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Hands On: Apples vs Robots (iOS)

02/27, 8:56pm

Clearly the sequel will be an RPG called Androids of Yosemite

Just when you thought the platform wars were over ... okay, maybe you didn't. Either way, Apples vs. Robots by umetec is a very simple tower defense-type game, where the player protects a group of technology enthusiasts from an oncoming horde of robots by chucking apples. Unsurprisingly, this pay-once-and-play game is an iOS exclusive.


Briefly: VLC updates for iOS, OS X; MLB gets spring refitting

02/27, 7:44pm

VLC returns to iOS App Store after long hiatus with new version

Video playing and translation app VLC has received a major new update today, including a return to an iOS version of the app. The latter has actually been available for a while now, but was only offered to those who had originally "purchased" the official iOS app. The new version today is a minor bump from the "buyers only" v2.4.0, now at 2.4.1 for iOS and available to all. The desktop version for various platforms is 2.2.0, with a v1.1.0 final for Android and a beta of the same version for Android TV also being released.


Hands On: AG Drive (iOS)

02/27, 3:55pm

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

Fittingly enough for a racing game, let's get this out front: AG Drive ($4) is a Wipeout clone. That isn't a strike against it – the developer admits it, the Wipeout series has plenty of fans, and many worthy titles have followed the same template. But a game can hew close to that template or build a unique identity, and execution, ultimately, is everything.


Hands On: Magnifico (iOS)

02/27, 1:55pm

Clever adaptation of Risk challenges ambitious war gamers

When boardgames make the leap from physical to digital, there's often a lot of anticipation about how well they'll translate from one medium to the next. There's something lost between the physical world and the digital, but the convenience of carrying a game wherever you wish to play without lengthy setup times is often enough of an advantage. Games like Small World have seen considerable success when making the leap to digital, proving that they can provide tons of fun if they are done well. We took a look at Magnifico, by Slitherine, a digital adaptation of a board game of the same name.


Hands On: Bricks (iOS)

02/27, 12:01pm

We are still bouncing dots across the screen with lines after all these years

In 1952, the first video game was invented at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Tennis for Two was played on an oscilloscope screen, it involved a side view of a simulated game of tennis using two controllable lines and a dot created by an algorithm that was intended to predict the movement of ballistic missiles. Twenty years later came Pong, and four years after that, Breakout! for the Atari 2600 was released. It's been 63 years since the invention of the video game, but Bricks by Konstantin Gonikman proves that, in spite of all the advancements in hardware and graphics, all anybody really wants to do is make a dot move around on a screen by bouncing it off a line.


Hands On: Frozen Synapse (iOS)

02/27, 9:28am

Tactical shooter requires quick wits and careful planning to complete

Tactical shooters aren't anything new to most gamers. Raid-style games are a cornerstone of today's PC game market, thanks in no small part due to the rising success of indie games. We've checked out Door Kickers and Jagged Alliance Flashback for the PC master race, but we've not spent much time with titles aimed at mobile platforms. That changed, however, as we took a look at Frozen Synapse by Mode 7, an iPad port of their well-received PC title.


Hands On: Lux DLX (iOS, Android)

02/27, 7:51am

World domination in the palm of your hands

Lux DLX by Sillysoft Games is a play-and-pass strategy board game of troop movements and world domination. The app has been around since 2008, it's the mobile version of Lux Delux. Behind it is an enthusiastic community of players, creating custom maps and providing strategy tips with an in-app accessible wiki.


Daily Deals: Samsung 4K monitor, Vizio smart TV, Fujifilm bundle

02/26, 1:53pm

MacNN and Electronista deals for February 26, 2015

Welcome to Daily Deals, the time when we search for deals, offers, discounts, and sales on hardware, software, and other technology for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Alongside our usual recap of still-active deals, the new batch of offers include a 28-inch 4K-resolution monitor, a cheap 42-inch Vizio TV, and a digital camera bundle featuring the Fujifilm FinePix S9250.


