Posts Tagged Entertainment
As anyone with cable TV will tell you, picking what to watch isn’t as easy as it could be. While there’s always a channel guide to browse through, it’s frequently not very intuitive when it comes to finding the right show. Fortunately, Peel – Personal TV Show Guide jumps right in there and tackles that dilemma.
Kind of like an app version of Tivo, Peel – Personal TV Show Guide recommends shows according to what favorites the user adds to the system. The more the app learns about TV tastes and preferences, the better the suggestions become.
An attractive app to look at, it’s simple to flip through the colorful thumbnails of each TV show and these thumbnails can lead onto episode descriptions and other details. Perhaps most useful is that of the ability to search for any show and Peel – Personal TV Show Guide lets the user know exactly when it’s on and what channel to tune into.
Peel – Personal TV Show Guide is bound to save some time for the avid TV watcher, all the more so with Christmas coming up.
It’s out now and it’s free to download.
As a Brit, I’m rather envious of those in the US celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I’m a big fan of family gatherings, time off work and eating plenty of tasty food as any sane person would be. One other big Thanksgiving tradition is that of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This year marks the 85th Anniversary of the Parade and it also marks the introduction of the offiical app.
MyCityWay’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a free app set to enhance spectators’ experiences of the Parade. It offers information such as the participants of the parade, the Line of March, the parade route, inflation event locations and the history behind it.
There’s also a comprehensive guide to new York City bundled with the app that includes dining locations and reviews, popular and nearby coffee shops and Wi-Fi spots as well as a subway map and other useful information such as nearby restrooms.
On the day, there’ll be traffic cameras viewable in real time to check out what’s going on plus a way of tracking various Cheerleading, Dance Troupes and Marching Bands.
The official Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is out now and it’s free to download.
I’ve got an iPad full to the brim with photos taken over the years, ever since I first dipped into the iOS world. Numbering in the thousands, it’s comforting to know they’re there, ready to browse through at any time.
How to exhibit them to others, however? Or how about just a cool new way of watching a slideshow of images? That’s where Jiv3D enters the picture.
It’s a new app that automatically syncs music with photos, thus creating attractive showcases of all those memorable moments. With several different themes that can be applied and the ability to manipulate images with a tap of the screen, Jiv3D is a pretty neat app and extremely easy to use.
It’s an ideal app for all manners of different situations such as showing holiday snaps to the family or in the conference room to explain a concept to colleagues.
Jiv3D is out now for iPad owners and it’s a free download.
Poking people on Facebook is just sooooo 2010. 2011 is all about jabbing friends! Or at least that’s what JabMe‘s developers think.
JabMe is an app that lets users send jabs to their friends alongside fun sound effects. Using Push Notiications, it’s unlimited with a plethora of different sounds and jab actions. Jabs can be anything from a Kung Fu Kick jab to a Burp or a kind hearted Happy Birthday.
There’s a game element to it, too, with GameCenter Leaderboards helping users keep track of the highest number of jabs they’ve inflicted on their friends. A Jab Back action means it’s pretty easy to up the jab count and fast.
Once bored of the free supply of jab actions, users can then purchase other packs for $0.99 a pack.
It’s certainly quirky but hopefully JabMe will make for a fun messaging service for those who like to be in regular virtual contact with friends.
It’s out now.
Who’s a big film fan, then? I know I certainly am. I’ve spent years trawling the Apple Trailers site since back when the idea of viewing film trailers on a website was revolutionary. Now I can do it through a new app by the name of iTunes Movie Trailers.
The app does exactly what the name suggests, offering the newest and most exclusive movie previews in HD at the fingertips of all iOS device owners who choose to download this free app.
Users can browse trailers, clips and featurettes for all the biggest movies, as well as view spectacular HD photos, view a year long calendar of upcoming movie releases and find showtimes at cinemas near them.
Hundreds of movie trailers are available in all and a quick glance already shows the best of the best are on display such as Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Besides tracking what the networks reckon are the biggest hits, users can also browse the charts to see what other people are downloading the most for inspiration as to what to check out.
iTunes Movie Trailers is out now. It’s universal, it’s free, it’s the ideal app for movie fans.
