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Hands On: Carmen Sandiego Returns 1.0 (iOS)

11/21, 10:26am

Your favorite world-traveling villian is back, but she isn't better than ever

If you grew up in the '80s and '90s, you're probably familiar with Carmen Sandiego, the sassy, classy, and especially slippery thief who is known for stealing everything from artifacts to famous locations. If you've been a fan of The Lady in Red, or at least a fan of thwarting her plans, you should be excited to know that she's up to her old tricks in a new game. Today, we're checking out Carmen Sandiego Returns, an iOS game that features the antics of the Miss of Misdemeanor herself to see how the game holds up to the rest of the storied franchise.


Thirtieth anniversary of Carmen Sandiego marked with new iOS app

11/20, 8:51am

Carmen Sandiego Returns resurrects the venerable educational software series

Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced the return of the iconic Carmen Sandiego brand, with the first-ever app for iPad and iPhone. The launch of Carmen Sandiego Returns also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the mysterious character, adored by millions of children and nostalgic adults alike.


Hands On: Brian Cox's Wonders of Life 1.76 (iOS)

11/18, 11:01pm

Learn about animal biology, evolution, and biochemistry in this beautiful educational app

You should never stop seeking out knowledge, regardless of your age. A decade or two ago, information required a lot more legwork, but thanks to the era of the Internet, we've got tons of information at our fingertips. If you're interested in biology, we're going to show you an educational app sure to entertain and educate adults and children alike, Brian Cox's Wonders Of Life.


Yale launches ResearchKit study to decrease pregnancy loss

11/06, 11:23am

Study to use data to correlate late-term pregnancy loss to placenta health

The Yale School of Medicine has launched its second ResearchKit-based study app, this time using volunteer data to prove a relationship between undersized placenta and late-term pregnancy loss. With the larger study, doctors are hoping that estimated placental volume (EPV) will become an easier and more reliable measure to predict, and eventually prevent, fetal loss -- an issue that affects 30,000 women in the US each year. If the correlation is established, EPV could become a part of routine prenatal care.


Pointers: Upgrading or retiring older Macs

11/04, 11:04pm

It's always a balancing act of needs versus value

With iPhones, you always know when to upgrade -- it's every two years (three if you're sentimental), when your contract expires. With iPads, the question gets a bit trickier -- its intended as a device for "light duty" users, so they'll likely get some extra mileage out of it. With Macs, however, there's a real question once you've passed the four-year mark: should I upgrade the machine (if possible)? Should I sell it and get a new one? In this Pointers, we'll look at some of the factors that can tip the balance on that decision.


Hands On: Toca Life School 1.0 (iOS)

10/29, 7:53am

Cute app for kids puts them in charge of their own school

If you're a parent, you've probably had those moments where you've had a bored kid on your hands and couldn't keep them entertained, which is always certainly a recipe for trouble. What if there was a great way to keep them entertained with something designed especially for them? If you've got a busy kid who needs something to do, we've got a great app for them to check out: the brand new today Toca Life: School.


Pointers: getting your Mac or iOS device onto the big screen

10/28, 5:00pm

Showing off your screen to a slightly wider audience

As I type this, I am working on a 13-inch MacBook Pro in a room with a 100-inch HDTV and killer sound system just over there. The screen is so big I could still see my desktop with the same clarity from the 12 or so feet away I am from it, as I can with the built-in screen here on my lap. I also use this computer to give presentations a lot, and often need to hook it up to projectors for demos. I also have a need to demo iOS software, so I could use a way to show that off as well. In this Pointers, we'll show you various ways of accomplishing these and related goals.


Hands On: My Little Cook: I Bake Delicious Cakes 1.1 (iOS)

10/28, 8:14am

Give your pint-sized chef some practice with this cooking app for kids

Do you have a little chef-in-the-making at home, always begging to help you cook in the kitchen? Wouldn't it be nice if there was something that could entertain them when you don't have the time to be cooking with them? Well, it turns out there is: My Little Cook: I Bake Delicious Cakes is an app designed to help kids practice their kitchen skills.


