Category Archives: iPhone

iCrayonMaker Makes Kids Happy

Okay, all of you iPhone totin’ parents!  Whip out your iPhone, connect to the App Store in iTunes and download a fun lovin’ app for your children.

Which app is that? you ask. Why iCrayonMaker, that’s what!

With iCrayonMaker, your children can have loads of fun drawing on your iPhone.  They can choose from four different drawing styles: crayon, chalk, glitter, and felt marker.

To select the color that you want to draw with, tap the color of the crayon that you want. (In this picture, you’ll notice that the hot pink crayon is selected because it is slightly higher than the rest of the other crayons.)

Then you tap inside the circle and start swirling your finger around.  This will fill in the circle.  When it gets to be the color that you like, tap the Crayon Draw tab at the bottom of the screen.  This will take you to a blank screen where you can start drawing.  Now, draw away!

When you want to change the color of your crayon, tap the Crayon Marker at the bottom of the screen to go back to your ‘box’ of crayons.

There is an undo feature that lets you undo your last three strokes.  (I wish it had more undo levels . . .)  There is an erase feature that erases everything on your screen so you can have a fresh start on a different drawing.  If you want to change the style of your crayon, simply tap the Change feature.

Once your kiddo has finished her drawing, you can send the picture to Facebook.  (How cool is that?)  You can e-mail it to someone through e-mail — like grandpa, a sibling, or a friend.

You can also save it to your phone’s camera roll.

The only drawback (to me) is that it doesn’t change orientation when I rotate my phone. I would like a horizontal screen.  Having this capability would give a wider screen to draw on.  (Maybe my fat fingers just need to go on a diet.  Hmmm, maybe?)

Here are two of my fabulous artistic renderings.  Watch out Rembrandt.  Here I come!

This fun little application will keep children — and read that to mean mother, too — happily and busily occupied for quite some time.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.

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Rockband — On My iPhone

The other day, I played researched how Rockband worked on the iPad.  I only have three words to say:  fun, fun fun!!

I was so absorbed in playing, that I was oblivious to how loud it was and how annoying I possibly was to other customers in the store.  (I found that Rockband on the iPad was much easier than with the guitar that came with the actual Rockband set up.  My little finger is weak and slow.  I guess I just need to practice to build up my strength.  That’s what I’ll tell my husband when he comes downstairs at 3:00 a.m. to see what I am doing . . .)

After I left the store, I was moaning that I didn’t have an iPad.  Then, inspiration struck.  I have an iPhone!  I dashed to the iTunes app store and found Rockband for the iPhone.  It was $6.99.

Then, I noticed there was a free version.  Being the extremely frugal person (read that to mean cheap) person that I am, I immediately downloaded it.  Here’s what I think of the free version.

Graphics.  I was amazed at the graphics on such a small screen.  I’m used to playing Rockband on my 52 inch HD TV.  That’s a little bit different than on the iPhone.  So far, I don’t mind the small size because the graphics are good.  Compared to my TV, they aren’t as flashy-snazzy, but they are nice.

Sound.  It had good sound.  Of course it doesn’t compare to my home theater surround sound but it is still good.  Not tinny.  No buzzing. Plenty of ‘depth.’

Ease of play.  I am so much better on the iPhone than on the Rockband guitar.  Since I’m all thumbs when it comes to things like crafts, that ‘thumb-ness’ has paid off.  Playing Rockband on my iPhone is much, much easier.  Love the drums, too.  I’m not a bass fan but playing it is fine, too.

Level of difficulty.  There are three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, hard.  Boy howdy! The hard level is definitely hard!

Song selection.  If you don’t mind having only one song, you won’t mind getting the free version of Rockband.

There is one drawback.  It doesn’t play in landscape mode.  If your fingers tend to be on the larger side, this may pose a challenge to you.  (Since I have dainty finger pads, it’s not a drawback for me.)

From my point of veiw, there is really only one reason to get the free version of Rockband:  so you can tell if you would be happy with the $6.99 version.

And is it worth it to pay almost seven bucks for an app on my iPhone?  I do think that price is a little steep.  However, I do think it’s worth the price.  On the days when I’m riding the bus home from work and my eyes are too droopy, sleepy to read, I can whip out my iPhone, pop in my earbuds, and jam away until I get to my stop.

I recommend that you buy the full version.  I think you’d like Rockband, too.

