Track Your Exercise and Weightloss with TracknBurn

Price: $3.99     Score: 10/10    By S. Campbellbadge appstore sm Track Your Exercise and Weightloss with TracknBurn

Weight loss, weight gain and even weight maintenance is all about calories in vs calories out. While not the most exciting activity, counting calories is a tried and true way to shed some pounds. Much more than just a calorie counter, TracknBurn from HealthyUTechnologies is an ideal app for iPhone that allows you to take control of your goals with powerful food, exercise and weight tracking.

When you start up the app, TracknBurn leads you through a series of options that tailor the app to your needs – you can select metric/imperial units, your gender, daily activity level, age, weight and height. You can also select 3 nutrient values from amongst protein, carbs, sugar, fiber, fat, saturated fat and sodium that you want to display for each food. Next you set your weight goal and desired weekly change (i.e 0.2 kg/week). Water consumption is also a key point in any healthy lifestyle and you can set a daily water consumption goal at this point as well.

Before you can get started entering in information, you will need to create a new TracknBurn user registration. Once complete, you’ll be sent to the Home screen, where you can add daily food information, exercise details, weight for that day as well as water consumption (in bottles).

TracknBurn has a colorful and easy to navigate user interface, and it’s simple to enter in the information that you would like to track within the app. Four main icons – Food, Burn, Weight and Water represent calorie intake, calorie expenditure, weight change and daily water consumption respectively. Tapping on one of these icons allows you to enter in the relevant details.

Tapping on Track for example, takes you to a new screen where you can view your caloric budget for the day, your calories consumed, calories expended (exercise), calories remaining and a breakdown of your protein, carbs and fat (or other selected nutrients). On this screen you will find options to search for a food, restaurant search, create a custom meal, custom food or a favorite food.

If you regularly eat out or get takeaway, Restaurant Search is a fantastic tool and you can search for a particular item (such as a Big Mac) or a restaurant (i.e McDonalds) to view their menu and see how many calories, protein, carbs and fat are in a meal – not that you will be wanting to eat there too often if you’re looking to lose weight!

Entering food information via food-search is also easy, but sometimes you need to be quite knowledgeable about portion sizing to get it correct, but this goes for every calorie counting app on the market. The food database in Tracknburn is great, however I don’t measure how many eggs I had for breakfast in terms of cups (or fractions of a cup) for example. You can select ‘serving size’ instead of cups when entering food details, but you will need to know roughly how many grams of that food you consumed.

Once you’ve detailed all of your food intake for the day, the Burn section of the app allows you to enter in exercise details under several different categories, including strength training, aerobic training and sports. Everytime you make a change in either your diet or exercise levels, Tracknburn automatically recalculates your daily expenditures and allowances – keeping you on track.

You can view your weight loss (or gain) progression at any time by tapping on the scales on the Home screen to see how your weight has changed over time.

An exceptionally powerful and well-designed app, Tracknburn is the only app you’ll ever need to achieve your diet and exercise goals.

TracknBurn [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 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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Let Everyone Know When You’ll Arrive with I’m Coming

Price: $0.99     Score: 9/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Let Everyone Know When You’ll Arrive with I’m Coming

Cell phone usage while driving has become one of the most dangerous new epidemics around.  Though laws have been created, threatening users with a fine and a mere slap on the wrist, drivers insist that they are above the law by trying to inconspicuously use their phones to talk and text while on the road.  Many of these instances arise when drivers are compelled to inform friends and family of their location and when they will arrive at their destination.

Thankfully, I’m Coming by mobi jay presents a safe alternative, allowing users to pre-program an alert that will be sent to all concerned parties once their device’s GPS tracker detects they have reached a designated point.  Working in the background, I’m Coming allows you to mark a specific spot on the map, sending a text message or email to those you’ve previously indicated so they will know exactly where you are in your journey and how long it will be until you arrive.  A great tool for the holiday season especially, I’m Coming does a wonderful job of trying to help prevent unnecessary accidents due to such cell phone distractions.