Hands On: Papers 3 3.3.3 (iOS)

10/25, 12:38am

Portable personal research library lets you find source papers on the go

If you're in college, you spend a lot of your time writing papers assuming you want to succeed. This is also true of scientists, humanitarians, and countless research-based jobs. Trying to organize all your source material is generally pretty difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Papers 3, a personal research library, is here to make your life a little easier, and we've been using it for a while.


Hands On: DNA Play 1.0.0 (iOS)

10/19, 11:25am

Cute genetics app gives little kids the chance to design monsters

Educational apps often are a mixed bag -- sometimes you'll have an app that's about teaching kids some sort of basic social requirement like sharing or proper manners, sometimes you'll have an app that teaches your child how to read or do basic math. But what about the sciences? That's where DNA Play comes in. It's a neat little create-a-monster game with a rudimentary genetics-based game mechanic at its core.


Pointers: Tags, Flags, and alternate sorting to find things quickly

10/07, 6:04pm

Three techniques that bring the information you want to the top

Once you've used a computer for a while, you inevitably amass what we'll politely call "archives:" a sizable collection of documents, emails, media, images, or all manner of other stuff that you have either created or acquired and filed away. Hopefully, you have as you've gone along organized things a bit. Despite this, it can sometimes take more effort than it should to find the one thing you need right now. In this Pointers, we're going to share a few techniques that we've found really help to bring the information you want right to your fingertips.


Hands On: Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy 1.1.4 (iPad)

10/06, 1:35pm

Study art and human anatomy at the same time with these famous da Vinci sketches

We've covered a few different art museum-type apps here before, but they're generally databases of a vast swath of famous artworks that are picked for their, well, artistic value. Today we're going to show you something a little different -- the Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy app, an art app that is every bit as educational to look at as it is gorgeous.


Hands On: 10 2.0.1 (iOS)

09/25, 11:15am

Simple mathematics puzzle game will get your brain working in overdrive

If you would have asked us 10 years ago if we would have been playing math-based puzzle games for fun, we probably would have told you that you were insane; but here we are, with an iPad full of math puzzles we can't seem to put down, no matter how hard we try. We recently tried out another game that we quickly became obsessed with, a minimalist math puzzle game called 10.


Hands On: Tayasui Tangram 2.1 (iOS)

09/23, 10:34am

Cute app for kids is a spin on a classic Chinese puzzle

When you were a child, you may have had a Tangram, a flat square that was cut into seven smaller shapes. It's a Chinese puzzle designed to teach kids (and adults!) how to create images from simple shapes. Tayasui has decided to take this concept digital with Tayasui Tangram, the perfect app for creative kids.


Hands On: Light This Up 1.5.5 (iOS)

09/22, 7:00am

Practice your math while learning how to create simple circuitry

Are you a big fan of math-based puzzles? What about electrical engineering? Well, if you answered yes to either of those questions, then we've got the mother of all games to show you. Allow us to introduce you to Light This Up, an app that has you solving electricity-based puzzles while improving your basic mathematical skills.


Briefly: Apple Pay at University of Oklahoma, NFL on Apple TV

08/31, 7:53pm

University of Oklahoma now accepting Apple Pay campus-wide

The first US university to accept Apple Pay at all locations campus-wide turns out to be the University of Oklahoma, according to a blog post from the school. In total, the ultra-secure mobile payment system is accepted at some 400 point of sale locations at the university, from the campus bookstore to all the restauarants. Apple has been a popular vendor at the One University technology store on campus, and also promotes the university's content on iTunes U and on iBooks.


Confirmed: One to One program at Apple Stores being retired

08/28, 1:30pm

Classes and workshops more popular, also being revamped

As previously reported, Apple is retiring the $99 per year "One to One" training program in favor of an upgraded and free workshops program as of September 28. The company, in a leaked memo to employees, cited lower attendance as the primary reason for the sunsetting of the paid program, and has reorganized its workshop scheduling pages on its website to make it easier for users to schedule classes.