Way Fun iPhone App

Does anybody have a washcloth handy ? Towel?  Burp cloth?  Rag?  Anything!  Something!  But please!  Give it to me immediately!!  As in right now is way too late.

Why?  you wonder.

I’ve just seen an absolutely cuh-ray-zee fun app for the iPhone. Drool is dripping off my chin like rain in Seattle.

Drumroll please.   Brrrrrrrrrrr — ta da.  Announcing the Hipstamatic app for the iPhone!  This app turns pics taken on your iPhone into photos with a flair.  Vignettes anyone?  A stylized photo (sans Photoshop)?  A quirky over saturation?  It’s yours.  All with Hipstamatic.

It’s like going back in time getting the effects from 35mm film cameras from the 70s but using a PHONE instead.  I guess since we are in a new millenium that we ought to have a new way of taking pictures that are reminiscent of the olden days.

We pause here to bring you a station identification.  When I want to know if it’s going to snow tomorrow, I go to the weather on my iPhone.  When I want to find a place to eat when I’m in a new city, Urbanspoon on my iPhone is the answer.    When I want to flick my virtual Bic, Zippo Lighter on my iPhone to the rescue.  When I want to take a picture when I’m out and about, my iPhone camera saves the day. I use my iPhone to read blogs as I ride the bus home from work.  Geez.  Do I use my phone just to call someone anymore?

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Hipstamatic has some really cool features:

  • You can mix and match different lens, flash, and film combinations.  There are a total of 336 combinations.  Holy cow!  That’ll take you one or two days to use all of those combinations, if you ask me.
  • Change a lense or film with a simple swipe of your finger.
  • Shake your phone to randomize your selctions.
  • Got a favorite combo?  Simply save it so you can easily go back and use it again and again.
  • It has built in sharing with Facebook and Flickr.  Snap and send.  A cinch.  Just how sweet is that, I ask you?
  • There are other lenses, flashes, and films that you can buy to add extra options.  Some start as cheap as 99 cents per pack.

Hipstamatic is only $1.99.  A buck ninety-nine.  I think I’ll tell my husband that we’re not going to the dollar movies tonight and use that money to pay for Hipstamatic.  I don’t think he would mind.  Too much.

Or, maybe I’ll pass along some very un-subtle hints to my offspring and tell them that they will be my favorite child and will get the largest inheritance if they buy me Hipstamatic for Mother’s Day.

Sshh!  Don’t look now.  Don’t tell my husband.  I think I just saw my fingers typing my credit card info into the iTunes App store . . .

Ahhhh.  I’m all shot up and high on my tech fix . . .  In no time at all, I’ll be a Hipsta-maniac.

Most Useful App for iPhone

The iPhone app, AutoPark, was awarded the Most Useful App at the iPhone Developers 2009 Camp.  I can see why.

Parking in a metered spot?  Not a problem.  Keep track of your metered time, find where you parked and even find nearby services like gas stations and banks.  I wonder how people back in the 70s ever lived without this cool little widget.  It’s sweet, sweet, sweet.  (How in the world did we ever live pre-iPhone?)

Here are some of AutoPark’s features:

  • keeping track of time left on the parking meter
  • finding your parked car
  • finding your car in a multi-story parking structure or at sprawling shopping mall (this is fabulous!!)
  • locating nearby gas stations, banks, and public restrooms
  • taking a picture of your rental car to help you remember what it looks like
  • sending an e-mail to remind yourself where you parked before leaving on a long trip

It costs $5 — which is really cheap when compared to paying a parking ticket!

AutoPark’s tag line is:  You won’t want to leave home without it.  Even though that is a play off of American Express,  I agree!

Searching on Your iPhone

Do you need to search for something on your iPhone but you don’t know how?  It’s quite elementary, dear Watson.  If you are on your Home screen, tap your Home button to bring up the Spotlight. Type in your search item. (The icon to the left of the search results tells which application the results are from). Tap the search result to open it.  (If you are on a different screen in your apps, just slide your finger across the screen from left to the right.  Keep sliding until you pass all of your apps and the Spotlight appears.)

This Spotlight searches Mail, Calendar, Notes, Contacts, Applications, Music, Podcasts, Video, Audiobooks,  If you want to modify what the Spotlight searches, go into Settings, General, Home, Search Results. Tap the options to remove the check by the ones you do not want to search.

If you are already in one of these areas, you can search exclusively within that area.  For example, if you are in Notes, you’re search will search only Notes.  To get the Search Bar in Notes, tap the top of your screen.  Drag your finger down.  The Search Bar will appear at the top.

