Categories
Application iPhone iPod

Summizer Brings Twitter Searching Native to the iPhone

<update> I downloaded the app and have had some time play around with it. First impressions:

  • Surprisingly speedy over the EDGE network.
  • Tweets are displayed very efficiently allowing for more tweets per page than many other Twitter apps on the iPhone (browser based and otherwise).
  • Top trends displays 10 topics which means you have to scroll to see the last one, it would have been nicer if it was only 9 topics because it would fit nicer on the screen.
  • App seems incredibly stable and I haven’t encounter any bugs or hangs when doing any of the searches I performed.
  • Top trends are updated each time you access the feature and the topics change much more frequently than I thought they would.
  • Comes with two default saved searches “summizer” and election.”

</update>

Not only did Twitter release some design changes to their website but Mustache Inc released an iPhone application that will get all of you Twitter addicts pretty darn excited.

The application is called Summizer and basically puts the power of Twitter Search on your iPhone (I know that their is already an iPhone formatted version of the web site but Summizer makes it even nicer).

Summizer uses the Twitter Search API to look through the database for tweets related to your search terms. You can also save searches that you perform routinely so you won’t have to retype them in every time you want to access the updated results.

Summizer lists the latest topics that Twitter users have been tending to talk about recently so right now you might see that Twitter users are talking about Sarah Palin and on October 14th you might be seeing them talk a lot about MacBooks.

Right now the application is only available at 1.0 but an updated version (1.1) has been submitted to the App Store that will add the ability to visit links from within the application and the introduction of automatic updates on searches.

The application costs $4.99 (which I think is a little high) but will bring a lot of relief to those who have been waiting for Twitter to bring back track. This application would fit very nicely inside of a Twitter updating app (like Twitterrific), the idea of being able to reply to tweets that you find in search results from within Summizer is a great one but for now we’ll have to settle for those two apps being seperate.

Summizer (via TechCrunch)
App Store Link
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Application screenshots after the jump.

Categories
Apple Application iPhone iPod Media

iPhone App “FlyCast” Streams Audio In the Background

One of the biggest gripes people have with the iPhone’s third party applications is that none of them can run in the background. The most frustrating genre of applications that this affects however are music applications. Pandora would be so much better on the iPhone if it could run in the background while I’m doing other things on the phone.

Well, at least one developer has come up with a solution to this problem. FlyCast is a free internet radio application with over 1,000 stations to choose from that are easily browsable by genre or by searching. FlyCast has one interesting feature that other audio streaming applications don’t have on the iPhone. FlyCast can not only play it’s audio streams in the application itself but you can also stream those same stations through MobileSafari.

Since MobileSafari is capable of streaming audio in the background you can open up FlyCast, pick a station to listen to, open it in Safari, and go about your business.

The downside of course is that you can’t browse the internet using Safari since it is busy streaming the audio but it is one heck of a large step in the right direction.

FlyCast
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Categories
Apple Application iPhone iPod

Podcaster Denied From App Store -Update

Last month I wrote a post about a podcast aggregator for the iPhone that would download podcasts directly to the device. At the time of the post the application was going to be submitted to the App Store a few days afterward. Yesterday comes word from the developer that the application was denied from the App Store. The reason for its exclusion from the App Store is that “Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes” -Apple rep.

The problem is that there is nothing in the terms of service that dissallows the duplication of a feature. There are many applications in the App Store that duplicate the Apple created calculator, or the Yahoo weather widget, or the iPod music app itself.

Although the application isn’t going to be allowed in the App Store the developer has begun to distribute the application using Apple’s AdHoc distribution system. He is only asking for a $9.99 donation and if you want to get your hands on the app you can find it here.

Update: I’ve spent a little bit of time with the app and it works very well. It is very easy to use and incredibly reliable. The next time I plan on spending a weekend away from my laptop this will come in very handy when I want to listen to some new podcasts.

Categories
Application Beta Cell Phones Google

Google Announces App Store-Like Marketplace For Android Powered Handsets

Google has announced that they will be doing an App Store-like marketplace for Android phones. This will allow users of Android phones to download applications directly to their devices, it will also allow developers to program applications for Android devices and sell them directly to users.