Apple reorganizes store workshop appointments on website

08/26, 1:30pm

Part of ongoing consolidation between retail and online stores

As part of an ongoing revamp focused on greater integration between online and retail experiences, Apple has made some changes to its now-integrated retail areas of the its website, specifically to clean up and consolidate workshop scheduling and appointments. The new system is similar to the Genius Bar reservation system, and allows users to quickly locate workshops, One to One classes, and Joint Venture events.


Pointers: iPad Keyboard Tips

08/19, 12:59pm

Speed up typing on the big iOS fondleslab

It is true that having an external keyboard for iPad is a good idea when you're going to be typing a lot, but it is far from true that you really need one. We've typed thousands upon thousands of words directly onto the glass of our iPad screen, and along the way we have learned some things. One is that invariably, you're slower typing on the screen -- but the other things we've learned are ways to speed up and to cut down how much you need to do.


Introducing two books from MacNN writers

08/08, 6:36am

Written by staffers, learn how to blog and publish

If you've been following our Wednesday Pointers column over the last nine weeks, you'll know that the column on that day was devoted to documenting the process of writing a book, and then turning that manuscript into a real, buyable, out-in-the-world e-book and paperback. That book, William Gallagher's The Blank Screen: Blogging, is now available -- and an e-book version of the columns has also been created.


Briefly: Back to School launches online, iOS 8 at 90 percent adoption

08/06, 7:12pm

Apple offers $200 off Macs, free Beats Solo 2 headphone in promotion

Apple's online store has now officially kicked off the Back to School promotion begun in Apple Stores last month, offering up to $200 off Macs and throwing in a free pair of Beats Solo 2 headphones, which normally sell for $200. Buyers taking advantage of the promotion can, if they choose, upgrade the headphones to a wireless Bluetooth version for $100 more. The company is also offering up to $20 off on iPads.


Stanford ResearchKit heart health app expands internationally

08/06, 5:00pm

Stanford MyHeart Counts app adding UK, Hong Kong participants

A health study app based on Apple's ResearchKit API has now started collecting health date from outside the US for the first time. Stanford University's MyHeart Counts app has started including participants in the UK as well as Hong Kong, the first international expansion for apps created using ResearchKit, which makes it easier for medical professionals to create, deploy and recruit participants in health and medical studies.


The MacNN Podcast, episode 26: I can't put down this anti-gravity book

08/04, 5:36am

An Excel-ent episode with a literary bent whilst we wait on some downloads

If it wasn't for our new books (have we mentioned them?), this would be a strangely all-Microsoft episode of The MacNN Podcast, but luckily the Redmond giant turns out software for both Macs and Windows (who knew?), so we've set up this episode to be fun to listen to while you wait for your approval notice from Microsoft that you may obtain your copy of WindOwS X -- sorry, Windows 10. We also talk cool software, including (yes) Microsoft Excel.


Hands On: Learn Spanish with MosaLingua 7.0 (iOS)

07/29, 7:54am

Give yourself a refresher course with this simple Spanish language course

Language is one of those things that needs to be maintained and routinely brushed up on, and is especially true of a second language. How many of us took Spanish or French in high school, but haven't spoke a lick of it since then? If you're looking for a great way to refresh your memory, we suggest checking out something like Learn Spanish with MosaLingua.


Hands On: This is My Food 1.0.0 (iOS)

07/28, 2:01pm

Easy-to-use biology and nutrition app makes learning about food fun

Educational apps for kids over the age of five are often entirely centered around reading comprehension or mathematics, and often tend to gloss over the sciences. We think that is a real shame, because kids are naturally curious about the world around them and how it works. Urbn Pockets, however, saw this opportunity and decided they'd step in, with a biology- and nutrition-themed app called This is My Food.


MacNN Deals: Learn how to develop your own apps, games, web services

07/28, 10:13am

Three pay-what-you-want development course bundles from MacNN Deals

Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the highlights within our own MacNN Deals store. Today's items are all Pay-What-You-Want bundles that can help you become a top-notch programmer, including web development, app creation, and producing your own games for others to play, while also raising funds for Creative Commons.


