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John Bardinelli

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Five for Friday: Week of June 17, 2011

Posted by John Bardinelli on June 17th, 2011

Cool. Hip. In-shape. These words accurately describe iPhone users. And if anyone disagrees, they're just jealous! To maintain their carefully-crafted physical appearances, iPhone users now have access to a massive library of 3D images of the human body, specifically focusing on the muscular system. iMuscle is a workout and learning aid that allows users to identify, zoom, and rotate views of any muscle in the body, complete with accurate anatomical labels and descriptions. Useful as a reference tool, learning aid, or, thanks to iMuscle's 450 animated stretches and exercises, the best workout buddy a health-conscious person could have!

Absolute Instant:
A shooter designed for the iPhone from the ground up? Yes, please! After the slow death of the arcade machine, shooting games ("shmups") took a backseat to games that were less... failure-oriented. Now, though, with portable gaming big and remarkably accessible, shooters are slowly coming back, using the iPhone's accelerometer and touch controls to really up the immersion. Tap and drag the control circle to move, blasting everything that dares enter the ship's path. Shake the device to drop a bomb, and tap the screen to teleport out of harm's way. Good level of challenge, great HD visuals, and enough shmupping action to keep anyone's eyes glued to their iPhone for hours.

Latin Grammar:
This probably isn't the most entertaining iPhone app in the world, and in fact, it might make many people shudder with fear. But for the select masses that can't get enough Latin, this is a one-stop resource for all things grammar geeky. Test skills in determining second-person plural imperfect subjunctive passive cases with simple multiple choice (or other style) quiz questions, then move on to forming tenses out of root words. Pick and choose which cases are part of the quizzes, how long the test will last, and fiddle with a few other options, all designed to make Cicero look like a grammar n00b.

Sleep Tracker:
A good night's sleep is a luxury many can't afford in the modern, busy world. Sleep Tracker is here to help. Chart, analyze, record and graph sleeping patterns automatically or with manual entries, then calculate averages to arrive at an estimated sleep debt. Set goals and have a timer alert when it's time for snoozing. Everyone spends so much time focusing on jobs, meetings, and tax returns, why not put some attention on something that really matters?

All News:
What's going on in the world? Why not find out? All News is a simple headlines app that allows users to to browse top news stories by map location, keyword cloud, or publication time. It's an excellent way to stay informed without having to resort to reading one of those ancient news devices made out of paper, and the ability to browse keywords is a surprisingly smart inclusion.

Five for Friday: Week of June 3, 2011

Posted by John Bardinelli on June 3rd, 2011

Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting:
Got a bit of Monster Hunter on your brain? The immensely popular open world RPG/action game has finally made its way to the iTunes App Store, focusing on two things gamers love most: combat, and loot from combat. Take on gigantic beasts from the Monster Hunter universe in one-on-one battles, swiping and touching your way to victory. Grab the goods when the fight is over and use it to craft new items and armor, strengthening yourself for the battles to come. It's definitely one of those "just one more battle" sort of games, even if you haven't been bitten by the Monster Hunter bug yet!

Why focus on meetings, appointments, and other time-eating activities when you can focus on what matters most: your free time? This slick-looking app is sort of the inverse of a calendar program, where instead of tracking actual events, it tracks and displays the time between them, pulling data from your local scheduling app to bring it all together. Enter your usual work day, factoring in meals, sleep, and average waking and going to bed times, then share your free times with friends. Surprisingly great for productivity, especially for those who consider free time more important than non-free time!

This V That:
Visually explore two seemingly unrelated things in a smart, stylish app that's all about comparing data for different parts of the world. For example: is there a relationship between coffee consumption and homicide rates? How about Olympic medalists versus number of Facebook users in different countries? There's an app for that, and it's This V That. Great for trivia enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys apps that raise as many questions as they ask.

Ever wanted to learn to play the guitar? Piano? How2Play is a universal app that contains a number of lessons, courses, background tracks and sheet music available to help you accomplish your musical goals. The download features a number of starter lessons, complete with instructional videos, and allows you to easily grab lessons from How2Play's website (around $6 per lesson) so you can hone your skills and learn to play specific songs.

The enemy of writing is the distraction, and with devices like portable gaming consoles and iPads floating around, an awesome game is never more than a few taps away. OmmWriter aims to help free your mind of the clutter by streamlining your writing experience with a simple layout and a keyboard designed for improved usability. Soothing sounds are available, or you can opt for silence, but the user-centric keyboard design is where the real strength lays.

Five for Friday: Week of May 27, 2011

Posted by John Bardinelli on May 27th, 2011

They are the ARC. You are the pilot. Current flows through the ARC, and it's your job to keep it moving to fend off the Hexog. This stylish puzzle game is a lot like Puzzle Bobble if it took place in the Tron universe, featuring hip visuals, a fast soundtrack, and some seriously cranial moves across its 56 levels. Enemy AI kicks in after a few levels, turning this puzzle game into a mobile strategy fest.

Arno the Hunter:
It's archery time! Starring the armadillo-like protagonist Arno, roll back and forth in a series of lushly-drawn world, each filled with bugs and other enemies just waiting to get a piece of your health bar. Tap the screen to fire your weapon, and nab power-ups to earn temporary special abilities of the "bigger, badder, more deadly guns" type. A great arcade game that looks as good as it plays.

House of Mice:
Mice love one thing: cheese. Mice hate one thing: cats. This game's got both, and its blend of puzzle and action elements makes it too fun to pass up. Roll each mouse by swiping on the screen, aiming to collect all of the cheese pieces scattered about the level. Grab what you can, deal with obstacles in the way, and crash into the cat to move on. Just one question: since when were mice explosive?

Comics Creator:
Sick of not being a famous comic book creator? This handy little app lets you turn your photos into a full-length comic book! Simply choose the photos you want to use and place them on the template of your choice. Add speech bubbles, write your prose, and like magic, you've got a comic!

Opera Mini Web Browser:
Opera Mini is back and it's gone universal, adding support for iPad devices in addition to the already-supported iPhone and iPod Touch platforms. Opera boasts data compression that can cut your bandwidth usage up to 90%, perfect for anyone with a capped data plan, and the speed of the browser is well-known to anyone who has tried an Opera product before. Lots of user-friendly features make browsing the internet even easier than before!

Pulse: Volume One

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By John Bardinelli on May 9th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: RHYTHMICALLY AWESOME
Become a master of music with Pulse: Volume One, a music-based rhythm game that puts the player in the role of audio visual touch master!
Read The Full Review »