Review: iBar and iRocker

Learn to make exotic drinks and play your guitar... (October 31st, 2005)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Talking Panda

Price: $29.95 and $19.95 US

The Good

  • Easy to install and navigate. Good sound quality in iRocker.

The Bad

  • Can only have one program installed at a time. iBar price is a little steep.

Talking Panda, founded in 2004, produces iPod applications. Their flagship product, iLingo, reviewed previously on MacNN, was the first iPod application sold in Apple Retail Stores.

In August, Talking Panda expanded their unique brand of software with two more products specifically for the iPod. iBar and iRocker, like iLingo, use the Notes feature installed on your iPod to deliver their information. Mixing the two together could give a boost to your ability to host a party. As the Notes folder imposes limitations on how it can be used, these products can only be used one at a time, although multiple products can reside in your iPod. Please see the iLingo review for more information on the Notes folder.

Throw a Party with iBar

iBar box

iBar focuses not only on the correct way to make drinks, but also acts as a teaching tool for setting up a bar. It contains a bit of history about where bar terms originated with a bit of humor thrown in to keep the text lively. The drink recipes are easy to follow and the recipes are plentiful. Using your iPod around a bar seems like a quick way to end up with an expensive paperweight, so be forewarned. iBar is an excellent reference tool to quiz yourself on mixing drinks and gets a 4.5 star rating.

Learn to Rock Out

iRocker box

iRocker is the least expensive of the four applications, but is by far the most user friendly program Talking Panda offers. iRocker is the perfect cheat sheet for learning to play chords on a guitar. The graphical interface is simple to navigate and it is done in a useful and appealing way. There are four aspects to the program, the guitar tuner, a virtual chord book, a metronome, and sample riffs.

The guitar tabs are easy to follow, but it made James wish that he could import his own tabs to practice on the go. Beginning guitarists will find it useful - especially the different tuning charts and the ability to tune by listening to the note on your iPod. The chords and tunings are displayed as well as played, so you have no one to blame if your guitar is flat! The sounds are crystal clear and the Riffs section is good for practicing with accompaniment without embarrassing yourself publicly. The metronome also offers ten different rhythms.

Just think, after you've mastered iRocker, you can get an iPod recording device and listen to your own creations. Belkin, Griffin, and DLO make iPod recorders and MacNN will post reviews later this year. iRocker rates 5-stars!

Talking Panda's software is not compatible with the iPod shuffle and iPods made before May 2003. You need 50 MB free on your iPod plus Mac OS X 10.2 or later or Windows 2000 or XP and iTunes 4.7 or later.

by James Trousdale and Ilene Hoffman


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