Each week brings a slew of new iPhone games to our doorstep (digitally speaking), but time doesn't permit us to write individual posts about each one. Therefore, here's a roundup of some new and interesting titles you might want to check out:Daisy Mae's Alien Buffet Unapologetically sexist and gloriously campy, Daisy Mae (top) has the look of a '50s drive-in movie and a plot to match: the gun-toting titular heroine must blast wave after wave of aliens that have invaded her trailer park. Boy, howdy! Giana Sisters If you like Mario-style platform games, you're sure … Read more
In a few hours, the jig will be up. Apple will have unveiled its latest and greatest gadget, which is widely expected to (and better) be a tablet. For months, the tech world has been swarming over a steady stream of purported leaks, rumors, and strategically planned business moves by Apple that have pointed in a number of directions. Let's break a few of the big ones down by quality.The good
The tablet idea
Rumors of Apple offering a tablet device have been swirling for close to a decade, though things really started to heat up when Apple released the iPhone and iPod Touch. After several very successful generations of these touch-screen devices, along with the acquisition of PA Semi and touch-gesture company Fingerworks, it seemed almost inevitable that Apple was cooking up something bigger.
The real proof, however came in the form of a patent application from 2008 that gave a very clear idea of how Apple imagined users interacting with such a device. Many of the ideas and principles that are detailed in that patent seem to mirror Apple's user design ethos for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which has led to speculation (and even more rumors) that the tablet will have a similar OS to what's found on the iPhone and iPod.
The name game The rumored name of Apple's tablet has gone under two main monikers: the "iSlate" and the "iPad."
Blog Mac Rumors discovered historical evidence that Apple has owned the iSlate.com domain since 2007. The day after that discovery, blog TechCrunch found that the iSlate name was a registered trademark of Slate Computing, which turned out to be a company owned by Apple. The connection was confirmed by Mac Rumors, which found the signature of Apple's senior trademark specialist on the iSlate trademark application.
The lesser of the two names is "iPad," which despite being just one letter off from "iPod" is in far shakier legal ground. Tech company Fujitsu has held a trademark for the word iPad since 2003. This is on top of the company having shipped Microsoft Windows CE-based devices called the iPad, which were sold to retail stores to let customers look up prices and navigate around the store.
The only reason this became a lead in the tablet name sniffing case, was because Apple filed three separate extension requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to lengthen the amount of time it had to file for an opposition to Fujitsu's claim.
In either case, both are perfectly reasonable names for the tablet. But more importantly, there's enough of a legal shuffle behind the scenes to suggest that Apple is at least trying to cover its bases in a similar fashion to what it did prior to releasing the iPhone. … Read more
New York examines Web marketing 'scam' The state follows up U.S. probe of "misleading" marketing practices by Orbitz, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers. (Posted in Media Maverick by Greg Sandoval) January 28, 2010 12:54 AM PST
Affinion stops buying credit-card info from e-tailers In a victory for consumers and a Senate committee, one of the marketers accused of duping Web shoppers into joining paid programs … Read more
The economy took its toll on digital audio in 2009, with CD sales continuing to decline (even as vinyl makes a resurgence), digital start-ups going bankrupt or disappearing after takeovers, and labels expressing dissatisfaction with would-be digital saviors like MySpace Music. Even so, there was actually quite a lot to cheer this year. The following five products aren't necessarily the best, but to me, they did the most to move the state of digital audio forward in 2009.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a hardcore gamer. I play games as often as possible. But for the most part, I play those games on consoles. But over the past couple days, I've started playing some Twitter-based games on the Web. Many of them aren't very good, but I found three titles that I really enjoyed playing.
Because of that, I've decided to share those with you in this roundup. Each title is offered on its own site, but requires your Twitter credentials to work. Whenever you achieve things within a game, it notifies your Twitter followers. The experience is fantastic. Let's check them out.Twitter-based gaming 140 Mafia: If you're a fan of "The Godfather," you might be attracted to 140 Mafia. Although it doesn't follow that movie closely, it does a great job of keeping you engaged in the title.