Southern Californians and music fans alike should instantly recognise the name KCRW. It’s a public radio station that’s become increasingly popular thanks to its use of modern methods like podcasts and streaming Internet radio broadcasts in its efforts to educate music fans in the latest and greatest new acts. In the past, KCRW hosts have helped showcase the likes of Beck, Adele, Florence & the Machine, Coldplay, Dido and Massive Attack.
Now there’s an app from KCRW that aims to take ‘listeners on an audio adventure of artists especially selected by DJs’ from the station. Pretty exciting, huh?
KCRW Music Mine – an iPad only app – is dedicated entirely to music exploration using The Echo Nest’s music intelligence platform to track down the best new artists. The app offers up to 100 artists at a time with lists updated daily in tandem with the on air playlists for KCRW. Listeners who want to learn more can then find videos, photos, blog posts and more behind each artist as well as discover the musical talent.
The format of KCRW Music Mine lends itself to users who don’t have a lot of time on their hands for messing around with configurations. Intead it’s an app that’s simple to browse and quickly find something of interest.
For fans who just want to kick back and relax, they can jut tap the KCRW’s 24 hour, all music stream Eclectic24 and enjoy the music, or they can listen in to full shows by many KCRW DJs.
KCRW Music Mine sounds like the ideal companion for KCRW fans and a fantastic app for music enthusiasts keen to find something new to love. I can certainly see some lazy Sunday afternoons being lost to checking out new music.
It’s free to download so why not give it a try today?
Dogs are great. Cuddly, sweet, faithful and never judgemental. How intelligent are they though? Dog fans may now be able to figure out this very important question thanks to a new app by the name of Dog IQ.
According to the app, dogs have different kinds of intelligence just like humans do. These types are: problem solving ability, social intelligence, awareness, sense and the ability to learn and adapt. Dog IQ helps determine how mentally adept the user’s dog is by providing a well rounded overview of all of these types.
Each test offered by the app consists of 11 simple and fun questions testing the above abilities. Taken from a pool of 30 questions, there’s enough room for trying the test numerous times. Indeed it’s encouraged with a history page allowing users to monitor their dog’s performance over time.
Dog IQ looks to be a fun entertainment app to finally see if dogs really are smart or not. It’s out now priced at $0.99.
Yardsellr has been quite a success story in recent times. Originally set up by three former eBay executives, Daniel Leffel, Jed Clevenger and Rachel Makool, it’s essentially eBay for Facebook.
Unlike the popular auction site, there are no auctions to be seen here. Instead sellers list items at fixed prices in different categories or ‘blocks’ as the site likes to call it. It’s an idea that has proven popular thanks to its Facebook connections making it especially useful for the female demographic that are typically most likely to use the social network. Unlike eBay the fees system also works differently with buyers being charged around ten percent rather than the seller, no doubt proving beneficial to many.
Making Yardsellr a kind of online neighborhood to buy and sell items is a neat touch so it’s good to see it spread to the App Store courtesy of the official Yardsellr app.
The app does nearly exactly what any Yardsellr user could want. Currently there’s only buying functionality but selling abilities are set to be added in an upcoming update.
For newcomers to the Yardsellr world, it’s refreshing to see rather than the impersonal side of selling that eBay offers, Yardsellr has much more of a community spirit with sellers seeming impassioned by the items they’re trying to find a new home for. There’s also a prevalence of items that will be of great interest to users of selling communities like Etsy with some fantastic hand created bits and pieces being sold alongside more commercially available goods.
Much like the website, it’s important to note that Yardsellr is only open to users within the United States. People from other nations had best hope that in the future Yardsellr will be extended further afield. It’s great to see something a bit different from the eBay norm flourish so well.
The app is available now for free.
Ever sit in a coffee shop or at work and wonder if there’s a good movie showing at the local cinema? Need a good way of checking? Sure there’s always looking it up on the internet but how about an app like Showings that is focused purely on cinema related things.
