iPad & iPhone Reviews for Kids, Parents, Educators, Artists, Art Lovers: Fine & Performing, Readers, News Junkies, Writers, Casual Gamers & anyone interested in the Best iPad and iPhone Reviews, Tips, Contests, Sales, Exclusive Sneak Peeks & Swag

Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Apologies, I’ve Been Busy With New Site – Please Come Visit


I miss this blog so much, I haven’t had a chance to ramble on and on at all since I launched AppTudes – a fresh site for app and game reviews for all interests, which I launched on Father’s day. I have been so lucky! I managed to get some amazing writers from other big sites like my own 148apps.com, my former home appadvice.com, and padpadget.com, appolicious, and some serious bloggers.

We’ve almost hit 1oo posts and our number have been through the roof! It’s so exciting, in seven months this is only my 86th-ish post, but that what’s great about having a tea. And the support from the developer and publisher community has been overwhelming. I hoped to do a launch-week push of giveaways, but we just hit the one month mark I don’t think a day has gone by where there wasn’t at least one active contest going, most days we have several.

And for those of you who like my SAHGeekMom picks, trust me we have a ton of kid stuff, art apps, and culture there too, but also real gamer games, general inteerest apps, and we just got an iPhonegraphy expert on board too!

By the way, if you review or have skills like copy editing, wordpress guruship, web or graphic design, come on over and check it out because we’re hiring! That page has most of our staff bios, but we have three newcomers so it’s time for an update. And, if you have skills, we’d love your face up there too.

I only have a minute, but I stopped by because I am going to flood my blog with the reviews I’ve written since I’ve been gone. In fact you are even getting on AppTudes doesn’t have…yet.

But remember when you see the posts, if there are contests attached they are being held on on apptudes.com and through our twitter account anf fcebook page, so you’ll have to pop on by if you want to enter. I hope you do, I have a lot of parents and educators on board and you might discover altogether different kinds of app, like I have been, that aren’t one I tend to run into.

I’m going to start using this blog again soon though, but less for reviews and more to discuss iOS news, and topics of interest that go beyond reviews. But don’t worry, wherever you find me writing, I’ll be focusing on only the very best apps for iOS. Hope to see you everywhere soon.

Happy App Hunting



AppTudes is Live – Best Apps For Dads and Giveaway!

This is a reprint from apptudes.com- to win you must comment on the original post here -Good luck and Happy Father’s Day!

Welcome to AppTudes!

To celebrate our Father’s Day launch we have something extra special for you. You will often find shopping guides here for all occasions, but in the spirit of our week-long Swag-a-Thon, many of the paid apps on this list are yours to win!

So be sure to read carefully to see if the app is up for grabs, and, be sure to check back every day this week for more amazing chances to win.

Here’s how this huge  giveaway is going to work. The first thing you must to do to enter is leave a comment on this post  (on AppTudes.com, not here at SAHGeekMom) specifying which app you are interested in and what device you have, i.e. iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can only enter for one of these apps, but you can earn two extra entires to increase your odds of winning it. Remember, not every app on the list is tied to a giveaway so please read carefully. Sorry Scrabble fans, EA didn’t give us any codes. But, if you keep coming back, maybe in the future they will. 😉

After you leave a comment you can earn one entry by tweeting THAT post (Click Here)!

You can also go to our Facebook page here, like it, and leave a comment on the day-one giveaway post, just letting us know you entered. A simple “I left a comment under the name of John Smith” is enough, but we are really eager for feedback so please feel free to also share your opinions here or on Facebook about which apps you think are the coolest on this list and which apps for dad you would recommend. We have a list for grads coming soon, we had to save a few essentials for that one too!

In total you can earn up to three entires, and a random draw for each app will be held June 20, at 9:00pm PDT. The winners will be contacted by email privately within 24 hours with the code. Good luck.

So, Happy Father’s Day! If you were a really a good dad this year, maybe you unwrapped a shiny new iPhone 4 or iPad 2 with your burned toast and coffee in bed. Or, maybe your dad already has an iDevice, but you want to help him fill it with amazing new apps to mark the occassion.

Well, whether your pops is a sports fan, a gamer, a family man, a work-a-holic, or just wants only the best of iOS we have compiled some amazing choices for fathers and grandfathers of every age, and by the way, most of these are pretty awesome for moms, kids, and everyone else too.

Psst! Just click on the app icon to go right to the App Store.

ESPN iScore Baseball Scorekeeper (sold separately for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch)
By ESPN, $9.99 both versions

Summer’s here, professional hockey and basketball have wrapped up their seasons, NFL football is still months away so what sporting dad doesn’t turn to baseball for his summer team-sport fix? Whether you are a devoted followed of the Major Leagues or you want to keep track of your own neighborhood softball or Little League, ESPN has the perfect score card solution for you.

ESPN iScore Baseball Scorekeeper is a simple and fun way to track baseball or softball stats, and is a critic’s darling having not only received raves from appolicious.com and almost every other iOS site, but also hailed by the mainstream press.

Check out our complete review here and don’t wait to pick this up for any National Pastime fan in your home. Or, maybe wait just a little bit, because we have promo codes for this amazing app! So if you want it for free, be sure to read the rules up top, leave your comment here, on Twitter and on Facebook and check back tonight to see if you are a lucky winner! P.S. you can earn a fouth entry for this app by leaving a relevant comment on the full review.

Zite Personalized Magazine (iPad only)
By Zite, Inc., Free

Is your papa a news junkie? If he is and he has an iPad, you have to show him Zite.

There are as many ways to get news on iOS, as there are games on the App Store. I don’t mean there are as many news apps as games, but with Twitter clients, Google readers, network-news apps, news aggregators and of course a web browser, you can pretty much have your news served up any way you like.

If you want to see a comprehensive look at the best (and worst) news apps for iPhone and many for iPad please click here, but if you have to start somewhere on iPad, start with Zite.

Zite allows you to select topics in any possible area of interest from hard news and politics to entertainment, sports, tech, travel, family life – if it’s on the Internet, Zite will help you find it. Pick a few basic categories to start, or dive in and fully customize the app right away, either way, Zite will create a beautiful digital magazine just for you.

And, Zite also adapts to your tastes over time and helps you discover new news sources and even new areas of interest. Beside each article you can like or dislike the piece, ask for more from the site or author, or request additional coverage on any of the major topics that article covers.

If, for example you found an AppTudes review of an Android and iPhone app, you could choose to see more from us, and/or more about iPhone, iOS or Android.

You can also add your Google Reader and Twitter feeds to make it 100 percent your own.

This app would be well worth paying a premium for, just because the GUI is so gorgeous and the reading experience so pleasant, but since Zite pulls content available freely on the web, it is also completely free of charge. It is iPad only, however, so don’t forget to check out this list for universal and iPhone options too!

iMuscle – (NOVA Series) – iPad edition (available for iPhone/iPod touch separately)
By 3D4Medical.com, LLC, $4.99, $1.99 for iPhone

Does your dad work out, or does he need to? You can help him help himself with iMuscle. It’s is a mobile workout aid that allows users to target a body part or specific muscle, and see it rendered beautifully in 3D. Then after studying the make-up you can access videos in-app (no online connection needed) of muscle building and rehabilitation exercises targeting that part of the body. You can check out a demo video here.

The best thing about the iMuscle is that it supports multiple users, so dad, mom, kids, everyone can keep track of their fitness progress. Professional trainers can use it to track multiple clients and it’s a great tool for physiotherapists too. This is a high-quality, professional-grade, but user-friendly app that will help you not just work out, but do so with maximum effectiveness and minimal injury.

