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Geeks of the world unite!!

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Geeks of the world unite!  It takes some guts and skill to develop a game around Erwin Schrödinger classic cat experiment designed to illustrate the incompletenes of the theory of quantum mechanics. Enter SouthPeak Games vision of Schrödinger's Rat (.99).  Head spinning yet?  Your IQ might just end up a couple points higher on the Wechsler Scale if you play this game a lot.



A new Cat in the Hat

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I continue to find gems in educational apps, and here's a great example - OceanHouse Media's reimagined eBook for Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat ($3.99), and a number of other books too.



World's largest iPhone app giveaway — over 1,000 app codes

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In honor of their recent 2009 Best App Ever Awards, the website 148Apps has just launched "the world's largest iPhone app promo code contest to give away over 1,000 iPhone apps and games." They're giving away 1,000 promo codes for over 110 different applications and games that were either winners or nominees in the competition. The giveaway will run through February, with winners being announced every few days.



A different kind of self-portrait

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Most people take self-portraits by pointing the camera into a mirror. Not much fun in that.

One photo technique that isn't used very much is ... looking down. Yep. Look at the ground. You'll find some very interesting stuff there ... including your shadow. Shadows make nifty self-portraits. Here's one I made of myself. Try it in different places. The ground texture makes interesting pictures. Since you carry your iPhone all over, you'll have an infinite number of subjects.



George Eastman was a very smart man...

When George Eastman created the first Kodak camera he wanted to make it very simple to use. His slogan was, "You push the button, we do the rest." As cameras became 'better' manufacturers got further and further away from his goal of simplicity. Until the iPhone! With an iPhone you can not only take pictures but you can also make dramatic alterations, if you want. Unlike the original Kodak camera that had to be sent back to to the factory to develop the prints and re-load fresh film, the iPhone lets you save your images and send them instantly to anyone you want.

George would have been proud of the iPhone! However, the new slogan is, "You push the button and you can do the rest...instantly!"



Touching your iPhone won't work when you're wearing gloves? Use a sausage

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What do you do when it's cold out, you're wearing gloves, and you want to use your iPhone? According to this short article in Popular Science, iPhone users in South Korea are getting around the problem by using a sausage as a stylus. The article says that a sausage has the same conductivity as your finger and that the iPhone responds to the touch. Is this for real?



Video Genius — another free app for recording video on older devices

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We've been covering apps that let you record video on older-model iPhones that didn't come with video capability. The most recent entry is Video Genius, which is currently free in the App Store. It records at a rate of 10 frames per second, but is limited to 40-60 seconds. If you want to shoot longer, then it has a lower res mode of 4 frames per second that lets you take onger videos.



Review: CreTouch Vintage Special Edition Folder Pouch

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Recently, I had an opportunity to test drive and check out Cretouch’s Vintage Special Edition Folder Pouch for the iPod Touch 2G/3G. This was designed by SGP in California. For all you iPhone users out there, they have the same pouch for you as well, so read on. I want to thank CreTouch very much for mailing me this review sample for the opportunity to take a look at this design.
 
What you get with the purchase in the clear plastic package is pretty straightforward. You get the handmade brown leather flip case as well as a sticker accessory with an application instruction insert (more on that later).
 
 
 
Here are some pictures of the case I took out of the package from different angles and sides.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You will notice that there is no stitching on this case. The outside of the case is made from vintage full grain leather. According to their description, the leather allows for fingerprints and scratch marks which gives the case more of a vintage look as time and usage goes by. The inside appears to be some sort of soft microfiber. From their website I could not find what the actual material was (if it is not microfiber), but it is real soft and red in color. On the flip cover is an inscription of the “Emerald Tablet of Hermes.” One of the photos below of the inside flip cover is from their website. I could not get a good picture of the writing with my camera.
 
 
 
  
Putting your device into the case is real easy. Just pop it in. The device stays in place by the sides and corners of the case. From looking at the device, the sides of the case are almost at level with the screen and bezel area. It looks to me that the screen is slightly higher up. If there was no cover on the case, I think this could be a concern for some people as they flip their device over screen down for privacy, for example in meetings. But since this has a flip cover, it should not be any issue as the cover can be used for this. The iPod also comes out of the case very easily.
 
 
 
With the cover shut, you can see some of the chrome from the device on the different sides. I think that is kind of cool look.
 
