Apple has just released a big update to iTunes U, which in the process will probably cannibalize similar well established educational classroom management services from Showbie and Edmodo. Apps like these allow communication, feedback and setting and receiving of class assignments.
For the uninitiated, iTunes U is a repository of free educational courses from certified institutions around the world. Previously it had been a rather one way affair, with institutes able to put lectures and class materials for students to consume. The attraction for teachers is that it is a hugely simple process to create a cool looking, accessible course for all the world to see. The new update makes iTunes U more of a proper classroom in that you can now set an assignment as a teacher and you can get your students to do it on their iPad. The best bit is they can turn it in using iTunes U, and you can seamlessly send a grade and a comment back to them, all saved in your and their iTunes U. Continue reading
Capsule review: if you like sniper-style shooting games, Hitman Sniper for iPad is the best there is. The story is straight from the Hitman franchise playbook, and the gameplay, weapons selection, and shot control will make you believe you’re the Leon the Professional of your dreams.
While I was only mildly interested in the Hitman games on console, it took only one screenshot from the “new games” section of the app store to have me reaching for my wallet. For those unfamiliar with the Hitman games or the movie spinoff, in Hitman Sniper you play Agent 47, a detached, unfeeling assassin raised from a young child to be a cold-blooded contract killer. The barcode on the back of your avatar’s head completes the inhuman presentation of the character. You’re given missions to complete using only a sniper rifle, each mission including a main target that somehow seems like he deserves what he’s getting: you know, a drug kingpin, spy for the bad guys, international arms dealer, and the like. (Even if it’s only a game, the developers have let you assuage your guilt at being so cold blooded.) But ½-way into your second mission you will have forgotten about all that and be super-focused on completing all your mission objectives, collecting your fee, and avoiding the horrible, screaming, red-lettered “mission FAILED” verdict.
Apple has an iOS app called Notes–ever hear of it? No? I’m not surprised. For those of you not familiar with this app, it’s one of Apple’s stock apps that comes pre-installed on your iPad. For many, though it ends up getting relegated to a folder or buried in one of your lesser used home pages–forgotten and unloved. I’ve tried to use it a few times in the past, but could never manage to stay with it for an extended period of time because it just did’t provide features that many other productivity apps offered for free. That was until now.
Now, the Notes app will finally have all of its contents saved to iCloud so all of your information can be saved and accessible across all your iOS devices as well as on your Mac. The new and improved Notes app for your iPad now supports many different ways of saving your quick ideas, in addition to providing you new ways of saving them all in one place. In addition to simple text entries, now you can…
Today at the World Wide Developer conference Apple gave us our first look at iOS 9. As anticipated, iOS 9 focused primarily on stability and improvements to the user-interface. Now, even though we didn’t get a bloated laundry list of new features and apps, we did get some interesting and welcomed changes.
Apple focused on updating and improving the following apps
- Spotlight Search
- Apple Pay
- News ( a brand new news aggregator app)
I’ve been an iA Writer and Writer Pro user for a few years now, but recently took a break from those apps to give Ulysses a fair shake. The devs at The Soulmen have put together a very powerful combo of Mac and iPad apps with a very clean approach to empowering plain text. If you write for the web on a regular basis and prefer to use Markdown for formatting, Ulysses could be your new best friend.
This morning Apple announced via their events page that they will be live-streaming their 2015 World Wide Developer Conference Keynote next week. This isn’t a big surprise, as they have been offering a live-stream of their Keynote announcements and conferences for some time now. Hopefully they will have better luck than they did last year during the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcement, where a Chinese interpreter translating over the main audio stream was one of the most memorable takeaways from the special event.
In addition to the being live-streamed over Safari, there will also be a dedicated Apple Events Channel offered for those of you with an Apple TV. The event goes live at 1 PM EST.
To watch the WWDC live you need to meet or exceed the following requirements
What we know
Apple has been working on a fix for the Messages bug that has plagued iOS 8 devices since being recently discovered by Reddit users. The bug affects text messages, and can render the app unusable. In addition, in some cases it causes iPads to re-boot or re-spring. The message itself is a series of unicode characters that are sent through any app, not just the iOS messages app. The issue arises due to the way iOS 8 handles the display of notifications that contain Arabic characters. Is is unclear why, but the manner in which certain characters are stringed together confuses the app, and as a result, it crashes.
What does Apple say?
