It’s Been Awhile…

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this site; mainly due to school and prepping to move to another state. This time has given me a while to think about this site and the direction it should go in. I’ve noticed that there is really stiff competition in the world of Apple “blogging”. I put blogging in quotes for the sole fact that it’s not really blogging, more of just regurgitating news and re-writing it into your own words (reminds me a lot of my high school & college papers) and this is what I aimed not to do when I started this blog.

I did think there was a niche that wasn’t covered (solely iOS devices), but I’ve found out that really all sites cover it; they just bundle it up in a nicer format and add all the rest of Apple news with it on a super, aesthetically pleasing web site. I feel that this is almost not blogging as it is more reporting. I’ve done quite a bit of soul searching (and a bit of Googling) to figure out what I really should be doing with this blog….and that is blogging! 

Yes, you heard me right…blogging. I can’t just regurgitate the same news story from major sites and expect to become famous. I need to, instead, start reporting from my own experiences. Show why Apple’s mobile devices are great, what they can be used for, and how they can be beneficial to everyone! I also have decided to make it more personal.

I have enlisted the help of my great friend Jennifer Riley, who has written many articles for me, to help add more content to this site. Both of us are Apple fans and, between the both of us, have all of Apple’s mobile devices. We do hope you enjoy this new refreshing take on this blog, as we know we will enjoy writing it!

Until next time!

App Review: Picture Effect Magic!

By: Jennifer Riley (Contributor & Freelance Writer)

If you’re a dabbler of modifying picture before posting them to Facebook, Twitter, and if you’re still in the dinosaur ages Myspace, than Picture Effect Magic is a pretty cool free app that lets you make modifications. There is a catch with the free app, is that you have to put up with the ads, however, the paid verison difference is that it is ad free. I suggest just putting up with the ads.

This app allows you to take a photo from your camera roll and modify it. You can add any of the 43 effects, like Red Blue Channel, RainBow, Molton Effect, or Sketch Effect to just name a few, to your photos.  You can also change the color of the photo by messing with the RGB, HSKm HSV, YUV, CMYK, (don’t ask us what these are, we’re techies, not photographers! But it’s still fun to play with!). You can also add color splash, which I really love. I’ve seen people use this on their photos but never knew how to do it for mine. Well, now that I have this handy free app I can do so!

Great thing about this app is that you can save the picture you are working on as a different picture, that way you’re not overwriting the original, in case you really like it. There is also a brush section that allows you to choose the type and size of brush, to get more accurate detailing in your picture. Like other programs you can also crop, and background items, and even frames! If you’re new to photo editing or even an expert, I would suggest this app as it can provide on the go simple photo editing!

App Review: Netflix

By: Jennifer Riley (Contributor & Freelance Writer)

I have been a huge fan of Netflix since my sophomore year of college, which now seems like forever ago. I have the DVD service and the computer service as well, and to be honest, I only ever use the computer service. Once Apple offered the app for Netflix, and for free, I downloaded it immediately.  Since its release, there have been major updates on the user interface which, to me, has made it very user friendly.

It suggests movies in different categories, and shows the ones you’ve recently watched, in case you want to watch it again, or rate it. The home page has much of the same feel that the actually site itself does. I use Netflix all the time, when I visit my parents house and there is no television in my bedroom, while in the office on a slow day, or when I have a few minutes and I watch to finish watching  season 5 of Weeds (great show!).

While the app is free the subscription to Netflix is not. If you know that the only time you’re going to use Netflix is on the computer than I suggest buying just the computer package which costs $7.99 and is unlimited.  You can also use this app for the iPad, which is pretty awesome. However, I feel like the iPhone 4 is louder in sounds than the iPad 2.

App Review: Tiny Wings

By: Jennifer Riley (Contributor & Freelance Writer)

Big bird, little wings. Very annoying game. Not the annoying in a bad way, the annoying in the “if I don’t get past this round I’m going to throw my phone!!!” way.  So the object of this game is to get your rather large bird with small wings to fall as far as he can in one day. The faster you get through one island you save your daylight. The longer you take in one island, and reach the next island you may lose some daylight and reset.

You’re given an objective when you start the game, which took me forever to beat. Once you beat that objective, you’re given a new one; however you’re still playing on the same islands over and over. Now each island you reach is different from the last in slope and color.  Yet, I don’t like the fact that I have to start out at island one each time there is a new objective,  it gets a little old.  I also felt the directions on how to play the game were a little hard to understand. However;  once I figured out the directions I was going pretty well.  The game is very addictive, I’ve only had it a few days, but I find myself pulling out my iPhone when I have a free chance, and playing. It’s rather challenging game, and we give it a 4 out 5!

A Bit About The iPad and iPhone and What They’ve Changed

July 2011 Issue of Macworld

July 2011 Issue of Macworld

Let me start out by saying I am a big fan of Macworld Magazine. It offers great articles and helpful insight into the world of Apple Tech. Now I want to tell you about the article by Jason Snell (Editorial Director for Macworld) titled, “The Disruptive iPad: From the backseat to the bleachers, Apple technology changes things you might not expect”.

In this article (or editorial…I’m not a huge magazine enthusiast) Jason touches up on some things that the iPad has changed in the automotive industry. In the article he talks about him and his family purchasing a new minivan and about how the the iPad knocked a few hundred bucks off the price tag. Snell states:

“The biggest change that Apple has wrought cropped up when came time to decide whether or not to add in-car navigation and entertainment systems to our new vehicle.”

