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“A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber.” (Via TechCrunch)’

This should be interesting.  For those of you that don’t know what Amazon Prime is, it is a service that gives the customer free 2 day shipping on their items that they buy from Amazon.  Not every item on Amazon qualifies for this.  You pay $79/year for Amazon Prime.  If you tend to buy a lot from Amazon, this may be the way to go.  I have it and it comes in very handy and I know I get my $79 worth each year.

Ok, so now on to the good stuff.  This would be very interesting for Amazon.  If this is true, yes Amazon would be losing a little money in the short run.  But they are banking on the fact that people who have Amazon Prime will be the ones that will continue to support Amazon and buy ebooks on the Kindle, which they are hoping will recoup the loss of giving you the Kindle for free.  Interesting strategy as they try to compete with Apple and the iPad.

Personally I don’t think this stands a chance against the iPad.  If Amazon is really going to make a difference they need to compete directly with the iPad and come out with a Kindle that will run in direct competition to the iPad.  Right now there is no comparison between the iPad and the Kindle.  The iPad, in my opinion smashes the Kindle in so many different ways.  I think initally this promotion by Amazon may work, but after a while, you are going to see more and more people drawn to the iPad, even if they have to pay for one.

These are my thoughts.  What are yours?  Please leave your comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @shaun_27.

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There are a lot of you that got iphones for Christmas and yes there are tons of cool applications for the iphone, but that is not what this post is about.  There are other cool things about the iphone that can help maximize the use and life of the iphone.  In this article I will be talking about the many different accessories that you can get for the iphone.  Some of these I personally use or had tried out at one point, some of these are on my wish list, and a few are on the “if I had a million dollars” list.  Hope you enjoy the post and please feel free to comment.

Cases

There are literally thousands of cases for the iphone and everyone has their own opinion on which one is the best one to have.  I have been through quite a bit myself.  My wife reminds me of this all the time 🙂  So, here are a few of the cases that I have and ones that I don’t have, but think would be useful.

1.  The Naked Case by Casemate

  • The one nice feature about this case is that it covers the whole phone, even the screen.
  • made out of plastic
  • If you are the type of person who uses your phone a lot and put a lot of mileage on it, this may be the case for you.
  • cheapest place to buy: buy.com $16.97

2.  iskin Fuze

  • covers most of your iphone except the screen.  It is a hard cover.
  • very durable, great quality
  • little too bulky for me
  • don’t like the belt clip that comes with it, adds to the bulk
  • cheapest place to buy: Provantage $27.27

3.  ivyskin Quatro T4

  • this case combines the first two I talked about into one.
  • this is a hard case that covers the whole iphone, even the screen
  • very durable, very good quality hard case.
  • adds some bulk, but not as much as the Fuze
  • Cheapest place to buy: iskin.com $44.99

4.  Seidio Innocase II

  • One of my favorite cases
  • very slim case that covers most of the phone, except the screen.
  • hard rubbery case
  • durable and gets the job done
  • if you are looking for a slim case that doesn’t add bulk, but still gives your phone some protection, this is the case for you.
  • cheapest place to buy: Seidio $29.95

5.  SwitchEasy Capsule Rebel

  • this is one of the most protected cases I have seen.
  • this case combines a rubber case and a pl astic case that goes over that.
  • since this has two cases it is definitely bulky
  • the biggest bang for your buck, Switcheasy gives you a bunch of accessories with this case for a great price $29.99.

6.  Marware CEO Premiere Plus

  • this is the case that I am currently using and loving it
  • has a thin plastic case that covers the back and side of the iphone
  • leather case to put iphone with case in.
  • very classy
  • sturdy and great quality
  • cheapest place to get: Marware $39.99

Here are a few other cases that you may enjoy.

Other Accessories

Below are some other accessories that I either have or would like to have for the iphone 3G/3Gs.