We have codes for this one too, aren’t our sponsor’s amazing? You can see almost all of them here, and most of the apps you can win this week, but we didn’t put up everything, we have a few surprises left up our sleeves. =D But, remember if you want iMuscle, leave a comment, tweet and visit us on Facebook!

SCRABBLE (sold separately for iPad)
By Electronic Arts, $2.99 or $9.99 iPad

Tip: With all EA games, unless you really need it now, never pay full price. Several times a year, right around major holidays, EA dramatically reduced all their prices, in order to climb to the top of the charts, so new iDevice owners will see their titles easily from the App Store home page. They may or may not have a Father’s Day sale, but certainly they will have one before back-to-school. The staff at AppTudes know all the little App Store secrets, and we’ll be putting up a special AppStalker Guide soon, you can see an older version of that guide here.

The name Scrabble pretty much sums it up. EA has brought the beloved board game to life on iPhone and iPad and dads young and old, as well as every word nut, will enjoy the true-to-the original gameplay.

Aside from being able to play against a computer opponent, you can play with up to four people in your home, (and if players have their own iDevice they can hold their tiles and connect seamless with the free Scrabble Tile Rack companion app.) You can also invite anyone from your iPhone’s phone book to play, connect using Facebook or your our network, or have the app connect you to random players from around the world.

Scrabble is a must-have game for dad and grads of all ages. (p.s. a list for grads with lots of giveaways coming soon!)

Nascar Junkie for iPad (sold separately for iPhone/iPod touch)
By EZ Apps, Inc., $1.99 (both versions)

Did we say baseball was the only summer sporting past time? Well Nascar fans will beg to differ and if your dad is a fan, Nascar Junkie is a fantastic way to stay up to date on all things Nascar.

The app aggregates all the best Nascar websites and blogs from around the racing world and puts them into a fun, simple interface so you are always up-to-date on everything from winners, to upcoming events, to Nascar news. A bonus for the die-hard fan, both versions now have push notifications (which will be enhanced when iOS 5 makes its debut with a whole new Notification Center later this summer) so dad never misses a thing. Social network integration makes this the best app for fans not only to keep up to date, but also to share Nascar news with fellow fanatics.

Yet again, we have codes from our incredible sponsors – you know what to do (or if you don’t check out the detail up top) – good luck!

Hop on Pop (universal)
By Oceanhouse Media, $3.99

Father’s day is about more than saying thanks to dad, it’s about bonding with dads. And, at no time is father-to-child bonding more important than the first years of life.

Who better to make the experience fun than the inimitable Dr. Seuss? Oceanhouse Media has been serving up Seuss and other amazing children’s authors on iOS for about as long as I’ve known iOS, and no one does kid-lit apps better.

Hop On Pop is just one of the amazing titles in their catalog, but it’s ideally suited to Father’s Day, and the folks at Oceanhouse have graciously decided to give one father or grandfather a chance to share the classic rhyming book with the little people without whom there would be nothing to celebrate.

All Oceanhouse Media books use a clean, perfected interface with just the right blend of interactivity to promote early reading, and all the right Seuss, er stuff, to make the text as pure as it was when dad first had it read to him when he was a little boy too.

By the way if you are looking for the best iPad and iPhone kid’s books please check out some Stay at Home GeekMom lists here and  here, and soon you’ll be able to win this amazing book, Auryn’s The Little Mermaid, too: check it out here.

We’ll be migrating all this content over to AppTudes ASAP and will be giving away amazing kid books from Oceanhouse, Auryn and may others all week so stayed tuned.

And yup, we have just a single copy of Hop On Pop for you right now, and someone out there is going to win it so don’t forget to comment, visit us on Facebook and tweet tweet tweet!

and speaking of tweets…

Twitter (universal)
By Twitter, Inc, Free

If your dad isn’t connected to the social media world yet, it’s time he was. And, if he is already a networking maven, he will need a way to stay on top of things from his new iPad or iPhone.

Facebook makes a free app for iPhone and is slated to release an iPad version in a few months, but Facebook is actually declining in popularity in North America, perhaps in part due to Zuckerberg’s reticence to work with huge players like Google and in some cases, Apple. The why is speculation, but the fact is the social network that continues to grow worldwide and serve new functions almost daily, is Twitter.

Aside from being a way to keep in touch with friends, share photos and celebrity gossip, Twitter is also is an incredible news reader, and it’s becoming one the most indispensible business and marketing tools around.

There are myriad Twitter apps you can download, some free, some paid. If your dad is already a power-user you might want to opt for an app with lots of bells and whistles, but for general users, Twitter’s own app, completely free, is the best choice. So install it for dad, set him up with an account and get him tweeting… appropriately.

Packing Pro (universal)
By Quinn Genzel, $2.99

Travelling this summer? Or does dad travel a lot for business? Wherever you are going, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and iOS sites, TUAW, iLounge and my own 148apps.com all call Packing Pro the must-have travel app.

Mom’s will love and need it too – it’s indispensible for single travellers, but if you’re packing for several you simply must get this app.

The interface is not just easy, it’s fun, so much so, you may fail to notice Quinn Genzel has packed in a ton of features.

There is expert list assistance which is essentially several packing templates for both genders and different ages. Users have the ability to create up to eight lists at once, the app has tons of themes to make it your own, and includes suggested lists for everyone from campers to business travellers. There is also a master list of over 400 items and of course, you can add your own.

The best part, the app syncs across devices, so you can create lists for everyone in your party and share them easily.

If you plan on leaving home this summer for more than a few hours, the first thing you need to pack is Packing Pro, right onto your iDevice. Then, happy, stress-lite travels! What? You’re still stressed? Well how about a free copy of the app? We’ve got them, comment and socialize to win!

Quickoffice® Pro (available for iPhone and iPad, sold separately)
By Quickoffice, Inc., $9.99 iPhone $14.99 iPad

Ah, what do you do with a work-a-holic in summer time? If dad can’t take a break, the beauty of a mobile device is he can take the work on the go with him. And, so can students, writers and everyone else who relies on Microsoft Office products.

Apple offers appified versions of its iWorks suite on the App Store, now also available for iPhone, if your pops uses Microsoft products at work or home there is no perfect solution on iOS.

But, there are a few good apps that allow you to create, import, edit and export docs in popular MS formats like .docx .xls etc. as well as PDF’s.

QuickOffice Pro is the best of them and was picked by the NY times as a top 10 Must-Have App for the iPhone and it was Best of Show Winner – Macworld 2010.

You can create docs with the app, and also edit existing ones, share them easily, and even use Air Play to view your files on a TV which is  a great way to show a Powerpoint presentation in particular. It has the most robust formatting tools in its class and is suited to both  power and personal use.

Grim Joggers (universal)
By 10Tons LTD, $1.99

If your old man prefers getting his fitness virtually, or is a just a gamer, Grim Joggers is on of the best endless runner games available for iOS.

You lead a pack of fitness-fanatics on a run through treacherous terrain, using a simple touch control to jump and avoid obstacles. Like all endless runners, the goal is to stay alive for as long as you can, but aside from the clever theme, Grim Joggers stands out as an iOS perma-favorite because you are not only trying to keep yourself alive, but lead your fellow joggers to safety too, which add a whole new dimension to gameplay.

We have a complete review coming later today with an extra chance to win, we’ll post the link as soon as it goes live, later today.

And, if you love this or any of 10Ton’s amazing games stay turned, we have promo codes to give away! In fact the amazing game-lovers at 10tons have given us tons of codes so check back daily, we have 10 tons of their best titles!

Everyday Golf Coach HD (sold separately for iPhone/iPod touch)
By Perish the Thought Golf, $6.99 HD $5.99 iPhone

Summer, for dads around the world, often means just one thing – golf. Its pretty hot with moms too and lately even kids are getting into the act.

