Amazing apps raise the bar
It's a downer of a time in the tech world in so many ways. The NSA is snooping everywhere. Ad trackers attach themselves to us like dust bunnies. Hackers and scammers are hiding around every digital corner.
Remember when we loved technology? I like it not just for all the great things it can help us do, but also for that ineffable feeling of wonder that a bright technological idea can sometimes give us. Remember when you first started to play with the Internet? The first time you Skyped with a loved one far away? The first text from someone who claimed all this digital stuff was too hard?
What we need is a tech pick-me-up. I've collected a few little apps to remind us that tech can still have the capacity to amaze. Are they moon shots? No, but they all brought a smile to my face.
Vyclone is one of the first indications of what can be done with the mass of filmed material out there. A few years back, Microsoft Labs debuted an amazing program, Photosynth, which stitched together photos on the Internet to give us amazing 3D visualizations of often-photographed sites such as the Notre Dame cathedral.
Vyclone is on the trail of something similar, except with video. The program takes different snippets of film from the same event — a wedding, say, or a music concert — and makes a crude but passable edited chronicle of it.
Are the results perfect? No. But think about it. There are all sorts of public events these days being filmed by dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people. The potential here — instant, 360-degree filmed coverage of certain events — is mindboggling.
Next, did you know your smartphone could be a metal detector? There are several metal detector apps available on the Apple App Store or Google Play. I tried Metal Detector from the App Store.
Fire it up and turn the knob on your screen to the right to bring it to maximum intensity.
Move around your house and you'll see that the app does indeed work as advertised. Like most metal detectors, it's looking for magnetic fields, so it won't register nonferrous metal — i.e. not iron or steel. Still, it's a fun app. (Spoiler alert: The app uses the same magnetic detector used by the phone's compass app, which is worth playing with in and of itself.)
Here's another: I'm sure you've heard about the driverless cars Google is pioneering. Just imagine the technology the company has stuffed into each of those. Your phone already can begin to perform some of those tricks.
One of the new driving apps is called iOnRoad. You fire up the app and attach your phone to your car windshield via the accessories the developer sells.
The phone is then turned into a combination GPS, black box and driving adviser. Most notably, it will flash red when you're too close to the car ahead, if you drift out of your lane or start speeding. It will even take a picture of your parking spot so you won't get lost trying to find your car after the big concert.
Note that even here, the wow factor has a down side — the app is going to be collecting a lot of information about your driving habits, which could end up being part of an accident or insurance investigation. The free version of this app is only available on Android smartphones.
Email Kim Komando at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Penguins to appear on national TV 18 times in 2015-16
- Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 28, 2015
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- Pa. House speaker says overriding Wolf’s budget veto ‘an option’
- Crane topples over into Perry North demolition site; no one injured
- Former Cal U football player cleared of assault charges sues university, police, prosecutor
- Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban