Saturday, October 31, 2009

How To Make A "Where The Wild Things Are" Costume

The materials list goes on, and on, and on...

NBA Games LIVE On Your iPhone!

Would you like to watch ANY NBA gave live on your iPhone over 3G or Wi-Fi? Yes!
But would you pay $40 for the app? Hmm...

The paid version of NBA Game Time 2009-2010 is really great for the casual fan. It features live audio of every game and video clips of highlights after the fact - all for $9.99.

But NBA League Pass Mobile [iTunes link] is definitely for the hardcore NBA fan since you can actually watch the television broadcast of every game. It also comes with a hardcore price of $39.99. But, if you compared that with other sports could this be a good deal?

Out of the three top American sports, the only one I can compare it to is Major League Baseball has an app much like the NBA that features live game audio and video clips for $9.99. But, if you wanted to watch the live television broadcast, you'd have to shell out $.99 per game or subscribe to The cheapest subscription is $14.95 a month or $79.95 a year. But the caveat here is that you can watch the game on your computer as well as your iPhone. It appears that NBA League Pass Mobile only allows you to watch games on your iPhone/iPod Touch.
The NFL has an exclusive arrangement with Sprint for its mobile app. But, looking through its features it doesn't seem to support live television broadcasts of every game. I really hope that the NFL would dump their Sprint contract and just do an app for the Apple App Store, Android App Store, BlackBerry App Store, etc.

Like the MLB version, some live television broadcasts on NBA League Pass could be blacked out in your area. For example, if you live in Los Angeles you wouldn't be able to see the live broadcasts of the Lakers and Clippers on your iPhone. I'm lucky since I'm in Hawaii and we have no NBA team so ALL of the games are at my disposal.

I'm not enough of a hardcore fan to buy this app. But, some may find it useful and entertaining. Especially if you never get the game you want on cable.

Friday, October 30, 2009

REAL iPhone Halloween Costumes

These guys are so awesome! To make their iPhone costumes, they used 42" LCD TVs, powered them up with a car battery, hooked up their iPhone to the TV, and made it up to look like a giant iPhone! It's heavy though. They mounted their iPhone to the side, and whatever they do on the iPhone, it comes out on the TV screen. They can even receive calls!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zombie Love: A Romance In Three Parts

MEDL MOBILE has come out with a series of videos called "Zombie Love: A Romance In Three Parts" to celebrate the lite version of its game Boxhead - The Zombie Wars [iTunes link]. You have to watch all three to really appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NBA Finally Has An iPhone App Worthy Of The Sport

On the heels of the wildly successful At Bat 2009, the NBA has made its own paid iPhone app worthy of the $9.99 you pay for it.

NBA Game Time 2009-10 [iTunes link] has everything the free lite version has, which includes scores, lineups, and standings.

The paid version also includes live radio broadcasts for each team and video highlights for every game! You can set push notifications for your favorite team or specific games. And, you get Twitter updates from the NBA's official feed.

Now, I'm not so much of an NBA fanatic that I would get this app. But, who knows? I'll probably get this if there is a price reduction. I am more of an MLB fanatic because I have one favorite team.

Now that the MLB and the NBA have awesome iPhone apps, it is time for the NFL to get with the program! Screw that Sprint contract you have! Having an iPhone/iPod Touch app would reach WAY more people. And I know an NFL app that includes the features NBA Gametime and At Bat would easily sell for $9.99.

Monday, October 19, 2009

ROCK BAND Out For The iPhone/iPod Touch

The popular ROCK BAND [iTunes link] console game has been ported over to the iPhone/iPod Touch. So far, from the reviews on the App Store people are overwhelmingly happy with it. People are always going to whine about the price of a game if it's $9.99. It also seems to have performance issues if you haven't rebooted your iPhone. This is a game that would probably play much better on the 3G S.

The one interesting feature is that you can have multiplayer games through Bluetooth. Yay! No Wi-Fi needed!

I already have DanceDanceRevolution S, Saturday Night Fever and Tap Tap Revenge 2 so I'm not crazy about getting this type of game. Electronic Arts ALWAYS has a price reduction so I'll probably wait for that.

Meanwhile, don't hold your breath for Guitar Hero on the iPhone. Activision has not yet made apps for the App Store while Electronic Arts is already an App Store veteran.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy iPhone Dev: Price Rising Controversy + Charity Campaign

Schiau Studios SRL says it has raised the price of its game Alchemize from $2.99 to $39.99 "in protest to all the emails received by people saying that 'the price is to high at $2.99.'"

Personally, I hate most of the whining comments left on the App Store complaining that even $.99 is too high a price for an app. I just dismiss them and go about my day, which is exactly what Schiau Studios should have done.

We'll see how far contempt for customers goes in the App Store price war. I feel the press Schiau is getting is not good for its own business.

The price of the game will go back to $2.99 on Monday, October 12th. On that day, Schiau will give 33% of the Alchemize game price of $2.99 to Ioana Costea, a 19-year-old Romanian girl who has a severe medical condition and needs a stem cell allotransplant costing about $191,000 US. Even with the ongoing fundraising, Ioana needs another $118,000 US to cover that cost.

