Turn iPhone into a Number keypad for your Mac

The best utilities are often those that do just one thing but do it very well.  That’s the premise behind Numberkey for the iPhone that turns your phone into a wireless 10-key numberpad for your Mac.  That’s it, that’s all it does but let me tell you it does it very, very well indeed.  You download and install the Mac utility on the system you wish to augment with Numberkey and do the same for the iPhone version which will set you back a cool $1.99.  You fire up Numberkey on the iPhone and then on the Mac and bingo, you now have a skinnable 10-key for your Mac.  I have been playing with this for a while and it is simply brilliant in its function and the utility it provides.  Well done all around and highly recommended if you need a 10-key.

Numberkey

(via Gizmodo)

Google Voice Search: not just web search but Contacts too

News broke last week that Google would be adding voice search capabilities to the iPhone and the app is now appearing in the iTunes AppStore. I gave it a download earlier this morning but want to clarify one bit. The application isn’t a standalone app that solely provides voice search capabilities. You’ll want to download the Google Mobile App, which is the suite of Google Apps that includes: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Talk, Reader, GOOG-411, News, Notebook, Photos, orkut, Translate, Maps, YouTube, and Google Earth.

I tested around a dozen voice searches with the app and came away pretty impressed in terms of usage and accuracy.

Read More about Google Voice Search: not just web search but Contacts too

Android phone opens garage door when owner (and phone) come home

Googleandroidsdkv09And this my friends, is the sweetness that comes with a more open platform: cool hackery! I wouldn’t have the programming chops to pull this off, but Brad Fitzpatrick has his G1 handset automatically open the garage door at his house whenever he comes home. Since his phone knows all about his home WiFi network, the device recognizes when Brad gets home and shoots an HTTP request to a webserver that controls his garage door. Brad can either start his application manually on the ride home or simply have the Android handset sniff around for his home network every few seconds.

The source code is available so if you have a G1 and webserver that controls your garage door, you’re in business! I’ve been looking into home automation for a bit now and I’d love to have some type of "proximity detector" on my phone for things like this. You know… something that starts the coffee when I come downstairs in the morning. Maybe have the stereo start up to my favorite tunes when I sit in my comfy chair. Something to put the seat down when I leave the…uh… well, you know… everyday kind of things. 😉

(via Hackszine)

A 3G USB modem as small as a WiFi adapter: VZW USB760

Usb760_h4webIf I wanted to shave a half-inch and some weight from my USB727 3G adapter, I’d say the USB760 would be a strong contender.  Verizon Wireless will be offering this diminutive EV-DO adapter in about two weeks: customers can find them in stores starting on December 1. What jumped out at me is how small this adapter really is. It reminds me of WiFi adapters in terms of size and weight since it measures in at 2.24" x 1" and weights less than an ounce. It’s not enough of a difference from my current adapter to upgrade, but new customers wanting a small 3G adapter should give this a look.

Like the USB727 I use today, the new USB760 includes a microSD slot that supports cards up to 8GB in capacity. I find that this slot comes in handy when pairing the USB adapter with a netbook or other device that has a card reader, but doesn’t natively support the small microSD cards without some type of adapter. The device also includes the drivers and software for both Windows PCs and Macs running OS X, so you don’t need to carry around an installation CD.

The USB760 will set you back $99 from Verizon Wireless after rebate and with a qualifying data plan commitment. I’d be extremely curious how a 3G adapter this small captures a signal… the smaller these get, the better the antenna likely needs to be.

Mouse Gesture app launcher, free today only. Good for Tablet PCs?

Mglaunch


Giveaway of the Day is featuring a Windows application launcher today
and normally, I’d skip this type of utility over. What caught my eye though is that the software brings up your customized application list through a mouse gesture. I presume it would work with a Tablet PC and pen and/or a quick touch gesture on a touchscreen device as well. It looks simple to use and it’s free today only so if you need a diversion as we start the work-week, this could be a good one for a few minutes. You’ll need a Windows XP or Vista machine for the 6.21MB download.

