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Apple iOS

Information about the wondrous Apple iPhone and iPod Touch ( fondly referred to as the iTouch ).

Written By: Gary on November 24, 2013 No Comment

I love this program and it just did a major update so thought it was due for an update on the review I did before, but when I looked I realized I never reviewed this amazing app before, so here we go…

galileo-app.pngFirst of all this program should be thought of as a digital map, the GPS in your iPhone/iPad will find your location and keep the map centered but it doesn’t have directions (just like a paper map doesn’t have directions). What’s really nice about this program you can download maps and they stay on the device so if you’re somewhere with without data (say somewhere on a hike in Costa Rica) you still have your maps with you. Or if you’re traveling internationally and don’t have a data plan you’ve got the maps already, the same goes if you have a plan with a small amount of data, you don’t need to use up all the data.

galileo-maps-IMG_9096.PNGGalileo also has several ways to get maps onto your iPad or iPhone, but the newest way is the fastest and easiest. You just go in to the program, click download maps and pick your states, countries or providences and it downloads them and they are on your device. These downloads are relatively small, Michigan is about 30MB while Costa Rica was about 9MB, but have remarkable zoom levels and are very fast. I wasn’t sure how often they were going to be updating these maps, but when I went to get the screen shot, I see they’ve already updated several of the maps I’ve downloaded (that’s why the screen is downloading that map, it’s an update).

This program is free and the vector downloadable maps are free but the program has many other in app purchases (which I’ll talk about).

I use this a lot when I’m out hiking and biking and traveling. I know where I’m traveling, a question I used to ask all the time is “Where am I?” and people wanted to know where I was going but I’m just walking around taking in the sights and I want to know where I am (I quite often got confusing looks). I want to know where I am and zoom around quickly and not worry about how fast my data is or if I’m roaming somewhere. I get a pretty good signal in Michigan but if I’m in some state/national parks there isn’t always coverage.

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Maps show how fast you’re going, the scale of the map and (optionally) your longitude and latitude.

I like to sightsee / wander around and see what I can find, when I travel I try not to be in a hurry. I went up north to visit my Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen once and when I arrived around 5PM they said “What time did you leave?” and I said “Noon”, which got the reply “You made pretty good time” and then I had to clarify with “Noon, yesterday“! I like to stop and do things, I’d been to different places and going biking and rollerblading and taking pictures and been all over before I got there. It was fun and I saw things that I’d not have seen if I’d had a specific plan.

In Costa Rica, most roads don’t have names and it’s confusing to get around, looking at the map and seeing the icon where you are is incredibly helpful (you need an iPhone or an iPad with the GPS for this to show you where you are).

So my suggestion is download Galileo and grab a few maps of places you frequent so that you’ve always got a nice map in your pocket.

The rest of these features starts to get a little confusing, if the above doesn’t interest you and you don’t care about maps, you should stop reading. If you’d like to be able to download other types of maps and know more, then read on!

This is one of those apps with many 5-star reviews and many 1-star reviews. Although, if you read the 1-star reviews most of them complain about things that if they had read the description they’d know that’s not what the program is supposed to do.

The other thing you can do is choose other map sources: biking, hiking, tourist and it’ll download them, but it remembers the maps until you delete them, so if you want some specific maps you just need to download them and zoom in at different levels and they’ll save and be there for you later (you can set the time limit). Other maps cache this data but purges it when it feels it doesn’t need it any more, you don’t have control over how long the data stays around. That said, I still like pre-downloading them myself (see last item of this review) and installing on the device is my favorite way to go. This next map is a sample of a map that isn’t so much like the “normal” Apple or Google maps.

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Example of a different type of map with altitude/terrain markings.
Good to know if you follow that path you’re going up/down paths over 200 feet in height.

Other (paid features):
Bookmarks – You can leave bookmarks/pins at locations for easy finding later, incredibly useful for marking places that have no other frame of reference. If hiking, you can mark and interesting spot. If someone lives in the middle of nowhere and you want to find it again, leave a pin at that spot.

Breadcrumbs – It will record a trail of where you’ve been. You can look at this later or export the data for other uses later.

Generate off-line maps – Downloading other off-line maps (this is great and it why I got the app in the first place) you can get maps from different sources and build them (on your desktop computer with Mobile Atlas Creator) and put them on the device for later. I downloaded great maps with heights of the hills/mountains for where I hike in Costa Rica, I don’t need to use international data roaming for this since I built them once and they stay on the device.

FYI, the screenshots and map captures are clickable to much larger versions.

Written By: Gary on October 19, 2013 No Comment

If you’ve got an iPad and you occasionally use the $15 a month cellular data plan option, there is a way you can save a lot of money (and get more data!). The $15 data plan gives you 250MB of data per month, if you go over it either runs out or you have to start the next month early. logoatt.jpgAT&T has a new $25 plan that last three months and gives you 1GB (1000MB) of data. That works out to 333MB a month for about $8.33 a month, about a third more data for close to half the price. The other benefit of it is that since it’s spread over three months you could use 600MB one month, 100MB another month and 300MB the other month. It gives you a better chance to utilize more of the data since it doesn’t expire three times after 30 days, it’s once after 90. It also doesn’t auto renew, so after 90 days you need to add that service again; the benefit to you is that after it expires if you don’t use it for a few weeks, those days don’t count against your next 90 day block. This is in the United States, I’m not sure if they’ve adjust prices in any international markets yet.

I think AT&T is doing this to get people to use it more, some people would turn it on for a month and then turn if off for a month, this way they spend $25 instead of $15 and if they don’t use it AT&T makes more and if they do use it more, they might get hooked.

At this point it makes almost no sense to turn the monthly $15 plan on and off a half dozen months throughout the year (that’s $90), for $10 more you could have it on every month of the year and have even more data to use. If you kept the new plan for the whole year it would be $100 for 4GB of data, the old plan would have been $180 for 3GB of dat a (with monthly expiration).

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This is now cheaper than the cheaper data plans on the iPhone. Right now you pay $20 a month for 300MB of data (some people still have the $15 for 200MB data plan), that’s $60 for 900MB of data. That’s quite a bit of difference!

FYI, if you almost never use the cellular data, but once in a while wish you had it, they also offer a new plan for $5 for one day that gets you 250MB. This is not meant for daily use, but if you’re traveling for the day on train or waiting at airports, it might be worth it. Or even if you activated the data plan once in a while while you were traveling for the weekend, doing the $5 plan could be cheaper for two days ($10 instead of $15) or actually get you more data during that time.

Written By: Gary on August 7, 2013 No Comment

I love my Kindle, ever since I got it, I’ve thought it was great. Do I miss reading real books? Certainly! Does it outweigh the convenience of the way I read eBooks? Not a chance! I’ve always got a few books with me and it still weighs the same.

Can you can think of any great features I left out? Please leave a comment and let everyone know…

kindleimage_.jpgCONVIENENCE: With paper books, I always had one in the car and one in the house. I tried to make them two different kinds of books so that I don’t get confused over similar plots (I’d avoid two mysteries at the same time). With my Kindle, I always keep it in the car (I can charge it with cell phone charger) so when I put the same book on the Kindle (in my car) and on my Kindle app on my iPad (in the house), I’m always on the same page since it keeps them synced. This is great, I’m reading the same book in both places.

I can even put the same book on my Kindle app on my iPhone and it’s on the same page too. I hate reading on my iPhone since the pages are so small, but if I don’t have my Kindle or my iPad, it gives me something to read if I’m stuck somewhere. If it starts raining while I’m out running and I take shelter somewhere, I can still read (or I’m meeting friends and they are late).

BETTER THAN A TABLET FOR OUTSIDE READING: The Kindle is great for outdoors and my iPad is great for indoors. If I want to read outside on the porch I’ll get the Kindle to read outside or grab one of the few paper magazine subscriptions that I still get. The glare that you get outside on the iPad is the same glare you’ll get on the other color tablets (Kindle Fire and Nook HD). Only the black and white eReaders look readily good outside.

YOU CAN TEST DRIVE A BOOK: Most Amazon Kindle books are available with a preview of the first few chapters for free.

I CAN BORROW BOOKS: Some libraries are able to lend you Kindle eBooks (large selection for most Michigan libraries via the state). You can borrow Amazon eBooks from friends who have a Kindle. You can join a free on-line book lending club like lendle.me (please use my referral code TTXLDIO1 if you do and I get a few extra borrows).

SUPER BONUS! I can get books that do not exist in print! Some authors big and small only release some books in eBook format. Usually for the really big authors it’s some super short book (“singles”) and they’re only a few dollars.

MONEY: Prices are another great bonus, some authors (more independent authors sell their eBooks for $4.99 while the paperback might be $9.99. Some authors have been releasing books as eBooks first since they can get to press faster. One of my favorite authors is updating one of my favorite kids/YA series of books so that they are a little more modern, she starting writing these books 30 years ago and things have changed since the time of the Apple II (we now have internet, smartphones, WiFi and text messaging) while at the same time clarifying some plot points and even adding a few scenes and plot enhancements, these are only available as ebooks at this point.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SHOP AT AMAZON.COM FOR YOUR BOOKS: You can buy your books other places and put them on your Kindle yourself. It’s not as convenient, but sometimes it’s a bit (or a lot) cheaper.

marsburning.pngSUPER SALES: Cidney Swanson just released the 4th book in her excellent Saving Mars series (titled Mars Burning) currently only available as an eBook. As a bonus she put the book on sale for 99 cents for the first few days to help get the word out. Where are you going to get a new book for that cheap anywhere? While writing this, I just noticed the first 3 eBooks are also on sale for 99 cents!!! These are not small books, all the printed copies are 350+ pages long. This looks like this ends Aug. 8th, 2013 and will (probably) be $4.99 each after (but you can get the whole set for $3.96 now!). These are on-sale at the same price at the Nook and Kobo stores too! Book 1 is free at the Kobo store. All these bonuses at once are more the exception and not the rule, but it’s a pretty nice thing that happens occasionally.

APPS FOR MY iPAD and iPHONE (and other devices): You do NOT need a Kindle to benefit from the features that I talk about. You can just put the app on your iPad and you can get the cheap books and use books from other vendors and everything. But it’s going to have the glare on the screen if you go outside (the same glare that the Kindle Fire will have outside too).

I KEEP MY ELECTRONICS MANUALS ON HAND: As an added bonus, my Kindle will read PDF documents. So I’ve put the manuals for all my portable devices (cameras, GPS, bluetooth speakers, car stereo, bike rack, etc.) on my Kindle so that I’ve always got them with me (just in case). I rarely use them, but the few times I’ve needed them while on vacation, I already had them with me. The PDF viewing is not as nice as the Kindle eBooks, but it is usable. It generally works very well for portable device manuals that are normally pretty small anyways; a large full page manual would be hard to navigate around on the small screen (but it’s doable if you just need to look something up).

Most of the features I listed above are Kindle specific, other brands may have similar features (or many not.

Written By: Gary on July 10, 2013 No Comment

So Google retired Google Reader on July 1st, I still can’t believe this. They announced it until March but it took me until the last minute to switch, because I really didn’t want to. I did export my data from Google Takeout which you can still do until July 15th, so go get your data! But I’m really glad that I tried Feedly in advance because they didn’t even need my exported data, they just sucked it out of Google Reader and I was ready to go.

feedlylogo.jpgFeedly works an awful lot like Google Reader, it stores my items in categories/folders and they make it really easy to navigate from folder to folder. What is REALLY nice about the folders/categories is you can configure the look and it remembers it for just that folder/category. So if that folder has photo blogs or cartoons, I can configure it to show me the whole thing. If it’s just a news folder, I can show all the headlines. Regardless of how you configure it, it remember it the night time you’re in that category.

Here’s the three reading modes:

Feedly Title Text View
Feedly Title Text View.
You would see more text if you window was wider, but I wanted to show the date.

magazine-view.jpg
Feedly Magazine View.
You’d see much more text if your window is wider.

Feedly Cards View
Feedly Cards View.
You’d get three columns of these in full screen and it appears a little larger, I had to shrink it 20% to make it fit my column width.

They actually have a full feed mode (which I wasn’t going to put above), which is how I used it in Google Reader, but I like these other modes much better!

Plus, it’s super fast. I think it’s great. I don’t like that it always starts in the “All” folder, I’d rather it start in my first folder with unread items. The only other suggestion is that if I’m in a folder with a hundred items and I’ve only read halfway down, I’d like a way to mark everything from there and up as read.

It integrates with multiple apps (and they have their own Feedly Reader). Reeder is my favorite iPhone RSS reader (which is temporarily free, so go get Reeder). They haven’t updated the iPad Reeder yet, but the iPhone app is just as good and works great in 2x more.

So I give it two thumbs up. Regardless of what you want to use, you only have five days to get your data out of Google Reader so go do it!

Written By: Gary on December 18, 2012 No Comment

When I first saw the Doctor Who EncyclopediaI was super excited, it was by Gary Russell and published by Random House and the BBC but it was a little pricey at $6.99 and it only included the eleventh Doctor Who (Matt Smith). The ninth and tenth doctors were an additional $6.99 each(!) for a total of $20.97 for the whole thing. They experimented with pricing up and down with the modules at different prices, I think $8.97 is the cheapest I ever saw the whole thing for.

doctor-who-encyclopedia.pngThat’s all changed now! It’s back up to $6.99 but it has been updated to include the first half of season seven (through September 2012) and now includes the tenth and eleventh doctors (Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant) as part of the price.

