Author: Jason Lykins

Jason is a Photographer and all around tech guy. Jason is also the owner of Jason Lykins Photography. Follow him on Twitter @JasonLPhoto or on Facebook.

Where’s My Perry?!

If you have children under the age of 12 you undoubtedly recognize the lovable little silent super hero above. For those that don’t know, Perry the Platypus is a secondary character in a Disney Kids show called Phineas and Ferb. The show follows two step brothers (Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher) through their summer vacation. Along the way these two boys have grand adventures and build outrageous contraptions. Simultaneously, their pet platypus Perry is secretly part of an all animal secret agent group that fights evil doers. Perry’s part in the show was originally intended to be a “b-plot” but has quickly become as important if not more important than the boys’ adventures. Because of this level of success and following, Disney has launched Where’s My Perry (a tagline from the show) for the iOS platform. The Game follows Perry (agent “P”) through multiple levels of physics based puzzles to defeat the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. What I really love about this game is that beyond the game and graphics that your kids will be familiar with, it really teaches the child about the properties of water in all forms (liquid, ice, steam). It’s not only fun, but very informative and a great teaching tool for children.

 

 

Help Perry Get Through

The basic plot of the game is that perry needs to get through the many levels where some form of water helps him achieve that and solves the puzzle. You cut dirt to guide the water in the direction to solve the “puzzle” or achieve the goal. Also positioned throughout the game are lasers or “crazy-inators” the the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has left to change water from one form to another to complete the puzzle and help Perry.

Also positioned throughout the game are gnomes (another item from the tv show) that act as prizes or collectables. Think golden eggs from Angry Birds. Collect all of the gnomes that you can and gain hidden collectables and secret levels. The game gets (as expected) progressively harder but still remains easy enough that the average child can figure out the puzzles and have fun.

The Bottom Line

This fun, easy to play game is a great way to teach children about the dynamics of water. With it’s familiar characters and well thought out graphics your child will have fun and learn at the same time!

Get Where’s My Perry? for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad from the iTunes store for $.99 here: iTunes

Yahoo Fantasy Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Baseball

Manage Your Fantasy Leagues from Your iPhone

I’ve never been a huge sports fan (short of MLB), but in an attempt to learn more about what’s going on in the NFL I decided this year was the year that I would join my brother’s fantasy football league. This is going to force me to pay attention to different games Sunday mornings other than casually checking out the local team. So I sat down with my brother and his friends and and did the (virtual) draft adding my players (almost all from the lists because I didn’t know what I was doing). When we were done, my brother explained that I needed to keep track of my players, and move guys around depending on who was playing that week. This sounded exactly like a task best done while the kids were practicing ballet or, soccer so I went looking for an App to manage my team. My brother’s league uses Yahoo, who have really created a feature packed App that allows me to watch, manage, and adjust my players.  This App takes Fantasy Football from my computer to my smartphone allowing me to have total access from wherever I am. It will definitely make the experience “that much better”.

 

Do It All From Here

 

The most important thing to me is being able to do everything I can from the computer, from my phone. From within my phone I can view as many teams/leagues as I’m signed up for with my particular user name. As you can see above, I am in two different leagues (groups of people) and I have 1 team in each league. So for my first league (League B) my team name is Show Me Your TDs. In league two (Sneaky Sundays) my team name is simply lykins. I can enter the respective league by tapping the team name. Once inside, my options are just as they are within the desktop/web interface.

I can see the entire league including what players other people have. I can access my team which houses all of my players both starting and bench. I can see the matchups which are what teams within the league are playing each other on a respective week. I can see what players are available to pick up (add to my team). I can also see any messages that are sent to me or general messages that are sent to everyone. All of these options are available through the tabs at the bottom of the screen.

 

When in the team button, in the top right corner of the screen is a small pencil icon. Tapping that icon brings up my team edits. From inside of this section I can swap my players from starting to the bench, and from the bench to playing. This is extremely important when a player gets pulled last minute and you want to bench them as to not lose points.  In the top left corner you see a home button. That will take you back out to the main screen showing all of your leagues and teams.

