Relive the best moments of your Camera Roll with MyRoll

MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer by Flayvr Media Ltd. icon

MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer (Free) by Flayvr Media Ltd. is an app that claims to help you organize, find, and share the greatest moments within your Camera Roll. It’s similar to other photo library apps like Tidy and Photoful, but with the focus on the “best” moments.

I take a lot of photos — what better way to remember something than by capturing it in a photo or video, right? I’ve acquired quite a lot of photos in my Camera Roll since I got my 64GB iPhone 5s last year (and that’s not even counting the previous five iPhones I’ve had), so it always seems like a big mess when I go back and look at my captures. While other photo album apps bring in neater ways of organizing your images, they don’t necessarily help you find those lost memories you may have forgotten about over time. Fortunately, MyRoll is here to help you out.

MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer by Flayvr Media Ltd. screenshot

MyRoll is actually a rebranded and rebuilt version of Flayvr, which I actually did not use previously. MyRoll’s interface is pretty simple and clean, which is great, as the focus is placed on your photographs instead. The sky blue accent color of MyRoll is great with the white, and things are laid out in a neat and intuitive manner. The app does have a few introduction screens that you’ll need to swipe through before getting started, although I found the app to be pretty straightforward.

Before you can use MyRoll, though, you’ll need to sign up or log in to your account, or just link your Facebook profile. The account is necessary for sharing the moments that you want to share with others, as these will become uploaded to their secure servers and ready to be viewed by others (who have the link) at any time, anywhere. If you’re concerned about privacy, MyRoll has stated in the description that they do not copy or store your photos and videos. There is also the option of sharing without uploading — these will just be as attachments.

Once you grant the app permission to access your Camera Roll, you will see all of your images loaded up as “moments,” which is basically a group of photos that were taken together on a day. The app uses some kind of algorithm to determine what the “best” shots were that day, depending on the photo content, including faces and smiles. These are served as “highlights” and will show up as the first few images for that date. You can also see how many photos and videos were captured then, thanks to the icons in the bottom right corner of the moment.

You can also switch to the Gallery view, which is similar to how iOS displays your photos — as small thumbnails, though MyRoll has three to four thumbnails per row, depending on image orientation. As you scroll through either view, you’ll see the date appear near the top from the vanishing side scroll bar.

Tapping on the “…” button on moments brings up a contextual menu on the cover, and you have three options: Edit, Favorite, and Share. Edit allows you to change the cover photo, give the moment a name, add or edit the location, and select the images you want to keep in that moment. If you Favorite a moment, it will be saved to your Favorites, and you can view your them through MyRoll’s filters, including hidden images.

MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer by Flayvr Media Ltd. screenshot

Sharing is where the real magic of MyRoll comes in. You can create a Facebook album right from MyRoll, or share through email or SMS. The chosen photos in a moment will be uploaded to MyRoll’s servers, and your recipient can get a link to view the shared album on the web. If you want to share privately without uploading, you need to do this individually for each image, unfortunately. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

A tap on a moment brings up the entire event, where you can browse all of the photos you took (and aren’t hidden away). It’s a nice layout, and tapping an image brings it into a larger, focal view. You can even swipe horizontally to go through all of the photos.

By default, MyRoll only chooses your Camera Roll when importing. However, if you access the app’s settings, you can actually choose other photo albums you have in your library, which is nice. But other than this, there isn’t much else to be found in the settings besides a lot of different ways of sharing the app with others and some FAQs.

I like the idea of MyRoll, but the “highlights” of each moment seem pretty random. I also experienced some glitches, where the contextual menu on a moment did not disappear when I tried to get rid of it, and it kept overlapping when I tap on the “…” button again. Other users have left App Store reviews about constant crashing — while I did not experience this on my iPhone 5s, just take it as a word of warning.

MyRoll is definitely a neat idea, but it could be implemented better. Still, it’s free, and it doesn’t hurt to give it a try and see if it works out for you. MyRoll is available on the App Store as a universal download for free.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon Review

Developer: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Much like its namesake team of ragtag misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon is kind of weird and quirky. You see, while the game’s release date is clearly set to build hype for the upcoming feature film (which hits theaters in just about about two weeks) it’s not solely tied to the movie’s feel or continuity. Instead, it’s a rather strange mash-up of elements, sporting both movie-based character designs and story beats, as well as numerous nods to the team’s greater history and place in the comic-based side of the Marvel Universe. But does playing to both sides dilute the overall experience? And is it even a worthwhile game to begin with? Read on, True Believers!

