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Favorite 4: Privacy-Friendly Replacement Apps

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 22nd, 2013

Given recent news events, the privacy of our data and just who has the ability to look at it is a growing concern. Many services that we use are proprietary creations, often served by corporations who may be willing (or forced) to distribute data transmitted through these services to governments or corporations. Now, for the security and privacy conscious, using iOS is probably not recommended because it is running on a proprietary OS and only allows apps that Apple specifically approves. However, for those who are more moderate on issues of privacy and security especially considering the closed-source nature of iOS as a whole. Thankfully, there’s a variety of services that can replace ones you currently use with open-source and more secure alternatives. Here’s four privacy-friendly replacement apps for iOS.

DuckDuckGo: Google’s whole business model is based around the fact that they use and sell data to sell more advertisments. DuckDuckGo is an anonymous search engine that is also partially open-source. The app allows for searches to be made, and top stories from the engine’s sources are available in a Readability-powered format, though this can be disabled for those concerend about just what Readability is doing with article reading data.

OpenMap: Powered by OpenStreetMaps, this app provides access to the open source mapping project’s series of maps that are freely-available. While the official website offers a mobile-friendly version, the app provides another advantage: it supports the ability to edit the maps, helping to clear up errors and contributing to the project as a whole. As well, maps can be saved for offline use. All this without possibly transmitting data back to Google or Apple who may be using it for unknown purposes.

ChatSecure: Just because you’re concerned about security doesn’t mean you can’t be social. This universal IM client supports multiple IM clients both open and proprietary with secure “off-the-record” chat that encrypts messages to keep away prying eyes. The app is open source as well, for those who like their software free as in freedom (well, as free as App Store software gets) as well as free as beer. Even for those not concerned about privacy so much, a free multi-protocol IM app is hard to pass up.

Mumble: Sometimes text chat just won’t do. So Mumble brings low-latency, secure, open source voice chat that’s also cross-platform to iOS users. Connect to a public or private server with other users of the service and enjoy free, secure, voice chatting. Sure, it was designed for gaming, but hey, doesn’t mean you can’t use it to have important chats. Or chat while playing games too. Even privacy advocates gotta unwind somehow.

Favorite Four: Surprisingly Solid Console Ports

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 19th, 2013

When the App Store first launched, five years ago, many of us were merely pleased to see any kind of game on there. It hadn't really occurred to anyone just what could really be done here. After all, so many years of Snake clones and earlier mobile versions of Gameloft titles, only go so far. 5 years later, we now know that some very impressive titles from the console and PC gaming catalogue can be converted across, and with some impressive results. Here's a look at our favorite four surprising console ports.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Arguably the most impressive port yet, the recently released XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a truly stunning game. Besides being one of the finest Turn Based Strategy games in years, its conversion is second to none. Touch screen controls are perfectly implemented here, and no compromises have needed to be taken. Those used to $0.99 purchases might feel it's a trifle expensive at $19.99, but there are a ridiculous number of hours of enjoyment to be had here.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
A delightful surprise for many, when it leapt onto the App Store, this classic BioWare RPG still stands tall today. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic won't hold its players' hands, potentially confusing newer games, but it's worth figuring out. It offers an exceptional story based gaming experience, the kind of which is rarely seen. The controls might not be perfect here, but it's forgivable thanks to being such a brilliant game.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Rockstar Games has done a fine job of converting some of its titles to iOS. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the pinnacle, thus far. The strongest and most popular of GTA titles, it looks stunning on iOS as well as offers some appropriate controls to ensure everything feels smooth and well focused here. Most importantly, it's an ideal example of a title no one would have really expected to see five years ago.

Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD
It might not have the graphical prowess of the other entries here, but Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD was quite the delightful surprise when it made its way to iOS in its full entirety. Capcom has released many great console ports to iOS, but this one just about fought off the Street Fighter series for top spot. The series is like little else out there, requiring players to take the role of an attorney, as they explore crime scenes and use evidence appropriately throughout the court case. The adaptation is stunning, and a worthy example of how DS games can be translated to iOS.

