Category Archives: Graphics

My iPhone, Part Two

As promised, here is part 2. iTunes decided to try to synch all 450 of my apps onto my 8gb iPhone last night so I took the opportunity to reorg. I lost a couple pages of apps but gained some space. Anyway, here’s the list of what is left. I’m not including the dozens of games in folders because I’ll make a separate post about games. The ones out on my main pages are the ones I play most now anyway.

Page six, pick up sticks

Strip Designer blows away Plasq’s entry into the comic strip maker genre on the iPhone. Feature rich and full flavoured, this app delivers multi-panel goodness.

Alone At War is an awesome game. Your character, armed with but a bow and endless quiver, faces an endless onslaught of baddies. The graphics look as if they are drawn by a child which adds a lot to the game’s very simple charm. One of my more played games I consider this necessary.

Void is another fantastic game. I’ve been playing for about a week now. Essentially you pilot a ship (and there are many to buy), equip it with parts and weapons (that you find and buy), and mine/steal from asteroids and other ships. Physics of space are well handled in this making it a challenge to control. I’m enjoying its steep challenge.

Chess Problems is another one of my ‘most played’ games on the iPhone. It has over 300 problems from throughout the game’s history. No solutions are provided and that makes it so much more fun. No hints, no answers, it’s legendary.

Flight Control – Do I really need to say anything about this? I thought everyone had this game. It’s a blast.

Sudoku Unlimited is probably the best Sudoku game available for the iPhone and that is saying a lot since there are so many of them. Limitless tables in a wide variety of themes complete a very awesome way to play.

I Dig It is an amazing little game in which you play a digger (ala Dig Dug) who has to burrow underground to unearth buried treasures. You can upgrade your mining vehicle and have to be careful not to run out of fuel or overheat. Very challenging and fun.

Great Chess Games is an app that has over 10000 great chess games that have been played in history so you can watch each move. Just a nice thing to look at when one’s head is focused on strategy.

The Deep is one of the finer pinball games on the iPhone. Actually that opinion is completely invalid because The Deep is the only pinball game I’ve played on this device. It is good though, check it out.

Boggle because I like word games.

Dungeon Scroll, speaking of word games this one is pretty unique. You’re in a dungeon with monsters attacking you and you’ve got to spell words out to do damage to them. The bigger the word, the more the damage. There is no real dungeon to this game, just pictures of dungeons. Still, it’s uniqueness works in its favour.

Page seven – The stars, our destination

Weather Planet is a globe of the earth as viewed from space. The catch is that the clouds as displayed on this globe are actual satellite images of cloud cover worldwide and no greater than 3 hours old. This app still needs some work but it’s pretty amazing in and of itself. The developer of this one is the developer of Distant Suns, a famous astronomy app that has been on many platforms.

Distant Suns is an astronomy application with thousands of objects logged in it. You can do just about anything in this one, but that can be said of the others in the genre as well. Some of Distant Suns more unique features are an ability to put yourself anywhere in the solar system. The author is highly accessible and has added features that even just one person has asked for. A real gem.

Sky Voyager is a great little app with tons of information, it even looks good. Sadly I have to say it’s my least favourite of all my astronomy apps. That isn’t saying it’s bad, just that I generally gravitate to the others sooner than Sky Voyager. I do like the amount of information this has on each and every star in its database though.

Grand Tour is another app by the Distant Suns author. It will put your perspective of our solar system into form better than any app on the iPhone. You can travel from planet to planet, and each of the planets moons. Seeing one planet disappear into a point whist moving to another truly gives you a sense of the enormous scales in our solar system. A very neat toy.

Pocket Universe is another really great astronomy app. It has a huge database of stars like the others. Nothing really makes this one stand out from the others though…

Go Sky Watch is like these other astronomy apps but it’s graphics are really lacking. It does have one feature that I do like though and I use it just for that purpose. When your crosshairs centre over a stellar body in the sky a small image of that feature appears, an image that has been taken from a telescope. I’d like to see this feature in other apps as well.

