Tom Bihn has always been at the top of my list when I recommended bags, cases or backpacks to anyone. Their products have always been made rock solid, look great and are the definition of functional. So why am I mad at Tom Bihn and their Co-Pilot Carry-on Travel Bag? Well, they simply lied to [...]
Gazmaz from the UK here. I was lucky enough to receive a code to try out an iPhone/iPod touch game from Chillingo called The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River. The game has more than 20 hours of engaging gameplay spread across 4 chapters, with over 60 different kinds of puzzles varying from [...]
I get a lot of gadgets and gear that cross my desk, my side desk, my drawer cabinet, my office floor, well you get the idea. Anyway, a lot of the stuff is just that, stuff. Then there’s that one gadget that you keep picking up and looking at it and looking at it and [...]
This holiday season I purchased an iPod nano for my daughter. She had an earlier version of the nano, but lost it. If I was going to buy her a replacement iPod, I wanted to get an accessory that not only was functional, but practical. Enter the Danglet from Collins America. Danglet simply plugs into [...]
I just spent a week with a new hardware accessory for my iPod touch and I wanted to share the review with you today. It’s called the Belkin: TuneBase FM with Hands-Free.
I spend about 45 minutes a day in my commuting and I use that time to catch up on podcasts. Like so many other iPod owners, my car does not have a built-in plug for an iPod connection, so I have to use third party alternatives to listen to the iPod touch thru my car stereo. The easiest method is using an FM transmitter to listen to the iPod via an open FM channel on my radio.
Using an FM transmitter may be the easiest solution, but seldom produces the highest quality audio. I’ve tried several inexpensive alternatives, and although they’ve worked to a point, the problems I encountered were many and the sound quality was low. I finally tried the $99.99 retail Belkin TuneBase FM with Hands-Free and am very happy I did.
The basic construction mimics several other iPhone/iPod connectors. One end plugs into the vehicle’s power plug/cigarette lighter, and then a flexible snake-like cable allows you to bend the iPod so you can easily view it and tune it. The connection clamp grabs the top and bottom of the iPhone or iPod and below the clamp is the control center for the TuneBase. The control center has buttons for tuning the transmitter frequency up or down, the ClearScan button, two buttons to remember frequently used frequencies and what they call a Pro setting that optimizes the audio and boosts the volume.
Below the control center is the connection to the iPod which also contains a multifunction button that can be used to easily pause or play music, change tracks, and receive calls. There is also a USB plug and a 3.5 audio out jack you can use to charge other devices or play audio through a tape adaptor or external speakers.
As you can tell, this is an amazingly feature rich device. It has more functionality then any FM transmitter I’ve ever dealt with before. So after I just listed all the features, what about the performance? Although the quality was not as good as a direct connected iPod to the car stereo, the Belkin TuneBase had the best audio of any transmitter I’ve tried over the years. The ClearScan button finds the open stations and the Pro button gives you the boost you need listen to podcasts, audiobooks or music. The operation was simple and easy to manage while driving. I am actually surprised to hear myself say that the Belkin TuneBase FM is worth the $100 retail.
So what are some of the things that bothered me about the Tubebase? Well the flexible connection cable seemed to be a little too long or a little too flexible because when I drove, the iPod had a slight shake to it that I was unable to resolve. If a passenger in the car wanted to watch a video in the iPod while I was driving, they would have a difficult time with the shake. Also the ClearScan feature seemed to grab channels that were not actually clear. I would have liked to had the ability to control the signal strength of the open frequencies that it found. Other then that, I was very happy with the Belkin Tunebase FM Transmitter with hands-free. You can find it at www.belkin.com. You can also purchase it for much less through Amazon, so make certain you do a little searching before you buy for the best deal.
By Steve Beyer:
I just have to come clean because I have been playing a bit of hooky this week.
My Son is home on leave from the Army before he ships off oversees in late September. He is also a Mac lover so we have been spending way too much time discussing and playing with Mac Software. He brought his new unibody 17” MacBook Pro with a Solid State Drive. It a thing of beauty to behold and it created quite a bit of lust on my side.
After dealing with the all those numbers from my last Review, “Accounted” by Oranged Software, I have to admit that some game playing was defiantly in order and thus my review for this week an iPhone game called GloBall.
Globall is developed by Robot Super Brain. They can be found at www.robotsuperbrain.com. No information was available about the developers but they seem to specialize in game development. In addition to GlowBall they currently have another iphone game called Sly-Q and god forbid a windows series called Tropix.
Robot Super Brain describes GloBall as simple and addictive. Tilt to roll the ball and break blocks! Avoid or squish your enemies, and conquer the globe! As your score increases, so does your sphere of influence on the GloBall globe. Can you become the best player in your neighborhood, your city, or even the world?
