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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
Oink, the service started by Kevin Rose's new incubator, Milk, is now live. You can download the companion app, Oink Builder, on the App Store now for free. Oink allows you to rank and rate the things around you. Unlike other services, like Yelp, that have you rate places, Oink is about rating the things inside the places, rather than the places themselves. Hit the video above to see what we mean.
It seemed like a no-brainer for Facebook to drop an iPad app back when the original iPad launched in early 2010, but it's taken the company a year-and-a-half to finally get things in order. The wait is now over, and today you can download the official Facebook iPad app. Within the app you can browse photos at full screen, watch videos (with AirPlay integration!), and access things like the news feed, messages, Groups, chat, and more.
If you aren't seeing it in the App Store yet, it should be live shortly.
Turntable.fm is having a good week. The music streaming site on Tuesday released its iPhone app and confirmed that it has raised $7 million in funding.
It had been rumored that an iOS version of the popular service was headed to the App Store this week, and as expected, the app mimics the Web-based experience of Turntable, allowing you to do the same things on your mobile phone that you could do online. For example you can access all of the same rooms where five DJs take turns bumping the songs of their choice as well as rate those tracks as “lame” or “awesome.”
From the app, you can also make new rooms and start DJing in existing ones. The app has been well received for the most part, but VentureBeat pointed out that it moves a little bit slower than the desktop version. However, it noted that it works well over 3G, which rumored to be an issue for the app during its testing phase.
Facebook has just released a new Android and iOS app called Facebook Messenger, and it's exactly what it sounds like. Basically, Facebook has taken its messaging system, used their Beluga team to simplify it a bit, and pushed it out as an independent app. You can message your contacts without using up SMS (similar to things like BBM, Google+ Huddle, iMessage, GroupMe, Fast Society, and plenty of others,) and you can also create group messages on the fly as well. People will see these messages show up in the Messenger app, their Facebook inbox, or by SMS if they don't have the app installed. You can also share your GPS location and attach images to the message conversations as well. If you've used Beluga or Facebook, then you know how to use this.
If you've been putting off calling your aunt in the Dominican Republic or your Slovenian cousins because of the cost of calling from your mobile phone, a promotion from Vonage should pique your interest. The VoIP provider is giving away one free international phone call, up to 15 minutes, to anyone who downloads its new iPhone app, Time to Call. The app is also free.
What's especially appealing about the offer is you don't have to be a paying customer of Vonage (from $11.99 per month) to use the app or get the one free trial call. The free call expires one year after you download the app. Be sure to check that the country you're calling is on the list of 100 that are included in the deal (check below).
After your one free call, all calls are billed in 15-minute increments. Prices for the 15-minute blocks of international talk time range from 99 cents to $9.99, depending on which country you call, although calling most countries is less than $1.99. And typical of Vonage's slightly experimental nature, the Time to Call app doesn't charge you through pre-paid credits or an in-system account, the way other services such as Skype do. Instead, Vonage's app bills you directly through iTunes.
"Skype for iPad is beautifully designed and optimized for the iPad. It offers the best of both worlds for users who want a larger Skype experience, on-the-go," Skype said in a blog post. "The large iPad screen is perfect for bringing Skype video calls to life, in either landscape or portrait view, and because it is on the iPad, Skype video calls can be made at the beach, in a car or even lying on a couch."
Skype promised several iPad-optimized features, including two-way video calling for those with an iPad 2. Connect with other Skype users on PCs, Macs, or iPhones and Android phones with front-facing cameras.
Read More | Google+
We've spent the last half-day or so completely enamored with the latest release from the fine peeps over at Tapbot, Tweetbot. Typically, a new Twitter client isn't anything we would get excited about, as there are probably hundreds out there, and the free Twitter for iPhone does the job well enough anyway. However, we've been impressed with every other app that Tapbot has put out. We're talking about things like Calcbot, Weightbot, Pastebot, and the awesome Convertbot. So when they released Tweetbot after working on it for over a year, we had to check it out.
It's difficult to describe everything that Tweetbot does, but if I had to sum it up with one statement, I'd say "It just makes sense." Oh, and also, it's a joy to use. While the official Twitter app has been suffering from feature bloat (going so far as to try and force a trend bar on us,) Tweetbot is a refreshing throwback to what made Tweetie great in the first place. They've even managed to make lists actually useable and convenient, rather than a clunky add-on, by giving each its own timeline.
We highly recommend Tweetbot -- get a look at the video above that walks through its interface. Pretty slick, right? You can get it now for $1.99 in the App Store.
Read More | Tweetbot
Facebook yesterday updated its iPhone app to version 3.4, bringing enhancements to the News Feed and notifications UI as well as the option to check-in to Facebook Events on the go. For unfriending that cannot wait until you get back to your desktop, the app adds that, too.
The signature feature of the update, of course, is the mobile check-ins for Facebook Events. We previously reported that Facebook added another layer to its location-based functionality by including a check-in icon available on the day of a given event. The company had pledged to launch the feature soon on the iPhone and their mobile site. Yesterday's update fulfills that pledge.
Formerly, the only way you could check in to a Facebook Event was through Facebook Places, which entailed checking in to locations as you would with Foursquare or Gowalla. Now users can check-in to events themselves, opening up new possibilities for companies and individuals. For example, you could arrange contests at events.
After a rather rough start, Twitter on Thursday said it will remove the Quick Bar from its iOS app, which provided users with updates on trending topics.
Though the Quick Bar - referred to by some as the "Dick Bar" after CEO Dick Costolo - had "incredibly high usage metrics," Twitter has opted to remove it from the app rather than continually update it.
"Rather than continue to make changes to the QuickBar as it exists, we removed the bar from the update appearing in the App Store today," Twitter creative director Doug Bowman wrote in a blog post. "We believe there are still significant benefits to increasing awareness of what's happening outside the home timeline."
The Quick Bar was added to the app earlier earlier this month as part of an upgrade that also made it easier to access features like photos, trends, and links. It sat above a user's Twitter feed and displayed one of the days' current trending topics. Tapping the word would take you to a list of recent mentions.
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