Several of us blogger musician types have raved about IK Multimedia gear over the years, and with good reason (see Mike Riley's recent reviews here.) Early this year at CES, I was able to get an up close and personal preview of the latest music creation gadgets, but only recently was able to check out the production versions of IK's iRig Pro and Blueboard. If you are wondering what in the world to get your favorite musician this holiday (with a Mac, iPad, or iPhone), look no further. You can check out the rocking guitar demo above for a taste!
Toymail is a cute, child-safe toy that can send and receive wireless audio messages. There is a ton of coolness about this idea. Imagine tucking the kids into bed from anywhere in the world, or enjoying an impromptu playtime while taking a break at work.
Self improvement and self help apps/books are legion in the app store. Typically an array of boiled-down quotes or ideas (from some guru's book) arranged in course-like tabulated views. Boring squared is usually my first impression. In contrast, the Rich Dad Poor Dad app powered by Clutch brings fresh presentation and snappy interface features to the old self-help saw...
Before there was Xbox and PlayStation, and way back before even Nintendo and Atari 2600 (think waaay back), there was a world domination strategy game (played with tiny plastic pieces on a flat game-board) that was so earth shatteringly cool that it defied description. No computer screen rendering was required to imagine the massing of superior firepower to encircle and destroy your enemies. That game was the legendary game of Risk (still sold by Hasbro today), and it was nothing less than epic (if you actually had friends to play it with). If one could have imagined the real combat coordination and visualization that was missing from Risk, I believe Machines at War 3 ($6.99) would not have been far off the mark!
You have to go check out this quick review over at CNET announcing (with a brief hands on) the new iPad mini. What amounts to a near-flame war erupts between anti and pro Apple fans in the comments section below (quite humorous as most flames quickly become.) The arguments against the new tablet mostly go something along the line of why Apple lovers would pay so much more (than for a Kindle Fire or Nexus 7, for example). I will attempt to explain my upgrade logic in this post. If you are considering a new lightweight, small. and snappy tablet this holiday season, I would definitely give the new iPad mini with Retina a long and hard look...
In-ear headphones are not my favorite, but the SteelSeries Flux In-Ear Pro Headset ($49.99/$129.99) has a tangle resistant, top-of-ear design that works better than most others I have tried. Once you get these lightweight earphones situated comfortably, they will fill your head with an immersive, full-bodied sound that many in-ear headphones just can't muster. However, the trick really is getting them to seat in your ear properly. Good thing plenty of tip options are provided in the kit.
I guess after you play or review a few high-caliber 3D action games—particularly ones with fast, stunning graphics and sound—you sort of become numb to similarly fantastic, over-the-top games. You overdose on them, or at least I do. You need to cleanse the palette, as it were. Eventually along will come a simple game, completely out of nowhere. No fancy 3D engine, shaders, or blazing polygon models. Just clever use of lighting, and in-game ambience that is so darn good, it is like discovering the wonder of your iPad for the first time. Type:Rider ($2.99) is exactly that kind of game.
Apple recently filed an appeal over a federal court ruling that condemned the software giant for colluding with publishers to fix prices of eBooks sold through the iBooks web store. The ruling decrees monitoring of future practices and a breaking of those contracts with publishers that include price point agreements. The company is denying any wrongdoing in the case, steadfastly driving forward on an appeal that several experts have stated will be hard to win. It is also somewhat brow raising that publishers have already agreed to take their medicine and put the nasty business behind them by settling their cases. Apple CEO Tim Cook described the case as "bizarre," and e-mails sent by Steve Jobs were even dredged up during the case proceedings. What, if anything, did Apple do wrong? Read on to hear my ruling in the case...
Sleep. Medical research indicates that your body needs it to repair and rejuvenate, but more importantly, an unhealthy sleep condition (like Apnea), can lead to a heart attack and possibly death. You may not even know you are suffering from it, but sleep problems are not the only hidden health dangers we face. If you sit at a desk all day, recent studies indicate this could also contribute to an unhealthy condition. Enter 24/7, an app that evaluates your sleep quality, keeps tabs on your daily activity, and helps you to keep moving in a positive direction, potentially away from a hospital visit.
Mobile document scanning and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a great example of the fusion and evolution of technology. What used to require a bulky scanner and special desktop software, almost any smartphone with a camera can now do. There are several apps in the App store (SmartScan+OCR ($3.99), Perfect OCR ($3.99), etc.), that allow you to scan and recognize printed text and images, but Prizmo ($9.99) is a scanner application for iOS that takes it one step further. It will attempt to detect and then segment these captured areas out as separate document fields, preserving the formats (image sections vs. text), translating the results into multiple languages, and even reading them out to you! Prizmo makes it easy for you to arrange and share them as needed, and is also a great business card or image scanner.