UPDATE: Someone pointed out to me that the post about the price protest was changed this morning with information about its new charity campaign. I also tweeted @schiaustudios and it has confirmed that the price protest is entirely separate from the Ioana's charity campaign.

I am torn. While I do want to help this girl to live, I don't want to reward Schiau for its contemptible action regarding its app price. It does seem a little petty to complain about e-mails it has been getting because of the price of its game while this girl needs to raise $118,000.

I might buy this game tomorrow, but I will leave a review on its App Store page saying that people who e-mail them are usually a vocal minority and smart app buyers do not need to be patronized.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New App Friday

Tweetie 2 [iTunes link] - The app that caused an uproar after atebits announced that Tweetie 2 would not be a free upgrade and Tweetie 1 owners would have to purchase it for $2.99 is now in the App Store. It seems though that many people are quite satisfied paying the extra cash for the totally redone app. Here's what people are saying about it on Twitter: Tweetie trending. While it seems to be a significant upgrade to Tweetie, nothing about it makes me want to move from Twittelator Pro ($4.99) [iTunes link]. Tweetie 2 does NOT feature push notifications. Echofon Pro ($4.99) [iTunes link] actually does feature push notifications. And Boxcar ($2.99)[iTunes link] adds push notifications functionality for Twitter, Facebook and E-mail.

If you DON'T already have a Twitter application, Tweetie 2 is a great buy for what you get. Mobile [iTunes link] - Adobe has come out with a FREE mobile version of Photoshop, so there's really no good reason NOT to get it. It does a lot of basic functions: crop, flip, rotate, exposure, color saturation, tint, black & white, sketch & soft focus filters, and a number of basic effects. The user experience, however, is quite nice! To rotate your picture, you physically rotate it with your finger. A flick flips your photo in the direction to want to flip it. A lot of gestures are used making it user-friendly. On the other hand, I have the $.99 app called 101+ PhotoEffects [iTunes link] which has much more features aside from the basic editing. I'm thinking Adobe will eventually make a premium version of Photoshop that will simply blow away the competition.
Wild Things [iTunes link] - A cute app promoting the movie "Where The Wild Things Are." The best part of the app is the interactive Carol. You can do quite a few things to bother Carol and he/she/it will punch your screen! Here's a hint: aside from the onscreen icons, experiment with your accelerometer. It's free but it's a hefty 87MB.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

HTC Pure at AT&T in Hawaii

- Posted using
I went to the AT&T store on Kapiolani Boulevard today to see if the HTC Tilt 2 was released today as the Boy Genius Report had published. Alas, no Tilt 2. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see the HTC Pure already for sale.
I wanted to test out Windows Mobile 6.5, which is supposed to be a BIG overhaul of the platform. I generally like HTC products. The Fuze had a nice UI and a great physical keyboard. But, the WinMo on the Fuze was clunky.
My general impression of WinM0 6.5 is that Microsoft is slowly catching up with the iPhone and Android OS. Now, keep in mind that my comments are very iPhone-centric since I own a 3G.
The Pure boasts a resistive screen rather than a capacitive screen, unlike the iPhone and the HTC G1. But, I found that the touchscreen responds well to my fingers when typing. That's good because there's no physical keyboard on the Pure at all. When typing, there is haptic feedback. Double taps zoom in and out. I was not at all impressed with the touch-sensitive zoom bar at the bottom of the screen. It doesn't always respond. I found that doing swiping gestures and selecting links are best left to your fingernail or the stylus included with the Pure. There's also a nice slot on the phone where your stylus can reside. Overall, the Pure is slightly skinnier all around than the iPhone. Because of that, it feels like there is less real estate on the screen.
I think I was most surprised by the way WinMo 6.5 handles video. It's very nice and smooth, even on 3G. Pictures are very nice - the Pure has a 5MP camera with autofocus. The video camera is less than impressive at 15 frames per second. There are two external speakers on the phone: the speaker where you normally put your ear to when talking on the phone and another speaker on the right side of the phone. It definitely sounds louder and clearer than the iPhone. Evidently, to use the FM radio you need the headphones plugged into the mini-USB port since there is an antenna in the headphones. I hope HTC will eventually use the standard 3.5" headphone jack. Apple learned that the hard way.
Here's where most mobile platforms just take a nosedive and WinMo 6.5 is no exception. While the OS is great at displaying non-mobile versions of websites (which is a definitely upgrade from the previous OS), it takes a while for the page to load. The Pure on 3G felt like the iPhone 3G loading a page on EDGE. The speed of the 3G network in Honolulu is quite decent too. Now, I'm not sure if the hardware or the software is to blame. Either way, browsing is not quite up to iPhone standards. Also, Flash isn't included with WinMo 6.5 stock, which is the biggest criticism of the iPhone OS.
Pocket Office
MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint come standard with WinMo 6.5. I figured this has to be the crown jewel of the phone. I opened up Word and started to type. Unfortunately, Word CANNOT go into landscape mode. It's a shame since Documents To Go on the iPhone can do it. I smell an update coming.
Even with my gripes about the Pure, it's quite a good buy at AT&T at $149.99 with a 2-year contract and a $50 mail-in rebate. Those who are familiar with the previous WinMo OS will find a more user-friendly UI and upgraded multimedia features. Those familiar with the iPhone or Google Android will find 6.5 more palatable than its predecessors.
I have a feeling, though, that the Tilt 2 will be the better phone but will be more expensive. The Pure is a pretty good starter for those who haven't yet taken the smartphone plunge.
I already have the iPhone version of Gameloft's Ferrari GT Evolution, which is one of the better racing games in my opinion in the Apple App Store. This particular Pure had the game preloaded so I decided to check it out. Not even close. It's not even in the same universe as the iPhone game. I figure games like UNO and Monopoly might fare better on this platform but it's definitely not a gaming device.