Actually, if you purchased it before (at any of it’s price points) you now have the whole package with today’s update. So now it has all of the episodes from 2005 on, from The Doctor meeting Rose to the season halfway point with the departure of the Ponds / Williams.

So here’s the thing, it’s pretty neat, but it’s not awesome. I think it needs to be a little more intuitive, but it’s got a lot in it. When I say a lot, I pretty much mean everything! If you tried it a year ago, I think they’ve improved the interface a bit. It’s got a references to almost every character and object and place that has appeared. If you’re a fan and you’ve got an iPad it’s (probably) a must get.

If $6.99 seems a little high, then go over to appshopper.com and set up an alert to mail you if the price goes down. Now that they have all the new episodes integrated into it, I don’t really see that happening for a while, and probably only a dollar or two; remember right now is still $2 cheaper than the cheapest it every was before (and it was as high as $21).

They say they’ve updated for iOS 6 and the iPad mini too, so if you’ve had any problems this update might fix them.

Written By: Gary on November 23, 2012 No Comment

The Early Edition 2 works OFF-LINE for news reading!!! You don’t need WiFi to use it, just to sync it! So if you have the data plan (or even if you don’t have a data plan), you can sync beforehand and not pay for any data! This pre-caching makes it really fast to use, it’s slow at the beginning when it’s pulling stories and images down, but once it’s down , you don’t have to wait for a thing. Even if it didn’t have this feature, it’s great for news reading of any topics you might be interested in.

And it syncs with Google Reader, I haven’t tried that yet. (I should, I use Google Reader all the time). I think the choices are GoogleReader or stand alone, no integration.

early-edition-2.jpgI love this app, I can’t decide if it’s #1 or #2 of my favorite news readers. But this is the one I use sometimes when I’m in the house, but all the times when I’m out the of the house. As I put my iPad in the sleeve, I run Early Edition 2, so it syncs with my WiFi as I’m heading out, then when I get somewhere, even if they don’t have WiFi, I have pages and pages of things I’m interested to read on my retina iPad. If you want to do this, be sure to set the settings for “Preload Images” to “ON”, or else you won’t have any images there and under “General” I set “Autofetch Options” to run “Every Launch”. (I set my “image frequency” to “Most”). There are separate settings for 3G (I assume that include LTE, 4G and HSPA+) so that it doesn’t automatically fetch and cache images.

It’s got settings for “Unread” news, “Today” or “All” news. I use “Unread” and in the settings I have it set to ‘if I see the headline, it counts as read’. So if I see something interesting, I have to read it then (or star it for later).

early-edition-2-page.jpg

It’s got great sharing options: Twitter, Instapaper, Readability, Facebook, Pinboard, Delicious, RedItLater and Evernote. I’m not on-line, I just mail a link to myself (I always forget if I star something off-line if it remembers it for later).

My biggest complaint: When reading an article I click it to go full screen (you have to or you don’t see enough) and I can swipe for the next article (if I want it). BUT to close an article I have to move my finger to the very tippy-top of the screen and click “done”, it needs something different (double-tap on the white space or anywhere that isn’t clickable) to close an article.

Downside on the setup: It’s a little awkward to manage your sections. Once you learn it, it’s okay, but it takes a little bit. It’s worth it though!

$4.99 is a little pricey though. I think it’s worth it. It goes on sale occasionally (but not often and not for long)

Written By: Gary on November 21, 2012 No Comment

Many Electronic Arts games are way on sale today. Their annual Thanksgiving sale seems to be the best year round, it may last throughout the weekend; no promises for how long it will last, so get them before it runs out. scrabble-badge-notification.png
I listed some of the most popular ones that are $0.99, these games go on sale occasionally but never cheaper than this. Scrabble for iPad is often between $4.99 and $9.99, so 99 cents is a great deal.

Personally, my favorite is Scrabble, which will connect to Facebook play against the computer or you can play multi-player and use other iPads, iPhones or iPod touches as tile racks, local network play and it supports GameCenter (but I’m not sure how that part works). I occasionally pull out Boggle too, which is way easier to play than in real life since it knows if the odd words are actually words. The classic game SimCity (the Sim before all others!) is pretty great too!

I see Scrabble for Kindle is 99 cents, they might be on sale for your Android devices too, so check out your on-line store.

I own many of them but the only ones that have gotten a real bit of play is: Scrabble, Boggle, Lemonade Tycoon and SimCity.

What Electronic Arts games do you play?

Written By: Gary on August 21, 2012 No Comment

What’s the cost difference between purchasing an iPhone and an iPad? Not just the cost but what are you missing between one product and another. We’re going to talk about price first, but you need to remember an iPhone is not $199, it’s $649 for an unlocked world phone. A subsidized iPhone with a contract is $649. We’re talking prices of the latest models with 16GB (the lowest). On one hand, why would you buy an iPhone without a plan? But on the other hand, why would you buy an iPad with cellular and not activate it? But if you need a smartphone with a data plan anyways, you’re really only going to pay $199, but it’s not fair for me to compare those numbers.

Why am I focusing on this aspect of the pricing? Because if people see an iPhone (with contract) for $199 and last years iPad for $399, it just seems obvious that they could make a $299 tablet in-between the size. But when you compare a $199 8GB iPod Touch and a $199 16GB iPhone (with lots more features) it doesn’t’ seem so clear.

iPhone 4S For Dummies Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitusSo right there, the prices are remarkably similar: an iPad with cellular is $629 and the iPhone is $649, pretty much the same price. That’s interesting when you consider the screen size of the iPad is more than four times the size of the iPhone and the battery is pretty huge too.

What other differences do we have between the two models: the camera flash (not on iPad), the vibrator for alerts / calls (not on iPad), the phone (not on iPad), battery life (I think the iPad has much longer life), camera on iPhone better than iPad (not sure if iPad lenses are as nice as iPhone), digital compass (not certain, but not listed in tech specs for iPad) and maybe a few others I missed. All these differences have been there for the last several years, not just the latest models. While the specific number of mega-pixels changes, the iPhone camera has always been better. I’m specifically not talking about LTE as a difference as it’s expected the Fall 2012 iPhone (6) will have this feature and the phones (and iPads) have stayed at the same prices for several years.

iPad For Dummies Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitusFrom an electronics cost standpoint that screen and battery have got to cost a lot more for the iPad. The iPhone has all those features, but none of them seem super expensive; don’t forget the IPhone does require the additional electronics for making a phone call, but you can get that (and vibrate) in a $19 pay as you go phone. But still, it seems like the pricing is quite similar. So is the iPhone overpriced or is the iPad underpriced?

