1337pwn

August 27, 2008

Type: Entertainment

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 7/10

Review: This app may be completely useless for 90% of the population but for the others it will be pretty cool.  Around two weeks ago this app was $8.99 but after threats from Microsoft, the developers had to make the app free (and that’s where I come in).  For this app to be useful to you, you need to have Xbox Live or friends who have Xbox Live.  This app will allow you to boot it up and check out if their online or the last time they were online and which game they were playing.  From there you can check out what games the player has as well as there bio/location and gamer score for each game.  There is also a helpful button that allows you to quickly send them messages by taking you to a custom Safari link.  This app has tons of features but most of them are a link to Safari.  The only major downfall of this app is that you have to add each of your friends gamertags to the application one by one.

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Verdict: Awesome app for Xbox Live users but completely useless for others.

Link: 1337pwn

Scribble

August 26, 2008

Type: Entertainment

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

Review: This is one of the only drawing apps I have seen for the iPhone/iPod Touch.  This app basically gives you 11 colors to work with and 3 brush sizes.  You can either paint on a white background or import a picture from any of the pictures you have synced/saved to your device and draw on that.  There is also a Save button which saves the picture with the pictures you already have on your device.  The sensitivity is great and even though it is hard to draw precisely with your finger, you can usually make a picture of someone pretty amusing.  Whenever you want to erase a picture you just shake your iPhone/iPod Touch and it will be erased (you can change the sensitivity of how hard you need to shake in the main settings menu).

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Verdict: Great drawing app with tons of features, definitely worth the download.

Link: Scribble

Papi Jump

August 25, 2008

Type: Game

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

Review: This is one of the simplest games I have found but it is so addicting.  On the main screen you have three options: Game Start, How To Play and More Games.  Everything but Game Start leads to a web page (opens in Safari) which is inconvenient.  Once you start the game, you have one goal: get as high up as you can by using platforms scattered around the screen which is harder than it looks using the accelerometer, especially once you get past 10,000.  After finishing a game you have an option to save to your score (opens a page in Safari).

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Verdict: Awesome free game and is a great time waster.  Worth the download.

Link: Papi Jump

Light Show

August 24, 2008

Type: Entertainment

Cost: $0.99

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

Review: This is a neat app, especially for anyone who had a Light Brite growing up. This app consists of 9 different colored pegs which you position to make pictures. This app is an alternative to other drawing apps such as Scribble.  This app doesn’t haven’t many features, but that’s the beauty of it, it’s so simple to use.  At this time there is no save feature (coming in future updates) but it is easy just to take a screenshot if you want to save a picture.

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Verdict: If you had a Light Brite as a kid, how can you not download this?  Others might find it to simple but it is a fun app.

Link: Light Show

Tap Tap Revenge

August 23, 2008

Type: Game

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ 10/10

Review: If you don’t already have this app then there is a problem.  This has been one of the top free apps since the app store opened up a month ago.  Basically it’s a music based game which requires you to tap certain notes as they hit a certain area.  When you launch the application you have a couple choices of what you can do.  You can play by yourself or with some else, watch the tutorial, download more tracks and finally edit the options.  There are four different levels of difficulty: easy, medium, hard and extreme.  You can only play certain songs on certain levels.  Downloading songs couldn’t be easier, just go the the download more tracks button and choose the level at which you want to download a song for then choose a song and it will appear in your song list.  The options menu is pretty basic and there isn’t to much.  You can toggle the “Shakes” (a special note where you shake your iPhone/iPod Touch from side to side/up and down) and input your tapulous profile details (allows you to submit your high scores).

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Verdict: Definitely one of the best free apps on the store and is worth the download.

Link: Tap Tap Revenge

MotionX Dice

August 21, 2008

Type: Entertainment

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10

Review: This app is so basic yet for some could be so useful.  For all you monopoly and board game lovers, the days of rolling dice and knocking over all the pieces on the board are over.  Basically this app works by you shaking your iPhone/iPod Touch and watching the dice roll.  The longer you shake the longer they will roll.  You have settings to select the number of dice as well as the style.  If you want you can also change the background table.  You can toggle on/off the sound effects in the settings menu as well.  A neat feature I just discovered while writing this is that as you tilt your iPhone/iPod Touch, the shadows of the dice move making the app seem very realistic.

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Verdict: Very well made app, but I find most people would struggle to find repetitive use of it.