Globall seems to be a hybrid of brick breaker and a maze game. The paid version of the game currently has 70 different levels with each getting progressively harder and more challenging. The goal is to hit all of the colored blocks and bonus squares with your rolling globall all the while trying to avoid obstacles along the way. You gain bonus points by completing each of level before the allotted time runs out. At the beginning of each level, You are given three lives to complete the maze. If you run into one of the obstacles you can lose one of these lives. You can gain more lives by collecting magnetic gold coins along your journey.
Globall uses iPhones built in accelerometer to control the movements of your globall through the maze. I normally am not that great at using tilt movements but I took to this setup instantly. Tilt makes the game much easier to control than standard buttons. I found that I was able to get better control by working on a table. I place two thumbs and two fingers on the four corners of the iphone each lightly resting on the table. This allowed me to obtain much finer moments and control
What really Sets this game apart from the others that I have tried is the additional use of location in the gameplay. Globall uses the iphone’s GPS which allows it to blow away the traditional leader board found in most games. Not only can you see the current rankings but you also find out where in the world the current leader resides and the area that your score dominates Globall tells you the feet or miles to next highest score for game totals and for each level .
This really add to the excitement of the game. It is fun to watch your rank grow and globall area of influence increase.
Glowball is a gorgeous game to behold. Its has real splashy colors and animation. It starts with an short video of the Robot Super Brain logo and then quickly moves to a menu with three menu items.
Levels presents you with a thumb nail of either a map or lock for each of the 70 levels. You can move through each level using a cover-flow style interface. Each level displays your current rank and number of miles of dominance. Clicking on a thumbnail moves you to the start of its corresponding
Back at the main menu,
The options item provides the user with four more menu items.
Viewed Saved Score
There are also two check boxes for Sound and Post Scores to Globe.
The Play Menu item returns you back to your last point in the game and provides the normal one level after another progression.
Touching the screen pauses the game. You can quickly reenter the game where you left off. This allows you to pick it up when time permits. That is assuming you have more willpower than me.
The Globall ricochets off each of the blocks in much the same manner as most brick breaking games. If you hit a power up block you gain special powers for a limited time. These power-up options are Fire Ball, Ice Ball, Bomb Ball, Lightning Ball, and Nuclear Ball. Each provides a different awesome super power that help you make it through the game faster and removes the normal ricocheting.
Each level contains one or more obstacles that can cause death and require you to restart at the beginning of the level. If you lose all of your lives you have to replay the level. Some of the obstacles can be destroyed for bonus points. The obstacles include
spike balls that grow as you approach,
Worms that eat your ball and require you to shake to escape,
Dragons that bounce across your path,
Money Bugs that contain extra gold coins but can also quickly become a deadly circular saw,
Fire Walls that turn on and off to bar your progress and
Deadly Lava fields that kill instantly on contact or cause you glowball to smoke if you get too close.
This game has a lot of action. Secret Doors open when you roll by.
Gates open when you turn a wheel.
Teleport Tubes move you quickly from one room to another.
Something is always going on and the action really draws you into the game.
The Light version of the game is a fully operational trial version but it is limited to 7 levels.
The paid version currently has 70 levels with more levels included with each update. These levels are more challenging and provide more opportunity for higher scores and Globall world domination.
The paid version of the game is currently priced at $2.99 which is a bit higher than many games. I think it is worth the entrance fee. I love the game play and the location features.
This is currently my favorite game. I love the bright colors, the fast action, and the different challenges. I am still having a hard time negotiating the lava fields.
I have a long way to go in order dominate the world but I have been able to move above 400th place. The location based Scoreboard is a feature I would love to see in more games. I would highly recommend that you give the light version a try and then decide for yourself if it is worth the $2.99 price.
If you have a favorite game that you would like to share, I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter at threetwo. I plan on getting back to work on the Studiometry review. No More game time honest…. Well maybe just a little more Globall. I really want to get above 300th place.
Mikey is the latest and greatest method to record audio on your iPod. Blue Mic says that Mikey is compatible with iPod nano’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen, and iPod 5th gens. Also the iPod Classic. But don’t let that fool you, I tried my 1st gen iPod Touch with Mikey and it worked fine.
Mikey is perfect for capturing lectures, interviews, or voice notes and it sounds pretty good for a tiny, portable iPod add-on. Mikey is flexible with a pivoting head to give you the ability to face it’s stereo mics toward the sound you want to capture. There is a recording side, playback side with a playback speaker. Mikey also has a sensitivity switch that allows you to fine-tune Mikey to record everything from the barest audible sound to extremely loud sources without losing audio fidelity.