Here’s how the Mouse Gesture Application Launcher works: you record a mouse gesture in the application. Any time you replicate that gesture on your desktop, an application launcher with up to ten of your program or folder shortcuts appears and you just tap or click on what you need. Sure you could just put the shortcuts on your Desktop, but who likes a cluttered Desktop? Besides, this makes for a good party-trick and conversation starter. 😉

Recently on jkOnTheRun

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Road trip!  That started the week where we saw a lot of tech news that was exciting.  Here are the top stories on jkOnTheRun in case you missed them:

AMD to enter netbook market

800pxamd_logosvgI attended an online press briefing this morning where senior management of AMD outlined their strategy going forward.  Mobile nut that I am I was especially looking for news about their mobile computing intentions and in spite of stating in the past that they had no aims on the netbook market they do indeed plan to enter it.  Their netbook processing chipset, code-named Yukon, will be introduced in the first half of 2009.  What is a bit confusing is that the power footprint they quoted for the Yukon is 25 W TDP.  When you consider that the competing Intel Atom has a 2.5 W TDP you wonder how this will work exactly.  The Yukon offering combines both the CPU and the graphics and that contributes to the high power requirements but even if you combine the Atom requirements with that of Intel’s 945 chipset you only get 8.5 W.  Expect more information as it becomes available down the road.

Dell offers $100 instant rebate on Palm Treo Pro in U.S.

Treo_2dpro_2ddell_2doffer_1

Some Black Friday deals are already trickling out on netbooks and we’re hearing that Apple will continue their tradition of holiday discounts as well. [I’ll need someone to hide the car keys or I just might end up with a new MacBook.] If you can’t wait until late November for a deal and you’re considering a Palm Treo Pro smartphone you’ll want to hit up… Dell?!? Yup, that’s right, Dell.

The computer retailer is long-known for selling non-PC products ranging from overpriced UMPCs to HDTVs and they’ve got a deal on the unlocked Palm Treo Pro, which normally sets you back $550. Treonauts caught word of a $100 discount code, which gets you Palm’s newest GSM smartphone for $449.99, which includes a free 3-5 day shipping option. Here’s the catch: it looks to be U.S. only and you can’t wait until Black Friday for this deal as it expires next Wednesday, November the 19th.

Microsoft increases SkyDrive to 25GB of free cloud

WindowsliveskydriveIt’s been interesting to watch Windows Live SkyDrive mature in terms of capacity. When Live Folders was revamped as SkyDrive last August, Microsoft was willing to dole out 500MB of online storage. February of this year brought expanded availability to 35 countries and upped the ante to 5GB. Now, Redmond is going all-in with 25GB of free storage, not to mention some new features. Although I have a SkyDrive account, my usage of it has been minimal since there are so many competiting storage and synchronization services, with most offering far more capacity.

The SkyDrive team promises more to come in terms of functionality, but there’s some useful tidbits in the most recent offering, especially for digital photographers:

  • Larger photo thumbnails for those of us with big thumbs. I kid… the photo sizes are increased.
  • A web-based slideshow function that works on "any browser" but is optimized on machines with Silverlight installed. I didn’t test the any browser claim… but I’d expect this to function fine on IE, Firefox, Opera, and Safari at a minimum. Previously SkyDrive worked on PCs and Macs with IE 6/7 or Firefox 1.5 and up.
  • You can tag people in your photos, something I didn’t enjoy doing until I started to use the function on Facebook. Makes it easy to find friends in pics.

There are additional features in the new release of SkyDrive as well, some geared toward data control. You can now move and copy files between folders and there’s a handy download as .ZIP file feature. SkyDrive might not be as advanced as some other services out there, but it’s worth a look, especially with the expanded capacity. I’m hoping that Microsoft gets SkyDrive pulled in to Live Mesh or at least starts blending similar services together and some seamless storage and playback of media files would be useful on a netbook in my opinion. For the moment though, with so many similar but not quite the same services, there’s still too many clouds overlapping in Redmond.

ARM to enter netbook fray

Intel has been coasting along fat and happy in the current netbook craze, pumping out as many Atom processors as they can.  It’s not been enough though given their recent financial picture and things may get a bit rockier for the chipmaker as rival ARM has told Laptop Magazine they intend to enter the netbook market.  ARM processors have long been used in smartphones and PDAs so the netbook segment is not that big a stretch for them.  They plan to have a version of Ubuntu optimized to work with their chips and hit the market next year.

ARM chips are very low power consumers so we could see a netbook with a near all-day battery life which just might get some folks excited.  We’ll have to wait and see how much an ARM-based netbook would cost compared to Intel powered ones as current netbook prices are already about as low as they can go and maintain full computing capabilites.