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MLB.com At Bat 2011


Why you have to have it

I love baseball in Cincinnati. To me there's nothing better than an evening at Great American Ball Park with friends enjoying a game and maybe a hotdog and beverage. To that end, I really enjoy watching or keeping up with the Cincinnati Reds no matter if I'm at home, on the road, or just around town. With MLB.com At Bat 2011 I can do that and much, much more! At Bat 2011 is the BEST App available for MLB lovers bar none. Packed with enough content to make even the most stat hungry super fan happy but with an interface simple and streamlined, this App is perfect for any level of fan. If you are reading this review to see if you should get At Bat 2011 for your iPhone or iPad you can stop right here. You should. If you want to know about some of the features that make this App great… read on.


On the surface

On the surface this App is great for showing you your favorite teams, their schedules, latest scores, and current (if playing) scoring info.  When you launch the App for the first time you are presented with a screen to choose your favorite teams. For me this was easy. I chose the Cincinnati Reds, our division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Rays. From there you select which of your favorite teams that you would like to know about at that time. For me I chose the Cincinnati Reds. You are presented with a screen that shows either the score of the current game (if playing), or the next scheduled game and who they are playing against. Below that you can get your Schedule and results along with many other choices. If you are like me, and don't get too into the stats of each person on the team, this is about as far as you'll go. You can see what is currently going on, when they play next, and what the outcome of the last game was.

If you want to dig a little deeper

If you want to dig a little deeper, they have you covered as well. You can press the little baseball silhouette directly below the current score and stats. This will take you into what's called "Gameday". Gameday is a live showing of what is currently going on at the game. There are icons to show how many men are on base, what the count is, pitcher and batter stats, etc. There is also a a graphical representation of the pitches that are being thrown to the batter that indicate where around the plate the ball was thrown, and also if it was a strike, ball, or foul.


Get it!

There are many, many more features that dive really far into the game of baseball that I never use. One of which is the MLB.com live viewing of the game with a subscription charge. The list just goes on and on. The features that I have mentioned above already make it a "Best App" in my book. Try it for yourself, tell me what you think.


You can get MLB.com At Bat 2011 for your iPhone from the iTunes Store for $14.99 here:iTunes


You can get MLB.com At Bat 2011 for your iPad from the iTunes Store for $14.99 here:iTunes


QuikCam is Faster!

If only I had a nickel for every camera App I've downloaded and installed on my iPhone. You might ask "why do you need a 3rd party camera App on the iPhone if there is one built-in?" Well technically you don't unless of course you want more features. The built-in iPhone 4 camera app lets you take still pictures and video. It can zoom, use the flash/video light and even do a little HDR. After you take the shot you can tap to review it. That's about it. You don't really get much control over anything else and while the above bult-in features are probably enough for the average user, I tend to want more. Therefore I have lots of camera Apps that are great (yes I know Camera+ is awesome as well as (insert your cool favorite camera app choice here) ____________. The one thing that led me to check out QuikCam was a simple feature. SPEED! The native camera App seems to take more than a few seconds to launch and open the view finder before it can capture a shot. Sometimes I've missed shots in the time it has taken the native Camera app to open and get ready to shoot. Therefore I moved the Camera app off my first homescreen page and put QuikCam in its place. Not only does QuikCam launch faster, but it offers a few more features for taking better pictures. If you've followed my blog posts in the past you know that I've complained about the iPhone 4's white balance being way to yellow! While I did finally get a working replacement iPhone 4 that was night and day better than my 1st two, I do notice sometimes that depends on where I aim the camera indoors it will still lean towards the yellow side. Simply changing my angle sometimes will cause it to lock on to proper white balance. QuikCam has a setting that you can not only Tap to Focus, but you can also Tap to LOCK in White Balance. This means I can get great white balance, tap to lock it in and then recompose the shot. That's worth the price of admission to me alone. You can also set tap to lock in Exposure. 

Rule of 3rds and more

The latest version has a rule of 3rds display up on screen to help you better compose your shot. You can also now review your pictures after you take them right in the app. Another cool feature is Shooting Speed! Not only does the App launch faster, but it has a rapid fire feature that allows you to take shots about as quickly as you can tap the onscreen button. You can even take still pics while shooting video. If you really want to shoot from the hip there is even a QuickPic mode that will Auto shoot when you launch the app. This way you can take a picture as fast as possible. 


The Bottom Line

While there are many great Camera Apps on the App Store, QuikCam has found it's niche in allowing you to simply capture the moment before it slips away. The only thing that I find lacking from it over the native App is the HDR feature and that may be something that Apple doesn't allow 3rd Parties to include in their Apps. Otherwise, QuikCam is my default camera app for those times when I just want to take a picture!

You can get QuikCam for $0.99 here from the iTunes


Wirelessly Send Photos Between Devices with PhotoSync

I think we can all agree that any time you can transfer information quickly, easily and wirelessly between devices beats having to plug in a cable and do it via iTunes any day. My interest in PhotoSync arose when I saw it as an easy and fast way of getting a shot taken with my DSLR that was on my computer in Lightroom over to my iPad to use in a model release App. While there are other iOS Apps that allow you to wirelessly (Bump) images between devices, I like Photosync because it adds the ability to do it not only between iOS devices but also your computer too. You can install PhotoSync on each of your iOS devices. You can also download install the FREE PhotoSync companion app for your Mac or Windows PC. Transfers between Mac/PC and your iOS device happen via WiFi. Transfers between your iOS devices themselves can happen via WiFi or Bluetooth. PhotoSync allows you to send images or videos.


