This app is a good tool for the amateur stargazer. With a swipe of the finger you can explore the nighttime sky that is right above your head. The program shows you where all of the constellations are and what planets are using your iPhone’s GPS function to pinpoint your exact location.
If you see too many or too little celestial bodies compared to what you view when you look up, you can adjust this by telling the app how much light pollution is in your area by using the preferences option. You can also touch “what’s up” to see the stars and planets without the labels. Once you know what you should be able to see, hold up your phone and you will know where to find them. If you turn the phone, the star map turns with it so that it always oriented in the proper direction.
There’s another way this app works well as a learning tool. Simply touch the constellation button at the bottom of the screen and you will get a list of all of them. Choose a name and up comes a detailed description of its location and how it got its name. Then touch find to see where it is on the star map. Alternately, pick “other” from the bottom of the screen and you get a list of galaxies and star clusters. Then navigate the entire sky by using your finger to move around the star map.
This app is an update of one of my favorite programs back in the ‘80s on the Commodore Amiga. It’s nice to see a it being created for the iPhone era with little extras that improve it. All in all this is a great educational app for anyone wanting to know more about the night sky.
This is by far the best football app currently available on the iPhone. It allows you to view the scores of all the weekly games and provides real-time scoring and play by play. And you don’t have to scour through a list to find your beloved Steelers or Cardinals. You can set up a group of favorite teams so that every time you launch the app you are presented with their scores.
The app also features a Smack Talk section where you chat back and forth with other fans while watching the games. Be careful though, and don’t allow your young children to use it. It does not appear to be moderated and can get a bit off color pretty quickly, though it does kind of bring that nice social aspect to the game. However, it is not functional useless if it’s not any given Sunday or Monday or Thursday as the case may be.
I also like the fact you can view photos from the week’s games, complete with lengthy descriptive captions, and get NFL news as it happens. This is not only true during the games, but with regular updates during any day of the week. You can also check out league standings for each conference with the touch of a finger, so you never need be behind on what to do with your fantasy league.
The app has a nice, clean interface and is very user friendly. I would recommend it to any fan of the NFL, whether casual or die-hard. Not a football fan? The manufacturer, Plusmo, also makes app for basketball, golf and even cricket.
I never thought I would enjoy reading a book on the iPhone but Classics actually made me change my mind. For starters, the presentation is amazing. The app displays the books on a virtual bookshelf so you can literally pick the book you want to read just like you would at the library or bookstore.
Once you choose your tome, it floats off the shelf and opens up in front of you. The type is large enough that it is easy to read without being overbearing or childish looking, which I found very surprising. To turn the pages, you simply swipe your finger from right to left, which starts a realistic movement as if the “book” you’re reading is actually made of paper.
When you’re done reading for the day – or randomly flipping through books to get quotes – simply hit the home icon in the top left corner and it places a bookmark at your page so you can pick right up where you left off.
Currently the application offers Alice’s Adventures in Wonder land, Call of the Wild, Robinson Crusoe, the Jungle Book, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Paradise Lost, Huckleberry Finn, the Time Machine, the Hound of the Baskervilles, Gulliver’s Travels, Flatland and the Metamorphosis – all books that are in the public domain. The developer promises more will be on the way in future updates.
This app is a truly must have for any book lover. And I found that my techie friend that doesn’t really enjoy reading ended up liking it too. Hear that, parents?
This is a good app for people who can’t seem to remember phone numbers – even their own – and for those who don’t like having to dial or scroll through their contacts list. All you have to do is press the large blue square in the middle of the screen, which conveniently says “press while speaking” and say the name of the person or place you’d like to call. The app will pull the numbers of people in your contact list that are similar to the words you said.
The dialer is actually pretty accurate. When I said my own name, it quickly popped up with my home, work and mobile numbers. (Note that you have to have the phone very close to your mouth.) Then I tried my name plus the word “cell” and my mobile number was moved to the top of the list. I said a couple more names and got good results on those as well.