Favorite Four: Strange, Bizarre iOS Games

Posted by Rob Rich on July 17th, 2013

The past five years have seen the App Store’s library of available titles grow from a respectable 500-800 (July, 2008) to an almost inconceivable 1,000,000-plus. Of course the larger a software library gets, especially on a platform abundant with independent developers, the more likely for things to get weird. I mean really weird. With that in mind, here’s a list of four of the App Store’s most bizarre releases spread out over the last five years.

Tomena Sanner (2009)
It’s not the first runner to show up on the App Store, but it’s definitely one of the weirder ones. Guiding an energetic business man through levels filled with cowboys, dinosaurs, and even stranger obstacles is interesting enough. However, he doesn’t just leapfrog over robots and aliens and such; he dances with them. He dances with pretty much everything. And if he makes it to the end of the level in time, he dances there, too.
[itmsapp: 340120316]

Enviro-Bear 2010 (2010, obviously)
Anyone who’s familiar with Enviro-Bear 2010 should know that it’s impossible to create a list of off-the-cuff weird iOS games and not include it. I mean it looks weird enough as it is. Actually playing it is a whole other bundle of weird as players control a bear’s hand as it attempts to drive around the woods gathering food for the winter. Food that falls in through the car’s sunroof as the bear runs into things, that then has to be eaten using the bear’s one and only paw that’s needed for accelerating/steering/braking/everything else.
[itmsapp: 321414903]

NOM 5 (2011)
NOM 5 is basically the App Store’s most disjointed and surreal runner. It’s running and obstacle avoidance coupled with complete sensory overload, and the plot makes about as much sense as trying to imagine the personal relationship between a squirrel and the tree it’s climbing. Even that would probably make more sense than anything to be seen here. If you’re looking for something that makes so little sense it’s actually a little unnerving, look no further.
[itmsapp: 446316111]

Quadropus Rampage (2013)
Rounding out the list is a game about a very angry four-armed octopus on a quest to destroy Pete, the evil god of the sea. The bizarre creatures that make up Pete’s army aren’t about to make things easy, though. You’ll have to grab whatever weapons you can find (including flaming swords, guitars, sticks, and frogs) and make good use of your starfish companion if you’re to have any chance of reaching Pete at the bottom of his ocean kingdom. It’s probably the most “normal” game on this list, but the story and the world are still surreal enough for it to count.
[itmsapp: 635874036]

Favorite Four: Match-3 Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 15th, 2013

The Match-3 genre is often quite maligned these days. Criticized for being repetitive and unoriginal, I'm out to prove that's not the case. There are plenty of imaginative reinterpretations of the familiar genre, and here's a look at four of the best.

Bejeweled
OK, so Bejeweled is pretty standard Match-3 fodder. It's also the best purist interpretation out there, ensuring hours of fun for any jewel matching fan. There's no storyline to follow or anything complex like that. Just a series of modes focused on matching similarly colored gems to each other. It's pure, it's simple and it's a great time waster.

Scurvy Scallywags
Ably demonstrating the variety that Match-3 gaming can offer, Scurvy Scallywags combines pirates, the classic humor of Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert and, of course, Match-3 gameplay. It's great fun and surprisingly deep, thanks to the ability to build new ships and explore side quests. Particular joy stems from the customization options available for those who want to create their own personalized pirate.

10000000
It might be a little difficult to remember how many zeros need to go in the title, but everything else about 10000000 is very memorable. It's a dungeon crawling game that combines Match-3 style sensibilities to create a potently addictive title. Plenty of upgrades and objectives are available to keep one playing into the night, even if you started playing that morning.

Triple Town
Like precious little else out there in the Match-3 genre, Triple Town is an unique proposition. The player's sole objective is to grow the biggest possible city, all via matching three or more game-pieces. Combine three pieces of grass and make a bush, with three bushes turning into a tree and so forth. It really is quite original stuff, and strangely addictive too. Who would have thought that matching a few tiles of the same shape could do so much?

Favorite Four: Blitz Style Gaming

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 5th, 2013

Only got a minute or two to spare but want to get some fun gaming in? Why not try one of these four titles, all focused on providing maximum satisfaction in less than two minutes. They all have the bonus of being ideal for score chasers, given that the main objective is to beat one's friends' high scores. Plus, almost all of them have the word Blitz in their title, to remind us of just what genre they form a part of!

