App of the Week – Aardvark

Aardvark is a site which helps you get answers for your question in minutes. All you need to do is to log in to Aardvark or you could even use Facebook to get connected with Aardvark. Once you are logged in, you could ask questions and Aardvark would find the perfect user who could answer your question. This helps you get all your questions answered in minutes.

Aardvark is bound to get better as Google acquired it only a few weeks back. Google said that they like Aardvark’s underlying technology and have therefore acquired it. With the Aardvark team and Google working together, Aardvark has tasted success.

The iPhone app of Aardvark allows you to post questions and even answer some. Ask Aardvark a question and it would respond to you within minutes. What else, you don’t need to hang up on Aardvark waiting for your question to be answered. During the time your question is being answered, you could check your mail or browse with Safari. As soon as your question gets answered, Aardvark would send you a push notification. If Aardvark feels that you are the correct person to answer a question asked by another user on a specific topic, it would send you a push notification. You could then choose to answer that question or not. If you don’t like to be notified all the time, just disable the push notifications for Aardvark under Settings > Notifications.

You could find other users in your niche and make friends with them. Rate if you liked a particular answer and even get notifications via email or IM. Yahoo Answers is also a good alternative but there isn’t a native app for Yahoo Answers on the iPhone (at-least not yet) , your question does not get answered within minutes in Yahoo Answers and Aardvark is even backed up by Google. What could be better?

A great thing about Aardvark is that you don’t need to register for using it. It offers many other log in systems, use Facebook or Google to log in. The Aardvark iPhone experience is quite similar to that of the Web Version. But Aardvark on the iPhone is a bit slow and takes time to check the history of the questions you’ve asked. Posting an answer or a question is slow too. The response time is fast but your questions would be answered by other Aardvark users and not Aardvark in general.

Performance – 9/10
Features – 10/10
Price – FREE

iPhone OS 4.0 Jailbreak Tool Released

It has just been only a few weeks since Apple launched the preview version of iPhone OS 4.0. But theĀ  Jailbreaking community is almost instantly back with a Jailbreak for the extremely new OS which has yet once again been Jailbroken. The iPhone Dev Team has released a jailbreak for iPhone OS 4 beta 1. If you are not a developer and have still managed to get your hands on the new OS, you could very well try this one too. Jailbreaking does have its pros and cons but this time there are a whole set of warnings included;so better be careful.

This Jailbreak unlike others is complicated and is aimed at developers and not at the general public yet. For now, this Beta release supports only Mac OS X, iPhone 3G and the 4.0 beta firmware. Eventually, if you want to have a step-by-step guide on how to Jailbreak iPhone OS 4.0 beta 1, take a look at the detailed instructions here.

Top 5 Google Wave Extensions

Google Wave, a complete collaboration tool launched by Google has reached a point from where neither success nor failure is guaranteed. Though many users including Google fan-boys hate the collaboration tool launched by Google, there are still some who seem to use it regularly. The slow, buggy and incompetent UI brought sadness to a lot of users. Google still seems to be working on the project. It has brought in Extensions for Wave in the hope that it would improve the user interaction and would probably win back the hearts of at-least some.

The Top 5 Extensions for Google Wave which could improve your experience ONLY a bit with Wave are –

1. AccuWeather.com – Install this extension and you could share the weather of your location or any other location with your friends and colleagues. The extension would ask you for a zip code, on entering which it would display the weather of that area. By determining the weather of a location, you and your friends could decide whether to meet there or not.

2. Goo-gly – This Extension uses the Google URL Shortening Service to shorten URL’s inside Wave. Highlight a URL in Wave and use this to shorten it. Works flawlessly!

3. Word Count – An excellent little extension which displays the word count of the selected words. If you are writing an article with your friend and need to put a Word Count at the end, nothing could be better.

4. Grocery List – Allows you to create the list of products which you have to purchase. Has three bars – Quantity, Name and Notes. This could also be used as a task manager for managing your daily tasks.

5. Draw Board for Google Wave – Let’s you draw in Wave, just like paint. Share with users and even draw together. It offers basic features like brush, pencil, eraser, paints etc.

Do let us know about your favorite Google Wave Extension.

Gmail – Drag and Drop Attachments

Now you could drag and drop attachments from your local computer to Gmail without ever hitting the attach button and then browsing for your file. This feature is also available on the Mail application on a Mac. Just open the folder which contains your file and drag the file to the compose mail box. Gmail would recognize your attachment and would come up with a message advising you to drop your file in the box. Just drop it and the file would be attached.

The Gmail Team plans to enable this feature on other browsers too, but currently it is only active on Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Extension of the Week – Google Mail Checker

Google Mail Checker is a neat little extension for Google Chrome. It lacks features but fulfills its purpose well. It displays the number of unread mails in your Gmail Account. To start using Google Mail Checker, you need to log into your Google Account from your browser. After logging in, the extension automatically detects that you are logged in. The Gmail icon becomes bright and ready for use.

The icon spins and displays the number of unread emails in your account. It is compatible with Google Apps for Domain which makes it flawless. Well, flawless doesn’t seem to be the right word for it. It does have a few setbacks. It does not have its own login system and does not automatically log you in when Chrome is fired up. Occasionally, it does not show up a notification as soon as the mail hits your inbox. It takes a quite a few seconds. You could not have a pop up preview of your mail which takes it a few steps backward.

