Reviews

Mophie Juice Pack and Rechargeable Battery for iPhone 3G, 3GS

I recently upgraded from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3GS so that I could take advantage of the increased speed, both hardware and Internet-wise, because some of the apps that I had installed, many purchased, just weren’t working well on the old phone.

For instance, the TVU Networks app, which lets you watch a lot of Internet based TV, was just too much for the old girl. The picture would freeze and the audio and video would be completely out of sync, even on a fast wi-fi network. Other apps like Last.fm and Pandora would sputter on the Edge network while I was out on my daily walk in the Palm Springs sunshine.

Anyway, it was with much anticipation that I brought home a brand new iPhone 3GS to play with. The apps worked ever so much better!

The battery in the phone was a totally different story, however. With the new 3GS phone, I would find myself recharging two or three times a day as the little power bar would start plummeting after just a few phone calls or other use. I was getting frustrated and firmly believe that Apple should be ashamed to have introduced a phone with such sucky battery life. Apple will tell you to disable all of the things you got the phone for to prolong the battery – 3G, bluetooth, etc. Lame!

Fortunately, someone heard my cries of dispair and I was given a Mophie Juice Pack Air Case and Rechargeable Battery for iPhone 3G, 3G S (Black) as a gift. This little jewel effectively doubles my battery life with just a small bit of added bulk to the phone. This is especially handy if you are traveling or out of the office all day and have no way to plug your phone in to charge it. Continue reading

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Reviews

Review: Griffin 9696 AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier for iPhone

The Griffin AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier for the iPhone is a solidly built, attractive clear station that gives the iPhone’s tiny speakers a bit of a boost. It can be used with a charging cable for use as a charging station/music dock or it without the cable as a pure music dock.

Griffin 9696 AirCurve Acoustic Amplifier for iPhone (Clear) is only $14.99 with free shipping as I write this. A deal in my opinion!

See all of my Amazon.com reviews and videos online.

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SEO

Skype Finally Releases iPhone App

The Web Optimist is so happy that Skype has FINALLY released an iPhone app!At long last, iPhone users can now make and receive VOIP calls using Skype instead of trying to use convoluted workarounds. When the iPhone first came out, I hesitated to get one simply because there was no Skype application like was offered to Windows Mobile users. I gave in ( and have never regretted it) and got the iPhone anyway. I tried Skype phones like the Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype, but was turned off by the lack of support for anything but totally wide open wi-fi or Boingo, which pretty much limits where you can use it.

The beauty of the new Skype app is that it can be used to make calls over wi-fi anywhere that you have access to wi-fi. If the access requires a web login, you’re covered because the iPhone allows you to login with a browser, something the “Skype phones” lack.

Calls can only be made through wi-fi, not through Edge or 3G, but I’ve read that the chat function will work through any connection.

And, for you iPod Touch users, you now have an instant wi-fi phone because word is that the app will work for you, too.

So, I highly recommend heading to the iTunes Apps Store on either your iPhone or through the iTunes software and downloading this slick new piece of software. It’s free!

I absolutely love it!

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Reviews

iPhone TV: or How to Watch News While Shaving Without a TV

Yes, I’ll admit it. I like having a TV in the bathroom so I can watch (or listen) to the news while shaving and getting ready for the day. In a previous residence I had a large bathroom which I remodeled to include dual sinks and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall between them.

Unfortunately, I no longer have that luxury as I have moved to a place with a much smaller bathroom. Remodeling is not an option and with no cable or power outlet convenient, wireless is my only option.

The discontinued Sony Locationfree TV

The discontinued Sony Locationfree TV

I’m a big fan of the discontinued Sony LocationFree LF-X1 12 inch portable television. That baby came with a portable flat screen TV (shown) and a wireless base that also functioned as a wireless-G Wi-Fi access point. I still have two of them, though I wish there was some way to upgrade the built in web browser, which is basically useless these days. I love these and really wish Sony would come out with an upgraded version (at an affordable price).

Problem is, although they are rechargeable, they don’t use standard TV wall mounts and the original wall mount that was made for these doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Also, taking the TVs down constantly to charge them (since I don’t have a power outlet in the right location) is a pain. And, the bathroom counter I use is tiny, so there’s no room for one of them to sit on the counter.

I’ve been a fan of Orb for quite a while, too. This is a free service that lets you watch TV streaming off of your TV tuner-enabled PC at home by way of the Internet. You just install the Orb client on your media PC, login to your Orb account at the Orb web site and you can watch TV, view videos or images on your PC or listen to your music from any Internet connected browser anywhere. No extra hardware needed.

My iPhone would be the perfect size for viewing TV on my bathroom counter, so the first thing I tried was logging into Orb using the Safari browser through my home Wi-Fi connection (I have the original iPhone, so no 3G). I could stream my videos, listen to music and look at my pictures over the iPhone, but darn it, no live TV option.

TV on an iPhone using the Orb app

TV on an iPhone using the Orb app

Orb has come to my rescue with their Orb iPhone App. They offer a free version, but it’s basically useless so spring for the full version at $9.99. Just install it on your iPhone, provide your user name and password and you’re up and running.

One problem is that watching your iPhone in the sideways position gives the largest video image, so I found a simple metal mesh business card holder at Staples to set mine in. It’s a perfect fit.

Yes, you can plug your iPhone into a wall jack for power if you use an adapter with your USB cable. I don’t have room for that, so I just use battery power. It’s not as though I’m watching this standing at the sink for hours.

The Orb iPhone App provides settings for optimizing the video stream for Edge, 3G or Wi-Fi. I didn’t even try Edge and I don’t have 3G, but the Wi-Fi viewing was very good.

Naturally, this killer app opens me up to using the iPhone for TV wherever I have a Wi-Fi connection. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll upgrade to the 3G iPhone, making me even more of a TV addict.

Hey, who wouldn’t want to watch “Oprah” while sipping java at Starbucks?

😉

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News

Flytunes Updates Interface, Adds Video

Flytunes has added video and upgraded the interfaceFlytunes, the Internet radio service for mobile devices, has rolled out a GUI upgrade and the addition of videos and podcasts.

I gave the new interface and videos a try and have to admit, they are pretty slick…when the technology cooperates. For instance, although I watched some fun Best of YouTube videos that offered nice quality on my iPhone, I still had some hesitation and pregnant pauses in the video stream. It could be my wireless-G network, I just don’t know. Other times I couldn’t get the videos to do anything at all. I tried Fox News Flash several times and never could get the thing to work.

The interface is slick and simple. When you first go to the Flytunes Player in your mobile device, you get a bar simply asking “What do you want to do?” with a down arrow on the left. Touching it opens a window on the bottom that lets you scroll through several options – Radio High Bitrate, Radio Low Bitrate, Video, Podcasts, AccuRadio and Settings. I’ve been listening to the radio stations a bit and enjoyed them.

Next you are asked to “Select a genre” and then “Select a station” for your chosen category. For instance, select Podcasts, Technology and then something like Diggnation and you’ll get some flashing “Loading” messages before a menu of podcasts comes up.

Sound quality is good and I must say I’m impressed. When it works. So far, my iPhone experience with it has been hit or miss. As I mentioned, it could be my Wi-Fi connection that is causing the sputters (works fine for my PCs, though). Flytunes is apparently gearing up for the iPhone broadband that is coming.

Flytunes says there are now 350 channels available, which is a lot and, they change the interface constantly as they add new features. Right now, it’s simplicity at its best.

Give it a try with your iPhone or iPod. It’s free!

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