Carry Your Credentials Electronically with My Business Card

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Carry Your Credentials Electronically with My Business Card

With so much of our time consumed by the virtual sphere, it is no wonder that many of our interactions occur via Internet and email.  Documents are no longer hardcopy pieces of paper, but attachments we read on a computer screen.  And with an increased fixation on being environmentally friendly, such aversions to paper seem rather sensible and socially conscious.  My Business Card by tg.pl utilizes such trends by embracing the concept of a virtual business card that can be emailed rather than printed up and passed around.

My Business Card begins with a brief tutorial to guide you through creating your own electronic business card.  To add your personal data, you will first need to tap the Edit button in the upper left corner of the screen.  Choose the various fields (First Name, Last Name, Company Name, etc.) to enter the appropriate information.

Once you’ve input all the data, tap the ‘+’ button in the upper right corner to begin browsing through the various card templates available.  Tap Create once you’ve picked your template, and then change the card’s name by tapping the label across the top.  Because you can make multiple cards, make sure to label each one appropriately so there will not be any guesswork later on.  Use the Edit button at the bottom of the screen to fix any mistakes, and the Send button to pass your business card along to those who may be interested.  For those who wish to create multiple cards, simply tap the ‘+’ icon for templates and begin again.

While My Business Card does indeed present an environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional business card, one cannot say that such electronic cards will not get lost.  Everyone’s email inbox gets flooded every day, bombarded with both the important and the unwanted.  There’s a good chance that someone will be less likely to look at and even remember they have your business card, as the email containing your electronic card gets lost amongst the more pertinent items.  A physical card makes an impression and, call me old fashioned, but our dependence on technology seems to only contribute to conformity, and blending with the crowd is the last thing anyone would want in today’s business realm.

My Business Card [iTunes Link] requires iPhone OS 4.2 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.

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News360 Keeps You Updated on Latest Headlines 24/7

Price: Free    Score: 10/10    By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm News360 Keeps You Updated on Latest Headlines 24/7

The news never sleeps, even when everyone else is nestled comfortably in bed.  And sifting through news-oriented websites can be quite the hassle as you try to weed out the extraneous from the pertinent.  But with the News360 app by News360, users will find all of the moment’s most important stories neatly organized with the ability to swipe through and peruse the latest headlines.

Connecting with over 300 newspapers and magazines all over the globe, News360 incorporates a vast variety of articles with beautiful images all in a single, intuitive stream.  At the top of the screen, users will find a drag bar that lists an array of news categories, featuring Top Stories, Breaking News, World News, Tech, Entertainment, Sports, Health and much more.  Drag the bar all the way to the end and you will find the Customize button, which allows you to alter which buttons appear in the drag bar.  Remove them entirely or simply turn said news categories off whenever you wish.

The top news stories in each category will appear on the main screen, also labeled the Top News tab, allowing you to swipe between given stories.  Swipe left for the previous story and right for the next.  For those who wish to peruse local news, simply tap the locator icon in the top left corner.  News360 will detect your location, gathering the most local articles and displaying them as a category all their own.

Under Favorites, users can choose people, subjects and companies they may wish to track.  If you find something you are interested in while reading, simply tap the highlighted text to reveal the particular topic’s profile.  Tap “Add to Favorites” so you may monitor their latest news items.  You may also do so using the search tool, marked by the magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner of the main screen.  Settings allows users to adjust their preferences, such as GPS detection, while also providing a forum for feedback, the ability to connect with various social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter) and much more.

Considering catching up on all the latest happenings can be quite time consuming, News360 provides a wonderful alternative, for you no longer have to search numerous websites for all the information you seek.  The beautiful layout simply contributes to this application’s easy use.  For those who want to stay up-to-date with their area’s local news, they need only hit a button.  Tap again and you can return to sifting through national and world news.  And, for those times when pleasure outweighs business, users can dive into entertainment, fashion or sports as a way to escape from the often-melancholy news that tends to dominate the headlines.  News360 truly epitomizes the all-in-one application, and all for free!

News360 [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.

