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Posts tagged ‘SAHGeekMom’

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

Hi!

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

The 

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Win iTunes Gift Cards Now With Tweet – Huge App & Game Promo Code Giveaway Coming Soon!

UPDATE June 16, 2011, 10:45pm EST

New chance to win June 17, 2011 9:00pm EST – this time the prize is a $15 tunes card, but you will have to work for it. This is NOT a random draw, the more attention you bring to us, the better you chnaces of winning! Random chances at iTunes cards and even early free apps, are available by liking our Facebook Fan Page here! When we hit 200 likes someone will win a $15 iTunes card, at 300 a $20 card etc. – details here.

We also have a twitter party planned for Tuesday, June 21, from 6-8pm EST – Click Here For Details

Win extra goodies just use the hashtag #swagathon starting at 6:00pm EASTERN time and for two hours we will be giving away extra swag and answering your questions about apps and the new site – please join us!

Did that make no sense? I know right, I went to my first about a week ago – it’s simple copy and paste #swagathon into twitter’s search bar when it’s time and you will automatically see everything everyone is saying and be able to reply. You can ask us questions and win big!

If you want to win you need to be following @apptudes and we have to follow you back so we can DM (direct private message) you with the code for the app you win!

Note:

We awarded the first iTunes card for Tweeters tonight, June 16, 2011, at 9:00PM EST. The prize was a $10 iTunes card for following and tweeting this and anything else that gets apptudes.com and @apptudes or our Facebook fanpage (where you can win ever more, click here) and I even gave an extra prize to someone who has been tweeting so hard for @sahgeekmom. Since we are all the same, it seemed only fair =D

Also visit and like our Facebook page to win free app promo codes starting NOW! And more chances to win Itunes gift cards! No limit to how often or how many you can win!

ORIGINAL POST:

Do you want a chance to win some of the best bet apps and games on iOS, Mac and Android?

What about free iTunes gift cards? Free subscriptions to premium online services?

Then mark the date: Father’s Day, June 19, 2011 and start following @apptudes on twitter!

Below are just some of the AppTudes launch week Swag-A-Thon sponsors.

All the apps you see below and mnay more will be yours to win, along with other amazing prizes.

To promote this event you can WIN iTunes Gift Cards starting right NOW!

Just tweet this page once a day between now and launch (we will be updating it constantly) and we will start picking winners on Thursday, June 16 from those who are doing the best job of spreading the word.

Be sure to follow me too, @sahgeekmom to keep up to date!

Check out our press release here to learn more about apptudes.com, the freshest site in iOS, Mac and Android Apps, and look forward to more great giveaways added daily

You Can Win These great iOS, OS X Apps and their PC and Android cousins too – new apps and games are coming in so fast this is only a partial list and will be updated as often as possible. These are some of the top apps, we have award winners, and we don’t review or giveaway anything we don’t absolutely love ourselves. You really don’t want to miss out on these!

                                                     

Here are some of our amazingly generous Swag-a-Thon sponsors. they are giing out iTunes gift cards, premium memberships (think Slacker Radio!) and unique prizes.

Apps:

  • ESPN iScore Baseball
  • Nascar Junkie for iPad
  • Martha Stewart Cocktails
  • How to Cook Everything – All Version!
  • Slacker Radio (Premium Subscriptions)
  • Procreate
  • Auryn Ink
  • iQuarium
  • Pimp Your Screen
  • Radio By Spreaker (Premium Subscriptions)
  • Writing Prompts
  • Packing Pro (as featured on CNN)
  • iMuscle (Nova) iPad
  • Comic Life for Mac and iOS
  • Dramatic Music App Plus
  • Debt Payoff Pro
  • Let’s Create! Pottery
  • Let’s Create! Pottery HD
  • Autopainter HD
  • Autopainter II
  • Autopainter Express for Mac
  • Dynamic Autopainter for PC
  • Wig Booth
  • Everyday Golf Coach HD
  • 1-2-3 Draw
  • Make-A-Monster
  • Overdamped Artists Series – giving away a TON of their huge catalog!
  • Album App
  • LitterBug
  • Talking 3D Lab Mat
  • Green Genie
  • Max and Molly
Games:
  • Dress Up Rush HD (released today, June 17, 2011)
  • Grim Joggers
  • Cavemean (Lemmings!)
  • Snuggle Truck
  • Smuggle Truck
  • Azkend
  • Crux (Crosswords – the best!)
  • Jack Of All Tribes HD
  • AR (Augmented Reality) Misslie -(iPhone and iPad 2)
  • SwipeTapTap
  • Sparkle the Game
  • Royal Envoy
  • Robot City
  • Heros of Kalevala
  • Sailboats Champions Pro HD
  • Teddy’s Playground
  • ColorFlys
  • Egg Drop Soup
  • Doggie Day Spa
  • Joining Hands
For Kids:
  • Hop On Pop
  • Auryn’s Little Mermaid
  • Stack the States
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go
  • Nosy’s Crow’s Three Little Pigs
  • My Word Wall
  • Grimm’s Rapunzel – 3D Interactive Pop-up Book
  • Once Upon a Potty: Boy
  • Bunny Fun
  • Enchanted Tales: Snow White
  • Ansel and Claire’s Adventures in Africa
  • Teddy’s Day
  • Roxie’s A-MAZZE-ing Vacation Adventures
  • Teddy’s Night
  • Stack the Countries
  • Aesop in Rhyme Series from Auryn
  • Toddler Email
  • Alpha Books
  • Toddler Toy Factory
Please take a moment to visit out amazing sponsors below and tweet now to start winning!

                OVERDAMPED ARTIST SERIES           v   

Blast Off Into Action-Gaming Goodness With Chillingo’s Rocket Bunnies

  • Publisher: Chillingo
  • Genre: Action Game, Family Game, Casual Game
  • Platform: iPhone/iPod touch and iPad sold seperately
  • Price: $.99 or $2.99 HD
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Pump gives it: 4.0 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 8+ (Subject matter is G-rated, but the gameplay quickly gets too difficult for mini-gamers)

If you are a fan of pick-up-and-play action games Chillingo has a new title that should have you flying high and planet-hopping with glee.

Rocket Bunnies and Rocket Bunnies HD, developed by Android game devs, Defiant Development, have landed on the App Store with an already established a following, an excellent concept and killer style.

The game is simple, and almost obnoxiously fun. You are Rocket Bunny – your job is to careen across the universe saving baby rocket bunnies stranded on two galaxies in 60 different environments.

First, it’s a simple matter of timing your blasts from planet to planet with the brilliantly responsive single-touch control.

But, soon you are dodging singing suns, blasting through webs, avoiding electric currents and other obstacles and collecting hats. (Yes, you read that right.)

The environments are quite varied for this type of “complete one level to unlock the next” game and the graphics are vibrant.

You will be as compelled to laugh at Rocket Bunny’s antics as you will be to play Rocket Bunnies over and over.

The use of the word addictive is over-used, especially in reference to iOS games, but this one will have you saying “just one more time” for hours.
There is a sound Rocket Bunny makes when he has a close call that actually makes me laugh out load.

If you have ever seen the now defunct Fox animated series King of the Hill, do you recall that sound that Hank Hill would make when upset? It sounded kinda like “mawwhahaha?” Well, Rocket Bunny sounds just like Hank on helium!

Seriously though, this is a very polished offering. The devs had a chance to work out the kinks on early Android versions, and with Chillingo behind the iOS port, there is a promise of a third galaxy, Game Center and Crystal Gaming Network integration with leaderboards and achievements, and a GUI spit-shine.

Check out the trailer:

The learning curve is gradual – there is a tutorial world to teach you the tricks to safe bunny space flight. The instructions, though few are needed, are clear and the animated scenes will crack you up. This game is not cute – it’s cartoonish eye candy.

That said this game is really fun for kids, just a bit too difficult from the middle levels onward. Pump laughed at everything Rocket Bunny uttered or did. But, he was quit before the second galaxy because of the steep rise in difficulty. He is a kid though, so he doesn’t mind repeating the first levels over and over.