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon straddles a few different genres as well. It’s a little bit action-RPG, a touch of arena combat, and a dash of side-scrolling beat-’em-up (minus the scrolling). Players assemble a team of characters from their roster of unlocked Guardians, Guardians-adjacent affiliates, and even antagonists in some cases (though they can only be used in the wave-clearing Arena mode), and smash their way through screen after screen of bad guys. Characters are controlled by drawing lines from them to their destination (when moving) or target (when attacking enemies or aiding allies).

The whole affair is framed by some comic-styled story nuggets, which are stylized and cartoony, but without being cutesy to the point of growing unappealing (I love Rocket’s constant “I’m getting fed up with this” facial expression). A quick check of the credits revealed that Dan Abnett (who co-created this iteration of Guardians of the Galaxy, along with former writing partner Andy Lanning) was listed with a writing credit. This was a pleasant revelation, though not especially shocking, as the cutscenes all felt quite right to longtime fans of the comics.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon

While the moment-to-moment action is exciting enough, it does get very repetitive and grindy. New characters unlock periodically and old characters level up and gain new powers, which changes the fight-to-fight dynamic some, but it doesn’t fully smooth away the rough edges of the basic gameplay. Also, the touch-and-drag interface can make selecting a specific, chibi-styled Guardian problematic when they get all clustered up in the midst of a big fracas. Perhaps some sort of button to tab through the currently selected characters would be a good idea? Also, some of the game’s UI elements could be more responsive or easier to interact with; sometimes scrolling around item or character menus can prove difficult. Additionally, the game suffered some occasional freezing and more than a few crashes when playing it on my iPad 2, though I’m unsure if those issues persist across newer hardware or not. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Still, there’s a fair chunk of content to play through and unlock here, provided you can stomach the grind. I hesitate to drag out the old chestnut “fans of the genre/property” but Guardians/Cosmic Marvel fans will probably enjoy the hell out of this to a much greater degree than someone who had never heard of Rocket Raccoon prior to seeing trailers for the movie. However, there’s plenty of good, simple fun on offer in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon, regardless of one’s specific level of fanboy-ism.


Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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Eight (more) greats at Apps World

Last week we brought you our top speakers appearing in the free tracks at Apps World Europe from 12-13 November at London’s Excel. This week it’s time to introduce you to some of the top speakers in our seven paid content tracks. They include HTML5 and Web Apps, Mobile Strategy and Marketing, Mobile Payment and Retail, TV and Multiscreen, API Strategies, Wearable Technologies and Connected Car.

1) Michel André, CTO, Saxo Bank

As the chief technology officer at Saxo Bank Michel André is at the forefront of APIs within the financial industry and his talk, within the API Strategies track, will look at how APIs in a financial institution can be used to take online trading to the next level. He will be discussing how a bank manages and ensures security of mobile APIs within the banking environment and the benefits and challenges Saxo Bank has faced in adopting an API strategy.

2) Brian McCallister, CTO of Platform, Groupon 

How to case studies make great content in any conference so the chance to hear from McCallister about a recent project completed at Groupon is certainly not to be missed within the  HTML5 and Web Apps track. The company recently completed a year-long project to migrate its U.S. web traffic from a monolithic Ruby on Rails application to a new multi-application stack with substantial results. In his afternoon keynote McCallister will explain the background, motivation and execution of the project and explain what it means for the multi-platform user.

3) Brendan O’Driscoll, CEO, Founder, Soundwave

You can’t get much better than an app that is voted as the Best Innovation in Music 2013 by Apple but that’s the accolade Brendan O’Driscoll has won as the founding CEO of Soundwave, the social music app that has grown to over 1 million users in 190 countries since its launch only a year ago. The app has been likened to a digital watercooler where users can collate all the songs they listen to on Spotify, YouTube and other channels and discuss with friends what they are listening to while they are listening. His presentation, within the Wearable Technologies track of day one will look the evolution of smartwatches and Soundwave’s journey to become one of the first apps to hit Android Wear.

