By Terry Gardner, Special to Tribune Newspapers
10:41 PM EDT, May 8, 2012
Viddy (free, iOS 4.2 or later)
What it is: An app to capture, embellish and share short videos. It's the equivalent of video Twitter, but instead of a 140-character tweet, Viddy lets you share 15-second videos across your social network.
How it works: You shoot a video that's 15 seconds or less (or trim footage already shot), then add postproduction music and video effects before posting the video on Viddy's mobile social network (viddy.com) and sharing via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr or by SMS message.
Why it's great: Even a 15-second video shot in the airport terminal can look great with a free or inexpensive postproduction pack from Linkin Park, Incubus, etc. It's a great way to share travel moments whether you're in Las Vegas, Hollywood, Breckenridge or abroad. Celebrity users include Katie Couric, Linkin Park, Bill Cosby, Michael Strahan and Rihanna.
Why you might hesitate: Occasionally the 15-second limit is frustrating. If the Wi-Fi, 4G or 3G data connection is poor, you have to store the video and post it later when you have better reception. When you post it later, Viddy uses your current location, so you have to input where you shot it.
SeatGuru (free, iOS)
What it is: An app with more than 700 color-coded seat maps for almost 100 airlines to help you find the most comfortable seats on the plane.
How it works: If you know your flight info, you click on "seat map" advice, then enter the airline, flight number and travel date. If you are searching for a flight, you can begin by finding the best price before you look for the best seat. Green seats on a seat map indicate good seats, yellow means there are some drawbacks and red indicates seats to avoid (such as those that don't recline). White indicates a standard seat. Seat maps include more than 35,000 passenger reviews.
Why it's great: Whether I'm searching for a flight on my iPhone, laptop or desktop, I prefer using the app to find the best seat rather than switching screens on a computer to see seat maps at seatguru.com. While traveling, the app can provide real-time flight status updates.
Why you might hesitate: Seat maps can't be accessed within the search, and sometimes a search gets dumped when transferring to an airline's mobile site.
D.C. With Kids by FamilyiTrips ($2.99; iOS)
What it is: A comprehensive travel app with more than 500 entries to help a family explore Washington. The whimsical icons, like the entries themselves, will appeal to a range of ages.
How it works: Choose a category ranging from "top 11" to "play outdoors" or "side trips." Need a place to sleep? Press "sleep" and choose from "hotels with pools" to "pet-friendly lodgings." Press "plan ahead" to build an itinerary that may include a Washington Nationals baseball game or taking a barge tour at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park.
Why it's great: It's loaded with info. By selecting favorites, you can create custom itineraries.
Why you might hesitate: Though I love the eye-catching icons, I wish there were more photographs.
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