Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category


Is Twitter broken?

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Hacks, false information have some questioning Twitter’s resolve

Twitter, the increasingly popular micro-blogging service, has come under quite a bit of criticism in the past few weeks. Users of the platform, which describes itself as an “information-sharing network” are struggling with what to do about false information being spread around.

It may not sound like a big deal for individual users to let a white lie slip about some status update. But during the past few weeks there have been some more concerning examples of misinformation spreading across the social forum.

For example, Twitter users (as well as those on other popular sites such as were quick to identify certain individuals as possible culprits of the Boston Marathon bombings days after the attacks, including a Brown University student who had been missing and was later found dead with no connection to the Boston incident. Rumors about whether suspects had been captured or arrested streamed through Twitter users’ timelines as breaking news unfolded after the attacks, some of it true and some not.

After the commotion of the marathon incident seemed to have settled down a week later, another black eye for Twitter popped up when the Associated Press’s Twitter account was hacked, and perpetrators sent out fabricated updates from the venerable news agency’s Twitter feed reporting that the White House had been attacked and President Obama injured.

With such misinformation spewing out from the firehose that is Twitter, it begs the question: Is Twitter broken?

Twitter may have answered that question somewhat. The company is reportedly looking into adding a two-factor authentication system to the free service, according to Wired Magazine, which security experts say would make it harder for hackers to gain access to Twitter accounts, and could have possibly prevented the AP’s incident.

“It’s a great idea,” to implement two-factor authentication, says Scott Behrens, an application security expert at security consultancy Neohapsis Labs. The administrative and technical challenges of rolling out a two-factor system will likely be some hurdles to implementing a system, he says because Twitter integrates with so many other services, apps and web sites.

Despite some developers of third-party Twitter apps being upset by recent changes to “clamp down” on Twitter APIs, Behrens says those changes could actually make it easier to ensure third-party apps are playing by Twitter’s rules, including the potential roll-out of a two-factor system.

Two-factor authentication seems like a natural fit for the company though, especially in light of the recent incidents such as high-profile accounts like the AP being hacked. Others like the Burger King and Major League Baseball accounts have also been victims of hackings.

Two-factor systems, such as the ones sold from vendors like Symantec, RSA and others, usually require both a password that a user knows and some randomly-generated code that is supplied to them, and are an industry-accepted best practice security technique. Google already has an optional two-factor system, but Behrens says there’s a careful line. “Usability is the biggest question,” Behrens said; Twitter still wants to keep it easy for Tweeters to use – especially non-technical savvy ones, which is why he believes an opt-in approach would likely be best. Behrens wonders if Facebook and LinkedIn follow in Twitter and Google’s footsteps in exploring two-factor authentication?

Implementing two-factor authentication will not solve all of the problems that have cropped up around Twitter in recent weeks though. It may help prevent the AP’s account from being hacked, but it would do nothing to prevent false rumors from spreading like wildfire.
Wired reporter Mat Honan offers a solution in a recent article, noting that he regrettably tweeted incorrect information linking Brown University missing student Sunil Tripathi to the Boston Marathon bombings. When Honan tweeted it out, some number of people retweeted it, sharing it with their followers; some number of their followers may have retweeted it as well. Even if Honan had issued some corrective alert to his followers that the tweet was incorrect, it would not guarantee that everyone else down that chain of retweets would see it as well.

Honan, therefore, proposes a way to mark tweets as having knowingly false information, or showing them having been edited. Twitter does allow the ability to delete Tweets, which also deletes the post from any users who have retweeted it, but there is no post-facto editing of Tweets currently. Others have proposed some sort of upvoting and downvoting system, a common feature of many social media sharing sites like Reddit.

Paul Gillen, a social media expert in the Boston area, says all of these issues amount to “growing pains” for Twitter as a platform. Twitter is being used in ways that its creator Jack Dorsey likely did not originally envision when he created it in 2006. Gillen is optimistic that between steps Twitter will take, such as implementing two-factor authentication, and by the general Twitter user base learning who to trust and who not to, that the platform will improve. He cautions against throwing out crowd-sources platform altogether though. Wikipedia, for example, after last month’s bombings very quickly compiled a well-sourced posting on the incident. “Don’t dismiss tools because of some bad experiences,” he says.



