You may have noticed I didn’t post as much last week as usual. It’s not because I’ve been traveling overseas or that I’ve been sick. No, I’m in love…
With an iPhone.
Yes, my wife knows. She’s been very understanding, even when I take my new device to bed with me (ostensibly for “doing work”). She even looks the other way when I coo sweet nothings into the microphone for Siri, the iPhone 4S’s sexy female digital assistant, to schedule reminders, set up meetings and search the Internet (“Siri, show me a picture of a gecko” – yes, it really works!)
Like any good gecko…er geek, I’ve filled my new iPhone with the latest and greatest apps, including quite a few Israeli-made products. If I want to figure out how to get somewhere by bus in Jerusalem, there’s JeruBus. If my travels are farther afield, the “Bus Line” app brings me the whole country (although the functionality is pretty funky – you search for a route number and it gives you all bus lines in the country matching that number – i.e., the 14 bus in Jerusalem, Safed, Ashdod and Beit Shemesh…not all that helpful).
I’ve installed both Fring and Viber to make phone calling cheaper, and Israel365 to deliver a daily dose of inspiring Israeli photos. I found a local dog sitter on Janglo’s mobile app, and Haaretz is the place I go first for news about Israel, since they are the only one of the big English-language news sites to have an app (visiting a news website on your smart phone is so 2008).
My favorite app, though, is not Israeli at all, but has great value add for us Middle Easterners. It’s called Tune In Radio and it lets you stream just about every station that’s on the Internet. This includes web-only broadcasters like Israel’s Radio Free Nachlaot and Rusty Mike, but also terrestrial radio stations that have an Internet stream.
The coolest part is the “local radio” tab, which uses your location to find all stations near you. It accurately located every Israeli stream (from Galgalatz to the student station from the IDC in Herzeliya) as well as a few Arabic-language surprises like talk radio station Radio Sawa and Radio Bethlehem.
Like the “Israel loves Iran” campaign that’s tearing up Facebook, Tune In Radio is doing its small part to go beyond the conflict. It may not bring peace now, but the app has managed to get the bickering parties onto the same (app) page.