Pump’s Point: This is a really really funny game. I love Rocket Bunny and when he makes funny noises or is in the little movies. The game is fun too, but maybe you should let a grown-up or big kid play after a few rounds. It’s fun to watch too.

There is little to complain about. Several hours of testing revealed no bugs or crashes on either iDevice and gameplay is great on both iPhone and iPad.

The responsiveness and simplicity of the one-tap control mechanism is superb.

A little more logic to the galaxy maps, and a bit more information on the hats thing would be nice, but otherwise this is an almost perfectly executed game. I haven’t completed the game yet, maybe the hats make sense later?

If you are looking for fast-paced action, served in small fun helpings, Rocket Bunnies is a must-have. Grab it!

I’ll be here and on 148apps.com again soon! In the mean time here are some of my recent reviews and most popular lists for you to enjoy:

Happy App Hunting

The 


Handholding Has Its Logic: 10Tons’s Joining Hands

Handholding Has Its Logic: Win Joining Hands From 10Tons

CONTEST CLOSED Winner was notifed privately by email 

  • Developer: 10Tons
  • Genre: Logic Game, Puzzle Game, Casual Game, Educational, Family
  • Platform: Universal
  • Price: $2.99
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Pump gives it: 4.25 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 6+

Hey did you hear? The Stay at Home GeekMom is now with 148apps.com! Click here for details.The Whispering Woods are home to the Peablins, stars of the new logic puzzle, Joining Hands, by 10tons of Azkend and Grim Joggers fame, and they need your help to make them happy.

Making the cute Peablins content is simple; as the game title suggests it’s all about holding hands.

The object is to place unhappy Peablins, how many and what kind are based on the level’s difficulty, onto a game grid, adjacent to others in order to lock hands.

Each character has a set number of hands, you need to connect them all to make them smile and progress to the next level.

The graphics are rich on both the iPhone’s retina display and the big screen (iPad), and the game mechanics are simple and fluid.

Just drag and drop Peablins where you think they ought to go. Hands will connect to available hands automatically. You can make one chain or several smaller chains on the game board, as long as you make everyone happy.

There are six tutorial levels and another five worlds with 12 levels each and the promise of more to come. Successful completion of one unlocks the next.

There are several varieties of Peablins, each with it’s own rules: some can join hands in any direction, others are fixed, and some are just plain hard to please. There are also obstacles, score boosters and power-ups.

Since several gamers on the toucharcade.com forums reported both concern that the game may be too complex (it’s actually quite simple, but it’s hard to tell from the iTunes description) and general confusion over how it all works, 10Tons made this gameplay video to help clarity:

Each time a new element comes into play an instruction screen tells you its function, limitation or strategic use, so the learning curve is not very steep.

Joining Hands is distinct in that is really is a pure logic game. It takes trial and error and patience too. But, it’s a challenge and on the App Store, bursting at the seems with physics, matching and action puzzlers, this is a novel treat.

The game’s fairytale like setting gives it kid-appeal and young gamers may be more familiar with the premise as many board games aimed at children offer similar, but simplified puzzles.

Pump’s Point: I really like this one for when I’m clamed down. It’s like Zoologic, but with monsters and ghosts and it gets really hard. I think kids will love the ghosts and fat guys and parents will like making everyone smarter.

While the characters and some levels are kid-friendly, this game is not child’s play. The difficulty increases rapidly and while you won’t be pulling out your hair in frustration, the game does require a fair amount of mental gymnastics.

There are no leaderboards or achievements as yet, nor any gaming network integration, and some users feel the pricing point, $2.99, is a bit high for this type of game. It is, however, universal and in line with 10Tons other games.

The gameplay is virtually flawless and the concept is fresh and habit forming. New levels from easy to brain busting are in the works. Joining Hands is sure to please any clever puzzle-lovers. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Still not sure? Well here’s your chance to try it for free. I have one promo code. You can win it by either tweeting this review or leaving a relevant comment. You can enter once by each method.

Contest Closes: Saturday, June 11, 6:00PDT. Good luck!