If you drop the cellular for the iPad it goes down to $499, but you lose the cellular and the GPS. You can still get the 16GB iPad 2 for $399, but it’s got the non-retina display and the cameras aren’t as nice.

Switching gears a little: Let’s factor in the iPod Touch, it’s more of a poor iPad Jr., but it’s only $199 for 8GB ($299 for 32GB). iPod touch For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) Tony BoveIt’s got the same size/resolution screen as an iPhone (but it’s not as nice quality, contrast, or brightness, and no oleophobic coating), it’s got significantly lower quality cameras, no GPS, no vibrate, and no compass, but somehow they make it for $199 (it didn’t get a refresh of any significance last year, but these specs are still below the previous year iPhone). Still a lot of power for $199 (I think it used to be $229 or $219).

So what does that mean if the rumors are true and they make an iPad mini? For $299 can they decrease the size of the iPad 2 screen / memory or (depending on how you look at it) increase the size of the iPod Touch? I think so. I don’t know what that says for what they’ll do about camera quality, but I really think they can make a smaller 7-8 inch tablet for $299. They can’t go much higher without getting too close to the $399 iPad 2 pricing and they want to stay closer to the other tablet pricing (the Kindle Fire is $199). If they could go $249, they’d have the market (IMHO), I don’t see them going to $199 unless they have some way to subsidize an iPad Mini (data, video, etc).

Back to comparing the iPhone and the iPod touch: It’s really really hard for me to see the price jump up to an iPhone for $649 (to compare fairly, the 32GB iPod Touch is $299 and the 32GB iPhone is $749), that’s $450 more for cellular, GPS, vibrate, nicer screen, nicer camera, compass and a bigger battery. I could probably buy a Kindle Fire, GPS and camera for $450 (that’s 3 more screens and 3 more batteries) and integrating them would certainly be cheaper especially since Apple is already doing it with the iPhone, so production costs are already reduced.
I’m assuming R&D, manufacturing and shipping costs to be proportionately similar between these devices. But with such similarities between these products, I assume there is lots of savings too.

And back to the iPod Touch: I do think this means an update for the iPod touch, price drop (or both) or removal from the product line (or rename it the iPad Jr.). I don’t see the removal as being likely, it’s a good way to recruit younger kids into the iOS family. For a while it looked like they might make it into a gaming machine but that marketing disappeared after a while. Last year got a while iPod touch, but the breakdowns revealed very little compared to last years models.

Did I leave any differences out? Anything else I should mention in regards to hardware?

Written By: Gary on August 1, 2012 No Comment

Apple quietly put in BlueTooth 4.0 into it’s last few iPhone and iPads and most of it’s recent laptops and has barely said a word about it. What makes BT 4.0 so different? Part of it is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it uses much less energy than the previous BlueTooth options (and can go farther).

170px-Bluetooth.svg.pngSo it’s been almost a year since Apple put BT 4.0 in the iPhone 4s and they haven’t really done anything with it. I don’t think they’ve even done new versions of the Wireless Keyboard or the Magic Trackpad. Apple, when you do update these place make it easier to keep them turned off, I hate when my keyboard in the trunk of my car gets bumped and turned on and then I can’t type on my iPhone or iPad since they’re connected!

Rumors have been crazy for the last few years that Apple is going to do some kind of “use your iPhone to pay for things” option. But the rumors keep inferring that they’ll add something to the iPhone for this (NFC – Near Field Communication). My opinion is that this is incorrect, they’ve already got a wireless option in the iPhone, Bluetooth 4.0 (or they’ll use one of the wireless chips already in the phone).

Why do I think this? Because if they want people to adopt a system in stores and businesses to use the iPhone, they need many many users out there using this. Well, this fall they’ll have the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 6 will all have this feature (and nothing to stop them from adding this to the iPhone 4). It’s also likely that these three phones will be the all that will still be sold by Apple and it’s carriers (just like now at $0, $99 and $199). How’s that for an established user base?!?

The biggest concern is that Bluetooth data travels much much farther than NFC (many feet compared to several inches), but Apple may have a way around that (I’m not sure if they. I’m not even really sure why they want/need a wireless technology for this. My Mobile SpeedPass and my tap option on my credit card does almost the same thing, it just needs to be a little closer to work (yes, those are older technologies and probably need to be updated and more secure).

PS – I don’t think I’m supposed to capitalize the T in Bluetooth

Written By: Gary on May 5, 2012 No Comment

This stellar planetarium in your pocket is an application called Star Walk, and it’s only 99 cents on the iPhone, this is normally $2.99 and worth it for the price (the cheapest I’ve ever seen). It’s also available for the iPad for $1.99 (which is much cheaper than the usual $4.99).

starwalk.pngThis is listed as a Mother’s day sale so I’m not sure when it’s ending, that’s not for a week (right?!?) and that would be a long sale (unless they got their weeks mixed up!).

I did a much longer Star Walk review a year ago with many screen captures and a lot more information that you’ll have to read for all the details.

This is a planetarium in your pocket. If you device has a the GPS and gyroscope, you just tilt it up at the sky and it will identify what you’re point it. It’s awesome! There are some similar products, but I think this might be the most polished.

Other than some small bits of information (and the space image of the day) you DO not need to be connected to the internet to use this information. So this is useful anywhere you can see the stars!!!

Written By: Gary on May 1, 2012 No Comment

Last week I announced their Birds app as 99 cents, the price has gone up but many other related apps have dropped in price. See the Audubon apps by Green Mountain Digital.

Audubon Birds Field Guide for iPad and iPhone is only $2.99 cents! The second best price ever they’ve ever had. This is their 606 MB huge book (app) that’s is normally $19.99. audobonbirds.png

Another interesting choice is the deluxe Audubon Guides – A Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Wildflowers, and Trees for only $14.99 this is normally $39.99 (but occasionally on-sale for $24.99-$19.99) and this combines their four main apps (books?). But this huge multi-book app weighs in at 1.3 GB (that’s a big chuck of space if you’ve only got an 8GB iOS device).

If you want to see what these apps are like, the North American Owls app is free!

If you’re looking for Butterflies, Insects or Fish (or Tropical Fish), those are on-sale too!

This is one of those deals you should pick up even if you’re into birds/nature/etc. and thinking of getting an iPad or iPhone in the future (assuming you’re interested in birds/nature at all). It’ll be hard to beat these prices.

FYI, I think most (except the Owls?) run natively on the iPad and iPhone, but please double-check before buying!

And the 5 Audubon apps/books available for Android on on-sale at Amazon too.