iPhone OS 3.1.2 Released Today

Now don't get TOO excited! It's not much of an update. Here's the rundown of what iPhone OS 3.1.2 brings:

iPhone OS 3.1.2 Software Update
This update contains bug fixes and
improvements, including the following:
• Resolves sporadic issue that may
cause iPhone to not
wake from sleep
• Resolves intermittent issue that may
interrupt cellular
network services until restart
• Fixes bug that could
cause occasional crash during
video streaming
Products compatible with
this software update:
• iPhone
• iPhone 3G
• iPhone 3GS
Nothing to get worked up about. But, it is an update and may prevent future performance problems.

There's also an update to the AT&T carrier setting but I don't know what that does so far. Peeps on the internet say it's NOT a tethering update.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tribute To EverythingiCafe

Since I started researching the iPhone in early 2008, I latched on to an iPhone community at Everything iCafe.

I posted about 2,100 message on the EiC forums. But, our good friend psylichon has already surpassed 10,000 messages. To celebrate, he made a video and original song using only iPhone apps. Check it out:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apps I Got Over My Vacation

I'm back from my vacation to the mainland. Over that time, I got a bunch of new apps that were handy when traveling.

  • Snapture [iTunes link] - Very handy on my trip. The feature I used the most is the multishot which allows you to take 3 rapid-fire shots in a row. The developer says it is $1.99 for a limited time, which is 75% off the eventual price.
  • SketchBook Mobile [iTunes link] - An interesting app even for those with no artistic ability, although it is hard to draw with your finger. I hope there will be a feature to zoom in and do intricate work. Has many Photoshop features like layers. $2.99
  • CNN Mobile [iTunes link] - This could be the model for future paid news apps. It is $1.99 and most people might not want to pay that price. However, I feel it is a quality app. Video plays smoothly over 3G. In the mornings, you can also watch "live" CNN. It is NOT, however, the exact feed of CNN you get on cable. It is a secondary tier of live news. Sometimes it is a mishmash of clips. You can set the app to send you a push notification when there is live breaking news and you can go to see the live report. Many on iTunes are complaining about the ads but so far it has not bothered me. With that said, I'm usually the one to get the free ad-supported app rather than pay for the app with no ads. You can also use the app to send over an iReport picture.
  • Backbreaker Football [iTunes link] - This is NOT really a competitor to Madden 10. It's like "Run The Gauntlet" football. You're basically running the ball through a bunch of defenders on the field. You spin and sidestep their tackles to hopefully get a touchdown. That's it. But it is a fun game. Because the gameplay is so simple, the focus is on the great animation and controls. You can also have it connect to Facebook so your friends know when you get a high score. It's $.99 for a limited time which is 50% off regular price.
  • Blades Of Fury [iTunes link] - Finally a REAL fighting game for the iPhone/iPod Touch! I have been waiting for a long time for a game like this and Gameloft has really outdone itself. A Tekken-style fighter game which has many great elements. Although there is a swipe control, nothing beats the D-pad style of playing. I've been unlocking a lot of characters and costumes over my vacation. I haven't tried multiplayer yet but that looks wicked over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. $6.99 and well worth it. Namco better port over Tekken and Capcom better do Street Fighter while there is very little competition in this genre.
  • TripIt [iTunes link] and TripCase [iTunes link] - I don't travel enough to warrant a $9.99+ app. So, I decided to try some free traveling apps. TripIt is as basic as it gets. You basically input your flight information so you have all of that right in your iPhone. TripIt is a popular website so many premium apps have TripIt support. I liked TripCase better though. It has a few more features that are useful. It sent e-mails to friends I chose to receive when my plane has arrived at its destination. If you're looking for a free travel app, feel free to try both and then you can make an informed decision.
  • RedLaser [iTunes link] - This is the only app I know of that can scan barcodes on the iPhone 3G. Previously, it couldn't because it lacked autofocus. But somehow this software can decode barcodes even when they are blurry. Amazing! It doesn't do food very well. It's mostly used for dry goods. $1.99.
  • Zipcar [iTunes link] - If you have Zipcars in your city, you can use this to reserve a Zipcar and unlock the Zipcar! Amazing! I'm thinking of using a Zipcar on my next trip instead of a rental car. FREE.
  • Dropbox [iTunes link] - There are many file viewing apps in the App Store, but this is the first one I have seen that allows you to upload photos straight from your iPhone. You have to register for a free 2GB Dropbox account first. The app is also FREE.