Cute game offers real challenge but advertisement model potentially ruins it
We've become somewhat accustomed to games falling short aesthetically. Either the designs are too gaudy, or the sounds are too harsh, and after we play them we're left feeling a little disappointed. Every so often, we come across a game that absolutely knocks it out of the park when it comes to design. For us, Magic River is one of those games.
Company getting 'a lot of feedback' on problems, music buying 'still healthy'
Oliver Schusser, an Apple vice president for iTunes International, was recently interviewed by the UK's The Guardian newspaper and admitted that the company is getting "a lot of feedback" on issues ranging from the design of the iOS Music app to sometimes-severe problems with iTunes 12.2 on Macs, as well as both compliments and brickbats on the overall Apple Music paid subscription service and the free features that accompany it.
More powerful hub capable of buffered video recording, sensor integration
At today's Samsung press event at the IFA conference, the company released a new new SmartThings Hub. The new hub is equipped with a more powerful processor that enables video monitoring, and a battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours in case of a power outage. The Hub is also able to process some automations locally without an Internet connection. Alongside the release is also a new iOS and Android app for organization and control of the system.
Put your lightning-fast subtraction skills to the test with this math based game
Are you a big fan of number-based puzzle games? Do you ever feel like there aren't enough games that cater to your insatiable urge for addition and subtraction? Maybe 2048 isn't a challenge anymore. It's been known to happen. People get so good at combining tiles that it no longer becomes anything more than muscle memory. Well, we're going to show you a game that is plenty challenging, even fore the most adept math whiz -- a fast paced subtraction game called Nozoku Rush.
Puzzle and platformer collide once again in this creepy-cute game
Here we are again, dragging out the soapbox on mobile platformers. We've found a few gems in the series, but largely have remained somewhat unimpressed. Today, though, we've got another title that we think console platformer players should find palatable. We sunk our teeth into Nihilumbra to see if it stood out in the genre.
Hulu offers commercial-free subscription for $12 per month
Hulu has implemented it's rumored advertising-free subscription option to its streaming service. Priced at $12 per month, the new tier offers the same content as its standard $8 subscription but users will be able to watch shows without interruptions from commercials during the show itself, though TechCrunch notes pre-roll advertising for some shows will continue due to licensing agreements. The service advises that the existing $8 service will continue to show "fewer commercials than scheduled television."
Helpful app keeps you on track with timers and alerts
Whether you're a student, a freelancer, a weekend warrior, or just someone who is looking to stay on task, time-management skills are pretty tricky. Maybe you fall prey to taking breaks that are too long. Maybe you find yourself allocating your time incorrectly. Whatever the reason, we're going to show you our favorite app for getting stuff done: 30/30.
Quirky Adventure Time themed point-and-click adventure is a quick, enjoyable play
You've probably noticed that we're big fans of Adventure Time here. We've checked out quite a few of their mobile titles, but somehow forgot to bring you one of our favorites. Today, we correct that mistake, and show you a fun point-and-click adventure featuring Finn, Jake, and all your Adventure Time favorites: Legends of Ooo.
App, now in beta, will allow for low-cost on-the-scene video production
Digital media tools and workflow solutions provider Telestream has announced Wirecast Go, a stand-alone iPhone live video streaming application. Wirecast Go will enable users to capture content using their iPhone camera, insert graphics, logos, titles and other images and then stream live directly to YouTube or any other Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) server with in-app purchase.
Help a scaly anteater collect gems in this pinball-meets-platformer arcade title
We feature iOS arcade games here fairly frequently, from the pretty bad Angry Birds 2 to arcade runners like the Bit.Trip series. We'd like to think we know what we're talking about when it comes to quality. That's why we're here to show you one of our all-time favorite arcade games for iOS, a cute little game known as Pangolin.
Questioning the value of a $250 digital image
So, the Internet has lost its mind at some point in the past few days. If you haven't heard, there was a JPEG of Han Solo being bought and sold on eBay for upwards of $225. Of course, it's not just any digital image, or so I'm told, but a card from the officially licensed Star Wars: Card Trader digital collectible trading card app from Topps.
As we wait for September 9, it's app-y hour this week on the show
Driving across 770 miles of breathtaking Canadian landscape, Editor Charles returns from the Edmonton Fringe Festival with accolades and a shiny new Apple Watch for his trouble, just in time to bring you the big 3-0 episode of the MacNN Podcast, along with Managing Editor Mike, writer William Gallagher, and special guest Matt Boyd of the excellent webcomic Three Panel Soul.
