Reviews

Gowalla for iPhone - app review

Gowalla for iPhone is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. For those of you not familiar with the whole "check-in" craze, the idea is you travel around town, land at a "spot" such as the movie theater, gas station or restaurant, and then tap the Check-in button. When you do this a couple things happen:

You can...

  • Post to Twitter and Facebook
  • Add a photo
  • Add a quick post
  • Leave an item

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Gowalla for iPad - app review

Gowalla for iPad is a social app from some fine folks in Austin, TX that allows you to check-in to locations, see where your friends are checking-in, collect items and complete trips. Gowalla for iPad is available now in the App Store for free [Free- iTunes Link]

Gowalla is the newest entry into the whole "check-in" craze. Why check-in? With Gowalla the main goals are to see where your friends are and to collect items. However, this process is mainly reserved for the iPhone app. The iPad version of Gowalla provides beautiful access to view your activities (where you and your friends have checked-in), see what spots are in your area (spots are places to check-in) and your Passport (a summary of where you have checked in, stamps, pins and items collected.

This app is an excellent companion app to its iPhone cousin. The large screen really gives you great access to view where your friends are in real-time across the world. You can pinch and zoom from your city to the whole world in a breeze. You can learn more about a location or friend by tapping on their name on the map. Spots also dynamically appear when the map is moved to a new location, very slick.

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Quick Review: Dashboard for iPad (Jailbreak)

Dashboard for iPad is a Jailbreak app that will appeal to anyone who likes having widgets -- like that little tiger puzzle -- on their desktop computer.

Since Apple won't allow widget apps on the official App Store, it's Jailbreak only. You can get it free through Cydia and is a decent tweak for being in it's beginning stages.  As of now, you're stuck with whatever default widgets are at the bottom. Actually, a user in our comments section brought to my attention you CAN install new widgets through SSH.  If you plan to SSH, as always, approach with caution.  Not recommended for beginning jailbreakers! I'd assume we will see some start popping up in Cydia and Rock soon.  Video after the jump!

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Quick Review and give-away: Polyhedra XL for iPad

Polyhedra XL [$2.99 - iTunes link] is a fun little game that involves creating shapes and avoiding obstacles as you fill the screen. The graphics are beautiful and while the beginning levels are simple enough for a child, they progresses to be challenging for an adult.

The goal of Polyhedra XL is simple: create enough shapes to fill up 66% of the screen.

To create a shape, just hold your finger down on the screen. The longer you hold, the larger your shape becomes. The challenge is that there are enemies bouncing around the screen that will pop your inflating shape when they make contact. Once your shape becomes solid, however, the enemies will bounce right off. Rotating the screen will cause your shapes to be affected by "gravity" and you can use this to your advantage to trap enemies.

Polyhedra XL also features a "Toy Box" mode where you can just create shapes, admire the graphics, and relax. I imagine this mode would be great for kids.

I have really enjoyed playing Polyhedra XL and applaud Binary Hammer for creating such a simple, challenging, and beautiful game.

Now for the giveaway! Binary Hammer has kindly provided us with 3 promo codes to give to you. Let us know why you'd like to have Polyhedra XL on your iPad, and we'll randomly choose 3 winners. Contest begins now and ends Sunday, May 9th at 12pm PST. ( Unfortunately, a US iTunes account is required to enter. Apple's rule, not ours!)

Screen shots and video after the break!

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Walkthrough: How to Jailbreak iPhone 3.1.3 with Spirit

So with the release of the Spirit jailbreak for iPhone, 3.1.3, it’s only appropriate to post a quick how-to, so here it is.  And of course, with a jailbreaking tutorial, here comes the disclaimer:

If you’re not sure what you’re doing and have misgivings about jailbreaking, you probably should stray away.  I will say, out of all the jailbreaks that have been released, this one is one of the simplest, and I’m talking blackra1n easy.  Walkthrough and video after the break!

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Quick Review: Pages for iPad

Having a virtually full-fledged word processor like Apple's Pages iWork app [$9.99- iTunes Link] on the iPad is a big deal. There has been a lot of discussion, however, about how Pages would work on the iPad. How do I transfer/ sync documents? How will my formatting be effected?

I had to use Pages to do some document editing for a house flyer for our home (we are in the process of selling). I figured what a great opportunity to give Pages a spin. First, I had to get the document on the iPad. Email or iTunes? The Pages file was 12MB so I opted to transfer it via iTunes. The process was simple; I selected the Pages app from the bottom of the Apps tab with my iPad attached to my iMac. I clicked the add files button and chose my Pages file. I synced the iPad and my house flyer appeared in the document list in pages.