4) Scott Chacon, CIO, GitHub

As cofounder and CIO of GitHub – the web-based hosting service for software development projects that use the Git revision control system – Chacon is undoubtedly an expert not to be missed. He is also the author of the Pro Git book by Apress (progit.org) and the maintainer of the Git homepage (git-scm.com). He will be presenting a keynote session looking at the power of the mobile web within the HTML5 and Web Apps track at Apps World Europe

5) Renaud Visage, Co-Founder & CTO, Eventbrite

In his role as the founding technical architect and CTO of leading online event ticketing company Eventbrite, which he helped to launch in 2006, Visage has changed the events industry. Eventbrite enables people all over the world to plan, promote, and sell tickets or manage registrations to any event and has sold nearly $3 billion worth of tickets to date. He will be speaking in the API Strategies track.

6) Paul Cutter, Chief Technology Officer, Betfair

Cutter is a relative newcomer to Betfair having only joined the company in February of this year, previous to which he was at BskyB and AOL Europe. But his short tenure makes him no less proud that his company uses the best of both worlds within his business with an API Strategy that makes use of both public and private APIs to innovate and grow . In his presentation he will be sharing how public APIs can help to create an ecosystem of applications to grow your customer base whilst private APIs can ensure faster and less wasteful development. See him speak in the API Strategies track.

7) Kai Gait, Global Marketing Director, GSK

At GlaxoSmithKline the integration of wearable and smart device technology has big potential for the business and is an area that Gait has focussed on extensively recently. He will share the possilbities and problems of wearable technology for marketeers as he sees it within the Mobile Strategy and Marketing track, examining the potential privacy issue, potential for customer insight and likely direction of the market.

8) Dean Fankhauser, Co-Founder, Nuji

The design and layout of an app is vital to making both the right first impression and to maintaining users in the future. In his presentation Fankhauser will look at how to do it, the differnces of mobile to desktop and how to maximise the display of content and tailor the experience for mobile. His business Nuji is a leading social commerce platform based in London for which he has successfully raised millions of pounds in VC funding. Find out more from him by attending the  HTML5 and Web Apps track.

Find out more and register for your pass through the Apps World website! For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Numetrics by Cynapse: a new dashboard app built for business

Numerics - Dashboards to visualize your numbers by Cynapse icon

Numerics ($19.99) by Cynapse, the creators of Phlo and Localscope, is a dashboard app that is business-oriented, allowing users to display different widgets with information on them all in one place. If you’ve heard of Satus Board by Panic, this app will seem familiar to you. For enterprise users, a feature set like this can be really important, making it hard to put a price on. So, let’s answer the question you’re all asking: why does Numerics cost 20 bucks, and is it worth that price? How does it compare to similar apps in the same price category?

Numerics - Dashboards to visualize your numbers by Cynapse screenshot

First off, Numerics shows its business-oriented personality by supporting many services from a business perspective. Integration with Basecamp, Facebook Pages, Google Analytics, Zendesk, and more make it ideal for enterprise use. To see all of the supported services, just take a look at this screenshot from our gallery.

Within each supported service comes a number of widgets. Whether you want to view graphs and charts from Google Sheets or trading prices, the Numerics dashboard’s got you covered. Widgets can be colored and arranged however you’d like on your dashboard, with the ability to create multiple dashboards allowing you to limitlessly use widgets. Dashboards can also endlessly scroll, which means putting as many widgets on them as you want.

But back to the price. What makes Numerics worth as much as it costs? To understand this, we can look at a similar app like Status Board just for comparison’s sake. Status Board is available on the App Store as a $9.99 iPad app, providing similar functionality. There is also an additional $9.99 in-app purchase to enable mirroring to external displays, a feature that comes with Numerics out of the box. So that means the prices are about even here. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

The feature set of both of these apps is the same when it comes to the basics, but there are some key differences. Status Board is only available for iPad, while Numerics is universal, and in Numerics, there is no limit to how many widgets you can put on a dashboard. However, the fact that the widgets in Numerics are more business-oriented, and that those in Status Board are for business and everyday users, is also something to consider. Plus, Status Board lets users create custom widgets using HTML, whereas in Numerics, you’re stuck with what the app comes with. These are just some differences to consider.