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Untangle Space Out: A Galactic iPhone Puzzle

Price: $1.99     Score: 9/10     By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Untangle Space Out: A Galactic iPhone Puzzle

Some games can be fun and addictive regardless of the actual quality of the graphics. While the concept of Untangle Space Out Pro falls into that category, Apostek Software went ahead and made the design, images and music killer anyway.

As the title suggests, this game has you untangling rays connected by orbs, a fun puzzle challenge with a space vibe. I’d suggest taking a quick look at the instructions. Right here is my very only (minor) complaint; to find them, you have to go into “Settings” and tap the question mark at the bottom. There is no tutorial when you first play a game, and it’s a little difficult to guess what you’re supposed to do with these lines and orbs.

However, the instructions are great once you find them, and the game’s concept is much simpler than you might first think. You’re faced with several orbs connected to one another with rays. If the rays are turquoise, they’re untangled, while red is tangled. Drag the orbs anywhere on the screen to untangle all of the rays.

You have two options for gameplay; “Challenge,” which features fifty games and ten levels, or “Arcade,” which is simply an infinite amount of puzzles. You can also select “Practice” if you don’t want to worry about scores and “best moves,” and prefer to just work on strategy. And when a puzzle comes up that you just can’t untangle, tap the key icon at the bottom to watch the app solve the puzzle for you.

As you play, more challenges start to pop up that make the game more exciting. Some of your orbs might glow red or turn an icy blue, meaning they’ll either explode or freeze permanently in five seconds unless you act quickly. Both obviously throw a big wrench into your untangling plans.

The graphics really are stunning, and while I’m not normally a fan of any game music, the soundtrack to this one has some serious space ambience. Even the little details, like the pull-up menu for options at the bottom of the screen, show that a lot of time and thought went into to all aspects of this game. This is a unique new game any puzzle-lover should check out.

Untangle Space Out Pro [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.

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Beep the Beat Along with Dave the Horn Guy

Price: $.99     Score: 7/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Beep the Beat Along with Dave the Horn Guy

From the time we are children, we play games that test our memory and sharpen our minds.  While our younger days involved matching two of the same card, our maturing minds tend to favor the more complicated.  With Dave the Horn Guy by Dave the Horn Guy, users can test their memory and attention span by playing back the very same tune Dave plays using his numerous horns.

With 25 horns strapped to his orange jumpsuit, Dave uses his arms, leg and chin to play music using each and every horn as you may have seen him do on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, America’s Got Talent, and Larry King.  Though the concept may seem a tad strange, it certainly stands out from other such games.

When you begin, you will find a wonderfully straightforward, clean main menu.  The first button, Honk, displays Dave, horns and all, labeling each with its corresponding note.  Here, you may test out the various notes, learn the game’s basic layout and improvise your very own song creations.  Honk Test shall be where you truly put your skills to use, choosing from Easy or Hard mode.  Dave begins the sequence, adding a new note each time.  You must simply play back the tune, like Simon.

The Honk Library presents users with a variety of songs they can honk along with and the opportunity to suggest new songs for future updates.  Hi Scores, of course, will show you how well you’re fairing compared to the pre-programmed high scores.  Challenges lists a series of random tasks one may try to accomplish during game play, while For The Fan provides an interesting array of options.  Users can press for a random honk, submit their ideas, purchase merchandise, download free ringtones and read Dave’s favorite verse.  And, for users who attend one of Dave’s live shows, they can get Dave to type in a code that will get them the app’s digital autograph.  (Okay, this feature may be a bit silly, but it’s certainly an interesting twist.)

While some things from real-life translate well in the digital world, Dave the Horn Guy may leave some scratching their head.  The concept seems entertaining at first, but quickly becomes stressful.  The numerous horns are all so close to each other that, when playing on the small screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch, users may find themselves tapping the wrong note in their hasty dash to play back Dave’s tune.  My fingers are fairly small compared to the average user, and even I found myself accidentally tapping the wrong notes (on Easy mode, in fact).  Perhaps Dave needs to nix a few horns from his game’s ensemble so we, the users, can fully enjoy the experience of sharing in one man’s odd talent.

