Set Location Alerts and Reminders with GPSMinder

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Set Location Alerts and Reminders with GPSMinder

For those who tend to forget small errands and other important bits of information during their travels, GPSMinder by Burn37.com Inc offers users a unique way to set reminders.  Simply by entering the task and location, GPSMinder will alert users when they are nearing the very place or area marked.  All one must do is create reminders based on your location or schedule using the simple interface that makes entering your information easier than remembering the task yourself.

When you begin, simply tap the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner in order to enter the necessary information.  Whether you are reminding yourself of construction areas to avoid on your daily commute, or simply to pick up a few items at the store on your way home, GPSMinder will recognize when you are approaching one of these areas, sending you a notification as required.  In fact, the To-Dos function allows users to create a list of tasks needing a reminder.  Once the list is complete, users will no longer receive unnecessary reminders.

The only slight flaw that makes GPSMinder a bit of an inconvenience is the fact that it runs in the background, allowing users to forget about it until a notification has been sent to remind them of the given task or location.  While this aspect sounds useful (and don’t get me wrong, it is), it also eats up one’s battery power.  According to the application’s description, the battery life may even decrease dramatically, which makes one wonder how long the application will actually run before leaving your phone nearly entirely useless.  However, GPSMinder claims to utilize some of iOS 4.0’s advanced features, attempting to lower the battery consumption.  You may even adjust your power consumption settings under the Settings tab, choosing when to disable GPSMinder based on battery level and disabling the GPS feature altogether when no movement is detected.  This will save power, but still allow the GPS to kick in again once cell tower movement is detected.

Thankfully, GPSMinder does not try to gloss over the potential flaws, but addresses all issues head on so users will not be disappointed and unaware.  GPSMinder promises to be a useful tool as long as it is used in moderation, for phone battery conservation is always a must in one’s travels, short or long distance.

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

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Shop Zappos on Your iPhone with ShoesNBags

Price: $0.99    Score: 9/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Shop Zappos on Your iPhone with ShoesNBags

The migration of shopping is complete; from in-store, to online, and finally on your iPhone. If you’re a regular customer of Zappos, a website that sells clothing and accessories for women, men and children, you can now browse and buy from their catalog with their app, ShoesNBags.

This was my first time shopping for clothes on an app, and I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty cool experience. ShoesNBags took awhile to load the catalog the first few times I tried, but once I browsed around for awhile it sped up quite a bit. At the bottom of the screen you can navigate to Search, see a Product menu, or check out your Favorites. The Product menu is split into Women, Men, Boy and Girl, and each has shoes and other accessories, as well as clothing, as subcategories.

When you tap a subcategory, you’ll see a list of those items with a picture, the name of the product and make, the price, and (in some cases) a rating. You can sort your results by popularity, newest additions, brand name, and low or high price. Tap on an item to see the product number and description, as well as available colors and sizes. You can also view a slideshow of the item.

Scroll down to either share the item via email, or buy the item. When you tap “Buy Product,” you can choose the size, colors and other options, add it to your account, then login to Zappos within the app to purchase your item.

The interface of the app is basic and easy to use, and I appreciate the catalog-quality images that come with every item you browse. Overall, ShoesNBags is a great option for Zappos customers who want to shop on-the-go.

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

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Life Wisdom: Just Ask Your iPhone

Price: $0.99   Score: 6/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Life Wisdom: Just Ask Your iPhone

NOTE: Since this review was published, an update changed the answer-choosing algorithm, meaning your answers are much more randomized, as opposed to what I stated in this review.

As someone who adored playing with Magic 8 balls as a kid, I was pretty excited about the concept of this app. Life Wisdom, designed by Mandy Jane Life Design, asks you to “suspend your logic” – something I’ve got no problem with. Unfortunately, I can’t suspend it enough to allow myself to believe most of my deep, personal questions have the same answer: “Yes, it’s time to move on.”

Because that’s all I get. When you open the app, you’re greeted with the instructions. Think of a yes or no question, touch the screen, and shake your phone. A ying-yang symbol appears and bounces around. When you stop shaking, it settles into one spot on your screen, and the word “Start” appears. Tap it and the answer to your question is revealed.