Written By: Gary on November 4, 2011 No Comment

I have a confession to make. My favorite iPhone app is made by… (wait for it!) Microsoft! Yes, I said the “M” word! This program is awesome and easy for creating 360° panoramas, it’s called Photosynth. Actually, it’s more than 360°, it’s right/left and up/down and all the pieces in-between. I’m going to call it 720° panoramas, okay?

This is the last one I did, and it’s actually one of the better ones. Other than looking straight down, it’s pretty much perfect. Just so you know, the app calculates everything on the phone before you upload and share it. Plus, it tags it with your location. Once it’s on the website you can point out certain highlights (buildings, bridges, etc.). It’s amazing!

Direct link to the Hart Plaza 720° Photosynth.

To view them, it appears you need MicroSoft Silverlight or HTML 5 (at least the latter is why I think you can view it on an iPhone that does not have the app installed).

You can view all of my Photosynths at the Msoft Photosynth site.

Also, from the web site, you can specify where you were and what you were facing, I see that making for some interactive hopping from Photosyth “bubble” to “bubble”…

Direct link to the Deserted Warehouse 720° Photosynth.

The second one is a deserted building that I like in Downtown Detroit. It’s where I took the lost bride photo

This is the first time I tried to embed them and it looks pretty good so far. Please let me know if you have problems viewing them. And I’m also interested in how they might view on your mobile devices.

Update: I couldn’t view the embedded Photosynths on my iPhone so I added direct links. Those seem to work fine.

Written By: Gary on August 4, 2011 No Comment

I love the camera on the iPhone, while it’s not the best digital camera I’ve owned, it’s always with me and it’s lots better than others that I’ve owned*. I’ve taken well over 400 photos in the last two months (actually it’s got an okay flash, a digital zoom, tap to focus, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and a huge screen. And don’t forget that it’s also a HD 720p video camera, for a while it was the best video camera I ever owned (and the only one with a light). Factor in that you can upload (Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook) and e-mail photos / videos instantly, it’s pretty amazing. That’s not even factoring in optional photo and video editing apps.

flowers-IMG_0877.JPG

I actually chose the HDR photo because of the additional detail from the water droplets. While I like the color of the flowers I actually like the color a tiny bit more in the non-HDR version. HDR on the iPhone (almost) instantly takes several photos at different settings to brighten the dark spots and darken the bright spots, giving you a wider range (they do take longer to save).

So these are some flowers out in front of the school where I work. I thought they were looking pretty good for no one really maintaing them in the summer (it’s a student project) with the whacky weather we’ve been having (melting or flooding) so they became the focus of today’s 31 photos in 31 days photo.

reg-zoom-flower-IMG_0876.png hdr-zoom-flower-IMG_0877.png

Above you can see two photos zoomed in on the same area, notice the additional detail of the water droplets on the right had side of the image when you compare the two (image on the right is the HDR version).

So it’s a great camera and I’m always taking pictures with it, even when I have other cameras with me.

* My iPhone is a hundred times better than the first digital camera that I owned, a $600 Casio QV-10 in 1996 (world’s first digital camera that includes a TFT display), which was 640×480 (iPhone 4 has 2592×1936 pixels) and had a proprietary graphics format that you had to convert to JPEG. This camera had no flash, no real zoom and ate AA batteries like they were candy. A feature it did have was that it had a video out; I remember taking pictures at a wedding and hooking it up to a huge projector that happened to be at the reception for some other kind of slideshow, I was the hit of the party (and the photographer said he was going to go get one for his next wedding).

Written By: Gary on June 22, 2011 No Comment

So when driving during rush hours, I listen to WWJ 950 AM for traffic reports on the 8’s. But the don’t get a chance to report every problem every report and sometimes I miss the last report as I’m walking out the door. So I also subscribe (for free) to Traffic.com (which is run or sponsored by NAVTEQ) and they send me text alerts during the time frame that I select (Usually about the hour before I need to be there). Usually if they don’t send me one, the ride is pretty good, so it’s been very helpful. If they do send me one, I pay attention to the on-ramp before I get on the highway or if they say it’s really bad, I’ll take an alternate route.

traffictext

It’s just traffic for the expressway part, and they think I have 9 minutes on the express way and there is a 2 minute delay (total 11). I think they’re being generous, my experience is to double or triple the number they use for the delay; plus, it’s never 9 minutes on the expressway unless it’s the middle of the day or late at night.

As you can see there is a number to call and there is also a mobile web site at mobi.traffic.com, but I’ve never used those. For me, the text is just enough to tell me that if I’m in a hurry that I might have some delays. But I have a relatively short ride, when there is no traffic, it’s just during rush hour that it stinks, and I’ve got limited options.

They’ve also got an Traffic.com iPhone app (and an ad-free version for $3) and one for Blackberry.

I can see my routes (from the web site) on the iPhone app and it tells me how bad the traffic is. This is helpful for routes that I take often, but not often enough to where I want text messages. I use this for for a quick glance when heading to the doctor’s office after work so that I’m not late.

The thing is, when it texts me, I remember; when I have to look at the app, I forget…

Written By: Gary on May 24, 2011 No Comment

Am I silly for wanting this?  It’s Seagate’s new GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage. It lets me have 500 GB of storage for my iPhone!!!

The 500 GB portable hard drive wirelessly connects to any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device, and can be used to store music, movies, pictures and documents of various types.Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage STBF500101-Black Seagate

iOS users can then access that media using a free companion app from the App Store designed specifically for use with the GoFlex hardware. If you’re using an Android or other device, you can access your media using a web browser. The GoFlex Satellite can stream media to up to three devices at a time (great for family road trips), has a battery life of 5 hours of continuous streaming (or 25 hours in standby mode) and retails for $199.99.

via Mobile Technology News.

I read about this a week ago and just keep thinking I should order it!! I think more storage is just the geeky version of wanting bigger power tools!

Written By: Gary on May 23, 2011 No Comment

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It let’s me snap a photo, but doesnt seem so easy if I already took a great photo that I want to post.

(This is the wall and dresser in my bedroom. Why? Because I’m in bed.)

Later: Need a better way to adjust the photo size, it’s a little too big.

Written By: Gary on May 20, 2011 No Comment

So I recently downloaded Onavo for my iPhone. It cuts down on your data usage by compressing cellular data on the fly. I guess it zips up the text and lowers the quality of images (I usually don’t notice, but sometimes I do) SprintPCS used to do this on their 1G(?) network and it was great.

onavo.jpgI’m getting over 50% overall compression. It’s free but it’s likely they’ll eventually start charging (so try it now, while it’s free!). But if you’re just squeaking by on a 250 MB plan, this could keep you from jumping up to the next plan at $10 more a month, I assumed it’d be less than $5 a month(?). Most apps it’s compresses 70-80%, others no compression and some others at 30-50%. It works on the iPad too. It’s compression on the downloading, not on the uploading. It says that it has no effect on tethering.