Users need only use the Route Manager to plot a new route or choose from previously plotted routes that they may travel often.  Each route entered can be turned on or off at any time, which is imperative to preserving your battery life when you no longer need to use the application at the moment.  Simply tap New Route to enter your information, assigning it a title for easy recognition later.  Users may then insert alert points by touching the precise spot or entering the exact address.  The magnifying glass icon will help you zoom in on your points, while the trash can allows you to toss the route altogether.  Use the Help button if you’re not sure how to input your points.

Once you’ve created your alert points, link them with those you wish to receive said alerts.  Emails alerts will send automatically in silent mode, sending a message with a map to pinpoint precisely where you are.  Text message (SMS) alerts will appear with a ringing sound, displaying your pre-programmed message.  The only downfall to this feature is that users are required to tap the Send button, which means users will have to fiddle with their phone.  Though minimal, SMS alerts provide a momentary distraction, which could be all it takes to cause an accident.  While this would be the ideal (and probably most immediate) way of alerting someone of your whereabouts, such alerts should also send automatically, for there should be no reason for users to review what they wrote prior.  Double-checking your message before you embark on your journey should be all one needs, otherwise rendering this option counter-intuitive as compared to the application’s main purpose.

Despite this minor issue, which seems easy to fix, I’m Coming encourages safety and paves the way for other applications to do the same.

I’m Coming [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.

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Create Your Own Custom Marble Run With BallFallDown

Price: $4.99    Score: 8/10   By S. Campbellbadge appstore sm Create Your Own Custom Marble Run With BallFallDown

For anyone with fond memories of creating a marble run as a kid, BallFallDown Deluxe is the perfect nostalgic throwback for your iPad. Allowing you to create a custom marble run with a lot of options for customization, BallFallDown from FlatPack Interactive will keep kids and adults of all ages entertained.

After a brief tutorial video, you can get straight down to creating your own marble run on a blank wooden board or you can modify an existing run. There’s an item selector at the top of the screen which contains all the different types of balls and pieces you need to get building. The pieces include wooden planks, glass tubes, spouts that dispense balls, wooden stars that spin when they’re hit, teleporters for transporting balls as well as pinball elements such as flippers and bouncers.

To place a piece on the board you simply tap-and-drag the item from the selector. Once placed, you can pinch-zoom to position the pieces with more precision, or use two fingers to stretch or rotate the piece to the right size or angle. Ball spouts drop balls and provide a never ending supply to fuel your machine. After placing one of these at the top of the screen, balls will drop under the influence of gravity and interact with the obstacles and items you place on the board. You can change how fast the spouts drop balls, the maximum number of balls on screen as well as the strength of gravity in the options panel.

Because the item selector pane takes up a good portion of the screen while its open, you will need to drag pieces onto the board, close the item selector and then reposition them if you want to make use of the top 1/4 of the screen. The option to have it disappear after you have tapped (and held) an item would allow you to avoid double handling the pieces.

Once you’ve placed a number of pieces and a spout for marbles (or one of the many other types of balls available), you can watch your creation in motion by hitting the ‘play’ button. You can still edit and interact with the pieces while it’s running, or you can pause to make changes before starting again. You can also save your marble run at any time so you can come back to it later.

At $4.99 for the Deluxe version, BallFallDown is on the expensive side – but it’s a well-executed, innovative and enjoyable app. If you’d like to try out BallFallDown for free, check out the lite version.

BallFallDown [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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Epic Sax Guy Gyrates on Your iPhone

Price: $0.99    Score: 7/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Epic Sax Guy Gyrates on Your iPhone

Not familiar with Eurovision 2010? It’s a music contest that saw the beginning of a viral phenomenon known as Epic Sax Guy, leading to thousands of Facebook fans and plenty of YouTube remixes. This app, designed by I’M Software Studio, is one such remix.

