Recent App Reviews
Ars Technica reported that Pointy Heads Software wrote a persuasive email to Steve Jobs to get their Knocking Live Video app approved and into the AppStore:
The impassioned pleas of one developer, e-mailed to Steve Jobs, resulted in a quick reversal of an app's rejection. The launch of the app today is the first known approved app that can stream live video directly from one iPhone to another, and the first approval for an app with known use of private APIs. Apple's change of heart came "directly from the top," and is a sign that real change in the App Store approval process is in the works.
A post on the Ustream.tv blog proudly reports that the company has made history with the first live broadcaster app for the iPhone:
Today we are thrilled to announce the availability of the Ustream Live Broadcaster for the iPhone, now available from the official iTunes App Store. This is the first live broadcaster ever available in the App Store, bringing the ability to broadcast live to anyone. From birthday parties, kids’ sports games and baby’s first steps to your latest vacation, this app enables anyone with an iPhone to share important moments with family, friends and more.
i.TV is one of my favorite apps... The reason is that I hardly ever watch TV. You see, because I'm a cable remote dummy, it takes me forever to find shows/channels. It's great to be able to quickly pull up an easy to navigate listing, even tune in previews and rent movies right from my iPod touch. The app had some recent challenges with stability evidently, and it's top rating suffered as a result (was even pulled from the store at one point). It then took a double-wammy due to a problem with Apple's download services (erroneously sending an old version).
Waze is a neat app that not only offers GPS navigation but also uses "crowdsourcing" to help make available real-time traffic updates. Users can send alerts as they drive so that others can avoid problems. The recently released holiday version of Waze offers a holiday theme with a treasure hunt that gives you the opportunity to win real prizes. According to their press release, they added what they call "road goodies" – small icons worth bonus points – to the map in areas where the waze system has identified map problems.
Angry Birds is one of those genre benders that combines the physics fun of a game like Topple with the concept of the castle siege. I’m pretty sure this is the only one you’ll run across that focuses on the war between birds and pigs, however. I’m never quite sure going into a game like this what to expect, but I’m happy to report that Angry Birds is amusing, challenging and above all quite fun.
Pocket Tunes Radio 5.4.4 is now available here on the App Store (just grabbed it myself). This new release includes many improvements, with support for skins, including a fun Christmas skin. There are now several skins available for purchase, and examples can be seen here. You can browse all the skins by tapping on the Pocket Tunes logo from the Now Playing tab in Pocket Tunes Radio.
I am a ferocious reader and I absolutely love books. That said, hacking down billions of trees just to make paper seems increasingly irresponsible, and a gradual migration to eBooks is probably inevitable. I've had the Kindle app on my iPhone ever since it came out, and have downloaded and read dozens of books on it. Unfortunately, the shorter battery life of the 3GS compared to my original iPhone means I am using the iPhone less often as a book reader (especially on long flights), but I haven't given up on the concept just yet. So if you like reading books on your iPhone, what's the best way? As is, while I like Amazon and the Kindle app, Barnes & Noble remains a formidable force in the book market and so I decided to check out the Barnes & Noble eReader as well.
KidCalc is an effective math-teaching and review tool for young children. Version 1.8 has five playing activities: Counting Puzzle, Flash Cards, Calculator, Math Puzzle, and Count Snowflakes.
The Calculator is just what it says – a calculator for kids.
In the Counting Puzzle, your child counts by 1s, 2s up to hundreds; also prime and binary numbers. After choosing the numbers in the correct sequence, the child is rewarded with a secret picture.
With New Years rapidly approaching, and thoughts about drinking on the holidays, I figured I’d give Timebom LLC's iAlcohol Lite app (free) a try. There is also a full ($1.99) version. Knowing when you’re blood alcohol level is below your state’s limit (in Maine it's .05%) seems like it might help reduce OUI’s.
We've covered the $1.99 RedLaser app a couple times already in this blog. It's a barcode reader that lets you scan the barcode of a product you want to buy and then searches for stores that have a lower price. ShopSavvy is another such app, and it's free. It currently only works with iPhone 3.1 or higher. It was first available for the Android platform, and got a lot of attention. The iPhone version was released last month. Many of the reviews say it doesn't work as well as RedLaser, but some say that it works well if you follow the tips.