The app allows users to find nearby cinemas and then favorite the ones they regularly go to. It’s then just a simple matter of flicking around the app for more information. Users can take a look at the movie poster, cast, a synopsis of the story, Rotten Tomatoes score and in some cases, also a trailer too.
Of course, there’s also the all important film showing times too which are clearly laid out for all days of the week.
Showings is a simple app but that’s exactly what anyone could want. It gives out the facts quickly and concisely so that users can plan their evening ahead fast.
Showings is out now priced at $0.99.
Plenty of different Booth type apps exist on the App Store but what can I say? Sometimes, the odd Booth app just intrigues me that bit more than the rest. In this case, it’s that of Glam Booth.
I’m someone who was too young for the Glam Rock effects of the 1970s and 1980s but that doesn’t stop me being a fan of the wild hair and make up. Glam Booth offers a free way of experiencing that by invoking the customary manner of loading up a photo and tapping a few options. Auto cropping of images makes it all the simpler.
It’s a free app but with a series of in-app purchases available to unlock new packs such as Glam Rock, Gaga Glam, Glam Rock Girls and Glitz Glam. Completed images can then be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter at the tap of a button.
Glam Booth is a simple yet fun distraction when taking photos out and about this summer. It might not be something that’s used all the time but it’s a great way of adding some glam to the most mundane of portrait photos.
It’s out now and it’s a free download.
Wi-Fi has given technology buffs a huge amount of freedom. It’s not that long ago that we were all constricted by cables making the likes of video streaming possible but a little awkward and requiring plenty of forward planning. Now we’ve got the wonders of Wi-Fi and apps like Air Playit.
Air Playit is an app that enables its users to stream any video or audio files that are stored on their PC straight to their iOS device. Video conversion tools mean that video libraries can be converted instantly to a format that iOS devices can read. Users aren’t restricted to being on the same Wi-Fi network either with it being possible to set up the server to work across the internet too.
The app also supports Apple TV-Out so that users can stream content to their TV via their iOS device. Options to customize output quality and audio parameters are also available. It’s a pretty comprehensive app indeed and one that offers tons of convenience.
Air Playit is out now in iPhone and iPad varieties. Both are free.
Released: 2011-07-15 :: Category: Entertainment
The potential benefits that iOS devices can present to toddlers and children cannot be stressed enough. Touch based technology lends itself perfectly to children making their way in this technological world. In the case of The Fairy Tale, it combines traditional storytelling elements with the fun of using an iOS device too.
The app sets out to make reading that bit more enjoyable to youngsters by allowing them to create their own tale. Users can create characters and objects that respond to the touch by either moving or making a noise. As well as that illustrations can be moved, expanded, reduced or rotated with a simple touch.
It all makes for an experience that will feel more realistic to a young child than simply reading stagnant pages of texts and looking at pictures. They can finally interact with the tale.
Once a story has been created, users can then share their creations with others and they can store them on a virtual bookshelf for future reference.
The Fairy Tale is a free app with in-app purchases available for Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin and The Magic Lamp priced at $2.99 each.
Released: 2011-08-05 :: Category: Books
Anyone who wants to lose weight knows that motivation is the main thing that’s needed in order to achieve such goals. How can that motivation be gained, however? While it can all be done internally, sometimes it’s useful to have something visual to look at during regular intervals which is exactly where SlimBooth might be of great use.
It’s an app that allows users to see a full body picture of how they’d look if they were slimmer. It’s quick to implement and can give a great insight into just how they could look if they slimmed down a bit. Once the transformation has taken place, users can then choose to share the results through all the standard social networking options and show off their new potential look.
While SlimBooth makes a point of being primarily an entertainment app rather than anything scientific, it’s still a great idea that’s bound to appeal to many in need of a bit more motivation.
SlimBooth is out now, priced at $0.99.
Ever wanted to put a face on a coin? Yeah, me neither. It turns out it does look quite cool, though – certainly if new app Coin Booth has anything to do with it.
