Category Archives: Reference

Roman Ruins HD for iPad Review


I spent 4 years gaining two degrees studying history at university. After all this studying you could fit my knowledge of the Romans on the back of a postage stamp. I can bore anyone to death with tedious insight into Cold War politics, and Richard Nixon, but next to nothing about the Romans. Anyway, as a I sit in my centrally heated house, munching an apple with my cat sleeping on the sofa, I wonder; what did the Romans ever do for us? Thankfully, Roman Ruins HD can go some way to addressing my Roman ignorance.

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Review: London – A City Through Time for iPad

London a City Through Time iPad app

London has been one of the world’s great cities for centuries. London – A City Through Time is an iPad app that celebrates the city and presents its rich history and culture. I’ve been trying to come up with a solid second sentence here that does this great app justice, but instead I’ll share the words of no less an authority than The Economist, the blue-chip publication published out of London:

“London: A City Through Time” is neither coffee-table book nor guide nor map, but a nearly endless fusion of all three in a digital application, or “app”—nearly 2,000 years in the life of one of the world’s great cities.  Even diehard Londoners are destined to discover something new.


The app is touted as ‘Probably the most advanced and complete portrait of London ever produced’ and who’s going to argue with numbers like these:

… it offers an indispensable reference to the 2000-year history of the world’s most complex city. It boasts over 6000 articles on the capital’s museums, statues, buildings, streets, trades, people, parks, rivers and more. Over 2000 rare prints and photographs. Thirty-five video documentaries and clips from the archives of the Pathé movie library.

I works in landscape mode only, but that makes perfect sense given the layout and workings of the app. There’s a rotating set of superb images taking up about 70% of its main screen. A series of panels along the bottom of the app’s screens lead to the main ways to explore it – Timeline, Browse on Map, Life in London, My London, Audio Tours, History on the Tube, Audio Visual History, browse by subject, Notable Londoners, App Credits and Error Reporting.

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Review: Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomy for iPad

Leonardo da Vinci Anatomy for iPad

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomyis one of those iPad apps that reminds you of the amazing things that can be done on an iPad. It’s just the sort of app that Steve Jobs would’ve loved to show off while sitting in a comfy chair when unveiling the iPad back in 2010.

For starters, the actual content of this app is incredible and I’m not sure it could be shared so effectively or impressively anywhere other than in this iPad app:

This sublime collection of drawings of human anatomy by Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle. All 268 pages from Leonardo’s notebooks are presented here at the highest resolution, optimised for the pin-sharp retina display of the new iPad. For the first time it is possible for anyone with an iPad to own and explore this remarkable testament to Leonardo’s scientific and artistic genius.

The apps’s list of features is also very impressive:

• Beautiful interactive book interface
• All 268 of Leonardo’s anatomical drawings pinch-zoomable at high resolution
• Takes full advantage of the new iPad’s retina display
• A magic spyglass to decode Leonardo’s mirror writing
• Touch any of Leonardo’s extensive notes to read in situ a typeset English translation
• Eleven story chapters, written by Martin Clayton, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at Windsor Castle, explaining Leonardo’s anatomical investigations and presenting over 70 selected works with interactive features

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Review – The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present, and Future for iPad

The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present, and Future - iPad app

The 9/11 Memorial:  Past, Present, and Future is an iPad app that serves to commemorate the events of that historic and tragic day and offer a unique look at the history and the planned future for the 9/11 Memorial that opens next month.

The 9/11 Memorial will be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and will open to the public on the day after, September 12, 2011.

This app, just as the title suggests, offers a superb look at the past, present, and future of what seems destined to become an important national landmark in the US. It includes never-seen-before videos, photographs, interviews and text that document the Memorial. The app is an iPad exclusive – and the publisher, Steve Rosenbaum, calls it ‘history in your hands’. It will be released in the App Store on September 1st and will be free for 11 days – 9/1 to 9/11.