Hands On: Tube Map Pro (iOS)

02/26, 8:59am

Live from a train to London

We truly do not appreciate how good apps are -- until we hit a problem. You join us now live as we head in to London by train, and have had to go hunting for new apps. We've ended up buying Tube Map Pro to help us get around, and we're very happy with it -- but there is a yin and a yang with apps.


Hands On: Weather Clock Pro (iOS)

02/26, 8:29am

Simple, yet attractive bedside clock for iPhone fans

Bedside alarm apps are hardly new by any stretch of the imagination, and we'd be willing to bet that most iPhone users have tried one at some point. Often times these apps tend to be fairly simple, providing the user with little more than a clock and an alarm, both features that the iPhone comes with by default. But what if you desire more from your bedside setup? Weather Clock Pro, by iHandy, brings quite a bit more to the table.


Hands On: WireShare (iOS)

02/25, 11:31pm

Ambitious media-manager app views and organizes over 30 file types

Apple's iPads and iPhones are great, but there are a few drawbacks to using them versus using a full-fledged computer. Generally, we tend to hit snags when it comes to being able to easily access a wide variety of file types. Sure, there are workarounds, and there are apps for just about every file type out there, but they're often clunky, and only tend to deal with one part of the problem. What if there was an app that promised to fix this issue, not only with a smooth design but also with an impressive amount of features? That's the exact promise that Feetan made when they developed WireShare, an ambitious little media app.


Hands On: Notebook Wars Saga Pro (iOS)

02/25, 4:08pm

Simple top-down shooter boasts strong gameplay

Popularized in the 1980s, shoot 'em up's, or shmups for short, dominated the arcade scene. From Space Invaders through Ikaruga, the genre has a diverse set of titles across almost every platform. The games are generally categorized as shooter games in which a player must outlast a constant onslaught of enemies, while being pulled along an auto-scrolling play field. We took a look at one such game for iOS, Notebook Wars Saga Pro by Francisco Ferreres, to see how it stacks up against other shmups we've looked at.


Hands On: Footpath (iOS)

02/25, 10:54am

Clever route map for walkers

Footpath – usually $1 but at time of review free on the App Store – is a route map app for walkers and runners that does one thing very well. We would like it to do just a little more for the ambulatory but it's one of those apps you'll play with just to see how it works.


Hands On: And Then It Rained (iOS)

02/25, 7:32am

Pay-once-and-play game of catching colorful rain that drips from the top of the screen

And Then It Rained by Megagon Industries is one of the most tranquil games we've come across. It's a colorful one-touch game that involves sliding different colored "towers" across the bottom of the screen, to catch droplets of corresponding colors falling from the top.


Hands On: YouTube Kids (iOS, Android)

02/24, 11:59pm

Kid-Friendly YouTube Browser offers Safe Content Browsing

YouTube is a wonderful place. The sheer amount of content uploaded to it every day is almost enough to entertain and educate us for a lifetime. That being said, YouTube is far from being child-friendly, even though a lot of children's programming winds up on there. Parents have often gone the route of tandem-browsing, only allowing their children to watch the content that they click on. However, if you're ready to let your kid have some unrestricted browsing time without the risk of them stumbling onto the weirder parts of the Internet, we suggest you take a look at Google's new app: Youtube Kids.


Briefly: Apple intros new World Travel kit, Maps Flyover updated

02/24, 8:09pm

World Travel Adapter Kit drops price to $29, loses included USB cable

Apple has revised its World Travel Adapter Kit, which includes plugs for the differing electrical systems around the world. The new package sees a price drop of $10, and is now priced at $29. Changes in the new version include the addition of a new plug type for Brazil known as a "type N" adapter, but the dropping of a formerly-included USB cable and power adapter.