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First look at Firefox 11 browser

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No earth-shaking changes, but Mozilla’s minor Firefox upgrades could add up

Firefox 11 packs multiple new features
The latest incarnation of Mozilla’s Firefox browser introduces a host of evolutionary upgrades, though it’s relatively light on truly groundbreaking improvements. Nevertheless, there are some key features in Firefox 11 that could help it retake the number two spot in the market from Google Chrome.

Syncing up
Firefox has long advertised its wide variety of available add-ons. Now, the browser’s new Sync feature allows an increasingly mobile user base to synchronize these added features across both the desktop and smartphone versions of the product.

Chrome browser import
In one of several new features apparently aimed at undercutting Chrome’s perceived advantages, Firefox 11 provides users with the option of importing cookies, bookmarks and history data from the Google browser.

Getting SPDY
Google’s web transport protocol, known as SPDY, can now be used in Firefox 11. While it’s not enabled by default, the system can offer dramatically increased browsing performance.

Mozilla has improved support for the new web content standard in Firefox 11, updating its media controls for HTML5 video, supporting the outerHTML property on HTML elements and incorporating a new HTML5 parser for source syntax highlighting.

Under the hood
Additional tools for web developers are also a part of Firefox 11. The “Tilt” 3D visualization add-on and a free-form style sheet editor provide new possibilities.

HTML parsing support for XML requests
The addition of the option to parse HTML information using the XMLhttpRequest offers new flexibility for web application designers.
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More than just sexy phones: how Nokia will help sell Windows Phone 7

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Unlike, oh, to pick a random example, Apple, Microsoft has only a very limited retail presence. The company has opened a handful of (high-quality and actually rather pleasant) Microsoft stores in the US, but has little direct consumer reach beyond that. For the most part, it sells its Xboxes and shrinkwrap software on the shelves of other companies’ stores, with the burden of in-store promotion left up to the reseller.


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For smartphones, the most important of these resellers are the mobile operators themselves. Particularly in those markets such as the US and UK, where subsidized handsets are the norm, most buyers will never look beyond the shelves of their mobile network’s local store. If a smartphone isn’t promoted in the store, it will struggle to sell well. If the sales staff in the store guide customers away from a particular kind of phone, it’ll do even worse.

Microsoft has relatively weak relationships with the carriers. The carriers don’t buy product from Microsoft. They may be selling Windows Phone devices, but those are all sourced from Samsung, HTC, and LG. That’s where the strongest relationship is.

Nokia, however, has very strong carrier relationships. The company sells hundreds of millions of phones a year, and has fostered close working relationships with network operators around the globe (with the exception of the US).

Microsoft is looking to its partnership with Nokia to solve these marketing problems. And at Nokia World this week, the Finnish company did more than just reveal its good-looking handsets: it kicked off a huge marketing campaign, demonstrating the reach it has that Microsoft lacks.

Nokia’s plan is for its Lumia handsets, and Windows Phone, to be unmissable. Advertisements will inundate the Web, TV, and cinema. The TV and cinema ads are big, bouncy, and brightly colored. Their tagline is “The Amazing Everyday”: using your phone should be fun, easy, and exciting, making every day “amazing.”
Nokia’s TV advertisement

Though it’s varied from market to market, Windows Phone hasn’t really received this kind of saturation marketing before. In the UK, for example, TV spots have been few and far between, and most or all of them came from Microsoft, as part of its “Really?” campaign. In the US, there have been more advertisements from carriers—AT&T, for example, ran plenty of Windows Phone adverts in holiday season last year—but nothing as in-your-face as the Nokia campaign.

