Reviews

OmniFocus for iPad- app review

By now you probably know that I am big into productivity apps and I am always looking for the next big thing. I use a lot of task management apps on the iPad, and there are some great ones for sure. However, I have just come across the ultimate task management app for your iPad; OmniFocus. This is, without a doubt the best app for utilizing David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (GTD) methodology. What makes this app stand out so much are three things: good design, Forecast and Review. But, I am probably getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning. Note, a lot of the features I am going to discuss are not unique to OmniFocus, but I think it is fair to describe them so you know what is contained in GTD and can get a better grasp for how it is used. For this review I literally rebuilt my tasks in the app form scratch except for the made-up Inbox screenshot below. I had to do that since I am already organized :-)

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Apple Magic Trackpad review

Apple brings full-on multitouch to desktop with Magic Trackpad

Your fingers glide effortlessly along the expansive, glass-but-not-quite-glass-feeling surface. The cursor flies from edge to edge. You pause, press down, feel and hear a satisfying click, and then glide on. A double swipe sends the gallery hurtling down until it stops under the weight of its own virtualized momentum. A double twist rotates a photo. A click in the right corner brings up the contextual menu, a click in the left selects copy. A triple touch grabs the window and moves it aside, a quadruple swipe switches you to email and then another right click, another left, and the photo is pasted into the message. Your fingers pull clear of the Apple Magic Trackpad and you smile. Computing is fun again.

Apple went all-in on multitouch for the iOS-based iPhone, iPod touch, and now iPad, and they've been slowly extending that back to their Mac platform as well, first with MacBook trackpads, then the Magic Mouse, and now the Magic Pad.

"Wait, this is an iPhone and iPad blog, why are you talking about a Mac peripheral?" Because. That's why. iOS comes from Mac OS and if Apple has shown us anything over the years it's that they're the best in the business at leveraging advances back and forth between the two. With rumors of Apple TV going iOS and my persistent fantasy that Apple will replace DashBoard and Front Row with an iOS layer, what they do with multitouch for Mac is definitely something I want to keep an eye on. Two actually, as often as I can spare them. So if this isn't something you're personally interested in, no worries, hit up the next post. If it is, if you think like I do that nothing Apple releases exists in a vacuum, then hang on to your pinches and swipes; the review starts after the break.

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Case-Mate Gelli Case for iPhone 4 - accessory review

If you're looking for a thin, durable, and stylish skin case to add a splash of color to your iPhone 4, the Case-Mate Gelli Case for iPhone 4 may be exactly what you're after. It's thermoplastic material feels great in your hand and it's chic design is sure to make heads turn!

The Case-Mate Gelli is made from a thermoplastic translucent material that Case-Mate claims is lighter, softer and more resilient than silicone and rubber cases. It adds just enough traction to prevent your precious iPhone from sliding on surfaces, yet smooth enough to allow your iPhone to be easily removed from tight jean pockets.

This case offers great protection to the iPhone 4 while still allowing easy access to all ports and controls. The spaces between the dock connector and mic/speaker phone are also exposed allowing 3rd party cables to easily plug into the iPhone 4.

The fit of the Case-Mate Gelli is very snug and thin. However, since the material is thin, the lip that curls around the sides of the iPhone 4 and onto the screen can be easily pushed off the screen. This allows for dust to easily collect under the case and I catch myself wiping out dust several times a day. However, I have not experienced and scratching to the screen because of this.

The Case-Mate Gelli is a very fashionable case and is available in 6 colors. Pink, Aurora (yellow), and Tomato have the kaleidoscope design (see pictures for a closer look). Teal Blue, Clear, and Gray come in the checkmate design. This style has squares and triangles instead of circles.

If you’re looking for something thin, stylish, and protective, check out the Case-Mate Gelli Case for iPhone 4 available now from the TiPb iPhone 4 accessory store.

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Plunderland for iPhone- app review

Plunderland is Apple's App of the Week this week. Does it deserve it? Yes and no. Developer JohnnyTwoShoes has made a solid effort to bring pillaging across the sea in the hands of eager gamers.

The premise of Plunderland is you are a ghost with pirates that sail across the sea to attack and sink enemy ships, pillage tribes people and take money from their monuments then make it to the next port. Sounds fun? Well, get used to it because that is what you do over, and over, and over again with little variety. Call me a stinker, but I don't see the allure with this game.

Sure, the water physics are nice. You tilt the iPhone left or right to make your boat move in that direction. When there is a storm, etc, the water behaves in a more erratic manor, making maneuvering more difficult. Once you are on the high seas, you come across your enemy; the British warships. You have a couple ways to take them out. First is to use your ships cannon. You have a nifty way of angling the cannon to shoot your targets, just move your finger along the bottom and you will get a reticule via a line that helps your aiming. Release your finger and you fire your cannonballs. Second, you can use the enemies cannonballs against themselves. Before the enemy launches an attack, the cannon will puff smoke, that is your cue to ready your finger and deflect the cannonball back upon the enemy ship and with luck, split it in two!