Hands On: On The Line (iOS, Android)

02/24, 8:28am

A game that feels silly at first but becomes surprisingly challenging

On The Line by Kevin Choteau is a scrolling not-quite-a-maze game where you hold a finger down on the screen and try to stay ... (wait for it) ... on the line. We were pleasantly surprised by how compelling it was. We were dubious that we would find it very interesting to play at first, because it just seemed too easy. You can't get any easier for instructions than: keep your finger on the line, don't touch the sides, take your finger off the screen to pause the game. That being said, we were amused by how fun it was to play, and the fact that we can't stop grinning when we played it.


Hands On: Rainy Mood (iOS)

02/23, 11:33pm

Sound generator promises to help block out unwanted noise

Sometimes it's hard to stay calm in a world of constant noise. We hear it in our morning commutes, we hear it in the office place, we hear it as we're out running errands. If you're looking for a way to get away from the noise, but you aren't looking to invest in a pair of expensive noise-cancelling headphones, you've got a few options. Sure, playing music helps, but that can often be every bit as distracting as environmental noises. If you're looking for a way to tune out distractions, we recommend you take a look at Rainy Mood by Plain Theory, a high-quality, calming sound generator.


Hands On: Symmetrain (iOS)

02/23, 9:45pm

This 'find the difference' game is literally fun on rails

Symmetrain by Black Pants Studio is a game that starts off as a leisurely train ride through an idyllic countryside. The player's job is to spot where the scenery on the left and right of the train isn't symmetrical. Tapping an out-of-place structure, or bit of greenery, makes a matching item appear on the other side of the track before it scrolls off the screen, gets you points, and keeps the train rolling.


Hands On: Quickipedia (iOS)

02/23, 6:47pm

Read full Wikipedia articles in under five minutes with inutitive, science based app!

Have you ever wanted to read more, but never found yourself with enough time? Do you love to browse Wikipedia, but find that you don't get to finish what you've started? What if you could read a whole elaborate Wikipedia page in five minutes? What if you could do it in two minutes? That's the idea behind Quickipedia, a speed-reading app designed by Wasdesign, LLC.


Hands On: Shift (iOS)

02/23, 2:39pm

Let this app figure out what filters look best on your photos!

We've checked out quite a few photo filter apps, from apps like Tintype which give the user very little control, to apps like Alayer, which give the user total control. Still, most filter apps generally require the user to pick out the filters they want to use. This isn't quite the case with Shift by Pixite, an app that might just know your photos better than you do.


Apple debuts new iPad ad at Oscars, showing off filmmaking abilities

02/23, 12:44pm

Commercial itself was created using iPad Air 2, showcases student works

During the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Apple debuted a new minute-long TV commercial that features the iPad Air 2 -- not only as the subject of the ad, but also as the creative tool that created the spot. Appropriately called "Make a film with iPad," the entire commercial was shot using the built-in camera of the iPad Air 2, and combines the work of students using the tablet to make their own films with behind-the-scenes footage and a voice-over from director Martin Scorsese.


Hands On: RGB Express (iOS)

02/23, 11:29am

Take control of your own shipping company with this fun puzzle game.

Puzzle games are a great way to pass the time on a lazy afternoon, or on a long morning commute on the bus or train. The comfortable, familiar feeling of sitting down with a puzzle game is well known among game enthusiasts of all types, and the App Store reflects this. There are so many puzzle games on the App Store that it's entirely possible to miss a great game without realizing it. One such hidden gem is RGB Express by Bad Crane, a game about little trucks making big deliveries.


Hands On: Sue Doku (iPad)

02/22, 11:18pm

Superb Sudoku app gets gets bug fix update

The bug was something to do with iOS 8 compatibility. We don't care. We just want to enthuse about a puzzle game that has kept us up nights with that 'just one more game' feeling. Plus, the bug's been fixed now, what are you waiting for? Sue Doku is on the App Store and it's $1.


MacNN Podcast: MacBook Pro REA, Net Neutrality, Apple customer service

02/22, 10:20pm

The MacNN Podcast for February 22, 2015

The MacNN Podcast hits its third broadcast and like the previous pair, touches on the hot button issues in the tech world! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, reviewer William Gallagher, Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele, and contributor Sanjiv Sathiah as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.


