Plastic Bullet Creates Cool Effects

First my buddy Jason Levine told me about this App and showed it to me on a recent business trip. I thought it was cool then, but got busy and forgot to grab it. Then I saw it recently on my buddy Scott Kelby's blog and was once again reminded to go grab that app. All I can say is WOW! Although I have access to hundreds, if not thousands of special effects in Photoshop, 3rd party filters and plug-ins, there are very few that make me go WOW! Plastic Bullet by Red Giant Software will definitely earn a permanent spot on my iPhone. I just love the kind of effect that it creates especially for my portrait photography.

If you don't like it, just hit the button again

When you fire up Plastic Bullet and then choose a photo, you get four different looks on that photo right off the bat. You can choose one and then just keep cycling through until you get it just right. There are no other buttons, controls, sliders or other interface elements to worry about. So if you're a control freak, this isn't for you. It does what it does and that's it. No more, no less. 

There are a couple of issues and these are the things keeping me from giving it that elusive 5th star. First off, no matter what resolution your photo started out at, the one that Plastic Bullet renders out for you will be maxed out at 600×800 pixels. While that's probably fine for emailing and MMS, I would prefer to keep ALL of my pixels I started with if I chose. They have already promised an update to take care of this. The other one noted by other reviewers is that an many cases this app leans towards blowing out the highlights in an image. I can usually get around this by choosing one of the other results, but since there are no sliders/controls it limits the possibilities. Otherwise, I'm very hooked on this App!

You can get Plastic Bullet here from the App Store for $1.99: Plastic Bullet



It’s Called Tennis Slam

I've gotten this question several times now: "What's that tennis game featured in the screen shot on" Is it Wii Tennis? Sadly no. It's actually called Tennis Slam. Although it's not Wii Tennis, it does feel like it a little while you're playing. Tennis Slam is a Tennis Game for the iPhone and iPod touch. You can play either by using your hand/iPhone as the controller (ala Wii) or you can play by hitting the onscreen button to swing. Although I'm not much of a gamer, I have played Wii Tennis many times and I do find it kinda fun. If nothing else, like most games it gives me a mental break. That being said, I found Tennis Slam to start out with that Wii Tennis feel, but then fall off quickly in both game play and animation. Great sound effects for sure, but after a few minutes I was getting kinda bored. Then I switched to using the on screen button vs. the accelerometer and for whatever reason I was able to score more easily. Even after winning some points though I was ready to move on. Now again, I'm not a gamer! So keep that in mind. If you are a Wii Tennis fan and you do like this sort of game, then this is probably worth a look. 

A couple of things that would have made this game much better. As far as game play goes, I'd love to see the ability to play another human wirelessly via WiFi/Bluetooth. That's what makes Wii so much fun. I'd also like to do more than just swing. Right now the games moves the player around the court for you. I think this is why I got bored so easily because you don't do much other than time your swing. Do I recommend this game. That's a tough question because again it depends on your expectations and what you're looking for. So I would have to say "maybe." As I've said in the past, the focus of is to highlight THE BEST Apps on the App store and unless I tried others in this category I couldn't tell you if this is the best or not?

You can get Tennis Slam here from the App Store: Tennis Slam


MobileRSS HD for Google RSS Reader

I couldn't imagine using the internet without RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds. RSS saves me so much time each day. I can see any updates to my favorite sites in one spot without having to go to each site individually that I follow. Although my favorite RSS reader for the iPhone is ByLine, they have yet to release a native iPad version. I'm finding that a lot lately. I have favorite Apps on the iPhone that haven't gone iPad native yet and I end up using alternatives in the meantime. If these "favorites" of mine take too long to update, the alternatives may end up becoming my favorites. While Google Reader works fine in Safari on the iPad, having a native App provides a better and easier experience. Also having a native App means that the feeds can be cached to the device for offline reading. I choose Google to manage my RSS feeds because I can then read the feeds/posts on any device and have it sync to the cloud so that when I go to the next device/computer I don't have to wade through dozens/hundreds of posts that I already read.

MobileRSS HD for Google RSS Reader looks GREAT on the iPad

Not only did they do a good job taking advantage of the larger iPad screen real estate, they implemented full support for the Google Reader features, plus adding some links to the things you'll want to use outside of Google's Reader. For example, I often come across content that I want to share with others via email, Facebook and/or Twitter. There are also ties to both InstaPaper and ReadItLater. You have the option once you see a post that you want to see on the actual website that it exists on, of clicking the arrow in the upper right corner to show you the actual website right in the App (including copying the URL, which is often missed by many apps). MobileRSS HD also supports Google Alerts. So if your tracking things by "keywords", you can view any posts about those items too. Text can be selected and copied to the clipboard as well as images being able to be copied or saved to your Library. The App is also bandwidth conscious. You have the option of Filtering out Advertisements and only downloading images while on WiFi.

You can get MobileRSS HD for Google RSS Reader here from the MobileRSS HD ~  Google RSS News Reader - NibiruTech LTD.



InstaViz – Gesture Based Flowcharting on your iPad or iPhone

While I don't do a ton of flowcharting and graphing, I am a sucker for a great user interface (UI) and that's exactly what InstaViz gives me. While this App is a "+" App and it works on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, it really sings on the iPad. I love how I can use simple finger gestures and the App automatically converts them into vector shapes. I can add colors and text and then easily share my ideas in various formats. Rather than tell you about how cool this App is, it's easier to show you. Check out this video:




You can get InstaViz here from the App Store: Instaviz


PaperDesk for iPad – Notes, Sketches and Whiteboarding

The relatively large size of the iPad lends itself to note taking. While I'm not totally hooked on the on screen keyboard for any extensive text input, I do like the flexibility in having an App that allows me to "handwrite" or sketch AND key in text as well. PaperDesk aims to give you more than just simple note taking. One of the first things that blew me away was the built-in Whiteboarding feature that works in conjunction with the iPad VGA Connector. This means that if you were in a meeting you could hook up your iPad to a projector and rough out your ideas for all to see. This kinda replaces those giant Sticky Notes and grease boards that we see in so many conference rooms today. I can't count how many times that someone said, "ok I'll take all of these ideas and type them up and distribute them to everyone here" only never to receive them. With PaperDesk not only could you choose to handwrite those same notes, but you could also choose to type them as well using the Keyboard Dock or a Bluetooth Keyboard. Even if you hand wrote them for speed (as we do today in meetings), you could actually email them out as is to everyone in attendance. Sure, handwriting recognition would be ideal, but I haven't seen an App that does it yet, let alone one that does it well enough to not have to do tons of corrections.

More than just pretty pictures and text

PaperDesk also supports audio notes. The more I think about this App, the more I'm starting to wish I had something like this in school! Think about it. You could type notes, scribble down things quickly AND recording the lecture too! Besides emailing the PaperDesk generated notes you can also "Sync" them with the FREE account that you setup at
Although notes can be multiple pages long and contain text, sketches and audio recordings, they can't contain pictures. I tried copying a picture into a note and rather an paste the image it pasted the name of the image. Oh well, Perhaps this will come in time or perhaps next time around when the iPad gets a camera some day.

You can get PaperDesk here from the App Store


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