Hands On: Busy Shapes 1.4.0 (iOS)

07/27, 1:40pm

Cute puzzle game helps kids understand color theory and spacial logic

There's something to be said for apps that cater to the preschool and elementary crowd. Years go, most developers avoided creating apps for younger kids, because most mainstream consoles and computers had far too many buttons for little fingers. Thanks to touchscreen devices, more developers are making the leap to engage a younger audience. We checked out Busy Shapes, a cute puzzler for the under-10 set.


Retail chief Ahrendts hints at new back-to-school promotion coming

07/20, 11:43am

Traditional promotion has been MIA so far this year, revamp may be in cards

Traditionally, Apple launches a Back To School promotion in the first week of July (or first week in January for Australia and New Zealand) that offers extra incentives, such as iTunes Gift Cards, on top of the usual educational discounts on hardware ranging from Macs to iPods. The program has not appeared this year, with no reply from Apple to inquiries about the state of the promotion -- but a weekly video to Apple Store staff from retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts hints that a rethink on the Back To School idea is coming.


Pointers: Summer Project -- e-publishing part 8, it's gone right

07/15, 12:08pm

The book is here

This is one of the moments when it feels good to be a book writer. There's no question but your first newspaper article, your first magazine piece, your first radio show, they are all fantastic -- but somehow a book is special. Maybe because of the pain it takes to get there. Last week the entire Summer Project fell over: every single thing I'd recommended so loudly, so cockily, it was all wrong because the book I'm writing simply wasn't any good. One hairy week on, it is. The Blank Screen: Blogging is a far better book than it would've been if I'd not stopped it to rewrite.


Hands On: Summer Project E-Publishing part 7 -- it's gone wrong

07/08, 1:35pm

The book isn't good enough, and new doors are opening

The e-book of The Blank Screen: Blogging is ready, I could send it to you, and I was about to upload it to iBooks and Amazon Kindle. This week, I was going to be showing you how you get the paperback ready, and that that is a surprisingly intricate little tale that involves new online software that we haven't talked about before. We're not going to talk about it this week either, because the book is not good enough.


BBC finalizes design of micro:bit computer for children

07/08, 6:44am

Educational computer being handed out by BBC to 1M children this year

The BBC has revealed the final form of the micro:bit, a compact computer it is using to teach children how to program and use electronics. Taking a slightly more conventional form compared to its prototype, the Raspberry Pi-style computer is going to be provided to every 11 or 12-year-old child in the United Kingdom completely free, equating to approximately 1 million devices being supplied before the end of this year.


Briefly: Cook now Duke trustee, international app prices adjusted

07/08, 1:00am

Apple CEO was Fuqua business school scholar, awarded MBA in 1982

Though Apple CEO Tim Cook often identifies as an Auburn alumnus and strong supporter of the football program there, he is also a graduate of Duke University in North Carolina, having graduated with an MBA from Duke's Fuqua business school. On Tuesday, Duke University named Cook as one of several new members of the Board of Trustees for the school. Along with other board members, Cook will help direct the school's fiscal and educational policies.


Microsoft offers grants to universities for HoloLens research

07/07, 7:25am

Up to $100,000, two HoloLens units offered to five research projects

Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."


Hands On: Learn Discovery 1.2.0 (iOS)

07/03, 9:54am

Discover a more efficent way to make sense of Wikipedia articles

Ah, Wikipedia, our torrid little knowledge love affair. Sure, it's not always the most accurate, but it's certainly the most convenient. We're not going to pretend like we're not the type to spend an evening hopping from article to article, reading as much as we can -- but what if there was an easier option, something that made sense of the complex information presented to you by Wikipedia? Now, there is, with Learn Discovery.


