Contract Maker Pro Gets it Right!

At the end of April I compared my top two picks for Apps that let you do model (property, etc.) releases right on your iPhone. Back then I challenged both developers to take the great apps that they had created and add just a few missing things to make their Apps the "Ultimate App." Well today, I get the pleasure of reviewing the first major update out of the gate by Michael Shiffler and it's actually a NEW App called Contract Maker Pro. I have to give Michael credit for not only "listening" to my advice and implementing every single thing I asked for, but also for going beyond what I was asking for and developing a great new "multi-purpose business tool!"

Totally Customizable Contracts

Photographer's Contract Maker (PCM) was already ahead of the competition in terms of the number of placeholders (fields) that you could insert throughout your Contract, however, this new Pro version blows away everything else out there. Not only do you get all the same types of placeholders as with PCM, but now you get 10 "Custom" text fields that you can assign to whatever data you want to capture, 5 Roller fields (you know the kind that give you the wheel to spin to select a value), 6 custom checkboxes and even a Counting Number placeholder to automatically increment the value (ie. Contract Number). You even get to choose between 5 different fonts to format your contract in. This goes way beyond model and property releases. The idea here is that this is not only a great tool for Photographers and Videographers, but it's also great for ANYONE that needs to generate a totally customized contract and have clients sign off on them electronically on the spot.

I got what I wanted! – One of the things that I really hoped for the most in the update was the ability to easily add a photo on the spot to the contract. Maybe it's a shot of the model you just photographed or a drivers license to verify age, etc. They added this ability, while still maintaining the ability to pull the photo from your Contacts. Speaking of Contacts, you can import them as you need them from your Address book and they stay there! You can use them again and again going forward without having to hold on to the old contracts. They also added a custom logo feature with an ON/OFF switch so that I can turn it OFF on the contracts that it doesn't belong on. They even implemented the "shake to clear the screen" on the signature panel if you want to start over. 

You can get it here from the App Store:  MIchael



Navigon Demonstrates iOS 4 GPS Navigation Multitasking


With the imminent release of iOS 4 today, Navigon isn't wasting any time working on their next update. In the video above they show off what the navigation experience will be like on the iPhone running iOS 4. 

Navigon Moblle Navigator Apps start at $29.99 and include built-in maps so that a cell signal is not required to navigate. Nor does it hit your data plan while in use.

You can get the Navigon Mobile Navigator Here for the US and Canada for $79.99 NAVIGON


MyRegion US East – covering: (AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MA, ME, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, Ri, SC, TN, VT, VA, WV) Here  for $24.99

MyRegion US Central – covering: (AL, AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NE, NM, ND, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, WI, WY) Here for $24.99

MyRegion US West – covering: (AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY) Here for $24.99


Reeder for iPad


I seem to be going through RSS readers on my iPad like water. This week I'm now hooked on Reeder for iPad. Reeder is a popular RSS reader on the iPhone and they have released their iPad version. This reader does the all important sync with Google Reader so that when you read posts on one device such as your iPad, they are automatically marked read on your other devices such as your computer or iPhone. The last reader I reviewed was Mobile RSS HD and I liked it a lot. So what makes Reeder for iPad my new default reader? As I've said in the past when all things are equal it comes down to UI (user interface), while I do prefer Mobile RSS HD from a visual standpoint (I like the pictures of each post showing down the side), the thing that bugged me was having to hit the Load More Items button without actually knowing if there were more unread items or not? That isn't an issue with Reeder. It shows you all of your unread items at once!

The Photos App Approach

Rather than show you a lists of articles down the side, Reeder for iPad delivers your news as thumbnails. Just like the Photos App you can pinch to expand any given folder to drill down on its contents. While I think this approach is cool, I do which the thumbnails would display the first image of the post instead of either being blank (most of the time) or displaying the website's icon. This would be my only knock of the App. Reeder for iPad supports all the features I use of Google Reader including Google Alerts. So while I do think that MobileRSS HD looks better, I find Reeder for iPad easier/better to use. If Reeder for iPad displayed images more often than blank thumbnails I'd give it 5 stars!

You can get Reeder for iPad here from the Reeder



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

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