There are dozens of apps to help you track your golf balls, keep score, and improve your game. If improvement is what you’re after, Everyday Golf Coach is a superlative choice.

PGA Pro Noel Rousseau created 32 “highly acclaimed” videos just for this app. Since I’m not a golfer, here’s how Perish the Thought Golf describes themselves:

From tee shots to sloping lies, shots from the rough and an array of short game skills. No gloss, no cheap tips, just a brilliantly executed package that will ultimately improve your game. Now with the addition of the swing analyzer this gives you the complete golf coaching app.

A lot of apps that use videos require an Internet connection. What’s great about Everyday Golf Coach is the videos reside in-app. With new carrier bandwidth caps this means you can take your pocket coach right onto the back nine with you, and not use up any of that precious data plan.

Beginners and seasoned golfers will benefit from the instruction, and as an app, the GUI shines. Check it out! We have it, so be sure to comment if you want it and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Nightstand Central – Music Alarm Clock with Weather, Sleep Timer, and Flashlight (available for iPad and iPhone/iPod touch separately)
By Thomas Huntington, $1.99 iPhone $2.99 iPad

OK, so no one loves an alarm clock. Its function is to interrupt you when you least want to be bothered, but we all need one and if you must have one, why not have the best and most beautiful.

Nightstand Central is one of several popular app options that allows you to customize your clock face, get your weather, and select not only from pre-set sounds, but also your iTunes library.

It’s a standout, however, because it brings in the best features of all the other apps out there. It let’s you choose from beautiful backgrounds or import your own, you can fine tune the look of the clock, and create different playlists and multiple alarms. It even doubles as a flashlight app.

If your dad has to wake up early this summer, Nightstand Central, popped into a speaker dock, or propped on a hotel night table, is the way to go.

Fahrenheit – Weather and Temperature on your Home Screen (Universal)
By International Travel Weather, $.99

Weather. Whether dad stays in and plays Scrabble, or takes his new iPad out golfing, it pretty much all comes down to weather.

And, there are as many way of checking the weather on your iDevice, as there are ways to read news. You can get it from the web, from the iPhone App that comes preloaded, in 3D, from space, so how do you choose?

Well, if it’s function you are after, look no further than Fahrenheit (or if you use the metric system its sister app, Celsius)

The app brings you weather from home and around the world, including extended 10-day forecasts in an attractive spartan GUI, and provides more than enough information for all but the most weather-obsessed.

The standout feature that makes the app indispensible is it is the only app on the app store that has a badge on it showing you your local forecast in almost real time, without having to so much as tap.

It would seem like an updating icon would be a no-brainer, but it took until 2011 for someone to do it without jailbreaking. Now that International Travel Weather has, this is the essential weather app for iPhone and iPad.

Bloomberg (available for iPad and iPhone separately)
by By Bloomberg Finance LP, Free

If your padre is a money-guy, he’s going to want to stay up to date with the latest stock news, and there is no more respected source, nor a better iOS interface for market news, than that made by Bloomberg.

There isn’t much to say, if you need the best and latest stock market news and analysis this is the app to get. It’s available for both iPhone and iPad and is completely free.

Weber’s On The Grill (sold separately for iPad and iPhone)
By Weber-Stephen Products Co., $4.99 (both versions)

Mmm’ summer’s here and it’s time to break out the grill and start barbequing. Whether you own a Weber grill or a Habachi, their app is a must have for dads who love to tend the flames.

The app contains 280 ”Weber Original” recipes and an additional 40 for rubs, marinades, and sauces.

The app is more than a cookbook however; it is a reference tool with a pretty sophisticated navigation system, a grocery list manager, even a grill timer! There are also 100 grilling tips and instructional videos by celebrity chef and author, Jamie Purlance. Even the photos are mouthwatering. Get this for the grill master in your yard today.

We love this app so much that even though we weren’t able to reach Weber-Stephens, AppTudes will give a gift copy of this app, that can be earned the same way as promo codes. But, please note: iTunes gift apps and gift cards can only be redeemed in the US or Canadian app stores. If you win one, be sure to let us know which store you use. Remember, tweeting and Facebook visits, increase your odds of winning!

And that’s all we have for you right now, but the App Store is overflowing with great apps, for dads and everyone else. If you think we missed a great one, please share it with our readers in the comments, and check back often, we will be populating the site with reviews we have written elsewhere and fresh reviews daily so that we can become your one-stop app-shopping guide soon!

Good luck, and thanks for welcoming Tudey and AppTudes! We look forward to see you soon!

Welcome AppTudes! A Brand New Site For App Reviews: iOS Mac And Android Coming Soon

Happy June! The Stay at GeekMom is proud to announce:

Please welcome AppTudes: New attitudes about apps!

Watch for www.apptudes.com, going live: Father’s Day, June 19, 2011.

Our team of experienced writers will bring you side-by-side app reviews, exclusive contests, App Store shopping tips, insider looks at hot apps before they launch, and breaking mobile-tech news. Look for side-by-side Android vs. iOS match-ups too.

What is apptudes.com?

What sets apptudes.com apart from other review sites, is our attitude towards apps and games on iOS and Android devices – we love them!

We are super-jazzed about bringing them to you in a new format of side-by-side reviews from two or more experienced writers at one time.

You may get an “Android vs iOS match-up”, a “he said – she said,” or “home user vs. small business vs. power user” review, depending on the app in question. We will give you multiple viewpoints to help you spend your budget wisely on the apps best suited to you. We are an opinionated group, so expect lively debate!

If it’s hot, we’ll have it. Our staff of writers will look at chart-topping or buzzworthy games (tons of games) and apps, with a “10-tudes” multi-angle rating system that will steer you to just the right apps and games for your Apple iDevices, and coming soon, Android devices.

Jailbreak apps on the Cydia Store will be covered too.

Keep your eyes peeled for “break it down for me” guides that will look at apps in a single category and tell you which ones you need, and which ones to stay away from. We’ll help you navigate through the App Stores’ chaos, and provide laughs along the way.

Swag-a-Thon Sponsor

Stay tuned for more developments coming soon! Be sure to follow Sue (@technopinksue) and Lisa (@sahgeekmom) on Twitter for what’s coming up and to get access to promo codes, iTunes gift cards, special contests, giveaways and swag.

You can add @apptudes now too, so you’ll be the first to catch our huge launch-week swag-a-thon full of giveaways and contests.

Here’s just a sneak peek at what’s coming you way from our Father’s Day Launch Week Swag-a-Thon sponsors:


  • Free premium online and multi-mobile platform radio subscriptions from the best music discovery and custom station provider, Slacker Radio (www.slacker.com)
  • Overdamped Artist Series (Van Gogh HD, Monet HD, Vermerr HD, Da Vinci HD etc. huge catalog) mega-promocode slam
  • Free app and game promo codes from Nosy CrowMochiBits, Dreamix Studios and many more
  • Quick-Contest giveaways on Twitter (coming soon to Facebook)
  • iTunes gift card contest sponsored by Kid’s Corner and My Scrap Life developer Dirk Bost
  • Something very special from developers Owlchemy Labs, creators of the smash game Smuggle, er Snuggle Truck!.

And, those are just some of our upcoming prize offerings; you’ll have to follow us to catch them all!

Thank you in advance for your support and follows. We are passionate about mobile devices, apps, and developers. We can’t wait to bring you great information on how to get the most out of your iDevice.

Please direct press and general inquiries to info@apptudes.com and we will see that it gets to the right person for a speedy reply.

Advertise on our site! Amazing monthly and annual deals for launch day sponsors: info@apptudes.com

Developers, writers, and job seekers please click here for more information on our dev corner and dedicated forum, as well as a list of open positions for experienced applicants and student/novice internship options.