Be aware that the app will only find numbers in your contacts list. If you tell it to call Dominoes Pizza it’s not going to search the Web for the phone number. Also, be careful if you have the auto dialer turned on. This option sets it up so that the phone calls the first number it finds without waiting for you to confirm that it is correct. One time I said the name “Sarah” and she did end up on my list, but the first phone number listed was for an old coworker named Julie. With only a second to see what my phone was doing, I was powerless to stop it from dialing out.
So, yes, this is a good app, and I would recommend getting it, look in the top left corner and make sure AutoDial is off first thing, especially if you have a lot of contacts.
This app is not much to look at, but it sure has a lot of information. It’s basically a huge database of recipes uploaded by members of the Big Oven websiste. To test out the app, I did a search for “chocolate.” (It’s easy to do. Just click on the search box at the top of the screen.) I was brought to a page with the history of chocolate, how it’s made and a summary of the different types available. I was then able to look for recipes with chocolate in them and got a list of 225, most complete with step by step directions, photos and ratings. There’s even a glossary to help those that aren’t as culinarily inclined.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to comb through the database every time you want to find a recipe. If you click on the “email” link at the bottom of one of them, you can send it to a friend – or yourself. Plus, if you set up a free account and log in, you can mark recipes as favorites by pushing the heart button at the top of the screen, or you can touch the check box next to it to put them in your “try soon queue.”
A good thing to remember is that the “H” button takes you back to the home page. I kept pushing the back arrow and accidentally logging myself out of the app altogether.
I never thought I would need my iPhone in the kitchen, but I have found myself happily mistaken. Using this app is better than lugging around a cookbook any day. The best thing is you can type in the ingredients you have in the fridge, one after the other, and it give you ideas of what you can make with your leftovers.
This app is just what the name implies: a simulated freshwater aquarium on your iPhone screen. You start off with about ten fish and you can watch them individually by choosing the watch button at the bottom. This will put a small arrow above the head of the fish that you’re following.
Additionally, you can feed your fish by touching the food button and then putting your finger anywhere on the screen. One pellet will appear with each touch, and you seem to have an unlimited amount of fish flakes. The fish will either eat or ignore the food at their leisure. If they eat the food, they grow, though not especially noticeably unless they eat a ton.
One part of the game that could get a little interesting is the fact that you can sell your fish for pieces of gold and use that gold to buy fish of different varieties. Touch the info button to find out how much each fish is worth and then decide if you’d prefer the cash. The value is assessed by fish size and type, so feed, feed, feed.
Once you’ve done your selling, you can touch the shop button to see what fish are available to buy. They range from a Neon Tetra at 300 pieces of gold to a Blackspot Barb at 900. Some may enjoy seeing how they can fill their tank at the best price or just how crowded they can make it. You can’t simply ditch your fish and take the money. Once you’re down to one fish, you can’t sell.
If you like fish, you may like this game. Otherwise, you’ll get bored pretty quickly. The realistic graphics are nice, but there just is not much to it.
This app is like the wooden labyrinth game that was popular several years ago. The board consists of a platform with lots of walls and holes inside the floor. Your task is to guide a marble through the maze all the way to the finish without it falling in. Just like with the actual wooden game, you need to be careful how you tilt the platform (which in this case is your iPhone) because this controls the speed, angle and directions in which the ball moves. Once you beat the level, you are scored depending on how much time it took you to complete it.
Options on the game include the ability to zoom in on the board in order to better navigate turns and tight places. The problem with this is that you can only see a portion of the board and not any upcoming holes, which kind of negates the helpfulness. Another choice is to turn off the background music, which is fairly repetitive and tinny. The sound of the ball rolling is very good, however. It sounds almost like it does in real life.
Compared to other versions of labyrinth available in the iTunes store, I found the controls to be a little sluggish, making the game especially hard. Also, the ball seems to fall in the holes very easily, instead of slipping by on the edges sometimes as it would in the real life game. I am not especially coordinated on a good day, but this made it all the worse.
