This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre reviewed some exciting new printer technology for everyone with an iOS device: “The Lantronix xPrintServer is one of those rare bits of networking/printing hardware that just…works. I can’t be more effusive in my praise for this device, having been an IT coordinator for a small office in which printers and the network printing thereof was a weekly headache for my staff and I.
The tiny little plastic xPrintServer comes in a nicely packaged box, which includes a plug with several adapters for various national plug configurations, an ethernet cable, and the device itself: a cute little white plastic rectangle that isn’t much bigger than an iPhone 5. One of the short ends of this device has a port for the ethernet cable, the power adapter and a USB port.”
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at Toca Tailor, saying, “Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.
Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.
Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, Carter Dotson explored a paradox at 148Apps.biz: “Thursdays are all hype. Despite being the big release day for many new apps, there’s actually very little benefit to marketing or downloads in this period, according to ad firm Chartboost, and every other day has different benefits versus Thursday.
First, according to Chartboost, Wednesday is actually the most popular release day, because it’s the day right before Apple updates their featured lists on the iPhone and iPad App Stores. In reality, what’s happening is that developers are scheduling releases for midnight (0:00) on Thursday, and because apps get released at that time worldwide, which winds up being 11pm eastern in North America due to the Atlantic Time Zone, these apps start appearing on Wednesday.
But here’s the thing: that Thursday is actually a lousy day to be promoting apps.”
And that brings us one week closer to Thanksgiving here in the US. Be sure to follow us right here, or on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news, reviews and holiday sales. See you next week, smart shoppers!
MacHeist has finally returned! If you aren’t familiar, MacHeist started as a Mac software bundle. You know the kind, you get hundreds of dollars worth of software for next to nothing. In recent iterations it’s turned into a puzzle-based Mac OSX software scavenger hunt as well.
Well the next puzzle cycle has started and this time it’s all app based. Grab the MacHeist agent app to join in the puzzle fun — and end up with some free software.
The promise of iOS 4.2 for the iPad has largely been fulfilled, yet there are still gaps remaining. The ability to print to any printer via AirPrint has yet to materialize, and until Apple releases another update there is only a select (read: infinitesimally small) number of HP printers that will work.
Don’t despair. As usual, an enterprising third-party application developer has solved a seemingly insurmountable problem. That solution is Printopia, a small addition to the preference panel in OSX (it works even with 10.5) that allows you to print to any printer connected to your Mac. Not only that, Printopia also serves as a virtual printer, allowing you to save your files as PDFs or JPGs directly to your Dropbox or to your Mac.
I’m currently trying out the 7 day demo (after that, the software costs $9.95 – a meager sum to print from your iPad TODAY instead of some unknown time in the foreseeable future) and can attest that Printopia works as advertised, even exceeding my expectations in its simplicity and ease of use. Once installed, all you have to do is pull up the print menu (note that the app has to be compatible with iOS 4.2 and have a print menu enabled) and your printer will appear. No, it isn’t realizing the promise of driverless printing – yet – but it’s better than any other stopgap measure I could imagine.
A few caveats: first, you need a Mac for this (sorry Windows users), and second, your Mac has to be running in order for you to access printer resources (this includes saving to your Dropbox account or your Mac as well). Still, it’s simple, elegant and affordable. It just works.
Read more about Printopia and download the demo here.
It’s been a want by many that Apple would introduce a system in which its users could organise their homescreens. The introduction of iPhone OS 3.0 saw the first step, with the addition of a system wide search engine – Spotlight. Next came the recent release of iTunes 9.0, and this saw the second step, introducing better syncing functionality with more control over where our apps are positioned and placed, even before we sync.
But with the iPhone running a watered down version of Mac OSX, with an operating system this powerful people are starting to wonder if this form of organisation could (and should) be taken to the next level. The only question is: Is Apple prepared to take it there? We’re talking Exposé people, and yesterday, Sweedish design house Ocean Observations showed off their interpretation of what this functionality could look like, to MobileCrunch – and I have to say, I was impressed. Not by the invention of the concept, but by how easy it could be to navigate homescreens, with it.
The system they’re proposing is simple. In the video above you can see exactly how Ocean Observations see it happening. Tapping the home button and you’ll watch all your homescreens turn into a grid-like layout. From here, instead of swiping from left to right (which was supposedly why Spotlight was introduced in OS 3.0), you’d just tap the homescreen you want to shift to.
The amount of bubble notifications you had on each homescreen would then be displayed above the corresponding ‘homescreen tile’. A neat concept, one I personally think Apple should implement. But you do have to ask the question: Would you use it? As it is now, I don’t even use Spotlight. That said, something like this could be quite useful, don’t you think?
If I was betting, I’d bet most of you now watch TV through your Mac or PC .. sometime in the day, am I right?
Well, set aside that rather expensive computer of yours, and instead pull out that rather expensive phone of yours. How would you like to watch live TV on your iPhone (or iPod touch) instead? Your frantically nodding your head, aren’t you? Since Apple introduced the SDK which has gradually been getting more feature-full as the months have gone on, we’ve seen an influx of applications from companies promising us our live TV fix, on the move. Ed Lea’s Live TV for example.