We can’t wait for you to see our new attitude towards apps, coming soon: www.apptudes.com

Happy app hunting, stayed tuned for more info coming soon!


p.s. Sue and Lisa are still proud members of the best iOS site on the web, www.appadvice.com. Watch for our reviews there and be sure to get our top-30 app here, to help you find the best of iOS for your device, right on your device!

Virtual History – The Last Supper: A New Bar In Interactive iPad Books.

Virtual History – The Last Supper

Also known as: Virtual History – Ultima Cena outside the US.

  • Publisher: Mondadori It
  • Genre: interactive book, art book, education, travel
  • Platform: iPad Only
  • Price: $9.99
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 5 Stars
  • Recommended Age: All Ages (not aimed at young children)

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED– winners were notified privately by email and DM.

Mondadori’s new series of educational book-apps are changing the face of digital publishing on iOS. One of the primary inspirations for my blog was the January publication of A Virtual History – Roma (released as Rome – A Virtual History, I believe) by the European publishing giant.

Mondadori HQ

Apple was featuring it prominently on the App Store, but I couldn’t find any reviews. I bought it and my jaw almost hit the floor. Stay at Home GeekMom was born a few days later, in part to fill that void. I don’t mind paying $10 for a good book, but it’s a lot to risk blind.

So I wrote about it, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that a public company the size and with the reputation of Mondadori would care.

I wrote it for you. I didn’t contact them or even send them a link (rookie mistake), but it became my most popular post and the one most often referred here by major search engines, so I keep it up to date. You can read it here.

Last week, when I saw that they had a second offering in the same vein, Virtual History – The Last Supper, about Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, from multiple thematic, historical and artistic perspectives, I didn’t think about the cost. I dropped the $9.99 and sat back to enjoy.

If you happen to have a passion for art, books, and apps, you’ve stumbled onto the trifecta.

I was pleased with the prose and equally impressed with the perfect balance of information and interactivity, a tightrope act for anyone on a foray into this market.

I was going to review, and rave about it; I didn’t need anything, but wrote Mondadori as a fan, even if I did use the press link. And, since I am heir to the chutzpah throne, I dared to pitch a giveaway.

I am thrilled; the folks at Mondadori are open and generous. I’m sure they will appreciate the publicity on appadvice.com, but someone like me is not going to impact the bottom line for a company that is the third largest magazine publisher in France. They own a 27 percent market share of all print books in Italy and they team up with Hearst to publish “Cosmo.” They really don’t need help from ‘lil ol’ me.

Seriously, I am so flattered to have received a reply much less codes to share with you.

But, aside from showing that Mondadori people are good people, it let me know the company is fully invested in iOS development, no matter how small a percentage of their overall endeavours it currently is.

From your perspective, it means that if there are glitches, I didn’t find a single one, but if there are, they will be fixed and if Mondadori can enhance the experience, they will.

And, it bodes well for more of this sort of app-fare to follow. That’s my ulterior motive; I want this app to sell big, so Mondadori and other world-class publishers flood the app store with more, more, and more.

To say you could not get this much for less in print is an understatement. If there is such a thing as a dollar-to-feature ratio, this app is a steal.

Mondadori teamed up with and uses Applix’s- patent pending technology for the standout feature: a 360 degree panoramic 3D immersion into images based on many of the most interesting areas of discussion. It’s called a “Bubble Viewer.” which, if you look at the pic on the right up there, you’ll see is apt. You feel like you are in the painting (or room, or courtyard,) not just looking up close.

Their first title, Rome, had the same viewer, but it was a bit clunky on my iPad. An update improved it, but I tested this new offering on my iPad 2 and it’s spectacular.

Here’s a short promotional video:

You can lift your iPad and turn it to view, for example, Milan’s Santa Maria Delle Grazie Refectory, and explore it as you would in real life, by looking (holding the pad) up, down, and all around.

I thought I’d seen this before, but wow! It’s so fluid and the environments are so graphic and detail rich. I reacted with the same excitement and wonder as I did before writing about apps became my trade, not just my passion.

It is worth the $10 even if you have absolutely no interest in the subject matter, just to see how it all works.

Other interactive features include progressive timelines, overlays, three-dimensional objects to rotate and more. They are extremely polished and hiccup free.

The written content is solid. It’s not dense, you can get through it quickly, but the breadth is outstanding.

The prose, I am assuming a translation from Italian, is neither pedantic nor patronizing. They don’t dumb it down. It’s not a scholarly work, you can read the text in an hour, but the writing is very good, and they don’t shy away from polysyllabic words when appropriate.

The features, however, make the app accessible to all. Even my energizer-bunny of a kid stopped and stared for a few minutes although he is more into Roma, because of the 3D gladiators.

There is an introduction and five chapters with various subcategories:

  • Inside the Last Supper
  • History and Studies
  • A Brilliant Project
  • The Mysteries of the Code (which will appeal to fans and haters of Dan Brown’s bestseller and the major motion picture, The Da Vinci Code)
  • From Da Vinci to Today

The introduction includes a tutorial worth checking out, but the GUI is intuitive; you’ll find everything if you tap around.

“Inside the Last Supper” is the biggest section, filled with information about the artistic innovations, the “protagonists” of the work,  (le mot juste) and details like what is (and isn’t) on the table.

Most pages are accompanied by one of the features discussed above.

The other chapters are smaller, but go into greater detail on specific areas. And the special effects are present, but not excessive. If the text says it all, they let it do so.

The digital elements are chosen carefully to enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject matter, and, it seems, the areas of focus were chosen to show off the features. It’s a perfect blend and makes the reading experience pleasurable.

The app is not about the controversies surrounding the art. Its primary focus is on the fresco, as it should be.

Where they do address Brown’s book, however, they politely, but cheerfully, debunk his theories one by one with brief, scholarly facts.

I’m no expert on Renaissance art or politics, nor do I know much about conspiracies, so I’m not going to editorialize.

But, the book doesn’t seem to have an agenda, just an interest in pointing out that there are simple and viable explanations for the mysteries. Call it an Occam’s razor approach.

The developers must have done research on the comments about other pricier App Store offerings that are image-rich.

One of the most common complaints is deftly avoided; you can minimize the text box on any page, to fully explore the image below. It’s the type of small touch that makes the app shine.

I would have used a bookmark feature, had there been one, for review purposes. And, these old eyes would love scalable fonts or a pinch-to-zoom feature for the smallish text. But, these are small matters, as this is still hands down the best book-app I’ve seen.

I poked around on Mondadori’s website and found their mission statement:

The company’s mission has always been to encourage the broadest possible dissemination of culture and ideas, with a product range that covers all genres and reaches all readers, combining a love of culture and editorial quality with market rules and a capacity to identify and anticipate change while respecting and protecting the values that underlie the publisher’s role in civil society

To that end, Virtual History – The Last Supper (Ultima Cena in some App Stores) is a complete success.

If you want to peek at the future of digital publishing you have to get Virtual History – The Last Supper. It’s a must-have for iPad and iPad 2 owners; few apps will make your device look this good.

Want to win a copy? You can enter a draw for two codes on my review on appadvice.com, but I have one saved just for my loyal readers.

Leave a comment about why you want this, how you would use it, what you think of their other title, Virtual History – Rome, or anything relevant, and frankly for this one I’m going to pick the reply I like the best. This is not just a freebie, it’s gift I hope you will treasure, and I want it in loving hands.

Added 5/28/11: You can earn an entry into a separate RANDOM draw. Just use the share button below or the Tweet link on top to share this review on Twitter. tweet and retweet it yourself and you’re in. Remember to include @sahgeekmom so I can find you!