I’ll be here and on 148apps.com again soon! In the mean time here are some of my recent reviews and most popular lists for you to enjoy:

Happy App Hunting

The 

The Best Interactive Books (Book-Apps) For iPad And iPad2


Edited 6/8/11

The iPad is a great ebook reader, but it also offers a unique platform for a growing number of book-app hybrids that are pushing the limits of digital publishing. We have seen these interactive iPad books featured prominently in the New and Noteworthy and Staff Favorite sections on the App Store home page, and the titles are often amongst the top-grossing iPad apps around.

A lot of that has to doing with their pricing points, these are also some of the more expensive offerings on the App Store. And, while often featured by Apple, I noticed it is pretty hard to find a lot of user or critical reviews of these book-apps.

So, I have collected some of the best non-fiction offerings right here for you. Whether you love history, science, music, art, space travel or just love the digitally enhanced written word, there’s a book-app just for you.

Remember please that lists, unlike guides, are in no particular order, these are all great choices, depending on your interests. If I forgot your favourite, please leave a note in the comments too, I would love to discover more of this sort of App Store fare.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration

by Element Collection, Inc $13.99

If you’ve seen the original iPad ads, you’ve already met The Elements the first in a series three books (The Planets and Gems and Jewels being the others) from this publisher. They all seem to use essentially the same user-interface (UI). This original title covers the periodic table of elements, in a way that will engage even the least scientific of readers.

From the opening song listing the elements to the ever-catchy tune of “A Modern Major General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, to the optional 3D specs you can purchase from the publisher to see each of the building blocks that make up our world pop before your eyes, this app puts the entertainment into edu-tainment in a serious way.

There isn’t a text per se; the data is pulled from superlative science search engine WolframAlpha, but that’s a plus since their information is the best. While this app  can’t replace a chemistry textbook, it will certainly get you through a good part of your chem 101 final in a more pleasant way than the dry tome you will likely pay $75 for in September.

Virtual History – Roma

by Mondadori.it $9.99

The first of a series of interactive books for iPad from Italian publishing giant Mondadori, Roma (read full review here) is simply astonishing. I picked this title only because it may have a more broad-base appeal than it’s equally mesmerizing sibling,Virtual History – The Last Supper, (read full review here.) Both set the bar in digital publishing for iOS.

Using a proprietary technology to incorporate a feature they call a “Bubble Viewer,” the reader can immerse themselves in a fully three-dimensional environment, by rotating the iPad as you would rotate your head to view a surrounding.

Whether it’s the Roman baths or the market at Pompeii the experience is one of seeing everything, from all sides, up and down, in rich detail, and combined with features like interactive timelines, 3D objects to rotate, overlays and more the book-app will enthral; the use of new technologies alone makes this app well worth the $10 investment.

How does it read? Remarkably well, Roma is not an academic title, but the prose is fluent and the breath, from pre-Roman Italy to the rise of the empire-toppling “barbarians” is outstanding. Whether you like art and history, gladiators, architecture or mythology, if it happened in Ancient Rome, Roma has it covered in an insightful new way.

Expect new titles from Mondadori coming soon and only The Stay at Home GeekMom will bring them to you first!

Our Choice

by Push Pop Press, Inc. $4.99

Al Gore has transitioned from yet another former Vice President on the Wally World ribbon-cutting circuit, to being one of, if not the, preeminent spokesman for the Global Warning movement. Seriously, he is at least as well known for his books and speeches on the subject as for anything he did in office.

The Vice President greets readers of this book-app with a video explaining the importance of the subject matter, and then you can swipe through the visual table of contents and pop open a page with a tap.

The app is based on the apparently text-richer book by the name title, and is loaded with videos, of course. The unfolding photos and photo commentary are standout features. If you care about the subject matter or want to see how non-fiction can exploit the digital publishing landscape you should definietely check this one out.

The History of Jazz – an interactive timeline
by 955 Dreams $9.99

 

Music lovers have a plethora of great book-apps to choose from. The History of Jazz is one of the best and most popular. The publishers call it an “interactive timeline” which aptly sums up what this book-app offers. Music is meant to be heard and performances watched, not read, so the app is a tad text-light, but very video-rich.