1.  Kensington Dash Mount

If you are like me and you use or want to use your iphone in your car, this is a great accessory to have.  The thing I like about it, is that it can accommodate pretty much any device you can fit in it.  With its expandable arms you can fit your iphone, ipod, gps, etc.  It can also be rotated 90 degrees so you can look at your iphone sideways as well.  It sticks to my dash pretty well, I have only had it slip off once, in the year and a half that I have had it.  It’s nice to have if you plan to use your iphone to listen to music in the car or need to use the map application.

Available at a variety of places: My recommendation Amazon.com or Newegg.com

2.  Screen Protection

image.alt.TS505

If you don’t buy a case that covers the screen, I highly recommend some type of screen protection. The iphone holds smudges and scrapes way too easily.  Besides, the screen is one of the most important parts of the iphone so you want to keep that as protected as possible.  There are many to choose from, my recommendation is the Power Support Crystal Film Set.  It seems to do the job and in my opinion, is durable and doesn’t hold smudges as much as others do.

Available at a variety of places: My recommendation Apple.com or Amazon.com

3.  Contour Surface Sound Compact Car Kit

image.alt.TR500

This is a perfect compliment accessory to the Kensington Dash Mount.  With a lot of states now cracking down on talking on your cell phone in your car, this is a nice bluetooth accessory to have.  It gives you handsfree talking and for the most part it gets the job done.  It is a little hard to hear when you are on the freeway.  But overall, it gets good sound quality.

Best place to buy: Buy.com

4.  Mophie Juice Pack Air

image.alt.TV809

This, in my opinion is one of the best backup batteries for the iphone.  If you are a heavy iphone user, then a backup battery, unfortunately, might be necessary.  But the nice part is that there are a lot of backup batteries out there.  The one thing I like about the juice pack air is that it acts as a protective case as well as a backup battery and it is pretty slim for a backup battery.  The Juice Pack Air gives you about double the battery life of your iphone.

Variety of places to buy:  Best Buy or Apple, etc

5.  Griffin PowerDock 2 Charging Base

image.alt.TR330

This is a nice accessory to have, especially if you have an ipod already and then you now got an iphone.  Most people who have an iphone, usually have an ipod, so this comes in very handy.  You can charge two ipods or two iphones or one of each.  The other nice thing about this accessory is that it can charge any ipod or iphone that you have.

Best place to buy: Buy.com

6.  Sony Speaker Clock/Dock

This is a nice little speaker docking station for the iphone or ipod.  It gives pretty good quality sound and charges your iphone at the same time.  It also has a radio as well.  This can function as your alarm clock or just a speaker system to play your music from your iphone or ipod.  If you are looking for something inexpensive (as compared to Bose products), then this is the one for you.

place to buy: apple.com

7.  Bose SoundDock Series II

image.alt.TS836

The step up from the Sony is this Bose SoundDock Series 2 Speaker.  It has very good quality speakers.  The one downfall as compared to the Sony, is that it only does one thing, play your music from your ipod or iphone.  But on the flip side of that, it does this one thing very well!  You also will pay about double of what you would pay for the Sony.

Best place to buy: Newegg.com

8.  Bose SoundDock Portable System

image.alt.TP573

This is the next step up in the Bose systems.  It basically is the same as the previous Bose system, but the main difference is the sound quality.  I have not tried this one out so I cannot compare.  Again, you will be paying a pretty penny for this.

Variety of places to buy

9.  iHome iP1 Studio Series Audio System

image.alt.TW481

I have not tried this one out, but the reason I put it on here is because I think the concept of the design is sweet!  I love the clear plastic so that you can see the inards of the system.  From what I have read, it gives out a good sound.  But like the Bose systems, this one only plays your music.  Also like the Bose systems, this one is not cheap.  Personally, I think if you are going to pay this much, you might as well go with Bose, as we all know, they are the king in sound quality.

best place to buy: Amazon.com

10. Bose SoundDock 10

image.alt.TX239

This is the granddaddy of them all!!  I don’t own one of these because if I did, I would have to take out a 2nd mortgage!  But I did get to listen to one in a Bose store a couple of weeks ago and wow, it was amazing!!  I couldn’t believe the sound that was coming out of this thing.  You could literally buy this thing and not have to buy any other speaker system for your house.  It is that good.  Of course with this great of sound quality, you will get hit in the pocket, a $600 hit in the pocket.  But, if I had the money, I would be all over it!!!

