Tuesday, March 30, 2010

iPhone 4G rumours: HD and video conferencing?

AppleInsider has a nice overview of the rumours that are swirling around the intertubes about the next generation iPhone.

Unconfirmed features: 960 x 640 double resolution, a second (front-facing) camera and a June 22 announcement.

Click here for details.
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Updates to SG 4D and NaviNUS

Two local apps--SG 4D and naviNUS--have just been updated recently. New features in SG 4D include:
- faster loading of results;
- the ability to email or SMS the results;
- works with Apple's VoiceOver technology for the visually handicapped; and
- results going back 24 years

The last feature is only available to premium users who unlock the feature for US$3.99. Without unlocking, the archive only goes back three years.

SG 4D is free. You can download it here.

The other app, naviNUS, now has bus stops, bus arrival times and internal shuttle service routes.

naviNUS is also free. You can download it here.
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Latest iPhone SDK released

Apple has released the latest iPhone SDK, version 3.2 GM Seed.

From now on, all iPad apps you plan to submit to the App Store have to use this version of the SDK.

The SDK is available from Apple. As usual, if you have problems downloading the SDK, see our previous story and comments for suggestions and workarounds.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New in the Singapore App Store: GPS apps, Ngee Ann Poly zines and 4D and Toto number generators

If you're directionally challenged like me, any new GPS app is something to celebrate. Recently, two new GPS apps aimed at the Singapore market have landed in the App Store, Nav4D Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei (currently on sale at US$30.99) and Nav4D Singapore (US$43.99). Not surprisingly, both apps are by Nav4D.

The apps offer 3D landmarks and city models, turn-by-turn directions and support voices in English and Chinese (presumably Mandarin).

What's the difference? Hard to tell without buying both but based on the description, it's a question of coverage. And given that the one with more coverage is on sale, it seems to be a no brainer.

Ngee Ann Poly leads the way

A few weeks ago, Ngee Ann Poly released their neat campus map. This week, they've followed up with three more free apps: eXtra Magazine (aimed it seems at alumni), NP News (aimed at affiliates and partners) and UrbanWire (an online entertainment and lifestyle publication produced by final year communication students).

Easy money?

Gambling, they say, is for the mathematically challenged. However, if that doesn't dissuade you, two recent free apps on the App Store will help you in your quest for easy money. SG 4D Generator will give you random four-digit numbers in case you failed to get the license plate number of that car that crashed on the ECP while SG Toto Generator will help you come up with numbers for Toto. Before you spend your last pay cheque, remember, there's a reason that Singapore Pools is able to donate lots of money to charity. The House always wins!

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SG Property tells you price paid for recent transactions

This confirms it. Property in Singapore is currently a very, very hot. SG Property is the third app released in the Singapore App Store that is aimed at property buyers here.

This app looks pretty neat because it shows the latest transacted prices of condos, HDB flats and private property. You can search by district, condo name or street name. You can limit the searches to transactions between a particular date range.

Very handy app. However, it is not clear where the data is coming from. When I find out, I will update this story.

SG Property is free. You can download it here.

Advice to developers: Mind your language

Did you know that the Singapore App Store (as well as the Taiwan and Hong Kong App Stores) use UK English? It's not immediately obvious because these countries are not on Apple's list of countries where the language is defined. Why does this matter beyond how you spell colour/color? Developer Lim Thye Chean has a cautionary tale that local developers should keep in mind. Below is his email to me (which I am reproducing with his permission):

"In my setup - English (which means "US English") is the default language, and since there is no Traditional Chinese localization, I put in the Chinese description in the English description.

"Today (Thursday) I just realized that in the iTunes Connect documentation, these countries use UK English: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, United Kingdom. So I added in a language of "UK English", with all the Chinese text removed, since the Chinese text would not be useful in those countries.

"What a mistake! Now ALL the Chinese text has been removed from the Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong stores! The only logical explanation is that Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong stores use "UK English" not "English"!

"Right now, I am stuck with the stupid situation that my app in the US store shows Chinese text and those in Singapore/Taiwan/Hong Kong stores have no Chinese text...  :(

"Now I have to re-upload all my apps to change the localizations, as there is no way to remove the language once added."

Sorry about your bad luck, Thye Chean, but thanks for sharing so that others can avoid the same mistake.

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Vocal Slide Timer contest results!

