My favorite iPad photo editing / effects app, PhotoToaster, was updated at the tail end of last week – to Version 6.0.0.
This update brings a snazzy new custom photo picker that shows larger thumbnails when you’re selecting an image to work with and lets you zoom in on photos before using them. It also brings a number of imaging enhancements and makes all its features available with no need for In-App purchases:
No In-App Purchases! Everything is included.
• tint is now shadow and highlight tint to allow for split toning • sharpen is now detail and can sharpen or soften depending on direction ( the algorithm has been improved to provide a better result particularly with larger values) • the blur vignette has been separated from the brightness vignette so that each can have it’s own size • shadows and highlights can now go in either direction so you can darken shadows and lighten highlights (the algorithm was rewritten for a higher quality result) • there are several new global presets that make use of some of the changes • the FX brushes has a new option for soft focus, this can be helpful for removing wrinkles or blemishes • precision sliders are used in some cases and activated by moving away from the control to allow for more precise adjustment • custom size for crop and save
When teaching, one of the great practical ways to inspire discussion, debate and higher order thinking skills is by categorisation/card sort exercises, ideally where a student can decide to put things in a certain order, and change their mind by moving their idea about depending on the discussion. Back in the ‘good old days’ (pre-iPad), I would spend ages making a card sort exercise – writing it out in Word, printing it, maybe laminating it (or if I was feeling lazy not bothering), cutting out all the cards and placing them in envelopes with paper clips on so they didn’t get lost. I’d then repeat this for however many sets I needed for the class. I’d feel my life force drain away in front of my eyes as I repeated this tortuous process for each of my classes, with the realisation that I still had a ton of stuff to mark and plan, but knowing that it would generate a good lesson of discussion, argument and discovery. Continue reading →
As of this week, it’s back in all its tile-driven glory – ready to serve up Google Analytics stats with the prettiest UI by far for any app of this kind.
Now the not so great news: there has been very little explanation from the developers of what happened to cause the app to suddenly stop working and then be fully removed from the App Store. Only minimal updates saying they were ‘aware of the issue with the app and working on a fix’.
Today, April 2, is World Autism Awareness Day. To mark the occasion, a large number of excellent iPad and iOS apps are on sale at deep discounts or even available for free.
The iAutism site has a great list of the apps that are on sale or free – with good details on each of them:
This post presents a list of these apps for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch divided by categories. Those categories are only indicative, and some apps could be included in more than one category. There are apps specifically designed for people with autism and other which are aimed to help people with special needs in general, and other that are totally generic.
Many of these apps are normally priced at very premium rates, so the discounts available are in turn quite substantial as well.
I’ve written on many occasions here about how much positive impact iPad apps have had with autistic and special needs learners – and have also hear first-hand from teachers about how valuable iPad apps have proved in this area.
Check out the iAutism site to see the full list of apps that are free or on sale to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
A year ago yesterday Flipboard 2.0 was released. The 2.0 version of the hugely popular iPad news magazine added the ability for users to create their own Flipboard magazines. Along with many others, I was excited to see that update and thought it was a great, fun new feature of the app.
Looks like it’s been pretty well received, as Flipboard has shared some numbers to mark the one year anniversary:
As of March 27, Flipboard’s community of MagMakers has created more than seven million magazines. (If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 19,178 magazines per day, or 13 magazines per minute.)
iPad Insight has made its little contribution to those numbers. We currently have 3 Flipboard magazines – iPad Apps, iPad Art, and iPad Accessories. You can find them via the search in Flipboard or within iPad Insight on Flipboard.
So Microsoft Office for iPad has finally arrived. Word, Excel, and Powerpoint apps for the iPad are in the App Store now. It only took Microsoft a little over 4 years to bring the Office suite that apparently is required in order to do ‘real work’ to a tablet they’ve repeatedly said isn’t capable of doing any.
Presumably that all changes now. Office for iPad means the iPad is now open for real business. The 3 Office apps for iPad are all free. But … they all require a qualifying Office 365 subscription in order to, well, do real work beyond just opening and viewing files. Office 365 subscriptions start at $99.99 per year and you can get one via In-App purchase. Once you do that you have document editing capabilities and the 3 apps in their full glory.
There is a 30-day trial for Office 365, and a Home subscription allows you to install the apps on up to 5 PCs or Macs and up to 5 iPads or Windows tablets.
The excellent Todoist task management app for iPad got an update over this past weekend – to Version 8.1.
Two notable new features in this update are pull down to search and an Undo action when you complete or postpone an item.
The pull down to search takes just a very light scroll down gesture to show a search bar at the top of the main tasks area. As soon as you to begin typing a search keyword you’ll see tabs to search the current project you’re in or to search all tasks.
The Undo ability on complete and postpone actions is a welcome addition – though I think it could be implemented better. As it is now, once you tap to complete or postpone an item a Tap to Undo button will appear at the bottom of the tasks view you’re working in. Two things are less than ideal about this: it’s not as immediately easy to spot that button, due to its location (it’s much easier when it’s right next to where the original action took place, as in Gmail) and the Undo button only stays around for about 3 seconds. Hopefully this will get refined in a future update.
The app they used looked very cool and I got its name wrong in my post – I thought Jimmy Fallon called it The Looper, when in fact the app is called Loopy HD. Anyway, now that the video of the Tonight Show clip is all over the web, I though it might be worthwhile to share a little info on the app that was a big part of the performance.
So here’s a bit of the App Store description for Loopy HD:
As seen on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon! ## Create music by layering looped recordings of singing, beatboxing, or playing an instrument with a savvy, sophisticated, tactile new looper that totally reinvents the formula.
This is a looper that’ll come out to play, but get down to work when you want to get serious. While other music creation apps tend to be either powerful but difficult to learn, or easy to use but limited in features, Loopy doesn’t compromise. Loopy offers a sleek, expressive, instantly understandable interface that beginners can start using effectively straight away. It’s fun, right from the start. More advanced users, however, will not be disappointed by Loopy’s rich feature set, with extra features many other loopers just don’t have. Plus, a sophisticated interactive tutorial system lets users discover Loopy’s more advanced features at their own pace.
For those of you with the musical chops to put this app to good use here’s an App Store link for Loopy HD; it’s priced at $7.99 and is a universal app designed for both iPad and iPhone.
What a great showcase for an iPad music app – The Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel putting it to some very good use. I think Fallon said the app is called The Looper – maybe this one. I love the musical bits on Fallon’s late night shows and this is a really fun one to watch.
Update: The app used in the show is Loopy HD, developed by A Tasty Pixel.
Axel’s Chain Reaction by Laura Allison Pomenta Badolato blew me away with its features, and it’s no surprise why. According to the iTunes Preview, the storybook app has won several awards such as The Parent’s Choice Golden Award and the App Circus Online Competition, and it is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association.
The New York Times’ Molly Wood has a great article up on an iPad exclusive app called The Winston Show – which she describes as the interactive future of tablet-based television.
The Winston Show is an example of the innovative new content types that are possible when a TV is also a hand-held computer. It’s an iPad-only production, available as a free app, that is now in its second four-episode “season.” …
As youngsters watch the show, the characters ask them questions; when they respond, the app uses speech recognition to interpret their answers, which then help drive the story line of each episode. The shows even use the front-facing camera to engage children in, say, trying on a character-appropriate hat.
The Winston Show looks like great fun for kids in its target audience (ages 6-8) and is another great example of the sort of unique app that creators and developers seem inspired to bring to the iPad first.