A great couple of weeks to be an iOS gamer

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Three excit­ing games were released for iOS devices in the last week and a bit. One was from a well-estab­lished com­puter and con­sole devel­op­ment jug­ger­naut. One was from a (now) block­buster com­pany that made their name on the iPhone and iPod Touch. And the final one from a small but respec­ted Cana­dian design house, is cur­rently tak­ing the iTunes App store by storm — becom­ing Game of the Week on launch day. And if you’re plan­ning to pick up an iPad 2 tomor­row, you might want to make these your first down­loads :smileyhappy:
Con­tin­ue read­ing “A great couple of weeks to be an iOS gamer”

Boppin’ with the BeBot!

bebot.jpgiPad music and synth apps all seem to be try­ing to exactly rep­lic­ate the
exper­i­ence of using a real syn­thes­izer or instru­ment, like Vir­tu­oso Piano 3 .

Recently I dis­covered BeBot, an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad music app that breaks that ste­reo­type.

Accord­ing to the developer, BeBot is:

…Part syn­thes­izer, part anim­ated robot.

Touch­ing the screen causes the robot to move and make sounds con­trolled by your move­ments. Play it like a music­al instru­ment, or just have fun watch­ing the robot and mak­ing sounds with your fin­gers.

Fea­tures 4-fin­ger mul­ti­t­ouch poly­phony, mul­tiple syn­thes­is modes, user-defin­able pre­sets and scales, tweak­able synth set­tings and effects, and more!

And for me, this reads as pure fun! Robots! Synths! What more could you want.

Well, how ‘bout a Theremin? Yep, the developers have built in a pre­set that emu­lates a Theremin pretty darn well.

Some will see this as a music­al time-waster or toy, yet it can have ser­i­ous music­al applic­a­tions. Check out the video  below of Jordan Rudess work­ing the BeBot on an iPhone.

So, for $1.99, I’m think­ing this is a pretty versitile piece of music­al tech. How ‘bout you? Got a favour­ite music­al iOS  app? Let me know about it in the com­ments.

And, as an aside, check out this awe­some video of a Theremin being used to play the Star Trek theme!


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Speed up your Internet experience by using the right DNS server

Last week I saw this Life­Hack­er art­icle (via AppleIn­sider) about NameBench, a win­dow util­ity that tests the speed of your system’s DNS serv­ers.

And I was won­der­ing if my DNS was as fast as it could be…

Pre­vi­ously, I’d switched my DNS ser­vices over to OpenDNS, a free altern­ate DNS Pro­vider that adds value as:

  • Ultra-reli­able, glob­ally-dis­trib­uted net­work
  • Industry-lead­ing Web con­tent fil­ter­ing
  • Easy to use for fam­il­ies, schools, and busi­nesses of all sizes

Google also has free pub­lic DNS ser­vices avail­able, which NameBench scans and includes in the res­ults.

But recently I’d noticed that often videos and oth­er stream­ing media just wouldn’t play back smoothly, so after read­ing this bit in the life hack­er art­icle I thought I’d give NameBench a try.

When mil­lions of users all tap into the same DNS serv­er addresses to resolve domain names, as Google DNS does by design, Akamai and oth­er CDNs route con­tent to those users along the same path, pre­vent­ing the net­work from work­ing optim­ally. This causes prob­lems not only for Apple’s iTunes, but also any oth­er media stream­ing or down­load ser­vice that uses a sim­il­ar CDN strategy to dis­trib­ute down­loads.”

As an added bene­fit, NameBench checks to see if your DNS serv­ers are vul­nur­able up to secur­ity stand­ards, and if your DNS requests are being cen­sored or redir­ec­ted (WikiLeaks, for example).

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WOW.
Accord­ing to NameBench, By switch­ing back to my ISP, I’d get an amaz­ing DNS speed improve­ment of over 100%!! Remem­ber, this doesn’t speed up my inter­net con­nec­tion, just the speed that the Inter­net trans­lates domain names into those cryptic Inter­net IP addresses.

So, by mak­ing the recom­men­ded changes to my sys­tems DNS set­tings, NameBench was happy with my set­tings. Now to see if I actu­ally notice any improve­ment…

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In Real Life.
Well, I’m not too sure if I am noti­cing any dif­fer­ence yet or not. There’s so many dif­fer­ent factors that can con­trib­ute to net­work speed that one change rarely makes a huge dif­fer­ence.

But still, every small improve­ment you make adds up, and con­trib­utes to a more effi­cient online exper­i­ence.
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Discovering new apps on your device

One of the neatest things about own­ing a digit­al device is dis­cov­er­ing new ways to use it. Got a spare 10 minutes? Look for a new app. Great way to kill time :smileyhappy:

For example, when I bought my iPad Touch, I star­ted mon­it­or­ing web­sites and twit­ter feeds such as 148apps and appadvice.com.

There’s an more than one app for that:
I also installed Chomp — a cool app dis­cov­ery app (so meta) that recor­ded your recom­mend­a­tions and sug­ges­ted oth­er apps based on those recom­mend­a­tions. Apple’s iTune Store and app now does this through the Geni­us ser­vice — though it’s not quite as good as Chomp is.

Last night some friends recom­men­ded App­Shop­per — an app and com­pan­ion web­site that intro­duces some great fil­ter­ing fea­tures to the app dis­cov­ery pro­cess.

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The fea­tures include:

  • Pop­u­lar Apps: Over­whelmed by the App Store? The list of Pop­u­lar app changes lets you browse a list of only the apps that oth­er App­Shop­per users think are worth look­ing at.
  • What’s New: Track all the latest changes to the App Store: price drops, updates, and new apps.
  • Wish List: Add any app to your own per­son­al Wish List and get noti­fied of price changes or updates by email. With Push Noti­fic­a­tions, you can get the latest updates sent dir­ectly to your device.
  • My Apps: Keep track of the apps you already own. With Push Noti­fic­a­tions, you can get the latest updates sent dir­ectly to your device.
  • Syncs with AppShopper.com: Wish List and My Apps auto­mat­ic­ally sync with AppShopper.com so you can man­age your lists in a web browser.

A uni­ver­sal applic­a­tion (iPhone/Touch/iPad), App­Shop­per is a rather cool addi­tion to my app surf­ing addic­tion.

Which is great if you’ve got an iDevice…but many read­ing this could care less because they’ve got an Android or Black­Berrry or Other…so, what exists for those plat­forms? iOS can’t be the only device with ded­ic­ated recom­mend­a­tion ser­vices. Time to ask for help…from you! Help us out and leave your favour­ite ‘oth­er’ device app-find­er app or ser­vice details in the com­ments. It’s appre­ci­ated!



This post of is one of many I pub­lish weekly at the Future Shop Techb­log. Read more of my stuff here.