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Tony Kicks

Senior Hardware Writer | 148Apps

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The Duo & Yoomi Bring Game Pieces to the iPad

Posted by Tony Kicks on December 20th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Just in time for this holiday season Discovery Bay Games' has introduced its newest iPad accessory, Duo ($40). By using physical game pieces in conjunction with the virtual interface of the iPad, Duo takes us one more step towards the Tron world of the tomorrow. To be anything more than a paper weight though Duo must be paired up with one of Discovery Bay Games' specially made apps which currently only includes Yoomi, but more are promised to be coming soon.

Yoomi is a game where players take turns secretly answering questions like “would you prefer to fly to the moon or dive to the bottom of the ocean?” Once answered the other players attempt to guess which response the first chose. It's a game very reminiscent of Apples to Apples but with a new and fresh feel that the whole family can enjoy. Explaining in writing how the pair works together would be an nightmare, so I've included a much more colorful video below to help keep everyone's attention…you're welcome. If you're interested though Yoomi is currently free on the App Store while Duo is being sold exclusively through Toys "R" Us.

Apple & Google, Enemies or Allies? How FaceTime Plays In

Posted by Tony Kicks on August 31st, 2010

Apple strikes with a roundhouse kick the gut! But wait, Google fights right back with an eye gouge and a slap to the face! Apple is stunned but isn't going to give up that easily. What a fight, what a battle; who is going to win, folks? This is the picture much of the media has painted for us, isn't it? That Google and Apple have locked horns and are doomed to a winless war for all eternity. That's not really the case though. Truth is, the war is fought mainly with the media and loyal fans who follow the gossip like it's a WWE match. Yes, the two companies compete with each other on a couple of levels, but at the same time they work incredibly well and profitably together. Based on some recent news, I believe the two have secretly teamed up again in an effort to bring FaceTime to the mainstream for good.

Ok, here's what we know:

1) Apple is hosting an event on Wednesday and at the very least they're probably going to announce a new iPod touch with a front facing camera.

2) iOS 4.1 beta has been out for several weeks and contains an option to make FaceTime calls via e-mail address.

3) Apple from the start has said it plans to make FaceTime an open industry standard, potentially allowing communication with other devices.

4) Google just announced last week the ability to use their Gchat feature for video chats. Gchat, if you're not familiar with it, runs directly through Gmail and uses other user's Gmail address to authorize chats.

When you combine the first three together along with the timing of Google's announcement, it seems just too convent to be just a coincidence. I certainly could be wrong but to me the picture is pretty clear, Apple and Google are going to walk us right into the future and by this time next year, iPhone users and Andriod users will be FaceTiming each other everywhere. Finally the world will be at peace and harmony.


By Tony Kicks on July 20th, 2010
Photo booth that, just like photo booth on your Mac, is a lot of fun for a bit, but is forgotten about just as quickly.
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Find in Page Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Tony Kicks on May 31st, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: Must Have!
Quickly find a word on any webpage without skimming.
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fbook Photos Review

By Tony Kicks on May 5th, 2010
Browse and download Facebook photos without the added distractions.
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Add a Camera to your iPad, No Duct-Tape Necessary

Posted by Tony Kicks on April 11th, 2010

So the rumored "One More Thing...iSight in the iPad" turned out to be another case of wishful thinking by us fanboys...it happens. I can't say I'm disappointed in my iPad, quite the opposite actually, I love the darn thing, but not having a camera is a little depressing. Fortunately though, the dev community has come to the rescue where Apple has fallen short by giving us apps that add camera functionality, assuming you have an iPhone, that is.

This amazing feat is done by streaming an iPhone's camera feed directly to the iPad via wifi or Bluetooth and using the iPad as a remote to take and store photos. As of now the 2 apps I've found using this concept, Camera for iPad or Camera A, are limited to taking stills but it's certainly better than nothing. While both apps ultimately perform the same function, there are some key differences between them, grab more details after the break.

RedEye Remote ~ Combines Wifi & IR to Control Your TV

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Tony Kicks on March 26th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar ::
RedEye brings us one step closer to controlling everything in our lives with an iPhone
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Plant-Mate Gives Green Thumb to Everyone

Posted by Tony Kicks on March 22nd, 2010

I love plants, I really do, I love trees, grass, heck at this point I'd even take a big clump of weeds, but living here in Phoenix means the closest I'll get to green vegetation will be the salad I have for lunch. Sure some people manage to grow grass or even trees down here but you're talking to a guy who managed to kill a cactus last summer. Seriously, somehow while living in the middle of the desert I managed to kill a cactus. Don't ask me how, they don't even need water to survive, or so I thought...my bad. Fortunately for me, and mother nature, Yanko Design has come out with a new concept for monitoring a garden called the Plant-Mate. This is still a concept design but the way it would work is by strategically sticking Plant-Mates into the ground around your garden and the solar powered device would then notify you via push alerts of both the nutrient and moisture conditions of the soil along with the sun exposure and outside temperature the plants are experiencing. The accompanying iPhone app has a custom map of your yard with each transponder alerting you independently. Hopefully if this ever goes to mass production they'll find a way to integrate control of your in-ground sprinkler system but we'll have to wait and see.