Bejeweled Blitz
The ruler of all great time wasters, the Bejeweled series knows how to draw players in for short bursts. This is most evident with Bejeweled Blitz, a game solely focused on seeing what high scores players can create in a matter of 60 seconds. Played well, it's a fast paced title, full of special gems such as Hypercubes and Flame gems. Coins dictate the bonuses that can be used, but never fear, there's a daily spin game to offer up extras for those unkeen to delve into the in-app purchases available.

Solitaire Blitz
Mostly responsible for any time that I procrastinate like crazy, Solitaire Blitz is quite the addiction. The classic card game of Solitaire is combined with a series of power-ups and a tight time limit, all in the name of score chasing. It's a potent mix, mostly because it's so easy to get to grips with. An energy system might restrict how many times one can play it during one session, but with only a minute or so to spare for gaming, that's not really a problem, right?

Dots: A Game About Connecting
Ok, so connecting dots doesn't sound very exciting. Dots bucks that trend, though. Players must draw a line between matching dots and watch the points trickle in. Form a square with such dots, however, and the points start flooding through. It's immensely simple but that's exactly why Dots is so much fun. It's ideal as a palate cleanser to life, when one just needs to take some time out from reality and delve into the world of dot connecting.

Tetris Blitz
Ok, so Tetris Blitz isn't perfect, thanks to its overenthusiastic in-app purchases making mostly everyone a little cynical. It is great fun, though, and an ideal way to spend two minutes. We all know the drill now: clear lines by placing blocks together, accrue as many points as possible in the time limit. Purists may be disappointed to see some of the power-ups available, but Tetris Blitz still offers some of the old-school magic we all know so well.

Favorite Four: Golfing Apps

Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 3rd, 2013

With the Golf season in full swing (yes, I went there), thanks to the recent US Open amongst others, now is the ideal time to check out some great apps to help golfers or just to help them keep up to date with all the news from the professional field. Here's our favorite four of the bunch.

GolfLogix GPS
It might not be an entirely free solution, given some of the best features require a subscription fee, but GolfLogix GPS is certainly comprehensive. It tracks scoring and the handicap of each player, shows personalized lessons after every round, as well as analysis. Offering information for 32,000 golf courses around the world, with the ability to track every shot (for a price), completes the package nicely, ensuring you always knows what's going on.

myGolfLeaderboard
Offering similar functionality to GolfLogix GPS, myGolfLeaderboard has a trump card up its sleeve: the ability for other golfers to watch the changing leaderboard for the match, all in real time. It's possible to set things up on the clubhouse TV, with the relevant equipment, proving ideal for amateur competitions via the event creation tool. Plus, it's entirely free and offers some useful stat tracking tools for 15,000 courses.

Everyday Golf Coach
In need of some advice for improving your swing? Everyday Golf Coach has it covered. The app offers dozens of coaching videos to help keen amateurs improve their game, with advice from how to chip correctly to how to get the ball to curve the way the golfer wants it to. There's swing analysis too, for those able to get a friend for record their swing. It's then possible to compare the technique to the varied model library, and figure out where it's all going wrong. With simple instructions, it could make all the difference to your handicap.

Golf Channel
For those more interested in how the professionals are doing, the Golf Channel app should suffice. It offers all the latest articles, blogs and analysis on everything imaginable, making it simple for users to follow their favorite players across all the major tours. Behind the scenes videos and photo galleries further help matters. Oh, and there's still space for it to offer some great tips for budding enthusiasts, too!

Favorite Four: Apps & Games To Enjoy Wimbledon

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 26th, 2013

With tennis season in full swing, thanks to Wimbledon's arrival this week and the US Open in the near future, tennis fans will be understandably keen to try out a variety of great apps and games related to the subject. So, we've taken a look at what's out there and rounded up our four favorites, comprising of a mixture of gaming and factual experiences.

Stickman Tennis
Starting on a light hearted note, don't expect realism here. Do expect fun, though. Stickman Tennis is a simple yet enjoyable tennis game, offering an almighty battle between stickmen people. Despite the cartoonish looks, it's still possible to hit top spins, slices, lobs and all the other correct shots. The complete season offers 64 tournaments so there's plenty to do, too!