 
 
 
The cover stays shut with a leather overhang by clipping into the 30 pin connector area. It does not touch the connector itself and only grasps onto the edge between the bottom of the device and space at the connector area. This is where the sticker is supposed to go. According to the little insert, the sticker should be placed there so the case does not get damaged by the sharp edge of the connector area. I did put the sticker on which I had a hard time installing. It would not stay stuck all the way. Every time the case cover was opened and closed, the sticker would get moved, damaged and bent. I removed the sticker from the device. The little clip part of this case seems pretty solid to me, but I guess it’s possible that this area of the Touch could be sharp enough for it to damage over the course of its life of opening and closing the flip cover. If anyone has been using this case and has resulted in case damage (or no damage) at this area, I would welcome your feedback in the comments section. During my operational review, this did not appear that it would be an issue. While it was tight enough to hold the lid down, it was not like you had to pry it apart with force to open it. I guess only time will tell and I would imagine this would be different by user depending on how they use their device.
 
  
This case reminds me of my old pocket pc days when I used flip covers from Sena and Covertec. The devices at that time were much thicker than the Touch and so resulted in more bulk. This is not the case (no pun intended) here as the slim design of this product really does not add bulk. I used this case during a recent shopping trip this past weekend with my wife. We were out for several hours that day.  It stayed in my front pants pocket when I was not using it. It was not a problem using it at all with the case on it. I flipped the cover back when I needed to. When the flip was closed, I felt like my device was truly secured. It’s a very solid feel.
  
I plugged the standard apple headphones in to make sure there was no case interference. It plugged in fine. I even plugged in my SwitchEasy ThumbTack microphone. I have some cases where it makes plugging this microphone impossible, without having to remove the iPod. Not the case here either. I plugged it in and it worked fine with the pouch on.
 
Now, in regards to protection of the device, I feel that my iPod is very safe in there. I have no idea though about what would happen if you drop the iPod to the ground, to the road etc. I am not going to even test that as this is the only Ipod Touch I have. In my opinion as I compare them to the Speck Candyshell and Incase Slider I have, I think I would get better protection with the Cretouch, as it has the extra benefit of the flip cover (as long as the flip cover was closed). The Otterbox I have may offer better drop protection because it was built for protection and totally encloses the Touch.
 
I compared the size of this Cretouch pouch to some other cases I have. The leather thickness is only 1/2.5mm. Please refer to my notes and picture below for a general comparison (from top to bottom):
 
 
1- The Incase slider at the top is smaller than the pouch.
2- The Speck Candyshell was pretty close in size to the pouch, in every way. I could not tell any size differences apart when I compared them together.
3- The Cretouch Vintage Pouch is next.
4- The Otterbox defender case was definitely bigger than the Cretouch.
 
 
The price of this vintage case is $45.99. I would have waited until the end of the review to include that information but I did some comparative shopping on this with other iPod Touch cases. The prices are from the respective manufacturers websites.
 
Cretouch Vintage Pouch: $45.99
Incase Slider: $34.95
Speck Candyshell: $34.95
Otterbox Defender: (discontinued).
Sena Milano Flip: $52
Vaja cases (few different flips): $45-$85.00
 
So based on this comparison, the price at first may seem like a bit steep, when you put it perspective, it’s not that bad. For instance, the incase slider is just a thin piece of plastic for $35.00. The CreTouch case is handcrafted leather. I think you can see the value there.
  
Pro’s:
-very slim
-elegant
-solid feel to it
  
Cons:
-The Sticker does not work. Potential damage to leather clip area after time.
  
In conclusion, I like this case a lot. It even adds a little class to the look of my Touch. Is this my favorite case? I do not have a favorite case yet. I am still in pursuit of that. It definitely ranks up there though. Would you like it? You are the only one that can say for sure, but I think you would enjoy it. You can check out additional pictures of the case on their product page at:
 
 
If you already own this case, the one for the iPhone or one of Cretouch’s other cases, I look forward to your comments below or on our Facebook page. Just tell me what device you have, what Cretouch case you are using and let us know your thoughts on it (both good and bad).


The Game Trail — free app helps you find games that you like

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I'm not a gamer, but if I were I think this app would be quite useful. The Game Trail (free) is simply a handy new app that provides game trailers and video reviews. You can view featured games, top 250,or new games, as well as search.