Contest Closes Tuesday, June 1, 2011, 9:00pm PDT. Good Luck!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to my US friends and family. I’ll be back with a complete list of the best interactive books for iPad here and on appadvice.com. And, mark your calendars and add @apptudes to your twitter feed to be the first to know about an exciting new venture in app reviews! http://www.apptudes.com,  launching 19 June, 2011!

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the Scrap It Contest for a chance to win one of three iTunes gift Cards, up to $50 value, click here. And here are some of my recent and most popular reviews and lists to keep you busy.

Happy App Hunting


Best iPhone Apps For News Junkies (Most Free!)

Stay At Home GeekMom Weekend Edition: Best Apps for News Junkies – iPhone (Most Free!)

Hello again,

I’ve been so good, I’ve been posting here all week and I have an exclusive giveaway going on right now for the best new puzzle game this year, Burn it All.

Now it’s time for another Weekend Edition.

I have been meaning to do this one for a while. As a news-a-holic I use my iDevices to consume news in every format. I get my print newspapers, my digital editions of print newspapers, my magazines and anything else availble in paper, in paperless form. I also comsume RSS feeds and tweets voraciously.

And if you were one of my Facebook friends you would know I love sharing what I discover or find interesting with everyone.

iPhones and iPads are the ideal way to get your news on the go in myriad formats. No matter how you like your news served, there is, of course, an app for that.

In fact there are actually thousands of apps for that, so how do you choose? And should you pay or stick to the free services?

Today we are going to look at  iPhone (and iPod touch) options for news, but instead of just mentioning my favourites, I created a guide. Part two, next weekend, will focus on iPad apps. Apps on both lists may be universal so check them both out!

Since this is a guide, not a list, the apps are ranked and categorized.

If I missed your favorite please let me know in the comments. I checked out over 60 apps for this list, but I could never hope to cover them all!


PressReader Universal (free) 7 Trial issues, In-App Subscription 
5 Stars

If you are a traditional news junkie and love newspapers, but want to carry them with you or if you want your papers, but you want features that only an app can provide, PressReader is awesome. Literally,  as in I am in awe of how it brings the world to my lap.

It gives you access to over 1700 papers from around the world.

Read the International Herald Tribune, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Observer and other major international papers.

And also select from thousands of publications from cities and towns in every corner of the world, all in their native language.

The universal app is free to download, comes with seven free issues, and then has a pay-as-you go or subscription option.

Features include read aloud, multi-platform access, easy navigation, social network integration, and all papers are available for offline reading.

I wrote a comprehensive review when I first started this blog, you can read it here, but note there have been even more updates and more papers added.

Because it is a companion app to a huge website, and part of a company that delivers newspapers to hotels worldwide you can expect constant improvements.

Also you can access the papers you buy on your computer or almost any other mobile device, not just Apple gear. It’s even available for Kindle and other e-readers. This is a must-have if you don’t mind paying a fair price for a ton of content.

User reviews were middling until recent updates. The current version has 4.5 stars but only 7 people have checked in. Try a free issue , or just browse and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Pulse News Mini (free)  5 Stars

Pulse Mini is the free iPhone counterpart to the hugely popular Pulse News app for iPad. It’s gorgeous. It also brings you news from any of a vast selection of preset feeds in all areas including sports, tech, politics, entertainment even fashion from the biggest websites around.

It lets you add your Twitter, Facebook and other social network feeds. And it functions as a Google reader.  We’ll go a bit deeper into Pulse in part two, in the mean time you can get it for iPad, also free, on the App Store.

Excellent Options:

News360 Universal (free) 4.5 Stars

With well over 2000 user reviews and a solid 4.5 rating, News360 may not need an introduction, but here’s one just in case.

The app gathers information from over 100 newspapers and magazines and presents them to you based on your location.

It also serves up multiple articles from many viewpoints on a single theme allowing for depth and perspective.

With the ability to follow topics and Instapaper and Read it later for offline reading and Facebook, Twitter and email sharing and you have another free winner.

Taptu Universal (free) 4.5 Stars

This one is the newest universal multi-source newsreader to hit the App Store. And I confess, I’m in love.

Taptu is the current critics darling; wired.com, TechCrunch, Tuaw and Gizmodo amongst others, have been touting the newcomer as a fantastic news app that keeps you coming back for more.

It’s user interface (UI) is beautiful. Taptu lets you add your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and the content from your favorite web sites and blogs (via RSS feeds or Twitter.) It then transforms them into visual streams. Share via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Reported crashes were fixed in update, new version is getting 4.5 stars.

Reader ($2.99) 4.5 Stars

If Google Reader is your preferred manner of consuming news, I highly recommend Reeder.

There are many free alternatives, good ones, (I like Feedly and Feeddler), but if you rely on Google’s RSS service, no iPhone app brings you more for less.

Browsing and sharing are a breeze, the slider control is great, and it’s super easy to manage feeds and folders.

Features: send to Instapaper, ReadItLater or Readability, save to Delicious, Pinbard and Zootool; Facebook and twitter posting, and much more. Current version has 20 5-stars ratings, overall over 355, with a firm 4.5.

Sources You Know -Good Apps

PBS NEWSHOUR – official (free) 4.5 stars

What can I say, it’s PBS’s Newshour. Some folks don’t like the GUI, I say get over it.

If PBS wants to bring their content to me for free even on my iDevices, I’m thrilled to have not just one, but many hours of their insightful, in-depth analysis.

And the chief user complaint is the placement of a banner. It’s annoying, but this is PBS. If they can raise funds in-app, kudos; at least their not shilling for co-co puffs or Shi.. er Citibank. Get it!

NPR News (free) 4.5 Stars

Ok I don’t debate politics,(well of course I do, but not here) ,but this might give you a hint as to which side of the aisle I would be on if I were American.

If you hate NPR, obviously this is the wrong app, but if you are like me and turn to them for thought-provoking discussions of headlines, politics, and everything else under the sun then this is one killer app.

Forgetting the content, the features are amazing and the interface works smoothly. The latest version has over 1000 user reviews and it gets a solid 4-stars. If you assume some of the critics are NPR haters, I think my rating is more reflective of the app’s quality.

You can listen to hourly updates, create playlists of stories you want to hear, and stream podcasts, no syncing or downloading needed.

You can also read stories while listening to live or on-demand shows an can download the stories for offline access. You can find your local station or listen to your favorites from around the US (I am partial to Boston) or stick with national coverage only.

Favorite segments like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! are included. It’s a must-have for NPR junkies.

CBS Sunday Morning (free) 4 Stars 

Sunday is happy day for news junkies. The best papers are bursting at the seams and for most of my life CBS has brought us 60 Minutes in the evening and CBS Sunday Morning with our coffee and crossword.

OK, both shows have gone downhill since their heyday, 60 Mnutes more than Sunday Morning, but in a sea of lightweight news programs, of info-tainment and opinion lurking beneath the guise of journalism, Sunday Morning is a still breathe of sunny fresh air. Especially if you like culture with your news.

They cover the news the sound-byte stations overlook: Art, Music, Architecture, Nature, Pop Culture, History and offer thoughtful opinions from some of the best commentators still on the idiot-box And Charleses, past and present, serve the top news and political stories from unique angles.

The app brings you highlights only, not full shows, but I’ll take it. It’s also a two-fer; tap to switch to the main CBS news app: But that app is poorly rated (see below.)

This one is iPhone only, The video upscales well to iPad, but the GUI does not. Users give it 3-3.5 stars, but I am a die-hard fan of the show and if you are too, it’s even worth the pixelation on the iPad to get the video content.

Quality crumbs beat an overabundance of garbage any day.

Bloomberg  (free) 4 Stars

If the name doesn’t make you think of stocks and financial news you must have been sleeping in a cave for the last several decades.

