Here’s an interesting game that my friend Rita turned me on to. It’s called 4 Pics 1 Word. The concept is simple. The game displays 4 pictures that all have 1 thing in common and you have to guess what that one thing is. You’re given a bunch of scrambled letters as well as a number of empty boxes so that you know how many letters are in the word. You can guess all you want and it doesn’t affect your score. However, if you can’t move on until you guess the right word. Some are very easy to figure out and some made me give up to the point of using my accumulated points to buy letters in the word. It’s a good way to kill some time and like I said some pics will really have you thinking. I played side-by-side with my friend and we noticed that the pics come up in a random order. Also some of the pics are used in multiple groups of 4. You’ll breeze through most of these, but there will be some that make you scratch your head, put your iPhone down and walk away to think about it and do something else. If you’re stuck and need help you can also post the one you’re stuck on to Facebook to ask for help. It’s free and worth a download. Grab 4 Pics 1 Word today.
I get my news from the internet. I rely heavily on my RSS feeds. However, when I’m on the road and driving I obviously can’t read news stories on my phone. It would be great if I had my own personal news assistent that would not only read me the news, but the news that I’m interested in. That’s exactly what Winston for iPhone aims to do. Think of Winston as your own personal news butler with the accent and all! You set up the App by picking your topics of interest. When you’re ready to hear the news you launch the App and tap “Briefing”. Winston will very politely start by telling you the current time and date, then he continues with tomorrow’s weather forecast for your current location and then start reading the news from the headlines you are most interested in. If you want to skip a story simply swipe to the next one. If you configure your Facebook and Twitter accounts it will read your Facebook news feed. I find this pretty much useless as it says things like “John posted a picture and several people like it”. Same with Twitter, it tells you that someone posted a tweet and perhaps the subject, but not the actual tweet. It’s best to stick to the regular news feeds and topics of interest.
Winston does a good job and I enjoy listening to it while I’m driving. It has a healthy list of Channels including: NPR Headline News, Reuters: Top News, The Guadian, Washing Post World, All Things D, TechCrunch, The Verge, Engadget, USA Today Sports, NPR Sports, Wall Street Journal, CNN Politics, Fashionalogie, Dining and Gaming sites too. However, it needs the ability to read RSS feeds that you supply it. If they turn this into a full fledged news reader I’d enjoy it even more! For now Winston is worth a download and let’s hope it gets better with future updates.
Although we cheered when Google Maps returned to iOS as downloadable App, there was one feature missing that we had before. The ability to search your contacts for addresses to navigate to. Although this update is not using the built-in contacts, it will use your Google (GMail) contacts in all searches now. I don’t mind this since I sync my iOS and Google contacts with this great app. It would have been nice to use the built-in contacts since that’s where most users will have their contacts, but I can see Google (an iOS competitor) wanting to keep everything in their own eco-system (just like Apple does). This update also brings fast category searching such as restaurants, bars, cafes, gas stations, etc. and the ability to choose between Miles or Kilometers as your preference.
The more I use Apple Maps, the more I’m happy that we have alternatives. While Navigon is still my overall preferred full featured turn-by-turn navigation App, Google Maps is great for a free alternative.
I use my iPhone 5 as my point and shoot camera and while the built-in Camera app works fine there are other Apps that work even better. In most cases you’re either going to want more control while taking your shots or you’re going to want to do something with them immediately after shooting them. That’s where these 10 Best iPhone Camera Apps come into play.
Let’s start with Camera+. This App aims to allow you to take better pictures in the 1st place by offering both tap for focus and tap for exposure lock as well as stabilization features for anti-camera shake. After take your shot you’ve got a ton of great scene modes, filters and adjustments to use.
Camera Awesome is by SmugMug and like Camera+ it aims to help you take better pics to start with by offering various composition features as well as tap to lock in focus and exposure. After you take the shot you’re one tap away from “awesome”. Just tap the Awesomize button to make your shot “awesome”. You can crop, apply effects and filters and of course share your shot on several social media sites including smugmug.com
I’ve tried several HDR Apps and hands down True HDR is the best IMHO. It just get’s the whole process right and results are stunning! You can shoot in auto mode or manual mode, merge your 3 shots together and then adjust the Warmth, Contrast, Saturation and Brightness as well as one tap effects.
On my techblog I just reviewed the Dropcam HD WiFi Wireless Video Monitor Camera for home security. One of the benefits of this camera is that you can monitor it from an iOS or Android device. After I got the Dropcam HD setup I downloaded the iOS App for both my iPhone and iPad. Once you have the App installed you simply log into your Dropcam.com account (the one you setup when you setup the camera) and you’ll will have the ability to view a live feed from your Dropcam HD(s). The video quality over WiFi was great and I could even hear the sound of what was going on in the room. If you have a DVR plan with Dropcam.com you can even review recorded events. However, if all you have is the free account you can still setup your push notifications to alert you if there is movement going on in front of your Dropcam HD so that you can start viewing.
Watch Live or Watch Recordings
The App lets you tap and watch full screen views of any of your configured Dropcams even if they are in different locations around the world. You can see either live views or clips that recorded due to motion events. You can even share still images directly from the App. The App also allows you to change the settings of your Dropcam HD remotely. You can change the settings for your microphone, status light, or 180° rotation when mounting from the ceiling. If you have multiple Dropcam HD’s you can also rename them so that you can easily pick which one you want to watch.
The Bottom Line
The app works as advertised and you’ll like it even more on iPad. I’d love to see a “mute” button right on the main display, but otherwise the App works well. If you have a Dropcam HD, then you should definitely have this app!
Get the Dropcam HD here.