Congrats to the following iMerlion readers who responded swiftly to yesterday's Vocal Slide Timer giveaway:

1. Calvin Ng
2. Jason Tay
3. Jason Tay (a different person)
4. Benjamin S
5. Bozo88
6. Tan Hui Hao
7. Chuon Hee Tan
8. Roy Pwee
9. Tony Santos
10. Jovian

And as for the winner of the second contest, we had fewer entries but only one correct one. The winner is Mugunth Kumar, who correctly noted that 26/6/10 is the date that Joash's wife is expecting their twins!
(The clue is that the app cannot actually show the 'time' on the icon.)

We'll be contacting all the winners shortly with their promo code.

Congrats once again to all the winners. For the rest of you, if you really want the app, buy it! It's not expensive and the developer will need the cash very soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Contest: Win a promo code for Vocal Slide Timer!

Joash Chee's US$0.99 Vocal Slide Timer, which we wrote about earlier, is a cool app if you need a countdown timer. The neat thing about this app is that beyond the digital clock, the app will also do an audio countdown, just to add a little bit more pressure on you.

If you would like a copy of this cool app, you're in luck. Joash has kindly given iMerlion 10 promo codes for us to give away to anyone who is interested in snagging a copy of this useful app.

As usual, the promo codes will be given out on a first come, first served basis. All you have to do is email us at spam@imerlion.com (note: replace the word "spam" with "iphone").

In addition, we are also doing a special contest. If you look at the icon for Vocal Slide Timer, you will see that something, done deliberately, is a little off. Tell us what that is and guess why. If you guess correctly, you get a free promo code for Joash's CHORDiCA, worth US$2.99. (Read our previous stories on Joash for hints.)

Good luck!

Important note: You must have an account with the US iTunes store to redeem the promo code. This is because Apple is still only allowing promo codes to be redeemed in the US store, despite having a redeem option in the Singapore store.

If you don't have an account with the US iTunes Store, but you would like to get one, there are resources online that can help you with that.

Detailed weather data now available



When I want to know what the weather is like in Singapore, I look out the window. Invariably, it will be one of two things -- hot or raining.

However, if your needs are more sophisticated, you can now find out the temperature, humidity and amount of rainfall at various local weather stations around Singapore with IWIS, a new free iPhone app.

IWIS, which stands for Intuitive Weather Information System, can also give you wind speeds, wind direction and the UV index.

One minor problem is that the temperature display is a little confusing. When you go to a particular weather station, you are given two temperatures for that station, and they are not the same. One appears to be the actual temperature and the other is something called "Real Feel"? What's Real Feel and how is it calculated? The app doesn't say.

You can download IWIS here.

Non-jailbroken iPhone hacked in competition

Two hackers at a security conference managed to hack a non-jailbroken iPhone to extract the SMS logs and send it to a remote site. For their efforts, Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann will walk away with US$15,000, a new iPhone and a trip to Las Vegas.

Iozzo and Weinmann managed to compromise the iPhone within 20 seconds at the annual CanSecWest conference's Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver on Wednesday. The exploit, however, took about a week of development.

So far, other browsers that have been hacked at the competition include Safari, IE 8 and Firefox.

See CNET for the full story.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

iCash SG updated

Mugunth Kumar's excellent ATM finder, iCash SG, has been updated to version 3.0.

The latest version has the locations of Maybank and SBI ATMs as well as iNETS and AXS kiosks.

iCash SG helps you locate the ATMs of the major banks in Singapore. It also features the ability to create a favourites list so you can quickly get to the ATMs you use.

The app also allows you to suggest new ATMs that are not currently on the list.

iCash SG is free. You can download it here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Made in Singapore: It's about time

Procrastination, they say, is the thief of time. Which is why I'm happy to report that two local developers have developed apps to help you use your time better.

Sam Chandra has made a simple but effective app called Pomodoro Me. It is a simple timer that counts down from 25 minutes back to zero. The idea is to get your work done within those 25 minutes before you are allowed to take a break (check out the principle behind this idea here). I've tried Pomodoro Me and it is both exhilarating and effective. Working under a countdown really motivates you and makes you aware how quickly time flies. Pomodoro Me is free and available here.

