By Eric Gwinn, Tribune Newspapers
12:35 PM PDT, September 13, 2011
Alfred (free; iOS)
What it is: A personal assistant that remembers your dining preferences so no matter what city you're in, you have a ready answer to "Where do you want to eat?"
How it works: Answer a few questions from Alfred, such as "Where is one of your favorite dinner places with friends on Saturday night?" and enter the city or ZIP code. Alfred will make suggestions based on Internet reviews.
Why it's great: Narrow your search by cuisine, price and distance from your current spot. After your meals, check whether you liked or disliked the restaurant to get future suggestions better suited to your taste.
Why you might hesitate: Alfred does not adapt to the iPad, so its virtual keyboard covers most of the essential screen real estate. Thus iPhone-only.
Whom it's for: Travelers with an appetite for something different but familiar.
PDF Reader Lite (free; iOS)
What it is: A quick and clever way to read PDFs on iDevices.
How it works: Download and read PDF files from your Box.net, Dropbox, iDisk and Google Docs accounts as well as websites. You can even use Wi-Fi to send files from your iPad to your iPhone and vice versa.
Why it's great: PDF reader is easy to use and stays out of your way till you need it. And when you do, a comprehensive manual is at your fingertips so you'll never miss another PDF file again by email or just about any other mode of transfer. You can bookmark pages within a PDF, make notes and print everything via AirPrint. Import documents in various formats from your cloud-service accounts.
Why you might hesitate: No reason to hesitate. PDF Reader Lite is free.
Whom it's for: All iDevice owners who want to see what PDF documents they've been missing.
Cabulous (free; iOS)
What it is: The smartphone way to hail a cab.
How it works: Touch the "Pick Me Up" button, and Cabulous shows you a map with your current location. You also can type in your current address or drag the cross hairs to where you are on the map. Type a note to the cab dispatcher to share with your driver if you'd like, and enter your phone number to get a call back. Touch "confirm," and the map will show you your cab as it makes its way toward you. You can even talk with your driver if you're using an iPhone.
Why it's great: Trying to get a cab in a strange city can be the pits.
Why you might hesitate: The app relies on Wi-Fi, so you can't use it while you're standing out in the street, and not all cab companies are signed up.
Whom it's for: Travelers who have somewhere else to go.
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