 

The Bottom Line

If you’re involved in Fantasy Football through Yahoo, you can’t afford not to have this App. It’s extremely well thought out, feature packed, and amazingly easy to use. During Fantasy Football, it’s a must have for me and after you try it, I’ll be you too!

Watch WMV Files on Your iPhone

 

A good friend of mine and I share funny emails back and forth on a regular basis. He’ll send me a funny picture or saying, and sometimes he sends me videos that he’s found that he thinks are funny (retired people don’t have much to do). Usually I open the videos on my Macbook Pro, but recently I’ve spend a lot of time on the road and I’ve been doing most of my communications through my iPhone and not my Mac. I found myself a little frustrated because most of the videos he sent were WMV (Windows Media Video files) which are not natively supported by the iPhone. I went searching. What I found was a feature packed App allowing me to watch WMV files on my iPhone that is easy to use; OPlayer lite.

 

Does it All

While I went searching for an App to play WMV files, OPlayer lite does so much more. It not only plays WMV files but it also supports the following formats as well: XVID/DIVX, AVI, RMVB, ASF, H264, MKV and more! Just about any file format you want is supported within this App. All of the expected options and features are there; screen lock, playlists, tv out, and Airplay. Also included is the ability to upload to FTP servers! All contained within a FREE App. There is a paid version but the ONLY thing that you gain with the paid version is the removal of banners. This for me isn’t a big deal because I’m only using it to view short clips that are sent to me via email. If you’re going to use this as your main Video App, spend the $2.99 and get the no banners version. Probably the best part of this App is actually a feature of the iPhone and iTunes. When I receive a video via email I can choose to “open in” and choose OPlayer lite. Almost instant access to my videos.

The Bottom Line

With all of the features, the inexpensive price (free) and the easy to use interface, I think OPlayer is just about the best App that I have found when it comes to video conversion/playback Apps for the iPhone.

Dynamic Light

HDR for Any iPhone Image

I recently read a story about sports photographer Brad Mangin and his use of the iPhone to take photos for Sports Illustrated. Of course me being me I was very interested in seeing what Apps Brad was using to edit his images, particularly what he was using to get the vibrancy out of the skies. It seems that Brad is using a pseudo HDR App called Dynamic Light. Dynamic Light takes any image and gives it the HDR look without combining two photos like traditional HDR Apps. Just like any HDR App for the iPhone Dynamic Light works best when applied to images that already have some contrast. Also, images that have people in them tend to look a little funky because of the saturation and shouldn’t be used unless attempting a specific effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazingly Simple

What struck me when I launched Dynamic Light for the first time was the amazingly simple interface. You are given two options to bring in photos to edit. Option one is to use the built in camera button and take a photo from within the App. The second (and my method of choice) is to choose a photo from one of my folders on my phone. Once you have your image loaded there are two main options for adjustment. The first is the giant dial right below where the App name is. Rotating it left to right increases and decreases the effect. The red dial on the left of the screen rotates the control to the (newly introduced) light ball. This light ball adjusts the radius of the effect.

Below that, is the FX button which gives you access to 11 predefined filters/effects. I found these effects to be useful but when in used in conjunction with the settings menu’s finite controls, this App really shines. Within the settings section you will find a radius slider, surface smoothness slider, and color boost slider. Also housed there are quick preset levels adjustments low, medium, and high. Below all of these controls is the option to save images as full sized. I toggled this option to on because I like to have my images the highest quality possible.

 

 

Bottom Line

When it comes to making your images really pop a little bit of HDR mapping is the quickest, easiest way to do it. Dynamic Light is one of the best I’ve found when it comes to giving images the HDR look without the need for multiple photos like a traditional HDR.

Keeper® Password Manager & Digital Vault - Secure and encrypted data storage for your passwords, files, photos and notes.