Collaborative effort aims to make work to mobile phone transition seamless
[Update: Cook's surprise appearance at sales conference added] Apple and Cisco today announced a partnership to optimize Cisco networks for iOS devices and apps. The pair's first effort integrates the iPhone with Cisco enterprise environments for collaboration in business, with the goal of providing employees with a seamless experience between iPhone and their desk phone. In addition, Apple CEO Tim Cook stunned the 20,000 attendees at Cisco's annual sales conference with a surprise appearance to discuss the announcement.
Slick notepad app offers a great interface but minimal features
If you've got an iPad or an iPhone, you might use it as a notepad while you're on the go. After all, most of us have our phones at all times, so they make the perfect holding tank for all our thoughts, ideas, and feelings. If you're not satisfied with the way Notes is working out for you, we're here to show you an alternative. We checked out Zentries, a simple little notepad app.
Malware responsible for 250,000 Apple account thefts
Malware for iOS requiring a jailbroken handset, and access to Chinese software repositories has been identified. Recent research has discovered 92 samples of a new family of malware called "KeyRaider," which has resulted in the theft of 225,000 valid Apple accounts login credentials, and associated device GUID.
So useful – when they work
We're looking at you and we're thinking you've got an iPhone and an iPad, maybe an iPhone and a Mac. Possibly all three: you look professional and that tends to mean you can make great use of all of these but, face it, professional doesn't mean made of money. If you do have more than one Apple device, though, you can use iCloud Tabs and you will the second you know what they are –– and you do one thing to make them work.
Our grades for the likelihood of various whispers and scuttlebutt
So now that it is finally confirmed that Apple has chosen September 9 for its big event, and a different venue than usual to accommodate more press and that requires some street closures for a likely outdoor component (which hints strongly that something unexpected is up), the rumors are again flying about what we should expect to see at the event. Let's have a look at what's being whispered about, and a (speculative) look at the odds any of it will happen.
Small but revolutionary update
Once again, this app has had the tiniest of point number updates from 1.2 to become Workflow 1.3 but what it's added is hugely significant. Previously we've reviewed this and we've tried it out and we have completely understood that it is a marvel of automation for your iPhone and iPad. Intellectually, we understood that it meant you could speed up things, make a single button that launched complicated sequences involving different apps. We understood all this intellectually – but now because of just one of the new features, we get it.
Square launches service, iPhone app for client booking management
Payment firm Square has introduced a new service and iOS-only app, both called Appointments, that is aimed at businesses that rely on client bookings, such as (for example) a cleaning service or landscaping firm. The iOS app is free, but the service costs $30 per month for one user, $50 per month for two- to five-person teams, and $90 a month for unlimited employees or owners. For those who use Square Register to accept credit-card payments, the service connects to that automatically.
JRPG with decent battle system is enough for fans of the genre
Role playing games have been popular for the past couple of decades at this point, with Japanese role playing games being some of the best selling titles in the genre. Prized for their upgrade systems and turn-based combat, many gamers can't get enough of them. If you're into turn-based RPGs, we've got one to show you today, a JRPG called Tears Revolude.
Fun app allows you to make wanted posters out of your friends pictures
So with Halloween on the horizon and convention season being a year-round thing, we've decided to bring you a little gift. What if there was a quick way to create some themed decorations for your haunted house or themed party? Today, we humbly suggest Wanted Poster Pro, an app that allows you to create your own wanted posters right from your iPhone or iPad.
The cheap alternative to Final Draft goes free on iOS
It turns out that Celtx is practically a platform rather than just one single piece of software: it's a system for film and video production that begins with a scriptwriting app and goes on up into storyboarding and other things we're not going to look at. For you only seem to realise all this when you finally cave in and wonder what the name means. Until then what you think of as Celtx is actually called Celtx script 2.9 and it's a word processor for screenwriters.
Policy also allows for photo, contact information scraping
Mid-range smartbulb features great app and equally great light
It's turning into a battle of bulbs here, as we're back to check out our third LED smartbulb. It's turning into a bit of a Goldilocks situation, with some bulbs being priced well but feature-starved, with others being feature-packed but far too costly. Today, we check out Bolt, a smartbulb by Misfit, that promises to give you lots features without the high-end price of some of the other smartbulbs.
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.
Small plastic tag promises to keep you from losing your things
If you're like us, there's probably a time or two (or 10) that you've misplaced an item. Maybe it's been in your house. Maybe it's been at work or in a restaurant. Maybe you've left something on a bus or a plane. What if there was something that had your back? Something small, something that stuck with whatever it is you keep losing, and kept an eye on it for you? Well, released today there is -- and it's called Tile.
