A while back, we reported on a study that (not only had all kinds of holes in it, but) claimed the iPhone’s keyboard was two times slower than other phones. But as many commenters said, the keyboard just requires practice.

And there’s no better way to get it than to jump into a typing tutor. We’ve seen one before for the iPhone, but reader Travis (thanks!) sent us a tip about TypingWeb.com’s free iPhone tutor (just go to their site on your iPhone, and enter some information to create an account), and I was impressed by how smoothly it worked. During the Basic test, I moved pretty quickly– a nice 36 words per minute. But on the Advanced test, they throw all kinds of things at you (including intentionally misspelled words, so you have to dodge Apple’s corrections), and I dropped down to about 16 wpm.

Roger Kenny sends word that one of the best web-based games for the iPhone, Battlefleet, has been updated. Not only is there a new splash page (quoting an eminent Mac gaming scholar– ahem), but Roger has set up an “iPhone Entrance,” a “Web Browser” entrance (which, strangely enough, didn’t work right in Firefox 2.0.0.7 for me– I had to play the iPhone version in my browser, which worked fine), and an “Internet Explorer Exit.” Very nice.

When was the last time you were at a concert and you wanted to pull out your lighter when they started doing an encore of ‘Free Bird’, but you don’t smoke anymore? Fear not. Just pull out your iPhone and go to RockLighter.

Here’s one for you globetrotting iPhone fans out there. The Cool Gorilla Talking Phrasebook is a nifty little iPhone site that offers a foreign language phrasebook in five European languages (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish). It presents you with cascading menus in various categories (travel, food & drink, etc.) to find the phrase you need. Then not only does it display the phrase (“Sprechen Sie Englisch?”), it also embeds an MP3 of a native speaker saying the phrase in the other language

Bejeweled has long been one of the most popular games on mobile devices. Now maker PopCap has announced a version "optimized for the iPhone’s display and input controls." If you surf to PopCap Games official site with an iPhone you should be re-directed to http://static.popcap.com/iphone/ (or just click here) and you’ll be able to play the free online version of the game. It has also been added to the iPhone widgsite to end all widgsites Appleopolis.

Appleopolis is hands down the best, and practically only, bookmark you need to have on your iPhone. They are ‘iPhone Central’. Not only are they a widgsite (websites built specifically to run as an iPhone application) themselves, the service they offer is to give you access to almost every other widgsite available. And they’ve just re-designed their site to make it even easier to use. You basically browse their database of sites and "add" them to your own personal ‘desktop’ for quick and easy access. The site is not spruced up quite a bit to make it easier to adjust settings, add, remove and re-order the applications on your ‘desktop’. If you have an iPhone and you’re not using Appleopolis, then you’re only getting a fraction of the usefulness and pleasure that the iPhone has to offer.

What?!?!?! A practical and beneficial usage of the iPhone?

A group called Heart Imaging Technologies ( or “HeartIT”*) has built a system that will allow a doctor to send or view a video of a patient’s beating heart to an iPhone. I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that their page says “View your medical images online”. Is it good or bad to be able to simply go to a website and view your heart abnormality?

Click through to the link above to see it in action.

News of new Apple patents have been flooding the internet this week. The newest patent filed by Apple is for ‘the display of synchronized lyrics on mobile devices’. The patent application covers the synchronized display of text (mostly lyrics) on a portable media player, meaning that your iPod or iPhone would show you lyrics or other dynamic text at appropriate points in the song.

There are quite a few possible uses for such a technology: Scrolling lyrics as a song is playing (a la Karaoke),┬á closed captioning or subtitles for video media, or possibly ‘bonus’ content for songs purchased from the iTunes Music Store.

Love the “iTrapped” Tommy!

This one isn’t nearly as creative, but here’s a new widgsite that will give you a truly practical usage of your iPhone. Just wear it around your neck with this displayed:

Hello

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