer or fax machine to accomplish a task like this is awesome. Fax machines should never be used and should have gone the way of the 8-track player and laser disc. For some reason businesses still use the dang things to send documents over phone lines. When we have an info-structure that can do it instantly with a better success rating.

Zosh is in the app store for only $3 and it's a deal if you ask me. If you are in need of a way to fill out, sign, and return documents on the run Zosh is the app for you.

Zosh @ the App Store VIA Download Squad

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Origami Club - Learn how to fold thousands of different origami creations
Monday, March 22, 2010 2:22 PM


I remember when I was young I loved to make origami. I had a origami book and those thin little square pieces of paper that make the best origami. I would have loved this site back in the day and it makes me want to pull out some paper right now and try a few.

Origami is the art of paper folding, something a lot of people are familiar with and besides making little animals and flowers you can also make useful items like little boxes, coasters, letters, and a variety of holders for different things.

One of my favorite useful origami type things to make is a paper CD case which is not on the site but should be. I made a post about to and it's a handy way to make a CD case out of a regular 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper. Maybe that is why it's not on the site because you don't make it out of a square which is normally a staple of origami.

All in all a great site so go and check it out.

Origami Club website VIA LifeHacker
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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Alfred – Application Launcher and Quick Search
Monday, March 22, 2010 12:18 PM


If you have ever used Quick Silver application for Mac. Well if you have and didn't like it that much  perhaps you will like Alfred. A quick launch and searching tool that can help boost your productivity. If you have never used a quick launcher application you should try one out, and Alfred might be a good place to start.

Alfred quick launch applications does several things for you. They can search the web, amazon, IMDB , and other with just a couple of key strokes. You can type things like “open twitter” or “search twitter for “...” and Alfred will take you to twitter and do your search. The application accesses your spotlight index so you can search for applications and files quickly, even faster than spotlight in my opinion.

Alfred is a bit simpler than Quicksilver, so if you want something that has plugins for specific application and a lot more features perhaps you should start with Quicksilver. If you are looking for a simple way to search for files, launch applications and search the web then perhaps Alfred is your application.

Give it a try the Beta version of Alfred is free. You can request a download like at their website.

Alfred App Launcher 
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Go Ollie – A Fun Free Game for All – Window, Mac, Linux
Friday, March 19, 2010 1:16 PM

In the pursuit for free and fun games that are cross-platform I came across Go Ollie. A mouse control game where you have to help Ollie collect coins while avoiding hazards and the scrolling environment. If you don’t move fast enough you will loose your chance to collect all the coins you also have to avoid hitting a variety of enemies on your journey.

It's a bit of a puzzle type game, you have to figure out the best way to jump from platform to platform to get all the coins before the scrolling environment passes you by. The highlighted platforms are the ones you can jump onto and the dark ones are ones you have to get closer to in order to jump to. All you have to do is click the platform to get little Ollie to jump to it. It's pretty simple but when you throw in some enemies and hazards it becomes a little more difficult.  

Go Ollie is pretty awesome for a free download-able game that is cross-platform. It’s good for all ages and will keep you busy for a while when you are supposed to be working. ;)

Go Ollie Download

 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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Hipstamatic – Unique iPhone Camera App
Friday, March 19, 2010 11:56 AM


Have you ever used one of those plastic toy cameras like the Holga? You know the ones that bleed light and can create some really unique pictures! Or are you a fan of analog camera’s the way you have to look through the viewfinder to see what you’re taking a picture of? Well the Hipstamatic is sure to turn you into an indie kid and your iPhone into a cool analog camera.  

There are tons of photo applications on the apps store. What makes the Hipstamatic unique is when you open the app you see a view finder and what looks like the back of a camera. Just like a toy camera the viewfinder is more of a guide than what is actually going to be in the photo. You can put different lenses on the camera to get different effects, as well as different flashes.

The application comes with three different lenses that all have their unique effects and the different flashes. Hipstamatic also has in app purchases that allow you to add more lenses and flashes to your collection.

The photos taken by the app are indeed very cool looking and do look very similar to photos taken with toy and vintage camera equipment. The app is $1.99 and is sure to make it to your first app page on your iphone after you try it.

Hipstamatic iTunes Store


by willburns1 | with no comments
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PayPal 2.0 Lets you Bump Phones to Submit a Payment
Thursday, March 18, 2010 3:55 PM


Paypal is a great service for making secure payments online and to people you know. I am sure that at some point we will never need to have cash because everyone will have ways of excepting payment without it. With the new version of Paypal for the iphone you can bump iphones with someone and request or send payments to them. They also have a new feature that allows you to split a check, include a tip, and request the amount from everyone else.

If you have a Paypal account make sure that you connect your bank account to paypal. That way when you make payments to friends there will not be a fee to transfer the funds. You can also make sure your friends do the same that way when you exchange money via paypal you never have to worry about transfer fees. If you use a debit or credit card it will cost you 2.9% of total plus $.30 USD for each transfer. Even though that is not that much I still don't like to pay to move money around.

Checkout the new version of Paypal on the iPhone it's a free download.
by willburns1 | with no comments
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Good Beers by Category that will not break your Diet
Thursday, March 18, 2010 2:12 PM


I am a huge fan of beer and that being the case I drink way too much of it. The problem is I like drinking expensive beer from micro brewers that are better than the average beer. If you are on a diet or just trying to cut down on calories drinking the right good beers will help you avoid the good beers that will ruin your diet. If you pick the right good beer you can drink two for the price of one heavy beer. I submit this list for your consideration.   

