Save and Share Beautiful Photography With SceneryShare

Price: $.99    Score: 10/10   By M. SchustermanSceneryShare - GraffitiLogic

I, like many writers, am a master of procrastination. One of my favorite ways to put off things I need to do is finding a good photography website or blog, or even just browsing Flickr. I owe a thanks to GraffitiLogic for making it easy to indulge in this habit on my iPhone, too.

Because that’s what their app, SceneryShare, is all about; sharing awesome photography. This app is a collection of hundreds of photos, including HDR pics, divided into the following categories:

  • Tropical and Coastal
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Astrophotography
  • CityScapes
  • Graffiti and Urban

Each page and photo takes a few seconds to load the first time due to the high quality of the images. Once you select a photo, you can either tap the arrows or swipe left or right to view the others pictures in that category. There’s also a thumbs up and a thumbs down at the bottom of the screen for you to cast your vote for the picture. The SceneryShare photo catalog changes regularly – there’s even an option for you to view the most recent uploads – and the photos are ranked based on user votes.

Tapping the “save” icon at the bottom left brings up a few options as well. You can opt to save the image either regularly or in high-definition to your photo library, allowing you to set it as wallpaper. You can also follow a link to the photographer’s website and view more of his work.

Which makes SceneryShare an ideal app for photographers as well. In fact, the last option in the main menu is to submit a photo. You can fill out a form with a name for your photo, a purchase URL, and photographer contact info (as well as submitter contact info if you are submitting a picture on behalf of a photographer), then select the image from your phone.

SceneryShare is a simple, fun way to collect pictures and share your favorites with others – a great deal for the price.

SceneryShare [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.


AbbleDabble Ideal for Those Who Love Scrabble

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. PapachristosAbbleDabble - Coresoft Inc.

Crossword puzzles, Scrabble and word games in general have always been a popular pastime.  With such success, these games have been copied and tweaked over and over, each hoping to become just as popular as their predecessors.  One such variation, AbbleDabble by Coresoft Inc, takes Scrabble’s concept and adds an abundance of extras that promise a highly intense, interactive word puzzle game.

Users must begin by logging in or creating an account.  Tap the button in the top right corner to do both, entering a username, email address and password when creating a new account.  The main screen will provide two buttons for adjusting your gaming settings.  Account Settings allows users to change their username, email address, and password, or they may logout while on this screen.  Game Options allows users to adjust the sound effects volume, auto zoom settings, view the credits, and access the Help section.  The Help section will teach users the ins-and-outs of game play, including word formation rules, scoring rules and ending game rules.

Across the top of the main screen, users will find a number of tabs linking them to news from the developer, leaderboards, more games by the developer and the Tell A Friend option.  To begin a game, return to the top right corner and tap the New Game button.  A Quick Match will allow you to start or join any 2-player game.  Users may also design their own Custom Game.  Users may pick between one and four players, or opt for Sandbox mode, which is a special single player mode that presents gamers with an unlimited number of chances to trade their letters and create the highest scoring word and game.

For these custom games, users may select random opponents or invite their friends to join.  Under more options, gamers can enable bonus patterns, bonus tile movement, tile selection (random, balanced, any), and the standard dictionary.  Here, users may also restore the default settings.

As crazy as it sounds, users can play up to 25 games at a time with the option to chat right within the game.  Considering their server promises lightning speed service, users can also set the pace for any and all of their games.  The real-time spell check feature doesn’t hurt, either.  However, presented as some sort of enhanced Scrabble – if the name doesn’t allude to it, I don’t know what does – AbbleDabble supports the theory that less is more, for the added features merely make the developer seem desperate to differentiate the game from its more famous counterpart.  With AbbleDabble, users have so many options and so many ways to distract themselves that this overabundance may detract from the true word puzzle experience.

AbbleDabble [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.


Coordinate International Conference Calls with World Meeting Planner

Price: $1.99     Score: 9/10     By A. PapachristosWorld Meeting Planner - Mirek Elsner

Scheduling meetings never seems to be an easy task, but the struggle increases immensely when scheduling also means juggling multiple time zones.  An international conference call is bound to cause time conflicts amongst the various participants.  But now, with World Meeting Planner by Mirek Elsner, users have access to a world clock that makes scheduling anything from conference calls, to webcasts, to virtual training a breeze.

Users will begin on the Locations tab, which features a ‘+’ icon in the top right corner so they may add all the locations that shall inevitably be involved with their meeting.  Simply begin typing at least two characters to reveal a list of possible locations from the over 40,000-city database.  The Time tab will allow you to then pick a meeting time and date in your time zone, for which it will then display the time and date equivalent in all of your other chosen locations.

The Calendar tab provides a way for users to invite others to the meeting via email.  Here, users may also enter the meeting in their device’s built-in calendar, though this feature is only enabled on full versions of World Meeting Planner.  The Favorites tab allows full version users to collect their most frequently used locations or people in a single list for quick future reference.  The Info tab simply provides buttons that may come in handy if you are ever in need of assistance: Report or Discuss a Problem, Frequently Asked Questions and Detailed Online Help.

World Meeting Planner’s settings cannot be adjusted within the application, but under your system’s regular settings instead.  Here, you may edit the Organizer’s name and email address, choose whether you’d like to see the city names appear with accents or in simple ASCII style, and turn the advanced search capabilities on or off.

