Archive for August, 2008

Two nice apps for the iPhone for editing pictures have emerged since the launch of the App Store, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Mind you neither of these can replace Photoshop, but that is not the point either. Snaps you grab with the terrible 2mpix camera have no need for level adjustments or exposure settings – what we all want is a little fun (I imagine). And in that respect, both Comic Touch and Sketches deliver.

Comic Touch (iTS link) ($4.99) comes from plasq, developers of the quite-so-famous Comic Life for both the Mac and PC – which means we have certain expectations. If your expectation is to be able to make comics, you are in luck. But there isn’t a whole lot else to do.

Comic Touch will allow you to pick a photo, and add various forms of bubbles and captions, change the font size as well as choose between white on black and black on white color schemes. You can move the bubbles around and keep changing your parameters till you are satisfied, after which you can save the picture or send it by email. Oh and you can add the obligatory bulge/dent/squeeze/stretch/light effect, but c’mon, even for a comic they are useless.

It’s a fun little app, no doubt, but even for $5 I would have expected it to do a little… more.

Sketches (iTS link) ($5.99) from LateNiteSoft is more of a general drawing app than just for comics. It’s compromised of 3 main parts:

You start out with a background, which can be any photo on your phone (or from camera), a website, a solid color, a google map or one of the many built-in pictures.

You can then draw with your fingers, change pen color and thickness.

Lastly add objects like speech bubbles, arrows, hats, glasses and so forth. Objects can be resized (by pinching) and rotated.

You can also zoom in when you want to add that tiny handwritten text. Sketches has no copy/paste, but will allow you do undo any action (multiple undos, to be exact).

No text tool at the moment (one point to Comic Touch), but this is promised in the next release, already pending approval from Apple. The next release will also sport a built-in web server for super easy picture sharing. Very cool. For now though, Sketches will allow you to save the picture to the phone, or post it to twitter.

Oh, and in both apps you can shake the phone to erase your work. It’s the little things that count.

So which one should you pick?
Well if you have a paper cup full of coins like I do, get them both. If not, go with Sketches. Even if it’s a whole $1 more, it just has tons more features, and with the almost-released version 1.3, if seems to do pretty much everything that Comic Touch does too.
It’s easy to buy Comic Touch because “it’s from those guys who did that other cool app”, but I personally feel that this version needs a lot more work. It’s not a terrible app by any means, it looks good, works great – but it just doesn’t have enough features to warrant the price tag.

 

So, SimplifyMedia for the iPhone that I talked about a week ago, was released on the app store yesterday. Obviously I didn’t hesitate to grab it (first 100k copies are/were free, after which the price is $3.99). The video below is 5 minutes long, horribly shot and edited, and ehh, umm, eeh…. yeah. Let’s just say the app is better than my video 😉 Still, hopefully you get a glimpse of what you can do with it.

 

List of all installed apps as of today, idea via iJustine.

What apps are your favorites? And did you make any bad decisions yet? (ie. buying something you thought was worth the money but turned out not to be)

 

Yes it’s that time of the year again. Time for a new IKEA catalog.

A couple of products that sparked my interest (not sure if they are new):

BRÄDA laptop stand. Looks alright, and definitely helps with the heat issue. Looks like an earbud cable coming out of it in the first picture? Anyone know more about this product?

DOKUMENT trash can – simple yet stylish. Looks oddly familiar though 😉

The catalog can be read online, or downloaded in pdf form from the IKEA website (for my Norwegian readers, direct link)

 

One of the bits of news hitting the blogs over the last 24 hours is word of a patent filed by Apple for allowing iTunes music to be streamed from a computer to an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Well wait no more, because SimplifyMedia has already done it.
You might know that SimplifyMedia is a piece of software that you install on a Mac or PC, and it will allow you to open up your iTunes library on another computer, over the internet. For instance, when I am at work, my entire library at home, including playlists, show up in my local copy of iTunes – and it’s all being streamed.

According to a recent post on the SimplifyMedia blog, “Apple has approved our iPhone app, and we will be making it available in about a week in the App Store”.

Unfortunately, unlike the FREE Mac/PC version, the iPhone app will set you back $3.99. Still not bad I guess.

 

Why pay $15 for a piece of software that can turn your music into ringtones when you can achieve the same for free?
The first application you will need is MakeiPhoneRingtone from Rogue Amoeba. This is a very simple app that you just drag your AAC file onto, and it will convert it to the right format and import it in iTunes, directly into the Ringtones section.

If your original file is not in the AAC format, or you want to just use a portion of the file, you need some basic editing software too. The best free alternative is Audacity. If you want something that feels more Mac-like, give Fission ($32) (below) a try (from the same developer as MakeiPhoneRingtone).

And that’s all there is to it. Happy ringtone making!

This guide has been tested with iTunes 7.7.1 and iPhone 3G firmware 2.0.

 

You are probably well aware that most retail stores who sell TVs and other electronics are trying to fool you into buying their expensive cables and other nonsense that they claim you also need.

Well Apple is no different of course, and they probably make quite a nice profit on cables, docks, batteries, and all the other accessories that you will sooner or later need to get. Luckily there are alternatives…

An example:

Apple iPhone dock connector to USB cable: $19
Chinese rip-off: $3.46 with FREE worldwide shipping (as of this writing)

Some pictures…

Ok, the packaging is all squished and halfway ripped open when delivered. The dock connector pictured on the box is not the one on the actual cable (which is actually the “old” iPod connector, which need to be pressed on the sides to release – but still fits 3G iPhones). The Apple logo on the USB plug doesn’t look quite right, but that might be a good thing.

Build quality seems good though, I don’t think this one will fail any sooner than an official cable.

And don’t pay any attention to the car charger in the second picture. I was hoping it would work with the iPhone, but it doesn’t. Not sure if it has to do with which pins supply the charge power, or if it simply doesn’t output enough amps. Still works with the iPod (and a ton of other USB-based devices I recon), and it’s only $2.58.

Note: I am not in any way affiliated with DealExtreme, they just happen to have some great stuff and even better prices.

Before you say or think anything: I realize this is turning into “the iPhone blog”, but it’s ok. We can all calm down…

 


A few months back, I decided to cover up my iPod mini with a skin from Skinit.com. I was so happy with the results I decided to wrap up my new iPhone as well, mostly to avoid having a ununique gadget.

This time, I went with Decalgirl. Before you state the obvious, yes my skin might be better suited for a girl, and I don’t care 😛

Given the many cutouts needed on the iPhone skins (screen, home-button, speaker, sensors), getting a perfect fit was not easy – and I still failed in the end. Who knows, maybe I’ll swap it out later, after all it’s not a very costly part. Like Skinit.com, the skins from Decalgirl are printed on a non-air-bubbly-thingie so it’s easy enough to fit apart from the whole having-to-be-very-accurate part.

And like last time, I can recommend the product for anyone looking for a more personalized gadget.

 

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