Developers will be able to make their content available in the marketplace hosted by Google. The marketplace will feature a feedback system similar to YouTube (let’s hope it doesn’t attract the same type of commenters). Developers will be able to get their content in the marketplace by registering as a merchant, uploading and describing their content, and publishing it. This means developers won’t have to go through the approval process like they do in the iPhone App Store. I do hope that this decision will not bring about a lot of sub-par applications and the worry of malicious applications is overwhelming (to me at least).

Android Developers Blog

Images of the marketplace after the jump.

Categories
Application iPhone iPod Media Podcasts

Podcast Aggregator for the iPhone

10 days ago I wrote about the lack of a podcast aggregating appliction for the iPhone. At the end of the post I said “So developers get to work, podcast enthusiasts are waiting” and I guess there was at least one developer working on one.

The application is called Podcaster and it is from the maker of Podcaster.fm which is a web app that lets you aggregate podcasts (with obvious drawbacks). Podcaster.fm doesn’t allow you to listen to podcasts when you are offline but the native application Podcaster will allow you to download podcast episodes directly to the iPhone to listen to/watch while you are offline.

The application was still in beta testing last week and the last time I knew was going to be submitted to the App Store last Friday, which means hopefully it will be available to all some time this week.

The native podcaster streams] just like the web app but it also allows you to download podcasts and listen to them when your offline (iPod Touch) or on edge(Old iPhone).

The interface is broken out in 3 sections.
My Podcasts – Displays all your podcasts. This screen also allows you to refresh your podcast list to see if there are any new items.
Unplayed – Displays unplayed podcasts.
Downloads – This is where you can see all your downloaded items.

Initially all sections have no items. It is up to you to subscribe to podcasts. We have provided several ways to subscribe. The easiest of which is to search our Podcast Directory. You can search by podcast title. If you cant find what you are looking for, you can use 1 of the other 3 methods to subscribe. Import from podcaster.fm account. Import by feed url and import by opml url.

After you have setup your podcast list. You are ready to listen. Simply select the item you want and click play. The podcast starts streaming in the media player. You also have the option to download the podcast. We have put a max limit of 40 MB for this current release but that is temporary and will be lifted in future updates. You can download as many podcasts as will fit on your iPhone or iPod Touch. –almerica.blogspot.com

UneasySilence

Categories
Application Gaming iPhone iPod

Review of De Blob for the iPhone

De Blob was a game that I was really interested in when I first heard about it. The basic premise is that you are a blob that picks up different colored paint and rolls around coloring buildings. Of course that isn’t the whole game you also do things like race from point to point before the time runs out, have to crush Inkts.

The story within the game basically goes like this, a takes all the color away from the city and you have to bring it back by rolling around painting buildings. You also run into “Revolutionaries” which will give you various missions like having to crush 4 Inkts in a set amount of time or paint 6 buildings red in a set amount of time.

The game is very simple and easy to pick up and play, there are two ways to control your character you can either enable tilt controls which let you tilt the device to move him around or you can tap on the screen in front of him to make him go that direction. The only other thing you need to know how to do is tap the circle on the bottom of the screen to crush Inkts.

You can also gain bonus points for collecting four letters that spell out the word “Blob.”

I think everyone should head to the App Store and pick up this game it is well worth the $7.99 and maybe even the first game that I’ve been able to say that about. I don’t usually give a score based on a number scale for iPhone games but if I was to give one for this game it would have to be an 8/10.

De Blob – $7.99
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More game images and gameplay video after the jump

Categories
Application Gaming iPhone iPod Video

Review of GTS World Racing For the iPhone

Yesterday GTS World Racing was released in the app store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The game costs $7.99 and is actually pretty fun.

I haven’t had that much time to spend with it but it is both challenging and fun. The game is pretty simple, it’s a straight up racing game but you tilt the device forward to accelerate, backwards to brake or go in reverse, left to steer left, and right to steer right… like i said, very simple.

The game lets you choose from 3 different car types, 16 locations, 64 tracks, 4 different play modes, and 4 difficulty levels, so if you like racing games you’re going to spend a lot of time playing it.