The app allows users to select a photo from their photo album or take a photo directly, then stick it on top of a coin. Extra options come in the form of being able to pick the coin template from the US dime, the Euro, US dollar and the UK pound with some of these involving in-app purchases or the Coin Booth Deluxe version. Each template offers its own coining and engraving settings to create just the right effect. Plus there’s the ability to add any ASCII characters to the coin too.
Once the coin has been created, users can then share it through the regular means of Facebook, Twitter and Email, plus they can flip the coin and play heads or tails.
Two varieties of Coin Booth exist with a free version offering minimal choices and Coin Booth Deluxe enabling users to manipulate all the previously mentioned coin templates. The Deluxe version costs $1.99. Both are available now.
Released: 2011-07-19 :: Category: Entertainment
Bruno Bozzetto might not be a name instantly familiar to US audiences but he certainly deserves to be. He’s a very sharp witted and sarcastic Italian cartoonist with a background in satirical animated shorts, one of which (Grasshoppers) was a nomineee for the Best Animated Short Oscar in 1990. In recent years, he’s switched over to flash cartoons and other web based entries which is how we come to Shake Up Bozzetto.
Shake Up Bozzetto is an app that offers 101 black and white as well as color sketches by Bozzetto. They’re all quite simple yet witty, the kind of thing that people would expect in a newspaper. It’s much akin to the likes of Garfield but with a bit of an edge to them. The cartoons follow the world through Mr Rossi’s eyes, a deeply sarcastic character who enjoys thinking over numerous different universal and timeless themes. Much of the humor stems from observational humor with a welcome dose of cynicism too, just the kind of thing that many can relate to.
The app itself comes in iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad varieties. The iPad version stretching more accurately across the larger screen space. Each app allows for viewing the cartoons either in a linear mode, by simply swiping from side to side. They also allow for a more random mode in which iPad owners touch the screen to find a random selection and iPhone owners can shake their device.
As is often the way with such things, favorites will be quickly determined by Shake Up Bozzetto’s readers so it’s possible to mark these entries as favorites for easy consultation in the future.
Shake Up Bozzetto looks to be a very entertaining and satirical read, ideal for those looking for a touch of humor to their lives.
It’s out now and priced at $0.99 for either iPhone/iPod Touch or iPad varieties.
Released: 2011-07-11 :: Category: Entertainment
When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to grow up to be was a member of the Starship Enterprise. Pity that of course it wasn’t real and instead part of the iconic TV show and subsequent franchise: Star Trek. I might never get to go up into space or meet any aliens but there is a way for me to have my very own LCARS (an acronym for Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) interface, the one that’s so familiar to Star Trek fans having been used in Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets in The Next Generation and subsequent series.
The Star Trek PADD (Personal Access Display Device) offers up a huge interactive database of all things Star Trek. The app is linked to the official StarTrek.com database offering information on all manners of aliens, ships, places, technologies and the ever important episode guide. There are even the familiar computer sound effects and voices that are so memorable from the show.
Users can browse or search to their heart’s delight as well as jump to related information through cross-links that are scattered around each entry. There’s also the ability to read the latest news from the Star Trek Facebook page as well as the official Twitter feed.
Most thrilling of all for fans are the two diagnostic modes that provide an overview schematic of the U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-D.
The database isn’t entirely complete but CBS Mobile and ArcTouch promise that there will be updates to add more information, ensuring that fans will always have something new to check out.
Star Trek PADD could have just been a regular database app covering such a memorable show but adding the fan service of the LCARS interface makes it all the more special.
Star Trek PADD is out now for the iPad and priced at $4.99.
Hitting the app store comes Mixcloud, an app that enables users to stream their favorite Podcasts (or Cloudcasts as is more appropriate for the service), DJ Mix sets and radio shows directly to their iOS device. It’s an on demand service with a fair amount of choice of Cloudcasts.
For the uninformed, Cloudcasts are extended audio shows that are hosted in the ‘cloud’ meaning that there’s no waiting for things to download like podcasts.
