Five iPhone apps for amusement and efficiency

By Joe Doherty, ITworld |  Personal Tech, iPhone, iPhone applications

Need more cool iPhone apps? You got it. I'll try to make this list filled with applications that are a little bit more useful than my last list. But no promises! After all, not all apps can or should be five-star, super business quality, enhance your general well being programs. Remember, this is a phone we're talking about here. And since it's a cool iPhone...you know you want some fun
stuff to show off to your envious friends. So here we go. Remember, all of the applications listed are available in the iTunes store, unless otherwise noted.

We'll start off with a new iPhone Twitter app called TweetGlobe. Essentially this is a 3-D version of TwitterVision for the iPhone. But the application itself is pretty slick. The three-dimensionally rendered Earth is very smooth turning when Tweets occur in different parts of the globe. It's unclear to me what the zoom ratio is on the image of the Earth. Quite naturally, you can use the optional GPS feature to determine your whereabouts on this little planet. And, for one cent less than $1.00, it's not exactly a huge investment.

Here's an app I would be totally hooked into if I had even the slightest amount of free time: Mafia LIVE. Mafia LIVE is one of those massive multiplayer games you're always hearing so much about. This game starts off with you new to the world of organized crime. Your goal is to build up your Mafia family and your skills, earn respect and eventually become the Don of your powerful crime syndicate. Mafia LIVE is extremely popular and is one of the most fascinating games available for the mobile community...and is very reasonably priced at $2.99. Normally, a reviewer would make some sort of joke or quote a line from a "Godfather" movie. I'll let you insert your favorite one, pretend I said it, and we'll move on.

Perhaps you're a bit too young to remember these popular video games in places called "arcades": Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. These were a huge success as the graphical interface was essentially that of an interactive Saturday Morning Cartoon. Later on, these games made their way into the home on Laserdisc. Remember Laserdisc? They were record album-sized DVDs. Don't remember records? Sigh. Well, the company behind this nifty game, Digital Leisure has released Space Ace for the iPhone. While you can play the game in full 1080p on your Playstation 3, this game is still very well rendered on the smaller iPhone screen. The more impressive concept is that the entire game is there. On. Your. Phone. The game itself is, hmm, funny. If you never played these games in your youth, you'll probably find them hokey. Let's leave it at that. But for $4.99, it's a terrific app to show off to friends.

Wouldn't you like to use your iPhone for you grocery list? Well, put down that pen and paper. There is a development group out there called Hollowire, and they are writing some really interesting applications. One of the more useful apps they offer is one called, ShopALot. Create your grocery shopping lists from the ShopALot online grocery catalog. The app will allow you to see nutritional information, compare pricing of similar products, show images of the item for easy identification on the shelves (I like this feature since I spend a lot of time blankly staring at my grocery list wondering just what the heck I'm looking for. What is a "leek" anyway?), and the option to use your
phone's camera to document any items not currently in their database by taking a photo and reading the barcode. Pretty slick. And, at the low price of $1.99, you'll save money on pens & paper and have a cool grocery list to boot!

Another wonderful application developed by Hollowire seemingly specifically for me (and my dad) is called Proxido. This is a VERY clever idea for those of us out there who are slowly losing their grey matter. What you do is input tasks and to-do's for the different places you need to go. This application will
read your GPS coordinates and popup a reminder of what you need to do in the vicinity. Hoo-ha. Real life example? Driving down the road past my Home Depot. Suddenly, Proxido comes to live to tell me to, with all speed, get my butt into that store and purchase the ceiling lamp I can't ever seem to remember to buy. With this app I will look like a hero and never forget another task. Which is probably good and bad.

Got any more out there? Let me know!

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