The Championships, Wimbledon 2013
Official apps aren't always that great, but this one certainly bucks the trend. Besides offering the usual supply of live scores, results, statistics and a schedule of events, The Championships, Wimbledon 2013 also includes on demand video previews, daily radio coverage, and time-lapse photography from the grounds. For those who want to see everything to Wimbledon, it's even possible to check out 360 degree photos and videos of the grounds.

The Tennis App
Inspired to take up tennis or improve your skills? The Tennis App has it covered. Detailed instructions are offered for every stroke here, from topspin to volleys and overhead shots. A video overview of each stroke is included, along with an animation sequence and focus on key components of the move. It works just as well for left-handed players as it does right-handed, too.

TouchSports Tennis
Offering a more realistic look to Stickman Tennis, TouchSports Tennis is a fun 3D interpretation of the sport. 3 courts are available to choose from, as well as 6 different players. It's easy to learn to play, thanks to a combination of touch and tilt controls keeping things intuitive throughout. More importantly, it's really rather fun.

Favorite Four: Soccer Games

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 19th, 2013

As a soccer fan, I'm getting twitchy. The Confederations Cup might be helping a little, but I miss the English Premier League week in, week out. This is where I sink time into FIFA 13 on my console in order to counteract the problem. What about while on the move, though? Here's a look at my favorite 4 soccer games, each offering a slightly different take on the beautiful game.

New Star Soccer
The current King of sleep deprivation causes, New Star Soccer is a soccer fan's dream game. Instead of managing an entire team, players focus on one person: themselves, as they build up their skills and talents, hopefully working their way up from the lower leagues to great success. The controls are simple yet rewardingly satisfying, with the winning goal consistently sweet to score. There's life simulation included too, with the need to keep the boss happy as well as spend some hard earned money on fun leisure pursuits.

Active Soccer
Older gamers will remember before the days of FIFA's hold, when graphics weren't so great but gameplay was King, courtesy of the likes of Kick Off and Sensible Soccer. Active Soccer encapsulates that spirit and brings it to the iOS format. It's the controls that shine through most here, keeping it simple with minimal virtual buttons and a virtual joystick that allows players to curl shots in without any AI assistance. It'll take a bit of practice to master, but it's enjoyable stuff.

Football Manager Handheld 2013
The master of soccer management, the Football Manager series has been highly addictive for many years, and caused many a sleepless night. The handheld variety has improved year on year, with 2013 proving quite the fascinating title. Besides the full career mode, it's possible to dive into the Challenge Mode for more bite-sized gaming, offering a clear goal. For those wanting to take on the mantle of Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourhino, Football Manager Handheld 2013 is an unmissable game.

Score! World Goals
Ever wanted to be responsible for a match winning goal? Score! World Goals skips past all the build up play, focusing on the bit that counts. Taking players through a large selection of historical matches, Score! World Goals is part puzzle game, part arcade line drawer. Success is dictated by the player's ability to draw the correct route between players on the pitch, in order to pass appropriately and eventually score. Things start out pretty simple, but it gets more complicated thanks to more advanced stages, as well as the quest for the 3 Star completion record, so beloved of puzzle games.

Favorite Four: Adventure Game Book Apps

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 12th, 2013

With the recent release of Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom, it seemed like the perfect time to take a look at our favourite four Adventure Game Book Apps. The Forest of Doom isn't included here, but consider it a bonus 5th, representing just how great all the Fighting Fantasy conversions are. The Adventure Game Book genre is a strong one on the App Store, so it's been a tough battle narrowing things down!

Sorcery!
Only part one of four has been released so far, but Sorcery! is a great conversion of the much loved series by Steve Jackson. There are nearly 50 spells to learn, plenty of decisions to make and a gripping story throughout. The combat might take a moment or two to click, deviating from typical dice throwing methods, but it all adds to the already beautiful visuals. It's a quite captivating tale.