Jason stated that for just those features alone it would run about $1,500 extra. Now that’s a lot of cash for fixed navigation and entertainment that you cannot use anywhere but inside the car. He goes on stating that him and his wife both carry iPhone 4’s with Navigon’s MobileNavigator, a GPS app that costs $59.99 in the App Store, beating most GPS retail prices. And since most (if not all) newer cars come equipped with Bluetooth technology so even if you use your phone as a GPS, you can still receive calls while you cruise down the road. Snell also touches on the entertainment value of an iPad compared to those given in an automobile.

“Of course we want our kids to be entertained on long trips, so we hand over our iPads.” Read more of this post

App Review: Hulu Plus For iPhone

Hulu is a service similar to Netflix, but dealing a lot more in  TV shows rather than movies, even though they have plenty of those too! It provides streaming of television shows to your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. This service is actually incredibly cheap sitting at $7.99/month. I recently jumped on this train since Hulu offers a 1 month free trial for students (and I think also Xbox users) and I am quite impressed.

I have been watching many shows on my iPhone late at night to help myself fall asleep, even though it sometimes counteracts that when the going gets good!  I know many other big named blogs and websites have already done their reviews on this app, but I wanted to review it as a real world user who uses it everyday instead of just long enough to write a review and then ditch it.

First I will spell out the good about this app. And that is the user interface features and tabs.

Read more of this post

App Review: UPad

By: Jennifer Riley (Contributor & Freelance Writer)

I recently invested in an iPad for several reasons; however my main reason was for school.  Most of my reading occurs online, and I found myself printing hundreds of sheets of paper a week just to read and highlight, then throw away. Upad, costs $4.99, and is probably the best $5 dollars on an app I’ve ever spent.

I was spending close to $30 dollars a course just to print my texts. With Upad, you can download a PDF file, and upload it to your Upad application. From there you can read the text, highlight on it, mark special pages that you need to get to right away, and even write notes of those pages with text or with your finger.  I no longer spend money to print texts just to read since the iPad handles like a book, and I can write on the text with this app. I’ve also found other great uses for this app,  I use it during meetings, and make comments on program proposals, or charts. When I’m bored, I open a blank page and begin to draw, doodle, and mess around.

You can change modes in this application: editable mode, and read only. This way you’re not drawing and marking all over the text when you do not want to. You can also change the colors of the pen and the highlighter, great if you are a color coordinating person when taking notes.  You can also change the size and type of pen/highlighter you are using. If you are a college student, and looking for an app that helps you keep all of your e-texts in one place, and write on them, then I can promise, this will be the best $5 you spend on a app for work/school related items.

App Review: GPS Drive

By: Jennifer Riley (Contributor & Freelance Writer)

I have the worst sense of direction and not too long ago I found myself in serious need of a GPS.  My old GPS was about 6 years old, and it did not want to be friends with me. In the middle of a town I’d never been before, it stopped working on me. Luckily, I have an iPhone 4. I searched GPS apps and stumbled across a .99 cent app called GPS Drive.  I must say, for .99 cents, this app is awesome for any person, even those of us who don’t know what 500 feet is and when to turn.

This app does tell you the road names, gives you an ETA, and can list turn by turn directions.  You can also search gas stations near you, restaurants,  parking, airports, and emergency rooms.  A great feature of this app is that is does take traffic into account and readjusts you ETA, or can help route you around the traffic.  If you listen to music while you drive, this app can either turn off the voice commands, or fade your music when the command comes up, and turns it right back on after it finishes. This is to me amazing, since I blare my music while driving and almost always miss the GPS voice commands.

It does not tell you how fast you’re going, which is a feature that I tend to like on some GPSs since I have a heavy foot! Another down fall is if you don’t have a sun roof in your car, you need to keep it near the dashboard if you don’t have a docking station. The last issue with this app is you either have to pay .99 cents a month for the service or 20 dollars a year. If you use a GPS all the time, you may want to invest in an app that only charges you once, however if you only use it here and there, it’s a great .99 cents to spend. All in all I give this app a 4 out of 5 stars.

Location Services, Good or Bad?

You’ve probably been hearing the buzz about Apple and Google being in trouble with the government for “tracking” users. But you’ve probably also heard about how people are being tracked by hackers from other sources, stealing information or even just wanting to find out where you live and what you do. I’m here to explain some ways on how to keep safe with the Location Services option in iOS. Now these should be the same through out the iPod, iPhone and iPad, but they may vary slightly due to which device model you have and which iOS version you have installed. Read more of this post

Is Apple killing independent e-Book publishers?

For users of BeamItDown Software’s iFlow Reader, an e-Book reader for iOS, there is a bit of sadness in the air. Following Apple’s announcement of a 30 percent cut and new rules requiring that all content sales go through the iOS in-app purchasing mechanism, BeamItDown Software is shutting its doors. The company is ceasing all development of the iOS app iFlow Reader and are even shutting down their website. This is sad news for loads of iFlow Reader users and is a big blow to the companies that make a profit on selling contemporary e-Books. Publishers like iFlow Reader are quickly finding out that the 30 percent cut is eating away at their margins which is leaving them with little or even no revenue. Read more of this post