Category Archives: Cool Things

Cool Things: Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 Free in the iBookstore


Lonely Planet has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of the best and most original travel guides around. Now their Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 title is available for free in the iBookstore until June 14.

This guide book looks very good and should be an excellent resource if you’re looking to expand your travel horizons this year. It’s a showcase for Lonely Planet’s choices of all the best cities, regions, and countries to visit in 2011. Here’s a little more detail from their iBookstore description of the book:

Drawing on the knowledge, passion and miles travelled by Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and online community, we present a year’s worth of travel inspiration to take you out of the ordinary and into some unforgettable experiences.
• Lonely Planet ranks the top 10 countries, regions and cities to visit in 2011.
• The best travel experiences for 2011, from the opening of New York’s September 11 Memorial to flamenco classes in Andalucía
• Over 35 events mapped out month by month in the 2011 travel planner.

If you’re after even more ideas for wonderful places to visit, you may want to check out my recent review of the superb National Geographic’s 50 Places of a Lifetime for iPad.

Here’s an App Store link for Best in Travel 2011; and again it’s offered free until June 14.

Thanks to Mike Schramm at TUAW for the mention of this deal.

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Cool Things: iPad Garageband Guitar Solo

Just in case you haven’t already seen – and heard – this one yet. It’s by YouTube user palamosteliaro, and here’s his quick description of it:

This is me creating a jam track with apple’s Garageband app for the ipad and then shredding a guitar solo over it! I am sorry about the bad video quality, but i could not find a way to record ipad’s screen in a fast framerate.

Great stuff, and another great example of what you can do on the creation rather than consumption side of things on the iPad.

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With the new iPad 2 ad Apple’s just getting started

No doubt a lot of you out there are too young to remember the excitement us Apple watchers felt in the early days when a new iPod commercial came out. There were gasps of “cool!” all over the proto-twitterverse/blogosphere in reaction to the new Indie song that had been chosen to herald the iPod in all its silhouetted glory. Songs like Walkie Talkie Man, Are you gonna be my girl? or Jerk it out enjoyed a nice chart run on Apple’s coattails. Good times. Continue reading

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Cool Things: Stop-Motion Video Created with Brushes App for iPad

Really great video – fun and clever and made even more so when you hear about how it was done with the Brushes app for iPad by Shawn Harris, aka Maniac.

Here’s his rundown of how this was created:

I illustrated this video for "Thank Each Mistake" using the Brushes app for iPad. I heard about it through Jorge Colombo’s New Yorker covers, but for me, the best media for this technique wasn’t print, but video! By taking advantage of the actions playback feature, and by using a brushes viewer application for my Mac, I found I could export my painting as a quicktime movie. The app isn’t designed for animation, but the playback feature, which records each brush-stroke as a separate frame, lends itself to a coarse morphy style of stop-motion fingerpainting, if you can manage to be deliberate enough about not lifting your finger from the painting… Thanks also to BLU, whose wall animations helped inspire the technique.

I’ve always thought the recording of strokes within Brushes was a pretty incredible feature, but I’d never seen it put to this sort of use before. Well done Mr. Harris.

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Cool Things: PadInTheCity Renting 3G iPads for Your Stay in Madrid


PadInTheCity is a new service that lets you rent a 3G iPad while you’re in the city of Madrid, Espana. For around $56 per day they provide a 3G iPad (original rather than iPad 2 I assume) with an unlimited data plan and a stack of good apps for tourists and users in general.

They deliver the iPads to you at your hotel, an airport or agreed location, with a case and charger included, and collect it from you at the end of your stay / rental period. You can reserve your iPad online via Paypal, with a reasonable security deposit.

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Cool Things: iPad Cover Version of Cee-Lo Green’s ‘F You’

Musician Ben Powell produced this cover of Cee-Lo Green’s ‘F You’ entirely on an iPad, using a slew of apps and NES video game sounds to mimic the vocals on the song. Here’s the list of apps used in the making of this cover:

NESynth —
Salt Shaker —
Music Studio —
Drums! —
Synth —
Magic Piano —
Tambourine! —
Dog Piano —
Panda Piano —

For the whole story on how this was produced, check out Powell’s blog post on it:

Spotted via: Gizmodo

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Cool Things: Apple Patent Shows Spaces-Style Application Switching for iPad


Patently Apple has found an Apple patent that indicates Apple may be planning to bring Spaces to the iPad. Spaces is used on Mac laptops and desktops as a workspace-based way of giving frequently used apps their own place and rapidly switching between them.