Keeper for iPhone and iPad Stores Your Passwords in one Secure Place

Way back when I got my first iPhone, one of the first Apps that I went looking for was one that would securely store my passwords. There are thousands of Apps that fill this need like Terry’s favorite 1 Password Pro. At the time I was looking for one that was free (or really cheap) and that would allow me to back up my passwords to iTunes just in case the phone died. I went through few different Apps but what I ended up with was Keeper Password and Data Vault. The reasons that I love Keeper are simple; it’s free, it’s secure (allowing any combination of letters, digits, and characters your iPhone has natively to be used), and it’s secure in that it backs up locally and has an option to sync to the cloud (for a fee).

 

 

How It Works

The first time you launch Keeper you are asked to enter a master password. Again this can be any combination of letters, numbers, or special characters. You will also be asked to set a secret question for further data protection (this is used when adding an additional device with the same account). Once logged in you will see the main home screen that you see above. By default Keeper is set to folder view as shown above (more about folders in a minute). I prefer to see a list view so tap list above the folders next to the search bar.

To get started saving passwords tap the “+” symbol in the upper right corner. This will bring up a screen like you see above. The first line is your folder. If you leave your main screen in folder view, this is the folder that your password will be found in. If you have multiple types of passwords (ie. passwords used just for work, passwords for home, passwords for the little league you coach, etc.) folders might work for you. Personally, I don’t have multiple categories so I use list view. The second line you will fill out is the name of the password. In this image I saved it as “test” but it could be Facebook Password, Email Password, etc. Below that you see the user name field. In our example the user name is “Steve Smith”. Below that the actual password field. Next to the password field (to the right of it) you will see a pair of dice. These dice will make you a random, custom password if you don’t have one for the site/login that you are inputting. Basically it will help you make a secure password if you need it to.   Down from that is field for the website that the password is associated with (if applicable). There is one final field at the bottom that is called Notes. This is where you would put any extra info that you may need to go with the entry. That’s really all there is to the Password record. All of the essential info that is easy to get to and use.

This is what Keeper looks like in list view

Options

Options is a tab that you should visit post haste when you get your Keeper account going. Within this tab there are tons of controls to customize and really make Keeper the way you want it. From the top working down we see the theme tab. Currently I have mine set to Metal however there are 12 different themes ranging from Metal(shown) to Leopard. Below that we have the auto logout that controls how long Keeper waits to log you out if you exit the App. I have mine set to 1 second because I want it to log out as soon as I exit the App.

Under security a little ways down the page we have the self destruct option. Sounding very mission impossible like, what it does is erases your data after 5 failed log in attempts. I’m forgetful so just in case I forget, I don’t want it to erase my data while I’m trying to remember my password so I have that set to off. Also housed in security is the start in folders view option. You already know that I like list view so it should be no surprise that I leave this option off. Last but not least there is a reset master password option. This is where you will go to reset or change your master password if you choose to.

Down a little farther we find the delete database option. This option erases all of the data contained within the App that has been input by the user.

Below that is the Name and Headers option button. Within this button we are able to change the names of the fields that we fill out in the records.

The last two things we find within the Options tab are the auto capitalization and auto correction selections. These allow you to set your preferences for these two topics throughout the App.

Sync/Extras

The last tab of importance within the App is the sync tab. Within this tab you will find the option of syncing your passwords with the cloud, and with the internet across multiple devices. For this service you will pay $9.99 PER DEVICE per year. This is a great feature if there are records that you are afraid that you are going to lose and won’t be able to live without until you get back to your computer. I say until you get back to your computer because when you sync your iPhone with iTunes on your computer, Keeper and all of the data contained within is saved locally on your computer for free. For me this is good enough. I don’t need to have this App synced with the cloud.

 

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a cheap (note: free) password App for your iPhone and iPad, Keeper is a really great one and definitely worth checking out.

 

You can get Keeper from the iTunes store for free here: iTunes

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