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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fake-A-Call

Just in time for April Fools we bring you Fake-A-Call.

Fake-A-Call lets you setup fake calls to your iPhone. It even includes fake Facetime calls. This app takes it to the next level by letting you not only fake incoming calls, but also fake outgoing calls.

When using the app it really looks like your iPhone is fully functional, including a fully functional keypad, speaker, mute, and contacts buttons.

Fake-A-Call gives you 9 voices to choose from to start talking to you when you answer the fake call. Just ad lib your end of the conversation for an ultra realistic fake call.

In addition there are 9 scripts to play when you answer the phone. Just answer and repeat what the voice says -- answer the fake call and the app will tell you what to say to sound like a doctor, lawyer, or just someone who really needs to go.

Fake-A-Call costs $0.99, which should be worth it for a good laugh from your friends (or to get out of an annoying date).








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Friday, March 30, 2012

Light The Flower

Time for another puzzle game. Today's app is another game published by Chillingo, the same company that published the original Angry Birds game, so they know a thing or two about creating good puzzle games on the iPhone.

Light The Flower, like Angry Birds, is a really polished puzzle game, where each world is divided into different levels, ranging in complexity. The goal in Light The Flower is to direct the sunlight coming in from the windows to reach the plants in the room.

In each level you get several mirrors that you need to move around the room and rotate so that the light hits them and then bends in the direction you want it to go. As levels increase you also get flashlights and light filters which change the color of the light beams (some plants need certain colors of light, not just regular yellow sunlight, so you have to pass the beam through a filter before it hits the plant).

In addition, levels have several stars scattered around the room. If you manage to direct the light to hit the stars too, in addition to the plants, you get higher scores. Like in Angry Birds (and lots of other games recently, like Amazing Breaker), your ultimate goal (aside from completing the level by lighting up the flowers) is to get 3 stars on every level.

The sound and graphics are really top-notch, as you'd expect from Chillingo.
Light The Flower is $0.99 and is designed for both the iPhone and the iPad, so it's a great deal for that price.









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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paper

Here's what Paper say about themselves: "the easiest and most beautiful way to create on iPad". Yup they got that right.

Paper is a sketch book app for the iPad. Let me rephrase that, it's a gorgeous sketching app for the iPad. It was designed from the ground up for drawing, sketching, coloring, or outlining on the go. Paper works the way you think, like a familiar notebook or journal. Have all of your ideas with you in one place.

Forget reading this post, just scroll down and look at those screenshots below. That will be enough for you to want to install Paper and play around with it.

You're back? Ok, here's how Paper works...

When you first launch the app, you see a beautiful view of all of your notebooks that look very soft and inviting to touch. Tap on a notebook and you can flip through its pages, just like you would do with a real notebook. Once you tap on a new page it opens and fills up your entire screen, without any buttons or interface.
In order to access your set of writing tools just swipe up from the bottom to see the tools palette and swipe down in order to hide it.

One of Paper's cool features is called Rewind. It's their version of "undo". If you make a mistake while drawing just place two fingers on the screen and rotate them counter-clockwise. The app will then retrace what you did, stroke by stroke. It's the type of feature that you'll wish all apps have, just like the pull-to-refresh that Tweetie introduced (now called Twitter for iPhone).

Paper supports the new iPad's retina resolution, with a full 2048x1536 canvas.

Once you have created something you can send your pages to Tumblr, send them over email, or share pages with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Paper is free in the AppStore and is available only for iPad. Once inside the app you can purchase additional tools.








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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SpeedUp Player

SpeedUp Player Pro is a replacement for the iPhone's built in music player. It's specifically designed for people who listen to audiobooks and podcasts.


As you may have guessed by the name, SpeedUp Player Pro saves you a lot of time by letting you listen to podcasts and audiobooks at higher speeds. I've been doing this for years and once you get used to it you can increase the speed so that you cut your listening time in half.

SpeedUp Player lets you control the playing speed from 0.5X(half speed) all the way up to 2.5X the original playing speed so you can find just the right speed that lets you still understand the audiobook but still decrease the time it takes you to listen to a file. SpeedUp Player changes the playback speed while preserving the original pitch so you don't get squeaky voices.
It also lets you play files directly from your iPod collection, without converting the files first (supports music/podcasts/audiobooks).

