*Insta* this, *Gram* that

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Yesterday I wrote about Postagram, the app and website that lets you turn your Instagram photos into postcards that you mail to friends, family, or yourself. I’ve already mailed four. I also was going to mention the proliferation of everything “insta” and “gram,” but ran out of time. Here’s a partial list of what’s out there: Mapstagram, Inkstagram, Insta-great, Instabam, Instagallery, Extragram, Webstagram, and Instagrid. Just like Twitter has its “Twittersphere” or “Twitterverse” of apps and websites, Instagram is fast becoming its own center of gravity for app and web developers. Instagram launched in October and was an immediate sensation. It was fun, easy to use, and free. It is now reportedly adding 130,000 users a week. Instagram opened its APIs (application programming interface) to developers in February, and the instas and the grams have been rolling out ever since. The most interesting is Mapstagram, which shows Instagram photos being uploaded in real time on a Google map of the United States. You can zoom in to any part of the country to see photos popping up in different corners of your community. It’s illustrative of how pervasive and active Instagram has become, and, according to this blog post by Mapstagram’s developer, how easy these things are to create if you know what you’re doing.

What was life like before iPhone apps?

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Apple just reported its 10 billionth download from its iOS App Store, which launched in 2008. That got me to thinking about my life with apps. My first iPhone was the 3G and that’s when the App Store opened. My first “wow” moment was with the Shazam app, when I was driving and heard a song on the radio and wanted to know the name and artist. Running the risk of a rear-ending another car, I turned on my iPhone and opened the Shazam app and about 10 seconds later – Shazam! – I found out it was Daft Punk and “Harder Better Faster Stronger.” My first less-than-wow moment was after I tried one of the light saber apps. I waved the phone around and made the light saber sound from Star Wars. That was good for about 30 seconds of amusement. Over time, I’ve learned that the best apps are either very useful or great time-wasters. Catapulting birds at fortresses built by pigs has turned out to be one of the best ways to waste time. Now there’s talk about Angry Birds being turned into an animated series. The greatest App success story so far is the “Twitterverse” that has been created around Twitter. Android phones have the Android Market. But Apple is simply way out front of everybody in this game and it is one of the best reasons to have an iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad). To celebrate the 10 billionth download, I downloaded the TextPics app so I can now send text bunnies to all my good friends. For only 99 cents, you get a lot of bunnies. ❤