Archive for August, 2010

Review: My Face for iPhone

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

While Caller ID is sufficient to tell you who’s calling, we like to associate pictures with our contacts so that we have a very clear visual of who’s just dying to speak with us. But what if you can’t find the perfect picture for all of your contacts? Enter My Face, an app by Paragon Services, that allows you to download pictures for your contacts that were personally chosen by those contacts. We really like the idea of what this app offers and tested it out to see how well it really works.

When you first open My Face, you’re greeted with the following Terms of Use notice that alerts you about what’s required for others to be able to download the picture you select for yourself and a notice about the security of your information:

Note the requirement about the correct entry of the first letter of the first and or last name in a contact for the app to be able to pull a contact’s picture.

Setting up your own contact photo requires a few steps. You must enter your phone number, the initials of your first and last names, your country, and carrier in the Settings section. After this, you’ll be sent a text message to confirm ownership of your phone:

Once you’ve received this text message, you’re ready to select an existing photo or take a new one using the iPhone’s camera to assign as your contact photo for your friends to upload. Choosing Get Contact Pictures will search for pictures uploaded through the My Face app by everyone in your contacts list.

If you use Facebook, you can accomplish something similar with the official Facebook app, but if you don’t use this particular social networking service or simply don’t want to, My Face offers a decent alternative. However, while this app works as advertised, it has some significant hurdles to overcome before it really becomes useful. First, all of the people for whom you want to download a contact picture of their choosing must own an iPhone and buy this app and use it accordingly. Second, you must manually check periodically in case any new friends have started using My Face and in case any current friends have changed their contact picture.

If the app were free, we could see one barrier to more widespread use of My Space decrease and we’re a little surprised to see that it’s not free since it also incorporates Apple’s iAds. While we never begrudge a developer’s efforts to earn money for their efforts, both charging for an app and getting revenue from ads rubs us the wrong way – frankly, we prefer to pay for an app to have an ad-free experience and the presence of ads after paying for an app is annoying.

The app does offer a way to let your friends know about the app with a “Tell My Friends” link in the app that will generate an email draft for you to address containing a link to My Face in the App Store. This is where we see the (albeit low) $.99 price tag of My Face as a barrier – we don’t know about you, but we have some very frugal friends and not all of them will be keen on downloading a single-purpose app even if it offers them a way to ensure that you see a picture they want you to see when they call you.

Again, we really like what My Face does but we don’t see it being see it being used by nearly as many people as we’d like to make it as functional and interesting as it could be without a few changes, namely dropping the price to free (keeping the ads is fine as we would never want a developer to forego income for a good app) and a more automated way to find out if more contacts have started using the app or if an existing contact has changed a picture. Until the use of this app becomes more widespread, we think we’re going to keep ending up choosing pictures for most of our contacts manually, unfortunately.

UPDATE: Paragon Services has made My Face free in response to feedback, removing one of the barriers we saw to more widespread adoption of its use.

  • Utilities

    My Face

    Last Changed:
    51 months ago
    Rating:
    3.00 (16)
    Version:
    2.0
    iOS iPhone

    My Face makes it easy to retrieve pictures for your address book contacts without requiring you or your contacts to participate in any social networking website like Facebook or Twitter. After...

MiTube Lets You Download YouTube Videos

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

MiTube, an app that has only been available for jailbroken devices via Cydia until now according to 9to5Mac, hit the App Store early this morning. The app lets you stream and download YouTube videos straight to your iPhone or iPad. The universal app is ad supported and free to download.

Since there’s content on YouTube that’s copyright-protected, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple receives some complaints about this app and subsequently removes it. Also, while the app offers different streaming and download settings to appropriately accommodate your network connection type, downloading videos could quickly eat up your data allotment if you’re on a metered 3G data plan, so consider this as you use MiTube.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, MiTube has been pulled from the App Store and is no longer available.

VolumeSnap Feature Coming to Camera+?

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The developer of the popular photography app Camera+, tap tap tap, described in its blog today that an update to the app has been submitted to Apple that includes a new, highly-requested feature: the ability to use the iPhone’s volume buttons to activate the camera’s shutter. It’s unknown whether or not this new feature will be accepted by Apple, though as tap tap tap’s blog notes, there are other apps in the App Store that already offer something similar (MaxiCamera is one example). This feature had originally been included in version 1.0 of Camera+ but had been rejected by Apple.

If approved by Apple, the update release notes for Camera+ will be as follows:

VolumeSnap ~ use your iPhone’s volume controls to snap photos!

Using Camera+ now feels just like a real camera. Your photos can be sharper because you can now hold your iPhone steadier with two hands instead of fumbling around for the shutter button on screen.

In addition, you can plug your iPhone earphones in and use the volume buttons on them as a remote shutter control.

Image courtesy of tap tap tap

Using a volume button to activate the camera’s shutter offers the ability to hold an iPhone stable more easily to capture a photo since a finger or hand won’t need to be moved to press an on-screen shutter button. In the past, Apple has prohibited apps from using any hardware element of the iPhone for anything other than its original purpose.

  • Photography

    Camera+

    Last Changed:
    8 weeks ago
    Rating:
    4.00 (369)
    Version:
    6.1.1
    iOS iPhone

    Over 10 million sold! “The Clarity filter is iPhone photography’s secret sauce—it adds pro-camera crispness to almost any shot.” — Kevin Sintumuang, The Wall Street Journal “If the...

Pulse News Reader Gets Posterous Integration

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Pulse News Reader, the popular iPad app created by Alphonso Labs, has been updated to add integration with Posterous. Posterous is a free web publishing service where users can easily create and update their own blog-like page via email, adding content with links to articles or by attaching photos, videos, or other files. Within Pulse News Reader, users can create a customized source feed via Posterous with content found through Pulse, which can then be shared with other Pulse users.

If you already have a Posterous page, you can choose to merge it with the one created by Pulse or keep them separate.

Creating your own Pulse feed via Posterous is done easily within the app. Once created, your Pulse Posterous page is populated with everything you mark as a favorite and appears in your My Pulse feed within the app. Other Pulse News Reader users can add your Posterous Pulse feed to see what you’re favoriting within the app. Adding Posterous offers an easy way for Pulse users to share selected content with others that had not been previously available within the app.

  • News

    Pulse News for iPad: Your News,...

    Last Changed:
    29 months ago
    Rating:
    4.50 (2225)
    Version:
    2.9.5
    iOS iPad

    *** This is an old version of Pulse. Download the new version by searching for "Pulse" in the app store and tapping the first result! *** Pulse brings all your favorite blogs,...

Gameloft Releases NFL 2011

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Gameloft is ready for football season, releasing its NFL 2011 game over the weekend. The app is officially licensed by the NFL and contains all 32 NFL teams and their players. Last year’s NFL 2010 game was reviewed over at Touch Arcade and that version has earned an overall rating of 3.5 stars in the App Store.

The NFL 2011 game trailer is below. Gameloft has also posted a making-of video on its blog showcasing how the motion capture was done to provide realistic player movements.

  • Games

    NFL 2011

    Last Changed:
    42 months ago
    Rating:
    3.50 (962)
    Version:
    1.0.1
    iOS iPhone

    **OPTIMIZED FOR iPHONE 4! High-definition graphics that fully utilize the iPhone 4 Retina display** Football is back on your iPhone/iPod touch for the 2010/2011 season with improved graphics and...