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ExtraBITS for 14 December 2009

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Our reading was nearly all about mobile devices this week, with pointers to iPhone apps reviewing the events of the decade and allowing AT&T customers to report poor service, plus articles about the Barnes & Noble Nook ebook reader and AT&T's plans to curtail heavy use of the iPhone data plan. Adam talked about iPhone GPS apps with Andy Ihnatko and Chuck Joiner on MacNotables, and Andy also has a hilarious blog post revealing the Dragon Dictation app's prudishness. Finally, we note the fast approaching deadlines for iPhoto print products and explain how recent AirPort base stations have theoretically higher speeds.


Decade Review App from We-Envision.com -- As the first decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close, We-Envision.com has created an unusual iPhone app that provides a visual overview of 75 key world events from the last ten years. Bush v. Gore, the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Southeast Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the French student protests of 2006 and Burmese monk protests of 2007, Barack Obama's election, and many others are presented via full-screen photos from news sites, organized by date or subject, and bolstered by Wikipedia-derived details.

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iPhoto Print Product Order Deadlines Approaching -- We're big fans of iPhoto's print products - prints, books, cards, and especially the calendars - as holiday gifts, but keep in mind that to receive your order by December 24th, you'll need to place orders by December 18th with regular shipping or December 19th with express shipping. Although iPhoto makes the mechanics of building books and calendars easy, it can take some time to select and tweak photos as desired, so we recommend getting started soon!

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Pogue Finds B&N Nook a Weak Digital Reader -- David Pogue reviews the Barnes & Noble Nook electronic reader at the New York Times, and finds it a poor competitor to the Kindle for identical features, while its unique features don't measure up to a real difference.

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AT&T Plans To Curtail Heavy iPhone Data Users -- Expanding vaguely on previous threats, AT&T's head says that the firm will offer "incentives" to have heavy users reduce their usage. Incentives is 1984-speak for penalties.

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Adam Chats about iPhone GPS Apps on MacNotables -- In this most recent MacNotables podcast, Adam and Andy Ihnatko talked with host Chuck Joiner about the demise of the CrunchPad tablet briefly before focusing on iPhone GPS apps and what they do right and wrong. (Don't miss the outtakes!)

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Andy Ihnatko Discovers Dragon Dictatation's Prudishness -- The inimitable Andy Ihnatko writes on his Celestial Waste of Bandwith blog about testing Dragon Dictation, the free iPhone version of Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software. Andy accidentally discovers that Dragon Dictation censors naughty words, which practically forces him to read it George Carlin's famous "Seven Words" routine, with predictably amusing results. Why censor? Perhaps to get it through the App Store approval process?

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Frustrated by iPhone Cell Trouble? Tap to Tell AT&T -- AT&T has released a free iPhone app called AT&T Mark the Spot to let you report network trouble directly to the firm. The app uses GPS data to report your location when you tell the company of a failed call, no coverage, data failure, or poor voice quality. This is a superb idea on AT&T's part; let's see if it results in noticeable network improvement.

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AirPort Base Stations Update Includes Higher Future Speed -- Editor Glenn Fleishman discovered that Apple boosted the highest possible speed of its AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule in the October 2009 hardware refresh. The top raw rate is now 450 Mbps - but new adapters will be required to use those speeds.

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