I could tell there was another board available that looks like more like a traditional circular labyrinth path and I really would have liked to try it. Problem is, I never could figure out how to get past the first level in this game. It’s great if you’re up for a challenge.
This app is an adaptation of the popular game of “spot the differences” created just for sports fans. To play, you view two seemingly identical photos of a professional athlete and you’re tasked with finding the changes made to the second one.
You have a limited amount of time to do this and can watch the time ticking away via a bar at the side of the screen. Most alterations are fairly small, such as a different colored hat or a Nike swoosh taking off of the sleeve of a jersey, making the game fairly difficult and more suitable for adults than children.
Once you find a difference, you simply touch the screen in that spot on either one of the pictures. A circle will appear on both and you’ll get a cheery noise to congratulate you.
Touch an incorrect part of the screen and you get a loud boo and lose a chunk of. Finish the entire level (consisting of five differences) and the imaginary crowd will reward you with thundering applause. Then you get another picture set and the cycle begins again.
One fun thing about this app is that you get three lifelines in the form of little cameras at the bottom of the screen. If you’re completely stumped select one of them and the app will reveal one of the answers for you. Thanks to the extra help, I was able to reach the second to last level, 72. But after 20 minutes of hunting through photos on the iPhone’s tiny screen I was starting to go a little cross-eyed.
I would recommend this game to sports and puzzle fans. The only complaint I have is that the background music gets a little old, but you can turn it off with the touch of an icon.
When you’re out and about and you realize you can’t remember the address of where you’re going, this app is a great tool to have. Better than just a GPS, it allows you to look up business and residential addresses by name and gives you the complete street address and a thumbnail map so that you know the cross streets. Simply click on the map itself and you will be redirected to Google Maps so you can get detailed directions from your current location.
Another perk of this application is that it can end the mystery of when a random number shows up on your phone. Instead of having to call the unidentified person back, you can simply plug the number into the reverse phone number search. You’ll be rewarded with the caller’s name and address (if available) as well as his or her cell phone carrier. Then you can choose if you wish to contact the individual or not.
The app seems to be fairly up to date, as it found businesses that had only been around for a couple months. And it didn’t seem to have a lot of addresses that were no longer current. My friend didn’t like the “end” button at the top of the page. He kept selecting it when he wanted to begin his search and then found that nothing happened. So be sure to watch for that. The proper search button is at the bottom of your screen.
Once you find the correct button, all you have to do is type in the name of the person or business, give it a touch and go.
In Vegas Pool Shark Lite, the free app of Vegas Pool Shark, you’re given one version of play (straight pool) and a choice of three appropriately shady opponents. They each have a different skill level, from beginner to advanced. The higher the level, the more money you get for beating them. What is the money for? Who knows? Basically bragging rights.
Although the game features all 16 standard pool balls, the object of the free game is simply to sink three balls before your opponent does. Play control is intuitive using your finger to pull the pool cue back and releasing it to strike the ball, with the quickness of your release equating to the force put on the ball. You can put top spin and bottom spin on the cue ball in an attempt to put English on your shots, but this does take some getting used to. The first time I tried it, the ball barely moved a virtual half an inch.
The app uses the standard iPhone pinch and spread options to zoom in and out on the pool table so you can further configure your shot pattern. It’s not too difficult to eyeball your shots, especially once you’ve practiced a few times. It seems like you always get to go first, which is good because at times your opponent seems to run the table at will and there is nothing you can do to change this fact. My best advice would be to sink your three before he or she even has a chance.
The sound effects are minimal and not too annoying, relying mainly on the sounds of balls striking each other and a trumpet sound to tell you that you won or lost at game’s end. A happy trumpet means you won. A somber trumpet means you lost, plus your opponent will be wearing a big smile, which is actually pretty funny to see.
The full version also contains an eight ball mode and a practice mode.