If you’re an Angry Birds fan and a Star Wars fan then you probably already have been playing this game Angry Birds Star Wars is here. What does that mean? It means we get the highly addictive Angry Birds game with a Star Wars theme on top of it. That’s pretty much it. Yes, the developers got the chance to add some additional characters, but in a nutshell this is Angry Birds and that’s not a bad thing. You’ll get some new challenges as you always do with a new version of this game, but you get to re-live your Star Wars fantasies while you’re playing a fun game too. Here’s a first look video from yesterday when I launched the game for the 1st time:
The Bottom Line
There really isn’t anything not to like about this version of Angry Birds, but if you were looking for a radically different game with you swinging a light saber, then you may be a little disappointed. With that said you will be able to Use the Force (Push) and have your Angry Birds swing their light sabers, taking out pigs and deflecting blaster fire as you progress through the levels. Also if you liked Angry Birds in Space you’ll be happy to know that there are some levels that incorporate the space/gravity themes in them too. It’s fun! I’m a geek! Enough said.
The Force is strong with this one…
Angy Birds Star Wars HD for iPad
Angry Birds Star Wars for iPhone
I have to start with a confession. I think the iPhone display (yes even the 4 inch iPhone 5 display) is too small for graphically rich magazines. With that said, I was curious about all the fuss my colleagues were making over the newly released National Geographic Magazine for both iPad AND iPhone. I decided to take a look and buy one issue (you download the App for free and either buy single issues or a subscription if you don’t already have one). I must say that I found that they really did a good job making it easy to enjoy the text of the articles as well as the photos. They didn’t fall into the common “design hole”! In stead of trying to take a large magazine page and size it down to a smaller iPhone size, they redesigned the experience completely. When I tapped to read the “Sailing the Dunes” article, there was ONE picture at the top and the rest was simply the text of the article. However, this is after all National Geographic. They are known for beautiful imagery. At this point I noticed at the very top right of the interface and there are two buttons “READ” and “LOOK”. When you’re ready to look at all the pretty sand dune pics you tap “LOOK” and you get several slideshows to choose from. Brilliant! Don’t try to squeeze a normal size magazine page down and make a pinching, zooming, scrolling nightmare. Instead rethink the experience and medium in hand. Also keep in mind that this is a Universal App. So if you do have an iPad, you’ll enjoy it in all the iPad’s display size glory.
Great, but not perfect
The one thing that I do have to ding National Geographic on was that this App is not sized for the 4″ iPhone 5 screen yet. It would be even nicer if it filled my screen from top to bottom. The only other thing I’d like to see is at least one “free” issue. Get people hooked with the free sample!
As a frequent international traveler I depend on my iPhone at times to help with translations. I’ve reviewed a few here including ones that can translate in real-time. Worldictionary is one of those kinds of apps. It uses the camera on your iOS device as a live scanner to look at and translate words in real-time as you point at them. However, unlike other Apps I’ve tried, this one gives you the choice of live translations one word at a time or the ability recognize sentences/paragraphs in batch by taking a picture or using a picture on your Camera Roll. You can also choose between different translation engines and different languages (most at no additional cost). As with all translators someone that speaks the native language would be quick to point out that the translation may not be quite how they would say it. However, if I had a native translator standing next to me then I wouldn’t need the App
There is a potential problem though with the Sentence mode and that is not only does it have to do translation, but it first has to do OCR (optical character recognition) this means that it has to be able to read all the characters and if you have a bad, dark picture, the translation will suffer as a result. Of course this is true for the Live translation too, but at least with the live translation you’re seeing it in real-time and therefore can adjust the angle or the postion of the camera to get better results. Another nice benefit is that this App can pronounce the word/sentence for you.
Great, but it could be better
The first area for potential improvement is by making this App native to the iPhone 5 screen. This is going to be an ongoing ding for any reviews of NEW or updated Apps I do from here on out. The most recent update (as of this review) had bug fixes for iOS 6, but not updated for the iPhone 5/4 inch display size. The other thing I’d like to see is a native iPad version. It would be great to see this on the bigger screen of an iPad. Lastly it would be nice to be able to translate a line at a time in addition to a word at a time.
If you travel or work with text in other languages, this App would make a nice addition to your arsenal.
I go to the movies when there’s a movie that I really want to see and don’t want to wait for it to come out on Blu-ray or streaming. Here in Michigan I usually go to an AMC theater. AMC has a rewards program called Stubs and of course this means carrying a Stubs Rewards Card with your barcode on it. I had already stopped carrying the card and just put the number in my Cardstar App. However, last night they released an update to their App to support Passbook. I decided to give it a shot since Passbook offers the advantage of being able to bring up your card when you’re near the business that supports it. Sure enough the AMC App let me add the card for my “favorite theater”. The App let’s you do all the things you would expect. You can find your closest theater, see show times, and buy tickets. You can also check your purchase history and Stubs balances. Lastly you can view cast info and trailers as well as share your movie choices via social media such Facebook and Twitter. This update also supports the iPhone 5 screen size.
Sounds good! What’s not to like?
This App works as advertised, but there is room for improvement. First off the text is on the small side throughout the app. It’s like they tried to cram a lot of stuff on each screen. This also means that the buttons are small and sometimes hard to tap. My next complaint actually has more to do with AMC theaters in general. The fact that I can purchase tickets online or via the App is great, but it seems kinda silly that I have to go to a kiosk and print my ticket when I arrive. Why do we need paper tickets in 2012? Next up is the electronic Stubs card now in Passbook. If I walk into my local AMC and want to buy a ticket via the kiosk, there is no way for me to manually put in my Stubs number or scan it. The kiosks only work with the physical card. In other words the kiosks need to go! I should be able to buy my tickets via the App and have those tickets show up in Passbook along with the Stubs card. When I get to the theater the guy/girl ticket taker scans my phone and away I go. The irony is that the concession stand actually gets this right. If you make a food purchase they can scan your Stubs card right off your phone.
The Bottom Line
I’m very happy to see AMC move forward with their App and support Passbook in iOS 6. However, they need to move faster towards eliminating the need for paper tickets at the actual theaters themselves. If you’re an AMC movie goer, then there is no reason not to have this App.
LodgeNet provides the hotel TV service for many of the hotels in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Seattle. Unfortunately although you have a choice in hotels, you don’t really have a choice in hotel entertainment systems. However, if you do happen to stay in a property that has LodgeNet and you have an iOS device (this is a Universal app) with internet access you can use it to control your TV, get information about the hotel you’re staying in and if the service allows you can even check out the room service and other services. Of course you can also order video on demand right from your iOS device.
Works in San Francisco
I’m traveling on business this week and I got to my room last night. I had downloaded the LodgeNet App a while ago, but this was the 1st time that I was in a property that supports it. I may have been in one before, but I don’t always turn on the hotel TV when I travel. During my channel surfing I saw the ad for the App and remembered that I already had it. So I decided to give it a try. You pair the App with your current room’s TV by displaying the code (I imagine it changes with each new guest) on the TV from the entertainment menu. Key that code into the App on your device and you’re all set. From that point on you can use the touch screen on your iDevice to change channels, control the volume and order video on demand content. It’s simple and it works, but it could be so much more. As a TV remote it’s cool, but not a killer App. However, if it tied into things like ordering room service, making reserations at hotel restaurants, etc., ordering car services/taxis, summoning the bellhop, unlocking the door when you return to the room, wakeup calls, digital do-not-disturb signs, etc. then the App would be infinitely more usable. As it stands the App works as advertised, but it would be nice to see it go way beyond TV control.