In-store promotion is also critical. Microsoft and Nokia need Windows Phones to be highly visible in carrier stores, and they need sales staff to push the handsets, just as they already do for iPhones and Android devices. To that end, Nokia says that it has put more phones into retailers’ hands than ever before, to make sure that the staff knows the devices and like the devices. The company has also demonstrated the in-store concessions that stores will use to promote the Lumia handsets. Importantly, they feature real devices rather than (infuriating and pointless) dummy units, as well as large interactive, touchscreen displays for learning more about the phones.
Real working handsets, instead of the infuriating dummy phones that serve only to enrage putative customers
Enter the vortex

High-profile retailer locations will include big vortexy things in the windows to draw attention from passers by. Outside stores, Nokia will also be installing large arch installations into certain high-end malls to promote the phones.

Nokia says that retailers are backing the devices in a way not previously seen before, with more store space dedicated to the devices and greater levels of staff training. The company also says that carriers and retailers are making three times the level of marketing investment than they have made for prior devices.
Phones, headphones, and a touchscreen computer thingy to learn all about them
Nokia has teamed up with Monster to produce audio accessories that are gloriously colorful

On top of these conventional marketing efforts, Nokia will also be promoting a range of stunts to generate buzz and make people take notice. These include putting fake saunas in bus shelters, performing DJ sets on the street, and dressing people as live tiles. Live tiles are a major part of what makes Windows Phone a little different from its competitors, and accordingly, Nokia is making them central to the branding of its campaign. The company wants to “fill the world with tiles,” so consumers in the six Lumia launch countries—UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Spain—should expect to see a lot of squares.

The massive increase in in-store promotion will give Microsoft something it didn’t really have prior to the Nokia partnership. Though LG, Samsung, and HTC all made Windows Phone hardware, none of them were fully committed to the platform; for them, it was just one among many. Nokia has put all its eggs in the Windows Phone basket, so is making a much greater effort to promote the platform and devices. The result should be far greater visibility for Windows Phone.

Perhaps the only gap in the promotion and branding is the lack of Nokia and Microsoft stores. Nokia had its own retail presence, with Nokia stores in select areas, but with the exception of a handful of locations in airports, these have been closed down over the past year, and Microsoft’s stores, which already leverage the tile branding to some extent, are only found in the US. In closing its retail properties, Nokia even took the (frankly astonishing) decision to terminate its online store. As a result, the two companies are always going to be heavily dependent on carriers and resellers doing the right thing to promote the phones.


Microsoft, Google and Twitter debate whether HTML5 is “Holy Grail”

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No less than Web creator Tim Berners-Lee has argued that the app store model is fracturing the Internet and that developers should write programs for browsers instead.

But USENIX panelists said it’s all about cash. For better or worse, the app store model is favored by developers because it lets them make money.


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The app store model does have problems. Apps don’t necessarily work across Android, Apple’s iOS and other platforms, and when you switch from one device to another you have to re-download applications and hope they work the same as they did before.

Whether to build for the app store or the Web was called “the mother of all questions” by Chanezon. On the non-mobile side, Chanezon pitched the Chrome Web Store as a platform for monetizing applications that run in browsers.

Right now, at least, native applications on mobile devices are better than websites from both a technology and economics standpoint, Ying said.

“What’s wrong with browsers today is they are not specifically optimized for building those application experiences that you see in a mobile device,” Ying said. Those limitations can be hidden on the desktop because of its processing power, but become apparent on phones and tablets.

“On an iPad or iPhone or Android device you really need to think about your abstractions, touch responsiveness, animation speed, all those things matter. Abstractions matter on a mobile device,” Ying said.

Panelists and audience members discussed how the technology world has shifted back and forth between a Web model and a client-server model, with the Web model actually resembling the 1960s mainframe environment in which logic is built on the server side and clients don’t have to do much work.

The rise of Web applications that look more like native apps and require a powerful Web client is in a way a return to the client-server architecture, Google’s Chanezon said.

Microsoft’s Meijer, of course, told Chanezon that “I’m really happy you’re going back to the client-server architecture.”