I love it! I actually think it speeds my data up (if it’s only pushing half of it around, but they aren’t marketing it that way). It doesn’t touch secure data and doesn’t appear to touch your mail unless you specifically enable it (and it has to be MS Exchange); it converts your e-mails to text, but I actually think that’s better on the smaller screen. I did just change my gMail config to use the MS Exchange protocol to test it out (Google does support this); I’m getting 50+% compression.

I have the data unlimited plan so this isn’t such an issue for me, but I might be tempted to pay for a international data plan next time I travel. Although, now that I look at the list, I don’t see Costa Rica in the list, I thought it was there before…

I’m grandfathered in on the unlimited plan with ATT, but I have friends considering the iPhone 5 (4s?) whom 250MB might not be enough, but 500MB could certainly be enough. Sometimes I think it might be eating my data more, but I’ve been forcing the phone to stay on 3G and not join any WiFi networks so that I can see the savings.

Written By: Gary on May 18, 2011 No Comment

I saw the Hasbro my3D at the store yesterday and just had to have it. It makes for an interesting interactive 3D experience. Hasbro 362190000 my3D Viewer for iPod Touch and iPhone - White Hasbro CEYou need an iPhone or iPod Touch to use it and I think it works better with the newer ones that have the gyroscope built-in. But there are a half-dozen my3D apps you can get from the Apple App store for free and a few you can pay for; as of today five my3D apps are free and one is 99 cents and another is $4.99 (both have free “lite” versions). A few months ago, they were giving all the games away for free, so I grabbed them while they were free(!)

Sector 17 is the space game, looks pretty cool and is fun for the bit that I played with it. The image below is the two halves of the image that I was looking at alternating; if you can alternately wink at three-tenths of a second, it probably looks 3D to you.

sector-17-ani.gif

All the games have no more than two buttons to play (where your thumbs stick into the device), but you do a lot of head tilting and spinning around to make some of the games work. Sector 17 and 360° Sharks really require standing. Sector 17 has a “couch mode” but it’s a lot harder to play; I believe not having a gyroscope model if the iDevice is like playing in “couch mode”. My old first generation iPod Touch (I think it’s 1st gen) works with the few games I tried.

shark-360.jpg

They’ve got a pretty good thing going here, $35 for a hunk of plastic and a few games, plus they’ll charge you for more games in the future. At 99 cents, I’d probably buy most of them to try it out, at $4.99 I’d probably try the lite version until I was bored (for $4.99 the space game does look pretty cool).

There is a Teleport L.A. game (that is more for kids) on a pier in Los Angeles which is all 3D 360° that you can pan around, this would be cooler if it were the Grand Canyon, the Moon or the Pyramids! And there is another more kid-like game called Bubble Bolt that you can roll around in a hamster ball collecting points. The iamge below is how is it looks on your iPhone screen.

teleport-la-both frames.PNG

A game called ShatterStorm is like the classic Tempest, but I thought it was a little hard to control. Spinning my head around like I did the controller back in the ’80s just doesn’t work for me.

There are separate snap on trays trays for different iDevice models (they could be labeled better) and there is a open cutout for the camera on my iPhone 4, so some interactive 3D VR type games are a possibility!

Pluses:

  • I don’t need my (reading) glasses to use it.
  • It’s 3D and 3D is cool!

Downsides:

  • I have to remove my iPhone from the case to use it.
  • Lots of game load times, these programs are very large (one was 500 MB!) and they have lots of loading time between levels and menus.

  • The default volume for the music in the background is very loud (it drowns out the game sounds), but it’s all adjustable (and so is the sound effects volume).
  • The games seem to work better if you have the model with the gyroscope, it’s more intuitive; you just look verses tilting your head. Although some games like the Tempest clone are just tilting your head left or right.

It’s actually cheaper shipped on-line (via Target at Amazon) then at the store (I paid $35), I asked at the counter but they wouldn’t match their own price (“that’s just to compete with other on-line services”), but I guess it didn’t matter, I bought it anyways. The plastic part will come down in price, they actually have a unique code on the viewfinder you need to input (one time) into a game before you play it.

UPDATE: And as of the update a few minutes ago, my3D Sector 17 started working with Apple’s Game Center. Also, this app has shrunk in size (from 434MB to 270MB).

Written By: Gary on April 10, 2011 5 Comments

Last month I saw the HP LaserJet Pro CP1525nw Color Laser Printer on sale so I picked one up. Why?

  • Because I don’t have a color printer set up (inkjet printers usually dry out before I use them all),
  • I wanted a network printer (I gave Mom my networked laser printer so she could keep it in my old bedroom instead of at her desk) and this one also has WiFi,
  • I wanted to be able to directly print to the printer via an Apple Macintosh (not routing it through a Windows PC),
  • I wanted it to print directly from my iPhone (and my future iPad)
  • and it was only $150 plus tax!!!!

The darn thing got to my house in under 48 hours and it didn’t cost anything for shipping.

cp1525nw.pngThe one I received needed the firmware updated (maybe that’s part of the cheaper price?) but that only took a few minutes. It works great. It was easy to put together and I can print from my iPhone!

What else can I tell you: It’s also built-in Ethernet, wireless 802.11b/g/n and USB connections. And it’s got some other kind of feature that you can set up so you can e-mail files to it via HP ePrint. It’s got 4.3 stars our of 5 at HP.com and about about the same at Amazon (but it’s $70 more).

The huge benefit is when I’m looking at an e-mail or web page, I don’t need to remember to go back later and print it, it just does it for me then. And my e-mails and web pages look just like I printed them from my computer. The photos print small though (maybe 3″ x 5″?) but they look great. I wish the iPhone would let me print while on the go and then sync up to the printer when I got home (that’s the way it works on the computer); I’m sure that will come in a later version. I’m almost tempted to get a second one because that would get me 4 spare toner cartridges at only $37.50 apiece.

So the color wireless HP LaserJet printer is only $150 until the 15th of April, 2011 so if you’re thinking of a new printer get it. It’s worth it for the cost of toner alone…

Written By: Gary on April 9, 2011 No Comment

This amazing planetarium in your pocket is an application called Star Walk, and it’s only 99 cents on the iPhone until April 12, 2011, this is normally $2.99 and worth it for the price. It’s the 50th anniversary of spaceflight and they’re celebrating by giving us a deal! It’s also available for the iPad for $4.99.

starwalk.pngStar Walk shows you all the stars and constellations, just by holding it up to the sky and pointing, it’s amazing! It uses the GPS for hassle free alignment, on other models it’ll use the gyroscope to have you set it up and then it’s supposed to follow along from there. Plus, it calculates this all based on where you are all with no internet connection required*.

starwalk1.PNG
This is the startup screen (called “sky live”).

starwalk2.PNG starwalk3.PNG
Two views holding my phone to the East (one above and one below the horizon).

