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Posts from the ‘iPad Apps’ Category

Mini App Round-Up: Dec 17, 2010

Our Mini App Round-Ups cover smaller apps that rock. If you have a suggestion for an app, send it our way.

Teach Parents Tech

noresizeA few few folks from Google put together Teach Parents Tech as a free video tutorial service for inexperienced web browsers (like some of our parents). Users put together a package by filling out a simple form, and they specify which videos to include. The tutorials range from the basics, like copy and paste, to the result-oriented, like checking the weather or building a blog. The videos feature high production values and begin every video by stating exactly what the viewer can expect.

Buzzword Bingo HD

noresizeWho could survive a conference call without a game of Buzzword Bingo? The new iPad app Buzzword Bingo HD brings a time honored tradition to the tablet. Start the app for a random game card. You’ll see words like, authentic, strategy, framework or three-letter acronym. Tap a square when a word is mentioned to throw down a dot. You can also connect your iPad with other players through Bluetooth. Give it a try, and you and your team may actually end up with better communication skills.


noresizeMinus is a back-to-basics photo sharing web app. Visit their main page, and drag a photo into your browser window to upload. Then share the link with friends. Links work well anywhere, like IM conversations or through Twitter. No registration is required, which means no hassles. It’s one of the easiest ways we’ve seen to get your photos online.

Let’s Swap

noresizeLet’s Swap is about artists inspiring artists. The site posts one limited edition piece from a designer, and other designers can respond with their own work they would be willing to swap. Communication is held offsite by email, allowing designers to not only talk but also connect.

Springpad: Fun & Intelligent Notes

Springpad is a free web and mobile app that serves as a destination for all thoughts, tasks and things. It’s available anywhere through the web and is as refined as a Mac desktop app. Add notes, tasks or items, such as products, places, movies, restaurants, recipes and wines. Springpad supports plenty of different items, giving depth to their service.

Type in tasks to have them appear, or look up items across external services like Amazon and IMDB. You’re not limited to a text field either; if you want to save a book while browsing in a bookstore, just snap the ISBN barcode using your phone’s camera. You can also attach notes and files to anything you save.

Items that you save are already grouped by type, so things like recipes, movies and events stay separate. But if you tag your posts, Springpad will group items into specific projects. This way, you can group albums, recipes and gifts together when planning a holiday party, or wines, locations and to-dos when planning a trip. Each notebook includes a board, which works like a light board or scrapbook and lets you arrange items on your screen.

Springpad works in web browsers, and they built sophisticated iPhone, iPad and Android apps to complement. A web browser extension drops Springpad into your toolbar, allowing you to save items on your current webpage without interrupting your browsing session.

Alerts show your tasks and also recommend deals based on your saved items. Springpad likely earns a commission off these sales, but they appear unobtrusive and targeted, so we have no concerns.

The Feed: Stylized Google Reader for iPad

If the iPad is the best way to view the web, then The Feed may just be the best way to browse your RSS feeds.

Using a highly stylistic interface, The Feed pulls RSS feeds from your Google Reader account. Unread posts stand out with what we’ll call an “RSS burnt orange” edge, while read posts turn gray and show a bite mark.

View your feeds rendered with full text and images, or toggle the view to only show a snippet from each post. Either way, The Feed manages to display both perspectives well, allowing you to choose the setting that fits your mood.

Your feeds are organized into stacks of paper, which is unlike anything we’ve seen. Interface designers typically use badges to indicate the number of items remaining. But The Feed uses a different approach. It tosses out badges and simply uses proportionately deep stacks of paper to indicate how many unread posts are remaining. After all, when it comes to things like feeds (versus unread email messages, for example), concrete numbers aren’t really necessary. For The Feed, an indication like “only a few unread posts remaining” or “a lot of unread posts remaining” is really the most vital metric. It’s this kind of fundamental interface decision making that surprised us in The Feed, and it feels right at home on your iPad.

The Feed is completely free from the App Store. We’re willing to call it a must-have for any iPad owner.

iSwifter: The iPad Flash App That Could

Apple’s and Adobe’s relationship represents a strained friendship between best friends whose values have changed. It wasn’t long ago when former Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen was a staple in Jobs’ keynote presentations. But Apple’s strongly worded open letter regarding the role of Flash and the technology’s flaws publicized their rivalry.

The iPhone has never carried Adobe Flash out of the box. In fact, Apple has begun releasing new models from their computer product line without Flash at all. It seems the only hope for iPhone users looking to use Flash apps is to jailbreak their phones. Now iSwifter provides another option, and it has already been approved in the iTunes App Store.

Instead of compiling Flash apps to work on iOS (as many have tried), iSwifter uses servers set up as a cloud to run abstraction software. Therefore, when you’re playing a Flash app on your iPad, you’re iPad is serving as more of a terminal by transmitting input and receiving feedback.

It’s not a plugin, so you still won’t be able to view Flash content in Safari. It’s not a web browser either. It’s a gaming portal that houses Flash games. The app is free to use for the first 2,000 games played.

iSwifter is far from perfect. People demoing the iPad app realize it’s slow and laggy; two things you’d expect from an app that’s abstracting in real time, and also the two things that may be enough to render the app unusable. Like many of the apps featured on Mini Sprout, don’t consider it a final draft. Beta releases aren’t for the faint at heart.

iSwifter represents a fairly significant step for Apple to begin opening their walled garden. In the last few months, app approvals have become noticeably less strict as Apple faced heightened scrutiny from developers who were threatening to abandon the platform for Android. The app represents an opportunity for developers to get their creations on another very large platform with minimal obstacles. What’s still left to be seen is whether iSwifter is a step in the right direction.