Trial of the Clone
One of two titles featuring here from, unofficial App Store Kings of the genre, Tin Man Games: Trial of the Clone is a rare thing in the gaming world: a genuinely funny title. Written by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal creator, Zach Weinersmith, and including the voice of Wil Wheaton, the artistic pedigree is as strong as the content. Telling the story of a clone making its way in a futuristic world, it's an unique tale that is ideal to play again and again, seeking out new endings.

Underground Kingdom
Less focused on combat than the others, Underground Kingdom is the re-imagining of the first Choose Your Own Adventure book, a series popular in the 1970s and 1980s. 23 different endings are available to find, as players explore an alien world in this attractive storybook style app. The artwork is particularly appealing and while it's a shorter read than some of the others here, it's an ideal way to remember a classic series.

Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106
It was a close run thing between this and one of the Fighting Fantasy titles, but the Judge has just about inched ahead. Understandably for such a violent theme, there's plenty of dice rolling based combat here, alongside appropriate visuals capturing the spirit of Judge Dredd well. What makes it stand out all the more, however, is the record sheets that come with each perp either killed or arrested. There's always that urge to play another game, just to try to fill the database. Adventure fans, as well as comic book fans, will love this.

Favorite Four: Freemium City/Village Builders

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 17th, 2013

Freemium city-building games have been hugely popular on the App Store for nearly as long as the App Store has been around. With their trickle feeding approach to progress, and that temptation to spend real money to expand one's virtual empire, it's no wonder that everyone ends up intrigued. Like any genre, though, there are good and bad examples. I take a look at four of my favorite city or village builders.

CityVille Hometown
The mighty behemoth of Zynga starts us off, courtesy of the rather charming CityVille Hometown. Players focus on building up their town, keeping the residents happy and getting new people involved. There's a little bit of everything here with decorating, farming and business growth all playing a part. Keeping things focused on the residents gives the game a suitably homely feel.

PLAYMOBIL Pirates
When I was a child, I adored playing with Playmobil, creating stories with the constantly happy, plastic people. PLAYMOBIL Pirates brings such fun to iOS with players able to develop their own pirate camp, recruit new members of the crew and complete a variety of fun missions. Yes, it's not city building in the conventional sense, but it's charming and cute. The allure of in-app purchases isn't too strong either, with patience fixing that problem.

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic
A series that has benefited from quite a resurgence in recent times, My Little Pony transfers the city building motif to Ponyville. Usual village building techniques play a role here, but it's all backed up by a selection of mini-games which keep things more interactive than most. The cute factor is off the scale, too!

Pixel People
Quite different from the others in the list, Pixel People is more focused on the genetic splicing of people rather than village building, but it's still an important part of progression. There's charm aplenty here, plus immediately accessible yet addictive gameplay, with players combining characters to create new ones. It'll take quite a while to collect every single one of the over 200 characters, as well as some careful thought, but it's terrific fun along the way.

Favorite 4: Single-iPad Multiplayer Games

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 13th, 2013

Hey, that iPad of yours has a nice big screen. Why keep it all to yourself? Grab some friends and play some games together with them! Here's four of my favorites.

Fingle: It's time to get intimate with this two-player iPad game. It starts out simply enough: each person moves their finger to the dashed box on screen. Sure, we can do that! Then multiple fingers get involved. Then the target boxes keep moving. Then the targets move in and out of the other person's hand, and action is getting incredibly touchy-feely here. Oh, and the game's use of innuendo means that it knows what's up. So grab a friend and be ready to become really close...or make things really awkward. Great memories or terrible memories are sure to come.

Bloop: Some of these games are fun for just two people, but here's one for up to four people. The objective? Each player picks a color on the screen, and when the action starts, they need to tap it whenever it pops up. Oh, and the colors are rapidly popping up all throughout the game, so reacting quickly to where colors are coming up is extremely important! Expect to be shoving others' arms out of the way all while playing this. It's got the best facets of an iPad multiplayer game: an easy concept to pick up on and plenty of chaos that creates for memorable moments.

Monkey Boxing: Sure, abstract competition is great. But sometimes friends just need to beat each other up by using simian avatars. That's exactly what this game provides, with two players on one iPad. The two-button gameplay is easy to dive in to, and there's enough variety to keep things from ever being monotonous. Don't just jump in to the game, though. Make sure to customize your monkey's outfit before fighting. Half of success is looking good while doing so. That's a fact.

