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December 4, 2009     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 4, 2009 PAGE 13A Eight nights of apps: iPhone programs put Chanukah in the palm of your hand By Rachel Freedenberg j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California SAN FRANCISCO--On the road during Chanukah and feel the need to light candles? There's an app for that. Lost all your dreidels and want to play a quick game? There's an app for that. Need to know how many days you have left to buy Chanukah presents? There's an app for that, too. Chanukah-themed appli- cations have been a presence in Apple,s iTunes App Store almost since its inception, and with the holiday be- ginning Dec. 11, a number of new applications have cropped up to help iPhone and iPod Touch users mold technology with the ancient holiday. When Apple debuted the App Store in July 2008, it contained 500 applications (known as apps) that could be downloaded and installed on an iPhone or iPod Touch. Earlier last month, the com- pany announced that it had just surpassed 100,000 apps and 2 billion downloads. Jewish developers have pounced on the ability to bring a little Yiddishkeit to the handhold devices, and today there are dozens of Jewish4hemed apps avail- able at the store. Some of them are obvious: Siddur, iTalmud, Hebrew Date. An app called Mikvah numerous Passover apps, including haggadahs and a game called Find the Matzah. But when it comes to Jewish holidays, Chanukah has a clear monopoly on the App Store. From iDreidel to DaysTo Hanukkah to Mobile Menorah, there's an app For example, in "Vegas," to make the game go faster, every time a player rolls a shin (put one in), the value of shin increases by one. The ante also increases by one every round. Users can also set a spe- cific number of rounds or Jeff Howard shows off Super Dreidel, the app he developed with business partner Richard Barry. for everything you might increase thebankroll.Super need for the holiday--ex- Dreidelallowsforuptoeight cept maybe one that makes players. latkes. "A friend of mine and "All the kids in my family I sat down at his kitchen are always grabbing at my table with a dreidel and iPhone, so I figured they we played and played and should play a Jewish game," played," Howard said. "The said Jeff Howard, creator funny thing about the tra- of aChanukah-themedapp ditional version is that it called Super Dreidel. almost never ends. When Orthodox computer pro- you're playingthe electronic grammer Ronnie Schwartz, version.., there's actually a who wrote the Menorah winner instead of it going on forever." The other benefit to the virtual game is that it avoids many of the game's pitfalls. "The dreidel never falls off the table," Howard said. "It never hits gelt and the kids shout, 'That was no fair. I should re-spin.'" The application took about three months to complete, and after pass- ing Apple's strict vetting process, it was released to the App Store last month. Super Dreidel retails in th~ App Store for 99 cents. Thirty percent of each purchase goes to Apple, so Howard isn't expecting to get rich off the app. "When you do something that's mainly directed at the Shows-~sel's :the nearest app, prays with his Wh0ne and the Siddur app he developed at his company, RustyBrick. Howard, a Los Angeles-based screenwriter who describes himself as an "enthusiastic nerd," came up with the idea for Super Dreidel shortly after Cha- nukah last year. He joined forces with another tech- obsessed friend, Richard Barry, and the two hired a programmer in New Hamp- shire to write the program. Super Dreidel provides unique variations on the ancient spin-and-win game. Players still spin a dreidel (or virtual dreidel, in this case), but now they can choose be- tween playing "traditional," "Vegas" or "turbo" style. mikvah and provides a checklist of pre-mikvah pr~ations. The Los An- geles:based Kabbalah Cen- tre International sells the Dialing God app, featuring kabbalistic meditations and blessings. Then there are the more offbeat apps. ParveOMeter counts down the waiting time between eating dairy and meat; iCharity allows one to deposit virtual coins into a virtual tzedakah box; and if you're wondering whether mahi-mahi is OK to eat, download Kosher Fish. And then there are the holiday-based apps: Megil- los Esther for Purim, sev- eral Omer-counting apps and Jewish community [rather than at a vast audience], you figure you're not going to sell millions and millions," he said. "It was mainly just for fun and to do something Jewish for the iPhone." While Howard created his app for kicks, iPhone apps mean business for 29-year- old Ronnie Schwartz of Web construction firm RustyBrick. The company, based in Suffern, N.Y., mostly cre- ates medium-sized Web applications for its clients. But it has also created more than 50 iPhone apps, many of which are Jewish- themed. Schwartz and his twin brother, Barry, own Rusty- Brick--and happen to be Orthodox Jews. The first app iPhone on page 22A Taxes and laws are ever-changing. Is your financial advisor up-to-date? Is your money earning up to its potential? We are a group of financial professionals with years of extensive experience in wealth preservation, product independem advice, financial and risk management, income producing strategies, retirement planning, and tax management* Call /~l407-875-2674 for your complimentary initial assessment. ASSET MANAGEMENT PART N E R S REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR Bruce Udell, CE 407 Wekiva Springs Road, Suite 247, Longwo~l, FL 32779 Mitchell Walk, CLU, ChFC, MCEE, RFC 1605 Main StreeL Suite 1110, Sarasota, FL 34236 President, AAMS Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC an(J a Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Investment Advisory Services also offered through Asset Management Partners, a Registered Investment Advisor. Asset Management Partners is an affiliate of NFP Securities, tnc., and a subsidiary of National Financial Partners, Corp., the parent company of NFP Securities, Inc. *NFP Securities, Inc. and Asset Management Partners oo not provide legal or tax advice. Courtesy ofj. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California Orthodox computer programmer Ronnie Schwartz, who wrote the Menorah app, prays with his iPhone and the Siddur app he developed at his company, RustyBrick. ALLEf~C~-~Y & ASTHMA ASSOCIATI~S OF CENTI?AL FLORIDA Winter Park Orlando 407-678-4040 407-370-3705 Altamonte Springs 407-331-6244 ww~v.aaacfonline.com Steven Rosenberg, M.D. Carlos M. Jacinto, M.D. liana Stone, ARNP-C The physicians and staff wish to extend to the Jewish Community a joyous and happy Chanukah. Our physicians are Board Certified Allergy, Asthma & Immunology & Board Certified Pediatrics Our physicians hold faculty appointments at the Florida State University School of Medicine and the University of Central Florida School of Medicine and are members of Florida Hospital Kid's Doc's