Guinness –  120 Calories – 2 Weight Watchers Points!

Ales

Newcastle Brown Ale – 140 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Bass Ale – 140 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Oberon Ale – 170 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Fat Tire Amber Ale – 159 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points

    IPA

        Harpoon IPA 170 Calories - 3 Food Points
    Porters
        Kallisti Pottsville Porter – 165 Calories - 3 Food Points
        Redhook Blackhook Porter –  163 Calories - 3 Weight Watchers Points
        Flying Dog – Road Dog Scottish Porter – 165 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
    
Lagers
Harp Lager – 153 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Spaten Premium Lager – 160 calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Leinenkugel's Red Lager – 166 calories – 3 Food Points
Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark Lager – 170 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Kona's Long Board Island Lager – 173 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
Flying Dog – Old Scratch Amber Lager – 150 Calories – 3 Weight Watchers Points
    
Dunfel
        Warsteiner – Premium Dunfel – 150 Calories – 3 Food Points.

These are all much better than your cheap beer you buy in bulk and will also keep the calories down. Keep in mind if you think drinking miller lite is better for you think again. Miller lite and most other lite beer is still like 96 calories which is 2 Weight Watcher points. I much rather drink good beer that is has a few more calories and only one more food point than cheap watered down beer like Miller lite.

Here is a more complete list of Beers with their calories and Weight Watchers Points

Beer Name Calories WW pts.
Amstel Light 93 2
Anchor Steam 152 3.5
Beamish Red

Beamish Stout 146 3
Beck's Light Beer 105 2.5
Beck's Oktoberfest 140 3
Beck's Orginal 292 6
Beck's Premium Light 64 1.5
Blue Moon 171 3.5
Boddington’s 154 3
Boulevard Bully Porter 194 4
Boulevard Irish Ale 182 4
Boulevard Lunar Ale 157 3
Boulevard Nutcracker 224 4
Boulevard Pale Ale 163 3
Boulevard Stout 149 3
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat 155 3
Boulevard Zon 153 3
Bridgeport Black Strap

Bud Light 102 2.5
Budweiser 143 3
Chimay

Coors 148 3
Coors Light 102 2.5
Corona 148 3
Corona Light 109 2.5
Delirium Tremens

Demon Hop Yard IPA

Dos Equis XX 145 3
El Presidente

Fosters 125 2.5
Goose Island Honker’s Ale

Goose Island Nut Brown

Guiness 120 2
Harp 153 3
Harpoon Ale

Harpoon Summer

Harpoon’s Octoberfest

Heineken 160 3.5
Heineken Light 99 2
Holy Grail Ale

J.W. Dundee Honey Brown 145 3
Kalamazoo Two Hearted

Killian’s Irish Red 163 3
Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss 149 3
Leinenkugel's Red 166 3
Magic Hat #9 215 4
MGD 148 3
Michelob Light 133 3
Michelob Ultra 95 2
Miller 152 3.5
Miller Chill 110 2
Miller Lite 96 2
Murphy’s Irish Red 171 3
Murphy’s Irish Stout 150 3
New Belgium 1554

New Belgium 2 Below

New Belgium Fat Tire 159 3
New Belgium Skinny Dip 108 2
New Belgium Sunshine Wheat

Newcastle Brown 150 3
Orval Belgian Pale Ale

Pete’s Strawberry Blonde 160 3
Pete's Oktoberfest 189 4
Pete's Summerbrew 163 3
Pete's Wicked 174 3
Pete's Winterbrew 170 3
Red Stripe 153 3
Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom

Rock Bottom Red

Rogue American Amber 176 4
Rogue Imperial Stout 363 7
Rogue Shakespeare Stout 201 4
Rolling Rock 142 2
Salvator Doppel Bock 251 5
Sam Adam’s Cream Stout 195 4
Sam Adam’s Light 124 2.5
Sam Adam's Ale 160 3
Sam Adams Octoberfest 165 3
Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown

Schlafly's Pale Ale 155 3
Schlafly's Pilsner 170 3
Shiner Bock 143 3
Shiner Light 120 2
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale 171 3
Sierra Nevada Stout 210 4
Smithwick’s

Stella Artois 140 3
Warsteiner Dunkel

Warsteiner Verum 152 3
Widmer Bros Hefeweizen 159 3
Yuengling Lager 135 3
by willburns1 | 1 comment(s)
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SkiFree Windows 3.1 Game now Free on iPhone
Thursday, March 18, 2010 1:02 PM

You remember the SkiFree game for windows 3.1? I do and I remember it being awesome. Now you can get the same game on the iphone. It's a very simple game, all you have to do is make it down the hill while hitting the rainbow colored jumps. If you tap or swipe on the iphone while in the air you do flips that get you points. 

The game is brings back so many memories and is definitely a blast from the past. The game however doesn't feature the snow monster which was my favorite part. I use to go down the mountain after the race was over just to see how far I could get before the monster came and got me. Gizmodo said that Skifree without the snow monster is “like a Rolling Stones reunion tour without Keith Richards.” and I would have to agree with that statement. 

The game developers are planning on adding the awesome snow monster, the slalom mode, and other easter eggs from the original game in the future. Pick this game up it's free it's sure to bring back memories of Windows versions past and old school computer gaming. 

by willburns1 | with no comments
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