Retro-style arcade game is fun, but features additional pay-to-play mechanics
If you're old enough, chances are you've played at least a few classic arcade games. Games like Asteroids, Centipede, and Space Invaders -- and chances are, there are times you look at those games through rose-colored glasses, and long to return to them. Today, we offer a game that will give you that feeling in spirit: a spunky little arcade title called Deflecto.
Best-looking Evernote version now out of beta
If you go down to evernote.com today, you're reasonably sure of a big surprise. For the last few months, there has been a beta test of a new Evernote version, and from this week it's out of beta. It's only available on desktop computers: on iPhones and iPads, you have to use the iOS apps. The company says it will take time to roll out to everyone, but the new Evernote Web Client is here and/or coming, and it is far more elegant than its name.
Photography app features interesting polygonal filters to give your pictures a new look
We check out a lot of photography apps, from improved cameras to vintage filters and art filter apps. Every so often, we come across photography apps that sort of defy conventional categories. Today, we're adding another app to that list with Trimaginator, a quirky filter app centered around triangles.
Like Twitter but for your work colleagues and more useful
Yes, let us have another social media platform: we do not have enough of them. Yet, even if Slack isn't as familiar or as ubiquitous as AIM, Skype, Twitter and the rest, we're still going to recommend it. This month sees updates for the iOS app to Slack 2.20 and OS X to Slack 1.1.3 –– and it also sees the second anniversary of the entire service. The company now claims over a million users of whom reportedly a fifth are paying. That doesn't mean four-fifths are pirating: Slack is a freemium kind of service with generous limits.
At last, some other topics not related to Microsoft -- and some MS stuff too
It's August, and that means festival season, almost everywhere. MacNN Editor Charles Martin is out on the road again enjoying a big one in Edmonton, Alberta, but he's not letting that stop him from hosting this week's episode of the show. Joining him this week are staff writer Malcolm Owen in Wales, Bradley McBurney in Kelowna, BC, and William Gallagher in Birmingham (UK, not Alabama). We predict, we blame ourselves, we mention Microsoft. Show notes after the jump.
Choose who can disturb you at work
You need to shut the world out so that you can get this urgent thing done, and maybe that's really what Airplane Mode was invented for. However, even or especially in your busiest times, you cannot afford to miss an email from your partner or your boss. So now the answer is the VIP feature in iOS 8: quickly nominate people whose emails get through to you, and choose how much they disturb you. Well, that's how much as in whether you get a bleep, a dropdown notification, a banner or a full middle-of-the-screen alert. It's not as in whether they're sending you disturbing news or not.
Enter your email address with one tap
It's been a long time since everybody automatically knew their own telephone number, but we all remember our email addresses because we type it so often. You wouldn't think that: of all the addresses in all the emails in all the world, our own ought to be the one we use the least, as we are not in the habit of emailing ourselves. Yet continually we are giving our address out in emails and texts -- and we are forever logging in to services with our address as the username. What MailKey 1.0.2 wants to do is make that easier, it wants to make so that you just tap one button, and the address is entered.
Stop it turning to landscape just as you reach for a button
Picture the scene: you can do this easily, because you've done it in real life too. It's late at night, your iPhone has bleeped, and you reach out to pick it up and read the screen. Exactly as you manage to get your eyes open and focused, the screen moves. It rotates away from you, so that maybe you can't read everything, and definitely you can't reach the reply button.
Classic amusement park building game gets ported to iOS
We adored building simulation games as kids. We started out with the classic, SimCity, but branched out into other games pretty quickly. One of our all-time favorites was RollerCoaster Tycoon. We're excited to let you know that one of the best games in the series, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, has been ported over to iOS, ready to transport you back to 2004.
Gaming news summary for August 13, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, RollerCoaster Tycoon returns to iOS without in-app purchases, Sony opens up voting for its Instant Game Collection, a firmware update for the PlayStation 4 is previewed, and Nintendo reveals players will have to wait at least nine days to get all available content in Super Mario Maker.
New version brings similar fixes to iOS as given to iTunes.
Alongside updates to iTunes and OS X, Apple has updated the iOS to version 8.4.1. The new version, which saw only two beta releases, provides "improvements and fixes to Apple Music" similar to those offered in the iTunes update. No data is available as to what security issues may have been addressed with this patch.
