Didn't make it to this Saturday's PPUG meeting in Philadelphia? No worries, here's a quick wrap-up of some of my new favorite software and hardware that I covered:
Words With Friends - John Mayer called this networked Scrabble clone "the new Twitter" and 1.6 million active daily users (who average an hour of play daily) would probably agree. While it has nothing to do with Twitter per se, the excellent iOS game is addictive, compelling and challenging. You can play up to 20 simultaneous games with friends or random opponents and my favorite feature is its turn-based gameplay which allows you to play at your own pace. There's no clock ticking on your game and push notifications inform you when its your turn to play. WWF also includes a "pass and play" mode so that two people can play on the same device. If you're looking for a game, I've got a few slots left under my "PowerPage" handle. Free and $2.99 for ad-free.
Microsoft Office 2011 - This upgrade to the definite Mac office suite is faster, includes cloud integration (with SkyDrive, SharePoint, and Office.com) and has cool new features like co-authoring (live collaboration on the same Word or PowerPoint document), dynamic reordering and photo editing throughout the suite. $119 for the Home and Student edition or $199 for the Business edition with Outlook. If you purchased Office 2008 for Mac between Aug. 1 and Nov. 30, 2010, you're eligible to download Office 2011 for Mac for free.
QuickBooks Mac 2011 - If you're an independent contractor, freelancer or are otherwise self-employed accounting is a fact of life and a necessary evil. At least that's how I look at it. QuickBooks is the defacto standard bookkeeping/accounting application on the Mac and Intuit has released a new version for 2011. QuickBooks continues to be the best way to create invoices, pay bills, and manage expenses on the Mac. It includes over 100 reports and a new multi-user option and mileage tracking tool in the new version. $229 new or $199 upgrade.
Kensington PowerGuard Battery - When I'm traveling I always tuck an extra iPhone battery into my bag for safe keeping. I don't always need it, but about 20 percent of the time it gives my iPhone the extra boost of power it needs to make it through a long day. Kensington's PowerGuard adds 4 hours of talk time to iPhone 4 via its 1200 mAh battery but its not a one-trick pony. The PowerGuard also features a Micro USB charge and sync port (which beats those pricy dock cables), LED battery fuel gauge, volume control button and a unique two-position card stand that allows you to prop up the iPhone for FaceTime calls and video watching. The PowerGuard costs $59.99 and comes in three soft touch finish colors: black, white and blue.
Garmin nüvi 3790T - The iPhone has made an incredible impact on the automotive GPS receiver market, forcing vendors like Garmin to innovate faster and the nüvi 3790T ($399) is a perfect example of this trend. This new automotive PND is the world's thinnest at only 8.7mm and features nüRoute technology with trafficTrends and myTrends, voice-activated navigation, 3-D building and terrain view, lane assist with junction view, hands-free calling compatibility and subscription-free traffic alerts. After its super-simple profile the next thing that you'll notice is its glass capacitive touchscreen which recognizes 10 multi-touch commands.
Thanks to everyone that attended Saturday's PPUG meeting and I look forward to seeing you at our February 2011 meeting shortly after Macworld Expo.