Variety of places to get this one

Wow, there you have it.  There are a ton more of accessories for the iphone that I have not mentioned here.  I have tried to give you a variety of accessories that I like and that I think you would be interested in.  If you are looking for more accessories go and visit ilounge.com or the Apple Store.  Feel free to leave a comments on your favorite accessory or other accessories that you like.  Also follow me on Twitter @theeasymac or on Facebook The Easy Mac Facebook Page

So a month ago, I wrote one of my first reviews for this blog on Chronicle.  Here is the link to that post http://wp.me/pHKo8-E Chronicle is a bill minder application for the Mac made by a small company called Little Fin.  It is a great simple app to keep track of your monthly bills and to give you a visual on how you are doing with your bills or credit card payments.  It also lets you set goals for each bill or credit card, which comes in very handy if you are wanting to pay down that loan or credit card.  Well, Little Fin just came out with a new version of Chronicle, which I have had the privilege of beta testing.

The biggest change in Chronicle 3.0 is in the design.  There has been an overhaul in the design of Chronicle icons and backgrounds.  They have added a couple more backgrounds for you to choose from as well as a bigger and better selection of icons for all your bills.  Little Fin also added the option to archive a bil, which is nice to have.   The rest of the changes are behind the scenes that you won’t really notice.

Features of Chronicle 3.0

  1. Setting Reminders for bills:  You can set a reminder each month for each bill that you input that will put reminders on ical for you.  Which then, in turn, will set reminders to your iphone.  This, for me is the best feature, as I tend to forget about some bills some times.
  2. Setting Goals For Your Debt:  This is probably my 2nd best feature about the app.  If you have a loan or a credit card that you are trying to pay down, you can enter in the amount and the amount you want to pay each month and set goals for yourself to pay it down.  This is great for loans, not the best for credit cards that you continue to use as the amount you owe always changes.  So, this feature is really good for bills that the amount you owe will not fluctuate.
  3. Payment History: Every month you log a payment Chronicle logs each payment onto a bar graph to show you how much you are paying over time.
  4. Import from Chronicle 2.0: If you were using Chronicle 2, you can have the option to import your data over the Chronicle 3.  I did this and all my info imported over flawlessly.

These are the main features of Chronicle.  Below are screenshots of the new Chronicle.  I personally love this application for a couple of reasons.  One, it does exactly what I want it to do, remind me about my bills and help me keep track of where my money goes for my monthly bills each month.  Secondly, the customer service is second to none.  When I first bought Chronicle 2.0 I had questions and I emailed Little Fin, and they were great at getting back to me right away and have always been responsive to my questions and respond quickly.  I have also had the chance to beta test Chronicle 3.0 and so I know that Mike and the team at Little Fin have definitely worked hard on this new app and have definitely listened to people’s feedback.  I continue to look forward to what Little Fin plans to do with Chronicle.  There are also whispers that an iphone app could come out next.  That would be awesome!!

Thanks again for reading.  Feel free to comment, and follow me on Twitter @theeasymac or see the Facebook Fan Page at The Easy Mac.