Hundreds: This is something of an out-of-left-field choice in that it's not really a multiplayer game, right? Well, what you made you think that it was explicitly a singleplayer game? Given that the game is very much based around multitouch, get some other people and try to solve some of the fiendish challenges that the game throws out. However, more independently-working fingers means more opportunities to screw up, so it really just brings a different approach to the title that can really change the game.

Favorite Four: Apps to Make Mom Smile

Posted by Rob Rich on May 10th, 2013

With the arrival of Mothers Day, children everywhere will be scrambling to show their appreciation. Perhaps consider one of these iOS options as well. Not that they'd replace quality time, of course. By all means go and treat your mom to a nice dinner, give her a call, or whatever else you were planning to do. We just ask you to consider adding one (or all) of these digital possibilities to your Mother's Day plan.

Flower Garden
Who doesn't think of getting their mom some flowers on Mothers Day? Nobody, that's who. Flower Garden allows users to grow their own flora, as well as acquire new seeds for more exotic (and in some cases fictitious) examples. After some TLC they can then harvest their flowers and create a bouquet. A bouquet they can send to anyone on their Contacts list. And if the price seems a bit steep don't fret; there's a possibility (nothing official, just guessing) that it may go on sale like it did last Mothers Day.

[itmsapp: 311265471]

Let’s create! Pottery HD
Mom always likes it when you make her stuff. She always held on to that hideous ashtray you made for her back when you were in first grade, even though she doesn't smoke. Now you can shower her with a ton of virtual ceramics without the hassle of any cleanup. Much like Flower Garden it's possible to send photos of a piece to anyone you want, including mom. Unlike Flower Garden it's also possible to give a particular favorite physical form through a little in-app purchase of some 3D printing.

[itmsapp: 380090605]

Cards
Moms also like to get cards. Not just on Mothers Day, either. Downloading Apple's official custom card creation app is practically a no-brainer for such an occasion. And as an added bonus you can send her customized greeting cards of the family/kids year-round. Think about that: the ability to send your mom personalized (and physical) greeting cards whenever you'd like, for any occasion. All without having to browse through the paltry selection at the store.

[itmsapp: 464957209]

ComicBook!
Giving your mom some eFlowers or making her a card is cool and all, but putting together a comic book that chronicles your adventures fighting crime (or even something a bit more tame) is just plain fun. I dare any moms out there not to laugh, or at least crack a smile, when their sons or daughters present them with the first issue of The Incredible Mom, Spidermom, or even Iron Mom.

[itmsapp: 436114747]

Favorite Four: Vacation Planning Apps

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 8th, 2013

In the midst of planning a vacation for the near-future? You lucky person, you. There are plenty of apps keen to help people along their way, but I take a look at four of my favorites for taking some of the effort out of the experience. In exchange, all I ask is to be able to sneak into someone's suitcase for the trip. No? OK then, just enjoy the read instead then!

TripDeck
Aiming to be the Swiss Army Knife of travel organization, TripDeck is an itinerary planner, allowing users to manage their hotel reservations, car rentals, flights, cruises, restaurants and meetings, all in one place. Early access is offered for details such as check-in times and baggage claim information, amongst many other things. Plenty of contact numbers and maps are easily accessible too, for the easily worried. Best of all, for those travelling with others, it's easy to share all this information.

Suitcases
Packing is often a much bigger task than anyone anticipates, especially if there are children or other dependents that need to be organized. Suitcases is one handy app for such a task. It's a very simple list based app, dividing items into categories right down to reminders of things to do before leaving, as well as the all important stuff that needs to be packed. Being able to split suitcases up according to the type of trip proves particularly useful for regular visits.

GetPacked
The other ideal packing app is a little more expensive but it's also more featured packed, encouraging users to figure out what they need by asking them a series of questions. A customized packing list is offered once some answers have been supplied, giving users a great starting point for what they need to do next. It's just as easy to add extra information, too.