“Having these Web applications was always a bad idea,” Meijer said. “It’s crazy to generate your UI on the server side and project it onto the client. That’s not how things work. When it comes to technology I am really conservative and like to have simple things.”

Even Google, whose executives proclaim a “100% Web” future, is conflicted internally on what technologies will bring that future into being.

Chanezon noted that the recent Google I/O conference saw his company pitching a future based on Android one day, and Chrome the next.

“I think the jury is still out on which version will win, and frankly I don’t know,” Chanezon said, with Maximilien concluding: “So even at Google, the house is divided.”


8 Twitter Facts You May Not Know

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Think you know Twitter? These little tidbits may redefine the way you regard the micro-blogging service.

Twitter Doesn’t Want to Kill All Third-Party Services
This is one bit of news I’ll take with a grain of salt, but according to Twitter’s CEO, Twitter would prefer that all those services accessing Twitter’s APIs move into what they call “value-added services.” In other words, stay out of Twitter client building because Twitter has that covered.


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Twitter Will Build out More Services
Twitter just introduced a photo-sharing service, which puts competitive services on notice. Twitter’s Costolo readily acknowledges that much of what Twitter will develop will overlap with services from third-party products. Sorry, does that obviate our previous “fact?”

Twitter is a Successful Business
I love Twitter, but have always known that unless it becomes a real money-making business, it cannot survive. I guess I can stop worrying. At the D9 conference, Costolo actually characterized Twitter as a “very” successful business. “Over 80 percent of advertisers who have advertised on Twitter come back and advertise on Twitter,” said Costolo. That’s a great percentage, but perhaps more importantly, the reported “engagement rate” is 52 percent, which Costolo said is orders of magnitude greater than traditional advertising. Costolo did not share actually revenue numbers. For now, I guess we’ll have to take him on his word MCITP Training.


My Fav Free Forensic Analysis Tools

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I was talking about colleges with my son the other day to see what he is interested in for a possible major. I was hoping and praying he wouldn’t say English since my guidance there would be like trying to divide by zero or philosophy because that meant he’d be living here until his late 30’s. He told me he was interested in being a detective. Well! I must say my ears perked right up! I have always thought the two best careers in IT are forensics and data center. But no…he wants to be a actual detective…like you know the ones that carry a badge and stuff. I’m not sure were that even came from to be honest. He doesn’t watch detective shows or read detective novels. Heck the closest I was to ever being a detective was looking for my pants and wondering why I was wearing moose antler horns and a eye patch after a blackout. Well I guess it could been worse. He could have wanted to go to Auburn…


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But that got me thinking about forensics itself and some of the tools I use. I believe that if someone is just getting into IT and they want a solid career path, it’s hard to beat forensic science or data center engineering. Understand to be good in forensics you really need to understand HOW data actually works and moves though a system. Forensics is a top level discipline that you work towards after you master PCs, servers, networking (especially networking) and coding. Sounds tough but man alive is it a lot of fun. I would not say I am a forensics expert. Not even close. I am more of a hobbyist in this area. Now some of the tools out there in forensics are VERY expensive due to their incredible speed and “court room” validation.

However, if you just wanting to mess around and practice on a few machines to see if this is a career path for you, here are a few of the freebie tools I use and have had a ton of success with.

Are your pants on fire yet? Web Browsers analysis
This most common use I see for forensic hobbyist is getting to a history file when the history has been erased. This is a browser specific function so the tools must use the browser API’s to accomplish this. Here are a few of my favs:
– From across the pond the folks at Forensics-software have two most excellent tools. Fox Analysis and Chrome Analysis
– If it’s IE your looking for then its really hard to beat Nirsoft I absolutely love their IECookieViewer They have a bunch of other tools as well for you to mess around with but their IE stuff is really second to none. Honorable mention to their Skype Log View as well. Very cool tool!