Taking a different tack is CHORDiCA developer Joash Chee. His Vocal Slide Timer is a more flexible countdown timer. You can set it for any length of time. With five minutes to go, it will start reading out the time left. The last 10 seconds are a countdown. Scary stuff. Vocal Slide Timer costs US$0.99 and is available here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

MovieFu helps you find screening times quickly

Developer Arun Thampi has just released a new app that will appeal to movie lovers. Called MovieFu, this free app helps you to decide where to go to watch a particular movie.

When you select a movie to watch, the app will show you which theatres are showing that movie. Interestingly, Movie Fu sorts the screenings by time, instead of by cinema chain.

So as not to overwhelm you, the screenings are divided into four timeslots: Morning, defined as before noon, Afternoon, which is from noon to 5pm, Evening, which is from 5pm to 9pm, and Late Night, which is from 9pm onwards.

Arun says he developed MovieFu because he wasn't happy with existing apps. "Basically, I felt that the movie apps which were currently present didn't let me scan for movie times quickly and easily."

What's nice about this app is that it will only show future movies times. For example, if you consult the app at 8.30pm, it will only give you details for screenings that are coming up. Past screening times, now irrelevant, don't show up.

Other nice touches: you can share a movie time via email or SMS. The app also integrates the phone booking number so that you can book your tickets easily.

According to Arun, new features coming up include Rotten Tomatoes ratings as well as the ability to select certain cinemas as favourites so that the app only shows the times for those cinemas.

MovieFu is free. You can download it here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

iPhone users can now do online banking with DBS

When DBS said last week that it was getting ready to launch mobile banking, it wasn't kidding.

It's not clear when it happened but the DBS online banking website now works with the iPhone.

I just tried logging in and everything appears to be functional. The website has not been reformatted for the iPhone so some scrolling left and right might be necessary but apart from that everything seems to work fine. The only change i can see is that DBS has removed the Java applet that was previously used to capture your password. Without Java, the site accessible on the iPhone.

(Thanks to iMerlion reader Rz for the tip-off!)




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

SG NextBus makes it easy to keep track of bus arrivals

Looks like a day for transport-related announcements. On top of the SG Buses update and the MyTransport.SG unveiling comes SG NextBus, a brand new app from Muh Hon Cheng.

As its name suggests, SG NextBus focuses on delivering bus arrival times. It will work with all SBS Transit Buses as well as SMRT buses that stop at the 200 or so bus stops covered under the LTA's Real Time Bus Arrivals project.

Adding new bus stops is easy. You can either manually key in the bus stop number or add a nearby bus stop. This app also works with SG Buses, allowing you to add a bus stop to SG NextBus from within SG Buses.

SG NextBus is free. You can download it here.

LTA launches portal for smartphones

The LTA has just launched a new transport portal, this time aimed at smartphone owners. Called MyTransport.SG, the portal pulls together different transport related resources such as traffic camera views, locations of traffic incidents and COE prices.

Drivers will be glad to know that MyTransport.SG finally has a guide to car park availability that is well formatted for the iPhone.

To access the live parking lot data, start up Mobile Safari, go to MyTransport.SG, then click on Parking Guide. Alternatively, you can click on this link to go straight to the parking guide. (Note: the site does not work on the desktop version of Safari.)

SG Buses updated. Now comes with times for some SMRT services

Muh Hon Cheng's excellent SG Buses has been updated and everyone who uses it should get this update. This latest version comes with the arrival times for some SMRT services.

Note however, that arrival times for SMRT buses covers only about 200 bus stops around Singapore. Of these, 166 are in the western part of Singapore covered by the LTA's Real-Time SMS Bus Arrival Information system. Another 50 bus stops are those in the heart of town which have the Real-Time Bus Arrival Information Display Panels installed.

SG Buses is probably one of Singapore's most popular apps and Hon Cheng has kindly shared some interesting facts about its usage. There are about 111,000 users SG Buses, of whom 100,000 are iPhone users. About 10 percent of users are using jailbroken devices.

About 75 percent of iPhone users are using the 3GS. Each day, SG Buses has between 10 to 12,000 unique users. The average time per user is about 7 minutes.

These numbers give us some idea of the size of the local iPhone population in Singapore. 3GS devices rule in Singapore and a pretty sizeable minority are using jailbroken iPhones.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Win a Dexim battery in AED hunt


First Aid Corp (Singapore) has revealed that the winner of the AED hunt will win a Dexim BluePack S7, a 1500mAh Lithium Polymer battery cum case that fits the iPhone 3Gs, 3G and iPod Touch.