Elgato is also one of those companies. Most known worldwide for it’s easy to use and accessible Mac based software, EyeTV. The software allows you to schedule, record, watch and rewind live TV. Not only that, but the software will also convert this recorded content into .MP4, and import them into iTunes if you so choose. This is partly why the software is so popular among the iPod crowd. It is worth noting though, that in order for any of this to work you will need to invest in one of the company’s many ‘Freeview’ USB sticks, available here.
Retro games are appearing in the App Store in droves! Pac-Man Remix, Q*Bert Deluxe, and of course, the incredible Space Invaders Infinity Gene. All of these are updated in some way from the classic games. Q*Bert has updated graphics, Pac-Man Remix has updated graphics (though they are still not too hot on the iPhone) along with power-ups that sometimes feel gimmicky, and Space Invaders is a complete re-imagining of the classic game. Of these, the only game that really captivates me is SIIG. In my opinion, retro games are retro for a reason – frankly, they’re boring and outdated. However, the concepts are still good, and if they’re updated for modern gamers, they can turn out like SIIG. To go with these retro games, there are plenty more on the way: Snood, a classic match-3 shooting game, TAITO’s Bust-a-Move, and most importantly, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Pac-Man CE, for XBLA, is, along with SIIG, one of the best re-imaginings of a retro game I have ever played and, if the controls are changed from Remix, should translate fantastically for the iPhone.
Pac-Man CE, a great re-imagining of the classic game
Gameloft coming on strong (maybe)
Along with NFL 2010, Gameloft has an upcoming FPS, Sandstorm, and a GTA knockoff, Gang$tar in the works. These games are particularly of note because it seems as if Gameloft is attempting to directly compete with other developers. NFL 2010 was notably released before EA’s upcoming Madden 2010, and at a lower expected price point – $7.99 compared to $9.99. Sandstorm seems to be in line for direct competition with ngmoco’s upcoming FPS (as yet unnamed). Gang$tar looks to have a huge advantage on current App Store GTA-a-likes with a fully roam-able 3D world. If I was a betting man (ok, I am a betting man), though, I would count on the other two games losing out. If there’s two things Gameloft games have in common, with the notable exception of Castle of Magic, it’s lackluster, on-screen controls, and uninspired gameplay. Gameloft seems to put all of the genre “requirements” in their games, without doing anything truly unique to make the game their own. They seem stubborn about their controls as well, always opting for mediocre on-screen d-pads or joysticks, rather than attempting any innovation for the iPhone. NFL 2010 is a solid football game with licensing, and I’m sure Sandstorm will be a decent FPS. However, neither if these titles, probably, will be great.
Get out of my games, stupid pygmy
Games requiring 3.0 software
I wanted to briefly address a common complaint springing up various places: games requiring 3.0 software or higher. Developers are excited to utilize 3.0 features and making their apps 2.2.1 compatible takes a lot of time, resources, and extra testing. Look, I know that the update is $10 for iPod touchers (whoops, that sounds weird), but that’s really not a lot for a major software upgrade, and if these stubborn users don’t update soon, they’re going to find themselves left out in the cold for some of the App Store’s best apps and games.
This week’s sign of the apocalypse
First Doodle Jump, now Harbor Master; the Pocket God pygmies are invading other games! It was bad enough that I had to look at those stupid pygmies while playing Pocket God, thinking I would eventually like it. But no, that wasn’t enough, now they have to ruin games that I actually play! I really want to kill a pygmy, and in a way so that they can’t be magically dropped from the sky a few seconds later.
Apps of the Week
Gomi, an app of the week!
Last week, I previewed Kevin Calderone’s new game Gomi, mentioning the staggering amount of content. Now, the app is out, and not only is it huge, but all that content is actually worth playing! In Gomi, you clean up the world by eating pollution and the like while spitting (?) out trees and flowers. You have to eat smaller things to build your appetite, eventually building up to shopping malls and the like. The regular levels are great, the boss battles are challenging and clever, and the game is seemingly endless with 140+ levels, eight mini games, achievements, and online scoreboards. At the low price of $1.99, Gomi is a unique game and a highly recommended bargain. Expect a full review soon (sorry, I’m on vacation).
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-06 :: Category: Games
BargainBin is an app that allows you track other apps; creating wish lists with target prices and viewing the newest apps, updates, and price drops. BargainBin recently was updated with two major improvements: a nice UI update and a killer feature: push notifications. Now, whenever an app you’re tracking reaches your desired price, you’ll instantly receive a push notification without ever having to open the app. Finding the App Store’s best deals has never been easier!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-26 :: Category: Productivity
Well, that’s it for this week, and I’m still loving writing this column! Apparently, I messed up the links for the previous articles, so commenting was impossible. This has been fixed, so hopefully this week my begging for feedback/comments will succeed!
Pi Cubed isn't really a calculator; it's much better! The chalkboard-style interface is conducive to building equations, and it easily beats out other scientific calculators. Just don't expect it to replace your graphing calculator.