Link: MotionX Dice

WritingPad

August 20, 2008

Type: Utility

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 7/10

Review: This app is basically the Notes app with a twist.  The one major difference between this app and all other note taking apps is the way you type.  You have two options with this app: you can either type normally (just use the notes app) or you can trace a shape between the letters that make up the word you are trying to write.  Surprisingly, it is 10x easier than you think it is and once you get the hang of it you can start writing words in less than a second.  If you misspell a word it takes literally 1-2 taps to correct yourself due to the massive library of words built into the app.  There are some other options built into the app including being able to email/delete each note.  There are also some basic tutorials included to help teach you what you need to know to get started.

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Verdict: There isn’t anything special about this app except for the new typing concept which is neat to try but really didn’t serve any purpose to me.  Download it and see if you like it especially if you take lots of notes because it will save you a bundle of time.

Link: WritingPad

Koi Pond

August 19, 2008

Type: Entertainment

Cost: $0.99

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10

Review: I downloaded this app just yesterday and I am blown away by it. It is now one of my favorite apps. There is really no point to it except to relax you and showcase how crisp the graphics can be on the iPod Touch/iPhone. You do have some things you can do to interact with the fish though including feeding them (shake your iPod Touch/iPhone), getting them to nibble your finger (hold your finger still somewhere on the screen), and scaring them away (tap near a fish on the screen). On top of this you get a pretty advanced settings menu which includes settings for increasing/decreasing the number of fish/lily pads, changing the color of the ground underneath the water and finally a set of buttons that toggle certain sound effects and a button which switches between a night and day view.

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Verdict: This app worth every penny, download it now.

Link: Koi Pond

Last.FM

August 18, 2008

Type: Music

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 8/10

Review: For this app to have any use, you need to have a Last.FM account and preferably have also installed the desktop app and used it to track your music listening history for a while (or you can sync your iPod with the website).  Last.Fm is basically a music scrobbling service which watches what type of music you listen to and can play back custom radio stations based on this information.  In the iPod Touch/iPhone version of the app you have a couple options of what you want to do.  You can either Start a new station by typing in a band name or tag, play the My Library station which plays music you normally listen to, Neighbour Radio which plays what it wants to based on your music history and finally Recommended Radio which plays it recommendations of songs/bands you might like based on your music history.  From the opening screen you can also view stations your have recently listened to, the charts screen which allows you to view your Top Artists, Top Albums, Top Tracks and Recently Played, your upcoming events you will be attending (set via the website), and Friends your might have added.  Once you actually start playing a station a music screen will come up (second screenshot) and give you helpful options such as selecting the bands bio and similar artists, as well as events which the band will be playing at.  Under the more menu you can also find the band’s top listeners and tags.  Only major disadvantage of this app is that it can’t be used in the background to listen to your radio (thanks to Apple).

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Verdict: This app is great for those who already have a Last.FM account and have already built up a history of the music they listen to, but for others who don’t already meet the criteria it will take a while to setup and get working to it’s full potential.  Try it out if you have some free time or already have an account.

Link: Last.FM

NetNewsWire

August 17, 2008

Type: Utility

Cost: Free

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★ 10/10

Review: This is another one of those apps that I use at least 4-5 times a day.  I downloaded this application on the first day the app store was released and it hasn’t failed me yet.  For this app to work you need to have a NewsGator account (free and easy to setup).  From there you add your RSS feeds that you would like to watch.  After this you can edit the settings of your account for which feeds you want to show on your iPod Touch/iPhone.  Whenever you read a feed or mark it as read, the changes are made on all your versions of the app (desktop app, online app and iPod Touch/iPhone app).  You have an extra option in the settings menu of your iPod Touch/iPhone to make the number of unread stories badge appear/dissapear too.  When you are reading a paticular story there is an option to either email it and add it to clippings (a special folder which can be used for either favorites or I use it for keeping track of the stories I need to read on my computer due to length or video that isnt supported).  On top of that you can also click the title of the story you are reading and it will open in a built in browser so you don’t need to quit out of the application and go to Safari (even though there is an option for that too).  As well once feeds are downloaded, they can all be read offline (without pictures) which is a real bonus.

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Verdict: I haven’t tried any other RSS reader but why should I when this app is everything you possibly could ever want.  Download it now.

Link: NetNewsWire