I made sure to shake my phone in a way that ensured the ying-yang symbol settled in a different location every time, and for literally the first ten question, my answer was “Yes, it’s time to move on.” At last, I received a different answer: “What you should do will become clearer over the next two weeks.”

Call me a non-believer, but that’s not necessarily an answer to a yes or no question. Unsurprisingly, this was the answer for the next dozen or so questions I asked, reminding me strongly of getting “Ask Again Later” repeatedly until I chucked my Magic 8 ball across the room.

I think a little more randomization, and possibly more answers, are necessary for this app to reach its potential as far as entertainment goes.

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

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Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus Takes iPhone FPS Shooters To Next Level

Proving once again that they’re the leading iPhone game developer, Gameloft has taken the iPhone FPS to a whole new level with Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus ($6.99).

About as close to mobile Call of Duty as you can get, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus is a slick shooter fully optimized for the iPhone 4 with hi-res retina display visuals and gyro support. With multiple control styles that have been refined to suit different players, Modern Combat 2 is also one of the most accessible FPS’s available on the app store.

Featuring 3 playable characters, 12 battlefields across the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe and 15 real-life military weapons, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus has more realism and more depth of gameplay than its predecessor.

With full multiplayer support for up to 10 players via local and online play through Gameloft LIVE!, and 4 multiplayer modes (Battle, Team Battle, Defuse the Bomb & Capture the Flag) Modern Combat 2 offers an exciting and competitive gaming experience.

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.1.2 or later.

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ODDCase Blackjack Wins Big

Price: $1.99    Score: 10/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm ODDCase Blackjack Wins Big

The last time I went to Las Vegas, I got married. I lost an unknown amount of money at blackjack, and I woke up the next morning to discover I’d tipped a waitress with the only $100 bill I had left, rather than the $20 I thought I’d used.

Man, I need to go back.

But until then, I can feed my addiction – and maybe improve my game a little bit – with ODDCase Blackjack for iPhone. Designed by ODDCase Software, it’s not just a matter of high quality graphics and an intuitive layout. The level of detail and customization in this app is pretty incredible.

In “Options,” you can set the dealer to be passive, to remark on obvious errors, basic strategy errors, or none at all. You can change the color of the table felt, choose a modern or contemporary card style, and adjust everything from the insurance timeout to what type of counting strategy is used. I won’t lie – a lot of it is over my head. But for those who really know the nitty-gritty of blackjack, trust me. You can set this up to be the game you want.

You also don’t have to stick with Vegas. You can change the casino, and therefore the settings, to Atlantic City, London, Macau, Monte Carlo or Adelaide. There’s a thorough chart of your stats, from winnings to plays.

Oh, and you can play blackjack. You’re seated at a table with three hands dealt; actually, it took me a minute to realize I was actually responsible for all three hands, not just the one directly in front of me. On the bottom right is your bankroll, and you just tap the chips to bet them. You can tap “Ask Dealer” up at the top for advice, or just do what I do and hit away.

The game moves quickly, and the graphics are really fantastic. And best of all, there’s no waitress for me to overtip. If you’re into blackjack for fun, or seriously want to improve your game, I’d highly recommend checking this one out.

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

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iPhone App of the Week – Cut The Rope

Released last week to much acclaim, Chillingo’s addictive new puzzle game Cut the Rope ($0.99) has knocked Angry Birds from its long held #1 spot on the App Store.

Offering challenging pick-up-and-play gameplay, slick cartoon visuals and realistic physics, Cut the Rope is a great casual iPhone game.

The idea of the game is to feed a cute little green monster, Om Nom, with candy by “cutting the rope” with quick finger swipes. Each level demands a different strategy, as well as special tools (e.g air pumps, catapults) for getting the candy to Om Nom, as well as collecting each of the three golden stars in each stage.

Once you’ve mastered the basics you can try and unlock achievements and post a high score through integration with Crystal.

Cut the Rope [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later

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