Charge-Key emergency cellphone charger
There is nothing mobile about a mobile phone when you have to plug it into a wall outlet for a quick charge. Which is why people have come up with ways to use standard disposable batteries as cellphone boosters. Here’s a particularly cool example.
As its name implies, the Charge-Key fits on your key ring; the Android version actually looks like a traditional key, in black plastic instead of brass. Remove its plastic tip, and there’s a plug that fits either the Micro USB connector on Android devices or the 30-pin jack found on older iPhones. A version for the new iPhone 5 Lightning connector is under development.
On its side, the Charge-Key sports a plug for connecting a standard 9-volt battery, which is included. Snap in the battery, plug the key into the phone, and a tiny green light tells you the charging has begun. You can use the phone while it’s charging, or just leave it alone. I found that one 9-volter would add about 18 percent more life to my phone battery, enough for a decent number of calls. And since you can buy fresh 9-volts almost anywhere, you can give your phone a jolt no matter where you are.
Designed in Billerica, Charge-Key is a fine phone accessory — compact, simple, and smart.
FaceSaver Facebook cleanup app
$2.99 for iOS devices at the Apple App Store; Android version under development
You’ll be shocked to learn that some people use foul language in their Facebook postings. And those who do are sometimes shocked to find that their vulgar ramblings can get them in trouble with parents or employers.
Luckily, an Irish entrepreneur has come up with a way to help people track down and delete their most tasteless Facebook comments. FaceSaver scans all the text you’ve typed into Facebook and compares your words to a blacklist of terms you shouldn’t use in polite company.
All the scanning is done on the iPhone; the company doesn’t copy your messages onto a remote server, in order to protect your privacy. Yet the process takes only about a minute.
My search came up with a lot of false positives. The app developer said the software casts a broad net, looking for any potentially offensive strings of letters, even when they appear in innocuous words like “Massachusetts” and “analyst.”
Besides, FaceSaver doesn’t delete anything; it just shows you the possibly salacious posts, leaving you to wipe them out or not.
My readers are clean-living sorts who would never dream of using vulgar words in their Facebook postings.
Still, FaceSaver may be a useful little clean-up tool for your dirty-minded friends.
Haze weather app
99 cents for iOS devices at the Apple App Store
As the February storms roll in, you’re probably spending more time than usual with the weather app on your iPhone.
Here’s an eye-catching alternative from Denmark.
Haze delivers the usual weather information but uses a delightful minimalist design, an excellent combination of beauty and efficiency. It has three screens for tracking sunshine, temperature, and precipitation. A glowing sphere in midscreen contains the single most important piece of information in each category — the current temperature, for instance.
Touch the central sphere, and it’s surrounded by smaller spheres that provide greater detail: today’s high and low temperatures, wind speed and direction, and windchill index.
Swipe your finger downward, and you see predicted temperatures for the next five days. The other screens are equally informative, and you can activate a tilt-control feature that lets you navigate between them simply by rocking the iPhone back and forth.
There are plenty of good weather apps, but the Haze’s visual elegance and rich features makes it one of the best.Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.