Bloomberg is a preeminent source for all things market-reated, and the app serve up their content on iPhone.

Bloomberg offers news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market trends analysis, and more.

You can also create a customized list of stocks you want to follow from markets around the world.

It gets a 3.5 from users, I think the UI makes it worth 4.

BBC News (free) 4 stars

What’s in a name? With the BBC, like NPR and PBS, everything. Here’s their free app that lets you access their best content.

Filter news stories by geographical region or category including business, technology, entertainment and sports. It  also has content in Spanish, Russian, Arabic and other languages.

You even get video, including one minute news summaries to keep you informed on the go.  You can also personalize the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing

NBC Nightly News (free) 3 stars.

I don’t like network and cable news, period. And while all the networks have apps, I will tell you now that ABC, CBS, CNN and Fox get terrible reviews.

Well Fox’s dedicated, um, call them fans, (but in the literal sense), will defend the 24 hour exreme-right-wing propaganda machine. (Even on matters where I lean right, they are just plain nuts, sorry. Blame it on my Candianess, but it’s lol-funny, in a sad way.)

But those judging the app, not the politics say it’s crap too.

NBC Nighlty News by MSNBC is the only one that gets decent ratings. Users, the few who left comments, love it or hate it, but it averages out to 3.5 stars. Just the icon makes me sure I’ll never check for myself. Blech.

Sources You Know -Bad Apps

NYTimes (subscription only) 3 stars

The NY Times is widely considered one of the finest news organizations in the world and their app was huge hit. A recent change making content available only to subscribers, however, has lowered their user-reviewers considerably. News Junkies are fleeing to free or cheaper alternatives.

If you do have a subscription or need your NYT like I do (book reviews!), then this app remains a good, really the only, choice.

Just read the fine print; there has been some confusion over iTunes NYT subscriptions and direct NTY subscriptions.

Network News Apps (free) 0-2 Stars 

As I said avoid all the major US news network apps, besides the NBC one, and even that is superfluous with so many better options.

I’m not going to take them down one by one, just trust me, they suck and the content is often not available out of the US anyway.

CNN’s iPad app is eye candy, but their iPhone app is almost impossible to see.

AP Mobile (free) 2 stars

 The Associated Press is one of the oldest and most respected news organizations in the world. News outlets pay them to provide breaking news from all over the globe.

Their’s was also one of the first iPhone news apps to use Push Notifications. It used to me my go-to app for headlines and push.

But so many better alternatives have cropped up, and the AP app sits mostly unchanged except that a recent update added in-app adverts, which are turning off long-time fans.

Reuters is on par with the AP and their free app gets great ratings although I haven’t checked it out myself. It can’t be worse.

Great Alternatives to Traditional News Apps:

Twitter (free) 5 stars

If I were just listing the best twitter clients, I would not give Twitter’s own iPhone app 5 stars or the top spot. But this is a list for news junkies, not tweeters. This app has all the basic functions of twitter, and, of course, it’s free.

Other apps are available with more robust features, and with less features, and more a more passive reading experience. We’ll talk which are best that in another post.

But what we do need to discuss is how Twttter is one of the best and most popular ways to access news from any device or computer, any time, anywhere.  If you know all about twitter, skip this next part, but if you don’t read on:

It seems like  years ago, but back in late January when I was starting this blog I hadn’t used twitter, nor had I any interest in it.

My understanding was that Twitter was a way to link to your friends and celebrities to send stupidly short notes about what you are doing every minute of the day.

And I was right, Twitter is that. But, it’s also become the ultimate aggregrator, for all interests, particularly news. All you need to do is open a free account and start searching.

Pick an obvious starting point like the NYT or the AP, your local paper, favorite news network, website, or whatever and it’s pretty likely they have a twitter feed.

Just choose to follow them and suddenly you are getting instant access to their latest news. Then see who they follow to find more content you wouldn’t think to search for.

Robin Rhys, appadvice.com’s on-air personality, my friend and colleague, just covered the best Twitter apps for all different levels of Twitter users. She explains a lot about Twitter in general too.

Check it out to find which Twitter app will suit you best – I use several, but Tweetings is the one that lives on my dock.

As you get to know your way around, you will find there is a ton of content for any interest under the sun.

And things called hashtags that let you see what everyone in the Twitterverse (I know, but I didn’t make it up) is talking about.

If you typed in #royalwedding yesterday you could have seen what every single person from everywhere on earth had to say. All I had to say was “who cares”, so I did chirp in, but you can see how it can help with issues that actually matter.

And don’t think you only get 146 characters of news. Twitter all about sharing links. You post a link, a short comment and ta-da you have a tweet. When you read tweets in most apps you don’t have to open a web browser, you can see the relevant web page right there.

Of course you can then retweet it to your followers and trust me, somehow, some people, will find you!

Newsy: Multisource Video News Analysis (free) 4.5 stars

Newsy is also available for iPad and TechCrunch calls it a must-download. It’s for those who like to watch the news instead of reading it.

Newsy delivers short videos designed to keep you informed on the biggest news stories. It’s great to enhance your understanding of all sides of the argument quickly,  by providing multiple perspectives from multiple sources. The current version has 4.5 stars from over 50 users.

MacHash News (free) 4.5 stars 

Apple Junkie? Tech-News-aholic? If you’re looking for the latest on OS X and iOS look no further than #MacHash. (Think hashtags, see Twitter above)

It’s a tech news aggregator that delivers the latest Apple news to any iDevice.

Sources include: 9to5 Mac, Apple Hot News, AppleInsider, GigaOm, Lifehacker, Mac Observer, MacApper, MacDailyNews, Macenstein, MacLife, MacNewsWorld, MacNN, MacRumors, MacStories, Macworld, PowerPage, RoughlyDrafted, Slashdot: Apple, Smoking Apples, TidBITS, TiPb, TUAW and more in a great universal interface.

It’s a fantastic go-to resource for folks just like me. It gets a 4.5 rating from users too.

Podcasts – AudioPress Pro Player 
($1.99) 4 Stars

Do you prefer listening to, over reading or watching, the news? Or do you find yourself in the car or at work an unable to take your eyes off your task? Then Audiopress is for you.

Radio apps provide plenty of access to talk and news stations, but Audiopress brings you the news-out-loud a different way.

You can search radio stations by geo-location, but the primary function is playing podcasts. Just create a playlist and you’re set.

Don’t know the first thing about podcasts? Me neither, I equte them with iPod audio players, not iOS devices.

But Audiopress offers an easy way to discover them, and to my surprise there is a ton of great current content out there, news and otherwise.

In this app you can pick up to three topics and it chooses podcasts for you. You can then fine tune as much as you like. You can save podcasts for offline listening.

Once you learn what you like, you can add any other podcast you want, for a completely personalized listening experience. I have started to use it daily.

Share via Facebook. Twitter, and email. Free version available with limited features. 57 users share my 4-Star assessment. Try it.

Zinio Magazine Newsstand & Reader (freee to download, minimal free content, buy magazine via in-app purchase) 3.5 Stars

Prefer your news in magazine form? Well if PressReader is a virtual newspaper stand, Zinio is it’s magazine counterpart.

Access digital copies of news, sports, and every other type of magazine from top publishes. All the major names are there.

This is a paid service, there is a little free content, but expect the costs to be as much or more than retail. Much worse for non-US customers.

That said the interface is fantastic and some magazines are worth any price. I love National Geographic’s interactive content and prefer Zinio to their own app. Users like it less than I because of the cost. it gets 3 stars in/on the App Store.

Ok that should keep you more than busy for this weekend.

