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The 12 Reviews Of Christmas: Sheep Abduction by Sticky Studios (Day 10)


I realize that Christmas is over now, but I really wanted to finish this series.  Technically I only need two more entries since I did two reviews one day, but we'll try to get all 12 in before the end of the year.  Today's review is for a game that actually came out in February, but it's been on my plate to review this whole time and really deserves the spotlight.  Besides, the way I figure it, there's always a multitude of new iDevice users, so this is bound to be useful for someone, even all this time later.

Demo compares quality of video software for the original and 3G iPhones

In an earlier post I mentioned two $0.99 apps that let you record video if you have an original iPhone or iPhone 3G.  

Facebook for iPhone 3.0


Want Facebook on your iPhone? There's an app for that. And it's free. Here's the official Facebook page where you'll find a download link.



LinkedIn for iPhone 3.0


Yesterday, LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site, announced that it had released an update to their popular App (iTunes download). Read the full blog post.


So you got a new iPhone or iPod touch... now protect it!


 You probably want to keep it looking new and who can blame you.  It's like a new car, and you're dreading your first ding or scratch.  I know, I've been there and I'm a perpetual phone dropper!

Regular readers of my columns know that I use a lot of different cases, depending on the occasion.  For formal events, I might put my iPhone in a slim case and slip it in my suitcoat.  But for travel, I use an OtterBox and have done so since the days of my first generation iPhone.

Dragon Search — free voice recognition search app


The appearance of Dragon Dictation, which lets you speak into your phone to enter text, caused quite a stir, especially given that it's being made available initially for free. You can read Ken Burkhalter's blog post that gives a helpful review. However, note that Dragon Search is also available, and also free. It lets you do voice searches rather than having to tap in your search terms.

Charging more for iPhone data plans?

By now many iPhone users have probably read about AT&T complaining that iPhone customers are using an inordinately large amount of bandwidth on its 3G network and that the company may be considering different pricing and/or usage limits. AT&T apparently pointed out that a small portion of iPhone users, like 3% or so, generate about 40% of all the data traffic, and so "penalizing" those heavy users would only be fair, or would it?
Obviously, most who read about AT&T's alleged plans probably had a very negative reaction. After all, the current costs for the privilege of having an iPhone are already far higher than we ever imagined paying for a cellphone (my bill for two iPhones is about $180 per month).

Free Little Runner


Just your price, for a limited time Red Rocket Games Little Runner is free!

Virtual fortunes update


Looking back on the year, I can't help but tote up my winnings (and losses) while playing poker on the iPhone. The good news is that I'm richer than I was earlier this year. The bad news is that those are still virtual dollars.

In the summer 2009 issue of iPhone Life magagazine, my article bragged about being $300,000 ahead in Texas Hold'Em. I'd never played the game before I started playing on my iPhone, so I thought that wasn't bad.

Then an iTunes upgrade wiped out all my data, and I had to start at the Garage again, with no bankroll. I felt like a lot of people this year that way.

But I'm happy to report that my game has rebounded, and before the holidays I went over the $9,000,000 mark. Christmas morning I topped $10 million with a $1.25 million dollar payday in Dubai.

Given the number of games I've played, the improvement might be expected. But I've still averaged over $15,000 in winnings per game, even with the entry fees subtracted.

But before I get too self-congratulatory, I guess I should try playing against real people sometime, with real money...



A nostalgic look at classical music


As a classical music fan, I am really enjoying this app. It's fun, educational and brings back fond memories.

With Classical Music, I can listen to one-minute excerpts of classical music from a variety of composers, learn more about each piece, as well as each of the composers. Afterwards, I can take a quiz to see if I recognize the songs and composers from listening to excerpts.

Best Apps and Accessories for 2009

For a list of Best Apps and Accessories for 2009, be sure to read Nate Adcock's blog. I added my list in the comments.

Best App Awards — nominate your favorite app, track the leaders


The website 148Apps has created a competition for the Best App Ever Awards. The goal of the competition is to identify the best apps and games in the iTunes Store — not just the best-selling. Nominations will be closed on December 31, so head on over and make sure your favorite apps have been nominated. The finalists will be announced on January 1, and then you will be able to vote on these finalists through January 31. Click here to nominate, and here to see what apps are currently the popular vote leaders in each of 56 categories. The winners will be announced at MacWorld.

