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Since the debut of Apple’s revolutionary iPhone almost three years ago, outside developers have been busy designing software programs—applications, or “apps”—specifically for the device; today, there are more than 100,000 available for download exclusively at Apple’s online iTunes App Store. Most one-time fees for these programs range from free to around $4.99 on the high end, although a few can cost much more, like The Concise Oxford English Dictionary for $24.99. Here, we review ten apps with a Chicago spin—the good, the bad, and the silly.
Police Radio Chicago
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EVAN MILLER // $1.99 You could spend $200 at RadioShack for a police scanner or spend a fraction of that for Police Radio Chicago, which broadcasts cop chatter in real time. The app’s biggest drawback is that it doesn’t let you control the programming; rather, it randomly picks up feeds from the city’s 13 police dispatch zones, jumping from Galewood to Auburn Gresham at will. That can be frustrating, as you can’t stay tuned to a particular zone to find out if a cop’s suspicion of “blood in the car” is true. On the other hand, listening as the app spins around Chicago’s problem spots is a fascinating—if sometimes depressing—time waster.
USEFUL 3/5 | SLICK 4/5 | FUN 4/5
Crain’s Chicago Golf Guide
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PSC GROUP // FREE In the spirit of praying for warm weather—or at least not so cold—Crain’s Chicago Golf Guide is a great app for the weekend duffer. The app uses the iPhone’s location magic to find public courses near your current location and lists them by proximity. (For example, the app lists three courses less than 10 miles from my house and dozens within 20 miles.) You can also filter by price, course name, city, or course rating. But what makes Crain’s Chicago Golf Guide a hole-in-one is that it includes the price for a round of golf and cart fees, with a link to Google maps to take you there.
USEFUL 5/5 | SLICK 4/5 | FUN 2/5