Apple has acknowledged the issue in a statement to CNBC
We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update
As much as we would love to have a quick fix for this issue, we might have to wait another day or two before Apple releases one. Rushing to get a patch out the door ASAP without sufficient time to test it could potentially put far more iOS users at risk and create an even larger problem. In the meantime, Apple is offering this temporary fix on their support page…
I have to admit to being one of the very few people who didn’t care for Angry Birds when it came out during the early days of the iPhone and iPad. I just never got the pigs, eggs, and shaky-structure thing. But blowing up zombies with hand grenades? Bring it on. The developers of the original Fragger game have recently released the sequel we’ve been waiting for: Fragger 2, with three new worlds and 90 new levels. It’s another winning casual game to fill in shorter holes in your schedule.
For the uninitiated, in Fragger you play a lone hand-grenade wielding soldier. Your job is to lob your supply of grenades, one at a time, at a number of zombies. You control your throw’s trajectory and force by drawing on the screen with your finger. A helpful guide shows the course of the grenade; the length of the guide shows the force with which you throw. Especially in the higher levels, you need to use finesse to throw hard enough to hit your target, but not so hard you over-throw. The grenade explodes when it comes to a rest wherever you have thrown it (not on impact).
Yesterday I wrote abut how to upgrade or downgrade the amount of iCloud storage you need for your iPad. While I suspect that this is the default cloud service used by the majority of iPad owners–it certainly isn’t the only cloud service available to store your data in the cloud. One of our readers who read my post from yesterday brought up a good point
Why not suggest to open a Hotmail or GMail account and get a free 15 Gig of storage? –DAN
This got me thinking. Dan is absolutely right. There are definitely other viable options out there worth mentioning. So, after little research, I thought I’d gather some of the more popular cloud storage options for iPad owners. For the sake of this exercise, here are a few basic ground rules I’m applying in my comparison.
- Only real-time offers available _right now_ are considered
- No special offers or promotions considered for buying your iPad at any particular retail outlet.
- No extra incentives to “earn” additional storage (e.g. referring friends, tweeting or sharing on Facebook for additional “free” storage)
- Personal accounts only–no business or shared accounts
- New iPad owners only–no bonus deals for having been grand-fathered in to legacy deals.
While there are plentiful dirt-bike games for your iPad, Hello Moto HD strikes the right balance of fun gameplay, easy controls, and accurate physics to make it worth a spot in your games folder. Hello Moto is a side-scrolling challenge in which you guide your dirt bike over 24 tracks (if you make it that far) with increasing levels of challenges. If games can be judged by frequency of play, then Hello Moto has earned an A+ in my casual-game world.
In Moto HD you’re a dirt-bike rider that must guide his or her bike from left to right across a dirt track containing jumps, flips, and other tricks you have to master in order to reach the checkered flag. As you might expect, the tracks get harder and harder as you go along. Each time you miss a jump, or fall into a chasm, or run into an obstacle, you crash and then start at the beginning of the track again. This process is less tedious than it sounds as you learn each trick fairly quickly as you go. For example, you learn how to time your jumps to make it to the next platform, or how to make low jumps in order to not knock your block off on an overhead obstacle. Each track took me five–ten tries to master though of course your reflexes may be better than mine.
Paper by FiftyThree continues to be on the cutting edge of modern iPad app design. The incredible ink engine and drawing tools were already incredible, but these new shape, fill, and cutting tools really complete the package.
It could easily be argued that “it’s about time” that these features made it to Paper, as they’re readily available in many other popular note-taking apps, like Penultimate and Noteshelf. However, no other app really delivers as great an experience as Fifty Three does with Paper. I haven’t had very long to play with the new tools, but they are exactly what I’ve always wanted out of this app.
The Shape tool makes it easy to create quick, good-looking diagrams with smart shapes that I can move around at will. The fill tool helps me colour-code quick graphs or mock-ups. The cutting tool lets me move any element, as expected, but it also functions as a clone tool as well. That last feature make it so much easier and more fun to use Paper as a design sketchbook. It’s now dead simple for me to duplicate a base design and quickly create small variations, without having to re-draw everything each time.
Finally, Paper has become an even better place to share work from. I don’t use the built-in Mix platform very much, but I’ll definitely use the new export features to create PDFs and PowerPoint files from my drawings.
The only wish at this point would be the ability to embed or import pictures so that I can mark them up within Paper.