Daily iOS Tip #7: Enable Emoji Keyboard
by Adam Meshell
Apple will (hopefully) soon release iOS 5, the next iteration of their mobile operating system, and with iOS 5 an emoji keyboard (you know, cute faces and other icons) will come standard just by activating it as an international keyboard. Until then we have to settle for a little hack. First step, hop onto the App Store, next download Emoji Free!, and lastly navigate to Settings—> General—> Keyboard—> International Keyboards—>Add New Keyboard and select Emoji. Now, all you have to do is, while texting or using any app that brings up the keyboard, tap the little round icon next to the space bar and it will bring up any selected keyboards.
You can also accomplish this via jailbreak hacks but who needs that mess, iOS is perfect just the way it is, right guys…ummmm…guys?!?
Review: Doodle Jump for iPad
by Adam Meshell
We can all breathe a sigh of relief because the wait is over, Doodle Jump has finally hit the iPad and for those of you that don;t know what it is, crawl from under your rock and listen up. This game, developed by Lima Sky, is a member of the “endless genre” and, in particular, it is an endless vertical jumper.
You guide the character, Doodle, through a series of platforms by tilting the iPad left or right while avoiding such perils as moving, broken, and disappearing platforms, goofy looking alien creatures, and UFOs. The controls work just as great as the iPhone counterpart and the only complaint I could possibly make would be just the weight of the iPad itself over long periods of time, but who is playing Doodle Jump for more than ten minutes at a time anyway, right?
The aesthetic of Doodle Jump for iPad is very simple with a graph paper background with various randomly placed holes and tears and cute hand-drawn characters, titles screens and buttons. Lima Sky has been great about supporting this game over the years. They have given their customers many themes and costumes to use in game usually one to represent each major holiday. The only thing that holds Doodle Jump back is its lack of any collectibles or reward system to keep you working toward a goal; these games need to have that “carrot on a stick” gameplay so you will want to play more. It does, on the other hand, have leaderboards and multiplayer so you can challenge your friends and compare your jumping skills with people around the world.
In a nutshell, what I’m trying to say here is: just buy it. The gameplay is tight and appropriate for the platform and it’s also a great looking game, especially on the iPad’s big screen and I know you can afford the $2.99 cover charge.
Score: 90 out of 100
Dear Netflix, What are you doing?
Written by Drew Greene
In case you haven’t heard, the onset of September brought with it some major pricing changes from Netflix, as users now have to choose between internet streaming services or getting actual DVD’s in the mail. The price increase was quite significant, yet I did not mind. I feel that Netflix, as a service, was already under priced. I believe this market distortion was the driving factor in many of the licensing disputes between the content owners and Netflix. So it was with naive hope that I welcomed the price increase, praying that this would give Netflix more leverage at the negotiating table with the movie studios. And then Starz! refused to renew its contract, which expires February of next year. This is a huge blow to Netflix’s internet streaming service, as Starz! is (or i guess now was) a major supplier of content. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Starz! was making unreasonable demands (demanding a tiered system, similar to buying HBO from your cable supplier), which would have forced Netflix to change their entire business model. Now I applaud Netflix standing by it’s guns, and not caving into another ridiculous demand from Hollywood, but it does raise many concerns for the future. Namely, what good is a service that I can access anywhere, anytime, if there is no content to access? As a paying customer (five years and counting), what I really want to hear from them is their plan for future content. They have made it very clear that they would love to move strictly to online distribution. but have offered customers no exciting content to move them that way (one notable exception, Mad Men!).
Netflix, use your newfound revenue streams and gigantic user base, and play some hardball with those studios! Almost as important, please be more proactive communicating with consumers exactly why we should shell out $10 (or $16 for the physical copy) a month for your service. As it stands now, I am considering cancelling my service not because of the price increase, but because I have no clue what content I will be able to access from day to day. This is unacceptable, and while Netflix is not entirely to blame, they have not given us a reason to blame anyone else. Public perception can make or break a business, and right now, the public is starting to question Netflix’s necessity. This is a marketing fail, and if left uncorrected, could ultimately be their downfall.
TML’s Weekly Music Recommendation
Drew’s Pick: Opeth - Deliverance
Opeth’s “Deliverance” is the “heavy” side of a two album concept (the other “Damnation” is much “softer”, a first for the band) that was released in 2002. While many feel this record falls short of the grand awesomeness of earlier albums (“My Arms, Your Hearse” and “Blackwater Park” to name two), I find this record to be near perfect in scope, shape and size. While songs maintain their long formats, and there is a sprinkling of “progressive” structures in the songs, thankfully they kept the number of songs to six so that you never get fatigued from so much awesomeness (which becomes a major problem for me on the later albums). While I must admit there is a acclimation period for anyone’s first foray into the dark world of metal, this record presents the perfect package to break you in. Riffs that will stick with you for years, perfectly balanced dynamics, and orgasmically intense moments are all reasons this is a great “metal” primer. This was my first Opeth record, and it should be your’s too. Get it!
