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Reviews

OmniGraffle for iPad - app review

OmniGraffle for iPad is a great application for creating workflow diagrams, organizational charts and more. At work I use Microsoft's Visio to create workflow diagrams pertaining to software implementations. I now have almost the exact same functionality in my iPad.

The layout is very similar to Apple's own iWork suite for iPad (and OmniGroup's other iPad offering, OmniGraphSketcher) in that you swipe between open documents and can easily create or delete documents from the same screen. If you have used OmniGraffle on the Mac or Visio on Windows you will be instantly familiar with the interface once you have created a document. The top right corner has all of your stencils, drawing tools and properties of the objects you are working with. In the top left you have control over layers for your diagram. For this review, I am going to cover the simpler aspects of OmniGraffle so you understand at a high level what it does. Advanced users will revel in the other aspects.

To begin drawing, open the stencil group your want and drag an object to the grid. This can be done in portrait or landscape. From there you have almost limitless choices: color, line thickness, rotation, curve edges, shadows and so on. After placing a few objects in your drawing you can connect them with the connector stencils. Again, drag to the drawing and connect. The properties for lines are the same as other objects but you can add different types of arrows and even branch the arrows out. OmniGraffle for iPad can also use third party stencils, but no guarantees. These stencils should be added via iTunes.

So now you have several objects in your drawing and you want to change the properties of all of them, perhaps change the fill color. How do you accomplish this? Very, very, very easily. All you have to do is tap and hold the first object, then tap subsequent objects. Any object you touch will become a group for editing. You can then apply any changes you like to those objects; colors, line thickness or style, just about anything. It is awesome to have this power at your fingertips and it is a shame OmniGroup does not have templates available for the user to edit since changing properties are so easy to do. OmniGroup has suggested they may add templates in future release of the app.

It is important to note that OmniGraffle gives you excellent placement tools and control over your drawing. You can add, edit or duplicate layers in your drawing and activate snap to grid so you can precisely position every object placed.

The single biggest drawback for this wonderful application is that unless you already use the Mac version of OmniGraffle, it is difficult to share with other types of applications. Exporting options include: send .graffle in email, send email PDF, copy as image and send to photos. There is not an XML or Visio export at this time unfortunately.

I could go on about all of the fantastic features of OmniGraffle and for a 1.0 product launch with iPad and I very excited for the future of this application for the iPad. OmniGroup says that they have a lot of plans to enhance this app and they are coming soon. The short development time did not lend itself for adding a lot of features at launch (though I still think they did an amazing job) For business, this has to be one of my favorite applications.

[$49.99- iTunes Link]

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Bloomies game for iPhone - app review and give-away

Bloomies for the iPhone, from Phantoom Entertainment, is a time management or sim-style garden game. Your goal is to advance your garden by gathering more plants, bees and achievements.

Upon starting up the game you are taught how to plant a flower by touching the shovel and adding soil to set up the location. Then you choose your flower and place it in the soil. There is also a bee that gathers nectar, which you will use to purchase other bees and flowers.

Bloomies is a beautiful, easy to understand, open ended sim for casual and younger games who want the fun of building their garden without the responsibility of always having to log in to maintain it. If you go away for a little while and don't water your plants, they'll get unhappy but they won't wither and die, and will be ready and waiting for more when you return.

If you're looking for something more interactive and immersive, however, then this style and pace of gameplay may not be for you.

Video, pictures, and a give-away after the break!

[$0.99 - iTunes Link]

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FullForce for iPad - Jailbreak app review

FullForce for iPad is jailbreak app that will automatically format iPhone apps to the resolution of the iPad without the distortion of the 2x zoom.  Anyone who owns an iPad knows that all the apps you had for your iPhone will run on the iPad, and you can zoom them in, but they get pretty grainy.  It makes me sad to see grainy apps when the iPad screen is so beautiful. FullForce tries to solve that sadness.

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Pinball HD for iPad - app review

Pinball HD brings classic pinball arcade playing to the iPad. The graphics are beautiful and motions are smooth.

There are three tables included with Pinball HD: Wild West, The Deep, and Jungle Style. I find Wild West to be the least interesting table to play, but it will probably be great for a child who doesn't need a complicated and involved table. The Deep and Jungle Style are much more detailed and require much more skill to get a good score.

Pinball HD can be played in 3 different views. Holding the iPad in landscape will display the full table from a perspective view (the front is bigger than the back). In portrait, you can either view the full table or play with a "flying-table" view. The latter view follows the ball around the table and zooms in even closer when the ball is doing something interesting like bouncing around a bunch of bumpers or entering a special hole. The graphics in "flying-table" are very impressive; however, I find myself getting a little dizzy when playing in this view.

If you're a fan of pinball, Pinball HD will not disappoint. The physics are accurate and the gameplay is fun. For video and screenshots, follow us after the break!

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iPhone Twitter app roundup

So you have an iPhone and you use Twitter, but with the plethora of Twitter applications available in the App Store (including one that just went official), which do you chose? TiPb is here to help with a Twitter app roundup! Now this is not your typical top 5 or top 10 must-have, best Twitter app list. This is about options and alternatives, and Ally, Leanna, and guest writer Alli Flowers have chosen the following 12 to review and help narrow your search:

  • Twitter for iPhone
  • Twitbit
  • Tweeterena
  • Osfoora
  • HootSuite
  • SimplyTweet 3
  • Tweetdeck
  • Twitterrific
  • Twitbird Pro
  • Twittelator Pro
  • Echofon
  • Fluttr

To see what we had to say, follow us after the break!

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Motorola EQ5 Wireless Stereo Speaker for iPhone, iPad

The Motorola EQ5 Wireless Speaker for iPhone 3G/3GS  and iPod Touch is one awesome Bluetooth stereo speaker setup. Looking for a good speakerphone? Need an excellent portable speaker with surprisingly good sound? This might be for you! It is currently available in the TiPb Accessory store for $99.95.

