Chess Pro Review

Developer: 99Games

Price: $3.99

Version Reviewed: 1.2

iPhone Integration Rating: 3

User Interface Rating: 4

Reuse/Replay Value: 5

Overall: 4

Chess Pro is an intuitive application that allows you to play chess on your iPhone. With a realistic gameplay, hints for beginners, and 2-player mode, it’s a must-have for chess lovers.

The UI on this game was pretty good, but the menu wouldn’t respond for a few seconds sometimes when I was testing it out, which is annoying because you think that the app is going to crash (that’s even more annoying:). My personal experience with the game was pretty good, thanks to the hints, but I still lost. I haven’t tried the two player mode yet, though. The Reuse/Replay Value is high not necessarily because the app is good, but because chess is really fun.

Overall, Chess Pro is a good application. At a low price of $3.99, Chess Pro is a pretty good deal.

Speck TuckPack Review

Always being on the go, I’ve been looking for something efficient to carry my computer in.  I’ve tried it all, or at least most of it.  Its very difficult to find a GOOD case, there’re all either too bulky, or it is so scanty and unprotective, that there is no point carrying those around.

But that all changed once I heard about the TuckPack, by Speck.  Most of you are probably familiar with Speck, and those of you who arent, Speck is a company that mainly focuses in making accessories for Apple computers, iPods, and iPhones.

As soon as I opened the packaging of my TuckPack, I knew that this had the best of both worlds.  The interesting part about this sleeve is that it also comes with a strap to put on your shoulder!  So its a sleeve that you dont have to carry, but can throw on your shoudler, which I think is something unique for a sleeve.

When I first put the MacBook (White) in the sleeve, I noticed the inside of the sleeve is made of Blue Microfiber, so it doesn’t leave any scratches on the surface of the computer.  I also noticed that its made of a thick, yet light-weight material with protects the laptop inside nicely.

I actually found the TuckPack sleeve to be BOTH a case and a sleeve, since it looks like a case, but it is thin and easy to carry around like a sleeve.  The TuckPack also features something most sleeves don’t, an extra pocket to keep you papers, iPod, etc.  Sleeves made by other companies are compact, but they all don’t have the protection and features that the Speck TuckPack Sleeve offers.  The only downside to the sleeve is that although the front cover of the sleeve Velcro securely closes the flap on the TuckPack, it would have been nice so have a zipper at where the computer slips into and where the extra papers you might have go into for added security.

The TuckPack is availible in two patterns, Speakeasy Black Pinstripe (The Pattern I reviewed), and Coffeehouse Brown.  The pictures below that I took are of Speakeasy Black Pinstripe, as that was the only color I had.

In the end, I think the sleeve is a great substitute for both a bulky case and a miniature sleeve.  The TuckPack Sleeve offers similar protection to a general case, yet the compactness of a sleeve, and some extra useful features as well, and it truly does offer the best of both worlds as it appeals to the professional business man, and to a simple teen, and every laptop should have the opportunity to be carried around in one.

Pros:  Nice Size, Protection, Optional Shoulder band, Extra pocket for papers.

Cons: Not too many color choices, no zipper

NotePad Review

Developer: Polar Bear Farm Ltd.

Price: $4.99

Version Reviewed:1.5

iPhone Integration Rating: 5

User Interface Rating: 5

Reuse/Replay Value: 2

Overall NotePad Rating: 4

NotePad is an easy to use productivity application that is used to type notes on the iPhone, taking advantage of some of the phone’s great features. Things like special types of folders, shake to write, and other stuff make the app really awesome.

NotePad’s UI is an amazing one, featuring just a few easy-to-use buttons, and my personal favorite feature: you can shake your iPhone once or twice to make a new note. The keyboard is just like the keyboard on other applications, nothing special. Another cool feature is how you can make keyword or location-specific folders, making the app very advanced. My personal experience with the application was good, there was one bug that I managed to take a picture of (look at the screenshot with the popup), but other than that, the application ran very smoothly and I was very happy with it.

Overall, NotePad is an OK app. Since it is $4.99 but has the same core function as Notes, which comes free with any iPhone/iPod Touch, NotePad is priced too high. The cool features make it very modern and intuitive, though.

MacWorld: Axiotron’s Booth

Hi!  I know that MacWorld is long gone, but here are posts that were created at MacWorld, but sadly not published due to omitted information.

Here is a picture of Axiotron’s booth:

Axiotrons booth

Axiotron's booth

 

 

This company is the first to create a commercially available tablet Mac!  Of course, this is a 3rd party modification to the plastic MacBook. They take the MacBook, remove the screen and turn it into a slate styled tablet.  The Axiotron ModBook even has a built-in-GPS!  The Modbook costs $2,250, and you can see all of it’s features etc. here: http://www.axiotron.com/index.php?id=modbook
But the big announcement was the ModBook Pro which features a 15 inch touch screen, but it costs $5,000-$6,000!
 

