With spring approaching, it’s important to add fresh stimulus to your living space. While this can be as simple as buying a new wall hanging or rearranging the furniture, I decided to improve my home computing space to make it ergonomic, space efficient, and flexible. One way to edge closer to tech Feng Shui is to try Ergotech’s flexible mounting systems. I tried the VersaStand ($79) for iPad and the Freedom Arm ($159) monitor mount with an articulating arm you can attach to the side of your desk. Mounting my various screens moved them up and off my desk, giving me room to work, and the option to pull them close and move them as necessary.
Like many information technology professionals, I've had to become somewhat proficient in basic Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) coding. As a blogger, that basic knowledge often pays off, particularly when one of my iPhone Life blog posts doesn't look right. I have gathered several great tools throughout the years that help me write and test HTML, the fundamental code that tells your web browser how to present content. If you’re looking for an iPad/iPhone app that can teach you the basics of HTML, check out L2Code HTML ($2.99). This intuitive tutorial app teaches you the fundamentals and also handily provides a color-coded text editor to make creating your own pages (or even formatting blog posts) as easy as pie!
If you’ve been playing Minecraft, and had the thought one day, "Wow, I suddenly wish I had a gun and some ammo and could also run around shooting pixelated Zombies,” thenBlock Warfare: Zombies ($1.99) is definitely your app of the week! You can build blocky worlds to trudge around in, but for the sole purpose of defending them from advancing hoards of, well, block zombies.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show had its share of wireless audio components, several of which I included in iPhone Life's coverage of the event. I found several new Wi-Fi AirPlay compatible speakers. Of the lot, I finally received a Wren V5AP ($399) review unit last week. Of all the Wi-Fi speakers I’ve had the chance to review in recent years, I must say this one truly gives the Sonos Play line a run for its money.
I have several games to report on this week, plus interesting news about the makers of Galaxy on Fire 2 releasing a mobile space shooter, MMORTS (Massive Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy) game later this year. So let's get right to it!
First up is Trigger Fist (my favorite shooter of all time), which I finally got around to grabbing an expansion pack for. Second, I'll review an old emulation game called Gridlee, a game other blog sites say allows you to drop other game ROM files into and play, although I have not yet personally confirmed this. If true, the free Gridlee may have a short life in the app store as Apple frowns on emulators and may soon yank it. Third up is P.R.O.B.E., a free Sci-Fi board game I played, which has a synthed up computer voice. Last but not least is Versu, a just-released interactive story app, reminiscent of old-school adventure games.
I often use my iPod touch for grabbing quick home recording tracks, and one of my favorite accessories used to be the Blue Mikey
from Blue Microphones. But when an Apple iOS update killed analog input, my original Mikey became a thing of the past.
The RØDE iXY
is a similar recording accessory, but is more specifically designed. While Blue makes great mics for music, RØDE is tailored to live broadcasting. The unique RØDE iXY can capture an outdoor live event or a basement recording jam at very high-quality sample rates!
With mobile gadgetry filling every niche in our lives, you would think we'd relegate pen-and-paper handwriting to the dustbin of bizarre things humans once did. Instead, we're inventing more sophisticated systems of conveyance for handwriting, such as with the Bluetooth Targus iNotebook, and why not? It has been our primary way of presenting ideas since the days of the first cave paintings, while electronic transcription methods are single-cell organisms by historical comparison. The Targus iNotebook proves we will not soon give up scratching out meaning on dead tree pulp, but in this case, it will track the etching, and connect it (via Bluetooth) to your iPad so you can scratch away and watch it "technologize" the results!
Some ex-Rovio gamemakers teamed up under the Boomlagoon banner to create another 2-D physics game--a platform scrolling game called Noble Nutlings. The free game is hugely fun and probably destined for gaming success! The other game I tried out this week is Pinball Arcade. Electronic Pinball is to iPad what jelly is to peanut butter, and the easy touch and robust graphics of iPad make almost any 3-D pinball game just plain awesome! Pinball Arcade is one of the most authentic recreations I have seen done on any hardware. Too bad the freebie lite mode times you out and charges you to buy tables, but well, developers gotta eat too... and the lifelike tables are easily worth the price!
I was able to rock out loud at CES on the new iRig HD connected to an iPad (also connected to their new Bluetooth speaker--the iLoud), but that's not the point of this post. You can get more great CES coverage in the next issue of iPhoneLife (so if you haven't yet subscribed, hurry), and to say IK Multimedia rocked the show is putting it mildly. No other show vendor comes close to showcasing the latest (and coolest) iOS music gadgets like these guys! The iRig HD was a Best in Show Winner at CES--more booth pix follow with a PR announcement about the new HD model...
Register and subscribe to the Tor.com email newsletter (if you like Sci-Fi, Fantasy, scary stuff, etc.). Just do it now. The email notifies often of free stories posted up to their web site (many of which turn into 99 cent downloads on iTunes), and tons of insider info, just plain cool news updates on all things freakie, weird or otherwise even remotely SFF-related. They have made the best of 2012 completely FREE! That's right, the best of 2012 short fiction all wrapped up nicely in a late (or early, depending how you view it) Christmas ebook present! Get it here...