Numerics - Dashboards to visualize your numbers by Cynapse screenshot

At the end of the day, if the services Numerics has to offer are frequently used by your business, then the app is probably worth a download, especially since it’s great to, in theory, mirror onto a display in the office, since it’ll be optimized. The availability of different widgets, along with the fact that there’s no limit on how many you can use, can make it a great buy. But for people like you and I, who use more popular services like email, calendars, and social networks, Status Board by Panic might be a better choice.

Numerics is a universal app, available for $19.99 on the App Store.

Apps to help you work out your social media moods

Pushing tin: The Gym Pocket Guide app includes videos on how to use dumb-bells properly.

Pushing tin: The Gym Pocket Guide app includes videos on how to use dumb-bells properly. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Gym Pocket Guide
By: Designer Technology; gympocketguide.com
For: Windows Phone
Get it: Windows Phone Store
Cost: free; $1.49 Pro version
Learn the finer points of hammer curls, bench presses, and more than 100 other exercises with fat-loss and muscle-building programs personalised for men and women. Useful for beginners and experienced gym fanatics, with detailed step-by-step instructions, photos and videos. Great tips, particularly on safely using dumb-bells. Information, apart from videos, is available offline so your data limit remains intact. However, inexplicably and annoyingly, most people in the photos and videos in the female workout section are male. The pro version allows customised programs.
Mingla
By: Mingla; mingla-app.com
For: iPhone
Get it: iTunes
Cost: free
Emerging from developers mingling in Melbourne cafes to find out what makes people tick – which they claim is not the superficial ‘‘likes’’ that dominate the social media world – Mingla matches your reactions to a series of images with other like-minded Mingla users. But there won’t be many matches until this new app builds a solid database of users.
WORTH A LOOK
Weather by WillyWeather (iPhone, free). Uses Bureau of Meteorology wind, rain, tide, and UV forecasts, along with moon phases and sunrise and sunset times. By Weather, Wind, Tides and Rain Radar Services.
 

Top tips for breaking app development to bitesize

Top tips for breaking app development to bitesize chunks

Eddie Kenny, agile software development manager at Betfair, presented a standalone look at agile development at Enterprise Apps World last month. We caught up with him to find out his top tips for breaking app development down in to smaller bite-sized chunks.

Why is agile development important?

“The alternatives such as Waterfall and JFDI simply don’t cut the mustard! Agile isn’t a silver bullet. When it’s poorly implemented it doesn’t provide much value. However when implemented well it can provide huge benefits to an enterprise. These include early visibility of progress, earlier realisation of value, reduced risk of failure, fast failure, more engaged and productive teams, a culture of improvement, increased emphasis on quality, sustainable delivery… the list goes on.”

What are your top tips for breaking down app development?

a)     “Focus on first delivering the absolute “must haves” to functionally achieve your goal, the Minimum Marketable Feature-Set (MMF). Once you’ve banked that, then iterate over your solution and implement the bells and whistles. If you run out of time then at least you have a solution that matches your requirements, it’s just not as polished as you would like.

b)      Break big projects into smaller deliverables and prioritise. This sounds obvious but you would be amazed by how many people view their projects as an “all or nothing” deliverable. Everything is P1.

c)       Continuously look for opportunities to break your requirements down into smaller batches. By breaking down a P1 requirement, you may uncover that part of it is a lower priority which could be deferred to a later date. Doing this relentlessly adds up to big time and cost savings in the end.

d)      Do “thin vertical slices of functionality”. Something that works end to end, rather than building component parts in isolation and then integrating them at the end.

e)      Limit your work in progress. Having lots of items in progress in parallel actually slows down development. It’s far more efficient to do fewer things but complete them fully. Build it then ship it, move on to the next thing, build it then ship it. What we tend to see is lots of stuff being worked on, but not being completed and shipped until much later. There’s a great saying, “starting something doesn’t finish it, finishing it does”. Rather than start lots of development, start smaller amounts but finish them completely. You’ll be amazed by the results!”