Email Fun
Email is more difficult to find a freeware tool on the forensics side of the house. Email is really a database with a bunch of insane tables and procedures that can lead you down a path more dangerous then walking around Olongopo drunk with money falling out of your pockets. And before you ask No wasn’t me on the don’t do this poster… Email Detective is a proggy we used back in the AOL/Compuserv days to rebuild email. About the only game on the freeware side of the track is from MiTec out of the Czech Republic called Mail Viewer It’s lightweight and works good on Outlook Express, T-Bird and Windows Live email. See the commonality here? All of the email is cached or stored local and not on a server. For Outlook and other server based DB style systems, I just have not found a good freeware email tool I really like too much.

Lookin’ for a file in a haystack
There are so many attributes to look at with files. The good news here is there is no shortage of really good freebie tools that allow you dissect a file with the precision of a kid removing the vegetables out of Kung Pow Chicken. For stuff like reconstructing images to see if folks have been taking pictures of you eating a salad at a steakhouse (I was watching for my wife!) it’s hard to beat Forensic Image Viewer from Sanderson Forensics also check out MFTview while your there. He requires you to register to download, but it is totally worth it!
– A tool I really love to mess around with is Memoryze from Mandiant This digital bundle of awesomeness allows you to analyze live memory and even page files on a running system. It works great even on memory images. Oh man this tools digital foot must be hurtin’ from the ass it kicks!

But, isn’t there a ISO we can use like BackTrack instead of messin’ round and piece mailing all of these tools?
ISO are really awesome. Just like there are many different fishing lures to catch Bass, there’s also multiple ISO for different forensics needs. Of course you can just use the forensics mode on BT and it works good also. Here are a couple others I keep close at hand.
– Caine Live CD is one of my favs. Full featured with a ton of useful scripts built right in, this is a great general propose ISO with great support and really does Italy proud!
– Deft Linux another great ISO from Italy this is also another full featured ISO. It is very well documented and man alive is it fast! When I need speed, I turn to Deft!
– Plain Sight is a great ISO to get started on messing around with forensics and it has a lot horsepower too! The volatile memory examination tools are really the stuff!

Websites baby!
Some of my RSS locked forensics favs are:
– hardcore folks, news and training here!
– Nice up to date tool wiki
– Great free geek workshops that cover all things computer geeks dig!

Forensics is a huge field and I believe folks can really make there mark here. It really overlays nearly every single piece of IT out there today and oh man are these folks in demand. Plus it a fun hobby to get into just to really improve your troubleshooting skills. Well, time for me to head off to a customer call. I just glad he likes to talk networking on a Bass boat….

Jimmy Ray Purser

Trivia File Transfer Protocol
Soon after the site was established MGM/UA set up a website for Hackers it was hacked! A group calling itself the Internet Liberation Front managed to draw all over the photo of Hackers stars Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller, and replaced verbiage, ‘this is going to be an entertaining, fun promotional site for a movie,’ with ‘this is going to be a lame, cheesy promotional site for a movie!’ The studio decided to maintain the site during the theatrical run of the movie in its altered form. At least their not Sony….


ITIL – Understanding The Three Levels of ITIL Certification

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ITIL has three levels of certification: Foundation, Practitioner and Manager. The Foundation Certificate is the entry-level certification, while the Manager Certificate is the highest level in ITIL accreditation. Here are the three certifications in greater detail:


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Foundation Certificate – ITIL Foundation

This is the first level of certification, and the first step that an individual must take to start a career in ITIL. It is intended for those individual’s working in Information Technology Service Management. The foundation certificate allows people to understand and comprehend the terminology used in ITIL. It strengthens the individual’s basic knowledge about the ITIL Service Support and Service Delivery. The ITIL Foundation consists of twelve main areas, and these areas are divided between the Service Delivery and Service Support. In addition to this, it also covers ITIL philosophy.

The Foundation Certificate proves that the individual understand the basics of ITIL, and this includes the concepts, terminology and the relationships between the processes of the ITIL framework. The individual will also learn how to reduce costs, and, at the same time, improve the quality of the service. The Foundation Certificate paves the way for the next certifications: Practitioner’s Certificate and Manager’s Certificate.

