UPDATE: With the passing of Steve Jobs, I wanted to update this posting. Without Steve Jobs, I guarantee my career and life would have taken a different path and I am far better off for his being in the world, albeit for just 56 years.
A reader reminded me that my 100th blog posting was coming up, so rather than just write about another app or accessory, I thought I'd take a moment to reflect upon how I got here and the role Apple and Steve Jobs played in my life. As Yogi Berra said, when you see a fork in the road, TAKE IT! There are many twists and turns that led each of us to the path we are on today so indulge me as I reflect on my path.
If you have children, you appreciate entertainment that appeals to kids and grownups at the same time. After all, if you have to sit through a movie, and pay full price, you might as well enjoy it too, on your own level. The Penguins of Madagascar: Read & Play is an app (iPad only folks) that I found amusing as did my kids who are fans of the Nickelodeon show of the same name, based on those funny penguins and lemurs from the Madagascar movies.
If you have an iPad and appreciate a good horror story, go and get Dracula: The Official Stoker Family Edition. As you might guess from the name, there are several "book" apps entitled Dracula but this one actually has the blessing of Bram Stoker's family, and once you run the app, you'll see why. The story comes to life with an amazing number of animations and sound effects. There are over 600 illustrations alone. This is no eBook... it's more like book ported to an adventure game engine. You might think you know the story of Dracula, but the details from Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel are probably new to most of us.
Like millions of you, I have downloaded, enjoyed and even finished all the levels of Angry Birds, at least so far... more levels, please! So what is a user to do? Sure, Chillingo (which EA is buying) has released another Angry Birds version for Halloween and you should definitely get that. And they also released Cut the Rope, another pick-up-and-play game with cute graphics. But it's not the same in terms of controls or even orientation (landscape versus portrait). Fortunately, with any successful app, there are other vendors stepping up to the plate.
While we typically stick to iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) products, today's announcement of iLife 11 from Apple can't be ignored. The full screen interface for apps like iPhoto 11 look remarkably like a tab view app, with assorted buttons on a black gradient bar at the bottom of the screen. Now that iOS devices are outselling Macs, and the halo effect (iOS customers becoming Mac customers) is in effect, the tail is wagging the dog and we can expect the Mac to adopt iOS features. I'm guessing a touch screen interface can't be far away!
The FridgePad iPad Fridge Magnet Mount is an interesting concept. [UPDATE: At first, I was skeptical of the magnet, but the manufacturers assure us that the device has a magnet capable of holding ten times the weight of both the iPad and mount and they have a video to prove it! We'll have to try it in person and give it our own test!]
I am always on the lookout for the perfect case, and depending on the day's events, I might swap cases once or more during the day. For example, this week I chaperoned for my daughter's Field Trip. This was no visit to a quiet, cozy museum but rather an outdoor hike and 'Stream Study', in a muddy park. And it was raining. Fortunately, I had the Kraken case from Trident ($34.95). While the Kraken is not billed as being waterproof, the case has rubber flaps that cover the various openings such as the dock connector and audio jack. The camera and front glass are covered by clear durable film as well, making it dust resistant.
I've written about some cool iPad book apps before, specifically vBookz and The Pedlar Lady of Gushing Cross. Both apps are great examples of why the iPad is more than just a big iPod touch. The large screen makes it practical to view books with more than a paragraph displayed at a time.
Imagine my surprise to get an email from Adam Curry, the guy I watched in the '80s introducing music videos to the world via the just-launched MTV channel. Over the years, Adam has embraced change, becoming one of the first celebrities to launch a website and a podcast. More recently, Curry launched The Big App Show, a free app that highlights one app a day. Originally, The Big App Show was strictly for the iPhone but he has just added Android apps. Adam demos the apps in a unique way, by superimposing himself, green screen style, over the live screencast, in portrait mode, suitable for viewing directly on the iPhone.
My first article for Thaddeus Publishing, makers of iPhone Life, was printed in 1992 and it was entitled "On the road with my HP 95LX." I am about to go on another road trip, for Voices That Matter iPhone Development Training in Philadelphia. Technically, it's a train trip, and with a nearly ten hour commute each way, I want to be prepared. My iPad is not the 3G model so I am looking for apps that let me load up on reading material for the ride. I could get some books via iBooks, but I'm more of a magazine guy.