Using a navigation menu that look like construction paper piano keys, you can explore this uniquely American musical genre from its birth in the 1890’s through to the present day. The History of Jazz is crammed full of YouTube-hosted videos showing performances by everyone from the great Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton, to Joshua Redmond, the African-American, Jewish, Berkley-based saxophonist, whose “Molten Soul” music is leading Jazz in daring new directions.

Ragtime, New Orleans Classic, Dixieland, Chicago, “Jazz Age” Big Band, swing, bebop, cool jazz, slow fusion, acid jazz, even vocal jazz, it’s all here, in a simple engaging format. Don’t plan on enjoying the app offline though, it requires an internet connection to stream the videos. But, Jazz fans and the uninitiated will learn from the minimalist, but informative text, and performances by Kenny G, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and almost every other Jazz great. It’s treat for the eyes and the ears.

Man In Space

by Bristol Magazines Limited $4.99

Man In Space is a digital rendition of the 50th anniversary edition of “Sky at Night Magazine”. While not a book, per se, both the print issue and the iOS version have much more to say than many of the “books” on this list.

The app traces the history of space travel from Yuri Gagarin’s first spaceflight in 1961 to the International Space Station and into the future. This BBC (Bristol, the publishers, are the BBC’s magazine division) pack this book-app with cool videos and interactive features. It contains everything in the print addition; this app is not an abridged text as are many others here.

The GUI is wonderful. The menu system is intuitive, the images are crisp and the text is well-integrated with the digital features. The 3D images are a standout. Man In Space, unlike others on this list like Woodstock or The History of Jazz, contain all the videos embedded within the app.

This is great for off-line reading, as the other books require an internet connection to stream from Youtube, but it does mean the book will use a lot of memory on your iPad. If you like outer space it’s well worth the iPad space.

Kings and Queens by David Starkey
by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd $6.99

If you are love British history, and you don’t know David Starkey it’s time to get yourself acquainted with the masterful author and BBC documentarian. His scholarship on the topic of England’s monarchies is irreproachable. He also has knack for bringing potentially dry and academic, but actually bulging-with-intrigue, stories of the great northern European island kingdom and it’s most salacious characters, to life in vivid colour.

This book-app brings you some of Starkey’s best writing, with a host of interactive features including of course, videos from the TV persona himself, but also timelines, detailed family trees, and the abridged version of the text book.

It’s too late to see it now, but a neat feature was the live in-app coverage by Sky-news, of the Royal Wedding last month. But if you are a fan of Wills and Kate, the archive is well stocked with great information and the videos too. A must-have for any history buff, Phillipa Gregory reader, or fan of TV show The Tudors.

On the Way to Woodstock

by 955 Dreams $9.99

On the Way to Woodstock, is another “interactive timeline” book, by the same publisher as History of Jazz which was updated literally the moment this list was being written, to address some broken video links, and technical glitches. But, it already had over 120 almost-perfect ratings from users, so you know the content is great: app-buyers, especially at this pricing point, are not usually so forgiving of technical mishaps. But, I get it. I also would have given even the flawed version a 4.5 star rating too, it’s really cool.

The book-app follows the tried-and-true format and essentially uses the same GUI as Jazz, but turns it attention instead to the American experience in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was that idealized, baby-boominh American era when everything seemed possible, but a time in which any given day seemed like the most important and potentially the last on Earth. (Sound familiar? Those who don’t study history…)

Videos and text take you from the idealized 1950’s through the social, cultural and political upheaval of the 1960’s and only then delves into the Woodstock music festival, which in many ways was the culmination of the epoch.

Whether you wore tie-die and watched Jimmy Hendrix shred the Star Spangled banner live, you went to a revival festival, or you are just intrigued by this most American of times, this digital book and its grooves, can’t be beat.

