Metal Detector solves some problems you don't have

Mel Martin
M. Martin|07.08.09

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Metal Detector solves some problems you don't have
Every so often I get the idea I'm living in some kind of parallel universe where iPhone apps are created that look great but just don't do anything of value.

Such an app is Metal Detector [App Store] that for US$0.99 cents purports to detect metal around you. It requires an iPhone 3GS because it uses the built in magnetometer (compass) to work.

Well, it did discover my bird cage, but I could see that anyway. It reacted to a stop sign, and a fire hydrant when I was on my morning run. "Look Mom, the funny man from across the street is messing with the fire hydrant. Call the cops!"

It didn't work on coins at all, wrong kind of metal, so any visions you had of crawling along the beach looking for treasure is out the window. It works on ferromagnetic metals only, like iron and steel.

The app did not cut off my iPod music when I started it up, but as soon as it beeped with finding something metal the audio shut down. Appropriately, I was listening to the Alan Hovhaness Symphony for Metal Instruments, but I guess most Heavy Metal bands would work too.

The Three Stooges used to have a routine where they talked about inventing a pen that wrote under whipped cream, and this seems like a similar fetish. It does work, but so what? What do I do with it? You have to be really close to the item for the alert to go off, and if I'm that close, I don't need a metal detector. I tried it on in wall wiring, but no dice there, so I'm straining to find some utility for this thing.

The developers say this is a novelty item, but I think most of my friends would say I'm stupid, rather than entertaining. If you must satisfy your lust for searching for visible metal, I'd suggest you take a look at Metal Detector Pro [App Store], which does the same thing with a different interface but it's free.

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