Shazam Updated – Now a must-have app

Written iPhone Music App Review

The popular music identification software for iPhone, Shazam, has just released a major update (v1.5). This update brings with it a host of new features, but there is one stand-out improvement that now makes Shazam a must-have app.

You now have the ability to store “pending tags” for when you don’t have access to the internet. So, if you’re like me and you have a 2G iPhone and/or a pre-paid iPhone without web access, Shazam used to be pretty non-functional. You can now record a soundbite of a song on-the-go, save it, and upload it to get the song info when you do have net access (e.g Wi-Fi).

Other v1.5 changes include increased artist information (lyrics, track & album reviews, other music by same artist), improved tag sorting, iPod Touch support (requires ext. mic) and the inclusion of advertising.

You can read our full review of Shazam here.

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Banner Free – Scrolling Message App

Written iPhone Utility App Review

Banner Free is an app that allows you to input a short text message that will then be displayed on the iPhone screen in scrolling LED-matrix style.

It’s kind of neat, but then again it’s kind of useless too. The message scrolls across the screen far too slowly for anyone to be bothered in taking the time to read it. For example, it takes 20 seconds to completely scroll the message “useless application”. There are no options to control speed, colour, size etc. I’d recommend Banner Free for bored students as a way to covertly communicate in class – but not to anyone else.

There is a paid version of this app by the same developer called “Banner” that addresses some of the shortcomings of the free version – speed control, colors, shapes are all featured. The dilemma still remains finding an actual situation that could use Banner, however.


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SteadyCam – Say No to Blurry iPhone Pics

Written iPhone Photo App Review

SteadyCam (now Darkroom) is a simple, but useful iPhone app that will help solve the constant blurry photo issue that plagues the built-in camera.

SteadyCam will only snap the shutter when your hand is stable.

You can press the ‘take photo’ button, but it won’t take the picture until the accelerometer tells the app that the iPhone isn’t moving = clearer photo’s.

There is no difference in photo quality between SteadyCam and the native camera app, and images are saved into the same directory. Worth downloading if you use the camera a lot, but there are no other features that make this one a stand-out.

SteadyCam is free to download.


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TapDefense Strategy & Tips

Written iPhone Game App Review

TapDefense is currently the most popular free-to-download game on the App Store. If you’re having trouble finishing all the levels or want to beat the higher difficulties, here are some tips to get you going:

Conserve Gold

  • Build the bare minimum of towers that you need to complete each level.
  • Save as much as you can in the early stages, to increase the effect of compounding interest.

Spend Halo’s Wisely:

  • Spend you “halo’s” wisely. Priority should always go to upgrading your interest rate before upgrading/researching new towers.
  • Improving your interest rate several times over the course of the game will greatly increase your end-game gold.
  • More gold = more options/upgrades/towers

Tower Strategy:

  • Use ice and water towers liberally, especially in your “kill zone”.
  • Upgrade your towers that cover multiple enemy paths/zones first
  • Fully upgrade your ice/water towers later in the game, you can slow enemies down by 90%.
  • Utilize arrow/magic towers, they have a long range and can be upgraded so that they are effective even from the fringes of the map.
  • Diversify. Don’t build just bomb towers or just arrows. In the later stages of the game your opponents will have resistances to certain tower types.
  • If you have lots of gold, consider placing a couple storm towers near the gates of hell. These will immediately take off a percentage of the enemies total hit points
  • Don’t sell’s not necessary and it will lose you gold. Concentrate on strategic tower placement from the beginning of the game.

Also, the difficulty of the game tends to take a notch up around level 30 so conserve your gold as much as you can before that point and shore up your defenses on level 28-29.

If you have any other tips, please share them and comment below.

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SimCity to be released on iPhone

Written iPhone Game App Review

In a very exciting little piece of iPhone gaming news, SimCity for the iPhone is due to be released on the App Store later this month.

Produced by EA Games, SimCity promises to be a full-featured version of the ubiquitous Will Wright classic. See Kotaku for their full first impressions.

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Zippo Lighter App

Written iPhone Zippo Lighter App Review

The Zippo Lighter app is a free lighter simulator.

When it works (mine crashed repeatedly trying to open it for this review), you can open it by flicking your wrist and light it “with the turn of a thumb” – just as you would a real Zippo. The flame looks quite realistic and responds to movement and attempts to blow it out. There are several lighter designs to choose from, and some are customizable.

This app really won’t keep you entertained for more than about a minute, but it has proven quite popular in the App Store because it does have than initial “wow, that’s cool” element about it. Loses points for not being much more than a heavily branded advertisement.

Official virtual Zippo Lighter Demo:


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