Lifestyle and Emerging Technology In Plain English

Teenage Engineering designed a set of incredible pocket synthesizers that cost $59 each

Teenage Engineering designed a set of incredible pocket synthesizers that cost  each | The Verge

Very cool! High qual­ity yet afford­able. Very min­im­al­ist. Worth check­ing out!

But that all changes with the launch of the Pocket Oper­ator synth and drum machine series, a set of three calculator-sized music-making tools that can be yours for less than $200 total. “Our goal was to make a synth that cost $49,” says CEO and head of design Jes­per Kout­hoofd, before paus­ing a bit sheep­ishly and admit­ting: “but we failed on that, so it’ll be $59.”


Brushstroke — a rather cool iOS filter app

Blue JayI love the idea of tak­ing a good pho­to­graphic image and manip­u­lat­ing it so it looks like it was a paint­ing. It fol­lows then, that I quite enjoy exper­i­ment­ing and find­ing a cool ios fil­ter app that facil­it­ates this.

I like see­ing how tech­nic­ally gif­ted people have cre­ated soft­ware to ‘see’ as a water­col­our artist sees, or as an impres­sion­ist sees. Cre­ativ­ity. You can see some of my exper­i­ments on my Flickr stream.

My latest explor­a­tion has been with Brush­stroke — a rather fully-featured iOS fil­ter app. The Blue Jay image above is a render cre­ated with Brush­stroke — almost has an illus­tra­tion qual­ity about it.

Yeah, it’s pretty power­ful — hand­ling both water­col­our style as well as oil — and things in-between such as acrylics and gouache.

Unfor­tu­nately it doesn’t really label them all accord­ingly (Oil, Washed, Hatched, Simple, etc) but then again, it’s kinda fun to explore.

Cur­rently $2.99 in the app store — a fair price for a pretty cap­able app!


Testing Duet — an OS X display extender app for iPad

You’ve prob­ably seen the online hype around Duet — an OS X dis­play extender app for iPad. Basic­ally it’s sup­posed to allow you to extend your cur­rent desktop screen to an iPad — just as if you had an extra mon­itor. Other apps already do this, but Duet’s claim to fame is it will extend your desktop in a way that’s lag free. So if you’re watch­ing movies or anim­a­tion and mov­ing ele­ments between mon­it­ors, you’ll not notice lag.

Duet’s unique fea­ture that allows this is that Duet con­nects to your Mac using the USB port and either 30 pin con­nector or Light­ning connector.

I’ve pre­vi­ously used sim­ilar apps, Air Dis­play and Dis­playPad, though both have util­ized WiFi to link your dis­play to the com­puter. Also, both sup­port Win­dows or OS X. Cur­rently, Duet doesn’t sup­port Windows.

Duet also doesn’t sup­port the ori­ginal iPad, where the two other apps do — a con­sid­er­a­tion if you have an older ori­ginal hanging around, as I do.

Duet has been get­ting mixed reviews on the iTunes App Store, but that may be related to the high CPU usage needed to render out a ret­ina dis­play to a ret­ina iPad — there’s a lot of work going on. If you’re using a new com­puter, or have a lower res­ol­u­tion iPad, then you may not encounter this issue.

Regard­less, I’ll take a look at the app and report back when I’ve been able to give it a workout.


From the It Must Be Christmas Holiday App Deals dept.

It seems like a few of the good strategy and board games are going on sale now on the Apple App Store as qual­ity pub­lish­ers have star­ted cut­ting prices  reveal­ing their hol­i­day app deals.

I’ve played these games and do recom­mend them as valu­able addi­tions to your iOS gam­ing col­lec­tion. Prices are dis­coun­ted at the time of this post, but they may change at the whim of the publisher.

And on with the deals:

Talis­man - A great con­ver­sion from the well-known adven­ture board game. Reduced to @2.99 from $6.99.




Small World 2 — Huge dis­count (9.99 -> 2.99) for this sequel to strategy board game of the year. Well worth pick­ing up at any price.. a steal here ;)




Battle Academy — Derived from an ori­ginal BBC online game concept, Battle Academy blends intu­it­ive design, com­pel­ling game­play and tech­nical innov­a­tion. Reduced to $9.99 from $19.99. Yes, a premium priced title that gets you hours of enga­ging gameplay.




Drive on Moscow: War in the Snow — Half-priced. Full value. Great strategy present­a­tion of the pivotal battle for Moscow in WWII.




Pan­zer Corps — Grognards rejoice! Con­sidered teh spir­itual suc­cessor to the Pan­zer Gen­eral series, Pan­zer Corps is the closest you can cur­rently get to ser­i­ous armor strategy on the iPad. Reduced from $6.99 to $2.99.





My iOS App Picks for 2014 — iOS Photo Apps

I tend to keep my pho­to­graphy over on iPad­Dark­room, but since I’m writ­ing about iOS photo apps that I’ve dis­covered or have dom­in­ated my work this year, it seemed fit­ting to look at apps that have influ­enced my photo work.

You’ve likely seen some work cre­ated with these apps before, but they’re worth pro­fil­ing again as my picks because they’ve stood head-and-shoulders above the other apps in the photo editor / fil­ter space.

So, on to the apps…More

My iOS App Picks for 2014 — Role Playing Games

Over the year I’ve had a little bit of time to play the occa­sional iOS Role Play­ing Game (RPG). What I like in an RPG is good solid story and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment. And it’s through that lens that I’ve selec­ted my picks for Role Play­ing Games of 2014.More