Saturday, March 10, 2012

iPhone apps

You might have noticed I haven't posted any app reviews of late. It's because my poor generation 1 iPad is so uncooperative- it selectively/randomly- closes everything fun out within seconds of opening it.  (A real first world problem, I know). I might be able to open Facebook, but try to read a link? No deal and back to the home screen. Same with Twitter. These are not huge apps, they shouldn't be freezing out my system, but as I understand it, the software upgrades made it so the hardware struggles with even the simple things. So I mostly don't use my iPad.  In fact, I can't even to go the app store unless I am downloading updates- every other tab shuts the program down.  So- yeah, no fun apps working with any consistency. Try explaining that to a toddler when his favorite app closes out randomly.  I've taken to deleting from the iPad the worst offenders, but he still experiences the frustration of being in the middle of something fun and then *poof* back to home screen.

 To say that I am excited to be getting the newest iPad is an understatement.

In the mean time, there are a couple of iPhone apps I'd like to bring to your attention.

Dr. Seuss's Oh Say Can You Say Dinosaur is a hit with Ranger. He loves all things dinosaur. He has some difficulty turning the pages, the sweet spot for it is a little difficult for him to find. On the other hand, any image he touches in the book is verbally identified (fossils, thing 1, etc). I am not as familiar with Cat in The Hat and it took about a week for me to realize that yes, I was hearing an app say a word that I would in other circumstances be shocked to hear...but was fine in the context of a boy named...well, I don't want my web page to get spammed with bad stuff, so let's say former vp Cheney goes by the same first name as the boy in the book.

Both of Juno Jr's apps, the ABCs and Shush are awesome. Ranger is particularly drawn to Shush and specifically to the train sounds song. Frankly, the music Juno Jr produces is on par with the best live musicals I've heard, and I found myself returning to the train sounds song just to hear the characters sing their parts. You can also find the Juno Jr. songs on the app Kid Mode, but you have to sort of look a little since there are no groupings or keyword searches in the Kid Mode app.

Outside of the kid app realm, I have recently enjoyed using an app simply called Cards. I have used it to turn art Ranger has made into cards- physical cards- that I then can send to my mom, using my contacts info (rather than having to type it in).  At $2.99 a card- which includes shipping- it's cheaper than buying and sending a card from the store (unless you're getting the $.99 ones).  It takes a few days to get printed and sent, but everything is handled through the Apple store and I get an email letting me know when the card has been shipped. You can use photos of anything- I just chose Ranger's art because photos of him are sent regularly to family via email and or Facebook.  There is currently a limited selection of preset templates, but I have found I can pick any template and change the wording to anything I want it to be.

Turboscan is an app that will soon make our all-in-one printer a thing of the past (at least the scan function). I can use my phone to scan anything I'd scan on my all-in-one, can adjust the darkness or lightness, and can pdf the result and email it to myself or save it to my phone.

RedRover is an app similar to Foursquare, but what I recently heard about- and the reason I downloaded it- is there is an option to text an emergency message to up to five preset numbers with the touch of maybe two buttons. You can use the default emergency message that will be received or make one of your own. I might not use the other functions of this app- given that I already use Foursquare, but this emergency text thing...I like it.

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