Traveling with Pizza Compass for iPhone

pizzacompassappThere are seventy-four pizza chains in the US. That’s not individual stores, just franchises. And, I suspect, that number is nothing compared to all of the mom-and-pop shops across the country. So it should be easy to find a slice when you’re out of town, right?

Well, not always. Not a good one at least. That’s a problem that Pizza Compass for iPhone ($0.99) exists to solve. Just launch the app and it finds the nearest pizza place and points you to it.

Hold on. Pizza Compass won’t subject you the dump that the locals avoid. You can check each suggestion for Forsquare reviews. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, give the compass a spin at let it pick a stop for you.

I was recently out of town and hungry, so I decided to give Pizza Compass a try. Here’s how it went.

After a few hours of driving around, I had that hunger that only artery-clogging, life-shortening cheese and grease would satisfy. I pulled the car over and launched Pizza Compass, which pointed me towards Upper Crust Pizza. The reviews seemed largely positive, except for Cozzie D.’s stern warning:

“If you don’t like black olives, I recommend not getting the Greek salad.”

Done and done, Cozzie D.

Armed with the details of 44 Foursquare reviews and app-supplied driving directions, I drove to Upper Crust Pizza, despite the hoity-toity name.

It looked nice enough and the staff was friendly. I placed an order.

ucp

As you know, any disgusting pizza can be masked with toppings. In fact, if you ever see a cheese-stuffed crust…that’s an apology. That’s the cook saying, “Our pizza sucks. We know it. As an apology, we’ve crammed the crust with cheese.” Avoid those places.

I ordered a small cheese and sat down. As I waited, I shot this compelling Vine video.

At last it arrived! I lifted the glistening, greasy cardboard lid to reveal the cheesy goodness within!

cheese

Partial foul for that glob of migratory cheese on the left, but that was my only complaint! I’m happy to say that Pizza Compass did steer me in the right direction. Well done, little app. You’ve earned a spot in my travel folder.

The iPhone Traveler Pt. 10: Shoot and edit vacation video with an iPhone

imoviescrnshot

I use Apple’s own camera app, simply called Camera, for shooting video with my iPhone. It does everything I want and is easily accessible from the iPhone’s lock screen (via iOS 5.x). Here’s what I love about shooting video with Camera.

First, it shoots HD video (720p on the iPhone 4, 1080p on the iPhone 4S and 5). Image stabilization goes a long way towards reducing the shakiness of hand-held shots and cropping lets me to perform minor edits before sharing with iMovie on my Mac or iPhone. To shoot some video with the Camera app, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Camera to launch it.
  2. Move the slider in the lower right-hand corner to select video (slide it to the right).
  3. The “shutter button” in the center acquires a red status indicator light. Frame your shot and tap the shutter button to begin recording video.
  4. The red button blinks during recording and a time stamp appears in the upper right-hand corner.
  5. When you’re finished, tap the shutter button again. The red light stops blinking and the video file “jumps” into the camera roll.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind while shooting video with your iPhone. First, It’s almost always better to shoot in landscape orientation (iPhone on its side) than portrait. The main reason is the aspect ratio will look much better on your TV, as you’ll be able to avoid large “black bars” on either side of your video.

You can record video with either the forward-facing camera or the rear-facing camera. You cannot switch while you’re shooting, so make your choice before you begin. Also, there’s no way to zoom in or out while recording, so frame the shot you want first.

Apple has added a nice feature by letting you use the volume up button as the shutter button. Hold your camera on the landscape orientation so that the volume buttons are on top. Tap the volume up button to begin recording (it resembles a “+”) and again to stop. This is feels much more natural than reaching for the software shutter button on your iPhone’s screen. Lastly, you can view your video quickly by simply swiping to the right. The Camera app will slide away and you’ll go right to the camera roll. That’s much easier than exiting Camera and tapping Photos.

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DODOnotes giveaway

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I have been a DODOcase customer since the original iPad was released in the US. I love these great-looking, high-quality cases. In fact, my first DODOcase actually saved my iPad’s life. 1 If you read the site, you know that I also love paper. That’s why I think DODOcase’s latest product, DODOnotes, is so cool.

It combines a gorgeous case with a handy, nice-looking notebook of Mohawk Superfine Paper. I have one and can tell you that it’s quite nice.

I also have one for you.

It’s a black model, made for an iPhone 5, with the notebook included. I’m sure you’re going to love it. To enter the giveaway contest, complete the form below. Here are the rules:

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
  • The entry must be made before June 6, 2013 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected and will receive a black DODOnotes case and notebook for the iPhone 5 valued at US$13.95.