The principles of agile development encourage greater empowerment of all team members within the development process – how should this be best managed?

“Empowered teams are more motivated. This comes from the extra sense of ownership they get when they feel like they have a strong influence over the work that they do and how they do it. To fully empower teams you need to break some of your existing organisational  norms. The people who are closest to the work have the best view of how the work should be done. Waiting for direction from above only slows down your delivery. When organisations embrace a culture of empowerment it means managers need to let go of a large portion of decision making and pass that responsibility onto the team. The team feels more responsible and therefore takes more ownership of the solution.” For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

What is the biggest issue the enterprise apps arena is facing currently?

“The number one issue is building quality apps and finding developers who can build quality apps with enterprise class engineering skills. Enterprise apps usually need to factor in quality more than a game or social app – especially if you are dealing with customer funds or credit card details. Unit testing, automated functional testing and continuous integration can help with quality control. Finding app developers with those skills is quite difficult.

Eddie spoke at Enterprise Apps world in June. His colleague Paul Cutter, chief technology officer of Betfair, will be speaking at Apps World Europe from 12-13 November at London’s Excel. You can book your place here.

Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of murder


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LIVE: Baden-Clay guilty of murder

Reaction expected out the court in Brisbane where Gerard Baden-Clay has been convicted of murdering his wife Allison Baden-Clay. Network Ten.

PT0M0S http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3by8q 620 349

Former prestige Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been found guilty of murdering his wife Allison two years ago.

A jury, comprising seven men and five women, found the 43-year-old guilty of killing his wife at their home in the leafy Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body in nearby Kholo Creek at Anstead.

Baden-Clay was embroiled in an affair with his long-time mistress and former employee Toni McHugh, while under extreme financial pressure owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to friends, family and former business partners at the time of his wife’s disappearance.

Gerard Baden-Clay in court for his murder trial.

Gerard Baden-Clay in court for his murder trial. Photo: Ten News

The father-of-three, who has been jailed since his arrest in June 2012, will be sentenced to life imprisonment, marking a dramatic fall from grace for the man who prided himself on his lineage as the great-grandson of famed Scout movement founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell.

A kayaker found Mrs Baden-Clay’s badly swollen and decomposing body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek on April 30, 2012 – 10 days after her husband reported her missing.

The cause of her death has never been determined, but the Crown alleged Baden-Clay smothered his wife to death, while their three young daughters slept soundly in their beds.

Allison and Gerard Baden-Clay, with their three children.

Allison and Gerard Baden-Clay, with their three children. Photo: Supplied

Baden-Clay has maintained his innocence. While testifying under oath during the trial, he repeatedly denied killing his wife or knowing anything about her death.

However, most incriminating in the circumstantial case against the father-of-three was scratches on his right cheek.

Baden-Clay dismissed the injuries as shaving cuts, but four forensic experts told the court the abrasions were more consistent with fingernail scratches.

Six different types of leaves found entwined in Mrs Baden-Clay’s hair and clothing matched six species of plants growing around the Baden-Clays’ Brookfield Road home. Only two of the plant species identified on Mrs Baden-Clay’s body were found around Kholo Creek.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller, QC, said Baden-Clay was confronted with a potentially “catastrophic convergence of events” on the night he killed his wife of 15 years.

His mistress Ms McHugh was due to come face-to-face for the first time with Mrs Baden-Clay at a real estate conference the following day.

Baden-Clay risked having his “double life” exposed at the impending run-in.

The court heard Baden-Clay had promised to be with Ms McHugh “unconditionally’’ from July 1, 2012. The date coincided with Mrs Baden-Clay’s birthday.

In an email to Ms McHugh in early April, Baden-Clay wrote: “Leave things to me now.”

Baden-Clay told the court he went to bed about 10pm on April 19, 2012, leaving his wife watching television on the couch in their living room.

His iPhone, however, was connected to his bedside charger at 1.48am the following day.

The court also heard Baden-Clay owed his three friends, Stuart Christ, Peter Cranna and Robert Chessman, $270,000 for loans to his business.

