All Posts By Lisa Caplan
For years Ticket to Ride has been a best selling strategy board game based on – you guessed it – trains. It’s long been available as a video game on PC, Mac, and the web in addition to iOS. There is a pocket version for small screens (which is not expected to get the new map yet) and the full award winning iPad game.
Today, Days of Wonder is releasing an all new digital map pack called Legendary Asia. The new in-app purchase also celebrates the Ticket to Ride franchise’s over 1 million downloads.The map will cost $3.99 and appear after you update the app. When you do you’ll also notice across-the-rails Retina display support and 45 new achievements for the different game variants.
The physical map may be familiar to board game players, since it was released last year after winning a worldwide design contest. For digital players on all platforms tomorrow will be the first look and if the advance screen shots are any indication it will add both beauty and replay value to what is already an iPad classic. You can check the new map out in the gallery below.
We kind of like to think of ourselves as app experts around here, so it was hard to resist putting our knowledge to the test with a silly new quiz game called What’s That App? The verdict? We creamed level one, but the tiny slices of obscurity by level three had at least one of us using the process of elimination as often as answering with confidence.
The app pulls icons from the top 600 apps currently in the App Store, which might explain part of our consternation. While Pandora, Netflix, Angry Birds and Where’s My Water all are identifiable with even a corner, some of the apps are rather obscure like random emoji, flashlights, and the inevitably odious “talking” apps du jour.
The game is an endless pictorial multiple choice affair with daily updates to reflect chart changes, local settings so the icons shown are those you will be familiar with no matter where you app-shop, and Game Center integration. What’s That App? costs $.99 and might not appeal to the average iOS device owner, but for those who read, say, app review sites, and consider themselves mavens, it’s a pleasant way to kill a few minutes showing off your iOS fanboy (or fangirl) mettle.
Putting young children together with the internet is always a dicey proposition. On the one hand as parents, we want to give our children every opportunity to use new technologies and to become familiar with them at an early age. But on the other, the internet is simply not a safe playground, even for teens, much less pre and grade schoolers. Still, connectivity in an age where grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, even parents often live thousands of miles apart, is too hard to resist. Just check the average parent’s Facebook wall. We try to control the situation, but let’s face it, kids understand these new technologies intuitively and gravitate towards them as they do presents under a Christmas tree.
Enter Maily, a new email client for iPad that takes aim at nervous parents and their digitally eager offspring with an app that’s one part safety-oriented contact manager and one part creative composition tool. Using text, drawing tools, stamps, photos and a kid-friendly touch interface, children can send pretty much whatever they can imagine in two dimensions inviting even pre-writers to start emailing. Parents manage the contact list and add photos of each recipient to make inbox management easy for pre-readers. Parents also have power of approval before a message from anyone, beloved or otherwise, is read and of course, they can screen what their kids are sending.
It’s been a great week for those who use video streaming services on their iPads. Yesterday Hulu Plus added Apple TV support to its app and today Amazon Prime members finally have iPad access to Amazon Instant Video. The service, and app by corollary, is part Netflix, part iTunes allowing you to stream a library of 120,000 movies and TV shows including very current ones for $79 or order titles a la carte.
There are some other cool features as well. You can create a Watchlist, or queue if you prefer, that is available on any platform. It shows rented media and your personal collection. Season Pass holders will be able to see their favortie shows within 24 hours of broadcast and those shows will be added to the Watchlist automatically. Videos can be streamed over Wi-Fi or downloaded for offline viewing.
The one hitch is that in order to circumvent Apple’s 30% take of all in-app purchases, Amazon does with Instant Video what it does with its Kindle app. That is, it forces users to the Amazon web site to order. The extra step is a nuisance, but for those who use a Kindle Fire, or are in other ways tied into Amazon’s digital media ecosystem, it’s not really that much work.
Oddly missing is AirPlay or Apple TV support for video (right now it’s audio only). There is no word yet from any Amazon spokesperson on future plans or to explain the omission. If you use to the service and try it out on your iPad, please let us know what you think in the comments.
Good news for those who use CoPilot Live, version eight. The developers, ALK Technologies, are offering a big upgrade free of charge to version nine. The new line of CoPilot Live GPS apps for the US and Canada still have access to live navigation, but now with more perks. The biggest addition is voiced turn-by-turn directions, no doubt a response to Apple’s iOS 6 announcement, but there’s more. The new routing features give you three different ways to find where you are going, each with information not only on distance but on mileage and with the year of free live traffic they are offering to new subscribers on their website it’s even better.
The new design is less distracting, with lane assist arrows and what they call “ClearTurn” display. There is also “Tap and Go” navigation which lets you literally just tap on a location on the map to get directions. It even has “social navigation” allowing you to check into Facebook and Twitter with your locale or to search Wikipedia or Bing’s Local Search from within the app. If you upgrade or try V9 for the first time, let us know what you think in the comments.