The server is only as good as the services you run on it
There's not much left in the late summer project, other than some tweaking and application installs, really. Last Friday we demonstrated why you needed one. So far this week we've chosen the hardware and set up basic services. Now we're going to take our list of what we need a server for and discuss applications to seamlessly get you those for your home. Not everything is just running on the server for this discussion -- there are apps for iOS that work very well in conjunction with a server, and we'll discuss those too!
Header: Beautiful puzzle game invites players to relax with nature
Meditative puzzle games are pretty darn awesome. We're big fans of games that encourage us to relax, while giving us some sort of task to work through -- because it seems to help melt our stress away. Today, we checked out a nifty game called Prune, a puzzle game that has you getting in touch with your inner gardener.
App update for Aug 12, 2015
App development has taken off in the last few years, making it increasingly difficult to stay on top of all the latest versions. To help all of you out, we here at MacNN are dedicated to sorting through new update releases, and highlighting some of the important ones, as well as showcasing apps that we find to be interesting. Today, we look at revisions to PDFpen, Fonty, BusyContacts, Shimo, Artist's Butler Mobile, and Hitlist.
Smooth, convenient and clever remote access app
There are several ways to remotely control the Mac back in your office or home but they all come down to whether they're easy enough and reliable enough to actually use. When they are then from your iPhone or iPad you can grab files you forgot to bring, you can run desktop apps and you can just switch the thing off from afar. Of all the ways to do it, Parallels Access 3.0 is the latest, it's currently our favorite and it's now the one with an Apple Watch app.
New version allows for file manipulation, computer control remotely
Parallels, today introduced an update to its Parallels Access app for remote access to PCs and Macs. Launched on both iOS and Android platforms, Parallels has added large file sharing for both, with the ability to manage everything from the desktop agent. As part of this launch, Parallels is introducing a companion app for Apple Watch, providing users with the ability to see remote computers and initiate a connection from the wearable device.
Now you're talking
From the makers of a Contacts app that won't let you add contacts -- step forward, Outlook for iOS -- and the developers of the variable word count -- hello, Word -- comes Microsoft Translator 1.0 for iOS, and it is excellent. Or at least excellent enough to get by our high school French knowledge, and excellent enough to look brilliant rendering beautiful Russian and Chinese.
New version requires iOS 8.1 or greater, newer devices
The iOS version of media streaming tool Plex has been refreshed, bringing with it a graphical overhaul, as well as support for premium music, Plex Home, secure connections, and more. The new version of the app drops support for older devices, and requires iOS 8.1 or greater, and a recent version of Plex Media Server for operation.
Point-and-click adventure lacking on story, makes up for it with puzzles
If you grew up through the 1980s and 1990s, chances are you played a lot of adventure games. You probably also had at least a few brushes with point-and-click adventures, such as the Monkey Island series. We think that the mobile platforms, especially the iPad, would be a great way to revive the genre back to its glory days. Thats why we were so excited to take a look at KickBack's Lost Echo, a point-and-click adventure game that reminds us of our childhood.
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.
Works with Intel-based Windows versions only at present, ARM-based version coming
On Thursday, Microsoft released and open-sourced an early version of a previously-announced tool now called Windows Bridge, which allows iOS developers to easily convert iOS apps to be able to run natively on Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 10 Mobile. While calling the early version "clearly a work in progress," the company asked that the "interested and curious" help improve the program by beta testing and filing reports on it.
Bluetooth enabled LED bulbs create fantastic scenes in your home
If you're like most people, you don't think too much about the light bulbs that hang out in the sockets in your house. Maybe you've got a preference, but most of us are happy as long as they work and illuminate the area adequately. Still, innovation is generally a good thing, which is why we were so excited to try out the Satechi Spectrum iQ Bulb, an LED bulb that utilizes Bluetooth to give users nearly-endless lighting options.
This arcade shooter promises to test your skill and resolve with a relentless onslaught of enemies
We've covered shmups before. We've covered bullet hell games before. We're getting pretty good at arcade shooters, so when one came by that genuinely put up a fight against us, we were surprised. But that's exactly what happened when we checked out Operation Dracula, a tough little arcade shooter with some serious visual appeal.
Malicious installer requires user password, then installs junkware
A recently-published exploit that could allow attackers to gain unchecked root-level access, following the user initially installing it, has been patched in the forthcoming OS X 10.10.5 update, and in this fall's 10.11 El Capitan upgrade. The flaw, which was introduced in Yosemite's error-logging functions. Though widely reported as hair-on-fire dangerous, the exploit merely installs adware and junkware such as Genio and MacKeeper, and requires users to actively install it before it gains root privileges.