The real estate agent also owed his ex-business partners Phil Broome and Jocelyn Frost $300,000 for the purchase of the company’s rent roll.

The prosecution case highlighted Baden-Clay’s behaviour in the days and weeks after his wife’s disappearance, particularly in the hours after his wife’s body was discovered.

Baden-Clay phoned his then-lawyer Darren Mahony upon hearing the news a body had been found on the banks of Kholo Creek. He then travelled to the chambers of defence barrister Peter Davis.

The following day, he made inquiries about accessing Mrs Baden-Clay’s $400,000 life insurance policies.

Mrs Baden-Clay was suburban mum, running her three young girls to ballet classes, working behind the tuckshop counter on the first Tuesday of every month and planning her own business ventures when her life was cut short at the hands of the man she loved.

Her funeral on May 11, 2012 heard of a successful human resources executive, with a passion for ballet, who stepped out of the workforce to raise her children.

The Baden-Clays’ three young daughters remain in the primary care of their maternal grandparents, Priscilla and Geoff Dickie.

At the start of the trial, the Dickies made a single request of the media: “We hope you can imagine the ongoing impact of these events on our granddaughters – it has been devastating and will be long lasting.’’

“Our primary concern remains their emotional and physical wellbeing. We are trying to help them rebuild their lives and ask for your support and cooperation in this.”

OutSider Review

Developer: The Weather Channel
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

OutSider is an app from The Weather Channel that combines the company’s massive weather data with a user’s fitness level, running habits, and goals. While the combination of these data sets work relatively seamlessly, additional features in the OutSider app don’t quite work as well as they should. That being said, this free app is a great utility for those who exercise outdoors.

At its most basic level, OutSider takes a user’s current location and personalized data to contextualize the current weather conditions in terms of a “run weather index”. This index is a number from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst possible weather conditions for running and 10 being the best. To make the index more relevant on a per user basis, there are customization tools so that runners can express which weather elements affect their running more than others (i.e. humidity, wind, temperature, etc.).

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In addition to giving a live index reading, users can also drill down into a menu which provides extended forecasts, complete with the predicted weather’s running index. In this menu, runners can schedule their own runs, add them to their calendar, and even use the app to help keep them accountable for how many runs they should be performing per week. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

The attention to detail in these two aspects of the app are great, and the running index actually does feel like an accurate representation of how ideal running conditions are at any given moment. The app even goes so far as to direct runners to the “plan your run” screen if live conditions fall below a certain index threshold. All of these features make the app feel kind of like a must-have for runners, though not everything in OutSider app is perfect.

It seems that The Weather Channel is aiming for users to have OutSider replace their other running apps of choice, since it has tools built in to measure runs, attach heart rate monitors, create run playlists, etc. However, this functionality of the app just doesn’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to other running apps like Runtastic, RunKeeper, or Nike+ Running. Although its functionality for the purpose of tracking runs is more or less the same, the app doesn’t seem to reliably capture distances and times unless runners keep their phone screens on for the duration of the run. This, in addition to the tracker’s basic interface, make it hard to recommend as a replacement run tracker.

So overall, OutSider is a pretty great weather utility for fitness purposes, though it is by no means a stellar fitness tracker. As a free app, I would recommend OutSider to any outdoor athletes to determine the best time to do their workouts, as the running index is great at its job. I would not recommend using the app’s other features though until some updates come along and fix the issues I experienced with them.

Posted in: Health & Fitness, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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Test the bounds of your decisions in Heroes Rise: Herofall

Heroes Rise: HeroFall by Choice of Games LLC icon

Heroes Rise: HeroFall ($2.99) by Choice of Games LLC is the next major release from Choice of Games LLC, the developers of Mecha Ace. Like Mecha Ace, Heroes Rise: HeroFall is the next big thing in apps. It combines the iBook aspects of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel with the scoring of a game. This app is thrilling and will appeal to bookworms and gamers alike.