A good thing about this extension is that, clicking on it pops up your mail on a different tab rather than the one you are currently using. If you are not logged into your account, the icon would turn grey and would display a question mark .When you receive a new mail, the icon spins and puts up a notification. When all is said and done, it is a very handy, nifty little tool which always keeps you connected with your mail. Google Mail Checker Plus is also available which removes some of the flaws mentioned above.

Opera Mini App Review

Opera Mini, a web browser by Opera for iPhone and iPod touch has recently been approved by Apple. When Opera submitted its browser for approval to Apple, the situation seemed to be very risky as Apple usually does not allow other browsers to work on iPhone OS. Surprisingly, this time it did not seem to be the case.

Opera Mini is available for download from the App Store and is Free. It is a somewhat good alternative to Safari and looks pretty decent. When the app is launched, it gives you some details about how to use it. The home screen looks clustered and feels as if Opera has just somehow managed to fit everything in one place.

We opened TheAppleGoogle and a few other sites such as Gmail and Apple. What you would notice at first sight is that it is significantly faster. But the page display is simply horrible. The characters are absolutely unreadable. Speed Dial, a feature that offers visual display to nine of your favorite sites was good but it somehow did not manage to capture the sites which we browsed. Tabbed Browsing just appeared as Safari’s window previewer. Some sites simply failed to load on the browser and displayed only a few characters. Even after changing a few settings, the page display was abominable. The browser simply failed to render the pages properly. Though images and videos were displayed in an efficient manner and looked great.

The browser is very fast and unlike Safari, Opera Mini does not make use of the WebKit engine, instead, it loads websites via a proxy, which in turn means pages are not rendered directly on the device itself, bypassing any possible problems Apple may have with how code is seen. The browser uses Opera’s powerful servers to compress data up to 90% before sending it to your phone, so page-loads are lightning-fast. Nice work done by Opera, at least in bypassing Apple’s strict policies, but still looks like a long way to go.

Opera Mini would work on all devices running iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later.

Opera Mini Approved By Apple

What the heck? Really? Yep, you heard it right. Opera Mini, a browser for iPhone and iPod touch which had been submitted to Apple for inclusion in the App Store has been approved by Apple and is now available for download from the App Store.

Apple, the one who disapproved Google’s Voice and Adobe’s Flash has apparently approved Opera Mini.

Opera App review to follow on.

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Google Docs Improved

Google Docs, a free web based online word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form and even cloud storage just got updated. Google is releasing preview versions of the new Google document and spreadsheet editors and a new standalone drawings editor, all built with an even greater focus on speed and collaboration.

The new version tries to make Docs faster and brings real time editing experience to documents. Google has even brought another feature from spreadsheets to documents : Sidebar chat, which lets you chat with your friends and colleagues and together work on a document. Spreadsheets is now faster than before with speed and performance improvements. Also, Google says that come May and for the foreseeable future, users will no longer be able to work with Google Docs offline.

According to Google, faster browser technologies such as faster JavaScript processing helps them make Docs faster. The new collaborative drawing editor gives users the ability to collaborate on drawings and make them accessible directly from the docs list. The acquisition of DocVerse by Google has further helped Google improve Docs. DocVerse was a company that focused on creating collaborative tools within Microsoft Office. The antagonism between Google and Microsoft is increasing day by day.

Jailbreak iPad with Blackra1n

If you are Jailbreak savvy, you would definitely not deny the fact that Jailbreaking your iPod touch or iPhone with Blackra1n is by far the easiest method. Geohot, a popular and reputable iPhone hacker has made a blog post with a screenshot which shows that he is running Blackra1n and Cydia on his iPad. Though it is not available yet, but Geohot plans to release it soon.

He is actually planning to release it after Apple releases iPhone OS 4.0, otherwise they would quickly recognize the exploit and would patch it. You could expect the jailbreak to be out this summer, soon after the iPhone OS 4.0 release.

Dictionary.com Brings Offline Dictionary to iPad

Dictionary.com is a great website where you could find an alphabetical list of words with information about them. It helps you find the meanings and definitions of words. It is a virtual dictionary with great features which separates it from normal dictionaries. Thesaurus and Encyclopedia are also a part of Dictionary.com.

Dictionary.com is an Ask.com service. There is an iPad app of Dictionary.com available for download from the App Store. The best part of this app is that it can be used without being connected to the internet. You could use the dictionary and thesaurus offline. It has other great features such as Word of the Day, hear audio of a word and more. The iPad App is FREE and 43.3 MB in size as the dictionary could be accessed without the Internet. Though Internet connection is not required to access most of its features, but some features such as hearing audio and Word of the Day do require you to connect your iPad to the Internet.

The huge iPad screen is well utilized by the App. It has four tabs on the bottom – Dictionary, Thesaurus, Recent and Word of the Day. Recent displays some of the recent words you searched for. It has nearly 1,000,000 words in its dictionary and more than 90,000 synonyms and antonyms in its thesaurus. For some words, it incorporates the word origin and history. It uses the iPad accelerometer perfectly; if you shake your iPad, it would show you the definition and meaning of a random word.

It is a simple app presented in a stunning user interface.