Until then please check out some of my most popular weekend editions and recent reviews. And enter to win the only free copy giveaway for the biggest new game to hit the app store. It’s the best puzzler of 2011 and I have a copy and a review for you! It’s the next post down or the first link below.

Happy App Hunting


The Stay at Home GeekMom Weekend Edition: The Best Apps For Earth Day. All iOS Devices.

Green Apps! The Best Apps For Earth Day. All iOS Devices.

Go Green and Learn More About Our Beautiful Home: Earth.

For All iDevices, Ages, Interests and Budgets.

Wow it’s been so long I hope you guys remember me!

With holidays and my added gig at appadvice.com, writing AppLists and AppGuides (lists are like this post, a list of different apps, related in a broad category, in no order, guides rank apps in a single specific genre) I’ve hardly had a chance to breathe. But it’s fun.  =D

Ok so Earth Day is fast approaching, but every day really should be Earth day, especially if you have kids. I don’t have to tell you it’s their world we’re mucking up and they have the most to win or lose.

But we all can do with some education, and some tools to make being green easier. And there are many increbible ways to view our planet with iOS apps. Once you check some of them out, you will learn or remember why Earth is so special no matter what lens you view it through, and desrving of loving care.

This is a reprint from my first two app lists, all for Earth Day.

Part One is a list of iPhone/iPod touch and universal apps that can help you find practical ways to make changes, and stories and games to engage your little eco-activists.

Part Two are iPad and Universal apps that show you Earth’s beauty, history, science and natural splendour in spectacular and creative ways. There are many great choices for young students to learn and play with too. In total here are 21 green apps for iOS.

Please check them both out, the  lists follow each other in a single long post rather than being split in two as usual so you can have them in time for Friday, April 22, 2011.

Green Apps For iPhone

There are lots of ways to be a part of the solution on Earth Day and around the year. Whether you want to learn more, do more, conserve more, or educate your kids, there’s a green app for that.

My Recycle List by 1-800-Recycling.com (Free)

Everyone knows recycling is a key factor in any Green effort. But it’s not always easy to know where to bring everything or even what, specifically, is recyclable. This app offers a solution by helping you create a very specific list from nine categories of common recyclables, and then finds a location near you that accepts them.

Green Outlet by Key Lime 314, LLC (4.99)

One great way of conserving energy and reducing your electricity bill is to find out which appliances are the biggest drain in your home. Here’s an app that does that for you.

Enter your current rate (per KW hour) select anything from an xbox to a fish tank and see what it’s really costing you and the earth. The app even calculates your carbon footprint.

The Four Seasons – An Earth Day Interactive childrens story book by Tab Tale (Free)

There is not a more receptive, nor a more important group to educate about the environment than children. It’s their future that is at stake after all. This beautiful free ebook created just for Earth Day will engage your youngest eco-warriors with a charming story, animations, and tons of interactive features. It has an almost perfect rating in the App Store.

EnvironRss by Michael Wasserman (.99)

Knowledge is power and this app gives you access to an wealth of information on all matters relating to the environment. Follow events from around the world by checking out any of the many included RSS feeds like government feeds, non-profits like the WWF or Sierra club, and even cutting edge think tanks. Share by Facebook or email, save for offline reading with Instapaper integration, and add your own RSS feeds too. A great resource.

Skeptical Science by Shine Technologies (Free)

The biggest impediment to Green efforts is that ignorance and misinformation about global warming in particular, abounds; there are doubters and nay-sayers everywhere. This app breaks down common misconceptions like “it’s not happening” or “It’s not bad” and then offers factual peer-reviewed scientific research to contest almost any irrational argument you may encounter.

Clean The Gulf by Tiger Stripes LLC (Free)

The Deepwater Horizon (BP) oil rig spill in the Gulf of Mexico created the biggest natural disaster in US history. This app Is a great way for young and old to learn about the impact and help in the cleanup. The app offers information about the Gulf in simple language and with animation to make it engaging for kids. It also provides practical ways to get involved.

Earth Hour 60+ by Earth Hour (Free)

Earth Hour has passed for 2011, but this app keeps the spirit alive all year. Interact with the Global Village and see what others are doing to make an difference. Get great ideas of small things you can do every day to change the world. Then share your own ideas with photos and videos.

Three Trees by Studio Pepwuper, Inc (.99)

This game already had an environmental theme. The object is to move water, air, and sun in order to save three plants from the ravages of dust, flooding, and drought. It’s simple, challenging, and the developers are adding an Earth Day update that promises to help explain the day and provide resources for learning more.

WWF Panda Collection Tin by WWF UK (1.99)

The World Wildlife Fund is a global organization that works to preserve animals from extinction around the globe. One way you can support their cause is to buy a virtual gift for yourself or a friend. You get a cute 3D panda tin, and the WWF UK gets research funds.

GoodGuide by GoodGuide (Free)

Changing what you buy, and even how you shop is another way to help the Earth. Some products are less toxic than others, some companies have a better environmental track record than others.

This app helps you sort through over 70,000 Food, Personal Care, Household Cleaners, Toys, and Paper products. You just use iPhone camera as a bar code scanner and find out everything you need to know. Then share the info on social media and create shopping and blacklists.

The Lorax – Dr. Seuss by Oceanhouse Media (4.99)

If anyone knows how to engage kids, it’s the great Dr Seuss. The Lorax is a cautionary tale about corporate greed, deforestation, and extinction. The Once-ler recounts how the Lorax “who speaks for the trees” tried and failed to save the Truffula Forest and its inhabitants from his Thneeds Factory. The app comes with read-it-myself or read-it-to-me options and renders the Green classic beautifully for iOS.

Lorax Garden by Oceanhouse Media (1.99)

To compliment the book, the Lorax Garden offers gameplay for any age. Where the book ends sadly (but with a glimmer of hope), now you have the chance to help the Lorax reforest the woods with Truffula trees and flowers you grow. It’s a lot of fun and brings the message that change is possible home.

iPad Apps For Earth Day

To know Earth is to love Earth. But efforts to secure our planet’s future require a knowledge of it, past and present. Only when we understand our wondrous world can we truly engage in the battle to save it. In honor of Earth Day we look at some of the very best iPad titles in the App Store for learning about our home. From the sky, through a camera lens, through animals, nature, art, history and fun, we we bring you the best iPad apps to celebrate our planet and understand our place in it, on Earth Day and all year long.

Google Earth, by Google. Free

The best way to get to know your planet is to see it, and no one brings it to you quite like Google Earth. It uses Google’s satellite imagery to allow you to explore the far reaches of the globe or your own backyard at a swipe. The app is great on all iOS devices, but it shines on iPad, especially when viewing the high-resolution images of over half the world’s population and browsing the vast nunber of geo-located photos from around the globe.

DINOSAURS iPad: American Museum of Natural History Collections by American Museum of Natural History.( 99)

They say those who don’t study the past are doomed to repeat it. How better, then, to learn how to avoid a catastrophic future than by studying dinosaurs and their legacy. The American Museum of Natural History brings their world-famous exhibits to iPad so everyone can discover the clues our cold-blooded forbearers left behind.

It contains a mosaic of over 1000 images from the museum’s archive in a collage that replicates a T-Rex; each interactive pic provides information about where the fossil was found. It’s Mesozoic eye candy.]

50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic by National Geographic Society – 4.99 (Reg. 9.99)

How the National Geographic Society narrowed down their spectacular archive of iconic photographs is beyond imagining, but this app presents you with 50 of their finest shots. And a ton of background information too.

Features include: a video introduction from the Editor-in-Chief of the Magazine; photographer bios; background information on the photos; videos; and interactive maps and timelines. It is a bit expensive, but the way National Geo captures nature and culture is priceless.