Shakespeare In Bits: Macbeth iPad Edition
by Mindconnex Learning Ltd. $14.99

There is also a Romeo and Julietversion of this unusual and wholly unique offering from Mindconnex. It’s a clever new approach to studying the Bard’s works, and it’s so much fun I hope to see Hamlet, King Lear, A Midsummer’s Nights Dream and the rest of the complete works severed up in the same GUI soon.

Shakespeare In Bits offers a fully-animated and voiced study edition of the play, dynamic text features, easy-to-access modern language translations, and a complete study guide in an easy on the eyes and the brain package. The voice-actors are wonderful, speaking in a cadence to promote understudying, but with inflection and appropriate accents.

Because it’s animated doesn’t mean they dumb it down; this isn’t a Cliff Notes-style app. The full text is presented and spoken, just made more engaging, especially for young people. Whether you a Shakespeare-lover, a willing college student, or a high-schooler being force-fed Macbeth in a dry, formulaic and uninspired way, you have to check out this app and this series. iPhone version sold separately.

Andrew Zuckerman: Music
by PQ Blackwell Limited $9.99

This app is a rockers dream and has been teasing me for a long time by making frequent appearances on Staff Favourites, so I had to check it out for this list. It’s a full-course feast for music lovers, and while it’s not the newest app in digital publishing it holds up well.

It will appeal to a braod cross-section of rock lovers as there seems to be no genre barrier for Zuckerman, who has published a paper book with the same title. This book-app features over 50 musicians, from across popular genres, who “provide their perspectives on one of the most universal and yet unexplainable art forms.”

Expect portraits and videos of each included musician with extra goodies like interviews and more short films. Sorting is simple, sharing irresistible and the app links to iTunes if you want to purchase the music you hear. A no-brainer for an old groovesters and young ‘uns into the latest alike.

Ansel Adams

by Hatchet Book Group Inc, $13.00

If art and photography are more up your alley, iconic American landscape photographer Ansel Adams has a coffee-table book of some of his works out on iPad that is a treat for fans of his work.

This book-app contains 40 high-resolution photos highlighting some of his best works taking full advantage of the iPad beautiful display. This is a paring down author Andrea Stillman’s 400-piece collection in print, and focuses largely on his shots of the Sierra Nevada mountains, one of several place he called home.

You can pinch-to-zoom into the breathtaking shots or listen to the captions read aloud. The app includes a section on “Letters and Images,” “Ansel’s postcards” and a collection of three short videos featuring the genius himself. Its sumptuous eye candy for photography lovers, and those who want to see how art can shine on iPad and iPad 2.

Here On Earth

by Arcade Sunshine Media, LLC., $11.99

I first picked this title as an ideal choice for my Earth Day App List, and it still stands as a great choice for the science-minded looking for more serious fare. Or anyone interested in evolution, and all the sociological and scientific issues that attend.

Tim Flannery’s book about Darwin, Dawkins, evolution, and how to reshape our thinking on those matters, is amazing and meaty. 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 app much more accessible than the text-only book. Another benchmark for digital publishing.

War in the Pacific
by Gameloft, 4.99

What an unexpected surprise to find game powerhouse Gameloft teaming up with Carlson to bring great interactive books to iPad. The result of pairing a gamehouse with a publishing house of their respective statures is what you would expect: fantastic. 

And if you like this offering look for War Planes slated for release next week. Like Here on Earth, this is a serious non-fction book, by author and WWII history scholar, Richard Overy, and the app faithfully renders the text.

Features added by Gameoft to the digital version include a foreword by Dale Dye, Senior Military Advisor to HBO’s The Pacific and Band of Brothers, which engages the reader from word one, by clearly delineating the experiences specific to soldiers in the Pacific theatre, along with archival documentaries from 1945, animated maps and some really interesting facsimile documents.

Even if you didn’t catch the mini-series, and you’re not a war votary, there’s a lot in Overy’s fluid prose for any reader to connect with. This one should not be missed by anyone looking to enhance their understanding of the Second World War.

Of course there are many other great choices, I can’t cover them all, but if I missed your fave please leave a note in the comments.

I’ll be back later with some really big news, and of course have fresh reviews, contests and other fun stuff for you later this week. For now, please enjoy some of my most recent and most popular reviews and guides from the list below.