Starmap Pro has the largest database of stellar objects. It is a full-featured professional astronomy tool with telescope tracking (others have this too) and many, many more features. It’s also the most expensive.

Star Walk is pure bliss for astronomy apps. It’s beautiful, truly. It’s interface is a thing to behold. It’s not as hardcore as Distant Suns but it’s so damn fun to use that it doesn’t matter. Above all it is the one app I’d recommend for someone with a budding interest in the stars.

Collider is a simple app that simulates the collision of galaxies. You can watch up to five galaxies do their thing in glorious particle dances. It’s keen but only does this one thing.

GeoTimeScale is a free geological time chart. It’s a handy reference for when you want to tell the difference between the Carboniferous and Devonian eras in Earth’s evolution.

APOD Viewer – APOD stands for the Astronomy Picture Of The Day. Nasa puts a new one up every day. APOD viewer is an app that lets you browse these in a format good for iPhone. The Pro version allows you to save large versions of the images and save favourites to a cached area.

Page eight, more entertainment and creativity

The Quest is the largest RPG available for the iPhone. It’s first-person dungeon crawling goodness. Very deep, very well done. With two expansions available.

Monopoly Worldwide Edition – got this to play with my girlfriend on her iPod Touch. It’s a well done rendition of the game, no surprises.

Hitchcock is a story boarding app like none other. With it you can arrange sketches and photographs, edit camera movement and timing. Basically it allows you to create dynamic, animated storyboards. Very powerful and also quite pricey.

Outliner is an app for outlining (duh). It’s got nice features and does the job well. It hasn’t moved to a productivity page yet because I’ve not gotten around to it (same with Hitchcock).

MindNode because I sure needed another mind map app on my phone. This one isn’t bad, I like the dragging of children from wells but I wish the wells moved into view when they scroll off screen.

AppBox Pro – I bought this on a whim and have yet to really use it. Best selling app in the store world wide so I’m probably missing something…

Tap Quest – awesome little RPG, totally 8 bit and fun to play.

Tower Smash – Got this one for my son. He enjoys it though not as much as Real Racing…he has good taste.

KalimbaLive is a virtual Kalimba. Actually, it’s a whole gaggle of virtual Kalimbas including metal ones, wooden ones, all scales, all keys, a mixer and recorder, and more. It doesn’t feel as responsive as I would expect but then I’m wondering if it’s to simulate that the note doesn’t sound on a real Kalimba the exact moment of contact but a fraction of a second later. Anyway, it’s awesome this application’s flexibility for such a cool instrument.

Ocarina is, well, a simulated ocarina including the blowing into the iPhone to get it to play. A neat feature of this is the player’s ability to upload songs and have them heard by others. I like.

Leaf Trombone – like Ocarina you can upload your songs but even better, you can play live in front of judges. It’s quite the trip and well worth investing in.

Page…Oh wait, we’re out of pages. I do have a ton of games in folders which I’ll look at some other day. After yesterday’s article iTunes decided to synch ALL my apps (450 apps on an 8 gig iPhone…riiiight) so I had to manually rebuild all of my pages. I trimmed the collection a bit.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and I apologise it was cut short. Blame iTunes and Apple.

Thanks for your time.

Upcoming articles: include one on games, a review of an iPod Touch/iPhone pen, and more…

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Filed under Graphics, iPhone, iPhone App Reviews, Uncategorized

My iPhone, Part One

This is part one of a two part article. These are the apps that sit on my iPhone. I go to page five today but expect some surprises tomorrow as I have nearly a whole page of apps devoted to something specific coming up and it’s NOT games! To be sure, I’ll be talking about some games too. Anyway, enjoy these first five pages and feel free to comment, make suggestions, ask questions, etc…

The First Page – Necessities

ListOmni is like an ultimate ‘list’ app. I use it for grocery lists (they make a reduced version for just that task) and for a quick todo list, for todos that I don’t want to schedule on my scheduler. I also use it to track apps that I’m interested in. You can really use this app for any kind of list. If you enjoy keeping lists of things then this is your tool, or toy.