  1. Note that the DODOcase is not an impact case. A healthy dose of luck was also in play here.

Evernote as all-around travel companion

hawaiiiphoneevernote

I realize it’s de rigeur to squawk about how taking photos of important or memorable things is the kind of thing an idiot does instead of “taking in the moment” or “actually being present,” but I’m a pretty firm believer in taking photos of cool things I see and experience when traveling. Perhaps that makes me a philistine, but whatever.

It won’t surprise those who know me to find out that the vast majority of my spiffy travel memories begin their lives in Evernote. Truthfully, most of them never leave.

Sure, Evernote lends itself nicely to organizing travel-related documents—flight and hotel confirmations and the like—and it’s hard to argue that having all such minutiae tucked away inside your smart phone does help one breathe a little easier when trying to herd cats travel with small children.

But the memory capture thing is, if you ask me, a far more compelling Evernote use case for itinerant iPhone operators. If you’ll allow me to present my case…

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Travel iPhoneography: Big Sur, California

bigsur_hill

Jim Hill shares this great photo, shot in Big Sur, California. Taken with an iPhone 4.

Today is Memorial Day in the States and I’m taking the day off to visit a National Park. Where ever you are, get outside and enjoy just a little bit of this planet we call home.

Travel iPhoneography is a weekly series of photos of our beautiful world, taken with an iPhone. If you have one you’d like to share, let me know at [comments at 52tiger dot net]. I’d love to feature it.

Why must you turn your iPhone off during takeoff?

boarding

Many people don’t understand why they’re asked to disable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. So why do you have to turn your iPhone off? I got an answer from an airline pilot I happen to know:

“Some older aircraft do have extremely old school radios. Some do not even have GPS. So the FAA has decided two things:

  1. Since it is too contradictory for passengers and flight attendants to discriminate what aircraft they are on, and what should be the corresponding announcement, the same one is used for all aircraft.
  2. The FAA can not take time to test every new device as it’s released. In fact, such testing falls to near the bottom of its priority/to-do list.”

There you have it.

Photo Credit: Sprengben [why not get a friend] via Compfight cc

More travel tips from the flight deck

IMG_0054Earlier this month my sister the airline pilot shared a list of iPad and iPod touch apps she uses at work, as well as several apps she recommends for travelers. Today she’s back with another post. This time is general tips for those traveling by plane. There’s some good stuff in here, so dig in.

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Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned during my years of flying. I hope you’ll find something useful!

  • If an overhead bag fits perpendicular to the airplane and baggage overhead bin, place it with wheels out. It will fit in deeper. Throw your coat on top of that bag if you can, giving others room.
  • Prepare a small bag to be kept under the seat for things you may need during the flight. It might include electronic devices, chargers (most seats have outlets), any medicine, travel docs (passport, etc.), wallet (you may want to buy inboard food or order Direct TV), packed sandwich or snacks (bananas, apples, granola bars) and your own water bottle, purchased once inside security. Also consider bringing your own headset if you want to watch TV without using the painful coach headsets, a neck pillow and something light to throw over yourself in case it is chilly.
  • It seems easiest to pack your Zip Lock bag of liquids into the aforementioned small bag, so only one bag has to be opened at security. This also prevents those things from getting crushed in the larger bag.
  • Taking the first flight out is ideal since MOST airplanes have been at the airport overnight and there is LESS of a chance that delays related to late inbound aircraft for an outbound flight. You’ll also have LESS of a chance of other flights getting canceled and rebooked on a morning flight, smaller security lines, less amount of terminal crowds, and LESS weather effects as the weathers trend toward calm in the A.M.
  • While enroute, look at the airline magazine in the seat back pocket. They contain airport diagrams for major airports. This helps give you an idea where you’ll be when you get off the airplane. It helps you anticipate where to exit for pickup (arrivals is typically on the baggage claim level) and where to transfer to your next departure gate when connecting. Feel free to ring the overhead to call a flight attendant and ask for gate arrival number. The crew typically knows the gate assignment 30 minutes prior to landing.
  • Ear plugs and eye masks/sunglasses are great for sleeping.
  • Window seats good for sleeping.
  • Choose a seat near the wing if your body does not like to fly and you have tendency to air sickness.
  • Choose a seat near the front of coach, near an exit door or in economy plus/business/first class for quick exit on and off.
  • If on a 50-seat regional jet, choose the single first three seats to attempt personal space on a smaller aircraft.
  • Step into your seat and let passengers pass until you see a break in the boarding passengers to step out and find an overhead bag spot. Seating in the front of coach aids in getting first dibs on overhead space, so you never have to search. Some airlines board by zones…look for zone one first for the same bags reason.