After importing the house flyer into Pages, I was not greeted with any formatting warnings (to be fair I have imported Microsoft Word documents and did receive warnings. It was hit and miss; some documents looked identical, others, not so much) and I began editing immediately. But, there was one problem...

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Quick Review: GoodReader document manager, viewer for iPad

GoodReader for iPad [on sale for $0.99 - iTunes store] is a gem of an app for anyone who wants to access and manage their documents on the go, especially large PDF files. It is upscaled from the iPhone version, but while the interface isn't radically different this is one case where bigger translates effectively into more and better.

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Quick Review: Words with friends HD for the iPad

Words with friends by Newtoy $4.99 [iTunes Link] is a scrabble-like game for the iPhone and now, iPad.

With Words with friends, you can play online against your friends, against random online opponents, or pass-and play on a single iPad. The nice thing about Words with friends is that it allows you to play with your friends at their own pace, with each move stored online. Push notifications are an option, however, so you know when your friend has made a move.

There's also an integrated chat/IM system so you are able to talk smack congratulate your opponents.

Some things that are in need of an update or fix, however. Account management is poor. Accessing your account details is annoyingly slow and if you want to change accounts, you have to delete the application and then reinstall it. (Yes, really!)

Also, a recent update took away the eyeball icons that previously told you your opponent was actually online. Unfortunately, it also left behind the "Go to developers Facebook fan page" button, awkwardly and annoyingly placed right between the titles and the board.

My last issue with Words with Friends is that you cannot re-arrange your tiles when its not your turn, which is a helpful way to prepare your next word. You also can't delete a game once in play and you can not resign from a game when it is not your turn. So I have about 3 ghost games on the iPad at anytime, which I find endlessly annoying.

All that being said, Words with Friends HD for the iPad is a good deal of fun, a great way to game with all your friends and to make some new ones. If you enjoy playing scrabble then you'll enjoy this!

Video and screenshots after the break!

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Quick Review: Bento for iPad

Bento for iPad [$4.99- iTunes Link] is a fantastic database option for users of Filemaker's Bento for Mac. It is a fast and simple database application for capturing just about anything from invoices to party planning to recipes.

I have been using Bento for Mac and iPhone for a while now. I was very excited to get the iPad version. Bento looks great. There are elegant themes that make Bento appear like a leather- bound book or clipboard. You can create a database on the fly from one of the supplied templates and sync it back to your Mac and iPhone. If you want, you can even make a database from scratch right on the iPad. When creating your database you have a choice of several fields including checkbox, choice, number, text and several more. Adding these fields to your new database couldn't be easier; click the pencil icon and drag the field to the workspace. Once placed on the screen, choose that fields properties. One of the more impressive features I found was the ability to add a Media field and insert a picture directly from Saved Photos on the iPad. There is a nice shadow effect behind the image and it looks really good.

Overall I am very pleased with the iPad version of Bento. The one feature that I would really like to see would be the ability to either export or send via email a record from Bento; there is currently no option to export data from Bento for iPad.

If you have an iPad and need to have a database with you, you will love Bento. Anyone from parents managing their kids schedule to a small business can use the portability and power Bento has to offer. For only $4.99, you are getting a huge value.  If you aren't the creative type, you can always download templates from Bento's Template Exchange.

Check out the Video and Gallery after the break!

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Quick Review: UNO HD for iPad

UNO HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes link] by Gameloft brings the classic card game to bigger, bolder life on that 9.7" screen. At first blush, UNO more so than something like NOVA feels like it could have been a universal binary, sparing existing owners of the iPhone version from having to buy it twice. However, Gameloft wisely upped the anti based on the iPad's-size, offering a 4 player option that makes it eminently more suitable as a true board-game replacement -- you can realistically sit 2 or 4 people around an iPad and start up the multiplayer version of the game, share the screen, and get your UNO on.

You can of course also use single-player mode, or multiplayer between devices either locally or online. The graphics look prerequisite-ly great on the iPad, though we did find the controls a tad challenging (choosing and playing cards weren't quite as buttery smooth as we'd like).

A side effect of the game being run on an iPad instead of with real cards is that it's almost impossible to make mistakes or (gasp) cheat. The game only allows you to play cards you're allowed to play, when you're allowed to play them. Whether that's a good or bad thing we'll leave up to you and your consciences to sort out.

If you like UNO and you want to bring a little bit of real world social interaction back to your family and friends, grab an iPad, fire it up, pass it around, and let us know what you think.

Video of me taking on a challenger, after the break!

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