The game was a lot easier to play than Moto Racer was but (unlike in Moto Racer) GTS World Racing doesn’t give that feeling of speed that other racing games do. I also disliked the animation of the game itself, I rarely got the feeling that I was actually turning, because the car doesn’t really move, it seems to stay centered on the screen as if the ground below it was moving but the car wasn’t (not that big of a deal really but something that I thought was worth mentioning).

The races seem extremely long, for a device in which spending 1-2 minutes in a game is very commonplace having to spend 3-5 minutes onĀ  a single race is just too much. The tracks do end up seeming a little repetative though since you are spending so much time on them, by the time your finished with a race you don’t really want to be on that track ever again, and that’s where 64 different tracks come in handy. I also wish you could at least change the color of your vehicle, there are other cars in the game that you race against that have different colors, why can’t I?

Some more things about it do bother me, the fact that their is a blinking arrow at the top of the screen practically non-stop is a little annoying and I seem to always find myself in the grass, which apparently makes you slow down nearly as fast as if you ran into the back of another racer. I also hate the fact that if you try to accelerate and tilt the screen too far forward you get this screen:

Overall the game is good, but with its downsides I don’t think I could tell anyone to buy it at its current price ($7.99) if the price was dropped to maybe $4.99 I would change my tune but I would have to tell you to pass unless you really like racing games.

GTS World Racing – $7.99
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Gameplay video and more screenshots after the jump

Categories
Application iPhone iPod Podcasts

A Podcast Aggregator for the iPhone, Developers Get Working

One of the most important applications that I was excited about (and figured it would be a no brainer for someone to build is a podcast aggregator for the iPhone. One that would automatically check for podcasts on the feeds I gave it and ask me if ibwpupd like to download them to my iPhone.

What I would like to do is take my computer out of the podcast consumption equation essentially putting the podcast directly where It is going to be listened to.

I thought that was what Apple was going to do with the Apple TV when news came out that it was going to support podcasts. If the Apple TV automatically checked for podcasts every morning at say… 4am then I wouldn’t have to tie up my computer downloading 3 HD videos everyday and I wouldn’t have to waste more time waiting for those podcasts to sync to the Apple TV.

But what I really want is for an application like NetNewsWire to download enclosures to the phone and stick a badge on the home screen icon telling me how many are still unlistened to, let me manage them (delete them) just build a media player into the app so I can listen to them right there.

It doesn’t seem like this application would be that complicated to build and frankly I would even pay upwards of $5 to have it. So developers get to work, podcast enthusiasts are waiting.

Categories
Apple Application Internet iPhone iPod

NetShare for the iPhone

You may have heard about NetShare by now since it was up on the App Store, and then down, and then up again, and then down again. If you were one of the lucky ones (as I was) to be able to purchase the app while it then good for you and for all of you who weren’t able to purchase it, hopefully it will come back to the App Store.

The app was developed by Nullriver and costs $9.99 and here’s the description:

“Share your iPhone’s EDGE or 3G Internet connection with your computer using NetShare. NetShare provides a SOCKS5 proxy for your computer to connect to.”

Why this app made it through the review process in the first place is beyond me but the fact that it was taken down and then went up again is even weirder. What’s strange about it being taken down is that if I’m not mistaken the app doesn’t break any of the restrictions put upon the SDK, the only agreement it breaks is the AT&T agreement, but in some countries tethering is allowed. So technically Apple doesn’t have any reason to take it down but may be able to argue that since it is not allowed by AT&T you shouldn’t be able to even purchase it (which I don’t agree with).

If you do have the application and are having some trouble getting it set up I suggest using this guide (the troubleshooting tip at the bottom is what fixed issues for me). And if you use Windows here is a guide for you.

Categories
Application iPhone iPod Video

MagicPad’s Copy and Paste Demoed on Video UPDATE

MagicPad is still awaiting approval to be in the App Store but what’s interesting about this application is that it includes the ability to copy and paste. You can also change the font, font size, color, apply text affects as well.

