skype

Skype for iPad is here! Finally!

Bruce's antlers are actually being dynamically displayed with the software that came with his Logitech webcam.

FaceTime is great, but Skype is more prevalent. I would use FaceTime more if it worked over 3G. This is why I'm glad to see a native Skype App come to iPad. Skype calls are not just limited to iOS Devices. The call you see taking place above is between me and my buddy Bruce Mandel. I'm on my iPad 2 and he's on his desktop PC in his office. That's the real beauty of a solution like this. It's more universal! 

How well does it work?

I downloaded the App, logged in with my existing Skype ID and my contacts came up. I was able to see who was online and who wasn't. I was able to initiate free Skype-to-Skype video calls with the tap of a finger. I could also use my Skype credits to call regular phone numbers. Again, this will be extremely more useful to me than FaceTime especially when traveling abroad. The call quality for both voice and video was good. Bruce said that I had about a 2 second lag in my video to my voice. His was perfectly in sync. I would probably attribute that to my slower upload speed where I am. Although there was a lag, the overall experience was very good. I placed a phone call to a regular landline and the call quality was excellent!

The only other minor issue was that when I initiated the video call with the iPad in landscape orientation the person I was calling said that my video was sideways. Rotating the iPad up and back again fixed it. This happened with two different callers.

If you don't have a front facing camera on your iOS device you can still receive Skype video from the other caller. 

You can get Skype for iPad for Free here from the iTunes

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ChaseBank

3 Apps That Offer Check Depositing via your iOS Camera

Yes of course I have Direct Deposit when it comes to my paycheck. However, there are times where I get miscellaneous checks from others and of course these checks need to be deposited in my account. The problem had been making the time and effort to actually drive to the bank/ATM to make the deposit. The good news is that those days are now behind me. I can't remember the last time that I had to take a check to the bank. There are SEVERAL Apps offering this feature and it will vary by location and your financial institution. However, here are 3 that will let you get it done.

 

Chase Bank

Chase Bank was one of the first to offer this and as a matter of fact I ended up getting tired of waiting for my bank to offer it in their App that I opened up a Chase account just for this feature. The cool thing was that Chase even allowed me to open my account and complete everything via their website. To this day I have never been inside a branch!

You can get the Chase App for free here from the iTunes

 

PNC Bank

PNC Bank not long ago updated their App to allow deposits too. Like Chase you take a picture of the front and back of the check, enter the amount and account that you want it deposited to and you're done!

You can get the PNC Bank App for free here from the iTunes

 

PayPal

PayPal is not a bank, but it is synonymous with paying for products online. Now you can deposit checks into your PayPal account directly from your iPhone, iPad 2 or 4th gen iPod touch.

You can get the PayPal App for free here from the iTunes

 

If your bank doesn't offer it, it may be time to apply more pressure to their customer service line. If not, it may be time to switch banks :)

Time-Warner-Cable

Time Warner Update

 

A little while ago Time Warner updated their iPad App with some much needed features. They actually did this a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to do an update on it but I'm just now getting a chance to do it. They added three features for this update, all of which are a big deal. The biggest (for me) is remote DVR manager, but they have also expanded their programming offering, and added an interactive program guide. These are features that I have been asking for since they launched this App, so I'm excited to see them!

 

Control Your DVR

With version 2.0 you can now control your DVR right from your iPad. You can add, delete, control the start and end time, as well as control how long to save the show. All of the controls that you find on your set top box minus the series manager control. Still this is a huge improvement over not having any control at all.

Additional Programs!

This is almost as important to me as DVR control. Time Warner has added a bunch of new channels bringing the total to well over 100! I wasn't unhappy with the channel offering before but there should be something for everyone!

 

Interactive Programming Guide

This is a two part upgrade. First they have added the ability to see (up to) 7 days worth of programming on the guide. This is much better than the previous 2 hours ahead.  Secondly, it is now interactive so you can actually tap a show in the future to record it on your DVR. When you select a show in the future you have the option to record just that show or the entire series. This is a really nice upgrade and feels like it should have all along.

 

Jailbreak Workaround

The only downside to this updated version of the App is that Time Warner has blocked access to jailbroken devices. I'm assuming that they did this to try to prevent jailbreak developers from allowing access to the content outside of the home network. Luckily there is a workaround for it. You guys know me, all of my devices are Jailbroken so I had to find a way around this restriction or I wasn't going to use the App. Go here to find the step by step guide for bypassing the restriction.