Epic Sax Guy opens to a repeated shot of the man himself (who used to be known as Sergey Stepanov and is a member of a Moldovan band known as “SunStroke Project”) gyrating away to a loop of the main sax riff from the song. Down at the bottom are five icons, showing Stepanov in different poses. Tap them to change the video loop, although the audio riff never changes (and gets old fast).

The video loops include Sax Guy’s famous gyration, a little Elvis-inspired twist, his fist-pump and what looks to be the end of the son, wherein Sax Guy strikes what is indeed an epic pose. You can also choose an option to view all four of these on a continuous loop.

I suppose my question would be why on earth would you want to do such a thing. If you’re a fan of the original viral video, I guess this app would qualify as entertainment, although it should be noted that it runs eight measures of music repeatedly and does not feature the entire song. But if you just can’t get enough of that lick and those gyrating hips, why not give it a download.

Epic Sax Guy [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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FleetMaster: Sink Battleships on Your iPhone

Price: FREE    Score: 10/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm FleetMaster: Sink Battleships on Your iPhone

Fans of the classic Battleship game will want to get their hands on this freebie immediately. FleetMaster, designed by Digital Future, is every bit as addictive as the original Milton Bradley game.

FleetMaster gives you the option of playing “solo” versus a computer, or playing online with others through GameCenter. Once you begin, your subs and ships appear on the grid one at a time. Tap any place on the grid to place your ship there, and tap the rotate button in the corner if needed. If you don’t care where your ships are laid, tap “Auto Place” and the app will do it for you.

A wheel at the bottom shows how many shots you get, starting with five and working down to one. Tap once on a grid space to focus a compass on it, then double tap to fire. If you hit a part of your opponents ship, there’s a satisfying little explosion. If not, you just get a splash.

When you sink your opponent’s vessel, a message appears letting you know which one, and they’re tracked at the bottom of the screen so you can strategize.

For a free game, the graphics and sounds are really fantastic. I found myself putting off my review just to go back and play again and again – if you enjoyed the original Battleship game, I highly recommend checking FleetMaster out.

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

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Captcha the Game Creates Quite the Confusion

Price: $.99     Score: 5/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Captcha the Game Creates Quite the Confusion

Anyone who has ever entered personal information online or purchased items from the Internet knows that CAPTCHA codes work as a safety measure to protect your online identity.  Captcha the Game by Hint Solutions takes such codes and turns them into a game that tests your ability to decipher such text.

When you begin, you will find an intuitive main menu featuring four buttons – Play, Leaderboards, Achievements and Help.  The Leaderboards connect to Game Center, allowing you to compare your high scores with players worldwide.  Achievements, of course, marks all the milestones you have reached during game play, while the Help button attempts to explain not so much how to play the game, but the concept behind Captcha codes themselves.

You see, CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, protects websites against bots by presenting distorted text that only humans can decipher.  This way, users can hopefully rest assured that any information they enter on such a site will be safeguarded.  However, the Help section goes on to describe the Google ReCAPTCHA process, which recognizes text found in old books that have yet to be digitized.

Unfortunately, this guide still leaves users entirely clueless as to how to play Captcha the Game and what their ultimate goal may actually be.  After tapping Play, all I found was a screen presenting me with a CAPTCHA code that I needed to input correctly, and having done so, I was simple faced with CAPTCHA code after CAPTCHA code, wondering when the actual game was going to begin.  Sadly, it seems that this repetitive, unpleasant task reflected the game in its entirety.

To make matters worse, at one point, I realized I had tapped the wrong letter after I hit enter, yet the application claimed I was correct.  Finding this odd, I purposely typed incorrect letters just to see how Captcha the Game would react.  I exchanged T’s for Y’s and A’s for Q’s and found that the application approved of my submissions despite the fact that I knew the letters were definitely wrong.  With this inaccurate system and the lack of any real game or purpose whatsoever, I cannot help but wonder if I’ve completely overlooked the entire premise, or if this truly is all that Captcha the Game has to offer.

If you’d like to test out Captcha the Game for free, you can download the lite version here.

Captcha the Game [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.

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