Axiotrons Modbook (Macbook+touch screen=Modbook)

Axiotron's Modbook (Macbook+touch screen=Modbook)

MacWorld: Griffin’s Booth

Hi!  Any post with the title containing “MacWorld:” means that the post was created at the MacWorld Expo in the Moscone Center, San Francisco.

I am in Griffin’s booth right now.  I am checking out their Strealine case for the iPhone/iPhone 3G.  If you haven’t heard about it, it is a really cool sport armband case.
Here are some of it’s features:

  • Clear, full-face screen protector safeguards against scratches and smudges
  • Screen protector allows click wheel or touchscreen use and unhindered access
  • Reflective trim makes you more visible to traffic at dusk
  • Washable, two-way adjustable band fits any arm in a breathable, comfortable fit that you can wear all dayGriffins Streamline Case for iPhone 3G
Griffin’s Streamline Case for iPhone 3G

 

 

I also checked out their AirCurve which is an acoustic amplifier for the iPhone.  It doesn’t have speakers or batteries.  It has a waveguide “horn” that collects sound from the built-in speaker of the iPhone and amplifies it about 10 decibels!

 

Griffins AirCurve

Griffin's AirCurve

MacWorld: Cultured Code Booth

Hi!  Any post with the title containing “MacWorld:” means that the post was created at the MacWorld Expo in the Moscone Center, San Francisco.

Just a few days back, I reviewed “Things” a revolutionary task manager for the iPhone and Mac.  The copy I was using for the Mac was a release candidate (not a final copy).  Cultured Code (The company who makes “Things”) has finally released their gold master (final copy) of Things today here at MacWorld!  Anyway, here is a picture of some sketches of Things for the iPhone:

Sketches of Things

Sketches of "Things"

 

Things Mac and iPhone Review

Developer: Cultured Code
Price: $49.99 for Mac app, $9.99 for iPhone app. $60 for both.
Versions reviewed 1.2 for iPhone, 1.0RC2 (493) for Mac

iPhone to Mac Integration Rating: 5 stars
User Interface Rating: 5 stars
Re-use/Replay Value Rating: 5 stars
Overall Rating: 5 stars

General:

“Things” is a task manager for the Mac & iPhone. There are several other task managers that I have tried out, but “Things” is special because the application is really focused and really intuitive. For instance, it has a List called “Someday” for to-dos you want to do eventually. I have a lot of invention ideas that I want to make into prototypes, but I don’t have a specific due date for it and I don’t want it clogging up my inbox, so I can put it into the “Someday” list.

iPhone:

The user interface of “Things” on the iPhone is really sophisticated. The icons, labels, and buttons look perfect and are positioned exactly where you want them to be. The layout is so simple, even an idiot can figure out how to use it (that’s right, an idiot!). The bottom bar always has one button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen; the “New [task]” button. The rest of the buttons in the bottom bar change depending on what list you are looking at. Adding a new task is really easy and simple: just click on the “New [task]” button and type in your new to do.

At $10, “Things” for the iPhone is expensive, but with it’s amazing interface and simple but powerful layout, $10 is a bargain for this app, and I definitely recommend that you buy it.

Things (App Store Link)

Mac:

The Mac client is better than the iPhone client if you can believe it. The interface is elegant, and the Mac app is very complete (there isn’t anything left out). The best part is the sync feature which lets you sync your to-dos seamlessly with the iPhone & Mac client. One thing that should be added is an icon in the menu bar on the top right corner (you know, where the date, time, and volume controls are). Then you can quickly add a to-do without having to go the whole application.

Mac Client of Things

Mac Client of Things

Overall:

With a Mac and iPhone client which are both excellent, Cultured Code is not joking around when they say that “Things” offers the perfect balance between ease of use and powerful features. The Mac version costs $49.95, and the iPhone version costs $9.99. At $60 for the whole shebang, it is a little expensive, but it is well worth it. Luckily, since the first non-beta version of “Things” is being released at MacWorld, the developer, Cultured Code, has a sale going on that lowers the price of the mac version to $39.99, making the Mac + iPhone bundle less expensive at $49.95. You must us the code:

20% discount
THINGSPRESALE20
coupon valid through January 15th, 2009

GET A FREE COPY OF THINGS!!!
If you follow us on Twitter, we will be giving a free copy of Things away on January 6, 2009.

Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/teencast
Contact Us at: teencast@me.com
Visit Cultured Code at MacWorld.