In an election year in particular, but in truth most of the time, the news and those who watch it are focused on the Executive branch of government. The Judiciary gets big press when it makes a major decision too. But the Legislative branch only seems worth mentioning when it up or down votes something important to the President or a rival, when it impacts the party’s agenda or a member makes a public spectacle of him/herself. That’s not a good thing. The President gets the glory and the Supreme Court judges get the job security, but much of what makes up the day to day running of government happens in the two houses of Congress. And an election year means many sitting members positions are at stake as is their party’s power. If the last few years have shown anything, it’s that not much gets accomplished when Congress doesn’t want it to.
Enter The Congressional Record recently updated to a universal build. Not only does it give you access to what’s actually going on in the House of Representative and the Senate, but it also provides the information without the editorializing and politicking that has become the norm in regular broadcast and many print news sources. The app isn’t flashy but it lets you browse records going back to 1995, and identifies the latest bills and resolutions before the houses. It has the same records you’d find in the Library of Congress divided into four sections: Senate, House, Extension of Remarks, and Entire Issue. There is also a convenient Daily Digest. You can perform keyword searches for persons and issues of interest, share documents by email and save to most iPad PDF apps for annotation or further sharing.
Like the Congress The Congressional Record app may lack glamor, but it has an important and underrated purpose. It’s also free, so grab it and get yourself informed long before you head to the voting booth.
Moonbot Studios, known for publishing some of the best digital books for iOS, has gone outside of the box before with their print and digibook hit The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, turning it into an Academy Award winning short film. Now they are merging print and digital publishing technologies in an innovative new way, with IMAG•N•O•TRON.
You’ll need the hardcover book, which costs around $10 and is well worth owning if you have young readers at home. Just hold an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with a camera over the book and amazing things happen. Moonbot promises you’ll “Get swept up in a storm! Transport to another world! Play music! Fly!”
It also been called a “wonder of the ages,” so if you get a chance to check it out, we’d love to know if that’s a fair statement. We think it might be. Moonbot, it seems, can do no wrong in the App Store, and this book in particular is dear to many, both the young and the young at heart.
Released: 2012-06-26 :: Category: Entertainment
Fan of the BigStar Movies app and those looking for a new subscription-based video streaming service will be happy to hear about the latest update. Along with their catalog of lesser known titles including some gems, the app now supports AirPlay for HD streaming, and HD upscaling on iOS devices happens faster. Also added is a new “collections” section to help find specialty items, with five categories to start and the promise of more to come. The movie info now shows in a side panel and the whole app was rebuilt for increased stability.
BigStar Movies is a lot like Netflix, but it doesn’t replicate the service. There aren’t tons of mainstream movies here and practically no TV, but there are lots of smaller film festival award winners, and lots and lots of indie across genres. The pricing plan and payment methods are also different. Netflix and similar services require you to sign up and create an account online. They use their own billing services and cost a bit more. BigStar Movies allows you to do the same, and you’ll even find a good discount through online sign-up right now – three months for $4.99, the price of one – but the app also allows you to subscribe via iTunes, nice for those who don’t have credit cards.
The app has the requisite social media integration, enhanced in this update, along with trailers and user ratings. The catalog of movies is the same in Canada as the US, which is unusual and suggests the app’s service is available in its entirety wherever the app is available for download. BigStar is definitely for a certain type of movie lover, so be sure to check out their selections before subscribing. If underground and small indie films are your thing, though, this is a great time to give BigStar Movies a try.
It’s July 4th, so we hope most Americans are out celebrating and reading this on an iPhone or iPad or between activities. But if you are still looking for apps to help make the day even better, we’ve rounded up four of our favorties that commemorate everything from US History to the traditional BBQ for you here.
Weber’s On The Grill
An instant classic last year, this grill guide from the masters at Webers has become an iOS standard for the BBQ set. They’ve added 27 new recipes since July 4th 2011, which makes around 300 total – 40 just for marinades and rubs. There are tutorial videos, tips on cuts of beef, and even a section to take notes. The app also makes creating last minute shopping lists a breeze.
Released: 2009-07-13 :: Category:
This American Life
The popular public radio show has an app that features podcasts. It’s not easy to describe the content, it’s a grab bag of people, places, historical tidbits put together expertly to create an immersive listening experience, perfect for setting the tone on your way to the beach or the fireworks. The app has easily searchable shows dating back to 1995, making it something of a living, speaking American history museum. Look for easy social network sharing for those stories that inspire your patriotism.
Released: 2010-02-01 :: Category: Entertainment
What’s the 4th of July without a few drinks? All-American beer is in most coolers, but if you’re looking for cocktails (easily turned into mocktails for those driving or little drinkers) you can spend hours searching online or just grab iBartender. It’s something of an App Store classic with recipes, shopping lists and pictures that will make you want to start the party early, and it was just updated to support the new iPad’s retina display along with new drinks to keep things fresh.
Released: 2008-07-31 :: Category:
Presidents vs Aliens
Kids are an important part of Independence Day celebrations, and while it’s great for them to be excited about picnics, swimming pools and amusement parks, somewhere between those activities and the fireworks, you probably want them to know a little about what they are celebrating. President vs Aliens is more than just a US history app, it’s a silly Executive Branch showdown with E.T.s that will capture imaginations and have grown-ups wanting to take a turn. Kids won’t notice they are learning, and you’ll have more time to relax while waiting for the big light shows to start.
