This week, VOIP has come to the iPhone, as Vonage has gotten the thumbs up from Apple. The app is currently in beta tests from Internet phone company Vonage Holdings Corp., but would be widely available in mere weeks. This could result in Apple changing its tune when it comes to VOIP technologies. The rumors are circulating that it will likely still restrict VOIP calls over the 3G connection, but it is a good step forward for anyone looking for options for long distance calls using the iPhone.
This comes after last week’s report that Apple’s approval had been held up for technical reasons. And all this is after Apple had reportedly rejected Google Voice, which was released in July for the BlackBerry and Android smartphones. So has Apple changed its tune?
Precaution or Paranoia: Outbreaks Near Me App Launches
File this under a new category of apps, namely those that could be seen as appealing to those overly concerned about public health and safety. On the other hand, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. This week the builders of HeathMap, an online site that collects and even tracks reports of infectious disease, has released an app for the iPhone. This will allow users to track outbreaks, such as the H1N1 swine flu.
Named the “Outbreak Near Me” app, this one was developed by researchers at the Children’s Hospital Boston along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (interesting combination I must say). And it isn’t just limited to watching for H1N1 outbreaks either. It can track, and even send notifications for other worrisome diseases.
The app isn’t a one-way warning either. Users can also use it to submit reports, photos and details about potential problems. But before pranksters, or just the paranoid, can submit “zombie” outbreak warnings (or even a real threat warning) the group at HealthMap will confirm and verify before it gets entered into the tracking system. That’s good to know.
Find the Best Apps… in a Book?
File this one under just so strange it had to be mentioned. Now you can find the best apps for the iPhone thanks to one Josh Clark. But you won’t get any hot links to the apps, or updates (at least not easily). That’s because Clark’s way of compiling this 21st century technology was done in technology that dates back a few hundred years. In other words, Clark has released Best iPhone Apps The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (O’Reily, July 2009, $19.99). The book includes more than 200 popular apps in seven categories including At Work, On the Town, At Leisure, At Play, At Home, On the Road, and For Your Health.
While this book does an excellent job explaining why these are the best apps, and he adds some honorable mentions of apps that were nearly the best, the problem is that paper is dated even before it heads to the printer. It is a good book, and clearly Clark has taken the time to compile the list, but the book will be out of date like last week’s newspaper. And for that reason it might have been better for Clark to go online instead.