Practitioner’s Certificate – ITIL Practitioner

This course is targeted at those individuals who have a responsibility in one or more processes of ITSM. The Practitioner’s Certificate acknowledges an individual’s expertise in a specific discipline of the Service Support or Service Delivery sets of the ITIL. It also includes customer and organization communication. The ITIL Practitioner’s Examination tests the individual’s capability of designing an ITIL process and implementing the activities that are associated with it.

Practitioner’s certificates are available in problem management, configuration management, financial management and capacity management. To apply for a Practitioner’s Certificate, an individual needs to have a Foundation Certificate, and also two to three years of experience in managing the ITIL process.

Manager’s Certificate – ITIL Service Management

This certification is targeted at experienced professionals. These individuals may be involved in management functions, like managers or consultants in ITSM. The Manager’s Certificate is especially useful for those people who are part of the ITIL implementation. The course covers the tactical and operational processes of the ITIL, and teaches the students how to set up and implement the ITIL processes in businesses and organizations.

To apply for a Manager’s Certificate, the individual needs to have a Foundation Certificate, as well as at least five years of management experience in the IT sector. There are a few courses which require that, the individual should have a Practitioner’s Certification as well. This certification will provide the student with the information and skills to implement the processes of the ITIL, successfully.

For any company or organization, it is important to have the right people, with the right knowledge and skills, to make the organization more efficient. Currently, only people, and not companies, can achieve an ITIL certification. There are a few companies which claim to be ITIL-compliant; however, the OGC does not recognize such companies.


Microsoft Unveils New Certification Programs

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Microsoft’s new certification program, Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA), which has been in beta testing for over a year, went live Tuesday. MCA is a system of certification based on seven competencies as displayed to a four-member peer review board.

Microsoft says it has striven for an objective, vender-agnostic system that measures the candidate’s ability against an ideal, rather than against the performance of others. Skills are assessed in areas of: technical depth, technical breadth, communication, organizational dynamics, leadership, strategy, and tactics.





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The sessions have proven to be useful for the candidates whether they pass or fail, according to the Redmond company. Individuals participate in a deliberation that could be as long as several hours, covering the areas where they can grow from a developer to architect, or from architect to advanced architect.

The result of MCA certification could be thought of as a skill set report card.

There are three disciplines among the MCA credentials: Infrastructure, Solutions, and Messaging. The first two cover the full IT spectrum, while the third focuses directly on messaging systems, which is directed at Microsoft Exchange customers.

Microsoft additionally on Tuesday unveiled the Office Specialist Certification, which covers Windows Vista and Office 2007. The program is intended to help customers prepare before the launch of the two new products early next year.


Six Apple Stores to Visit Before You Die

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Apple opened its first retail store in 2001. Since then the number of brick-and-mortar Apple stores has soared to more than 320 worldwide.

In fact, there’s even a Web site, ifoAppleStore that exists for the sole purpose of reporting Apple store news. A recent report from the site suggest that Apple will soon further expand its sphere of retail influence when it adds a store in Moscow. The rumored shop would be located in the historic Hotel Moskva at the north end of the Red Square, just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. In fact, the façade of the hotel is the same image printed on the label of Stolichnaya Vodka. It’s a high-trafficked, must-see area for Moscow visitors, and it would no doubt be a slick location for an Apple retail store.





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Apple has not confirmed that it’s setting up shop in Moscow, but if it did, it would be the company’s easternmost European location, both the first in a former Soviet republic and the first in a former communist state.

Apple hasn’t expanded to a new region since 2007, when it opened a store in Rome. It also lacks a presence in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.

Shopping in an Apple Store is a unique retail experience. Customers can spend hands-on time with a product and seek advice from knowledgeable Apple Geniuses. Beyond that, the stores themselves are often inspired examples of modern design.

Among the hundreds of existing Apple stores, there are some very unique locations, and Apple has even won architectural awards for some of them. In 2003, its store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood won a BusinessWeek/Architectural Record Award.