The Glide ~ Combines your Wallet and iPhone Case

By Tony Kicks on March 16th, 2010
Fit up to 2 cards right in your iPhone case, great for a night on the town.
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iPad Pre-Orders Available ~ New Device Details Emerge

Posted by Tony Kicks on March 12th, 2010

For those who have been living under a technology rock, the iPad went on pre-order today and is set for a release date of April 3rd. With a hard launch date finally in place new details have come to light about the yet to be held device. The most talked about addition thus far is the addition of a Screen Orientation Lock switch on the side which replaces the formerly announced mute switch. Personally this is a feature I wish they would build into the iPhone as well. I can't tell you how many times I've been texting while laying in bed and my phone can't decide if it wants to stay in landscape mode or not. Please Apple, even if you don't add a hard switch to the next iPhone, make a software option to turn off the accelerometer in the settings menu.

Additionally more information about the data plan for 3G users has also come up. It's confirmed that any user subscribing to the 250MB plan per month ($15) will receive three separate warning notifications when the iPad is approaching it's limit, popping up respectively at 20%, 10%, and 0% remaining. At any point a customer can chose to upgrade to the unlimited plan for $30. All can be done straight from the iPad itself with a credit card, no need to go into any store or call anyone, you can do it straight on the go. Combined with the ability to cancel it at any time I think it's safe to say the 3G model is the one to buy. As an added bonus, just like the iPhone, AT&T is throwing in its access to over 20,000 hotspots, what's not to love?

Magellan's Premium GPS Car Kit ~ Wish it was Cheaper

By Tony Kicks on March 12th, 2010
Will this help iPhones replace GPS units?
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The Sticky Strap ~ A Stand that Loves to Suck

By Tony Kicks on March 10th, 2010
A durable pocket sized stand that sucks...in a good way.
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Radiation vs. Germs ~ Which Should Worry You More?

Posted by Tony Kicks on March 8th, 2010

For as long as I can remember cell phones being around I can remember people questioning whether or not they're safe. The argument has always seemed to center around cell phone radiation, and more recently bluetooth & Wifi waves. The bluetooth and Wifi scares have pretty much dissolved by being labeled as pure conspiracy theories, but the radiation concerns continue to surface every few months. With each study that comes out though it becomes more obvious that we just don't know the long term risks of RF radiation exposure This article gives a little more insight into the potential jeopardy we're in while at the same time the FDA is stating that "the available scientific evidence does not demonstrate any adverse health effects associated with the use of mobile phones." With all of these mixed signals and unknown effects I wonder if the theoretical brain tumors and Alzheimer's we could contract 20 years down the line is really the number one thing we should be worried about?

iControlPad Adds Joysticks to Your iPhone...If it's Jailborken

Posted by Tony Kicks on March 2nd, 2010

A stylus? Psh, get rid of it. A physical keyboard? Nah, no need for that either. Tactile feedback is a thing of the past, all we need is a big glass touch screen…right? Well that's what Apple would have you believe anyway, a theory that is further being cemented with their upcoming release of the iPad. On a basic level it seems to be very true, we're able to text, surf the web, take photos, all without any physical buttons or keys. What about high level gaming though, is that a different story? If you'd asked me 3 years ago I would've said "there's no way for it to be done. We're humans, touch is one of our basic senses, we need it." Over the past several months though with games like N.O.V.A and Need For Speed Shift, or even classic ports like Wolfenstein, I've become more of a believer in the future. Not everyone is so ready to give up on game controllers, one such company being iControlPad.

The iControlPad has been in beta testing and undergoing redesigns since last May but as of February 18th the company has stated mass production has begun. The iControlPad can already be used with classic game emulators and the company is seeding a SDK to anyone interested in supporting the device. Two models are to be made, one with a built-in battery pack, one without. Based on early videos and screen shots the controls appear to work flawlessly with no lag at all. Here's the catch, and it's a big one, the iControlPad only works on phones that are Jailbroken. I'm not sure exactly why that is since we know iPhone 3.0 does support accessory plugin's but it's very clear that it must be Jailbroken. There are a couple of hints on the site that indicate they may be working on standard OS supported version but there certainly aren't any promises made. All hope is not lost though for those who wish to keep their iPhones pure and sacred, the Game Bone Pro is coming.

Wired vs. Wireless Charging

Posted by Tony Kicks on February 24th, 2010

Wireless charging stations have been creating a lot of waves over the past few months and were certainly a big focus at CES, but will they ever really take off? Certainly the market is becoming pretty competitive; I can think of 3 companies selling them off the top of my head (Powermat, WildCharge, and CaseMate). While the concept is theoretically very useful and has a cool, futuristic feel to it, they're all currently hindered by one major factor, they all require a special case. One of the major sell points for these platforms is the idea of reducing the cables needed to charge multiple devices, but is adding a special case any better? First off, each case is an added expense and more than likely all of the devices you own won't have a case designed for them, i.e. iPod nano, digital camera, extra battery pack, etc. Instead one company, blueLounge, has taken a slightly more practical approach to the cable management situation.

The Refresh ($89.95) charging station was designed to be a catch-all for personal mobile electronics. Constructed with both functionality and style in mind the Refresh comes in 3 different stylish colors (white, pink, and black) with a very modern feel. The rubberized lid prevents devices from sliding around and is large enough to accommodate 3 or more items depending on their size. Concealed below the lid are 6 built in connectors, 2 iPod/iPhone connectors, both a Mini & Micro USB cable, and 2 empty USB sockets to be used as needed. Additional connectors for specific devices can also be bought for $5.95 directly from their site. Each of the cables can reach up around the lower lip of the lid to start charging any of the up to 6 devices. The Refresh is a great addition to any home with numerous mobile devices and cables.