I have been searching for the perfect complement to my iPhone; an external speaker that sounds great, small, portable and asks like a phone. What did I find? The Motorola EQ5 (part of the Moto Rokr brand) portable stereo Bluetooth system. You might remember I reviewed the Blueant stereo speaker in the past; I really liked it and the missing piece for me was the ability to have great sounding stereo sound. Guess what? I have found it in the Moto EQ5. Read after the break to learn more!

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Zombie Infection for iPhone - app review

Survival horror thriller Zombie Infection for iPhone has to be Gameloft's highest production game to date. The graphics and voice acting are top notch and the cinematic style is engrossing.

Zombie Invasion starts off with you landing in a small town, that -- wait for it -- has been overrun by zombies! The first level is basically a tutorial showing you the moves for your character. You can shoot and stomp on crates to find goodies such as ammunition and medical supplies. You can move while aiming (albeit very slowly) and you can dismember the zombies by shooting their legs, arms and heads; what more can you ask for?

As you progress through the 12 levels in the game you unlock them to replay at any time. This is great since Zombie Infection has a trophy achievement system. You can go back though levels and practice/earn achievements. There are some fun ones too, for example if you shoot off both legs of a zombie, you get an achievement for that. It is this type of mechanic that makes me come back for more.

To add a little variety to the game, you can also play as one of two characters; Ex-soldier Damien Sharpe and reporter Alex Rayne. The names are cheesy, yes, but the gameplay and fun factor is not. I love this game and I am thankful that Gameloft is bringing these types of games to iPhone; it makes one really compelling alternative to other platforms for mobile gaming. Check the video and pictures after the break!

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Todo for iPad - app review

Appigo's Todo for iPad complements their existing Todo for iPhone app very well and if you already use Todo for iPhone, you will be quite pleased with the iPad version. If not, you'll certainly appreciate Todo for iPad on its own merits.

One of the first things you will notice is the aesthetic; Appigo went for a traditional three ring binder look and feel. You can change the color of the binder, paper and rings in the settings menu. Appigo promises more themes in a future update.

Outside of looking pretty, Todo gets the job done just like its iPhone cousin. You can create a your standard task, project, checklist, contact or website. If you are a Getting Things Done (GTD) user, you will be happy to know that @contexts as well as tags are supported. Holding the iPad in landscape gives you full view of all your task information. On the left side you have your lists, Inbox, Starred and Focus list. Let's discuss this in a little more detail.

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BabyBump pregnancy tracker for iPhone - app review

BabyBump is a pregnancy tracking application for the iPhone, and excellent for both mothers- and dads-to-be or anyone interested in following someone's pregnancy.

The home screen of BabyBump displays your chosen avatar, name, how many weeks and days you are along in your pregnancy, what trimester you're in, and how many days left until your due date. BabyBump is divided into 8 different sections:

  • Weekly info - This is my favorite section. BabyBump gives the approximate length and weight of your baby and compares his/her size to a fruit or vegetable. It also provides information about your Baby's developmental stage, what to expect with your body, and a health tip.
  • Journal - Here is where can record your weight, waist size, moods, and appointments. You can view charts of your weight and waist changes.
  • Photos - A place to store photos.
  • Birth - This is an excellent section of BabyBump. There is a very tasteful and informative video of the birth process, a list of newborn essential items that you need for Baby's arrival, and a checklist of your birth plan. When your baby is born, come to this section to create a quick birth announcement and send directly to Twitter, Facebook, and email.
  • Kick counter - A nice timer to record kick sessions.
  • Contractions - A similar counter to record contractions.
  • Baby names - An organized list of 1000 boy and 1000 girl names. You can store a list of favorite names and add any names that aren't on the list.
  • Community - This is a forums board. There are many different forum categories including a section for dads!

I have been using BabyBump since December and have seen multiple updates and improvements in the past months. BabyBump is an excellent iPhone companion for pregnancy; in fact, it's a must-have app for anyone pregnant.

[$4.99 - iTunes link]

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Fieldrunners for iPad - app review

Fieldrunners for the iPad, from Subatomic Studios, LLC, is a tower defense-style game, where the object is to obliterate the fieldrunners before they get to your base. To do this you place weapons on the field so that they will take out all fieldrunners before they get to the other side.

You start the game with 20 lives, which translates into 20 enemies that may pass through your defenses before the game ends. The placement of your defences is in real time, though after each level you do get a small amount of time before the fieldrunners start their attack. Strategy is paramount, as the towers you set up early in the game are still in play for later levels. You do not want to have to sell and move around towers as this will use up valuable resources (arms sales are not as profitable as they once were).

A large green ring indicates where your tower can be placed, a red ring indicates a illegal placement. The size of the ring shows you the range of the weapon which is very important for game strategy. Just clicking on the weapon will bring up the upgrading/sell options. Fieldrunners allows you to choose what difficulty you want to play in. So for veteran tower defense players starting on easy may be quite a bore, however as the game progresses each Fieldrunner you obliterate gains you more funds to purchase weapons.

The controls are very simple -- just point click and drag. You place your finger on the tower you want and then drag it to the location you want. All of the game options are also accessible through the game with a touch of your finger. You can also choose to put Fieldrunners into fast forward to accelerate the onslaught.

The game graphics are very clean and cartoonish yet not childish. Even the background of the game is beautifully rendered along with little bugs and flowers (not girly, I promise!).

Fieldrunners is really fun game for anyone who enjoys the tower defense genre. The increasing levels of difficulty keep Fieldrunners enjoyable and challenging. Well worth the price tag.

[$7.99 - iTunes Link]

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