When you sign up for 140 Mafia, the game gives you the option of choosing what can be sent to your followers from the title and what cannot. I liked having that option. From there, you find out that you've been asked by "The Godfather" to start your own mafia crime family. You need to recruit other Twitter users into your family, while engaging in criminal activities to build your coffers and notoriety.
140 Mafia determines your effectiveness based on your attack ability, your energy, your ability to defend yourself, and a few other metrics. To build those up, you'll need to go on missions that involve illegal activities, like burglary or theft. The point of the game is to build a big, strong mafia family that you can control. It's no simple task and it will take a while. I should also note that the more followers you have, the greater the chances that you'll be able to succeed at this game, since a key component is to recruit other Twitter users.
Overall, 140 Mafia is a really fun game. It won't get your blood pumping like Grand Theft Auto, but it should help you pass the time.… Read more
QR Code, a two-dimensional bar code storing addresses and URLs, is a widely used technology in Japan and elsewhere that can be scanned with camera phones equipped with the appropriate reader.
It's likely to gain ground quickly in the U.S. now that Google has sent out a QR code to 100,000 of the most popular companies in its Local Business Center. When those companies display the QR code, customers can use code-scanning applications on their iPhones and other devices to retrieve the firm's individual Google listing.
The only problem is, many of those QR code-reading apps for the iPhone just don't do a good job. That prompted me to sift through more than a dozen QR code readers to find some of the best. I came up with four.QR Code it up NeoReader NeoReader is one of the most useful apps in this roundup. The program is simple, it's intuitive, and it does a relatively good job of reading QR codes.
NeoReader is an extremely simple app. When it's open, you need only to point your iPhone's camera at the QR Code, click the scan option, and you're all set. Within a few seconds, the app delivers the unique content directly to your iPhone. It works with QR (obviously), as well as Data Matrix, and Aztec bar codes. To ensure the app is working properly, you can even go to NeoReader's home page and scan the QR Code examples to see if it's returning the right results. But beware that the application works best on iPhones running OS 3.0 or higher. NeoReader is free, so it's worth trying out.Optiscan Optiscan's developers say the application is the fastest QR Code scanner in the App Store. That's not necessarily true. But it's certainly quick.
Overall, Optiscan is a really nice QR Code reader. The application is able to capture QR codes on monitors, paper, and other places where you might find the code. Upon scanning a QR code within the app, you can view the company's QR code information. You can also save that data for later, so you don't have to come back to the QR code every time you want to view it. Even better, Optiscan allows you to share QR codes with others. It's a full-featured app that should satisfy most users. It costs $1.99.… Read more
Parents' jobs are extremely difficult. From time to time, it's nice to get a little help from technology to make the job just a little easier. That's why I decided to sift through Apple's App Store to find applications that help parents monitor and ensure the safety and well-being of their kids. Some of the apps listed below are for young children, while others are designed for teenagers. But in the end, this roundup is for any parent with an iPhone.Get parenting help from the iPhone Baby Monitor Since some baby monitors don't have the kind of range parents hope for, the Baby Monitor iPhone app will deliver.
Baby Monitor provides a relatively simple experience. You can place the iPhone next to the baby while the application is open. You'll also need to input a phone number. When the baby starts making noise, the Baby Monitor places a call to the number you input into the application, so you can listen from another phone. It's a great way to monitor what your baby is doing, but beware that it costs $4.99.Baby Soothe Sometimes getting your child to go to sleep can be a difficult task. That's where Baby Soothe comes in.
Like Baby Monitor, you'll need to put the iPhone next to the baby for it to work properly. When you do so, you can pick from several different sounds that, according to the app's developer, will help your baby go to sleep. You can choose from relaxing water sounds, like a waterfall or rain. You can also choose a heartbeat option, which mimics the sound babies will hear in the womb. The app also features white noise, like fans and static. All the app's audio features high-quality sound that should appeal to most babies. Even better, it's affordable at just $0.99.… Read more
Earlier this week, I showed you how to create holiday shopping lists, so you know what to buy when you hit the stores this holiday season. But what if you want the gifts? Today, I'm taking a look at some services that allow you to create your own wish list for the holiday season. Some of those tools you might have used before, others are a little less known. In either case, you can tell your friends and family what you want this holiday season.
