iPhone Wine and Dine

by Olivia Gray and William Bonin, Jr.

Whether you fancy yourself a gourmet or a gourmand or just a glutton, these selections are sure to slake your appetite for food and drinks iPhone apps.

AG Wine

A sommelier for your iPhone! The AG Wine iPhone app guides you to wine choices based on your preferences—by style, region, grape, or food pairing. Using an “educational approach,” AG Wine doesn’t offer bottles review but instead teaches the fundamentals required to help you make informed wine choices by including detailed region, appellation and grape variety profiles for Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, Spain and the USA. New countries and regions are added regularly. It also includes other helpful resources that outline the countries and regions where certain grapes achieve their best results, and where you can find the best values. All content is stored locally, so an internet connection is not required. Read the rest of this entry

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Top 10 Music-Making Apps for Android

By Simon Hill

 

These apps won’t turn you into Lady Gaga or Eric Clapton, but they can help you become a better, more creative musician than you already are.

 

MicDroid

Price: Free; intervigil

Rating: 4 out of 5

If you love to sing but you have trouble staying in tune, then this app is for you. MicDroid offers automatic pitch correction and on-the-fly pitch correction. Simply hit “record,” sing into your phone and the app will correct the pitch. You can access and play back your recordings to hear the new-and-improved versions. You also have the option to set a recording as your ringtone or share it via email. Read the rest of this entry

iPhone Tips and Tricks

by William Bonin 

Are you smarter than your Smartphone? These tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your iPhone.

 Camera Tips:

Is your subject too close or too far away? No more walking closer or backing up to try and capture the magic moment. When shooting video or photos, a tap on the screen will bring up a slider that you can use to zoom in or out and bring your picture into focus.

Are your pictures looking a little shaky? The iPhone doesn’t have an anti-shake feature but if you hold the shutter button down and get yourself steady, when you release the button you should have a pretty good shot.

If there’s something on your screen you want to save, do you need another camera? Not at all — just have your iPhone take a screenshot. Press and hold the Home button and then press the Sleep/Wake button. After your screen flashes, your screenshot will appear in your Camera Roll.

Now that you have all these great pictures and screenshots and want to share them with someone else, simply send multiple photos at the same time. Open a photo album on your iPhone and tap the icon on the upper right hand portion of your screen. Select the photos you’d like to send and tap Share. Read the rest of this entry

10 iPad Tips and Tricks

Here’s How to Make Your Battery Last

Question: I recently purchased my iPad, and I love it! The only problem is that I love it so much that I drain the battery really fast. How can I maximize my battery life?

Answer: You’ll find multiple ways to extend your battery life, based on how you use your iPad:

  • Decrease your screen brightness. Do this by tapping on Settings, then going to the Brightness & Wallpaper option.
  • Use the Airplane Mode when you don’t need the Internet. Suppose you brought your iPad in your purse and only want to use the Kindle app while you’re getting your car serviced. You don’t need the Internet. Go to the settings and turn the Airplane mode on. (Note: Did you know your iPad will constantly search for a WiFi setting? So if you’re mobile or in a place with spotty connections, then using the Airplane Mode feature will increase your battery life.)
  • Does your iPad blurt out a sound when you receive a notification from Apps like Twitter? Turn off Push notifications by heading to Settings and tapping on Notifications. You can also cancel out those blurting/blipping sounds by going to Settings, then General, and then Sounds. Both of these will save you precious battery time.
  •  Finally, avoid leaving your iPad in direct sunlight. As with all batteries, heat kills the battery — even until to the point of a battery no longer holing a charge. Read the rest of this entry

Save Gas Money With These Apps

With fuel prices near an all-time high, summer drivers can benefit from apps that scout out cheap gasoline. 

By Torrey Kim

GasBot

Android, Blackberry
Free for two weeks, then $7 per year, GasBot
Star Rating: 5 out of 5

My local radio station used to announce where to find the cheapest gas every week, and I lived for those newscasts—but the radio station discontinued running the feature and I was left driving around (wasting gas) searching for cheap fuel. Enter the GasBot app, which targets your GPS location and shows you which gas stations offer the best prices on gasoline. You can filter the results based on what type of gas you’re seeking, which can be helpful if your car only runs on premium or diesel. Read the rest of this entry

Android Phone Buyer’s Guide

By Simon Hill

And the winner is …

Some of the most advanced and powerful smartphones available run Android, so deciding on the best mobile to buy can be a seriously tough decision. Fear not! We’ve got everything you need to know about the world of high-end Android mobile phones to bring you the cream of the crop and help you make the right purchase decision.

Google’s Android has emerged as the fastest-growing mobile platform out there, and with more and more Android devices hitting the market every day, that situation looks set to continue. There are plenty of reasons for the success of the Android. The Android Market is packed with great apps and games, the platform is perfectly integrated with Google services, and it’s fast, efficient, and versatile. A wide range of top manufacturers support the platform, notably HTC and Motorola.