TeachMe Kindergarten


Here’s a fun way to reinforce learning - use the iPhone or iPod Touch and the TeachMe Kindergarten app. With TeachMe Kindergarten, your child can practice addition, subtraction and reading skills using a variety of learning styles – visual, auditory and kinesthetic. This is the most effective way to learn.

Lighting my hotel room with reviveLITE




I took the reviveLITE with me to Stillwater when I stayed overnight for my graduation. The reviveLITE is a nightlight and iPhone or iPod charger in one. I like the idea of having a nightlight with me when I’m traveling, and the fact that it charges my iPhone at the same time makes it even better – less cords to bring. (You can turn the nightlight off if you want.)


The biggest problem you may have is finding a suitable outlet in the hotel room. Some rooms do not make them very convenient. But, if you do find the right outlet, this is the gadget to have. I definitely recommend it for travelers. 

Best iPhone Apps and Accessories for 2009!

Being a tech news Junkie, and fond of the superior Ziff Davis line of publications, especially eWeek, I recently noted their list of top 20 iPhone Apps, which were ok, in my opinion--but then some were aimed at System Admin geeks like me. Anyhoo, after monitoring our own blogs and noting the excellent products being reviewed here, I thought we might do our own little end of year round-up. So, I will start it off with some of my favs after the break below (which will include at least one hardware item), and then hopefully a few more bloggers can pile on with posts of their own.

Voice Control


I have been taking full advantage of the Voice Control feature of my 3GS. It works great. Some names do need to be simplfied.... It confused my husband and my father-in-law's names. I changed my husband's name to "Husband". Now, I press and hold my earbud mic and say "Call Husband". Problem solved. My wish: a sexy male voice - preferably Scottish.

ShowTime — $0.99 app lets first generation and 3G owners record video


Our blogger Tari has posted a couple times about the recent influx of programs for recording and broadcasting video via your iPhone, including the first generation and 3G iPhones. iVideoCamera ($0.99) is currently the most popular video recording app. Now ShowTime - Video Recorder ($0.99) has entered the fray, and has much greater capability. iVideoCamera records at 3 frames per second, whereas ShowTime does 6.

Sneaking ads into iPhone apps

There is one thing that really frosts me with some iPhone apps: When they sneak advertising into an app under the pretext that it's an upgrade or as part of an upgrade.

I understand that content providers somehow have to pay for their content. Newspapers are closing left and right, magazines are struggling, and no one quite knows how to make money by taking the content online. I really understand that. But please be honest about it! Simply sneaking an obnoxious ad feature into an app as part of an "upgrade" is just not right. Announce it, give people an option, but don't make them "upgrade" to an app that'll then be polluted with ads without first telling them!

MusicSkin in action


The MusicSkin (for my iPhone) with John Lennon in front of the Statue of Liberty has arrived, just in time for holiday photo-taking.

The plastic skin fits nicely on the back of the phone. Line up the camera hole (after first punching it out of the plastic) and the rest should fit. It was easy to peel off and reposition. I notice only a few wrinkles.

It changes my color scheme from pure black to a mix of black-and-white. (Other MusicSkins are quite colorful, but this one is more stark.) But it's noticeable. The first time I used it my cool nephew asked, "Where did you get the Lennon phone, Uncle Tim?!"

The image is so clear that you can even read the sign behind John and right at the base of Lady Liberty, which says "Keep Off Grass." I wonder if he thought that would be in the picture. Hmm...

One mistake I made was assuming there was also a clear sheet for the front of the iPhone, so I took mine off. When I put the old one in place I had way too many air pockets and bubbles, so I'll probably have to replace that and do a better job of it.

The packaging says you can also download matching wallpaper from the MusicSkins.com web site, but when I tried from the iPhone I got an error message, telling me it couldn't download the file through Safari. Huh!

This $14 accessory is certainly not essential -- unless you're a Beatles freak. Smile, and say "Peace..."


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