Best Bot Yet

In its short history, Tapbots has released two incredibly well-designed utilities for the iPhone: Weightbot & Convertbot. Last night they launched their third – and in my opinion, it’s the best bot yet.

Pastebot is the ultimate clipboard manager for the iPhone or iPod touch. I’ve been lucky enough to use this app for a few months. When I first started using it I described it as “an app I didn’t know I needed, but can’t imagine not having it“.

It’s beautifully designed. It’s incredibly easy to use: simply copy an image or text string within any iPhone app, then launch Pastebot and – bickety bam! – it’s stored to Pastebot’s clipboard. Once you’re in the app, you can easily toggle between multiple clips. If you’re a neat freak, you can easily setup a series of folders. If you use Tapbots to store images, you’ll be able to crop and apply color effects to stored images.

I could go on and show you lots of screenshots and walk you through all of the apps features, but I won’t. Instead, I encourage you to visit http://tapbots.com/pastebot/ to learn more, or hop on over to iTunes and grab a copy. (It’s only $1.99 for now. The price will go up to $2.99 after the initial launch.) Oh, and did I mention it’ll sync to your Mac?

Want to win a copy of Pastebot?

In the comments below, tell me what you might use Pastebot for. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow – 12/16/09. Leave a comment before 12/16/09 at 9:00am EST to be included in the drawing.

Amazon takes on Apple with DRM-Free Music

Amazon takes on Apple with DRM-free music.

I’ve used iTunes since it was first released in 2001. When music was first sold via iTunes, I bought into the idea right away and stopped buying CDs altogether. I didn’t care about DRM and I didn’t care about bit-rates. When they started selling TV shows, I didn’t hesitate to buy shows like Heroes, Lost, South Park and Lil’ Bush. When they started selling iTunes Plus tracks, I bought those too. The idea of paying a little more for better quality, unprotected music made sense to me.

Then Amazon started offering DRM-free tracks, and they started offering them for less than copy-protected, lower-quality tracks on iTunes were selling for. Initially, I resisted. I told myself that nothing could work as well as iTunes. But then I tried AmazonMP3. Yeah, there’s a couple of extra steps involved in buying and downloading a track, but it’s worth the extra quality and cost savings.

I haven’t bought from iTunes since.┬áIt’s still my player of choice, and I still get TV shows from it fairly often, but now that there’s a viable alternative for buying music, I’m not sure I can go back.

Sync Google Calendar with iPod

If you use Outlook 2007, Google Calendar and iTunes and own an iPod – this tip might be helpful to the two of you. It’s not really anything new… but I didn’t think Outlook would share calendars that it’s subscribed to… Fortunately, it does.

  1. In Google Calendar go to Settings > Calendars. Choose a Calendar from those available to you. This will bring you to a Calendar Details screen.
  2. At the very bottom, you’ll see options for Public and Private Addresses for calendars. Right-click on the iCal button and copy the link location.
  3. Paste the link location into your browser’s address bar.
  4. Replace http:// with webcal://
  5. Hit enter.
  6. This should bring you into Outlook 2007 where you can subscribe to your Google Calendar.
  7. Your Google Calendar should now be available in Outlook!
  8. Open iTunes and plug your iPod into your computer.
  9. If your iPod supports it, your iPod settings will have a Contacts tab available to you.
  10. Under Calendar, select Sync calendars from Microsoft Outlook. If you don’t use Outlook’s calendar – choose ‘Selected calendars:’ and choose your Google Calendar(s) from the list.
  11. Hit apply… now every time you sync your iPod, you’ll pull down your calendars as well!

This tip would probably work similarly on the Mac by using Apple’s iCal app.

  • UPDATE: If you’re looking for a solution to sync Google Calendar with Outlook 2003, there’s an app called gSyncit you might be interested in… More info here.
  • UPDATE: Google released Google Calendar Sync which will allow for bi-directional syncing between Outlook and Google Calendar and it’s not as crappy as this solution is. While it would be preferred if you could simply sync directly with Google Calendar via iTunes (much like you can do with Google Contacts)… it’s still not a feature that Apple’s made available. One can only wish it’ll be included at some point in the future.