Happy App Hunting

The 

 

Watch Out Pandora: Slacker Radio Updates iOS App For iPad And It’s A Game Changer.

Watch Out Pandora: Slacker Radio Updates iOS App For iPad And It’s A Game Changer:

  • By: Slacker Radio 
  • Genre: music, online radio, music streaming, music discovery
  • Platform: Universal
  • Price: Free (additional features for subscribers)
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 5 Stars
  • Recommended Age: All Ages 

Hello again,

As busy as I am with the upcoming launch of apptudes.com (see our press release about the new site in iOS and Android reviews coming Father’s Day!)  I haven’t abandoned my post at appadvice.com or my commitment to you, my loyal readers.

Slacker Radio has graciously agreed to be part of apptudes.com’s launch-week swag-a-thon (click here for just some of our amazing sponsors) so if you miss out on the appadvice giveaway, stay tuned or follow me on twitter @sahgeekmom for more chances to win coming soon.

Slacker Radio (Free) by Slacker, Inc. may be a relatively new native iPad app, but iPhone users have had access to the online radio and music discovery service for a while now.

It’s an alternative (a better one with 10 times the catalog), to App Store darling Pandora. If you have an iPad, it’s time to change your home page. Slacker Radio’s app is a must-have for music lovers.

I know Slacker well, because while Pandora is on every “what to download first for iPhone” list in the known world, its service is not available in Canada, but we do get Slacker. Since I knew their service having listened on my Mac and PC, I grabbed their app a week after I got my first iPhone.

But, when a friend who uses a US IP for work had me over, I was so excited to finally try out Pandora’s app.

To my surprise, the service (he is a paying member) and the app didn’t blow my mind. They are great, but I was suddenly happy that I had “picked” Slacker. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the border!

I will get into their services and subscription plans, and tell you how to win a year of premium service for free, but this is first and foremost an app review, so let’s start there.

Slacker’s bright shiny new iPad version is eye candy. It presents your music, in either orientation, using the iPad’s brilliant display and multi-touch interface to maximum advantage (since the iPhone GUI seems largely unaltered, the screenshots are from an iPad 2.)

In the “Now Playing” area (you can just pick a station and start listening) you have a neat cover flow display, which, depending on your subscription level (most people use this service for free) shows passed and upcoming track info.

You also get instant in-app access to artist bios, album information and lyrics, when allowed by the music distributor.

You can sit back and let any of the over 100 pre-programmed stations in popular genres like rock, alternative, pop, hip hop, indie, and country music get you grooving.

But, Slacker is not about a passive music experience, it is about customizing radio to suit you. Many services try, Slacker does it best, especially if you spring for the full premium package.

The app allows you to use most of Slacker’s mobile features minus a handy auto-caching option for Blackberry and Android, due to Apple’s (self-defeating) refusal to let enyone but Apple access hardware. Caching on iOS must be selected manually if you have the paid service and want to listen offline.

But, if Slacker Radio online does it, this app does too and in a way that will make you want to pop your iPad in a speaker dock and start rocking. Trust me, you’ll make your Apple-hating friends want an iPad 2, too.

Slacker has the pre-programmed channels in popular genres, including artist spotlights, and lots of ways to make your listening experience all your own for free.

And, you can access a DJ for some stations, and turn on news updates provided by ABC news, or listen to their dedicated station,with the entry-level “plus” subscription plan (which is a bit more than Pandora’s, at $3.99/month, but includes unlimited skips, the 10 million song catalogue etc.) or at their new “premium” service that comes with a premium price tag of $9.99 a month.

One account and subscription covers all devices: the existing iPhone app, this new iPad version, and it’s good on your computer, other mobile devices or you can even purchase a Slacker-specific portable unit.

The GUI is rich and intuitive; the app is a treat and not just for your ears. But, audiophiles report that if you listen with high-end headphones, Slacker’s sound quality is best in class.

Here’s a complete tour of the iPad version, also available in-app:

Slacker Radio, like their competitors in this field, know the bulk of their listeners aren’t going to pony up any cash.

