I remember teasing my buddy Rich Harrington about his use of the My TSA App. He and I are both frequent travelers and probably know the information for what you can bring on board airplanes by heart. However, the rules are always changing. I remember someone asking me “can you bring a corkscrew in your carry-on bag?” I paused for a second, cursed and downloaded the app. The answer was yes as long as it didn’t have a blade on it. Nonetheless, the App made it’s way into the “Flying” folder of my iPhone. Again today I fired up the App because I wanted to know how busy the airports would be today (the day after a holiday weekend). This is where I had a slight disappointment. Sure enough there were wait times listed, but the information in some cases was several hours old. It appears that this info is dependent on flyers loggin their own wait times. So if no one logs a wait time for your airport today, then you won’t be able to see what the wait times are. While that was a disappointment, the app is still useful for airport delays, what you can and can’t bring onto a plane and most importantly to me these days, which airports have TSA Pre Check.
What would make it better?
This app is OK, but it could be a lot better. First off upgrade the screen size to support the iPhone 5. Use real-time wait times. Let me have all the same features for any airport I pick, not just my default/closest airport. Let me create a list of favorite airports.
Air Travel can be bad enough without extra security headaches. Wether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional flyer this app will probably come in handy. They less often you fly, you’ll probably need it even more.
I’ve been a fan of the Google Search App for iOS almost from the beginning. Sure Safari and Google Chrome have a search feature built right into the browser, but the dedicated App offers many more features. For one, when I sign in with my Google ID I get access to my search history even if I did the searches on my notebook/desktop. The app also supports voice search. What’s new in this 3.0 version is the integration of location based Google Now. These cards can start you off with the current weather conditions and traffic conditions. Beyond those basics you can see what local restaurants are in the area as well as sports scores and breaking news. I tend to use a couple of other apps to get this kind of info, but it’s nice having all there at my finger tips when I go to search for something. Also if you search for a business location or other destination, Google Search integrates nicely with the Google Maps app on your iOS device. Just tap and you’re on your way with turn-by-turn voice directions.
Get Google Search featuring Google Now on iPhone or iPad here for free:
Dropcam HD has quickly become my new security camera of choice. It streams HD to the cloud and allows me to check in on things when I’m away. They even offer DVR like functionality for motion detected events. However, until their latest update Dropcam always ran continuously, I don’t really need two of my three Dropcams to run when I’m on site. I really just need them to run when I’m away. Since I come and go and different times on different days, the new scheduling feature doesn’t quite work for me either. However, they also added a “location” based feature and this will be great for me. Basically I set all of my Dropcams to turn on and broadcast whenever I leave the building. Since it’s based on the location of my iPhone 5 I can set this up once and never have to think about it again. This will also potentially cut down on bandwidth use and privacy concerns for people that don’t want to be “recorded” while they’re at home. Dropcam was already an excellent solution for offsite or onsite monitoring and now it just got a lot better. You can see my original Dropcam HD review here and you can get a Dropcam here.
It seems to be an obsession with many people to share photos of the food that they are about to eat on social media. Either you have a friend that does it or you’re that friend that does it. I’m not sure what the point really is unless you’re into food photography. We even make jokes about it. I hear people say things like “I don’t want to be on Facebook or Instagram because I don’t care what you had for lunch!” Nonetheless, social media sites are loaded with pics of FOOD! Well if we can’t stop people from sharing photos of their meals the least we can do is give them a way to make those pics look better. As you may have guessed, yes there’s an App for that. It’s called InstaFood. I reviewed InstaWeather Pro a while back and I love that App. The same developers make InstaFood so I decided to check it out. This App works similarly to InstaWeather. You can either take a photo with the App or load one in from your Camera Roll or Albums. Once the photo is in place then it will automatically detect your location and from there you chose from a variety of different skins/text to overlay on your photo. The pic I took above was actually my dinner from a few weeks back in Los Angeles. Since location information was in the metadata of the pic, InstaFood picked that up automatically. You can even use the built-in Foursquare support to choose the exact restaurant you are in to have that name appear on the pic. Once you’ve added the skin of your choice and customized it to your liking you can immediately share it on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.
If you’re gonna show us what you’re eating, at least do it with style. This is your app!
P.S. I actually did love my salmon dinner at Cafe Sierra in the Hilton Universal City. Highly recommend it! Just sayin’
Twitter is all about short messages of 140 characters or less. Sure you can now easily tweet a picture along with your text, but then you’ll have less than 140 characters because the link to your pic is going to take up some of the text. GraphicTweets aims to combine your tweet with the picture you want to send. This isn’t the first app we’ve seen that allows you to add text to a picture and share it, but most of the other Apps are aimed at Facebook and Instagram. This is one of the few Apps aimed at Twitter first and of course it allows you to share via Facebook and Instagram too. Once you launch the App it starts you off with the ability to key in your text. You can choose font color and background color as well as size. Next you can add a photo. It can be one of your photos or one from Flickr or Facebook. Lastly, just hit the Share button and choose to share your GraphicTweet on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I’m impressed by the large variety of font choices. It actually has more fonts than any other mobile App that I’ve seen. You can use multi-touch gestures to rotate the text or move it to where it looks best on the photo. It works as advertised, however, I’d like to see a couple of additions. First off I’d like to see this as a Universal App supporting iPad. Next, I’d like to see the ability to have word wrap in the text. Right now it seems to be limited to one line of text per GraphicTweet.