Additional useful features that it offers are remembering the playback position for any file you listen too and managing your playlists from the device itself (you can easily add and delete files from a playlist, without iTunes).

It also lets you configure gestures to skip forward and backwards, a configurable amount of time (great if you tuned out for a few seconds and want to skip back), and lets you setup gestures to control the playback speed.

The iPhone's built-in music player has a speed up feature however you need to first go into iTunes and make sure your files are in the right format and it doesn't always remember your place in a file, very annoying if you pause and then want to resume listening from the same place.

Unfortunately, SpeedUp Player is a bit ugly, I wish the graphics looked better, but it is a rock solid player.
I recently switched over from the native iPod play and now use SpeedUp exclusively.

SpeedUp is $2.99 in the AppStore.








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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stagedom

If you don't like music this app is not for you. If you do like music you're gonna appreciate this one, keep reading...

Stagedom is a great way to get tons of information about the artists you love, all directly on your mobile device. From music to videos, photos to concert dates, artist bios, and more. Stagedom allows you to get the full scoop on your favorite artists.

All you do is tell Stagedom what musicians you like and the app gives you easy access to any information pretty much about that artist. They even take it a step further and scan your media library to auto populate your list of favorite artists. It even works if your music is on iCloud and not on the device.

Aside from that you can connect with other fans of that musician, connect with the artists themselves and discover trending artists and music.

The best feature in Stagedom is the music wall. Go into any musician's page in the app and click on the music tab at the bottom. That opens a big page of images of the artist that you can scroll around. Any one of those that you click on will play a remix or cover version of one of the artist's songs. Really cool and a lot of fun to listen to different versions of your favorite songs. I just open any song there and the app plays for hours, going from song to song automatically. You can also obviously listen to the originals and watch their videos.

Stagedom is currently free and available for iPhone. Android will be coming soon.








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Monday, March 26, 2012

PooPal

Today's app is a slight deviation from our regularly scheduled program. Even the name, PooPal, may seem a bit different from what you're used to here. But here goes...
PoolPal gives you a set of "essential" tools you may need while in the toilet.

PooPal's claim to fame (if you call it fame) is its toilet salary calculator. If you go to the toilet while at work you're still getting paid, right? PooPal's calculator tells you exactly how much you've been paid for that particular, um, session. When go in an start you business you start the timer and when you've finished it shows you how much you were paid (based on your salary and how long it took you).

In addition PooPal gives you some encouraging background music in case you need some help getting the deed done. It also offers random toilet facts, an emergency distraction cough, and emergency hand dryer noise in case you need to cover up any bodily noises.

Don't worry, PooPal is free for the iPhone.

Disclaimer: LightenApp does not endorse going to the toilet or creating any bodily sounds or smells.







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Sunday, March 25, 2012

SeatGuru by TripAdvisor

I've been a long time user of Seatguru.com. Their recently launched iPhone app takes that experience to your mobile device and even adds more.

With the SeatGuru app by TripAdvisor you get easy access to 700 seat maps, featuring advice and insights created by over 35,000 passenger reviews, all conveniently displayed on your mobile device. All you need to do is put in your airline and flight number and the app will tell you which seats on that specific plane are the best and which ones to avoid.

So before you get on the plane you can easily know what seats have more legroom, a power outlet, which seats are near the lavatories, etc... The app has information about pretty much any airline, flight, and every imaginable plane layout.

As a frequent flyer, this information at your fingertips is invaluable. Actually, even if you only fly occasionally, it's great to have this available so that you can make your flight more enjoyable.

TripAdvisor added even more great stuff to make this app more useful: the app gives you a flight search engine and real time flight status alerts. This really helps you (or your loved ones) stay informed about any flight changes, delays, or cancellations.

The one caveat I have about this app is that the first screen you see is a bit weird to use. For some reason they decided to create a slide interface where you need to slide a button for the option you want to choose. It was hard to understand at first but once I did it was no problem to work.

SeatGuru by TripAdvisor is even free.








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Saturday, March 24, 2012

ClearTune

Today's app will not be relevant to a lot of you, but for a certain group of people it will be one of the top used apps they have on their iPhone.

ClearTune is the best guitar tuner iPhone app out there. And I've tried them all. Cleartune is a chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe that allows you to quickly and accurately tune your instrument using the built-in mic in your iPhone or using an external mic on your 2nd or 3rd generation iPod Touch.

