The downturn in the economy have us all looking to cut corners. I’m spending way too much on my data plan, but am afraid to downgrade from the unlimited option, because, well, we know how much it costs when you go over. You mobile carrier stabs you through the wallet. Basically, I’ll pay a vig of $30 a month just to ensure I don’t end up with a $300 bill randomly one month. I feel like I’m being shaken down. With Data Used, by Mesh Studios, which is now free in the app store, you input your billing date, your plan and it will give you the numbers for how many bites and bits you’ve consumed. The key is dialing *3228# and AT&T will shoot you a text with your billing date, current totals – all that stuff. At this point, I’m using more data than the $15 AT&T Plan, but less than the $25 AT&T sells for 2GB. In essence, I’m paying an extra $60 a year for the extra data I’m not using – but I think that’s worth it for peace of mind. Data Used is currently free – but only for a limited time, so download now.
While gas prices have fallen slightly from their all-time highs this spring, they still are not the bargain they were years ago. SmartFuel®, for the Iphone, integrates with Google Maps and Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), and provides you the fuel prices at the gas stations in your area or along your chosen route. SmartFuel® is free for 30 days and then has a number of pricing plans for you to choose from ($4.99 for 6 months, $8.99 for one year, $14.99 for two years). The app also enables you to track your fuel costs and savings. For me, the 30 day trial period was enough for me to figure out which stations were cheapest in my area, but if you live in a large metropolitan area or travel frequently, SmartFuel® would be a solid investment. Every time I drop off a rental car, I’m annoyed by the higher prices near every US airport. Developer Iridium reports that SmartFuel will be available on Android phones later this year.
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Father’s Day is coming up this weekend and while I don’t know if I really deserve any accolades for my fatherhood, at the very least, I understand why there is a special day set aside for us now that I’m part of the club. It’s not because of the patience and understanding needed in rearing a child. It’s also not because of the hardwork in providing for a child both financially and emotionally. The reality? It’s all about the great deals that you can get following up to Father’s Day! Have you checked out the prices for HDTVs or even the ever trendy netbooks? They’ve never been so low! This is the reason why I’ve been checking out Woot.com every day using WootWatch. To the uninitiated, Woot.com is an online store and community that provides one sweet deal a day until it is sold out or replaced around midnight CST. If what’s posted isn’t quite your cup of tea, check out affiliate stores like Shirt.Woot, Wine.Woot, and Sellout.Woot (in partnership with Yahoo! Shopping), all of which are available in the app. With an easy interface and a very clean layout, it’s highly recommended for both bargain hunters and the frugal shopper in all of us. Price: Free.
If you’re anything like me, your iPhone and you are inseparable. It’s with you at all times, but what would you do if you lost it? Not only would you have to rebuild your entire music, video, and image libraries (aren’t we all at capacity?), but you’d also lose all your contacts and be out of touch for God knows how long. Additionally, if you didn’t grab insurance through your carrier, you might be out a couple of hundred or more. Yet, for a very nominal fee, you can get yourself a little help with Reward, which prompts a finder to return your iPhone for a cash reward by calling you at a secondary number. Sounds simple, right? You may ask, how much of a reward? Well, I know how much my iPhone is worth to me. So you do your own math. Granted, you’re depending on the kindness of strangers, but considering you can lock the device at anytime by suspending service, whoever finds it should be more tempted to return it for a reward than go through the trouble of trying to hack it. Worth the risk. For iPhones only. Price: 99¢.
To take a break from iPhone games (believe it or not), I check out games on the PC. In tough economic times like these, a good source of free games comes from the Internet at websites like AddictingGames.com and Download.com as well as cable channel websites like Discovery, MTV, and SciFi. Call them casual or online games, either way, there is rarely anything to download or register for to play them. In the past, I often wished I had a controller rather than just a keyboard to use so I can really kickback and play with my heels up. But I didn’t want to spend the money. So instead, I downloaded WifiPad for the iPhone, which works by connecting to your computer via a Wi-Fi network. While you’ll need to download a small program to your computer, it works very well, especially for games that uses the keyboard for default controls. Wholly customizable, change and save key configurations, visual themes, and even button layouts. Highly recommended for the cheap gamer in all of us. Price: Free.
Sometimes I wish we hadn’t promised to only recommend the best apps outside of the general Top 50 and the Top 50 for all other categories, since there are apps which I think can’t be beat. However, if it wasn’t for our mission statement, I wouldn’t have found Now Playing, which I believe beats the more popular Flixster for a couple of reasons. First, the app provides additional reviews from Metacritic, which are far more reliable than the user reviews from its rival. Next, while it may not support Facebook, it does provide access to Netflix, which is much more convenient than having a separate 3rd party Netflix app installed. Lastly, as advertised, when offline, local theater and movie information is still accessible using this app, which is major plus for iPod Touch users. As an additional bonus, both foreign country and language support are currently available and expanding with each update. At the very least worth checking out. Price: Free.
Are you trying to live greener, but little indiscretions like leaving your computer on keep slipping your mind? Well, don’t sweat the small stuff and allow it to become a big problem. Instead, try using Off, which enables you to shut down your computer (regardless if PC or Mac) remotely. Whether for your home gaming rig or your office setup, this app helps you control power states of all computers at your disposal as well as be a means to monitor the computer usage of your kids. No more late night WoW for Jack and Facebook posting for Jill. One caveat: this app requires a small additional install on each computer. For less than a buck, it’s the least you can do for the environment. However, you still should fix that leaky faucet in the bathroom. Price: 99¢.
Whether you are traveling outside your country of origin, playing international markets, or just have relatives abroad like I do, knowing the current exchange rate comes in very handy. ezCurrency provides exactly that with real-time updated feeds until the market closes. Plus, there is a way to customize which currencies you want supported or left unsupported. Lastly, as a nice playful bonus, shake your iPhone to clear all values for a new search. It’s a very clean and easy-to-use app. Highly recommended, especially for the current sale price available only for a limited time. Price: Free.