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.
If you like continuous shooters, aka bullet-storm or bullet-hell arcade games, you’ll love Magenta Arcade. The game has all the good stuff you’d expect from the genre: lots of swarming baddies coming down from the top of the screen that you need to shoot before they touch you and blow you up. The App Store has hundreds or of these shooters: you control a plane or a tank or a person or some other avatar who constantly shoots a stream of bullets up-screen at the bad guys. Magenta Arcade has one innovation that sets it apart and makes it a lot easier to control: your finger on the screen determines the source of the bullet storm; there is no avatar per se. You move around the screen easily, aiming and dodging as quickly as you can move your finger around the screen. There’s no controller middle-man between you and the bullet storm.
Evernote recently introduced a new set of pricing tiers. You can still use the services for free across all your devies, but if you become a power user who wants to keep more notes and have more access to your notes (even while offline), you’ll want to invest in Evernote Plus or Evernote Premium.
There are various ways that you can search, organize and view your photo library on your iPad. You can choose to view your photos based on when they were taken, or by how you grouped them into albums. You can even view them based on when and who you shared individual or groups of photos with. But did you also know you can view your photos based upon where they were taken? Let me preface this by saying that this will only work if you have allowed the Photos application on your iPad to have access to your location. To check this setting and/or change it, go to the Settings App–> Privacy–> Location Services–> Photos. Here you will have two options to choose from–allow the Photos App access only while you are using the app, and not allow at all.
To view your photos based on their geolocation, this feature must be set to “while using the app” or the pictures won’t even have a location to sort them by. Once you have the setting updated, all of your photos taken on your iPad moving forward will now have a geolocation stamped into the metadata stored within the photo. Armed with this knowledge, you can now sort and search your photos based upon their location.
There’s a Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie called Premium Rush that’s all about bike messengers weaving through the traffic in New York City. The main character visualizes all the wrong approaches and simulates several awful crashes before finally landing on the right angle of attack, which he then executes perfectly. It’s that kind of keen spatial projection that will get you through each level of Does Not Commute.
This is a game about driving and finding small moments of beauty in all of the chaos, like when you skid perfectly between two incoming cars and reach your destination without a scratch. You drive one car at a time from point A to point B, and once you arrive at your goal, you’ll take the role of a different car somewhere else on the level. Once you’ve finished a few runs, you’ll realize that all of the cars you’ve previously driven are now whizzing by you. You’ll suddenly rue your reckless driving from only 30 seconds earlier as past versions of yourself make it hell for you to skid around a corner in one piece. If that sounds chaotic, that’s because it is, but the “crashendo” builds so slowly that you’ll always understand just enough to navigate your way through it all.
Add a countdown timer for each level and a set of tantalizingly placed timer refills around the map, and you have yourself a recipe for some nail-biting vehicular puzzles. You’re playing the long game in Does Not Commute, and you may find you’ll have to return to previous puzzles to allow yourself the time to finish the next ones. Fortunately, well designed power-ups you unlock along the way make the experience more forgiving and expand your options, even as the puzzles get harder.
Does Not Commute can be a punishing, but satisfying game with pockets of well-written humour to ease the stress, and it’s one of my favourite titles to come along in a while.
Here’s an App Store link for Does Not Commute; it’s free to download with an In-App purchase option to add checkpoints for $1.99.
I recently purchased a Sony A6000 so that I could take more dramatic videos and stylish review shots. One of the biggest changes I’ve been adjusting to is that modern cameras actually have Wi-Fi on board, and so I can transfer my 24 MegaPixel JPEGs right from the camera to my iPad for editing on-the-go. I can do all of this thanks to the PlayMemories app on the App Store, which allows me to connect straight to the ad-hoc network broadcast by my camera.
This is an awesome setup for me, as I can take a few hundred burst shots while I’m playing tennis with friends and then send all of them over to my iPad while we break for lunch. It takes about 5-10 minutes for each set of 100 shots, and so the transfer is usually complete by the time my friends and I are done eating. I can then cull all of the crappy out-of-focus shots from the iPad’s 10-inch screen, and even start editing photos with some of my favourite extensions.