Depending on the iPod model, it will save your recording under the Voice Menu menu and lable it according to recording date and time. Just conncet your iPod to your computer, launch iTunes and add the recording to your music library. The recordings are saved as .wav files on your iPod.
The recordings sound a lot better from your iTunes then they sound on thru the small speaker on Mikey, but at least you can use the speaker to make certain the recording captured what you needed it to capture. Mikey will play back anything through its external speaker, regardless of whether the headphone jack on your iPod is plugged in or not. Simply disconnect Mikey from your iPod if you want to hear playback only through your headphones.
This little iPod Mic is slick, simple and just works, period. The whole key is to make certain it works on your particular iPod. The retail price is $79.99. Check out the details at Blue Mic’s website, http://www.bluemic.com
This week I looked at a pair of earbuds with a built in Mic.
The iFrogz EarPollution Plugz with Mic.
There are times that you want a set of earbuds that are comfortable, capable and cheap. I know, most all of us have that special set of headphones or earbuds that sound wonderful but cost way too much for everyday traveling, exercise, and our kids. What if you want a set of earbuds that feel comfortable, are cheap and have a built in mic for answering those iPhone calls? Now that cuts down your options.
I have an answer for you. Try the new iFrogz EarPollution Plugz with Mic. They’re only $19.95. That’s right $19.95. These noise isolating earbuds offer a high definition microphone and are compatible with iPhone and Blackberry. They come in 7 different colors and three different earbud cushion sizes. The basic specs are as follows:
* Driver unit: 9 mm
* Impedance: 32 ohms
* Sensitivity: 98 dB +/- 3 dB at 1 Khz
* Frequency Response: 30 Hz to 20Khz
* Cord Length: 1.25 m
* Plug: 3.5 mm
I’m not going to try and convince you that the sound you get from the Earpollution Plugz will match the $150.00 or more pair of buds you may already own, but they are capable earbuds, especially for audiobooks or podcasts, they fill the bill just fine. They are very comfortable in your ear and they do a nice job of blocking outside sounds. This is especially handy so that you can easily receive and send phone calls while you have the buds on. The mic is simple to use and worked everytime for me. I even tried it on my Blackberry and it worked perfectly.
These are earbuds that have a place in everyone’s briefcase, handbag, laptop case or pocket. For $20.00 they’re priced right, they’re comfortable, good looking and with the mic, they work for iPods, iPhones, Blackberry and more. A perfect fit for almost everyone.
We all probably had this happen to us, you’re at a meeting or a conference and suddenly you realize. “Oh no… I just ran out of business cards”.
This always tends to be the moment someone important comes around the corner and you really need to give that person your contact details. What now?
Here comes beamME Pro.beamME Pro makes business cards unnecessary. You enter all your data that should be shared into the application and you are ready to go. If you meet someone that you want to give your information to, just fire up beamME Pro and send it over. This can be done using the persons email address, the phone numer or Twitter account (yes Twitter).
With the first two methods, the other person gets an email or text message containing a link where they can download a vCard file. If you choose Twitter they’ll get an @reply with the hint to follow beamME on twitter. After they did so, they will receive a direct message with a link. Like this, rmbrme (which is the company that createdbeamME) can make sure that only this specific person gets your personal details.
With the new 3.0 version of beamME Pro you can even send contact information over Bluetooh to otherbeamME Pro users. Furthermore it allows for tracking the locations where you send your information to whom and it holds a list of all people you sent your contacts to. You could also pick another card from your adress book and send this to someone else.
There is also a free lite version that lets you send your card to other people but not over Twitter. It has some limited functionality compared to the Pro version and at $1.99, beamME Pro is everything but overpriced.
So I really encourage you to go check out beamME Pro. If you might be confused by the gold subscription model the developers write on the appstore, don’t worry, all the features they tell you about are included in beamME Pro. These guys just don’t seem to stop thinking about future developments.
And to be in todays trend, beamME Pro can also be considered as the green alternative to normal business cards.
beamME Pro can be found at http://www.rmbrme.com
Hi everyone Gazmaz from the UK here.
So I was struggling to think what I could do for a review this week, and it suddenly struck me that I hadn’t heard anyone on the show talk about Flight Control for the iPhone and iPod touch. I know that this is the MAC Reviewcast, but I have done a couple of iPhone/iPod touch games in the past and no one moaned at me and as the OS on the devices is seen by many as a variation of the beautifully crafted OS X I thought that it would be acceptable.
So lots of people were talking about Flight Control some while ago now, and I’d resisted the temptation but then I started being challenged by some friends and thought OK as the game is only 0.59p why not just try it out, and at the present time the game is still only 0.59p in the UK, $.99 cents in the US and .79 euro cents in Europe. That said, it is still on a limited time offer it will go up to $2.99 when out of the offer period.
