Today’s app may be one of the hardest I have ever tried to explain. Let’s start here… this app is a must have! When I first heard about it I thought “No Way”. After using it the first time I thought “*$%# Yeah!” SynthCam is the product of Stanford University Professor Marc Levoy. As a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering you would expect him to be smart, and based this concept I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with. Let me explain the two main reasons why this app is needed.
If you have followed my App of the Week posts, then you know I love apps. I am constantly checking to see what new toys, or tools are available. The problem is that hundreds of apps are released every day. That makes finding “good” new apps a pain. Today’s app makes that easier. AppShopper is an app developed by the website of the same name – AppShopper.com.
AppShopper is a one-stop shop for everything iOS app. If you own an iPhone, or iPad…
MyBackup Pro for Android is called “the #1 backup application for Android”. I am not an Android user, but this thing has 100,000 – 500,000 installs! That’s a successful app developer. The developer, Rerware, LLC, says it works with all Android handsets, even if you do not have root access.
Check out what you can backup with MyBackup Pro…
I love movies. Actually, I love good movies – that’s where the hard part comes in. Finding “good” movies. We all hear the critics reviews, and we have critics we tend to agree with, but sometimes they are just plain wrong. Today’s app is great for finding good movies, and a lot more.
Movies by Flixster is a mobile app available for virtual any major mobile platform – along with being a full web service. Depending on your mobile platform the app offers different features. For example, iPhone users get access to rent or buy movies on iTunes. I give a lot of credit to Flixster for not just porting the same app to all platforms. It at least seems they really developed each version specifically for that platform.
So what can you use this app for?
There are tons of weather apps out there, and Apple even includes a weak one with the iPhone. I do use the Apple app when I need a quick weather summary, but it’s not enough data when I really need a weather report. For the more serious weather info you can try WeatherBug, but it’s too much info sometimes. The problem with both these apps, and most of the others available, is that they follow the standard today/tonight weather model. Most of the time that’s fine, but as I’ll explain, not always.
Today I have an iPhone / iPad photography app called TiltShift Generator from Art and Mobile. If you have never heard of Tilt-Shift photography, it refers to using a type of lens that allows itself to be tilted or shifted. This tilt, or shift, changes how the lens aligns to the camera sensor. Why? Perspective control. Have you ever photographed a tall building? The buildings seem to bend, but with a tilt-shift lens a photographer can correct that effect – required for an architecture magazine. But there is another use for this type of lens… Fake Miniatures. A quick flickr search shows lots of examples.
By allowing you to control saturation, and selective focus, this app lets you simulate a tilt-shift miniature effect. The photo above is an example (but not a very good one) of the TiltShift Gen app used on a photo taken from the balcony of Disneyland’s private Club 33. Here is the original:
Today I have another app available for both iOS and Android. HBO GO is the new streaming service from HBO®. Yep, HBO in your pocket! It allows you to watch HBO original programming, movies, sports, & comedy etc. from your mobile device.
When I first downloaded the app I was not expecting the performance I got. Over 3G the movies are very watchable. It was definitely a 3G connection, but very usable. This is exactly what I think television providers are worried about. If I can subscribe directly to HBO, why pay the cable company? Right now you do need a participating television provider, but what would happen if HBO added in-app subscriptions?
Today it’s back to my photography hobby for a great iPhone or Android app. Pro HDR from eyeApps is by far the best HDR smart phone app yet. If you’re not familiar with HDR, it stands for High Dynamic Range (Wikipedia). It english that means the photo will properly expose the bright and dark areas of your image. With HDR you take multiple shots, with different exposures, and combine them to create a photo that includes everything. Have you ever taken a photo indoors where the inside stuff looks OK, but the windows are pure white? That’s where HDR comes in. Shoot one photo with the windows properly exposed – but the inside of the room is almost black, and a second shot of the room with the windows blown out. Combined you have a great shot.
Text Adventure games rock! This week’s app is Frotz, a Z-Machine interpreter for iOS that allows you to play all of those old 80′s text based games like the Zork Trilogy, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Trinity. My favorite has always been the Scott Adams games like The Count – shown in the screenshot above. The developers description text puts it great:
“*Warning* Playing Frotz involves reading, thinking, and typing. If you just want to blow stuff up, this is not the app for you.”
“Burned out on all the new-fangled graphics and dazzling eye candy on your shiny new iPhone or iPad? Nostalgic for a simpler time? Then take advantage of those crisp high-resolution fonts…”
You have to try this week’s app to believe it. My son told me about it and my reaction was [...]