Looks pretty sweet to me.

The AED hunt is a contest to photograph automated external defibrillators around Singapore. AEDs are devices that are used to revive the hearts of people who have a heart attack. The more locations you document, the more points you get. The aim is to record the locations of AEDs here so that this data can be shared in the app AED Nearby. Click here to find out more about the contest.

New iPad details: AVI support and more

With the launch of pre-ordering of the iPad, Apple has released a host of new details about the device, among them AVI support, the ability to lock screen rotation and VoiceOver support for iBooks.

Dan Moren of Macworld and Andy Ihnatko have the full details.

buUuk cited in the House

Restaurant guide and locator buUuk was singled out for special mention in Parliament yesterday by the Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew.

He cited buUuk as an example of a local digital media company that had made its mark in the world.

Nice going guys!

New local apps this week: iNP, CozyCot and Library@SG

Three local apps have hit the App Store this week, namely iNP, CozyCot and Library@SG.

With iNP, Ngee Ann Polytechnic shows just why it is a leader among the polys in Singapore. This free campus map makes it easy for you to find your way around the place. It will also give you walking directions to get from A to B (they even have wet weather directions too!).

CozyCot is the iPhone version of the women's site of the same name. Apart from giving access to the popular forums, this free app also allows you to scan the barcode on a product so that you can compare prices with retailers online.

Finally, Library@SG (US$1.99) helps you keep track of the books you've borrowed from the National Library. The app was created by developer Coast Jogger rather than the National Library Board. While you can get the same basic functionality on the library's mobile website for free, this app allows you to store your details so you don't have to keep typing them in. In addition, you can have the details of multiple users stored in the app so you can check the whole family's library loans quickly and easily.

Friday, March 12, 2010

DBS has mobile banking plans. Seriously.

Hard to believe, we know. According to a ZDNet Asia story today, DBS Bank is apparently planning to roll out a mobile banking service in Singapore. Who woulda thunk?

Sandeep Lal, the managing director and head of consumer e-business at DBS Bank told ZDNet Asia: "We are in an advanced stage of implementing our mBanking [mobile banking] service in Singapore and we intend to lead in the space, too."

Even though DBS is "one of the largest financial services groups in Asia, providing the full range of services in corporate, SME, consumer and wholesale banking activities across Asia and the Middle East", that "full range" does not include making its banking services available to smartphone users. As a result, DBS looks like a technological dwarf behind local rivals such as OCBC and international banks such as Citibank.

We're glad that DBS finally noticed that there are a few people in Singapore have iPhones and that these people would like to do online banking on their phones.

We don't need DBS to lead in the space, Mr Lal. We'd just like to use our iPhones to check how much money we have left in the kitty. Be nice if it happens this year, two years after the iPhone first made its appearance in Singapore.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LTA: We're not licensed to share data

In response to a query from iMerlion, the Land Transport Authority says that it is not licensed to share the live parking data from its Parking Guidance Systems with third parties.

According to an LTA spokesman: "Currently, LTA is not licensed to share the car park lot availability information on the ONE.MOTORING portal with any third parties, which are owned and supplied to LTA by the car park developers and management. The data will be provided to a third party on a licensing basis, details of which will hinge on the negotiation between LTA, and the various car park developers and management."

The issue came up after developer NiiDees added the live parking data to its app Park-a-Lot Lite { SG } but was then told to kill the feature by the LTA last week.

The information about live parking lot availability is available on the web but encoded in Adobe's Flash format, rendering it inaccessible to iPhone owners. The LTA did not explain why the data had to be encoded in Flash in the first place.


iPhone users that would like to get access to this information have to use the mobile version of the OneMotoring website. While the information is not well formatted, it is available.

(Note: Thanks to iMerlion reader Kim Yong for pointing out the link in the comments!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Help save lives with your iPhone

How would you like to use your iPhone to help save lives and, at the same time, stand to win an iPhone accessory too?

First Aid Corp Singapore is organising a competition to photograph automated external defibrillators (AEDs) around Singapore. AEDs are devices that are used to revive hearts in the case of a heart attack.

In the contest, you will get one point for every photograph you submit of a known AED location and three points for every previously unknown AED location. The aim of the contest is to record the locations of as many AEDs in Singapore as possible. These will then be entered into an iPhone app to help users locate AEDs in an emergency.