For a video demonstration of what Dave the Horn Guy has to offer, click here.

Dave the Horn Guy [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.

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Protect Passwords, Save Sensitive Information with SplashID

Price: $9.99     Score: 7/10     By A. Papachristosbadge appstore sm Protect Passwords, Save Sensitive Information with SplashID

The more prevalent the Internet becomes in our daily lives, the more we seem to be susceptible to hackers and identity theft.  With so much of our information floating around in the worldwide web, we must be extra careful to protect our essential data by saving all our usernames and passwords somewhere secure yet handy.  With SplashID – Password Manager by SplashData, users can save anything from account numbers to passwords with this sensitive information safe for your portable device.

Beginning with a Quick Start Guide that walks you through all of the significant features, users are encouraged to begin by setting a password for the application itself in case your device is ever lost or stolen.  While you may leave it blank and set the password later under Security in the Options menu, setting a password can be quite easy, for SplashID will measure the password’s strength, generate a random password for you, or allow you to opt for drawing an unlock pattern instead.  Then, simply set a hint to ensure your protection if your device falls into the wrong hands.

Users can then view and enter their records easily, filtering by category or type or using the search bar to find a specific item quickly.  To edit a record, users may create a new one by tapping the Plus button in the toolbar, or by using the sample records to insert their own information to get a feel for how input works.

The bottom toolbar also allows users easy access to numerous other features.  Users will find a button that allows they to read the list of their most viewed entries, as well as the Send button, which allows them to send entries via email.  The Tools button allows users edit their preferences and security options, refer to the user guide and much more.  If one wishes to use the Sync button, however, they must also have the SplashID desktop companion downloaded on their computer.  Be aware, though, for the desktop companion only comes with a 30-day free trial, meaning you will end up paying more than just the initial $9.99 charge for the iPhone application itself.

Though there are numerous applications that offer such similar safety services, SplashID seems to go above and beyond by emphasizing their security and versatility, as one can sync this application with any Mac or Windows computer out there.  Yes, this means you must memorize a new password.  But just think – this shall be the only one you ever need to remember now, for it shall unleash the rest of your important information upon input.  And with the ability to sync your data with your computer, you (hopefully) won’t have to fear losing all your most crucial data to technology failure, though you will have to lose a few dollars in the process.

SplashID [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.

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Slow Down Your Tunes With Capo

Price: $19.99    Score: 10/10    By M. Schustermanbadge appstore sm Slow Down Your Tunes With Capo

By a massive coincidence, I first sat down to check this app out after a practice session. I was playing along with a recording and wishing it was just a tiny bit slower.

Now I’ve got the solution for the next time I practice – Capo, an app designed by SuperMegaUltraGroovy. Because that’s exactly what it does; allows you to take songs from your iTunes library and slow them down without changing the pitch so you can play along.

Capo is a fantastic tool, and very simple to use. Open it up and you’ll find a blank menu. Tap the “add” button and select any tune from your iPod. Once it’s on the menu, select it and you’ll see the waveform display, along with options to listen to it at regular speed, 3/4, 1/2 or 1/4.

And you can further customize the speed easily; just touch the fraction and slide right over left. A percentage marker will appear above, you can slow that tune down to exactly 63% if that’s your magic number. Tap play and listen to the song, slower but in the same key.

If you do want to change the key, tap “Pitch” on the bottom left corner. You can listen to the song and slide the slider left or right to go from Andre the Giant to Alvin the Chipmunk as needed.

Capo has a few other helpful features as well. You can set markers both while the song is playing and when it isn’t by tapping the marker icon on the left, then tapping it again to delete it. There are right and left arrows to help you navigate quickly between markers. And there’s also a loop feature – a great tool for practicing musicians. Find the start of a particularly tough section of the song and tap “A,” then tap “B” at the end of the section. Tap the loop button and that section will play on repeat (and at whatever speed you set) while you practice along and work it out.

This app comes with a rather hefty price tag, but rest assured it works, and for me, having the ability to practice this way with my iPhone rather than my laptop is a definite bonus. I’d highly recommend checking this one out to improve your practice sessions.

Capo [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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