It’s a tiny bit depressing that many of us here are older than Atari. Still as OG’s (original geeks) most of us equate the name with our and their glory years of gaming. Recently the former giant has been reinventing itself, having previously released their VCS catalog and a few arcade hits in a Greatest Hits package for iOS, and with more recent forays into the App Store like Circus Atari and Centipedes Origins. They are also winding up a contest for indie developers who took their original, maybe the original video game, PONG and remade it for iOS. The finalists have been announced and can be found here. The company turns 40 today and much of the recent flurry of activity is to celebrate the occasion.
The company was founded back in 1972 with PONG making their presense known to a new generation. Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, Dig Dug, Paper Boy and dozens of other arcade games became quarter-gobblers through the 70’s and 80’s, while the Atari 2600 defined the home console market.
The company is using the big day to announce a new partnership with Zynga to make mobile titles, freemium games we presume. That’s a dubious partnership, but one that should be interesting to follow. They are also holding a big giveaway, “40 Giveaways in 4 Days” which is open to US residents only, with details on Atari’s Facebook page.
We wish Atari many happy returns of the day, and look forward to a new generation getting to know them on iOS. Check out the nostalgic trailer and peek in the gallery to see a cool infographic on Atari’s history.
In the world of couture it’s already Fall/Winter 2012-13, but here in reality, summer is hot – literally. With the season came Time Warner to Newsstand, which got us poking through their offerings and finding ourselves drawn to lighter beach fare like fashion magazines. This week we look at our favorite four fashionista periodicals for those planning what to wear now and to see what’s on the catwalk for Autumn.
ELLE US has couture, trends, and very readable articles. On top of the high-end glossy magazine, there are some really cool features. Enjoy an ELLE “Personal Stylist” – just upload your image and try on looks directly from the app. There is also a great Inspiration Board where you can put your favorite pieces to create a digital, sharable collage – perfect for Pinterest. The July issue just came out and features a look at Selena Gomez in a TDF top, a huge spread on instant outfits for any occasion, and a guide to vacation dressing and packing.
Released: 2010-09-25 :: Category: Lifestyle
This venerable Conde Nast publication, Vogue, made its iPad debut in May and each issue is packed with all the great fashion and articles you’ve come to expect on top of some cool interactive features including videos. The July issue has a fantastic one of Emma Stone doing a special photo shoot where she reveals her “vampy” side and talks about her role in the latest Spiderman summer blockbuster. This issue also looks at what every girl needs on her summer fashion checklist and peeks down the runway at the haute-couture for fall.
We were happy to see Time Warner bring InStyle to Newsstand. The magazine is a fresh lighter look at fashion. The monthly has lots of tips on how to get the hottest styles for less, and how to put them together to make eyes pop and jaws drop when you make your entrance. The new July issue downloads really quickly, has stories on Salma Hayek and Justin Bieber, great hot weather makeup looks and tips, and over 150 “chic steals” to love for under $50. Oh, there’s also some frozen treats that would make any “it” girl want to risk the calories.
Released: 2011-12-12 :: Category: Lifestyle
NET-A-PORTER, from the website of the same name is a weekly that’s part magazine, part shopping portal and part fashionista web haven. The app is simple to use, and full of great looks. This week, the editors have an article on the hottest one-piece swimwear. Check out Issa London by Daniella Helayel (of Kate Middleton now Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement dress fame), who reinvents mod on the runway. Then, after drooling and possibly buying, go discover the secrets of the summer sundress. The best part of the app is that you can touch on an item to get more details, the price, and purchase your must-haves right from your lap.
Released: 2010-07-21 :: Category: Lifestyle
My isn’t Slash just having a massive comeback year? He’s got a new album, new band mates, and now he’s got a an app for rockers with his brand on it. While you’d have to be hiding in a bunker not to be at least passingly acquainted with the late 80’s metal icon of Guns N’ Roses fame, you may not be familiar with IK’s line of audio accessories.
But, if you are a guitarist or bassist with an iPad you’ve likely at least stumbled across their AmpliTube apps. The first iteration was featured in the original iPad ads and lets you play and record music with realistic amp effects. Now they’ve released AmpliTube Slash, a universal app with the same pedals and Marshal amps Slash favors.
The app, like the rest in the series, is also a multi-track recording studio. Apparently Apocalyptic Love, Slash’s new album was helped along with several IK products including iRig.
“AmpliTube iRig comes in really handy for on-the-go practicing, recording, or just jamming on different ideas – even if it’s on the bus – it’s right with me all the time,” Slash said, adding, “I’ll do some tweaks on the Marshalls, but there are also different effects that are available including distortion, chorus, auto-wah and more.”
AmpliTube Slash is sold as a stand-alone product or the effects can be purchased in AmpliTube’s main app as in-app purchases at $9.99 for the whole kit or a-la-carte effects for $2.99 each.
Released: 2012-06-14 :: Category: Music