Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Miracle on Lakshmi Puja

If this is not miracle, then what is?

All over the world today, people are celebrating Lakshmi Puja, worshiping Lakshmi - the Goddess of Wealth and look, the market's doing better after a long downward spell.

Happy Diwali
to all of you. May the blessings be with you, now and forever!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My top iPhone Apps

Its been almost 4 months since I got my favorite toy, the iPhone. V calls me an iPhone addict coz I am always doing something on it. And with the load of applications available, I thought I would list my favorite ones. The best part is that all these applications are free!

AOL Radio: Its an Internet radio. What's cool about this is that I can access not only my local radio stations but local stations of other cities as well. It also has two Indian radio stations (both from NRI radio) but they mostly play Telegu/Tamil songs :(

Facebook: With the recent upgrades, the Facebook iPhone application has certainly gained the spot of being my favorite. It includes a whole lot of features which makes it a good replacement for the full fledged web version. Wish Orkut too comes up with one coz browsing Orkut via the in-built Safari explorer can be a bit tedious.

FlyCast: This is another Internet radio applications with radio stations categorized by genre/hits/era. They too have wide variety of stations including one Bollywood station. Infact I am listening to it right now and they are playing Suraj Hua Maddham from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.

Fring and Palringo: Fring is an instant chat client on which I can set up not only my Yahoo, MSN and Gtalk account, but also the Skype account. The most awesomest feature is that I can call my contacts through it - no talk time used! Palringo is a similar client where you can set up your regular chat accounts. You can not talk directly using this, but one cool feature in this is that you can send voice message and pictures to the other person. The picture can be from a saved one or taken directly using the iPhone camera.

Google (Mobile and Maps): The Google iPhone search includes Google Suggest which is very useful and accurate. Now, if there's an argument among my friends, its just a matter of few clicks to in/validate one's claims. The map application has a built-in GPS which has helped us a lot at times when we go exploring and (in)conveniently forgotten the GPS back home.

Midomi and Shazam: I had once written a post on Midomi. Both these applications listens to the song currently playing in your vicinity (you can sing or hum to it too) and it will find that songs in its huge database and tells you which song is playing, who is the artist, etc. It even provides you a link to iTunes store for you to buy the song. I have tried it a few times with Hindi songs, and they have that too in their database!

Now Playing: For a group of movie buffs, this handy application helps us find the show times and reviews of movies running at our nearby theatre. V found this very useful when he was staying in NYC for a few days with a friend and there within a few blocks you can find lotsa small theatres that show movies normally not played everywhere else. He ended watching some nice French movie.

Pandora: This is an iPhone application of the popular Pandora music service. Those of you who are unaware of Pandora should definitely check it out. Once you register (its free!) you choose a song to play and it will automatically create a playlist of similar songs. As you play songs from the playlist, you can mark it as whether you like it or not and it picks up future songs based on your choice. The more you play songs, the songs played will be more to your liking. And you can create multiple playlists.

Save Benjis: This application, as the name suggests, help you save money. (Benji stands for Benjamin Franklin whose picture is on all US$ 100 notes). All you need to do is enter the product name or bar code and it will list stores selling at products and the its price on each of them. We find this tool very useful like recently we was checking out this nice Corelle dinner set in Target and we entered the bar code and lo! found out it was cheaper in Amazon and they had more variety too!

Stanza: Stanza is an e-book reader. Its database includes a wide selection of books. I am currently reading Jane Austen's "Persuasion" which I somehow missed reading earlier. Downloading an e-book takes a few seconds and the font size is easy to read.

You Tube: What more can one ask for when one can watch a video on-the-go? Imagine getting to watch Rock On!! videos in the car on our way back from the theatre right after watching the movie! I have troubled my friends in recent road trips by playing them "Jimmy Jimmy Aaja" songs from Disco Dancer and by M.I.A. I think they liked the Bappi Lahri version better :)

Alright...so the above are my favorite useful applications. Now below are few of my favorite games.

Aurora Feint: This is one of the coolest games available for free. Though initially it felt like Tetris and Bejeweled but as I played on I realised its more of a fantasy RPG game with crystals to collect and levels to gain and hidden powers to unleash. Great music and great graphics!

Dizzy Bee Free: This is a cute game with cuter graphics. The aim of the game is to help a buzzing bee save his friends from evil monsters. The free version has few levels and we had so much fun playing this game that we are thinking of buying the full version which is modestly priced at just $2.99.

Labyrinth Lite Edition: This game makes most use of the iPhone accelerometer. You tilt the iPhone to guide a steel ball from one end of a maze to the other without dropping it in the many holes along the maze. Slick graphics - the maze looks like its made in a wooden box and when you roll the ball, it makes sounds that actually feel like the real thing! Neato!!

Sol Free Solitaire: Out of the many free solitaire card games available this one's my favorite since it has neat graphics and games like Klondike and Spider. My favorite is its Demon game which is quite tough to break. I play this trying to up my overall score but mostly end up lowering it even more. :(

Space Monkey: Another cute game I recently discovered. According to the info, its free only for a short while. Like Wall-e, this cute monkey is left in space to collect trash. The more trash you collect, the more levels you cross. I have played only a few levels till now and now I have to play a yo-yo with one hand while collecting trash with my other hand and feet. Hours of senseless entertainment! :) This app is free only for a limited time, so get one soon!

Tap Tap Revenge: This is the iPhone version of the famous Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero in which instead of dancing or playing the guitar, you just tap the beats. If you get tired of the default songs provided, you can download more songs and whats more they even have a challenge mode where two players can compete and find out who's the best tapper!

Apart from the above mentioned games, there are many more free classic games like Sudoku, Pegs, Hangman and other board and word games. The list can be endless.

Apple App Store: And last but not the least. The Apple App Store has tons of apps, most of them free and they are adding new ones everyday. Their very own iPhone application is a great way to browse through these apps, and check out their ratings and reviews and download them right there. Their Top 25 list makes it easy to find apps, that are popular and it is by using this feature that I knew about most of the above apps, hence this app itself makes it to my favorite list.