When I get home, I don’t even have to worry about transferring pictures off of the camera to the Mac. iCloud Photo Library automatically uploads all of the JPEGs from the iPad to my iPhone and Mac. This workflow is a dream come true for me, and it’s a far cry from the days of requiring iPad memory card adapters, or worse: transferring all photos from the camera to iPhoto, and then syncing lower resolution versions to the iPad through iTunes.
I’ve been using the iPad as a computer substitute and a second screen for years now, and so it’s a thrill to be able to use the machine in a new context. It’s amazing how versatile this little tablet is proving to be.
Ultraflow is a unique puzzle game that combines the gameplay of bumper pool, min-golf, Breakout, and some of its own chops in one fast-moving milieu. While the play can be very hectic with lots of moving parts and bouncing around, the color palette is subdued to give your senses some calm place to rest.
The object of each of the 99 puzzles is the same: use your finger to launch a small circle so it bounces into a larger circle. There will be myriad types of obstacles in your way: bumpers as in pinball, brick walls to break down, energy-sucking barriers, or one-directional energy boosters that speed your ball on a one-way path. On each level your ball has only so many bounces allowed before it explodes. For simpler puzzles that number is very low, maybe 3 or 4. For complicated puzzles such as those with the bricks, your allowable bounces range well into the double digits, sometimes 40 or more.
The gameplay is very quick: you either solve the puzzle or die within a very few seconds. Some of the puzzles are easy, which provides a nice mental respite from the puzzles that can be frustratingly difficult. As with most puzzle games, once you figure out a geometric trajectory that creates a win, it seems obvious after the fact. There is a merciful hints function that you can turn on or off. Hints take pity on you when you’ve died many times in a row: a suggested path shows up on the screen.
Nintype is an incredible keyboard concept, and I think it could prove to be one of the very best ways to type on a tablet screen. I’ve always thought that an awesome touchscreen keyboard would involve a mix of tapping and swiping, which is exactly what Nintype offers. But the most innovative feature of this keyboard is that it can accept taps and swipes within the same word.
Other keyboards like Swype require that you complete an entire word by tracing a single line through multiple letters for a single word, which can be very clumsy for words that are longer than five characters long. Nintype addresses this by allowing me to write by using combinations of taps and swipes, in whatever order I like.
For example, typing the word “keyboard” starts with a tap on the letter “K”, then my left thumb taps “E”, my right thumb traces a line from Y-B-O and then my left thumb finishes by tracing through “A” then “R” then “D”. Working with Nintype is a lot like learning a dance. There’s a rhythm and order to the process, and it’s confounding to witness for the first few minutes. However, the really impressive thing is that this idea actually works out in practice… and it’s really fun to use.
I took advantage of the current Mac App Store promo and picked up a copy of Flare 2 for $7, which I think that will really unlock the potential of the Flare Effects app on my iPad.
I now do most of my editing within the Photos app in iOS. I use the basic iOS sliders to adjust basic light and color, add a hint of sharpening in the Afterlight photo extension, and then save the changes. One thing that’s missing from this editing flow is the set of filters I used to apply within VSCO Cam. I love VSCO’s filters, but I don’t like having to import pictures into VSCO to edit, and then save those edits as new pictures in my photo library. That process creates a lot of clutter.
So on the advice of Ben Brooks, I’m going to give Flare 2 a shot. The Mac app can create photo filters and sync them to the companion iOS apps, which have working extensions in the Photos app. If I can manage to create a few filter sets I really like, Flare 2 should essentially act as a suitable VSCO replacement.
I still have to figure out exactly what kind of filters I’d like to try and recreate, but I’m excited at the prospect. If you’d like to pick up Flare 2, it’s still on sale for 50% right now. The Flare Effects iPad app is completely free.