Budget is a nice and easy to use budget app. I would like it better if it used a larger keypad for entering amounts of money. This is a small complaint though and for the price you really can’t beat its feature set. I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, I’ll have a more thorough opinion of it after I’ve spent a month under its watchful financial eye.

AwesomeNote is, as its name implies, a notepad. It’s actually as many notepads organized in as many folders as you want. It has a beautiful UI and supports portrait and landscape modes. It doesn’t need to do more.

PocketInformant is my todo list/schedule organizer. I’ve been through a few of these, all bloody expensive. This is the latest one and I hope to stick with it. Its feature list is vast so I won’t even bother iterating it here. I like its weekly view of my schedule most. Products abandoned while searching for this one: OmniFocus, ToDo.

Maps is the default mapping application on the iPhone. I’m sure there are better ones out there and I’ve tried a few. None that I’ve tried are as quick as Maps and, well, it just works.

AppStore being on my first page is probably a mistake. So easy to get to, so easy to use…it’s the devil!

Contacts is the basic contacts app for the iPhone. It does the job and syncs with my Mac. I need nothing more really.

HanDBase is an awesome database with relational capability. It’s not pretty like Bento but Bento is a piece of crap for not letting you backup your data without buying their desktop product. HanDBase offers a wealth of features not found in other iPhone database apps. Products abandoned: Bento, TapForms Database.

HiCalc is a feature rich (that is an understatement) calculator. The manual for HiCalc is huge. Truth be told I’ve not used it much but when I do need a calculator, wow, I’ve got an awesome one.

Advanced English Dictionary uses a public domain dictionary but it’s interface is really slick and it’s very zippy. I use this and one other dictionary, both are on my first page…

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary is on my phone because I need to look up British English words all the damn time. This is probably the best app store dictionary for doing just that.

QuickOffice is used less that I’d like it to be. I work with a lot of word documents at work and wanted a way to edit them whist commuting. I find that my commute is spent more on reading than writing, however. It’s nice to have the ability to edit documents when I do need to though.

Wikipanion Plus is, from what I know, the best Wikipedia browser on the iPhone. It has a feature that I simply adore. If you are reading an article and see a link you’d like to delve into, you can click that link and it will download the page in the background so that you can read it later. You can sae as many pages this way as you like. It’s great.

Weatherbug Elite is my forecaster. Pretty reliable and lets me know not only the weather but a detailed five day forecast as well.

Snapture is a great camera app. I’ve got a few others on my phone but this one is my main just point and shoot app.

Settings is on my first page because I’m always going into it and adjusting stuff for better battery life.

The Second Page – Visual Creativity

Photos is the built in photo browser. Yawn.

iMandalArt is a strange beast. I can’t even reiterate what the creator of this thing advertises because the English is so bad. It’s supposed to be a life organiser, editor, thingy kind of tool. It consists of 9 panels that exponentially expand into groupings of nine more panels. You can put text, pictures, and sound on any panel and each panel acts as a doorway to 9 more panels. You can group and refine thoughts this way. It’s a very odd beast and I wish that the developer had given more information about the Hypercard stack on which it is supposedly based.

iThoughts is my mind mapping tool of choice. Of all that I own it’s the most fluid and easy to use. I wrote a lengthier review of it on a previous entry in my blog.

LessChart is a flowcharting app. It’s not as functional as I’d like but it does the job, abliet a bit crudely. I can’t bring myself to recommend it however it gets good reviews at the app store which leads me to believe I’m missing something.

Headspace is another mind mapping app that is a bit of an oddball. You can only create one ‘map’ at any given time so it’s better suited for organizing one’s thoughts if the interface is something one is attuned to. I am not really but one day I might need it for something so it stays.

TinyPixels is a program that I was going to write for the iPhone. I would have done it differently but hey, it does the trick. It’s a pixel-by-pixel painting program meant for drawing old-school bitmaps or (as I use it for) icons. The one feature I’d like to see in it is the ability to set your document size.

Brushes is one of several painting apps I have on the iPhone. A longer review is posted in a previous entry of my blog.