A couple of days ago an app on the App Store appeared that really caught my eye.  It is called iVideo Camera, http://bit.ly/7iIi0E.  The app lets you record video from an iphone 2g and 3g.  This is a huge step forward for Apple as they have restricted apps like this in the app store before.  I downloaded the app and started testing it out right away.  The brothers who made the app let you know right away that the app is not perfect. The app only captures video in 3 frames per second, which is pretty slow.  You could also only make videos of up to about a minute.  In my tests, I found that this is true.  The video wasn’t the best quality, and it was pretty choppy, especially if you were moving around a lot.  The app also gives you multiple ways to share your videos as well.  You can share on YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo, as well as save to your phone or email.  At the moment I tested both YouTube and Facebook and sharing on YouTube would work inconsistently and sharing on Facebook wouldn’t work at alll.  I also tried to email a movie and I could only hear the audio when I emailed it to myself.  So, it looks like for now you can only save the video to your iPhone, which is kind of a bummer.  As far as uploading the video, both WiFi and 3g were pretty fast, and Edge was definitely too slow. The app itself cost $.99.  Laan Labs, who made the app, says there is an update coming with fixes for these bugs as well as making it faster.  I truly think this is a step in the right direction for Apple.  Below are some screen shots of the app and a video in the next post that I made as well.  Check it out and leave your comments.  Do you think this is a good thing?  Worth the price for now?

On Sunday night, Droplr finally went to 1.0. and there has been some anticiation about it coming out of beta. Droplr is basically a file sharing app. It gives you the option to share files such as images, web links, and screnshots as a link versus trying to email these to others. The nice thing about this is that it takes away from worrying about emailing large files and it makes it easier to share a file with a large amount of people.

Droplr Features

One of the key features of Droplr is the ease of use as far as making a file into a link. For a document or image all you really have to do is drag and drop the file onto the droplr icon in the menu bar and droplr creates a link to the file that you can tweet, email or save for later use.  Droplr also links to several Twitter clients so that when you drop something into droplr you can automatically tweet it from your favorite Twitter application. It is a nice feature to have if you have the following Twitter clients (Twit, Echofon, Bluebird, or Tweetie, or Twitter.com).

Droplr also gives you the opportunity to write a note and then save it into droplr as well.  This is especially nice for those that want to save code as a link.

The other nice feature is that droplr has a website that you can log into that shows everything that you dropped into droplr.  It also shows the short link as well as the number of views your link has had.

This is basically about it for droplr.  It is a nice app to have as it makes sharing a whole lot easier.  They will have some competition from Cloud App which is in current beta and looks pretty sweet.  Droplr gives you a free account with 1GB of storage and will give you another 1 GB of storage if you tweet their message that you think droplr is awesome.  Some people have been complaining about this tweet message that droplr asks you to do, but hey, it gives you another gig of storage so I tweeted it.  Overall, great app, I think they are on the right track, would love to see droplr integrate their service with more apps as it continues to grow.

HootSuite last night came out with it’s anticipated iphone app.  If you don’t know what HootSuite is, go check out my review of it.  HootSuite took the main ideas of the web app and put it into the iphone app.  You can have multiple Twitter accounts on the app.  HootSuite also has their own url shortener as well, which you can put a url into and they will automatically shorten it for you.  One of the nice things about this is that HootSuite keeps stats on these url’s so that you can see who is clicking your urls.  They only keep stats for the ones that HootSuite shortens, not any other service.  Other than that you can search and see trends within Twitter.  That is basically about it.

Right now it is on sale in the app store for $1.99 till Dec. 17th, http://bit.ly/7USCNJ.  I don’t know if I would pay full price for it, but so far it is a good app.  I think it will get better if it can integrate Facebook and Linked In into the iphone app, similar to how they do that for the web app.  Below are some screenshots of the app itself.  Feel free to leave comments.

Here is a new Iphone app coming out by the guys over at Robocat.  There app is called Outside.  It is a weather app that has a slick User Interface (UI) along with some great features for weather.  It looks like the app takes advantage of push notification as well.  It is being submitted to Apple right now, so hopefully, with my fingers and toes crossed it will be out before Christmas.  Ok, so here are some screenshots.  Then hit the jump for a teaser video of Outside.  Can’t wait to review this thing in all of its glory!!!  Would love to hear your comments.

