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Facebook Adds the Open Graph to iOS Developer Toolkit

Facebook is continuing its push to spread Open Graph to every corner of the web (including mobile) with a new version of the Facebook SDK for iOS.

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The new SDK (software development kit) gives iPhone, iPad and iPod touch developers easier access to Facebook’s massively ambitious Open Graph API. Launched at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier this year, the Open Graph protocol makes it easier for third-party websites to integrate Facebook functions onto their webpages, most prominently the now-ubiquitous “Like” button.

The new devkit comes with a second major addition: support for Facebook OAuth 2.0. It replaces Facebook Connect, which is being phased out in favor of the OAuth open standard.

The Facebook SDK for iOS brings that functionality to millions of iOS devices, but the SDK is really for the iPhone and iPad apps that want to beef up their social functionality. Three months ago, the social network launched the Facebook SDK for Android, which brought the same features to Android app developers.

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12 iPhone Apps For Exploring The Great Outdoors

For much of the world, the beginning of fall means that warm, comfortable hiking weather is coming to an end. In other words, it’s time to start saving up fresh air for a winter of avoiding the outdoors.

There are people who consider their outdoor excursions a refreshing escape from technology. And then there are iPhone users, who consider the outdoors yet another perfect venue to show off their mobile tech.

If you’re with us, here are 12 great hiking apps to download before you hit the trail.

1. AccuTerra

This map comes with GPS coordinates and doesn’t need to be folded. Download your neck of the woods for $1.99 or get unlimited access to all maps for $4.99. The app tracks your trail as you hike, allowing you to place markers at significant points along the way and review your hike duration, distance, pace, and elevation gain at any point. All maps are stored in your phone’s memory, so no reception is no problem.


2. Star Walk

Scroll through a virtual copy of the sky so that you can better appreciate the real one. Star Walk maps the sky from your viewpoint. If you’re facing south, for instance, you can find the map for the constellations and planets in front of you by scrolling to the south arrow on the Star Walk map. Clicking on stars provides coordinates and more information. It’s an easy way to start learning about astronomy for $2.99.

A night mode tints the screen red and makes it easier to read on an otherwise jarringly bright screen in the dark.


3. Scats and Tracks

Some people yell, “Hey, I found a footprint!” You can be the person who yells, “Hey, I found an eastern chipmunk footprint … or maybe it’s an eastern gray squirrel!” Scats and Tracks provides everything you need to decode what animals leave behind on the trail. It includes illustrations of all footprints, animals, and yes … scat types. The backyard version is free. Guides to specific regions cost $3.99.

4. Elevation Pro

This $0.99 app is pretty simple. It tells you what your current elevation is. Of course it’s an essential component of any decent bragging tales you plan to tell after your hike. Elevation includes two different calculations. One is the ground elevation using USGS data at your current location. The other is a calculation using the GPS on your phone.

There’s also a tweet button, so you don’t need to waste any time with that bragging.


5. Park Maps

Imagine that you drove to every notable U.S. State Park and picked up a map at the entrance. And then you carried all of those maps around with you wherever you went. This app would be the paperless version of that. No bells or whistles, just every hiking map you need for $.99.

6. Army Survival

There is always a chance that you will become hopelessly and desperately lost for days. If you have the Army Survival Guide on your phone (and a bit of battery life left), you could potentially avoid the embarrassment of perishing in the wilderness alone.

More likely, you’ll find the $1.99 guide to be appropriate entertainment and conversation kindling.


7. Coleman Lantern

This free lantern is shameless advertising, but it’s also pretty cool. Choose from a selection of classic and modern-style lanterns and adjust the light for your needs. At full blast, the lantern throws out a decent amount of light. Like other flashlight-type apps, it does use a lot of battery and is probably best used as an entertaining addition to your primary light source.

8. iBird

Bird guidebooks are probably most useful when taken into the woods, but its hard to justify carrying around a huge tome when you plan to walk all day. The iBird guides are just as good as hardcovers, but much lighter.

iBird apps include detailed bird portraits, range maps, taxonomies, key factors for identification, and song and call recordings from the Macaulay Library at the Lab of Ornithology. Fifteen common birds of North America are free, but more extensive guides by region cost $9.99. The true bird fanatic can opt for the $29.99 pro version, which has info on more than 900 birds.


9. Audubon Trees

Conservation organization The National Audubon Society knows its trees. And you can too, with its tree reference app. Browse trees by family (like Maple or Beech) or by name. If you’re not sure what kind of tree you’re looking at, there’s also a quick guide that helps you identify the tree based on its shape or leaves. GPS allows you to plot your sightings, and you can use the app to file your tree photos (or enjoy the 2,000 color photographs included in the app). At $9.99, this is probably an app reserved for avid tree enthusiasts.


10. Butterfly Collection

This $1.99 app is as beautiful as it is useful. An elegant index of butterflies fills the home screen. Scroll for more index pages or tap the butterfly that you want to identify. You’ll get an animated close up of the illustrated butterfly and learn its name.


11. Wild Mushrooms of North America and Europe

When you spot something on the trail that looks like the tasty (but expensive!) Morel from last weekend’s farmer’s market, it can be tempting to snag it for your dinner. But amateur mushroom hunting can be a dangerous sport.

So dangerous, in fact, that the user agreement for this app guide to mushrooms includes an “important poisoning disclaimer.” In other words, it can’t hurt to double-check.

Roger Phillip’s guide includes a searchable database of mushrooms with photos and important details like each fungus’s location, normal size, and edibility. You can also locate the unknown mushrooms you encounter with a visual key or filtered search. The lite version is free, but considering the possible consequences of eating an unknown mushroom, it might be worth springing for the $1.99 full version, which includes more listings.


12. ">Chirp! USA Lite

Tune in to bird songs by training yourself with this free app. Select your region to see the birds that are commonly heard there. You can sort the birds by name, how commonly they are seen, or their song style and listen to each bird’s unique tweets. The app also provides a picture of each bird to make spotting nearby tweeters easier.

Once you’re learned the calls in your area, you can test your knowledge in a challenge that asks you to match each song with the appropriate bird.

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The Future of the Internet

“In only a few short years, electronic computing systems have been invented and improved at a tremendous rate. But computers did not ‘just grow.’ They have evolved… They were born and they are being improved as a consequence of man’s ingenuity, his imagination… and his mathematics.” — 1958 IBM brochure

The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.

So what’s the next step in its evolution, and what’s the big picture? What does the Internet mean as an extension of human communication, of the human mind? And forget tomorrow — where will the web be in fifty years, or a hundred? Will the Internet help make the world look like something out of Blade Runner or Minority Report? Let’s just pray it doesn’t have anything to do with The Matrix sequels, because those movies really sucked.

This article will offer in-depth analysis of a range of subjects — from realistic expectations stemming from current trends to some more imaginative speculations on the distant future.

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