Inspire is another painting app and of all of them is the most Painter-like. For those of you unfamiliar with Painter, think ‘natural media’ and specifically: oil paints. It simulates dry brush painting, palette knife scraping, and all manner of oil-paint-like things.

Layers Is yet another painting app.

Colors and again, more painting appage.

PaintBook – I really can’t get enough of the painting apps, can I? This one is nice, it allows for really fine-line drawings and uses a vector algorithm to smooth out your strokes. It works very well. Great for sketches.

NetSketch is yes..another painting app.

SketchBook – more painting…

iShodo is a Japanese calligraphy program that simulates not only the result but also the tools. It’s a very nice app that is well implemented.

ZeptoPad is the god vector-art program that I’ve previously reviewed. It’s not illustrator, it’s more like Expression but without a lot of the natural media aspects of that program.

iDiagram – I just started using this one. Will give it some time. It’s a vector based program that tries to be a bit Illustrator-like but fails due to lack of real Bezier editing.

The Third Page – Communication & Reading

Tweetdeck – this is my twitter client of choice. It has a fantastic UI that syncs with the desktop version. Very slick.

Facebook – this is here just so I can have a mobile interface to Facebook. I’d rather not clutter my apps menu with it but alas, it’s the best there is for the job.

AirMe is kind of cool. It allows me to snap a photograph and then instantly post it to Facebook with geo-coordinates so it records where the photo was taken. Problem is that it also posts a bunch of other tags. I believe I have control over what it posts and doesn’t but I’ve not fiddled with it yet.

Cooliris is a google image search browser. Simply enter keywords and images matching those keywords are returned. No control over image size returns limits its functionality a bit but it’s a nice way to browse google’s image search.

ClearCam is a jailbroken iPhone app that lets you take 4mp pictures. It does so by overlaying several shots to rid the image of noise. It does a fairly good job of it too.

xGPS is another jailbroken iPhone app. This one gives you turn-by-turn GPS tracking. Sadly I’ve found it to be too slow to be useful. The first time I used it I was impressed but haven’t gotten it to work so well since then.

Terminal is a, well, terminal for the iPhone. It can only be run on jailbroken iPhones but it’s kind of cool to be able to access the iPhone this way. There are a few features you can change by doing so.

Interactive Periodic Table – there are a ton of periodic tables for the iPhone out there. I thought this one, from the screenshots, was the prettiest. It has a ton of data and different ways to view the table and loads of neat pictures.

Great Books is a huge collection of free books. One can get any of these books free elsewhere and with a free viewer. I’m not sure why I’m keeping this one around, probably will do so until I’ve gotten through the books in its vast database.

Good Reader is without a doubt the best pdf reader for the iPhone. It’s new feature of being able to extract the text out of a pdf and view it at any font size is worth the price of admission alone. It can handle abnormally large PDFs as well.

Google Earth – I don’t use this much but DAMN it is cool having it on my phone.

Stanza lets you browse, search and download books from free and paid sources on the net. I use stanza to house all my public domain folktale and fairy tale books. I’ve about 300 of them.

Tome Raider 4 – a nice collection of free (public domain) books that I’ve yet to get to reading.

Read It Later – this neat tool lets you download web content and read it offline. It’s helpful for grabbing sites that I want to read but not necessarily bookmark. Since I don’t need an internet connection to read the downloaded pages I can save on battery.

ezShare – meh, this is the kind of software that should not be necessary. The iPhone should mount as a disc on its own. Anyway, if all you need to do is move files about then get an app that will double as a data holder like GoodReader or something.

The Fourth Page – Expanding page three

IdeaGenerator – I have this on my iPhone as an experiment. I’m slowly building a word library appropriate to my own creativity and hopefully it will do the job of kicking me from a rut when I find myself in one.

Japanese – awesome Kanji Dictionary. It’s the JEDict of the iPhone world.

Koi Pond – the best relaxation app IMO. What a wonderful gem this is and by the download count I imagine most others think so as well.

iKalied – I like Kaleidoscope apps and this one is a lot of beautiful fun.

Kooleido – Another nice Kaleidoscope app.