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A portion of the animated detail screen for Betelguese (internet not needed).

They also have a another app just for our Solar System called Solar Walk (3D Solar System model) which is more detail on just our solar system. It’s $2.99 but it’s universal and runs on iPad and iPhone; and they make Solar Walk for Mac but no Star Walk (yet!).

* Additional information (beyond the paragraphs and stats that are included) on planets (and stars?) is available and does require internet. Also the astronomy picture of the day requires the internet.

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2011 One Comment

If you don’t know by now, I’m a Macintosh fan as in: “Hi! My name is Gary and I’m a Mac User…”. This is from last week’s Friday Question, but I never got around to it.

I was a PC user before I used Mac and when I say PC, I mean DOS user, not Windows. Actually, I used Windows before that, but I wasn’t really a fan at the time, I think the last machine that I had was a laptop with floppy (no hard drive) that I had a crazy way set up to boot it and put some of Microsoft Works in the RAM drive and then I stuck in disc 2 with the dictionary and room for some documents (or something like that).

Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Apple ComputerBut where I was doing work they were Macintosh so I was always converting my word processing files back and forth and couldn’t do any of the HyperCard* stuff at home, so I picked up a used MacPlus with an external hard drive and never looked back. That was probably nineteen years ago..?

Since then, I’ve owned (or work owned) a Mac Classic, IIcx, PowerPC 610, PowerPC 6100, MacBook Duo 280c (with a docking station at home and work) that I eventually converted to a Duo 2300, a monster PowerBook G3 (it was more lugable than a laptop), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first with a DVD burner), iBook 12 inch, PowerBook 12 inch (2 different models), MacBook 13.3 inch and for a few weeks a MacBook Air 10.6 inch (I returned it since it didn’t have enough storage for me (awesome machine though). I could ramble more about models and printers and stuff, but I did this in a Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday Macintosh! post a few years ago.

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. I’ve never been one to jump on their new things, but I do grow to love them. I waited until the color iPod before getting one. I waited until the third iPhone (the 3Gs) before getting one (and that was after specifically getting a iPod Touch to try out for a few months first since I didn’t really want to switch to AT&T at the time).

My MacBook is my main computer, my desktop is a little old, I think it’s ten years old and while it’s gotten a few processor upgrades, memory and hard drives, it’s more convenient to have everything on my laptop.

But my MacBook is getting a little old too, it’s just over three years old and I’m looking around. I’ll probably upgrade my MacBook this summer, if they come out with a new one (or else I’ll get the MacBook Pro)_, but I’m hoping they’ll do a new education promo with a free iPod touch again.

*Hypercard was one of the most amazing pieces of development software ever! You could learn how to do some pretty incredible programs without learning too much coding.

Written By: Gary on March 18, 2011 No Comment

I thought the ice looked amazing flowing down the Detroit River in the sunshine yesterday. So I snapped a few photos and videos with my iMazing iPhone and here you go..

ice-river-IMG_2794.JPG

Just a couple of clips showing the ice floating down the river. If you don’t find it interesting, I promise it gets more boring the longer it plays…


Watch it on YouTube in HD.

 

I actually edited and did the voice over (second part) on the video with iMovie on the iPhone 4 (and uploaded it too!).

ice-flow-IMG_2829.JPG

That’s all, sadly, I don’t count on it being this sunny today…

Written By: Gary on March 7, 2011 No Comment

So, I was really considering the iPad a year ago. I thought it looked amazing as devices go.
hands_pad.jpg

But I decided that “I think I’ll pass this time around” and “it doesn’t have a camera of any sort. Yet…”

Now it’s a year later and I think I’m ready to take the plunge. It’s faster, two times faster and the graphics are nine times faster (does the nine contribute towards the two?). It’s got the front facing camera and the 720p HD video camera.

What doesn’t it have? A lot of things, but I can get past those little things. But there are two things I wish it had: a higher resolution display and a smaller size. A higher resolution would have guaranteed that I’d purchase the top of the line, as it is now, I’m not sure what model to get. I also wish it were smaller, I could work with a 7″ version just fine.

What makes me crazy with Apple on these things is that the 16 GB model is $500, it’s a $100 more for 32 GB model (that’s $100 for 16 GB more) but it’s only another $100 for the 64 GB model, why is that 32 GB half the price? I need something extra for that first extra $100, like a flash or a better rear camera.

So it’s going to cost me at least $500 for the unit (up to $829), probably $100 in accessories (HD out, SD/USB reader and cover) and I’m sure I’ll pick up some applications (another $50) like: The Elements and while Solar Walk is iPad ready, it looks like I’ll have to re-buy Star Walk. I already pre-purchased some iPad apps, like Scrabble (so maybe I’ll get into that again) and SimCity when there were some sales or promotions.

And I’ll need the new iMovie. And Pages, Numbers and Keynote. There goes another $35. And probably Garage Band, even though I’ll never use it other than to show others how cool it is…

And I have to figure out if I want it in black or white. I’ll probably do the homage to the iBook and get it in white, if it’s available…

Written By: Gary on February 28, 2011 One Comment

So I had to show my Mom how to operate my digital SLR for this one. It came out pretty good. This is at the lower falls in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

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I thought the colors stayed pretty good for converting this to an animated GIF, if you click the image for a larger version it looks pretty good too. I used GIFQuickMaker, which I got from the MacApp store.

Yeah, I know I’ve shown you high-def video of a similar thing not so long ago (but I’m in Montezuma again, so I’m doing it again), but I’m playing with the photos and animation software so you get it again.

Written By: Gary on January 17, 2011 3 Comments

This week’s question is What do you use for your alarm clock – an actual alarm clock or your phone (or maybe the sun, your kids, your pet, other)?

Sleep is a complicated issue for me, I like a fan or a white noise machine (fortunately there’s a White Noise app* for that) to help me sleep. whitenoise-app.pngGenerally I sleep with a fan on, that automatically turns itself off about 10 minutes before the alarm clock; if I got enough sleep, sometimes that’s enough to wake me up. Then a few minutes later a bright “natural” light turns itself on. Then the alarms start going off, the alarm clock (with the traffic report), then the phone alarm, then the alarm clock CD player (currently an upbeat Avril song is playing), then the phone again. And my friend Mark will call sometimes to make sure I’m up…

There is (generally) a new Friday Question every Friday.

* The White Noise iPhone app I mentioned is great, it’s got lots of sounds (I like the white noise) and timers (countdown, alarms, etc.). It’s quite possibly the best $2 I’ve spent in the app store.