Hands On: Wi-Fi Priority (iOS)

02/22, 5:43pm

New utility scratches a Wi-Fi itch for techies

Wi-Fi Priority is a small app that does one particular thing: it lets you decide which Wi-Fi networks your iOS device will join. That doesn't sound like a big deal but in certain circumstances it is, and if you hit those regularly -- and you're maybe a little more techie minded than the average -- this is a good app for you.


Hands On: Calcbot 2 (iOS, OS X)

02/22, 4:21pm

Redesigned calculator app gets excellent new features

You need a pretty compelling reason to ditch the calculator that Apple supplies on iPhones – and the new Calcbot 2 from TapBots offers several. Weirdly, Apple still doesn't provide a default calculator on the iPad, so at some point you're going to want one, and when you eventually need it, you'll find this app compelling.


Hands On: Role -- a Role-Playing Party Game (iOS)

02/22, 9:14am

Free-form rules light tabletop RPG app provides inspiration and does the rolling for you

Role is an app that facilitates a quick one-shot table-top RPG for one Game Master (GM) and one or more players. The app provides character templates and a number of "adventures." The system is very rules-light; the only rules are the difficulties the GM sets for skill roles. The app comes with four character templates and four adventures, with more available as downloadable content.


Hands On: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock and Power Nap (iOS)

02/21, 12:54pm

Track your sleep and manage your naps with two apps from Northcube AB

We're all adults here, and as adults, we understand a very simple truth ... Sleep is awesome. We've mentioned Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock before, but it recently got an update, and we also want to talk about its companion app Sleep Cycle Power Nap. Because the only thing more awesome than sleep, is more sleep on the side, also known as a nap. These two apps use an iOS device's accelerometer to track movement during the user's sleep, and gently wake them up when it's time.


Hands On: Doctor Who Legacy (iOS) - now with 12th Doctor giveaway!

02/21, 9:06am

Fun game for Doctor Who fans in the gem-matching plus adventure mold

Doctor Who: Legacy by Tiny Rebel Games has been out for quite some time now; the "story" is on Season 7. The game play involves matching colored orbs on a board to power up The Doctor and his party of companions so they might defeat waves of various officially-licensed baddies from across time and space. It's no secret there's more than a few fans of Doctor Who among our staff, so it may come as a surprise it has taken so long for a Hands On for Legacy to appear. When you stop to consider the in-app purchases of "Time Crystals" and other items to quickly level and obtain characters and outfits… perhaps that's not so much of a mystery.


Hands On Neuroshima Hex (iOS)

02/21, 7:49am

A strategy board game set in a post-apocalyptic future of killer machines and desperate humans

When we first saw the hex-shaped spaces on the Neuroshima Hex board, we thought, "Oooo! Is this going to be like Settlers of Catan?" The answer is, quite simply, "no." But that's okay. What this game is kept us dropping down tiles in a bid to protect the few remaining humans from rampaging machines … and other remaining humans. Each player takes turns placing tiles starting with an HQ, to either attack or support adjacent tiles. Whoever has more damage on their HQ at the end of the game has lost control of the devastated Earth.


Hands On: Loopy HD (iOS)

02/20, 7:34pm

Music-making app offers easy-to-learn gesture controls

A "looper" is a tool used by musicians that takes short recordings and plays them over and over in a loop, obviously, allowing the musician to layer them and create harmonies and background tracks on the fly. Loopy HD is one such tool, and it's pretty easy to use, as evidenced by Jimmy Fallon's penchant for using it with musical guests every couple of months.


Hands On: Tap Forms (OS X, iOS)

02/20, 3:32pm

Solid database app with good templates

Back in January, and during a review of the poor iDatabase, we lamented how database users have been abandoned by FileMaker's Bento app, and how we were struggling to replace it. Readers and developers alike chimed in with alternatives, and Tap Forms is a particularly strong one.