I know, I make it sound exhilarating, and it is the first two or three times you do it. Sadly, Plunderland does little to keep your attention. Future attacks add blimps and more, but the fun is gone by that point. The attacking villagers is a simple "tap, tap. tap" on the totems to get money and fling some villagers around in an effort to extract some more dough. Again... zzzz...

There is nice upgrade system though, you can upgrade your ship, cannons and bowsprits by earning said money above. The game has excellent promise. The controls, physics and graphical style all lend them selves to a success. However, the bland  I really, really wanted to like this game, being highlighted on Apple's App Store, but alas, mateys, I just can't bring myself to recommend this lack-luster treasure.

[$2.99- iTunes Link]

UPDATE: I had a delightful Twitter chat with the developers. I explained that I had played 50% thorough the game and became unchallenged with the levels and objectives. They understood and are looking at a way to unlock the more exciting and complex levels earlier for more "hardcore" gamers. I also said that when I find the time to complete the game 100%, I would update this review to include my findings. I am hopeful that by the time I do this, they will have some new content available. You can follow the developer on Twitter here.

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Belkin Max Sleeve for iPad - accessory review

YouTube Link

The Belkin Max Sleeve for iPad not only does a great job of protecting your iPad, but it gives you a little extra room to stick some of your accessories in as well. The case is made of a fabric material that is pleated on the front. This is what allows you to have a zipper compartment in the front to stick your other gadgets in.

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iPhone 4 vs Android Captivate

An iPhone 4 user's experience with the Android 2.1 powered Samsung Captivate on AT&T

I’ll preface this by saying before this review, I’ve hardly laid hands on an Android device, let alone considered throwing my iPhone aside to completely delve into the OS and see if I could actually survive without my iPhone.  In my time with an Android device, the short answer would be that Android would be a perfectly passable everyday phone.  But would I make the switch and ditch my iPhone 4? Hit the jump to find out as well as see tons of videos and a gallery chock full of comparison pics!

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Pottery HD for iPad- app review

Pottery HD is a unique virtual clay pottery app that can really only be done on the iPad. It shows what an enterprising developer can do with a large multitouch interface. This game is fun and relaxing.

When the game first launches, I was caught a little off guard as I had no idea what to do. You have a "Create" button and that is it. So, I started to create, experimenting with the controls. You can make the clay taller and shorter, wider and thinner. That's about it. So, I made a pot and fired it up in the kiln. When it was done, it gave me an option to sell it. I thought to myself, "Who is going to buy it?". As it turns out, no one regretfully as it is all virtual. Once I sold my pottery I earned some virtual money. At the main menu a new feature appeared, "Shop". Now I had access to paints and brushes. I had a new feature appear as well, "Inbox". So it appears that as you play the game you are given different objectives; unique pieces of pottery to make. You can reference the photo given to you and once you make it, you can send it off to the virtual requestor. You can play Pottery HD independent of the virtual quests and just have fun adding lots of different pottery creations to your collection. If you like, you can even share these creations with friends via email.

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Incipio Executive Foleo for iPad- accessory review

This week I am taking a look at the Incipio Executive Folio black leather case for iPad. This case not only looks good but is super thin. There are no pockets in the case other than the area to slip in your iPad. The flap secures with a tab of leather that tucks into a leather loop.

The fact that this case uses real leather is nice; no "pleather" here. You can smell it as soon as you take the case out of the packaging. The inside is a very soft suede. I feel very safe sliding my iPad in and out of it. Since it is so soft, it slides in smoothly too. Sometimes with these types of cases the iPad won't slide in smoothly and can get stuck on a corner, etc. I have not found that to be the situation here.

The only concern I have with this case is that the leather tab that closes the external flap is only sewn on in two places. It feel that over time, it might easily tear. My case has not torn, but if you watch the video, I show you what I mean.

Overall, this is a slim case that will protect your iPad from daily bumps and grinds. There is not any real padding for falls, but it seems to had handled the daily abuse I was able to give it just fine.

The Incipio Executive Folio black leather case for iPad is available now from the TiPb iPad accessory store.

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Chain Link Pro for iPhone - App Review

Chain Link is based on the concept of creating as many links as you can and dragging them into the vortex in the middle of the screen without disturbing any other types of links.  The game starts off fairly easy and gets harder pretty quick.  There's also support for OpenFeint to share your scores with your friends and other Chain Link users.  I found the game pretty addicting after a while.  Hit the jump for more screens and a walkthrough.

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XGear SHADOW case for iPad review

XGear SHADOW case for iPad is for those who want a tough exterior case for the back of their iPad but want to keep the front completely open for easy access. so, yes, it's pretty much identical to the XGear Folio case for iPad I looked at earlier... without the front cover.

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