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.
“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.
Posted December 7th, 2010 by Kyle Flanigan Our Rating: :: SMART DESIGN
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.
While we cover plenty of games here at 148Apps, they’re all on the iOS side of things. But especially during this time of year, there’s definitely an interest in games from the traditional gaming systems, both handheld and portable. Whether we’re just shopping for gifts for friends and family, or trying to kill time at GameStop while others shop in far less interesting stores, the ‘traditional’ game has yet to go away. The problem is that just looking at the boxes of these game doesn’t exactly tell you everything; tiny screens and admittedly biased descriptions don’t tell you much about games. Sometimes there’s a need for more info. That’s where Cedemo steps in.
Cedemo lets you look up a game and instantly get a chance to see it in action, as video starts playing when you look up a title, allowing you to get a feel for a game that boxart alone cannot provide. It certainly makes window shopping for games far more visual than static images provide. So how do you look up the info on these games? Well, you can check out the top 10, “Hot”, and “Oldies” lists in the app, or you can manually search for titles. However, there’s one other way to look up titles – you can scan the game’s UPC on camera-enabled devices to instantly watch video of the game as soon as the barcode is recognized. If you have trouble scanning barcodes, whether you have a device without an auto-focus camera or just can’t keep your arm from shaking your device to get a lock on the barcode, you can just manually key in the UPC.
The app is currently available for free on the App Store, and works on all iOS devices (with barcode scanning disabled on non-camera devices, and the app does not run in iPad native mode), and there is supposedly a version for Android available as well, but it is not currently available on the Android Marketplace. The only feature in the app besides video playback is the ability to post the games you find with Cedemo to Facebook; the ability to see reviews of games could be another huge help for game shoppers this holiday season. For now, this could be a useful app for those of us stuck looking through the game shelves while out shopping in the next month.
Posted July 13th, 2010 by Brian Hudson Our Rating: :: FONT-TASTIC
Billed as "the first font editor exclusive for iPad," 2TTF's handy little app does as advertised: it lets you easily make a font from your own handwriting. It's a bit limited in its usefulness, it's still cheaper than similar online services.
If you’re looking to buy a new BMW or a Mini, take note. There’s an iOS 4 feature you’ve probably never heard of that you’re going to love.
Car manufacturer BMW has announced that it will be supporting iPod Out in iOS 4. What’s that? You say. Hidden among the many exciting features in Apple’s latest mobile operating system, the relatively obscure iPod Out is a way for iPhone and iPod models to show the iPod interface on a connected display, in this situation, the dashboard of a car.
While many docking stations and other accessories offer this facility already, this is an Apple-endorsed way of showing and controlling the classic iPod screen and album artwork on an external device and should translate very nicely to in-car entertainment. In the case of BMW, the in-built “infotainment” systems will allow control and playback of a connected device through the car’s existing controls and will even allow access to and creation of Genius and custom playlists.
BMW said of its iPod Out support “Future vehicles equipped with this technology will be able to adapt more quickly to the software lifecycles of iPod touch and iPhone”, basically taking the pressure off them to remain compatible with Apple’s mobile devices as they are updated.
BMW refers to “future” vehicles in its press release so existing owners may miss out on this upgrade, however iPod and iPhone owners in the market for a new car should certainly bear a BMW or Mini in mind when on the forecourt.
We recently got our hands on iSaidWhat?!, a smart new audio tool by Tapparatus. The app lets you record what your friends are saying, and then rearrange it for your amusement. Billed as a way to embarrass your buddies, iSaidWhat?! works surprisingly well when put to the test.
The first thing you’ll notice about iSaidWhat?! is the overall polish and cleanliness of design. It is an expertly crafted front-end. You can easily record anything and save it within the app. iSaidWhat?! shows you the waveform of what you’ve recorded, and you can then zoom to and cut select pieces using a very simple interface.
Once you’ve extracted and compiled a variety of snippets, iSaidWhat has an arrange mode where you can choose from words or phrases within any of your recordings in order to construct a new saying. The goal is to string together funny new sentences at your friend’s expense, although you can use it to combine any sounds you’d like. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, you can then share it via a variety of ways, including Twitter and Facebook. There is also a script mode that lets you type up a message beforehand that you’d like someone to read while you record.
iSaidWhat?! operates rather seamlessly from recording to sharing. It is a tad too easy to accidentally lose a recorded message at first, but you soon get the hang of saving your sound bites immediately upon taking. For my testing purposes, I recorded some bits of an interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and pretty effortlessly rearranged them to have him proclaiming his love for Apple. Childish for sure, but fun nonetheless!
While iSaidWhat?! may be somewhat of a novelty tool, it delivers on everything it promises with a high level of quality. You can see it in action via the screenshots and demo video below…
Riding the fall of the stock market? Eh? AirCoaster 3D is a roller coaster simulator with a built-in track editor and an online database for community uploads. Besides the thrill of riding a fake coaster, you can also get some bitter laughs out of riding a track based on the Dow Jones index.