Hands On: 7-Minute Superhero Workout (iOS)

02/20, 11:05am

Seven minute workouts to save the world by the makers of Zombies Run

Six to Start was the creator behind one of this reviewer's favorite fitness apps, Zombies, Run! game. The 7-Minute Superhero Workout, by the same group, hopes to do for squats and planks what Zombies, Run! did for bursts of speed. First released last August, the user plays the pilot of the AGEIS One, a full suit of power armor that allows the user to fly around Earth's atmosphere, as well as the vacuum of space.


Hands On: Scribblenauts Remix (iOS)

02/20, 8:48am

Famously fun DS puzzle game offers fun for iOS

One of the best things about video games is that they don't always need to be mechanically complex to keep us entertained. This concept is well-established in the emergent puzzle genre, defined by the concept that the complexity of the game comes from the player, and not the game itself. Quite possibly the best known emergent puzzle title is Warner Brother's Scribblenauts, which saw great success in 2009 and continues to be a popular Nintendo DS title to this day. We sat down with Scribblenauts Remix, the iOS-only title in the series, to check out how it compared to the original.


Hands on: Lyne (iOS)

02/20, 7:48am

Mazes without walls

Lyne, by Thomas Bowker, is 250 levels of puzzles, where the player connects shapes on a grid with lines that may not intersect (mostly). It's by no means a new game -- the game got its last update about a year ago -- but it's still a pretty good diversion for anybody looking to unwind with a puzzler while waiting in line (see what we did there?) or while traveling.


Hands On: Sky Guide (iOS)

02/19, 11:00pm

Beautifully designed stargazing app mixes art and education

We've covered apps that aim to help novice stargazers before, and for the most part we've enjoyed the apps we've covered. There have been apps that have been almost entirely based around aesthetics, and several that are purely educational, with few choosing to try to strike a balance between. However, we took a look at Sky Guide, by Fifth Star Labs, an app that promises to be every bit as educational as it is beautiful.


Hands On: Do Button, Do Camera, Do Note (iOS)

02/19, 5:18pm

Three new apps exploit the power of IFTTT

If you use IFTTT, then not only do you know it's great but you also know what it stands for. If This Then That is an exceptional online service, that is now also a trio of apps: Do Button, Do Camera, and Do Note. If IFTTT is still the tool of the same people who use RSS -- so not exactly geeks, but at least geek-inclined -- then these apps might be what brings it to everyone else.


Hands On: Live Weather Forecast (iOS)

02/19, 11:47am

Beautiful weather app offers both style and smarts

Weather apps are all over the App Store; from the big, well known ones, to the simple newcomers. Often, these apps tend to go the route of utility, sacrificing style for pure function, or they sacrifice all of their function for an attractive design. If you're trying to find an app that is as smart as it is beautiful, we think there's a solid argument to be made for Live Weather Forecast by Shreya Infotech.


Hands On: ProShot (iOS)

02/19, 7:58am

Sleek camera app aims to replicate DSLR experience

Digital photography is becoming more accessible, especially with the availability of affordable, high-quality digital cameras to the average consumer. Even with this development, that doesn't always mean that everyone can afford a DSLR camera, or that it's always convenient to carry one around to every occasion. We took a look at ProShot by Edward Kezeli, a camera app that mimics the feel and features of a DSLR in a more portable device.


Hands On: Fantastical calendar app (OS X, iOS)

02/18, 8:46pm

Superb complement to and improvement on Apple's Calendar

Fantastical is a calendar app, and there are separate versions for iPhone, iPad and OS X. If you read this late one horrible night, if you read it when your head is spinning from all your commitments and meetings and appointments, buy Fantastical -- even if it is not on sale. Yes, for all three device platforms (as you need). In other words, this program is so great that you shouldn't wait for the occasional sale price; we wouldn't be raving about it if the sale prices were the best bit.


Apps: iTunes for Windows, Kayak, NBC, The Sims 4, Yelp, Snapchat

02/18, 5:41pm

Wide variety of app updates bring instant hotel rooms, streaming video, bug fixes, more

A number of apps for both iOS and OS X have received notable updates lately, ranging from the official NBC app gaining live streaking to Kayak adding a service that allows same-day discounted hotel rooms. Apple has updated iTunes 12.1 specifically for Windows users, while Snapchat now lets users play music while snapchatting. Yelp has added translations of reviews to its own app, and The Sims 4 has debuted on the Mac.