Adam’s Pick: Jim Guthrie - Sword & Sworcery E.P.: Ballad of the Space Babies
A few months ago an amazingly artistic and visually intriguing iPad game came out called “Superbrother’s Sword and Sworcery”. It was graced by a soundtrack by Jim Guthrie, who is normally know for writing folk rock albums but this time brings a whole new offering to the table. Don’t get me wrong though, Guthrie is no stranger to chiptunes or using video game hardware and software to create music, as a matter of fact he used the MTV Music Generator for the Sony Playstation on two of his albums, “Now, More Than Ever” and “Morning Noon Night”. “Sword and Sworcery EP, Ballad of the Space Babies” is sort of what you would get if folk and chiptunes came together (no pun intended, hehehe) and had an amazing musical baby; modern meets primitive. The album is filled with, because it’s a soundtrack, intense action pieces, songs that are used as background for when the hero is between spaces in the game, and songs for title sequences as endcaps. Altogether a fantastic record and an interesting listen.
iOS Tip #6: How To Kill Apps
by Adam Meshell
OK, so this is one for the true newbies out there, the person who bought an iPhone 4 because you thought it was cute and all your friends have one too. Running many apps at once can cause a huge draw off your battery life and also slow your phone down, here’s whatcha do: just double tap the home button (that’s the cute little circle button at the bottom with the square in it) and hold your finger on one of the apps for about a second, they will start to move. At this point just tap the little red icon in the top left corner of the app and it will shut it off. Do this for as many of them as you like and either tap on the screen or the home button again to close it. That is all! Now go forth you l33t n00b, read the rest of my tips and master your iDevice.
Daily iOS Tip #5: Quick Scrolling To Top of Page
by Adam Meshell
Hey guys and gals, I’m back today with a little iOS tip for you. This is for when you are looking at a website or a text conversation and want to go back to the top of the page. All you do is tap the status bar (the bar at the top of the screen) and your device will rapidly take you to the beginning. This is also very effective for when you have been texting someone and want to call them; the call button is at the start of the text conversation.
Happy 65th Birthday, Freddie Mercury!
by Adam Meshell
Today we celebrate the 65th Birthday of the former frontman for Queen and one of the greatest songwriting and vocal talents to ever live. Born on September 5, 1946 as Farrokh Bulsara, he was known for a brief time as the pseudonym Larry Lurex where he release a very poor received single titled “I Can Hear Music”. Freddie’s career truly started to take off when he met guitarist Brian May and joined Queen. With Queen he helped write fifteen full-length records and countless singles for over 20 years. During his time with Queen he also released three solo records including an opera record titled “Barcelona” with fellow singer Montserrat Caballé. Freddie died of complications due to AIDS on November 24, 1991 shortly after filming his final music video for “These Are the Days of Our Lives” which is thought to be a love letter saying goodbye to all his fans. Since his death there have been charities set up in his name to help fight HIV/AIDS, two of which are Freddie For a Day, and The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. His is sorely missed by his fans and we take days like today to remember the impact he has on our lives and spread his music to other people.
Daily iOS Tips #4: Fast Return to Main Home Screen
by Adam Meshell
This is an easy one for those of us who have many pages of apps, it will quickly return you to your main, or first, home screen. Say you are on page six of your apps, there is no need to swipe all the way back, just tap the home button and it will swiftly bring you back to page one.
Daily iOS Tip #3: Screen Captures
by Adam Meshell
Is there something on your iPhone’s screen that you want to quickly capture or take a picture of, whether it be a sweet text you wanna use as blackmail later or a pic of that a precious kitty you just can’t live without? Just tap the sleep button (the one on top) and the home button (you know, the only other button) simultaneously and BLAMO! you have a screen capture put right in your camera roll to share with all your friends. And remember, if you don’t have an iPhone then you don’t have awesome screen capture technology right at your fingertips, or ummm…something like that, see you next time.
Review: Jetpack Joyride (iOS)
by Adam Meshell
So those amazingly evil geniuses over at Halfbrick have done it again, they’ve managed to create another game to suck the hours from our days and keep us all savagely addicted. Jetpack Joyride, formerly Machine Gun Jetpack, is an endless cave shooter where you are Barry Steakfries, basically the company’s mascot, who has become tired of the day to day grind and decided to break into a top secret facility and steal a jetpack for a joyride.
Halfbrick Games are masters of fine-tuned, brilliant control mechanics in their other games and Jetpack Joyride is no slouch in this area. The gameplay consists of flying across the screen in a jetpack that fires bullets downward to stay afloat, the whole time you are dodging lasers, maneuvering around static and rotating flames, and heat-seeking missiles, shooting scientists (who are panicking on the ground) and collecting coins for later use. Forward motion is automatic while vertical flight is controlled by simply tapping anywhere on the screen. The real treasure in this game lies in the extras, though.
Like any other Halfbrick game, there are many many features to come back for. Firstly, there is an option in game called ‘The Stash’ where the player can purchase clothing, extra jetpacks, vehicle upgrades, and utilities (mostly single use cheats) all of which are typically used to pimp out your character. One of the ‘packs shoots rainbows instead of bullets, you can never go wrong with rainbows, especially those of the double variety. The game also has seemingly endless amounts of missions to complete that, when finished, add stars to your current ranking and these stars level you up when the goal is reached; the reward for leveling up is extra gold for buying more items from ‘The Stash’. Missions include high five-ing 10 scientist in one playthrough, flying 500 meters without collecting a single coin, and using all the vehicles at least once.
Jetpack Joyride is Gamecenter supported, of course, with leaderboards that pit you against friends to see who can attain the highest score. It also features cameos from other iOS game characters such as a gravity suit from “Gravity Guy’, equipment you can purchase straight out of “Fragger”, and a metal bird vehicle, that can only be a stab at “Angry Birds”, whose flapping wings spill money all over the ground. The team at Halfbrick Games have another gem on their hands and for every game they produce it always seems to be the genre-defining version of it; whether it be the twin-stick shooting of Age of Zombies or the tight screen slashing controls of Fruit Ninja, buy this game with confidence in knowing it isn’t just another shovelware title on the App Store. To sweeten the deal a little more, not only does this game only cost $0.99 but it is also a universal app that works on every iDevice except the original iPhone and iPod Touch. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to build my own machine gun jetpack.
100 out of 100