It works very well

This was one of the easiest Apps to setup that I've ever tried. The beauty is that there is no account to setup. The devices see each other automatically by just launching the app on each device. Select the images/video in your camera roll or albums and tap the Sync button. You will then see a list of available devices (running the app) on your network to send to. Tap the iOS device or computer that you want to send to and off they go. From your computer you can go the other way and this is what I wanted to setup. I even setup a Lightroom Export Preset to export my RAW images to JPG, put them in a folder and then fire up the PhotoSync app on my Mac automatically to start the transfer. The images show up in my iPad's camera roll and of course from there they are accessible to all my Apps that use photos. While the iPad 2 does have a camera and this lessons my need for this workflow, the camera on the iPad 2 is, let's just say not the best for taking quality pics. Your iPhone's camera is WAY BETTER and your digital point and shoot or DSLR is even better yet. 


Send to the Cloud too

The latest version of PhotoSync added the ability to send images/video directly to your Dropbox and Flickr accounts as well as an FTP server of your choosing. This leads me to my only feature request. The App works beautifully but there is one thing I want and that is Bluetooth support for Computer to iOS device transfers. I can imagine being out in the field with a iPhone or iPad 3G and wirelessly syncing shots taken with my DSLR from my computer over to either of those 3G enable iOS devices for instant sharing/uploading. If Bluetooth support were there on the companion App for Mac/PC then you wouldn't need a WiFi hotspot to make those transfers. Also if there was a WiFi hotspot available then you could just upload from your computer anyway. Otherwise, I find PhotoSync to be VERY USEFUL!

You can get PhotoSync for your iOS devices for $1.99 here from the iTunes


Dr. Reichel’s IQ Test HD

So you think you're smart? Let's find out how smart you really are. Don't worry, there is no need to feel embarrassed or smug about your IQ. However, I did find that taking this test was very humbling. Dr. Reichel's IQ Test HD for iPad (there is an iPhone/iPod touch version too) is very well done. You should plan for about 45 minutes to get through the whole test and let's just say I was quickly reminded of what it was like taking tests in grade school. The clock is ticking and you have a series of all kinds of tests to get through.

You will be tested on 

  • Comprehension
  • Linguistic Ability
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Logic and Reasoning
  • Abstract Thinking
  • Working Memory <-I suck at this
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Spatial Judgement
  • Processing Speed and Accuracy 

I found the test to be challenging, but fair and at the end I was slightly disappointed in my score, but I did OK. You have the option of having nice background music playing or not. The music is designed to relax you and help you think, but if that's not your thing you can turn it off. You do get to review the ones that you got wrong at the end. I suggest taking the test whenever you are fresh as opposed to the end of the day like I did. As I reviewed what I got wrong the next day, some of them were obvious to me and I thought to myself, "duh! You knew that one." My weakest area was the Working Memory section. I think I got them all wrong in that test and I don't think I would have done any better the next day :)

This App is well executed and while it was grueling taking it I actually want to try it again. Also if you've got one of those "know-it-alls" in your midst, this will at least keep them busy and quiet for 45 minutes. :) I'd also be willing to bet money that they don't do as well as they think they would.

The App worked perfectly and I can't find anything wrong with it besides the hard questions. LOL

You can get Dr. Reichel's IQ Test HD for iPad for $3.99 here from the iTunes

You can get Dr. Reichel's IQ Test for iPhone/iPod touch for $2.99 here from the iTunes



Scan: Fast QR Code Scanner for iOS

You might have started noticing that when you look through many of today's popular magazines, you'll not only see the usual ads, but you'll also sometimes see a barcode.


These QR (Quick Response) codes are designed to be scanned by YOU! With an App on your device you can use the device's camera to scan the code and usually it will take you to the website embedded in the code so that you can find out more information about the product you're looking at. Perhaps its an article and they have a video on their website that's impossible to show you in print. There are lots of use cases for these codes and it sure beats writing down URLs. 

Scan is Fast and Free

One of the first Apps that turned up in my search for a QR Barcode scanner for my iPhone was "Scan". Scan is a free app dedicated to doing one thing. It lets you use the camera on your iOS device (yes including the iPad 2) and quickly scan the code in front of you and fire up the link in the built-in browser. That's pretty much it! It works. You also have the option of sending the page over to Mobile Safari if you want more Safari options than the built-in browser gives you. Scanning of the code is FAST. Usually by the time the camera hits the code I hear a beep and it's firing up the page in the browser. It was so fast in some cases that it was hard to even capture a screen shot of it working. 

While the App does exactly what it claims and it's hard to argue with Free, there is one thing I'd like to see added. If I see a code while flipping through a magazine I would think that in most cases I'm interested in the information but may not have the time in that moment to dig deeper. I'd really like to see integration with the "read it later" services like Instapaper and "Read It Later". On the plus side the App DOES have a Scan History. The only problem with it is that it shows the URL which is often a short URL like a bit.ly instead of the name of the site/ad. This could be improved. Otherwise there is no reason not to get this App. It works great!

You can get Scan for FREE here from the iTunes


Generate your own codes here.

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