Triposo
Whether you've made it to your destination or you're still figuring out where to go, Triposo is a handy app to consult. It offers a series of free travel guides to many different cities and countries. There's an overview map for the country, along with detailed information for major cities, useful phrases, and even a currency convertor. It's a great starting point for ideas of where to visit, places to dine at and places to stay.

Favorite 4: Audio Recording Apps

Posted by Carter Dotson on May 6th, 2013

Make your voice be heard! Or perhaps your music as well. Whatever sounds you need to record, there's an app to make that happen. Here are four of our favorites.

iSaidWhat?!: I've used probably 6 different iOS devices over the past 3 years, and the list of apps that I've installed on all of them is short; iSaidWhat?! is on all of them. This audio recorder is perfect for recording audio anywhere and everywhere from the iPhone or the iPad (though it's not universal, it still works), with the ability to trim files down. But really, the reason why it's so great? It's possible to reduce the gain on the mic, so in particularly noisy situations, it's possible to prevent audio clipping. It's perfect for loud situations, and makes it the app that I keep using. It could use a modern update, but it's still great.

GarageBand: Want to record some music? Why not use Apple's mobile version of their famous music app? It supports recording through the mic port, including from third-party accessories like iRig for guitar, and external microphones. As well, there's MIDI support for using devices like keyboards with the app. When it's all arranged, the files can be exported to SoundCloud, to a desktop iTunes library, or even to Facebook and YouTube.

Mixlr: Pre-recorded audio is for suckers. To paraphrase Bill O'Reilly: "We'll do it live!" This app is perfect for that. Just fire up the app on iPhone, and start broadcasting over wifi or 3G/4G/LTE! Want to play music for strangers on the internet? Go for it! Want to start up a live podcast with friends? Sure! Just have random grumblings and rantings that need to be shared with people right now? This app is perfect for that as well. The audio can then be saved for posterity to SoundCloud, Mixcloud, or Dropbox. The revolution will be broadcast live!

AudioNote: Need to take some notes with the audio you record? This app is a perfect choice to use with it. You can record audio and type notes along with the recording. Best of all, it's possible to tap on text and go right to that part of the recording. It's great for transcription or taking notes in class. Plus, the app is universal, giving it an advantage over the similar Notability.

Favorite Four: Apps To Improve Your DSLR Photography

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 3rd, 2013

Taking photos with your iOS device is immensely useful and often produces good results. Nothing can quite beat the power of a DSLR camera, however, as much as many apps try. Switching to a full DSLR camera doesn't mean having to leave iOS devices alone, though, as there are plenty of great apps to make taking good photos even easier. We take a look at four apps ideally suited for helping photographers.

Triggertrap
It's not quite as free as the price suggests, given users need to buy a separate Mobile Dongle, but for those with a compatible camera, Triggertrap is an ideal tool for activating one's DSLR camera remotely. Even better, it offers plenty of options so that it's simple to initialize a long-exposure HDR shot, adjust the time-lapse or distance-lapse, as well as even trigger at the sound of a handclap. It's a very effective app.

Master Your DSLR Camera
Learning all about how to use a DSLR camera is an important part of capturing great images. Master Your DSLR Camera is a great, coffee-table-esque app with plenty of advice. With a mixture of text based advice, HD video tutorials and great imagery, there's a lot to take in. Fortunately, it's all clearly explained and easy to browse. Plenty of situational advice is offered too, courtesy of 25 common shooting scenarios via the app's cheat sheet section.

SetMyCamera Pro
Besides offering similar remote triggering facilities to TriggerTrap, SetMyCamera Pro also comes with plenty of ways to figure out the Depth of Field calculations required to take a great photo. Alongside that, it offers Shutter Speed recommendations, Field of View assistance and a distance unit conversion calculator. With plenty of functionality, it should make photographic calculations a lot simpler.

Photo Academy
A little like Master Your DSLR Camera, Photo Academy lends itself to quick consultations while out and about. There's plenty of detailed advice on how to achieve the best composition, as well as tips on specific subjects. Alongside that is a great guide to the best settings according to each topic, plus a glossary of important terms. Users wanting to track their experience can record their expeditions in the Shoot Diary, while also recording notes on how they feel they did and what settings worked best for them.