Before you check those services out, try out CNET's own holiday wish list. It's full-featured, well-designed, and based on my experience, provides an extremely useful option if you're looking for a holiday wish list.Get a wish list Amazon Wish Lists Amazon's wish lists are some of the best-known in the space for good reason: the site makes it quick and easy to add just about any product to your wish list.
While browsing Amazon, you can add any product on the site to your wish list by simply clicking the "add to wish list" option to the right of the page. In my experience creating wish lists on Amazon, I've been quite impressed. The information can be accessed by anyone, they can quickly buy the product for me right from the wish list, and the product is sent to my address once paid for. Amazon's wish list feature is easily one of the best services in this roundup. That is mainly due to that "end-to-end" offering. Everything from finding the product to buying can be completed on the site.GreedyMe Although it allows you to add content from anywhere across the Web to create your own wish list, GreedyMe just doesn't provide the kind of experience you'll find from a service like Amazon.
When you try out GreedyMe, you'll find a suspect site design. It's a little tough on the eyes. Once you get past that (it might take awhile), you can create your wish list. To do so, you'll need to either add content to your wish list by linking to another site or by inputting product information manually. When you find a product you want, the site analyzes the link, lets you input a description, and choose an image to be displayed. It's a relatively quick, simple experience.
If you plan to share your wish list with someone else, you need only to provide them with a link to your GreedyMe page. Unfortunately, the site won't track when you receive the item, so you'll need to input that manually after you receive it. GreedyMe is a so-so service. Consider it a last alternative.… Read more
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a memory, the holiday season is in full swing. For those of us who like to be organized when we hit the stores, creating a shopping list is really the best way to go.
Unfortunately, though, there aren't many services that do a great job at creating those shopping lists. Too often, they provide very simple functionality. Realizing that, I've compiled a handful of services that do perform well for anyone looking to get organized this holiday-shopping season. In this list, you'll find a few sites and a few iPhone apps to check out.
Let's get started.Get your shopping on Amazon Shopping List Not to be confused with the company's Wishlist, Amazon's shopping list helps you keep track of all the products you want to buy.
Overall, Amazon's Shopping List is useful. It's not the best service in this roundup, but it if you're looking for simple, one-click experience, Amazon's tool provides it. That said, I should note that you can't simply add any product on Amazon to the list. Unfortunately, I could only find items that could be added in the grocery, beauty, gourmet food, and health and personal care pages. Even then, not all the products listed in those categories were capable of being added to the shopping list. It was a little disappointing. But if you're a heavy Amazon customer who shops in those categories, try it out. If not, there are some better services out there.Boxedup Boxedup is one of my favorite services in this roundup. It makes it quick and easy to find products anywhere from the Web and add those to a shopping list.
When you start using Boxedup, you'll need to download a Boxedup button that's added to your browser (I was using Firefox, which it works well with). From there, simply go out to any online retail site and click on the Boxedup button when you want to add the item to your shopping list. Upon doing so, it's added to your Boxedup list for later viewing. You can also add items to your profile right from the Boxedup page, but to be quite honest, that's not how the service was designed and that functionality is a little suspect. Regardless, having the option to add content to your list from just about anywhere on the Web is fantastic. Boxedup works quite well. Check it out.… Read more
Microsoft actively urges IE 6 users to upgrade A shopping video and eBay promotion are part of Microsoft's effort to give IE 6 users a reason to upgrade. The company also is trying to move corporate customers away. (Posted in Deep Tech by Stephen Shankland) November 30, 2009 3:03 PM PST
Dell brings Chrome OS to its Netbook With an experimental project, Dell has adapted Google's browser-based operating system to … Read more