Colorbind – iPhone Game Mini-Review – Updated

If you like puzzles then the iPhone game Colorbind by Nonverbal is something you should get. However, if you only like the easy ones then stop reading now and move on with your day. As a point of reference, I used to love the Myst adventure game series. Almost everyone I know gave up on that series long before finishing, claiming the puzzles were ‘too hard’. What about you? Are you up for the challenge?

Colorbind is a bit difficult to describe. Their own description starts by saying it’s a “relaxing but challenging puzzle game”. Relaxing? I think not. Addicting would be a better term, and I know of few addictions that are relaxing. The game consists of 84 levels with 10 additional achievements. Basically it is a connect the dots game, but it’s well thought out. Each level will present you with various colored ‘paper’ ribbons on a graph paper looking screen. There will be dots placed around the screen matching each of those colors. The idea, using your finger, is to drag the ribbons and connect the matching color dots. It sounds so easy, and on some levels it is. Don’t be fooled. They get really hard at times. If you get stuck on a level you can reset it by shaking the phone gently. A double tap displays a menu with options for resetting, or quitting the level. While dragging a ribbon, if you turn, the ribbon will fold to make a corner. You cannot capture a dot on a corner.

ColorbindLevel66On levels with multiple colors there is the additional twist of overlapping ribbons. If two ribbons overlap the same dot, the ribbon on top wins. It took me awhile to figure it out, since the game has few instructions, but the ribbon on the vertical path is always on top. You can complete unlocked levels in any order. As you complete one level, the adjacent levels in the level selection screen unlock. Level 82 was particularly fun, and there are two achievements that might get you trapped.

Colorbind is available through the AppStore in a full version for $1.99, or as a free lite version with 10 sample levels. I suggest playing with the lite version, as with any app, before buying the full version.

Spoiler Alert! If you continue reading, I give the solutions for two of the achievements.

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iPhone & iPad Apps – A Wish List

I have had an iPhone since the day it was released. I upgraded to the 2nd generation, and eventually the 3GS, the day they were released. Why? Because they have changed the way I interact with the data and technology I access regularly. Once the App Store opened, that interaction exploded. Research shows that iPhone users use 5X more monthly data than BlackBerry users. Yes, 5X! Users now have access to a large selection of handset operating systems, but not all with the wide selection of apps available for the iPhone. Android is coming on fast and strong, and Windows Phone 7 Series based handsets will be here before you know it, but the iPhone & App Store are here now. Add the soon to be released iPad to the mix and this will be an interesting year for the mobile user.

A few months ago I started thinking about apps I wished were available for the iPhone, and then it happened. Apple announced the iPad. I am not here to debate if the iPad will succeed, while I think that it will. I know that, for my needs, it could have a place in my workflow. If I do buy an iPad, it will be because of the apps.

Below is a list of some apps I would like to see on the iPhone, iPad, or both. Some of these already exist from third parties, but I would like to see what an Apple implementation would be like.

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Apple and “Adult” Apps

Well, there appears to be a another shift in Apple’s App Store policy. First, they wouldn’t let anything in the store that was provocative. Then they opened the floodgates and thousands of explicit apps started showing up. Then, just a couple of days ago, they banned explicit apps. Today, we hear from CultOfMac.com that there is a new “explicit” category for App Developers when submitting their apps. Does that mean that adult apps are on their way back again?

In a previous rant, I lamented the poorly implemented Parental Controls and App Rating system on the iPhone. To recap, setting Parental Controls Age Restrictions on the iPhone would hide screenshots of apps that have a more “mature” rating, but continued to show the apps with their provocative names and icons (NOT kid-friendly). It also removed unrated apps from the iPhone, including some very kid friendly apps (such as Horse Lover).

My goal was to have Apple completely hide apps with an age rating higher than the setting in Parental Controls. Hopefully, the events of the last couple of days are an attempt by Apple to do just that.

Read more about this ongoing story:

MacRumors.com: Apple Adds ‘Explicit’ Category for New App Store Submissions

CultOfMac.com: Is Apple Preparing To Add An ‘Explicit’ Section To The App Store?

Fastmac’s U-Socket: USB & AC All In One Wall Plate

There have been more than a few times when I tried to find a USB power adaptor. I always have a cable for the iPhone, but often don’y have the power adaptor with me. Now we have the U-Socket from Fastmac. It’s a standard dual socket wall outlet, with 2 integrated USB ports! I could see adding these to any office, bedroom, or kitchen. The manufacturer’s site states:

This item is currently waiting on final UL Approval. It is scheduled to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2010.

The normal price shows as $29.95, with a pre-order price of $19.95. I am not sure it’s worth it, but the convenience would be great.

iPhone Streaming Showdown: Qik vs UStream – UPDATED

In my “AT&T, The Bars Are a Lie” post I mentioned that I had been testing two iPhone Streaming applications. I have been looking for a way to live broadcast my son’s high school band performances for those parents unable to attend.  When UStream and Qik finally arrived on the iPhone, I was looking for an excuse to play. In the end, I was actually surprised at the differences between the two apps. I should say upfront that my expectations started low. I just don’t think live video streaming, over a cell network, is ready for prime-time. But who am I to pass up the perfect excuse to play with new toys.

First of all, this is not a studio test. I went to a random shopping center, where I was sure I would not be hassled by security, and tried streaming about 45 seconds of live video. I tried to capture the green trees, the blue sky, fast panning, quick light changes and various ambient sounds, cars etc., while I talked.

The goal was to find a clear winner based on:

  • Sound Quality – Clarity and Accuracy
  • Video Quality – Color & Compression Quality
  • Smooth Playback – No Starting & Stopping

Obviously, like with any media, choices will be made depending on the content being broadcast. If one application has better audio, but a lousy picture, you still may choose it if you are broadcasting a concert. If you are broadcasting something visual you may be willing to sacrifice the audio side of things. Let’s take a look, starting with UStream…

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