Maybe there's wrapping an a bow, or maybe not. Here...

Maybe there's wrapping an a bow, or maybe not. Here are some apps to surprise and delight dad on Father's Day. Credit:

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift? Here are apps that will help your dad manage and measure potential home repair projects, watch his favorite team while on the go -- or help you find that hard-to-locate car part for his ride.

iHandy Carpenter
(iPhone, iPod Touch, Android; $1.99)

Every dad could use a digital toolbox, right? Just as the name suggests, iHandy Carpenter is a virtual handyman. The app includes a surface level, a bubble level bar, a protractor and a ruler. All of the features are simple to use and can ensure the big guy won't put any superfluous nail holes into the walls. Once dad gets past admiring the gee-whiz technology that turns his smartphone into an all-purpose utility, he'll enjoy the cost-savings and space benefits of not having to purchase each tool separately.

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; free)

If your dad is tired of just flipping through the usual television options, expand his entertainment universe with this application. Developed by Apple, Remote lets users program what appears on their Macs and Apple TVs. The Remote app is a lot more intuitive than the metal controller that comes with the Apple TV set-top box. With this on his phone, dad can type in the name of the show he wants to call up from Netflix, YouTube and a variety of other sources, rather than selecting letters one-by-one on the screen. Using Remote is also a great way to play music through iTunes. (Your home's wireless network must be turned on for Remote to work properly.)

(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android; free)

This app lets dad watch "The Total Sports Network" wherever he may travel via a connected smartphone or tablet computer. Although the app is free to download, access is limited to cable TV subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV or Comcast (Comcast access soon to come on Google Play) who already receive ESPN as part of their TV package. The app supports four ESPN channels: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPNU. Verizon High Speed Internet subscribers can access ESPN3.

What Knot to Do
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad; free)

Trying to impress your handy dad with newfound expertise? Check out the cool What Knot to Do app by the Columbia Sportswear Co.. With more than 70 knots in six categories, this app illustrates how to create perfect knots. This can help if you and your dad like to fish, hike, sail, backpack or tie up your llamas (no kidding).

eBay Motors
(iPhone, iPod Touch, free)

You can find the perfect gift for your car-loving dad with the free eBay Motors app. It is the ultimate automotive marketplace on the go, making it easy to locate hard-to-find car parts and accessories. To make shopping for your dad's gift really easy, make sure to get the VIN number from his beloved automobile and enter it into the app for an instant shopping list. It's up to you whether you share with dad how you found the gem he has been searching for forever.

Reports from and Tribune Media Services were used in this story.


Social progress for Microsoft

Amid the hullabaloo surrounding Facebook's IPO and ensuing stock dive, Microsoft quietly launched its own social network. So.Cl  (pronounced "social") uses Microsoft's Bing search engine to collect web content, allowing users to assemble "story collages." Microsoft says So.Cl is not meant to replace social networking sites like Facebook, and is "an experimental research project using a minimal set of features."

What, no barista?

Don't even think of calling it a vending machine. Starbucks-owned Seattle's Best Coffee has teamed with Coinstar -- maker of those ubiquitous coin-counting machines and Redbox DVD dispensers -- to roll out automated self-service coffee kiosks this summer. The Rubi kiosk, which will be installed in supermarkets and retail stores, serves mochas and vanilla lattes in addition to a regular cup of coffee.

Kindle gets Nookd

In "War and Peace," the word "kindle" appears 12 times -- except in an edition available at Barnes & Noble's Nook store. As spotted by a blogger, all uses of "kindle" -- the name of Amazon's competing e-reader -- were changed to "Nook" in the Superior Formatting Publishing version. The changes appear to be a find-and-replace operation gone haywire when the book was transferred to the Nook from the Kindle edition. -- Peter King

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