Tag: Entertainment »
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Don't let the identical version number fool you; there's a lot more to Pickle Weasel this time around. Even more Guess Games and Draw Games have been added, giving users twice as much guessing and drawing to do. On top of that there are also Flips, which are essentially a collection of goofy 2-frame animations meant to draw out a chuckle or two. If nothing else it means people will be able to enjoy the bizarre creature's antics for a bit longer now.
First of all, what exactly is a pickle weasel? Well in this particular instance it’s a cartoon character brought to life by JC Little, a.k.a The Animated Woman (director, illustrator, blogger, speaker, and artist). Back in 2011 the bizarre pickled cucumber mammalian took on a life of his own, and now he has his own weird iPad app to help spread the weirdness that much further.
Pickle Weasel is kind of a game, and kind of not. It’s more like a pseudo-interactive showcase with an emphasis on sharing the madness with friends than a straight-up multiplayer affair. The app is split into two distinct parts: Draw-Games and Guess-Games. Draw-Games present users with an image (or sometimes a partial image) and challenges them with adding their own particular visual elements such as a face on a piece of fruit or a costume for the weasel himself. Guess-Games, on the other hand, give users a single play-on-words image that they need to try and figure out. Once they think they know the answer there’s a “WTF” button at the top that can be tapped to reveal the actual subject.
The Guess-Games can be decent fun when there’s a group of people to sit around the iPad and make assumptions with, but there’s much more fun to be had with the Draw-Games. Whether users are following the instructions to the best of their abilities or simply doing whatever they feel like there’s no shortage of drawings to scribble over and share with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or simply handing the iPad to a friends and saying “Look at this!” There’s even a nifty option to replay the drawing and watch each line trace itself into existence. It serves absolutely no purpose but it can be kind of cool to see in motion.
Unfortunately there really isn’t much meat on Pickle Weasel’s bones. I suppose his half-vegetable DNA is partially to blame but it still makes for a fairly simple app with rather limited use. Updates are in the works and the creators are welcoming feedback, but until any supposed new content gets added it’s most likely going to be the kind of app that people play with for a day or two and then move on.
Pickle Weasel is a commendable first attempt but in its current state still feels a bit incomplete. There’s some entertainment value in trying to guess what the picture is trying to describe and scribbling weird faces on produce is surprisingly fun. It’s just that the well runs dry pretty quickly at the moment.
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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EMI is doing some interesting things with app developers via their openEMI project. While the project is by no means limited to iOS, EMI proper, pairing with Groovebug and Blue Note Records - which was founded in 1939 and acquired by EMI in 1971 - chose the iPad to make it’s commercial debut. Blue Note by Groovebug offers a great free tour of the jazz label’s catalog with 30-second low-bitrate samples along with access to iconic album cover designs and even detailed liner notes, giving the package a vintage vibe with legit LP perks.
While the app functions as a free stand-alone product, in order to enjoy full tracks users must subscribe for $1.99/month. While the catalog is finite, it’s not all there yet and EMI promises new featured albums and artists along with new playlists from experts in various related fields each month to keep thing from getting stale. The upgrade also gets users higher-quality audio and access to extended photo galleries.
The app pays homage to one of the most venerable historic jazz labels and has sounds from the likes of Thelonious Monk and Jazz Messenger drummer Art Blakely in signature Hard Bop style, Modal Jazz with Andrew Hill and Sonny Clark along with other sub-genres like trios, tenors and post-Bop and recordings by giants including Baby Face Willette, Miles Davis and John Coltrane - all musical pioneers in their time.
The feature set is cool whether you love jazz or don’t know much about it. Along with the album art and music, there are well-written featured articles on topics like Blue Note’s history and Blue Note in NYC Jazz Clubs. Users can add curated playlists to their favorites and make new playlists of their own. Also included is basic social sharing to Tumblr and Twitter and extra Facebook integration allowing users to dedicate songs to friends and participate in conversations.
There is even artist backstory and discovery - those who want to learn more about the early avante-garde jazz scene can tap on a familiar name and get all their recordings, a fairly extensive bio, YouTube videos, news, photos, even original newspaper clippings. The last tab – Similar – toggles a neat turntable-like control, which users spin to see related artists.
Blue Note by Groovebug is a sweet package, worth the subscription if one loves jazz or wants to learn more. It’s not a comprehensive history of this uniquely American art form, but it digs into one label that helped shape the genre with enough depth and breadth to give it replay value. I’m eager to see what EMI and third parties do next with commercial OpenEMI apps on iOS, Spotify, and beyond.
Python fans are certain to welcome the best bits from the penultimate season of the BBC sketch comedy in a new iPhone app: Python Bytes 3 - Monty Python Series 3. If you have a flair for the obvious, you'll correctly assume this is third in a series of apps that feature the best skits from the cult-classic, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The 20 most popular skits from series three are presented in a style that looks like Terry Gilliam had a hand in the design. The app launches right into a random sketch, and a shake of the iPhone launches another arbitrary dose of funny.
Tapping on a video toggles a menu where users can select specific sketches, create playlists and even delete scenes – a nice touch for space-freeing purposes. The app, like the rest of the series, sells for $2.99 - a fair bit less than buying the complete season and a fair bit less tiresome than a YouTube search. The app even comes with some cast audio commentary.
Let’s be honest, while vintage Canucks (like this humble Python head) were weaned on British sketch comedy, for an American audience it’s a decidedly acquired taste, particularly in its retro-absurdist Python perfection. There were always laugh-beer-out-yer-nose moments, but for each one, if we’re being candid, there was also an unmitigated dud. That makes this final greatest-hits package a perfect lightweight introduction for those who haven’t yet reached the point where even bad python is good python.
Check out the trailer from the first app to see the UI:
For the movie industry the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most important events in which to preview films and watch the stars. The 65th annual festival is happening in France right now, but if you weren't able to secure an invite or make the journey, hope is not lost. Film buffs and star gazers can keep tabs on the festival with The Hoolywood Reporter's new iPad app, Hollywood Reporter: Cannes Film Festival. And, if you did get there and find the opulence a little overwhelming, this app serves as an on-site guide as well.
Calling itself the ultimate companion, the app provides almost-live news, film reviews, and of course, lots of video for those of us watching from afar. Look for lots of Red Carpet moments, gossip from exclusive parties, extensive photo galleries and oh and did I say videos? Ardent fans can even download The Hollywood Reporter festival dailies to see what’s happened so far and not miss any of the remaining action.
And for those on scene there are interactive maps, extensive screening listings, and a mini Cannes travellers’ guide. We envy those enjoying the movie nights on The Riviera, but for the rest of us, this app brings home almost everything except the sun, sand, and surf .
Photo manipulation apps, especially the apps that mess with peoples faces, can be particularly fun. Role Play, by Dim Dim Sum App, is an entertainment app that allows users to take pictures of themselves and friends, apply “digital make-up,” and put them into different roles.
Users can take photos from their existing library or taking a picture within the app. Then users place position markers on various parts of the face in the picture like the eyes and mouth. After that, the user can apply a “role” from the app to the photo and the person instantly becomes something like a pirate or a clown. This can be a fun way for users to give themselves digital make-overs or screw with their friends by putting their faces into roles that would be humorous.
The app comes with two free “make-over” roles: Princess and Pirate. Other roles can be purchased with in-app coins that can either be purchased or earned by sharing Role Play pictures via Twitter or Facebook. Some other roles that can be purchased include Cat, Cleopatra, and Geisha.
Role Play is free to download.