Monday, May 23, 2011


I spend a lot of time trolling the likes of Google News, Techmeme, Digg and countless other news sites and apps.  I'm always on the lookout for something new, especially if it turns out to be a reliable resource and timesaver.  That's exactly what I've found with the Hitpad iPad app.

Hitpad is a terrific visual way to quickly see what's hot.  It offers six categories of news: top stories, entertainment, business, sports, technology and the ever-important Canadian news.  (Yeah, I don't spend a lot of time on that last one.)

When you select one of those main categories you'll see the the subtopics within them that are trending today.  Touch any of those subtopics and Hitpad displays columns with the latest news, tweets, videos, websites and photos related to that trending topic.  It's the iPad user interface at its finest.  Facebook, Twitter and Instapaper support are all built in, of course.

My one complaint about Hitpad is that the main categories are pre-defined and can't be changed.  So if you want to add a new main category you're out of luck.  It also doesn't offer personalized recommendation content like Zite, so I find myself using both.  The Hitpad developers include a link to what they're working on for the next version though (nice touch!) and it includes saved searches and better personalized content support.  I can't wait.

Hitpad is yet another one of those wonderful free apps.  Perhaps they're just trying to hook us now and planning to charge for an update later.  That's OK with me.  I'd gladly pay $4.99 for this one.  Do yourself a favor though and get it now while it's free!

Monday, May 2, 2011

TuneIn Radio Pro

There are quite a few radio apps for the iPad out there so how do you know which one to download?  I vote for TuneIn Radio Pro.  It's earned a coveted spot on my home page for plenty of good reasons.

First of all, there's the breadth.  The app claims it offers access to more than 40,000 stations around the globe.  I don't know the exact number but I can tell you I've never searched for something specific and came up empty.  All the stations I care about are least so far.

Next, and this is by far my favorite feature...  I can record stations and listen to them later.  Yes, it's like a DVR for radio.  I never thought I'd care for something like this but I'm discovering regular radio programs that are on at inconvenient times, so I just queue them up via TuneIn's recording feature and listen later.

Be forewarned that there are some glitches with TuneIn's recording capability though.  Every so often I'll set the app to record a station and it doesn't.  I haven't been able to narrow down the culprit but it seems to be tied to whether TuneIn was the last app running before the recording is to start.

TuneIn Radio Pro is a universal app, so the 99 cents you spend on the iPad version also gets you the iPhone app.  The iPhone app is even more quirky when it comes to recordings.  You have to make sure your phone is plugged in or it won't record; that's not a problem with the iPad app as I've made plenty of recordings without plugging it in.

This one's a steal at 99 cents.  Even if you don't think you listen to much radio today you'll discover a whole bunch of interesting stuff you've been missing out on...and you'll be able to record and listen when you have time.  Highly recommended!