Review: Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Unboxing

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The ZonePlayer S5 was one of the award-winning gadgets featured in my recent CES coverage, and thou



App Store gets Adult Supervision... too heavy handed?

"Apple has reversed their policy".  If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times.  Actually, I google'd those words and found 994,000 results, so that's not an exaggeration!  Apple has had enough of the 'bikini' apps and has begun removing such apps from the App Store.

 

I must admit, I am a bit conflicted here.  As a father, it can be frustrating seeing 17+ apps when doing searches or browsing the App Store.  Those apps obviously sell, but that pushes other apps down in the rankings, making it harder to sell.  As a developer of family-friendly apps, this is also frustrating because it means less "exposure" (pun intended) for my apps!

 



New AppStore Rules? No More Overtly Sexual Content?

According to an article on TechCrunch (also see this additional TC post) which I learned about from a post on HolyKaw, Apple has or is about to change the rules about sexual content in Apps. Apparently it's now "No Swimsuits, No Skin, And No Innuendo". While the TC article is sympathetic to developers who make 'sexy apps', I'm not. I'm not a prude, but I am very tired of the smutty crap that seems to pass muster when it comes to apps and themes on a variety of platforms. 



Awards Hero: Oscars Edition — all about the 2010 nominees, and winners from the past

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The new Awards Hero: Oscars Edition app ($0.99) lets you pick the winners and share your picks on Twitter. The app also offers trailers and information about the 2010 nominees, as well as a database of information about all the nominees and winners dating back to the beginning in 1927.



Games 2010 — $0.99 app for following the Olympics

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A few days ago I posted about the free Winter 2010 app for following the Olympics. Another option available is Games 2010, a $0.99 app that gives you up-to-the-minute news from over 30 news sources, ranging from the New York Times and ESPN to the BBC and the Associated Press. In addition, the app includes a range of other content, including pictures, videos, medal standings, latest results, TV schedules, event schedules, and interviews.



Review: The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain by Big Blue Bubble

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I recently reviewed An Assassin In Orlandes, and at the beginning of the review I gave my condensed version of the history of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” game.  I probably should have saved that for this review, since the Fighting Fantasy games were really the forerunners of the modern movement of combining interactive reading and role playing in books.  Much like the Gamebook Adventures from Tin Man Games, Big Blue Bubble has done an excellent job in recreating this genre for the electronic world.  The stories aren’t quite as interesting as the first Gamebook Adventures, but the reading segments are smaller which allows for more frequent fighting, so it really becomes a matter of what you are more interested in pursuing: prose or parlay.



Touch this mouse

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If you have an iPhone and Mac running OS X or Windows computer running XP, Vista or 7 then you really need to download Logitech's  Touch Mouse (free) now.  Yea I mean now.  Go do it. 

Now youll need to download the server to your computer from Logitecs website.  But boy will you be glad you did.



AppShopper — great website has all the features missing in the App Store

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I don't know why I hadn't heard about AppShopper before. A friend sent me a link, and my initial impression is that it's one of the best websites for searching for apps. It has a number of useful features that the App Store lacks. The site seems to be a compendium of the content in the App Store. But unlike the App Store (and please correct me if I'm wrong), when you do a search, you can sort the results.



ShopNoGMO — free app helps you avoid genetically engineered food

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Okay, we won't get into an emotionally charged discussion of whether genetically modified food is bad for you. But if you're inclined to think that it might be, then you might be interested in ShopNoGMO, a free app that gives you a database of hundreds of brand names in 22 food categories that are free of genetically modified content. And if you're not sure how you feel about genetically modified food, the app also has an About GMOs section that gives you more information. Also in the app is a section that offers four simple tips for avoiding GMO.



Add sizzle to your writing with Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus

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  The first thesaurus developed by writers for writers. The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus contains 300,000 synonyms and 10,000 antonyms, as well as nearly 200 word banks, which are collections of nouns to add detail to your writing. I love these!



Do you know which amendment gave us income taxes?

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Here’s an app everyone should have on their iPhone: American Dreams. Don’t depend on talk show hosts or newscasters to tell you what our government officials and documents say. Read them and hear them for yourself right on your iPhone.

Find out what the Constitution really says about our freedoms. Learn which amendment gave women the right to vote and which one gave us all the “right” to pay income taxes. 



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