If you have read more than a few of my “App of the Week” picks, you’ll most likely guess I’m into photography. I love to pull out a camera anytime I can, and the old saying that “the best camera is the one you have with you” is true. When I use a DSLR, I take my shots and then process them in a variety of software packages – Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop etc. One software package I use, as a plugin inside all of those, is the Nik Software Complete Collection. Their software is nothing short of amazing, and if you use any of the photo processing software I mentioned I suggest you try their trial versions. You’ll end up buying the stuff. The problem is, sometimes the camera I have with me is the iPhone. Sometimes I just want to take a photo and post it online or email it to someone. That’s where today’s pick come in…
It’s amazing what you can get for free.
There are so many services for smart-phone users today that offer free apps. Games, social media, or reference, there’s an app for almost anything. But live TV on your phone? My cable bill costs more than my first car payment, and the car payment ended after 4 years. But now, you can get live TV on your hip…. free (well, nothing is totally free, as you will see below)!
Keeping up on news and trends has changed. Today you find news on Twitter, or Google+, but CNN is is still a staple in broadcast news. CNN has released an app, available for Android and iOS, that brings the cable news station to you, wherever you are.
Watch your favorite CNN shows, watch CNN TV live – 24/7 with video coverage of live events and video clips, or become the reporter by recording and submitting video or photo iReports. CNN’s app even ties in with the major social media tools to let you share stories via e-mail, SMS, Twitter and Facebook.
So what’s the catch?
When I looked at the Android Market this week I saw today’s pick, and I could not believe the ratings. StarDunk from Godzilab is game for both Android and iOS. They claim more than 4 millions downloads on iOS, and the Android Market shows between 500,000 and 1,000,000. That’s a ton of players!
Think Basketball in space. Stardunk is a multiplayer, online basketball game where you play against players from around the world, in realtime. It has a bonus system, awards, unlock-able balls (each with different capacities), and killer performance. 60 FPS on the iPhone 3GS and iPod 3rd gen with enhanced graphics and next-gen shaders. The only question is can you get to the top of the global leader-board.
StarDunk is free, and is available for iOS in the iTunes App Store where it has 4 stars from 15584 ratings! Android users can hit the Android Market where StarDunk has 4.7 stars from 8447 ratings.
This week’s pick is the latest, greatest, most amazing, spectacular… ah screw it. It’s just another social media thing. Google+ is Google’s latest entry into the social media arena, and this time I think they have succeeded. Google+ is still in a closed, invite only BETA, but if you know someone with an account they can send you an invite. As of this post, the people I have sent invites to have been able to get in instantly.
Social media sites can be hard to explain. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Buzz, and the list goes on with names that did not survive. Let’s start with this:
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: