Ever since my wife got her first iPhone, we’ve been on the lookout for an alarm clock docking station. Modern smartphones need to be charged every night anyway, so why not put its cradle next to ours and have it charge, occasionally play music and wake us? We wanted something that would work with the new iPad as well, and with a relatively small footprint. The people at GearZap suggested the XtremeMac Luna Voyager II, and it arrived at our house last thursday. More XtremeMac Luna Voyager II review
Last week saw the kick-off of the first completely unofficial Dutch Wordfeud tournament. I’m competing, and so far, things are going great. I have no illusions about making it to the next round though. Even though I’m winning most of the round one games, my scores are mediocre at best, and the accumulated total scores decide which sixteen players will compete in round two. But there’s a catch…
A couple of days ago, I had an interesting dicussion on Twitter with Dutch media guru @erwblo. He noticed a trend at SxSW, where all exciting new developments seemed to be centered around apps. I tried to argue that apps are “evil”, but found that I needed a lot more than 140 characters to explain myself. Hence this post.
Right now, there’s a war raging. Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft and others are caught up in a bitter fight over supremacy on the mobile internet. And the stakes are high. The web is about to go mobile. Smartphone sales are up, and dumbphones are getting smarter. Tablets are replacing part of the laptop market, and will soon represent a big slice of overall internet consumption. More A dystopian future of the mobile internet
Don’t get me wrong. I hate nag screens as much as anyone, but after playing the free version of iBubble Shooter for quite some time I’m can’t really blame them for trying to get me to upgrade. The game is based on the classic bust-a-move principle, in which you shoot bubbles from the bottom of the screen trying to group them together based on color. It’s pretty good, certainly the best touch screen translation of the concept that I’ve played. At € 0.80 it’s a steal. But that was even more true for the original free version. More iBubble Shooter now has nag screens, but can you really blame Absolutist?
I was approached by Mastiware, a new game development studio founded by four French students, to take a look at their first game, “Joe the Worm – Escape or Die”. As a casual gamer, currently hooked om a poorly made but very addictive Bust-a-Move clone on the iPod Touch, I’m absolutely not a gaming expert. But I decided to take a look anyway, and now I wish I hadn’t.
In “Joe”, your task is to keep a little worm alive. this wouldn’t be very hard if not for two complicating factors. First, Joe is very hungry. You need to point it to fruit scattered around the screen. But at the same time you have to keep him away from two intersecting “beams” that move across the screen randomly. This means our little worm is either constantly hungry, or in risk of serious harm. Fortunately, there are several powerups, which you get when you complete a “recipe”. Certain combinations of fruits unlock things like increased speed, or the ability to stop the beams temporarily. More Helping Joe the Worm escape is not easy
Google recently switched on full navigation for Android devices here in the Netherlands. Suddenly, my HTC desire doubled as a PND (Personal Navigation Device). The maps on my TomTom were starting to get old, and updating them costs about as much as a new unit, so Google’s timing was perfect. All I needed was a holder to affix my phone to my car’s windscreen. Luckily, MobileFun offered to send me a review unit of their “HTC Desire car kit“. More HTC Desire car pack review
There’s been a lot of controversy over Apple’s decision to ban Flash (and Java for that matter) from the iPhone since the day it was released. Now, with the iPad about to hit retail, there’s been more debate on whether this was a technical decision or not, and whether it’s a severe limitation for the devices, or a blessing. Being both a Flash developer, an iPhone OS user an open source advocate, I thought I’d weigh in on the conversation.
Before I get started though, let me point out that I’m not a fan of Flash. I think it’s a real shame that there’s no open, official standard that lets web designers do the things Flash can. Adobe has the web in an awkward stranglehold right now, and I’d love to see that change. But the reality is that Flash is an integral part of the web today. More My thoughts on Flash and the iPad
When I read Engadget’s “Ten Gadgets that Defined the Decade“, I was amazed by some of their choices. I could easily think of a few gadgets that changed the way we use technology, but weren’t listed. While I agreed with a couple of items on their list, like the iPhone, I couldn’t help writing my own top 10 of the most influential gadgets of the last ten years. Here are my candidates in random order. More My attempt at the top 10 gadgets of the decade
Symbian may be the smartphone OS with the most experience, it does suffer from a certain dullness. It’s like the MS-DOS of mobile phone operating systems. Where the iPhone basically runs a trimmed down version of Apple’s OSX, Symbian was built to be light. Also on eye-candy. And it shows.
Fortunately, there are developers out there that create software that goes beyond that typical boring Symbian look and feel. Like mobileways.de, who recently released Gravity, a native Symbian Twitter client that brings both features and eye-candy. More Gravity adds some sexiness to Symbian
Yesterday, Google announced a new beta version of their Sync service. It’s exactly what many Google Calendar users have been waiting for. It lets you synchronize your contacts and calendar events between ‘gcal’ and your iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile smartphone. There’s also a Symbian (SyncML) version, but that does contacts only. But what puzzles me is why.
I’ve been using GooSync to sync my calendar, and their free service has been great. It’s a little limited (no contacts, one calendar only), but it works flawlessly. GooSync uses SyncML, an open standard supported by many handset and PDA manufacturers. So when I read about Google own SyncML option I was fully expecting it to sync my calendar. But alas. Google’s implementation does contacts only.
This got me thinking. Symbian made headlines last year because it plans to go open source. That means they’ll be entering Android territory. Perhaps Google’s little robot isn’t planning on a long time symbiosis with Nokia’s mobile platform? They wouldn’t… or would they?
This is the personal blog of Roy Tanck, designer, geek, freelancer and WordPress enthusiast. It's also the home of projects like WP-Cumulus (a 3D tag cloud for WordPress), my Flickr widget, Gunfollow (the Twitter hitman) and Snapatar.com. More about me here, or you can follow me on Twitter.