Says Dr Dana Elliott Srither, the president of First Aid Corp (Singapore): "We want to harness the community's love of their iPhones to save lives. The information provided by them will be given back to society in our free iPhone app AED Nearby, so that cardiac arrest victims will have a greater chance of survival."

The top prize will win an iPhone accessory. Dr Elliott is coy about what it is, but says that it will help iPhone users use their phones for longer. "We have received lots of feedback that iPhone users have to charge their iPhone batteries almost everyday. The prize for the top volunteer will help to solve this problem."

To take part, download the app The Extraordinaries and search for "First Aid Corps" within the app. You then need to follow First Aid Corps to get access to its missions.

To qualify for the prize, you will need to register your name in the app.

Note: An easy way to get points is to start with known locations of AEDs. To find them, download the app AED Nearby. For more information on the contest, check out the First Aid Corp website here.

SDK 3.2 Beta 4 released

Apple has released the latest version of the iPad SDK. According to iPhone Alley, the latest SDK removes the camera tab from the Photos app in the simulator.

As usual, if you have problems dowloading the SDK, do try the different workarounds detailed previously. Note that at least one developer, Hon Cheng, has reported that Method 1 (using https) does not work on MaxOnline anymore. However, he reports being able to download the SDK using Singnet.

Winners of Edit Call Pro

Congrats to the following iMerlion who won themselves a promo code for Edit Call Pro. We will be contacting you shortly with the promo code:

1. Kee Hoon
2. Vincent Ng
3. Incredi-Ben
4. Goh Wee Sen
5. Bondbabe
6. Ken Koay
7. Bozo88
8. Matthew Cheok
9. Leslie Yang
10. Alan Fong

For the rest of you, sorry. You'll need to be faster on the draw. However, we will be having another contest this week so watch out for it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Win a promo code for Edit Call Pro!

One good thing about living in Singapore is that we never have to think of a city code when we call our friends. All our friends live in the same city so we just store the eight numbers that make up their phone number.

It's a good thing, that is, until we are overseas. Then, every Singapore number in our phonebook needs a "+65" prefix for them to be usable. What's worse is that it takes six taps to add the city prefix.

To address this problem, Axion Logic, the developers behind Business Card Case, has developed an app that will allow you to quickly add "+65" or indeed any country and city code in front of existing telephone numbers.

Edit Call Pro (US$0.99) promises to allow you to edit a number in your contact list in just two taps, compared to the six taps using the Contact app. In addition, it also has a search function as well as a database of country and state and city codes to help you add in the appropriate prefixes.

Axion Logic is working with iMerlion to give away 10 promo codes to anyone who is interested snagging a copy of this useful app.

As usual, the promo codes will be given out on a first come, first served basis. All you have to do is email us at spam@imerlion.com (note: replace the word "spam" with "iphone").

Important note: You must have an account with the US iTunes store to redeem the promo code. This is because Apple is still only allowing promo codes to be redeemed in the US store, despite having a redeem option in the Singapore store.

If you don't have an account with the US iTunes Store, but you would like to get one, there are resources online that can help you with that.
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Roll your own live parking data app

Last week, the developer of Park-a-Lot Lite { SG } removed the app's ability to show live data on parking availability after the LTA told them to.

As a result, iPhone users no longer have access to this data because the website that this data comes from uses Flash to encode the information.

If you're an iPhone developer though, there are ways to get around this.

Local developer Melvin Tan has discovered that while the front-end use Flash, it just displays information that is grabbed from another URL. Using this insight, Melvin has created his own iPhone app to display the live parking data.

If you want to make your own live parking data app too, here's what you need to do:

First, you'll have to grab the data itself, which is stored in three different URLs. You can get it from:

http://interactivemap.onemotoring.com.sg/mapapp/images/Parking/Harbfront_pgs
http://interactivemap.onemotoring.com.sg/mapapp/images/Parking/Orchard_pgs
http://interactivemap.onemotoring.com.sg/mapapp/images/Parking/Marina_pgs

Then you need to write some code to display the information.

Says Melvin: "They have left out the file extension (they are jpg images) so that Mobile Safari will not be able to view it. Thus, for the iPhone App, I have to read in the URL as a data object, and feed it into the UIWebView and specify it as MIMEType 'jpeg'."