I was far away from the events of 9/11, here in Texas – but like so many others I watched the events unfold from early that morning and have vivid memories of the day. So when I was offered a chance to install a pre-release copy of this app it took me about 2 seconds to say yes. I’ve been reading and browsing the app for the last couple of weeks and as usual I’ve got some thoughts to share …

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Quick Look: Da Vinci Codex Plus – a Unique iPad App

Da Vinci Codex Plus for iPad

Da Vinci Codex Plus is one of those ‘only on the iPad’ type apps – although it’s a universal app that will also run on the iPhone and iPod Touch. It showcases Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus. Here’s a portion of its App Store intro:

This application is the first to allow HD navigation in Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus with touch iPods, iPhones and iPads.

The Codex Atlanticus is preserved in Milan’s Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Its 1119 pages make it the largest collection of the thoughts and ideas that sprang from Leonardo’s genius for more than forty years, practically the whole of his life as an artist and scientist.

This international application constitutes the very first collection of all the best military art drawings comprised in the Codex Atlanticus: 45 sheets illustrating the development of the architectonic and scientific thinking of the world’s best known inventor on the subject of the art of fortification.

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Review: Merriam-Webster Dictionary HD for iPad

Merriam-Webster Dictionary HD for iPad

Merriam-Webster Dictionary HD is the brand new iPad version of the popular dictionary. It is designed specifically for the iPad, offers all the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, and voice search to look up a word even if you can’t spell it out.

I’ve been taking a look at the app this morning and I’m very impressed. This is one heck of a good looking iPad version.

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Quick Look – World’s Deadliest Animals for iPad


I mentioned a couple days ago that I had installed a new iPad app called World’s Deadliest Animals. Not an app that would generally hold much appeal, but this is a subject that fascinates my daughter – so I grabbed the app without paying a great deal of attention to its App Store description or details.

Bad move. Bad app. After installing the app I was looking forward to showing it to my daughter (Zoe) as she frequently asks about this subect. When we’re out walking the dog, I often get pummeled with ‘what do you think is the deadliest spider?’’ or ‘what do you think is the most deadly sea creature?’ type queries. I hoped this app might answer some of her questions with more authority than I could, or at least give us some great discussion fodder in some of the categories. Or just show us lots of cool pictures of scary creatures.

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Qwiki for iPad delivers Wikipedia on speed

I try to keep an open mind when test driving an app for the first time. The 3 main questions going through my mind are – what does the app do? Does it do it well? And, will I use it?  I apply these three basic questions to any app, whether it’s being heralded as the Next Big Thing in the app universe or it’s a humbly obscure offering of the mom-and-pop variety fighting for press attention.

And so I approached Qwiki – which is being pegged as Yet Another Innovative Way to Connect with Information on the iPad. Continue reading

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Review – iFixit: Repair Manual for iPad

iFixit Repair Manual for iPad

iFixit: Repair Manual is the brand new iPad app from the excellent team at These guys provide the very best (and free) repair guides for iPhones, iPads, Macs, and a very broad range of computers, electronics, and lots more.

I’ve used iFixit guides in the past and always found them an enormous help. So I was very excited to see this app hit the iPad App Store – and to say I’m not disappointed with it would be a huge understatement.

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Quick Look – Free 1.5 Million Quotes for iPad

Free 1.5 Million Quotes app for iPad

Free 1.5 Million Quotes is an app full of famous quotes and ‘designed specifically for the iPad’. It includes 50,000 quotes within the app (available even when you’re offline) as well as quick links out to its parent site for access to a total of 1.5 million quotes (hence the rather clumsy name for the app).

I like browsing through famous quotes as much as the next guy; probably a bit more in fact, so I was keen to try the app out when I got an email approach from its developer.  I’ve been trying it out for a few days now and have found a lot to like in it, as well as some not so likable bits.  Hit the break for some quick thoughts on both the good and the not-so-good …

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Phases HD Reviewed

Phases HD for iPad

Phases HD displays the various moon cycles – from new moon to full moon – and everything in between. All major details in the app are displayed on one screen, although depending on the orientation, there are variations in content. For example, in landscape mode the majority of the screen is dominated by the current lunar phase and supplemented by the next eight phases. Portrait view, presents a monthly calendar and a light map showing the night and night cycles of the Earth. Continue reading

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