I am always looking out for a great Twitter and Facebook Client. There are a handful out there with Tweetdeck being the most famous of them all. For me, there is something about being able to look at my Twitter accounts as well as look at Facebook within the same application. It is just nice not having to switch between apps to update and check tweets and Facebook statuses. So in my quest for this Twitter and Facebook integration application, I came across Hoot Suite.

Features

1.  Twitter and Facebook Integration

Hoot Suite does a great job of integrating both Twitter and Facebook into their app.  You can have multiple Twitter accounts as well as multiple Facebook accounts as well as Facebook pages.  It is so nice that I can integrate everything from both Twitter and Facebook into the app.  Hoot Suite also doesn’t skimp on features of Twitter and Facebook within their app as well.  For Twitter I can do the main functions (mentions, dm, retweet, favorite/unfavorite) as well as groups, searches, and lists.  For Facebook, I can see my news feeds as well as comment and “like” comments as well.  Hoot Suite has really done a good job of making the transition seamless from using both Twitter and Facebook separately into one client with all of its features.

2.  Message Area

This to me is one of the nicest features of Hoot Suite.  When you are ready to tweet or update your status on Facebook, all you do is type in your message and click on the accounts or Facebook pages you would like the message to show up on.  This is a feature that is also on TweetDeck, if you are familiar with their interface.  Hoot Suite also provides its own URL shrinker.  So, if you have a url you would like to insert it will shrink it for you.  But it doesn’t stop there, if you have a file or image you would like to upload, you can upload the image or file to Hoot Suite and they will automatically upload the file and create a url for it.  This is very handy if I want to send a file or image to someone and it is too big to email.  The other nice feature of the Hoot Suite url shrinker is that Hoot Suite keeps stats on the url.  So you can see how many people clicked the link, where they are from and from what site they clicked it on.  This is a really nice feature to have if you are wanting to keep track of traffic to your site.  The last thing about the message area is that there is a button called “Send Later”.  So you can type a message and schedule a time when you want that message to go out and Hoot Suite will make sure the message gets sent out when you want it to.

3.  Miscellaneous features

Hoot Suite also connects to LinkdIn, as well as Ping.fm.  I have not tried to connect to these services as I don’t use them so I cannot speak to how well Hoot Suite does with them. You can also have multiple editors for a single Twitter account if you so choose.  HootSuite is also working on an Iphone app, which I am definitely looking forward to.

Overall HootSuite is a great web app.  It does just about everything I want it to do for Twitter and Facebook, with the exception of being able to play Facebook games 😉  I love it so much that I have even made it a Fluid app.  If you don’t know what Fluid is, go check out my previous review on it.  I would even contend to say that Hoot Suite is better than TweetDeck.  Yes, TweetDeck can do most or all of the things Hoot Suite can do, but Hoot Suite just seems to work well and gets the job done.  TweetDeck, seems too flashy for me and doesn’t always work correctly.

So there you have it.  My review of Hoot Suite.  For you visual people, I have set up a video to give you a visual tour of Hoot Suite.  Hit the link for the video.  http://cld.ly/4bp88 As always, please leave your comments and feedback.  Hit me up on Twitter (@theeasymac) or on Facebook (The Easy Mac).  Would love to hear from you!

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of bills to pay every month.  And for some reason, they all are not due on the same day or even around the same time during the month.  Some are at the beginning, a couple in the middle, and a few toward the end of the month.  I got to the point where I would forget at least a bill or two every couple of months or so.  I hated it.  So I would try to set reminders on my calendar which worked decently fine.  But about 6 months ago, I stumbled across an application called Chronicle.  Needless to say, I wish I had this app a long time before that, would have definitely saved me some embarrassment from sending in late bills.

Chronicle in its basic form is an application to help you keep track of your bills.  But it does so much more than that.  One of the first features it has, is that it helps you keep track of all your bills, how much you owe and reminders each month to pay your bills.  All you need to do is put in some info about your bills, then Chronicle basically takes over.   Chronicle syncs with ICal, with reminders set for each month and you have total control of when to set those reminders.

