Daily iPhone App: Dine-O-Matic chooses a restaurant for you

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Daily iPhone App: Dine-O-Matic chooses a restaurant for you

Eating at a restaurant is fun but getting a consensus from a group of diners can be a hassle. Offload the responsibly to your iPhone with Dine-O-Matic from the Iconfactory (currently on sale for US$0.99), which is more than happy to choose a restaurant for the whole gang.

The app combines retro graphics (think of the corner diner), a game-like "spinner" and handy maps integration to make the experience fun. To get started, enter your favorite restaurants. There are two ways to do this. The first is to flip the main screen over and enter the restaurant list. Tap the "+" button in the upper right-hand corner to create a new entry. Type in info like name, category, price range, address and more.

The easier way is the built-in Maps integration. From the main screen, tap the location button to open the map. Dine-O-Matic notices your location and highlights local restaurants. Tap anyone to add it to your list (you still must enter the category and price range manually). You can also enter a name or type, like "pizza," in the search field.

Once you're set up, make a choice! Each category is represented by a "neon sign" icon. Give it a tap and watch it spin through the options, landing on a random place in your list. A slip appears with the restaurant's name, phone number (tap to call) and address (tap to view on a map). You can even sort by price range.

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My kids enjoyed flipping the spinner ("I'll stop when it says 'Chinese food') and my wife and I did, in fact, base last night's dinner on its decision. Dine-O-Matic looks great, with black-and-white check "tile" and buzzing neon and works as advertised. Plus, you can declare "The phone has spoken!" and silence an indecisive crowd. Dine-O-Matic is available from The App Store now.

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