The MacNN Podcast, episode 21: Writing your app in (Taylor) Swift

06/29, 7:55pm

The downward spiral of the music business, a 5K iMac giveaway, and more

Episode 21 of The MacNN Podcast is now available! Join us for a very speedy hour as we talk about a great new contest where you can win a 5K Retina 27-inch iMac, the licensing kerfuffle with Apple Music that features a happy ending, more troubles for MacKeeper, the plaudits and perils of e-publishing, the trauma of having to send in a Mac for repair, and our picks for App(s) of the Week! Show notes after the jump.


Hands On: Green Riding Hood 1.0 (iOS)

06/26, 11:37am

An interactive book with a somewhat more modern take on a classic fairy tale

Green Riding Hood by Bobaka is an interactive story book that takes inspiration from the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, and gives is a more modern sensibility. The Wolf is still pretty horrible, and would very much like to eat the other characters, but (spoiler) nobody gets eaten, or has their belly filled with hot rocks. Plus, there are delicious recipes.


Apple notes Pride Week with iOS LGBT apps, movies, more

06/26, 7:10am

Second year of recognition brings spotlight on LGBT-themed media

A day after New York City's Stonewall Inn received official landmark status, Apple debuted a curated collection of apps and media in its iOS App Store celebrating the advances the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has made in recent years, as well as commemorating the 1969 riots at Stonewall that kicked off the modern pride movement. The company has a long history of publicly recognizing gay employees, stretching back to 1986.


Hands On: iTunes U 3.0 (iOS)

06/25, 4:12pm

Great resource adds collaboration and marking

You know that MacNN likes to go the extra mile and stress-test, even pummel every application that gets a Hands On review. It's not enough to tell us a list of features, we want to see that those features do what they say they will. It's partly diligence, partly that we've been fooled by Windows software before. Apple today updated its iTunes U educational service and iOS to version 3.0, and made some notable changes -- and this obviously requires that we join a university that uses the software so that we can fully partake of the semester-long new features.


Briefly: Apple labels vans, promotes Jackson, bans app snooping

06/24, 4:01pm

Apple now labelling ground-truth vans, promoting Apple Maps

Having initially triggered a way of often-silly speculation about driverless, solar-powered cars when its vans first appeared, Apple is now clearly labelling its ground-truth GPS data collection vans as being for use with Apple Maps, and promoting the service with a sign seen on vans now patrolling Seattle. The company recently confirmed that the vans were collecting real-world location data that will be "used to improve Apple Maps."


Last Call: Big Deal photography bargain bundle ends Thursday

06/24, 8:44am

Photography resources, software at deeply-discounted price for charity

Last week, Foto Promos announced its largest-ever bundle of resources, software, training, printing, memberships and other pro-photographer education in a special offer available through MacNN and Electronista called The Big Deal that includes over $4,200 worth of downloadable products for just $99. The bundle, which runs through Thursday, has raised over $45,000 for charity, and features contributions from Lindsay Adler, Jared Platt, Dave Cross, KelbyOne, Lee Varis, Gavin Gough, Tony Sweet, Rick Sammon, Phlearn, Photoshop Cafe, Mylio, Eyefi, Viewbug, AthenTech, and B&H Photo and Video, among others.


Hands On: Noggin 1.1.1 (iOS)

06/23, 7:51am

Nickelodeon brings kid's shows to iOS with kid-friendly app

More and more people are giving up TV these days in favor of online streaming, but a lot of these services often leave kids out of the equation. Sure, Netflix and Amazon Prime have a decent selection of kids shows, but shouldn't there be a better option out there? Well, the folks over at Nickelodeon came to that conclusion, too, and offered up Noggin, an app designed especially for preschoolers.


Cook: Chinese tastes influence designs, Watch see strong dev interest

06/22, 1:03pm

Announces new Chinese educational programs to be offered in schools

In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option -- first introduced with 2013's iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line -- as reflecting in part "the popularity of that color among Chinese users."