Originally filed in the third quarter of 2009 and entitled “Device, method, and graphical user interface for manipulating workspace views”, the patent application describes methods for solving cumbersome and inefficient moving of one or more windows between workspaces, or seeing several workspace views simultaneously. Read on for more juicy details…

One embodiment specifically describes this feature on a multitouch-equipped tablet device. According to PatentlyApple, the Spaces-like capability could be invoked with a two-finger pinching gesture in a specific location. Alternatively, a five-finger pinching or tapping gesture could be used to bring a Spaces-like workspace switcher.

The multitouch gestures described above sound very much like what is already in place in the development build of iOS 4.3 for the iPad, with its additional multitasking gestures. It just doesn’t yet have an ability to assign specific apps to specific spaces, as we have on a Mac.

I love using Spaces on my MacBook Pro to assign individual desktop spaces to my 6-8 most frequently used apps. I like the idea of seeing it on the iPad if it can be implemented well. I imagine the iPad would need more RAM to handle having apps run more actively in the background if something like Spaces was added to its features.

Source: Patently Apple

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Cool Things: First Photo of Mount Evans Taken with an iPad 2

Mount Evans photo taken with an iPad 2

This is – as far as we know – the first photo of Mount Evans in Colorado taken with an iPad 2. It was taken by everythingiCafe forum member geordisjd, and is part of a forum thread for pictures taken with the iPad 2. There are a number of surprisingly good pictures in the thread, and this is my clear favorite.

Here’s a little background on the photo, straight from geordisjd:

With 40mph gusts of wind, it was immensely (?) practical to take those pics. The iPad almost flew away across the frozen lake, but I caught it before it did…

This is a pic of Mt Evans, CO, taken fom Echo Lake, one hour from Denver. Mt Evans is closed by snow 8 months a year. But when it opens on Memorial Day, it’s a wonderful place that goes through 4 seasons in 4 months (June=winter/spring, July=spring/summer, august is still summer, but the first deep frost in early September puts it into a very fast fall and winter is back again. It has the highest paved road in the US. You can actually drive to the very top. One of the most interesting area is Summit Lake at 12,500 feet, over one thousand feet under Mt Evans’ summit. Only fed by melting snow, summit lake owes its few trouts to human seeding. The area around it is the only place in the continental US to have permafrost, which is the reason why the vegetation is the same as in the arctic: lovely tiny, tough flowers with a very short life. Wild life is also everywhere: big horn sheeps, mountain goats, marmots, ice birds are everywhere, with no predators.

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Cool Things: Photo of iPad 2 Outside a RIM Office, and the Punchline That Accompanies It


That’s Jim Dalrymple of The Loop and his iPad 2 outside a RIM office. RIM of course are the makers of Blackberry devices and the soon / sometime-to-be-released Playbook tablet. That’s the tablet that one of RIM”s joint CEOs claimed is ‘way ahead’ in the tablet arena, despite the little fact that it is not even on the market yet.

I love Dalrymple’s punchline to accompany the photo (emphasis below is mine):

So, while I didn’t get to see a PlayBook, I did get to take this nice picture of me and my iPad 2 outside of the company’s offices. It might be the first time a working tablet has actually made it on RIM property.

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Cool Things: LetterMpress – Kickstarter Project to Bring Virtual Letterpress Printing to the iPad

LetterMpress for iPad

LetterMpress is a Kickstarter project that’s all about appreciating, and breathing a bit of life back into, traditional letterpress printing. The project includes an iPad app, the acquisition of collections of authentic wood type, and the establishment of a new letterpres co-op called ‘Living Letter Press’.

Here’s the stated goal of the project:

Our goal is to give designers, artists, students, lovers of type—anyone—the ability to produce their own authentic letterpress designs and artwork.

LetterMpress, the iPad app, will be a virtual letterpress environment that allows anyone to create authentic-looking letterpress designs and prints. You’ll be able to print your designs directly from the app, or save them for use in other apps. The app will include at least a dozen typefaces and around 50 art ‘cuts’ – and these will be expanded with updates to the app. It will be priced at $5.99.

Years ago I worked in a corporate design agency, way back in the days when traditional typesetting was still very much around and not yet replaced by digital pLetterMpressBackerrocesses – so this app / project has nostalgic appeal for me. And I put a bit of money where my nostalgia is as well – this is the first Kickstarter project I’ve ever contributed to.

Happily, the LetterMpress project has already well exceeded it’s funding target – and it’s still got 46 days to go.

To see all the details on this project, or to pitch in towards its funding, visit its Kickstarter page here:

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Cool Things: Video Ad for Guitar Emulation iPad App

OMGuitar is the best mobile guitar emulation ever created. It is a synthesizer with unique interface and new-generation sound hybrid engine that allows anyone to produce realistic guitar sounds.

Good ad. The song sounds good and the app looks quite impressive.

Spotted Via: TUAW

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