World Factbook 2009 – This contains a wealth of information on every country in the world. Sure, Wikipedia probably has the same info but this is well laid out and nice on the iPhone’s screen.

Trailguru – want to geotrack? This is the tool! This app will record your progress in user definable increments. You can even upload your track to a public or private website and then view them in GoogleEarth. Very nice app, unfortunately requires that it be running while recording a track. You can listen to music while tracking, however.

Camera Genius has features the built in camera app should have. Anti-shake, self-timer, grid overlay, and voice control.

Oxford Beginners Japanese English Dictionary is a fine Japanese dictionary. This should really be next to the Japanese app but alas, this is a page-by-page analysis and I’m going to stay honest.

101 Photo Effects has 101 filters to process pictures with. Some of them are quite cool, others are useless.

Xkcd is a necessary comic viewer. I love this dearly.

Fluid Motion is a trip. Truly, you ‘paint’ in a viscious liquid over which you have control of many parameters. It records your motions and allows you to overlay new painting strokes on the recorded motions. It’s quite amazing.

Cycorder – video recording on a 3g? You betcha! But only with a jailbroken phone. The videos that you can capture are not half-bad and I HIGHLY recommend this app for any jailbroken 3g with a little room left for videos.

Toy Camera – I’m not big into auto-processed photographs but this one is really neat. It runs photos, as they are taken, through any number of filters and makes them look…well…old and cheap. It’s far better than I make it sound!

Perfect Photo is a great photo editing tool that allows for cropping, rotation, levels editing, balance, etc… Good for those times when you don’t want to wait for a synch and Photoshop session. – why in heaven’s name do I need three English dictionaries on my phone? I really don’t but this one is free and quite good so it’s there. Sigh.

Page five – more of the same

Cydia is the app store for jailbroken iphones. They only have a limited selection of pay apps but who is going to complain when most of the stuff is free. I’m quite surprised at the number of ad supported apps there are but I suppose I shouldn’t be. If your iPhone is jailbroken then you have Cydia, there’s no way around it.

Icy is another developer’s idea of how Cydia should work. It’s a bit faster for getting a specific app, Cydia tends to be better for browsing.

WinterBoard gives you control over a lot of the iPhone’s functionality that you would otherwise not have including wallpaper all the time and custom themes (there are hundreds out there). I have found that some of the features are not compatible with everything and so I’ve disabled much of the ‘cool’ things.

Categories lets you put apps into folders. The idea isn’t as slick as you might expect but it does work. I’ve got most of the game that my son plays in folders so they don’t clutter up my app menu.

iBlueSky – another mind mapping app that I’ve reviewed in another blog post.

MindMeister – yes another mind mapping app, move along.

Spawn Illuminati – this is a neat little visual trip. Wait to purchase it though because one of its cooler features (symmetry) wil be available free with the next update.

Pulsar – is another visual trip thing. I find these apps make good starting points for abstract artwork.

BeatMaker is amazing. It’s a drum machine, sequencer, and editing deck all in one app. Professional musicians use this in live concerts, that should give you some idea of how utterly awesome and powerful this is. Watch the youtube videos of this thing in action and be amazed.

TypeDrawing – I have this on my phone because it’s a drawing app and it’s unique. I never know when I’ll need to draw something with text. When that need arises, TypeDrawing will be there!

a2z Pro (Unit Converter) is by far the best unit conversion tool available as you can download conversion tables made by others (and there are dozens) as well as create your own. Amazing that this puppy is free.

My O2 is the app I use to keep track of my allowances for my calling plan. I never even approach my limits so it’s just occupying an app space on my phone and doing nothing really useful.

Skype – I’ve only used this a couple of times but it seems to work okay. It’s Skype for the iPhone…move along.

Brain Challenge 2 is the first game on my list and we had to get all the way to the last icon on page 5. I only bought it yesterday so haven’t had a lot of time with it. I exercise my brain enough without games like this to occupy my time but it’s nice for what it is doing.

That is it for today. Tune in tomorrow when I talk about the rest of my iPhone. To be sure I have a few surprises coming up!


Filed under Graphics, iPhone, iPhone App Reviews, Painting