The idea behind World Meeting Planner stems from a desire to find an easy way to schedule international meetings that are undoubtedly difficult to coordinate.  The goal is to inevitably find a meeting time that works conveniently for all participants in all the involved time zones.  Just select the participating locations, coordinate a time, and invite everyone involved.  Dealing with time zones seems tricky enough, but World Meeting Planner provides an invaluable service that shall hopefully ease the burden of scheduling for businesses all around the world.

World Meeting Planner [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.


Enjoy Story Time Electronically with iStoire Chameleon

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. PapachristosiStoire Chameleon - Laurent Kohler - Artisanat Numérique

Reading truly is a fundamental part of any culture, especially when it comes to educating the youth.  And now, with electronic books and stories making it even easier for people to access educational and reading materials more readily, the joy of reading has become not only a fun pastime, but also a typical daily task.  With iStoire Chameleon by Laurent Kohler – Artisanat Numérique, parents can spark their children’s interest in reading early with a story about a chameleon working to pursue his very own dreams.

The story itself, entitled The Chameleon Who Wants to Be Blue, features numerous illustrations and a few animations.  With such a self-explanatory title, parents know right away that this kid-friendly story falls into the same lesson learning literature that generally covers the shelves of the children’s section at their local bookstore.  Available in English, French and Italian, this story was made for children ages 4-9.

Upon startup, users will encounter a simple introductory page featuring one of the many chameleon drawings found throughout the story.  Tap on any of the languages listed toward the bottom to be taken to the connecting page that allows you to choose which language you desire.  The icon in the bottom left corner of the screen, which resembles the shape of home plate, will always take you back to the home page when tapped.

To begin, simply tap the screen.  A drawing will appear on screen, accompanied by a sentence of the story.  Those reading in portrait mode will find the words on the bottom, while those reading in landscape mode will find the words positioned to the side.  Each time you tap the screen, another sentence will appear, with a new drawing every few sentences or so.  Every now and again, the drawing will turn out to be an animation instead.

Unfortunately, at least in my experience, reading the story on an iPhone seemed to take longer than if it were in physical book form, or so I perceive.  Also, users must read the entire story in one sitting, for they may not return to the home screen without losing their place in the story.  However, for only $.99, parents can entertain their children and encourage their love for reading, which is always a worthwhile investment in the future.

iStoire Chameleon [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.


iMapWeather Delivers Accurate Weather Information

Price: $3.99   Score: 9/10   By S. CampbelliMapWeather - Weather Decision Technologies, Inc.

Developed by Weather Decision Technologies, iMapWeather is one of the most technologically advanced and intuitive weather apps available for iPad. Serving as both an interactive radar for observing changing weather patterns, and a general purpose weather and forecast app – you’ll never need to look further for more information.

You can enter your location within the app to access local maps (or search for your current location), with up-to-date current conditions displayed for the area. Satellite information shows cloud movement across your chosen map, and you can also access traffic information for that location. If you regularly commute or travel to different cities, you can save locations in iMapWeather as pins which are marked on the map. Tapping on a pin brings up all the relevant weather details for that area.

Along the bottom of the screen are boxes which give you important weather information at a glance, including the conditions at the moment (“Right Now”) and the 7 day outlook under “Daily Forecast”. There is also an alerts section which advises you of any severe or dangerous weather patterns such as tornadoes, ice or storms in your selected area(s).

The interface in iMapWeather is clean and easy to use, with a depth of information available at your fingertips which is simply not available in most dedicated weather apps. If you’re looking for a comprehensive and accurate weather app for iPad at a modest price, you can’t go past iMapWeather.

iMapWeather [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.


Rate Items, Read Product Reviews with Ratingly

Price: Free     Score: 7/10     By A. PapachristosRatingly - Mobitics

Just as we provide our readers with insight into the great and not-so-great apps of the iPhone world, many websites across the Internet provide users with product reviews.  Some focus on the hottest electronics, while others recommend books, music and fashion.  With Ratingly by Mobitics, users can rate and search items of all types by simply scanning the item’s barcode, adding a rating a review to guide others in their purchases.

Using the alliterative slogan “Rate, React, Recommend”, Ratingly allows users to take practically any product they can find and enter it into the database if an entry does not already exist.  To begin, login with your email address and password, or sign up for a new account if you have never used the Ratingly website.

The Inbox supplies a tab for all reviews, ones written by you and those written by others.  Scan allows users to scan an item’s barcode for quick and easy recognition.  Reviews will appear if the item has previously been reviewed.  Those not in the system can easily be added by entering a description and then providing the very first review.  For those who cannot find products by scanning, just use the quick search feature to find what you’re looking for if it exists in the database.

While Ratingly promises a fantastically useful service, it still seems to be in its early stages, and will only truly take off if many people decide to latch on to its offerings.  Ratingly revolves around a very interactive concept, giving users the chance to share their opinions with a community, while allowing them to follow their favorite users, products or categories.  Users can even connect with their Twitter account and post their evaluations to the popular social networking site.  You can even follow Ratingly itself on Twitter.  However, if Ratingly does not become its own networking hub, users will not find quite the array of product ratings and reviews they were hoping for, making the service fairly useless.  But with such potential, one can only hope that Ratingly will become a source for consumer information for years to come.

Ratingly [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.1 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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