Reminder: Big Deal photography bundle ends Thursday

06/20, 11:56pm

Over $4,200 in downloadable plug-ins, tutorials, and more for $99

Earlier this week, Foto Promos announced its largest-ever bundle of resources, software, training, printing, memberships and other pro-photographer education in a special offer available through MacNN and Electronista called The Big Deal that includes over $4,200 worth of downloadable products for just $99. The bundle, which runs through Thursday, has raised over $31,000 for charity, and features contributions from Lindsay Adler, Jared Platt, Dave Cross, KelbyOne, Lee Varis, Gavin Gough, Tony Sweet, Rick Sammon, Phlearn, Photoshop Cafe, Mylio, Eyefi, Viewbug, AthenTech, and B&H Photo and Video, among others.


The Big Deal: pro photography bundle saves money, benefits charities

06/17, 3:00pm

Software, training, discounts, plug-ins, e-books, more offered for photographers

Foto Promos is currently running its largest-ever bundle of resources, software, training, printing, memberships and other pro-photographer education in a special offer available through MacNN and Electronista called The Big Deal that includes over $4,000 worth of downloadable products for just $99. Contributors to the bundle include Lindsay Adler, Jared Platt, Dave Cross, KelbyOne, Lee Varis, Gavin Gough, Tony Sweet, Rick Sammon, Phlearn, Photoshop Cafe, Mylio, Eyefi, Viewbug, AthenTech, and B&H Photo and Video among others.


Pointers: Summer Project: E-publishing, part four

06/17, 1:30pm

Finally, some actual writing, and thoughts on software to use

Four weeks into the summer project, halfway through to having an actual paperback and e-book, only now do we get to do some writing. Maybe in the olden days, you could just get out your quill pen on day one and craft a masterpiece, but now that you're taking on the production of the book, you have a lot of other concerns.


Hands On: Osmo, a Tangible Play system (iPad)

06/13, 1:30pm

A gaming system for iPads that melds virtual and physical environments.

We really enjoy it when a developer takes advantage of the fantastic technology we have today while still grounding an experience in our own physical space. Osmo does just that and does it nicely. The Osmo system uses an angled mirror clipped over the front-facing FaceTime camera alongside a stand, and coupled with free iPad apps to make the area directly in front of the iPad an active virtual and real-world play space. The combo is a very simple way of going about it, but the results can be magical.


Hands On: Duckie Deck Trash Toys 1.0.5 (iOS)

06/10, 4:00pm

Teach your little ones the joy of upcycling with this cute kids app

Everything old is new again. Reduce, reuse, recyle. Waste not, want not. These are all principles that we've had drilled into us since we were young. You can teach your own kids the importance of seeing the value in everything by letting them play Duckie Deck's Trash Toys, a game about creating new things from old parts.


Hands On: Robot Factory 1.0.3 (iOS)

06/05, 2:00pm

An app to build a virtual toy and a virtual sandbox in which to play with it

The Robot Factory by Tinybop is an open-ended activity app where the user builds a robot, and then sets it loose upon a wooded garden. It's the first in TinyBop's new line of virtual toys, and much like their educational apps, such as Simple Machines, there's not much in the way of points or win conditions. Although there's certainly plenty to do.


Hands On: Cato's Hike 1.3 (iOS)

06/03, 12:40pm

A guided tour through programming concepts for kids

Cato's Hike: A Programming and Logic Odyssey by Hesham Wahba is an iOS app for helping kids, and adults if they're so inclined, to learn about programming. The app utilizes an object-oriented language of "cards" and customizable maps to demonstrate the various principles. The app is very cute, and we liked the idea of the cards format for the programs. We think Cato's Hike is a good tool for a parent or teacher to guide a would-be programmer to a better understanding of how it's done.


Pointers: Summer Project -- E-publishing, part two

06/03, 8:17am

The exciting part – planning the book

Don't look at us like that. Planning is exciting -- or at least, it is essential. If you're a writer, then the thing you want to do is write; and if you're a publisher, then the thing you want is for that writer to have written, please, so that you can get on with your work. Our job in this Summer Project is to create a real book -- paperback and ebook -- and do so in front of you with only one massive cheat. As explained in last week's introduction, the cheat is that this isn't just playing around with the tools, and this book wasn't conjured up for the series.



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