Briefly: Microsoft updates Mac OneNote, VLC 3.0 coming

02/18, 2:20pm

OneNote for Mac gains OCR support, close window, hide authors

On Wednesday, Microsoft updated its OneNote note-taking program for the Mac to include support for scanning and OCR of documents. The new 15.7.1 also includes to user-requested features -- the ability to close (rather than quit) the application's window using the standard Mac convention, and the ability to hide author initials in shared notebooks from the View tab.


Giveaway: win Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut!

02/18, 1:21pm

win 1 of 2 copies of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut

Late last year, Harebrained Schemes released their latest title Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director's Cut. This RPG game features 17 missions, intuitive touch interface, team customizations options and more. Last week, our staff completed a Hands On review, and also obtained two iOS App Store redemption codes to give to our readers.


Hands On: Marvel Pinball (iOS)

02/18, 11:44am

Avengers meet pinball in this fun arcade game

Modern pinball has been around since the 1940s, which just so happened to be the exact same time as the golden age of comics. Though they've both been through a lot of changes, comic books and modern pinball have been entertaining kids and adults alike for about 70 years, and aren't about to stop any time soon. Maybe that's the motivation behind why Marvel teamed up with Zen Studios to bring fans Marvel Pinball.


Hands On: Fraggle Rock Game Day (iOS)

02/18, 7:20am

Take your little one on an adventure to Fraggle Rock with this interactive book

Every so often, we come across an app developer that stands out above the rest. This is especially true of Cupcake Digital, a company that specializes in creating apps for elementary-age school children. We've already looked at its Snoopy's All Star Football, an app which brings the Peanuts Gang to kids. We sat down to take a look at another popular franchise-turned-app, with the company's Fraggle Rock Game Day.


Briefly: Google kills Sparrow; iOS Office adds iCloud; iOS 8 Dropbox

02/17, 7:10pm

Google drops IMAP client Sparrow for Inbox Gmail/Google Now hybrid

Once again, a popular Mac product originally developed independently and later bought by Google, has been discontinued. Like Snapseed before it, Google has decided to kill off popular email client Sparrow for both Mac and iOS in favor of its own Inbox product. The former program has been removed from both the iOS and Mac App Stores. The Mac program never received an update after Google's purchase of Sparrow in 2012, while the iOS one has languished since October of 2013.


Google Play Music becomes universal iOS app, adds Material Design

02/17, 6:37pm

User interface update makes Google Play Music for iOS look like Android app

Google has made a few major changes to its Google Play Music app for iOS, following a three-month update gap, turning it from an iPhone-only app into a universal app that works on the iPad. At the same time, the music app has received a graphical overhaul, with the "Material Design" influence of Android Lollipop being used in the iOS version, making it seem almost identical to what Android users see on their devices.


Hands On: Akinator (iOS)

02/17, 11:48am

Akinator puts a unique spin on 20 questions and is surprisingly clever

While we're still a ways off from sentient technology, we as a society have made some fairly impressive strides in artificial intelligence. We now have all kinds of devices that are able to analyze information, and make surprisingly-intelligent guesses at what the correct response might be. We see it in in everything from new cars to smartphones, even including rice cookers with fuzzy logic. Among these smartly written programs is Akinator, by Elokence, a clever genie who can guess what you are thinking.


VLC to return to the App Store shortly

02/16, 7:30pm

Updated version 2.4.1 currently available to previous buyers only

Multi-format video player VLC for iOS has reappeared in the App Store following its pulling from the store (by its developer) last September. At present, the listing is only available for those who previously owned the software, which allows users on iOS devices to play videos in nearly any format without first converting it to the standard iTunes-supported formats. It was removed from sale due to licensing disagreements among the developers.



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