This is what Melvin did:

NSURL *url = [NSURL URLWithString:@"http://interactivemap.onemotoring.com.sg/mapapp/images/Parking/Orchard_pgs"];
NSData *data = [NSData dataWithContentsOfURL:url];
[webView loadData:data MIMEType:@"image/jpeg" textEncodingName:@"utf-8" baseURL:url];

And this is the result:

Thanks for sharing Melvin. Maybe some kind soul will create a web app for the rest of us.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Winners of Mozart to Infinity promo codes

Congratulations! The following people have won themselves a Mozart to Infinity promo code:

1. Mugunth Kumar
2. Goh Yan Yi
3. Bozo88
4. Chan Li Li
5. Jason Tay
6. Robinson Laws
7. Ken Koay
8. Goh Wee Sen
9. Wong Onn Chee
10. Roy Pwee

We will be contacting you shortly with the promo code. To redeem it, all you have to do is:

1. Go to the US iTunes Store (click on Singapore button at the bottom right of the iTunes window to change stores)
2. At the top right, under Quick Links, click on the Redeem link
3. Input the promo code.

For the rest of you, if you really want a copy of Mozart to Infinity, I suggest you buy it at the App Store. It only costs US$0.99; a small amount that will repay itself very quickly.

And if you want to win promo codes in future, I suggest you follow iMerlion on Twitter. Once any content is updated on the site, whether it is news or a promo, it is tweeted so the people who follow iMerlion will be the first to know about it.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

First round of iPad international roll-out will skip Singapore

As with the iPhone, the international rollout of the iPad will be done in phases, starting in late April. Nine countries outside the US will get the iPad in that round, and not surprisingly, Singapore is not on that list.

Instead, the iPad will go on sale in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Both iPad models, with Wi-Fi only, and with Wi-Fi and 3G, will be released at the same time.

The iPad will be rolled out to other countries "later this year", according to an Apple press release. International pricing has not been revealed.

In the US, Apple's Wi-Fi only iPad will be available on April 3 while the Wi-Fi plus 3G version will be available in late April.
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Live parking data pulled because of LTA, says developer

The developer of Park-a-Lot Lite { SG } confirms that it was the Land Transport Authority that asked for the live data on parking availability be pulled from their app.

In a response to a query from iMerlion, they write: "Yes, LTA informed us that the licensing of the "live" parking availability info at OneMotoring website is not finalised yet, so we are disallowed to display it in our app.

"We apologise for the removal of this feature from Park-a-Lot Lite { SG }."

It seems odd that the LTA has a problem with live data on parking slots but not with other data which can  also found on the OneMotoring website, such as parking rates. Perhaps the issue lies with the supplier of the data of the Parking Guidance System.

NiiDees, the developer of Park-a-lot Lite { SG }, removed their app's ability to display live data of parking lot availability a few days ago. This data is scraped from three separate pages on the OneMotoring website.

With the withdrawal of this feature, there is now no way for iPhone users to access the LTA's Parking Guidance System as the data on the three pages are currently encoded using Adobe's Flash.
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Local developer creates new music app, gives away promo codes

Rock me (to sleep) Amadeus.

CHORDiCA developer Joash Chee has just released a new app which plays piano pieces in the style of Mozart. Entitled Mozart to Infinity, this app is aimed at, amongst others, pregnant women who want classical music to stimulate their babies in utero. The theory is that playing classical music helps with brain development.

In developing this app, Joash was inspired by one specific pregnant woman, his wife Kris. That's right. Joash and Kris are going to be parents. And not just ordinary parents, but parents of twins. Congrats!

According to Joash, the idea for Mozart to Infinity came from Kris. "In the course of our antenatal programme at the hospital, we see several people extol the virtues of playing classical music to the babies even while in the womb and my wife asked me to 'do something about it'. So I did."

Joash says that he is probably going to start creating more apps aimed at parents and parents-to-be as a result of this impeding life change (we suggest you get these apps out of the way before the twins arrive Joash).

To celebrate the happy event, Joash has decided to give away 10 promo codes via iMerlion. It's a great opportunity to snag a copy of Mozart to Infinity and save yourself US$0.99. This app isn't just for pregnant woman either. It is also good as white noise if you need music in the background to work.