Unlike many of the other "tuner" apps in the AppStore, this one works like you'd expect it to: you play the string, the app detects what string you're strumming, and shows you how far off you are in order to tune it properly. Many of the other tuner apps just play you a sound of the note per string and you have to tune manually by ear. ClearTune auto-detects the pitch and tells you whether to tune up or dow, until you hit the right pitch.

Not only does ClearTune work well, it also looks great (you wouldn't believe how many crappy looking "tuner" apps I've seen in the AppStore).

Cleartune can tune acoustic or electric guitar, bass, bowed strings, woodwinds, brass, piano, tympani, tablas and any other instrument that can sustain a tone.
It costs $3.99 which may seem like a lot for an app, but if you compare this to the price of a similar hardware guitar tuner, it really is peanuts.







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Friday, March 23, 2012

Lose It!

They say one of the most important and effective things you can do when trying to lose weight, is to track what you eat and your exercise.

Lose It! is one of the most popular apps in the Health & Fitness category. It's a calorie counter and exercise tracker, and it makes both of those very easy to do, for free.

With Lose It you setup goals and then it determines your daily calorie budget. It helps you stay on track every day by logging your food and exercise and showing you where you are within your daily budget.

The best part about LoseIt is that it has a large database of foods, including nutritional information, so it's very easy to add the food you eat. It also has a similar comprehensive database of activities you can record.
If you do consume something that is not in the database you can quickly add new foods (and exercises).

While using the app at any given moment you can see how many calories you have left for that day and view how much you have left till you hit that goal you set for yourself.

There is also a friends feature in the app that lets you compare results with your close friends and see how they are progressing, another great way to stay motivated.

Lose It! is free and is also available for Android.










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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Angry Birds Space

Unless you've been living under a rock, that's located at the bottom of the ocean, on the dark side of the moon, of Jupiter, there's no need to introduce Angry Birds.
Today they've unleashed a new game in the Angry Birds series, and this time the rules, of gravity, have changed.

Angry Birds Space, as you can tell by its name, takes place in space. The different gravitational pulls affect the very core concepts that we all know in the other Angry Birds games. The basic concept is stil the same: launch the birds to kill the pigs. Only this time the laws of gravity and physics are a bit different to what we're used to, since everything is happening in space, on different planets.

Sometimes you launch the birds from other planets, sometimes they're on the other side of the same planet the pigs are on, sometimes those other planets are within the gravitational pull of the pigs' planet, and sometime they are way off with other planets that affect your trajectory along the way.

The planets each have a highlighted area around them that marks that planet's gravitational pull. When you shoot the birds into that gravity field its trajectory bends, according to that planet's gravitational pull. So every level you kinda have to figure out what tactic to use in order to have that level's gravity on your side.

The old Angry Birds was getting pretty old (does anybody still play it?) so Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, are trying to revive the gameplay by introducing all these new gravitational challenges. They even collaborated with NASA on it (see the video below).
It does make the game more interesting, especially at first when you learn all the new tricks, but not sure if this will be enough to really make it an interesting game.
They've also added some new birds and updated the old ones to look more "spacey".
It's fun to check out, but I think it will start getting old really fast.

Angry Birds Space is available for free on Android and costs $0.99 in the iPhone AppStore.

What are your thoughts on this latest version of the Angry Birds empire? Share them in the comments.



Here's the official Angry Birds Space NASA announcement:







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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Action Movie FX

Action Movie FX lets you add Hollywood style visual effects to your videos.
The results that you get from this app are sure to wow your friends.

The app is really simple to use: all you do is choose an effect, like missile attack for example, shoot some video footage, and Action Movie FX adds that effect onto your scene. The greatest thing about this app is the quality of the effects, they really are top notch and look very realistic. Just like you'd expect in a Hollywood blockbuster action movie. Even in the screenshots below you can tell how good the effects look.

When shooting your video try to shoot in an area that has a flat surface so the missile, for example, looks like it's hitting that surface. While you are filming the app gives you some guidance by showing your where the object in the effect is going to land (for example there's a demolition ball effect so you see an overlay where it's going to hit). Just play around with the app a few times and you'll nail it.

After you've shot your video the app lets you choose just the right timing where to add the effect. Once you're satisfied with your result you can save the video locally to your camera roll, email it, or share it on Facebook.

Action Movie FX is free and comes with 3 free effects, you can buy more in the app itself.









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