Britannica Kids: Rainforests by Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc ($4.99)

If you have a child in grammar school, they have almost certainly learned about the fragile existence of the world’s rain forests. Brittanica (of Encyclopedia fame) serves up an interactive mix of games images and information on 21 animals and topics like “What is a Rainforest”, “Rainforest Plants” and “Rainforest Threats” It’s a great study aid, and sure to engage. Aimed at kids 8-12.

 Living Earth HD – World Clock and Weather by Moshen Chan (.99)Looking for something a little more functional? This app brings you a virtual 3D view of Earth from outer space and while universal, serves as an ideal showcase app for your iPad’s display. It features accurate cloud rendering in close to real time, allowing you to see storms as they happen from a rare vantage point.
It’s also a world clock with an alarm functions, and a weather app with a four day forecast for over 22,000 global locations. Watch sunrise lead to sunset, the seasons as they change, all in stunning hi-resolution.

Geo Walk HD – 3D World Factbook by Vito Technology Inc. (2.99)
This app provides an innovative approach to teaching kids about the world. Young users are presented with a 3D virtual globe that is spinable and scaleable. The app contains 500 pictures and brief descriptions broken into four categories: places, animals, plants, and people. There is even an interactive quiz. It’s a good choice to engage grade and middle schoolers with their planet without overwhelming them with tons of information. They call it “Edutainement”; that’s on the nose

Heritage, by Fotonauts Inc. (Free)

Fotopedia brings you the world in many wonderful ways, but none of their apps are better suited to Earth Day than Heritage. This award-winning collection of 25,000 stunning photographs from around the globe is completely free. Admire images of our beautiful planet in all its glorious colors then save your favorites to use as wallpaper or share via social media.

Here On Earth by Arcade Sunshine Media, LLC. ($11.99)

For those who want something substative, the interactive edition of Tim Flannery’s book about Darwin, Dawkins, evolution, and how to reshape our thinking on those matters, is an ideal choice.

The multimedia version of the bestselling work, “traces the history of the planet, the history of humanity, and the impact that we have had on our planet.”Before you balk at the price, the text iBook is only a dollar less; in print, it’s more.

Here the text is accompanied by 25 Interviews with the author, videos from award-winning filmmakers, social network integration, even air play support. it’s not for the intellectually timid, but the special features make the book much more accessible. A benchmark for interactive books in any genre.

TreePad by Algorithmic Botany (Free)

Here’s a completely different way to celebrate Earth Day and your love of trees year round. Treepad gives you the ability to render 3D tree models from a vast assortment of natural tree elements. It has the customizability of a top-notch art app, but with results so realistic you will find yourself making one after another and filling at least your virtual space with oxygenated wonder.

Art Authority for iPad, by Open Door Networks, Inc. (9.99)

Photos, fossils and facts are traditional ways to view the world. A path less travelled is history through the lens of art. Of all the multi-artist apps in the App Store this one offers the greatest breadth. It has everything from cave drawings to contemporary classics, taking you on a journey like no other. The app is full of hi-def images of masterworks broken into periods and displayed like an art gallery. It will take you on an odyssey through time guided by many of the most creative people to ever grace our planet. Also availble for iPhone.

Thanks for checking this out doing your part to make a greener tomorrow. I’ll be back soon with fresh apps soon, in the mean time please check out some of my recent reviewes:

Happy App Hunting


My All Time Favorite Kid’s iPad Book Is Donating $1/Download To Apps for Children with Special Needs: Review of Little Mermaid – Auryn

Take An Underwater Journey Through A Classic Tale: The Little Mermaid

Posted by Lisa Caplan on: March 1st, 2011, 7.33 pm on appadvice.com – reprinted March 23rd, 2011 in order to feature the Donations to Benefit Apps For Children With Special Needs. Plus a new introduction for SAHGeekmom.com and info on how to win Auryn Ink!

I first met Auryn Apps WAY back, 2 months ago, when I was just starting off my blog. I reviewed the amazing watercolour painting app, Auryn Ink (not the app being reviewed or connected with charity, just backstory) along with a favorite sylus of mine, from Pengo.

It was that review (click her e to read it, but bear in mind it’s, um, vintage…lol) and my app stalking guide (useful still, CLICK HERE TO READ but again let’s call it retro), however amateurish they were, that l turned this blog from a lark for friends, to, well, to whatever it is now, and got me writing for appadvice.com.

Since that time I have come to know one of the people behind AurynApps. After I reviewed their app, we tweeted a bit and she sent me the promo code for Mermaid, etc. I have to confess I consider her a friend now, but I wrote my reviews before we had spoken.

Anyway tomorrow Auryn Ink will be featured (With A GIVEAWAY) on Robin Rhys’s Video Review Show AppAdvice Daily, on Thursday 3/24/11, and now Auryn’s helping to raise funds for a fabulous cause I support wholeheartedly, (see About MeApps for Children Children With Special Needs

So please, check out the most beautiful fairy tale in the App Store and help get iPads to children with special needs. They are the most amazing tool for Special Education and disability access.

And please pass the news along. If recent events have shown anything it is the power of social networking to bring about change and allow large numbers of people, do small thing to great effect.

Here’s my appadvice.com review:

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc. iconLittle Mermaid – Auryn ($3.99) by Auryn Inc. is a minimally interactive, beautifully animated new e-book for iPad that tells the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Little Mermaid, in a way you haven’t seen before. This app is absolute eye candy.

Renowned children’s book illustrator, Lizbeth Zwerger, whose art has decorated the pages of this whimsical undersea story for years, lent her work to this app, and the result is nothing short of spectacular.

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc. screenshotThe While most books of this sort are aimed at the preschool crowd, Auryn’s The Little Mermaid will delight anyone who enjoys the masterful 19th Century storyteller’s iconic works.

Umesh Shukla, CCO and founder of Auryn Apps, explains that this latest title in their catalogue of iOS books is meant to “capture a wider audience. From 6-8 year olds to a more sophisticated child audience, and even adults who are young at heart.”

The app is interactive in as much as it has a read-aloud feature, and there is a watery interactive surface, much like the many Koi pond apps you can find on the App Store. You can make the water ripple, and have fish follow your fingers on the alternating text and art pages (it is art, you really have to see it). And, that is all the flash you get, which is a lovely change for an App Store kid-lit offering.

Auryn manages to achieve the elusive balance between using technology to maximize the user experience while still allowing room for the content to speak for itself. The Zen-like interface sets off Zwerger’s illustrations perfectly and complements the tranquility that pervades this rendition of the beloved story.

The Little Mermaid - Auryn by Auryn Inc. screenshot

The narrator’s tone is fluid, and as melodious as her merfolk subjects, making the book a pleasure to hear as well as read. The gentle ambient underwater sounds reinforce the serenity making this a perfect bedtime companion for children of all ages.

Since this is the original 150 year-old text it is not trite. There is a basic love story, and just enough suspense to appeal to children of both genders, but don’t expect singing lobsters or a Disney-style happily ever after.

On a deeper level the story is a meditation on the value of the temporal life and the eternal soul. Auryn’s The Little Mermaid will put anyone in a reflective frame of mind to quietly ponder these questions.

It’s also refreshing to read about a princess who saves a man, instead of the other way around. Girls as old as 12 should enjoy this story on many levels.

This is a must-have e-book for any young person, and even an admirable coffee table book to show off your iPad. The only complaint I have is that the story had to end.

When it comes to striking a perfect balance between substance and style in the genre of interactive children’s fiction, Auryn has set a new standard. I hope to see more of this sort of well-balanced brain food soon, and will be watching Auryn apps carefully in anticipation of similar future offerings.

Thanks for reading or re-reading and you will love this book and be helping a great cause, so please check it out!

Happy App Hunting,

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