This week I’m looking at the Focal XS 2.1 computer and iPod speakers system. I listen to a lot of music and I’ll admit I’m a snob when it comes to audio equipment. I want speakers that sound great and look fantastic. The Focal speaker system is a high-end entry into the iPod and Apple computer market. And by “high end”, I’m talking $600.
These speakers look superb. The cabinets are solid and the cables are cloth wrapped. They were obviously designed with the current crop of iMacs in mind. Each unit has just the right combination of silver bezel and black body to make you think it was designed in a hidden lab in Cupertino. Additionally, one of the satellites includes a standard iPod dock. Using this dock, you can either sync your iPod to your computer or play directly into the speakers. This is controlled by a toggle switch behind the right satellite speaker. Keeping them next to my desktop machine it was no trouble for me to depress the button but this could be a problem depending on how you set them up. It also includes a simple remote that magnetically will attach itself to the satellite post. Neat.
So CoverSutra uses the power of spotlight for you when you search for music from within iTunes and it is just a quick keyboard combination away and is very fast.
The Case design which you can have floating on your desktop, has a choice of three types, a couple of CD type cases or why not go vinyl.
The controls that you can set up can be used to control iTunes from wherever you are on your machine, and you can set up almost any customisable keyboard combination. If you have one of the new flat keyboards you can still use the play options that Apple gives you.
The new Vibe II headset/headphone from V-MODA is a great choice for iPhone and iPod Touch owners that want a solid quality sound with a microphone, and convenient call/music control functions. The Vibe II is not exactly cheap at $129, but I think they’re actually worth every penny of the price.
Let’s look at the specs first, The Vibe II sets are made of stainless steel alloy and fabric cables with a noise-cancelling microphone. They come with detachable sport earhooks, eight pairs (XS,S,M,L) of silicone ear fittings in clear and black, designer carrying case, VIP Card at V-MODA’s website, and a one-year V-MODA premier warranty. The stainless steel alloy makes the earbuds the heaviest buds that I’ve ever had in my ears. That may be a good thing or bad thing, but with the earhooks they stay in place during exercise and feel quite comfortable.
From the V-MODA website:
Frequency Response: 12 Hz â€“ 22 kHz
Speaker Driver: 8mm V-MASQUE dynamic technology, neodymium rare earth magnet
Cables:KevlarÂ® reinforced, 32â€ plug to y-connector, 13.5â€ even-length earphone cables.
Plug: 24k gold-plated, 3.5 mm (1/8â€) stereo plug
V-MASQUE high-definition clarity and 3D soundstage
BLISS noise isolating (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) technology reduces outside noise and enables deep bass
World renowned sound signature features vibrant bass, vivid mid-range, and vivacious highs
Tuned to ensure a truly a unique hi-fidelity experience that evokes the soundstage, bass, and sensations of the ultimate music experience
(As you can see from the plug size, you can use these in your Blackberry Curve, Storm and Bold.)
So how do they actually sound? My opinion would not mean much since I’m in my 50′s and have lost some of the range I had when I was younger. But in a simple comparison with the standard Apple headphones, I can hear a real difference with a much stronger Bass range and obvious increases in the high range of sounds. I had my son try them out and he agreed they were a big step up from the headphones he was using. I also can say that the phone conversations I had with them were clear and a big improvement over any Bluetooth headsets I ever tried.
The accessories that come with the Vibe II are well designed, functional and look great. The earhooks help those of you that are more active then most of us, and the case helps to keep your hooks, ear fittings and headphones all in one place. Plus the Kevlar reinforced woven fabric cable is more durable then any cables you’ve used and they give the Vibe II a special designer appearance
Because of all these reasons, I re-state that the V-MODA Vibe II are well worth the $129 price tag in my opinion. V-MODA makes several different headphones, the Vibe, the Vibe Duo, and the Sports series. I suggest you take a look at all of them on their website, www.v-moda.com.
Spotify is a Music streaming service from a Developer in Sweden with the headquarters based in Luxembourg that allows you to stream music from the web. Now I know that they are striking up deals with Indie companies in the US and I’m sure they’ll get the bigger boys on soon, so hopefully they’ll be appearing over the pond in the US soon.
There are three basic models that you can subscribe to. First, a free option which currently I think is only available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain, and some of those countries you will need an invite, so you’ll need to take a look locally to see if that’s the case.
I am not a big gamer at all. I enjoy the occasional play, but tend to quickly get bored, assuming I can figure them out in the first place, but I recently came across a game that, rather like a ‘perfect storm‘ brought together all three aspects:
- It is about rescuing kittens
- It is on the iPhone
- It is simple enough for even me to play