Slacker, therefore, is available at no charge; you can still create custom stations (playlist creation, on-demand songs, and complete album playback are reserved for premium-members) and you can skip six songs per hour. That’s a huge plus, not offered by Pandora.

For free, you don’t get the bells and whistles, but you also don’t get slapped with a 40-hour per month listening cap. Check out the cool iPad 2 feature in the screenshot below.

You can take a picture from the iPad 2’s camera, and customize your station or playlist icon. Sweet! It’s great for easy navigation through everyone’s favorite playlist in your home.

Slacker is more than an online radio programmer. Their service, and their apps, are not just about listening. Slacker is all about music discovery.

My screenshots may belie my age, so I’ll admit that before I met Slacker (and kin), just a few years ago, my idea of “new” music was anything from the late 80’s or early ‘90s.

I am a die-hard classic rock lover, yet after 40 years of the same soundtrack, I was eager to find new artists. But, where does someone with long-established tastes begin looking for new music that won’t offend?

Easy. Just put the type in the name of a favorite band, and you’re off.

I started with The Grateful Dead and it immediately brought up (using a tag search I assume, but an advanced one) not only other classic rock artists, like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd, but also stations that feature The Dead, and newer jam-bands. (Who knew there was anything post-Phish!)

By looking at the suggested artists, it’s easy to rediscover names long forgotten, (Hot Tuna, anyone?) and when I moved seamless from classic rock to singer/songwriters a new world opened up.

While adding James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkle to favorites (you can pick favorite artists and songs so Slacker knows to play them more often, or ban specific songs and artists; Slacker adapts), I was, in moments, meeting Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, the Kings of Leon and others that may not be new to you, but to were to this geezer-geek.

Once you find new artists, they lead to others, and the next thing you know you are populating stations not only with your old standbys, but with fresh content, new to you anyway.

Slacker offers an amazing amount of configurability. You can fine tune most stations which is my favorite feature.

When listening to The Beatles I want to go fringe, I never need to hear Yesterday again, thanks. (It’s just overplayed, don’t hate me.)

But, I love finding old B-sides and obscure cuts from, say, a George Harrison solo album. When it comes to the Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay, however, I want hits.

What balance your stations strike is up to you. Pick new songs, or aim for older tracks, add more new artist discovery, or limit yourself to mostly your favorites. Slacker let’s you decide what you listen to, that’s the whole point.

The iPad version of the Slacker app is fantastic, the iPhone version could benefit from a landscape orientation, only, really, for easy alternation with a GPS app in the car, and I like the clean look on the iPad better, but it’s still slick and has all the same features, in a GUI intended for the smaller screen.

Subscriptions:

Slacker Radio’s free service is the best in class, with a huge catalog of songs and limited free skips. It has advertisements.

The “plus” service, $3.99/month, removes the adverts, gives you unlimited skips, caching for offline listening, optional news and lyrics.

The $9.99/month “premium” service can replace your iTunes app and mp3 collection, as well as your cloud service. It gives you everything in the “plus” package, and on-demand playback, lets you create playlists as you would in iTunes, and listen to albums played as they were meant to be heard, with the tracks in order.

All users can purchase the songs they like; a tap takes you right to iTunes. And, social media integration, via twitter and email, lets you share your custom stations and music tastes with the world.

No matter how you get your Slacker Radio, there’s is a must have app for iOS (and Android) music lovers.

Remember you can enter to win a year of Premium Slacker service here on appadvice.com, and stayed tuned for another Slacker-sponsored giveaway coming soon to http://www.apptudes.com!

Added: 6/3/11: Slacker Radio graciously put my review on their Facebook wall. And, when I went to check it out, I saw you can get a free month of premium membership and enter to win more year-long gift certificates too, click here for more details.

I’ll be back with a new app list and more reivews and sneak peeks at hot apps and games soon. In the mean time here is a post about my new app review venture, apptudes.com, and some of most recent reviews and most popular lists for you to check out:

Happy App Hunting

The 

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!

The 

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!

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