Screen shot 2009-11-13 at 5.10.42 PM(picture used from Chronicle website)

The next cool feature of this application is that it helps you keep your payments and receipts organized.   After every month when you log your payment, Chronicle keeps track of all of your payments and the average payment you are making.  It is a good way to see how you are paying of something over the long haul.  You can also scan receipts into Chronicle and keep it there for records if you need to see them later on.

Screen shot 2009-11-13 at 5.19.29 PM(Picture from Chronicle Website)

The last cool feature about this app is that you can set goals for each bill that you have and when you want to pay down that debt.  This is great to have, especially if you are trying to pay down credit card debt!!  All you have to do is fill in some info about the debt you are trying to pay off and Chronicle does the rest for you.  This is a great addition to have, and if you are a visual person like me, this gives you a great visual of how you are doing with your debt.

There are a few more things to note about this app.  The first thing is that Chronicle is made by a company called Little Fin http://www.littlefin.com/chronicle.html.  One thing I am big on is customer service and Little Fin goes above and beyond in this department.  When I first started using Chronicle I was having some trouble with it and they were quick and always responsive when I had questions about the app.  Till this day, they always get back to me with a quick response when I have a question about something.  The other thing to note, which is kind of a big thing, is that Chronicle 3.0 is now in beta testing, and I have the privilege of testing out this beta.  There are some cool things coming down the pike with this app.  As I play with it and get to know it more, I get more excited for what is to come with the app.  When Chronicle 3.0 becomes finalized, I will make sure to put out another review on it.  Last and definitely not least,  Chronicle can be had for $20.  It is definitely a great price for such a great app that has helped me tremendously every month on bills.  Go on over to http://www.littlefin.com/chronicle.html and either purchase it, or download it and try it out for yourself.

Please feel free to leave comments and any feedback.  I would love to hear from you as, I am striving to make this a blog that is useful to the average and not so average Mac user.  God bless.

So I have thought long and hard about what is the first thing I should review as I start on this wild adventure of tech blogging!  As I thought about it, I wanted to review something that hasn’t be out there in the mainstream for that long, something that will catch fire as it becomes more exposed to others, and something that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money.  I guess these are the qualities that I hope my blog can strive for 🙂

So, without further fanfare, I give you………..   TINY GRAB!!!

tinygrab-logo

So what is Tiny Grab you ask??  Well, like their website says “Simple. Screenshot. Sharing.”  I couldn’t have put it any more easily.  Have you ever been in those situations where you need to send a picture or a screenshot but either the file is too big or you can’t just copy and paste the screenshot into an email without losing the formatting?  Well this is the app for you.  Basically, what it does is it takes a picture of whatever you want that is on your screen and assigns a url for it.  Then you can copy and paste this url in an email or on a website so that people can see exactly what you are wanting to show them.  The cool thing about this app is now, gone are the days of having to worry about sending pictures that are too big.  Just use Tiny Grab to take a screenshot of the picture then email the link to your hearts content!!!  Here is an example

Screen shot 2009-11-11 at 5.34.58 PM

So here is a screenshot of my logo.  I wanted to email it to my wife to see what she thinks of it.  It is a decently big file.  So instead of trying to email it, I used Tiny Grab to take a screenshot of it and I was given a url http://grab.by/tVb.  Now I can email her the url and she can open it up and see the logo.  No having to wait for it to load in an email attachment or worry if the size was too big to email.  And that is it, simple app that has and will definitely come in handy!!

The other cool thing about this is that for the next 24 hrs Tiny Grab is FREE at MacHeist.com along with 5 other apps.  If you don’t get it free, then don’t worry they have both free and premium versions of it.  They are slowly getting big and better well known thanks to MacHeist, but now that it is out, I think it will grow with huge success on its own.  It is available for both Mac and Windows.

Feel free to leave comments and feedback!!!

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