Motorola Droid X

Motorola had fallen on hard times when it made the clever decision to throw its weight behind the new Android platform. The company helped to build the Droid brand with the hugely popular Motorola Droid and now it’s back, with a new range of devices under the Droid banner. The best of the bunch is the Motorola Droid X.

Pros

Large 4.3-inch screen (854×480 pixel resolution)

Fast 1 GHz processor

8GB of internal memory (can be expanded up to 32GB)

8-megapixel camera (dual LED flash)

HD video recording (720p)

Cons

No physical QWERTY keyboard

No support for 4G

Android 2.1 (will be upgraded to Android 2.2)

4 out of 5 stars Read the rest of this entry

Top 10 Picks: Apps for Tween Girls

My tween days are far, far behind me, and I’ve got a houseful of boys. To learn what apps girls might like best, I went straight to a source. Here are the top 10 best apps for tween girls selected by Olivia Rosen, age 12.

Note: Most of these are iPhone, because that’s what Olivia’s folks have. I’d love to hear recommendations for Android apps that tween girls love!

  1. Celebrity Makeup Looks. I love CelebMakeup because it shows me how to do really fun styles of makeup application like Lady Gaga or Egyptian Queen. (iPhone, Free)
  2. Modiface Makeup. I like the app makeup because I like to put makeup on friends and with this app, I get to without even having any makeup with me.
  3. Sims 3 Ambitions is a virtual world with your own character facing real challenges in a real life. (Android, iPhone $4.99)
  4. Skee-Ball Free is my favorite game at an arcade, Skee Ball! Skee Free is a virtual Skee Ball game. It’s so fun! (iPhone)
  5. Best Hair is an app with a bunch of tutorials for healthy hair and the latest hair styles. (iPhone, Free) Read the rest of this entry

Try These BlackBerry Apps

By Sherry Jackson

With more than 18,000 BlackBerry apps now on the market, BlackBerry users are downloading over a million apps each day. Here are some popular ones to try.

Feeds-Google Client Reader

Price: $2.99; CDJ Studios

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This app allows you to read your Google RSS Feeds on your device and sync up with Google Reader. Article feeds will automatically be downloaded (there’s a setting that also lets you control how many download at one time) when synced and items that you read on your BlackBerry will be marked as read and vice versa. Folders and feeds can be marked as read with one click, and you can read items while offline. The app is also optimized for minimal battery and memory usage.

Grape Theme

Price: Free; MMMOOO

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Grape Theme from MMMOOO isn’t really an app, but it’s worth mentioning. Designer Lee Jong-Young was the first runner-up in the BlackBerry Theme Design Competition held in South Korea earlier this year. Themes for the BlackBerry continue to be popular as they let users customize their devices. Read the rest of this entry

Must-Play Facebook Games

By Sheila Lewis

FrontierVille 

http://apps.facebook.com/frontierville

Life on the frontier can be pretty hectic at times, but you certainly can’t complain about running out of things to do! FrontierVille bombards you with non-stop quests, giving players goals to work on at all times. In addition to developing your homestead, tending to your animals, and doing a bit of farming, one of the goals of the game is to score yourself a virtual mate and then a virtual child. Once you have a spouse and a kid, you can even make them do all of the work for you!

Rating of 4 of 5 Read the rest of this entry

Clean Up Your Act With These Apps

Clorox myStain

Yes, there is some product placement going on, but this is a useful app nonetheless. Got a kid-generated stain like berries or vomit? Look it up on myStain to find both on-the-go and at-home stain-lifting solutions. Step-by-step instructions are practical, detailed, and involve common household items besides Clorox products — such as salt or a wire brush.

I had several epiphanies while testing this app: Who knew, for example, that rubbing a coffee stain with bar soap can actually make it set? My only complaint is that there are some … ahem … common kid-generated stains that Clorox doesn’t account for. Maybe it was just too gross for them to go there.

FREE.

Runs on: Android, iPhone. 

Chore Pad

We first heard about this one from Moms With Apps — one of our favorite sites. Chore Pad is great for families, or any other household where more than one person is responsible for cleaning up.

Start by adding everyone in the house as a user. Next create a “Chore Chest.” You can set chores so they come up automatically every time they need someone to do them, and you  can even assign each chore with a 1-10 “value” so that folks get more points for the most time-consuming or most loathsome chores. And you can easily add or delete chores, and switch chores from one family member to another as your household changes.

The feature that makes this app a big hit with users: its motivational tools. You collect stars and trophies as complete your chores. It motivates kids (and their parents) to pitch in.

$2.99

Runs on: iPhone, iPad.