This is an interesting idea but I don’t like how you select text because if you are trying to input text in a spot within a body of text sometimes you have to drag your finger around to get the cursor in the right spot, but, with this app doing that would select the text instead of moving the cursor around, assuming that selecting text works the same way as on a computer when you input text it would remove the selected text and add the typed in text.

(Update: I was wrong about how you select text, you double-tap and drag to select text, which wasn’t very evident from the video. But, if Apple does end up adding the ability to select text and copy/paste double tapping zooms in for most applications so this interface will be incredibly inconsistent if Apple adds it in the future.)

This is a great looking application and I have been waiting for a good text editor for the iPhone but what I see missing is a white text on black background option, and the ability to sync the text files to my desktop.

Apple iPhone Apps

Categories
Apple Application Gaming iPhone iPod Media

How To Listen To Music On Your iPhone During iPhone Games -Update

One of the frustrations I’ve found with iPhone gaming is that you have to listen to the games music instead of what is currently playing in the iPod app. I’m sure you probably had a similar experience, you purchase your first game, turn on some music, open the game and your music fades out and pauses.

Well luckily there is a work around, it doesn’t work for all games but it does work with some of them.

  1. Make sure you have the iPod controls turned on when you double tap the home button.
  2. Start the music you’d like to listen to (or podcast, which is what I usually do).
  3. Open the game you would like to play.
  4. In the games settings turn off all sounds and set the volume sliders to as low as possible.
  5. Hit the lock button on the top of your iPhone.
  6. Double tap the home screen button for the iPod controls and hit play.
  7. Hit the lock button on the top once to turn the screen off and a second time to turn the screen back on.
  8. Slide to unlock and your game should show up on screen.

Now if this work around is usable on the game your playing the music should continue if not it will fade out, pause, and your out of luck.

I’ve found that it doesn’t work with Scrabble or Sudoku but does work with De Blob and Apple’s Texas Hold’em.

It doesn’t really make amy sense why the game makes the audio from the iPod app turn off unless the OS needs more memory for the game and tells the iPod app to quit. But, you would think there would be a way for developers to do some sort of check like if iPod music is playing mute gameplay audio, or something like that.

If you find another game that it does or doesn’t work with leave a comment and let us all know.

Update – GTS World racing actually has exactly what I want, it has the ability to disable game audio so that you can listen to your own audio from iPod.app. It’s amazing to me that their aren’t any more iPhone games that allow you to do this. I just wish it was as easy as writing a line of code that checks to see if iPod.app is playing, if so disable game audio.

Categories
Application Gaming iPhone iPod Video

Gameplay Video of StarSmasher for the iPhone UPDATE

John Bowers of EsperssoSoft is the developer behind an upcoming game for the iPhone called StarSmasher. The game is a 3D space shooter that let’s you fly through space shooting up rocks and (seemingly) other space ships.

The game is modeled after Star Fox and uses the accelerometer for controlling flight with tap controls for firing.

This looks like a great game and but it starts to make me wonder whatever happened to that 3D space shooter that Apple was building for the iPhone as sample code? (update below regarding this) (by the way it had almost the exact same control scheme as this game). I’m really excited about this game and even more excited about the price, the game will go for $2.99 when it is released in the App Store.

TouchArcade

Update: The developer of StarSmasher contacted me regarding the similarities of this game to Apple’s game (which was called TouchFighter). Here is a section of the email:

“I’m the developer of StarSmasher. I wanted to address the TouchFighter issue since I’ve noticed it crop up several times. I don’t think TouchFighter’s controls are the same as StarSmashers or even that similar (aside from the fact that they both use the accelerometer and are 3rd person). I haven’t played it personally, but from the videos that I’ve seen of TF the gameplay is essentially turret based. You aren’t actually changing the position of the ship on screen just the direction it is aiming. The feeling of moving forward is an illusion produced by the stars moving by.

StarSmasher gives you more control over the position of your ship (hence the dodging asteroids bit). I decided to write it because I really like rails games and I wanted one for my iTouch.

I hope people will like the game. I do. I wrote it for myself first and setting it out in the App Store is just a perk.”