Welcome to our weekly installment of Picks of the Week at iSource where we provide our expanded coverage of Apple accessories and applications  Here we will promote our favorite iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV related items, as well as bring you occasional tips and tricks.  Hopefully many of our favorite items will also […]
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iSource Picks of the Week

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Welcome to our weekly installment of Picks of the Week at iSource where we provide our expanded coverage of Apple accessories and applications  Here we will promote our favorite iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV related items, as well as bring you occasional tips and tricks.  Hopefully many of our favorite items will also be of interest to you. Please feel free to comment on our selections, and suggest picks of your own.  Check out this week’s picks after the break

Buildings (v1.1.4)

Picked by: AliciaB

Buildings

Buildings is an app recommendation I got from a girlfriend of mine who once studied architecture. Naturally anyone who appreciates architecture loves to read up on the subject, especially if you’re in a foreign city looking to be wowed by the worthy elements of the urban landscape. This app taps into user-generated sources like openbuildings.com and wikipedia.org to deliver fast facts on any building query you might have. Using it is as you would expect. You can browse buildings, submit data on one, view nearby buildings, or store fave ones, check out featured or popular ones. A handy map lets you locate it instantly. Also, you can view media, post comments or share your findings to many social networks. I tried it out in Vienna and discovered that it not only worked well on existing landmarks but also delivered info on structures that no longer existed e.g. the Rotunde that was tragically destroyed by fire in 1937.

The app is quite a decent effort but it feels like it’s only the beginning. For one, the buildings’ profiles sometimes have messy, inaccurate or incomplete content or tagging. Also, I’m missing a way to explore architects or similar buildings of the same architectural style. I want to be able to type Otto Wagner or Mies van der Rohe into search field and get instant data on buildings, style and legacy. So my verdict is kudos for effort, but needs work in execution of content and additional features. It’s a work in progress but one that is already quite promising. I’m certain the results will only get better once more people contribute to the database’s accuracy but even in the meantime, I think I’ll be using it at home and abroad.   Buildings_icon

(Free) iTunes Link / US Store

 

 

Postcard (v1.0)

postcard

With the vacation season practically on our doorsteps I’ve been testing an app called Postcard by concierge.com which, as the name reveals, lets you send pics you take with the iPhone as postcards by email. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward undertaking – take new picture and choose one of the ready-made frames that come with the app, that range from classic to modern and hip, travel-themed or place-themed, add a message and voilà – the finished result is sent by email. While the choices are quite handy if you happen to be in Mexico, London, Paris, India, Greece, California or Vegas, I’m grateful to see more neutral and universal frames also included. I can imagine using this app on the fly, if you get a nice snapshot of yourself in some exotic location and just need to show off to your mom. It’s not overly elegant but it gets the job done.

Judging by the sheer number of free and payable postcard apps on the App Store this seems to be a niche that has taken off nicely for its developers. Postcard is a nice basic offering for those who desire no frills and simply want to point, shoot and share.

postcard_icon

(Free) iTunes Link / US Store

 

 

River of News – RSS Google Reader for iPad (v1.3.2)

Picked by: Thomas

River of News

River of News is an RSS app that links up with your Google Reader account to establish a non-stop flow of news. Instead of tapping on particularly interesting items to and seeing their contents expand, River of News keeps every RSS item expanded all the time and simply requires you to scroll through your items to read them. There is still support for individual feeds and folders, but they’ll always be displayed as one expanded, scrollable list.

Another interesting aspect of River of News is its usage of taps to perform actions. There are still buttons that you can press to share items with Instapaper, Read it Later, and the like, but these actions can also be hard-wired to double and triple taps from the Settings menu. Like an item? Double tap on it to star it. Triple tap to send it to Instapaper. I haven’t seen that kind of tap integration in any other app, except for Twitteriffic.

Now that I’ve discussed all the things I like about River of News, it’s time to explain why I don’t use it. Simply put, I’ve found it to be a lot slower than apps like Flipboard or Reeder, and that just doesn’t cut it for me. The iPad 2 is a beast of a machine and Flipboard does an incredible job of making quick, dynamic layouts, so I’m really not sure why River of News can’t make its loading and scrolling more seamless. The several seconds of loading time as I jump into different feeds kills the fun of what could otherwise be a very interesting RSS reader.

River of News_icon

($3.99) iTunes Link

 

 

iMyAddress (v2.9)

Picked by: Joe Tomasone

iMyAddress

iMyAddress is a simple app that answers a simple (yet important) question:  At what address am I?  While in many cases this may seem to be a useless question (yes, I know my own home address, thank you very much), there are times in which this information is very handy indeed.  For example, if your car breaks down in an unfamiliar area, you can get a nearby street address to give to an auto club or other service – it’s a lot easier to put a street address into a GPS or maps app than more vague descriptions such as “A little bit past the Home Depot”.  Let’s say you’re out of town and in a large city – say New York or Chicago – and want to find a nearby Fedex Kinkos or something similar.  If you enter “Fedex Kinkos, Chicago”, you’ll get dozens of results with no way to determine which are around the corner and which are across town.  By knowing and entering the zip code, you’ll get more targeted results.

iMyAddress is a universal app and is free on the iTunes Store.

iMyAddress_icon

(Free) iTunes Link

 

 

There you have it!  Hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Picks of the week.  Please let us know what you think, and share with us some of your favorites.

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