To search within iPod search, open iPod.  Tap the area under which you’d like to search (playlists, artists, etc.).  Tap the top of the screen and drag your finger down.  The Search Bar will appear at the top of your screen.

This ‘tap and drag down’ works

iPhone Tricks

I went to a conference at the end of June. One of the sessions that I went to shared some tips about the iPhone. I didn’t know these and was so thoroughly please to learn them. I don’t know if some are new because of the new version of the phone or just because of the software update. I don’t have a new phone — and yet these tips still worked on mine.

Tip 1
One of the most frustrating things for me was that when I had made a typing error, I couldn’t easily go back to the spot and correct just that one wrong letter. I had to backspace which meant that my slow thumbs had to retype everything over again that was deleted when I back spaced. Now, there is a WAY cool way to get to the spot you want to go to without deleting anything typed. Simply hold your finger down on the screen. A circle ‘bubble’ pops up. You will see a blue cursor inside that bubble. Now, drag your finger around the screen until the cursor is placed where you want it to be. Release your finger.  Backspace to delete the rowdy wrong letter and type the correct one.  This works with any application where text input is allowed. Here’s a picture to show you what your iPhone screen will look like.

iPhone cursor demonstration on Technology Mavin dot com

Tip 2

In Safari, when you are typing in a URL, the keyboard has a key with ‘.com’ so you don’t have to type each individual letter.  But, there are other domains rather than just .com.  If you hold your finger down on the .com key, in a second you will get a pop-up option that includes .edu, .org, .net.  What a time saver!

iPhone tip in Safari on Technology Mavin dot com

Tip 3

When you double tap the home button on your phone it will take you to your favorites in your phone list.  Cool.  But even better, you can change it to do something else.  You can go to your settings and set it to open up the search box so you can perform a search on your phone.  Or, you can set it to start your camera app or your iPod on your iPhone.  If you use any of these features regularly, this allows you to get to your selected app much easier and faster.

To change the double click feature, go to your Settings, to General, and scroll down to Home.  Tap the option that you want.  A check mark will appear indicating the place you will go when you double click your Home button.  Double tap your Home button to make sure your change was made.

iPhone tip on Technology Mavin dot com

Tip 4

You may be wondering how I got the iPhone screen shots to use here on my tips.  Well that, my dear friend, is Tip 4.  If you want to do a screen capture, hold down your Off/On button and the Home button at the same time.  This will snap a picture of your screen and send it to your Photo Albums on your phone.

To download it off your phone, go to iTunes after syncing your phone.  When you click on your phone (under Devices), you will see the pictures on your phone.  Click on the desired picture (it will have a yellow border around the photo) and then click Import Selected.  Your photo will now be in iPhoto.

iphone tip on Technology Mavin dot com

iTone – Cool iPhone App

I’ve been rather disappointed with the ringtones on my iPhone. None of them are tap-your-toe-catchy-wanna-dance tunes.  I went window shopping in the App store to see if I could find a cool one.  (I absolutely loved the Mission Impossible ringtone on my last phone.)  Didn’t see anything that appealed to me.

However, as I was reading my Macworld magazine, I saw an ad that intruigued me.  It was for iToner which is a little application for your Mac computer that allows you to drag tunes into it and then sync them with your iPhone.  I downloaded the trial version and played around with it.  Sweet.

Not only are the ringtones on my phone BORING, they are soft.  With my iPhone in my purse, and my purse in my tote bag, and the tote bag on the floor of the loud and rickety UTA bus, I can’t hear when my phone is ringing.  (My husband tried calling me several times the other day while I was on the bus and I didn’t hear the phone.  He was quite perturbed with me.  Quite.)

So, I took the Mission Impossible theme, cropped it in GarageBand, made the clip REAL loud, dragged the clip to iToner, and synced iToner with my phone.  With that set as my default ringtone, I think I’ll be able to hear the phone while riding the bus.  Might even get stares from other passengers when it goes off and is so loud . . . (And, if I forget to turn my phone to vibrate and it happens to go off in a really quiet place, boy will I be embarrassed as Mission Impossible blares out of my phone!)

I’m hoping that once my trial version of iToner is up that I will still have my Mission Impossible ringtone still on my phone.  I hope it doesn’t disapper off . . .  If it doesn, I just might have to break down and pay for iToner.  It’s only $15 and would be worth it just to keep my Mission Impossible ringtone.