Heroes Rise: HeroFall by Choice of Games LLC screenshot

This is actually the third installment in an excellent series of apps, all by Choice of Games LLC. It is suggested that players read the first two apps before playing the third. For those interested, they are entitled “Heroes Rise,” and “Heroes Rise: The Prodigy” respectively. However, if you prefer to cut to the climax, the app offers an opportunity to read summaries of the previous novels. For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

Being the third and presumably final book in the Heroes Rise series, this game is just as thrilling and challenging as fans would hope. And by far the most progressive aspect of this game is the character diversity. You can be male, female, gay, straight, or almost anything on the spectrum of sexuality. Considering that many games on the App Store are dominated by a straight male character, this is a big step.

Heroes Rise: HeroFall is the premier book for customization and decision-making. You can interact with gangs, kill the president, and attain wealth beyond imagination. On the other hand, you can defeat villains, defend what is morally right, and become famous and loved by the citizens of Millenia City. Only you decide how to live out your hero or anti-hero fantasy.

As far as hero versus villain games go, I’ve got to bring up one of my favorites. If you love LEGO bricks and superheroes as much as the rest of America does, you have to download LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe In Peril. It features the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man. And I’m not the only one who adores the app, it was recently selected as Game of the Week by our staff. Try it for yourself to see why.

Heroes Rise: HeroFall by Choice of Games LLC screenshot

I’m incredibly excited to say that Choice of Games, LLC has done it again. They’ve created the perfect all-in-one app that balances what users love about books and games. Heroes Rise: HeroFall is universal and is available for $2.99 on the App Store.

Major League Baseball gets ready for iWatch

Tim Cook's Apple plans its next moves. The latest evidence for this comes from Major League Baseball (MLB) which plans to deploy what will turn out to be iWatch-friendly iBeacon systems across new interactive baseball attractions.

[ABOVE: MLB 2012 image c/o Scott Ableman, Flickr.]

Get your game on

MLB originally installed iBeacon systems in 28 MLB ballparks across the US to help iPhone owners check games and collect special offers using the At the Ballpark app.

This went well. MLB has now announced this year's All-Star Game at Target Field will use iBeacon with park attractions, delivering extra content and interactive features to iOS users.

Now, you could see this as an interesting example of the ways in which public events can deploy Apple's iBeacon tech to provide special offers, directions and useful information to people using iOS.

But this could go much further.

Payments

Claims Apple plans its own mobile payments solution have been in circulation for years. There are lots of challenges and lots of opportunities, but given banks are unable to change quickly enough to meet the incoming tech disruption, the time may be ripe for Apple to play its card.

Mobile payments haven't hit prime time. Where they are used they usually depend on the powers that be forcing consumers to use them. (In the UK for example London's buses no longer take cash, forcing passengers to use contactless payment cards or pre-purchased tickets). This is effective in patterning consumer behaviour, but it creates resentment.

Apple's approach is sweeter. Rather than force a problem on consumers, the iBeacon payment plan depends on offering them an opportunity.

Combine context-aware iBeacon technologies with a mobile payments solution and a consumer can be made aware of something they may want and then pay for that thing using their fingerprint, password-protected iOS device, and iTunes account. They are not forced to pay this way, but they can if they like. There's no force and no resentment.

Wearables

Now imagine iBeacon at sports events and the iWatch. Not only will you be able to choose to receive situation context information on the device, but you will be able to act upon that information.

This isn't confined to payments — imagine a sports field in which all competitors were wearing these Bluetooth-capable devices while their activity was monitored by a low cost iBeacon device.

This solution would enable the team's trainers, or the crowd watching, to monitor and receive information in real time about an athlete they happen to be watching on the field — pulse rate, breathing, and other fitness information continuously updated during a game. This would be incredibly useful to team managers and incredibly interesting to audience members.

It's possible that Apple has no plans for wearables or payments systems. I don't believe that's true, but it is possible.

What's critical is that when these plans are realized, they illustrate that as Apple moves into new markets it is prepared to invest lots of time and energy into ensuring it has the fundamental foundations laid that will be required to support its products.

This company doesn't throw ideas at the wall to see which ones stick. It operates incrementally in full awareness of the importance of creating strong foundations.

This has the hallmark of a complex operational mind at work. And that’s Tim Cook's Apple. Laying the foundations for future growth.

Read more about Apple's plans for iWatch For more information, visit Snappy Apps iPhone App Developers Brisbane www.snappy-apps.com.au

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