Written By: Gary on December 30, 2010 No Comment

I’m not sure what kind of playback unit this is, probably digital, but it doesn’t look like it. The screen was only about 4 or 5 inches diagonal and had some kind of touchscreen interface. It looked like it was ancient and belonged in a rack in an old TV studio.

Now while I’m picking on it, I do realize this was probably pretty cool technology when it came out. But these days the could probably just be using a $200 iPod touch for it. That’s probably 15 pounds they’re not flying around for hundreds of thousands of miles a year (a month?). And while they’re at it, ditch these old TV monitors (that weigh a ton) and put in some cheap LCD screens that barely weigh anything…

Watch in HD

The audio isn’t that great, I’m kinda hoarse and the plan is kinda noisy.

Please note, I shot this with my iPhone on the plane, uploaded it to YouTube (via GoGo) and typed this text and posted it while sitting on a plane. That is so cool (IMHO).

Written By: Gary on December 30, 2010 No Comment

Skype 3.0 has now been released for the iPhone and it now supports video! Of course it supports the front and rear cameras on the iPhone 4! And it does the calls over 3G too! And it’s free. What are you waiting for? Go get Skype with video right now…

What’s New in Version 3.0
Improvements:

  • Make Skype to Skype video calls on WiFi and 3G*

  • Call Skype desktop users (Mac OS X or Windows) and other iPhone users.
  • Two-way video calls supported on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 4th gen.
  • Receive only video supported on iPad and iPod touch 3rd gen, with no camera.
  • Make video calls in portrait and landscape.
  • kype video calling requires iOS 4.0 or above.
    *Additional Data charges may apply

What more can I say other than go try it out?

Actually, I could say “Where was this for the last 10 days when I was in Costa Rica?!?“.

Written By: Gary on December 23, 2010 One Comment

The Word Lens application is amazing, one of the best uses of augmented reality yet! word-lens-logo.pngYou just point it at a sign (or any text) and it removes the words that are there and superimposes the translation over the old text.

The program is free and if you want to test it out, it’s two translation modes: “erase the text” and “reverse the letters”, while not very useful, make a great demonstration. The Spanish-to-English dictionary is $9.99 (they also have English-to-Spanish for an additional $9.99).

spanish-sign-word-lens.jpg
Here’s the sign that was taped up that I wanted to read.

It’s not the best video, but I really wanted to demonstrate this in a real world example. And since in the middle of recording the video I realized it was time for my bus, it’s pretty real world…

You’ll want to make the video full screen to actually be able to read it (and maybe you’ll need to pause it to really see what’s going on).

As I said you’ll want to look at it full screen (in HD) or you won’t be able to see the action on the iPHone screeen, so be sure not to just watch the embedded version.

I forgot to mention, no internet connection is required to use it! Once you purchase a dictionary it’s on your device (I assume it runs on the iPod touch with the camera also), it’s actually got a “dictionary” where you can look up words.

UPDATE: Also available for Android devices and Glass.

UPDATE: Now they also have Russian, Portuguese, German, Italian, and French available. To be clear the program translates back and forth between English and the other languages, but does not translate between the other languages (yet!).

Written By: Gary on October 31, 2010 No Comment

So a nice free video player came out for the iPhone (which also works on the iPad and iPod Touch) called VLC Media Player;
vlc-iphone.png
it’s the video player for Macintosh and Windows (IMHO).

What’s great about this program? It lets you play all sorts of video files on your iDevice without converting them first. The other bonus is that it lets you delete them when you are done, freeing up space for photos and video. It plays more than a few formats, but if you try some high-def Blu-Ray files it’s not going to have enough power to play them.

Here’s the problem, it might get pulled from the iTunes store due to some weird legalities*. So download it now. I actually think it’s been out for the iPad for a while, but it just came out for the

* Short answer with small words – The (source code) software is free and the program can must be freely distributed, but technically the iTunes app store puts on protection, so technically it’s not freely distributed, you must have an iTunes account.

Written By: Gary on July 10, 2010 One Comment

I like using a NewsReader on my iPhone (or iPod Touch) and one of my favorites is Doppler. It’s easy to use and it synchronizes with Google Reader so it makes off-line reading easy to do. So this means that when you read an article it marks it as read on Google so you don’t end up reading it again.

doppler.175x175-75.jpgIt caches all your RSS feeds for off-line reading so it’s pretty fast when you’re going through the news since it cached it in advance; but this means you do click to click on the link a minute before you’re ready to read since it doesn’t download in the background. I usually tap it before I leave the house since it’s faster on the WiFi, even if I don’t read it soon, it’s cached most of the recent articles so that when I do sync over 3G it’s already got most of the new news…

TIP: When configuring to sync with Google it lists all your individual feeds at the top of the list, but if you scroll to the bottom of the list you can choose your “folders” as defined in Google Ready

I’m mentioning this software today because it’s free for download until July 20th, 2010. It’s worth the money, but free is better, isn’t it?

Written By: Gary on May 8, 2010 No Comment

This is for Photo Friday and this week’s theme is “The Coast”. This is actually just a series of photos (7 or 8) taken with my iPhone 3gs and stitched together with the AutoStitch Panorama app.

the-coast-photo-friday-IMG_0016.JPG

This photo was taken north of St. Pete Beach, FL. Possibly Medina?. Click it for a 1200 pixel wide version. A few stitching problems due to everyone not standing still but still a nice photo considering I was shooting into the sun during the evening.

the-coast-photo-friday-IMG_0015.JPG

The second photo is the same photo, but just before cropping.

Written By: Gary on April 1, 2010 One Comment

Many Electronic Arts games appear to be on sale today. It’s looking like an Easter sale, up to 80% off, so it may be throughout the weekend; no promises though… scrabble-badge-notification.png

  • Scrabble $2.99
  • Dragon’s Lair $2.99
  • Monopoly $2.99
  • BattleShip $1.99
  • Connect Four $1.99
  • Life $1.99
  • Boggle $0.99
  • Yahtzee $1.99
  • Spore Origins $0.99
  • And a few more.

    I only own a few: Scrabble is awesome (and lets you play over the Internet via Facebook) I did a review here, Boggle, Lemonade Tycoon and Sim City are all pretty good. Do you play any of the EA games?

    * These are affiliate links, so I get a (very) small kickback if you buy one of these. But it is a really good deal on some of these games.

  • Written By: Gary on March 7, 2010 No Comment

    How could you not want one of these? The ad makes it feels like it’s something out of Star Trek and that’s before they run the Star Trek movie promo clip!!

    Direct link to the Apple iPad commercial. hands_pad.jpg

    Actually, I think I’ll pass this time around. I’d ditch my iPhone if it were a phone, but really don’t need another device to carry around and I have a laptop. To get the GPS it sounds like you need the 3G card (otherwise it just uses the WiFi for an estimate). And it doesn’t have a camera of any sort. Yet…

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