Anyone can create an account and upload their content so it’s a great service for those users who want to get their work out there, as well as a fun app for people who just love hearing good music or radio shows.
Currently, there are loads of categories on offer covering all types of music taste as well as talk categories ranging from business and education to news, politics and comedy. Just looking through the Mixcloud website, it’s clear that there’s something for everyone.
Mixcloud looks set to be a great way of checking out new material without needing to plan ahead like with podcasts.
Check out the video below to learn more about just how it works.
Mixcloud is available now for all iOS devices and it’s a free download.
Creating artwork from sand seems to be the new big craze in the arts and crafts world. It’s not surprising really as the results are frequently rather beautiful. For those not wanting to dabble with actual sand (which loves to get everywhere in an insidious, never ending kind of way), Sand Pictures enables iPad owners to create their own beautiful landscapes without going anywhere near the real thing.
Sand Pictures promises to offer a realistic simulation of falling sand with nearly 100,000 different particles of sand, all responding to the user’s interaction and the power of gravity. Different colored sand grains exist on screen with darker grains falling faster, thus allowing users to create layers within the sand. Different color gradients are also possible with 50 built in choices that can be simply adjusted with the tap of a couple of fingers.
The effects are pretty astonishingly beautiful, immediately making for an app that’s ideal for young and old, with only the need for creativity to divide anyone.
Users can push the various sand grains around with their fingers or they can pop bubbles with a simple tap. Bubbles can be further added by holding a finger down in one spot. The aforementioned power of gravity also plays an important role here as users can turn their iPad around, thus adjusting the directions in which the sand fall.
Sand Pictures offers 20 different background landscapes for users to create their own image in front of, and there’s always the option of using an image from the user’s photo library.
Once the user has created their picture, they can then share these images via Twitter or Facebook, or simply save it to the photo library for future reference.
Sand Pictures is available now for the iPad and it’s currently on sale for a limited time, priced at $0.99.
iPad owners will be excited to discover a new way of forming social connections via the fun that can be had watching TV thanks to BeeTV.
BeeTV allows users to share their favorite TV moments as they happen with their friends and others. Users are able to see what their friends are watching at the time, invite them to ‘join’ them in watching a show and see what hits are currently trending. Users in need of recommendations are also served well here with BeeTV aiding them by offering personalized recommendations based on what they’ve previously enjoyed.
The app encompasses Twitter and Facebook ensuring that it’s easy to see what’s going on at any point. Plus users can swiftly find new friends that like the same shows or films as themselves, extending friendships across the globe. Fact fans can also learn more about the show they’re watching at the tap of a button and they can receive notifications as to when their favorite shows are coming up next too.
BeeTV is a free app for the iPad and it’s available now.
Art and math are two very distinct things – art being a typically right-brained activity, and math being very much a left-brained activity, and never the twain shall meet. However, developer John Miller has brought the two together, with his app Geom-e-Tree. A universal app for iPhone and iPad, you use the multitouch interface to change the angle and number of branches on the tree you’re given to create increasingly complex trees and designs. Reading the in-game help screen or watching the tutorial video embedded below are a huge help for understanding how the app works beyond just creating crazy geometric designs. You could just randomly move fingers around and hope to get crazy designs, or you could follow the instructions, use the techniques provided to create something a bit less nonsensical than random pinching and dragging will get you. If you get a design that you like, you can save it to your arboretum to call it back up, email it to someone, or save it to your Photo Library. As well as the $1.99 Geom-e-Tree app, there’s a simpler version for kids entitled Geom-e-Twee, that’s currently available for free.
Released: 2011-03-22 :: Category: Education
iTunes UK Link: BBC iPlayer
Last year, I reported on the launch of the highly-anticipated (and delayed) BBC News application:
“In less than 24 hours after its release, the BBC News application has shot up to #1 in the News category. It was a story about bureaucracy at its worst whenever the BBC Trust, BBC’s governing body, told their development team to shelve the iPhone application launch in the UK due to ‘uncertainty about the potential significance of whether [the BBC's plans] constitutes a change of service.’”