As usual, the promo codes will be given out on a first come, first served basis. All you have to do is email us at spam@imerlion.com (note: replace the word "spam" with "iphone").

Important note: You must have an account with the US iTunes store to redeem the promo code. This is because Apple is still only allowing promo codes to be redeemed in the US store, despite having a redeem option in the Singapore store.

If you don't have an account with the US iTunes Store, but you would like to get one, there are resources online that can help you with that.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

App removes parking lot availability data

No data for you! 

Citing a problem with licensing, the developer of Park-a-Lot Lite { SG } has removed information about live parking lot availability from its free app.

In an email to users yesterday, developer NiiDees wrote: "Due to licensing issue, we regret to inform you that the 'live' parking availability info feature is no longer available."

The email did not go into details about the problem.

The app shows a blank page when users now tap on the 'Availability' button on the tab bar.


What it looked like before

The email from NiiDees asked users to download a new version of the app, one which does not have the 'Availability' button.

Park-a-Lot Lite { SG } was the only app that offered data about parking lot availability. With the removal of this feature, iPhone users no longer have a way to find out which parking lots have space available. This is because the data, which comes from OneMotoring's Parking Guidance System pages, is delivered using Adobe's Flash technology. OneMotoring has three separate pages, for lots in Marina, Harbourfront and Orchard.

We have contacted the developer for information and will update this story when we know more.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The great soft porn massacre of 2010 claims Singapore victims

Apple's recent culling of soft porn apps has claimed at least two locally focussed apps, Singapore Girls and SG Girls -- Cute Photos.

These two apps, which featured photos of local women, are no longer available for download.

The great soft porn massacre also removed a number of apps that were regulars on the list of top 100 popular apps. These included such luminaries as Sexy Asian Girls and Asian Boobs.

Ong Junda, the developer behind SG Girls, has mixed feelings about this whole episode. "Coincidentally, few days before the ban, I released an app and it was placed far behind in the recent apps list," he says. "I ranted that the App Store is getting too crowded and these sexual apps were one of the causes. They are spamming the App Store with multiple apps of the same stuff, and I was irritated. So, I am happy that they are improving the quality."

However Junda feels that it was unjustified of Apple to pull SG Girls as it wasn't particularly explicit. He notes: "It was only rated 13+ :)"

The removal of sex-related apps is not something that the Singapore iPhone user is taking lying down though. He, and we're betting it's largely men who are fueling this, has found alternatives. Apps such as 69 Positions Lite and Adult Sex Trick are now nestled comfortably in the list of top 100 free apps. In fact, Sex Positions Game  is currently number six in the Singapore store.

(Note: Title has been changed to correct year of massacre.)
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Did video kill the Laylio star?

Internet radio app Laylio has once again disappeared from the Singapore app store. I hope you managed to snag your copy before it vanished into the ether.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Laylio what's new? App back in the app store

Popular local radio app Laylio, which mysteriously disappeared from the app store some weeks ago, is back. During its absence, desperate radio listeners had to download its less elegant rival, MediaCorp Radio Stations instead. We don't know who or what killed the radio star but we're glad it has returned.

Monday, March 1, 2010

NTU falls behind NUS in iPhone arms race

NTU may be short for Nanyang Technological University but it is the university's long-time rival, the National University of Singapore, that is streaking ahead technologically, at least in terms of iPhone apps.

Currently, NUS has not one but two iPhone apps dedicated to the university. The latest, called NUSguide, has a handy guide to the internal bus schedules and also gives users the ability to look for lecture theatres, eating establishments and facilities around campus.

NUSguide is the second guide to NUS, the first being an app called NaviNUS. As a result, NUS undergraduates are practically swimming in iPhone apps.

In stark contrast, the humble NTU undergrad has no iPhone app to rely on. This is despite the fact that NTU's campus appears to be about four times larger than NUS. One would imagine that there is a much greater need for a map of NTU than one for NUS.

There are a few possible reasons for NUS leadership in this area:

1. NUS undergraduates are more creative and enterprising than NTU undergrads.
2. NUS undergraduates have too much free time.
3. NTU undergraduates are overworked and have no time to waste on iPhone apps that don't bring in any money.
4. NTU undergraduates are so smart they don't need no stinkin' maps.

I don't know what the real reason is. What I do know is that visitors to NTU (including yours truly) desperately need a better map of the campus. Get with the programme NTU!