If you’re traveling, there are some cities where the Apple store is definitely worth adding to your sightseeing list. Here are the top six.


The Top 40 Free iPhone Apps 2010

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11. ESPN ScoreCenter 1.5.3
ESPN Inc.,
Sports fanatics with iPhones should download ESPN Scorecenter. It allows you to keep track of your favorite sports teams on a single page, read the latest analyses from ESPN, and provides push notifications when games start or teams score. Sportacular is also a smart sports app with similar score-tracking abilities, but we think ESPN’s design is a little cleaner.

12. Evernote 3.3.5

12. Evernote 3.3.5
Evernote Corporation,
If you’ve got a memory that’s more emu than elephant, then Evernote can help you out. The app provides you with several ways to keep notes—including text, voice, and photos—and it gives you a way to access them from any desktop or phone with Evernote’s software. The simple interface makes it easy to write down important to-dos, locations, phone numbers, or just about anything you might need to reference at any time.



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13. Facebook 3.1.4

13. Facebook 3.1.4
If you’re an active social networker, you’re probably on Facebook. And if you have an iPhone as well, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be using this well-designed app. The home screen is a 3-by-3 grid that gives you access to almost everything Facebook has to offer. The app also integrates with the iPhone’s own features well, allowing you to call or text any friend who has publicly posted their number. This is a must-have app for iPhone users on Facebook.

14. Fandango 3.2.2

14. Fandango 3.2.2
Looking for movie times on the go? Fandango is your friend. It can show you movie times, help you buy tickets, and show you user reviews of the latest blockbusters and indie flicks. Since some theaters sell tickets through competitor Moviefone, you should also download Moviefone’s app if you want to be able to buy tickets anywhere you go.

15. Flashlight. 2.1.1

15. Flashlight. 2.1.1
John Haney Software,
As simple (or dumb) as it sounds, having a flashlight app on your iPhone or iPod touch is never a bad thing. Turn up the iPhone screen’s brightness and you can use it as a reading light, or even as a backup on a camping trip. If you feel like starting a party on the go, the app can display a strobe light or other light effects.

16. Foursquare 1.9.0

16. Foursquare 1.9.0
Any modern social networker with an iPhone should be on Foursquare. It’s a hip, fun app where you check in to places you go physically and earn badges when you accomplish various things. It sounds a bit silly (and maybe it is), but there are rewards—being the person who checks in the most (called the “mayor”) at a restaurant can earn you a free meal, drink, or dessert.

17. Google Earth 3.0.0

17. Google Earth 3.0.0
Google Maps is fine and dandy, but Google Earth ups the ante and takes you to wherever you want in the world. You can digitally climb mountains, browse geo-tagged photos all over the word, check out city info with Google Local Search, and search in many languages. The latest version of Google Earth for iPhone includes road layers and native support for the iPad (which makes the app even cooler).

18. Groupon 1.1.0

18. Groupon 1.1.0
Groupon offers decent-to-great coupons on stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in 65 cities. There’s one deal a day and if not enough people sign up, the deal is cancelled (hence the name Groupon). It’s a smart system that makes sure users and businesses alike get something from the deal. It even has a little green cred because with it you no longer have to print out coupons.

19. Kindle 2.1.1

19. Kindle 2.1.1, Inc.,
While Apple’s iBooks app might be slightly flashier, Amazon Kindle’s library has been around longer, has more titles, and works with more devices. For those who want to read on the cheap, Kindle also has a lot more free books for download. The app allows users to read the beginning of any e-book, making it a good shopping tool.

20. Personal Finance 1.3

20. Personal Finance 1.3,
Users of know the site can help you keep detailed account of your finances. If you are new, just sign up and begin tracking your expenses. The iPhone app extends the experience, so users can keep track of their spending while on the go. Just enter a few data points in the iPhone, and you’ll be able to see your spending patterns as an easy-to-read chart. However, if your bank account is anemic, cool-looking animations probably won’t make you feel much better about it.