 

 

Update:

The day after I wrote this, Time Warner released version 2.0.1. There aren't any new features with this update just bug fixes and improvements. The Jailbreak workaround still works.

You can download the Time Warner App for the iPad from the iTunes store for free here iTunes

 

MonoPhix

MonoPhix Update

A few days ago I did a review of MonoPhix an App designed to do black and white conversions on your iOS device.  Of course a couple of days later they did a major update.  Enough of an update that I felt it warranted it's very own post to tell you guys all about it. There were a bunch of bug fixes and performance enhancements, but there were two major additions to the App that have made it a whole lot better. (Note: this update was only for the iPhone version. The iPad version is still the same)

 

Color Filters!

The first and most exciting thing that I noticed when I got the update notification for MonoPhix was the addition of color filters. Color filters are a thing from film days that would produce a desired color effect on an image. With the addition of the color filters on MonoPhix you can mimic the effects. You may be thinking "but if it's black and white why would I need a color filter?"  Well, color filters when used on black and white photographs will lighten certain colors and darken others depending on what hues are most prevalent in the image. For example if you use the Green filter effect, it will lighten foliage and (somewhat) darken skies. Try them all out and see what you think! After all this is a digital image we're working with and it's non destructive so you can always undo what you just did and choose another filter color! Under the Adjust tab you will see the different color options appear. If you choose a color filter and decide that you don't want to use any filters at all, tap the far left button with the single line through it to revert to a non filtered black and white image.

Vignette Control!

This was the second thing that I noticed when checking out the update was the improved vignetting control. Version 3.1 changed the way the vignette is applied to the image. The vignette is now applied in a lighter version and as you slide the slider to the right the vignette is increased. This is really nice because I thought that the vignetting was a little heavy handed before. If only they would add feathering and shape control to the vignetting I would make this my go to App for vignetting. Almost there! One thing that they did add was a slider to adjust the preview. Sometimes before when a vignette was added to an image it would have lines through it and would look a little pixelated. This slider is the fix for that. If you get the lines through your image when you add a vignette you can now adjust the preview slider until these lines are gone. It's a really nice addition.

 

All of the Rest

The rest of the additions are bug fixes and minor adjustments. They are doing a really good job with this App and have stated that they intend to constantly improve upon it. It's definitely worth the price and worth watching!

 

You can get MonoPhix for the iPhone from the iTunes store for $.99 here iTunes

 

You can get MonoPhix for the iPad from the iTunes store for $1.99 here iTunes

Odd1Out

Teach Kids Shapes, Fruit, and Colors on the iPad

 

I'm starting to sound like a broken record I'm sure, but it bears repeating; my twins are my world. As their father it is my responsibility to give them every opportunity to excel that I can. With that in mind, Apps like Odd1Out grab my attention first. There are tons of Apps out there that have pretty graphics and sounds to keep my young kids occupied or entertained but this App not only has those qualities but it also teaches them decision making skills. 

 

How it works

The basic idea is the player is presented with a shape, fruit, or a color and asked to pick the same item out of groupings of similar items crossing the screen. For example, on the screen above you see that I was playing the "fruit" section. My fruit was peaches. For every peach I successfully selected I was awarded a star. For every fruit that I selected that wasn't a peach a star was taken away. Simple principal but effective. The version I was playing was the practice game. It's easier and gets the child accustomed to the game and how to play. The challenge game starts off just like the practice version but quickly becomes harder as you advance levels.

Design

As you know, we here at Best App Site are big on the UI (user interface) and Odd1Out doesn't disappoint. The buttons, controls and hierarchy are really well thought out and easy to understand. The graphics are good quality and seem to have a lot of thought put into them. Whether it's a beetle, bee, or ant carrying your selected item the movement is fluid with no stuttering or pixelation.

 

That's it!

That's it! There isn't anything else to this App. Even though the App is simplistic at heart, it really keeps my 5 year old's attention and teaches them quality skills at the same time! This is a really good App to help your child learn their Shapes, colors, and fruit in a fun and enjoyable way.

 

You can get Odd1Out from the iTunes store for $.99 here iTunes
 

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