I just installed the Ventura County Star's free iPhone app, and so far it looks pretty good. Users can browse a mostly text version of the home page, browse by section, or search the archives (but you can't read the blogs, hopefully that feature is coming soon).
My favorite feature is the News Tip section, which provides a button to email a tip or call the newsroom. It will prompt you for your location, so the Star will know exactly where you are when you send it in. It's optional, of course.
That feature would have worked great last night at Elephant Bar in Simi Valley when some guy was tased after being cut off at the bar.
I happened to be at the restaurant at the time, and I could have sent the tip in had I had the app! But I was in a back room and didn't hear the commotion, and I likely would have just written about it in my blog. Interestingly, as I was leaving I saw Sheriff Bob Brooks and Dennis Carpenter off to the side enjoying dinner. No, I didn't interrupt them like a paparazzi. I assume they saw the drunk drug out of the restaurant. Imagine the luck of the guy who decides to make a drunken scene in a restaurant and it turns out it's in front of the county's top cop and his potential replacement.
That reminds me of this story. Of all the people to throw up on at a Phillies game.
Getting back to iPhone apps, check out CitySourced. Like the VCStar's app, it includes a tip line where you can send photos to your city officials if you spot graffiti, potholes, or anything else the city needs to fix. Simi Valley's City Council has expressed interest in it. With graffiti up 500 percent, maybe it can do something to mitigate that.