Over six months have passed since the BBC went live on the App Store, and now it finally has its much needed companion, the BBC iPlayer.
The application is a dramatic improvement over its web-based predecessor, both visually and in terms of features. Three categories – Featured, Most Popular and For You – work to bring you all of the latest TV catch with minimal fuss. iPlayer focuses on Radio too, with the Radio section receiving as much attention as its TV counterpart, including the same categories. Shows can be favourited, permitting quick access to your most important media. To make a show a favourite, either hold its miniature feature from one of the three categories and drag it up to the favourites bar, or tap “Add to Favourites” and it’ll do the rest. The favourites bar is accessible via the menu bar at the bottom of the screen, or by the star at the top.
Video quality is respectable, and the application offers High Quality where available. Unfortunately, it’s all Wi-Fi only, even for Radio, meaning 3G iPad ownerswill need to resort to creative means or join a Wi-Fi hotspot before media can be viewed. Obviously, stream quality will be network dependent, but in personal tests I found the video to be smooth and consistent. Content cannot be downloaded locally, so its online viewing only.
If you’re a parent who’s concerned about adult humour making its way into children’s ears, the BBC have included a Parental Guidance PIN that requires unlocking before adult-rated content can be viewed. A secret question is included in case you forget your PIN. However, be advised, once you enter a PIN there’s no way of reversing the process, meaning you’ll have to enter it in every time you want to watch or listen to a show marked with adult humour.
iPlayer includes a search and categories section also, the latter of which groups all shows into fourteen categories, ranging from Children’s to Films to Religion & Ethics. Conveniently, the search isn’t just by name only. Typing in Jeremy revealed a number of different shows that include Jeremy in its short text synopsis. Finally, the application also features channel listings for BBC One, Two, Three, Four, CBBC, CBeebies, News and Parliament. The entire week’s listings are present, along with a short text synopsis where available.
Overall, as a free tool, iPlayer will always remained installed on my iPad, but there certainly is room for improvement. Its lack of streaming over 3G is by far the biggest disappointment, something that its competitor The Guardian allowed last month in a major overhaul. In addition, you’ll have to manually check when new shows are added (related favourites will automatically be added to your favourites bar); a push notification alert wouldn’t go amiss for specific programs. Nonetheless, iPlayer is free, and that’s something not to be taken for granted. Better some features than none in this case.
The problem with our vast amounts of media nowadays is that it’s often in so many places – stored on our computer, on our phones, on our game consoles – and sometimes those files wind up on just one place instead of where we really want them. Twonky Media is here to help alleviate some of that content dislocation, by presenting a solution for streaming media to and from your iPhone and iPod touch.
Twonky Mobile serves two purposes: first, it lets you access media being played remotely, so you can access media being played by remote UPnP servers and other Twonky Mobile servers on your iOS device. This means that you can listen to music shared from a computer, or if you have an Android phone and an iPod touch and want to listen to music from your Android on your iPod, you can do so easily. Second, it works as a media server – this means you can easily share your photos from your device to an Xbox 360 hooked up to your TV, for example. You can also use this as a middleman to beam content from servers to a device like the Roku using your iPhone or iPod touch.
One of the drawbacks, due in part to iOS restrictions, is that your music and video libraries appear to be unavailable for streaming, so you can’t use this app to play your iPod library on your Xbox 360. This is an unfortuante limitation of iOS, to prevent music and video content to be used outside of any Apple-sanctioned use. This limits some of Twonky Mobile’s use on iOS, especially as Android’s Twonky Mobile has no limits on what content can be streamed, and it even works for transmitting to AirPlay receivers. The app also doesn’t support multitasking yet, so you can’t use this to listen to audio from a remote server in the background. So while the app could definitely make use of some loosened restrictions and expanded features, but if you’re big on streaming content across your house, this could be worth checking out.
Popular Science+ released an iPad edition of its popular print magazine earlier this year. With emphasis on a smart design and a few unique twists along the way, the developers have created an excellent reading experience. To top it all off, the content makes for fascinating reading.
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