Welcome to our weekly installment of Picks of the Week at iSource where we provide our expanded coverage of Apple accessories and applications. Here we will promote our favorite iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV related items, as well as bring you occasional tips and tricks. Hopefully many of our favorite items will also be of interest to you. Please feel free to comment on our selections, and suggest picks of your own. Check out this week’s picks after the break.
NetNewsWire [ v 3.3 ]
Picked by: Alex Jordan
My pick this week is an application that’s been around for awhile called NetNewsWire. Earlier this week I was reading up on Mountain Lion and discovered that Apple is dropping RSS support both in Safari and Mail. These two applications, as my luck would have it, are what I use to manage RSS feeds. So, to solve this problem I turned to an old name I had heard for years -NetNewsWire- an app that beautifully handles RSS feeds with a “no fuss no muss” design. NetNewsWire can be synced with Google Reader, and has versions for iPhone and iPad, so you’re never without the latest information. Additionally, support for Instapaper (for reading feeds later), and MarsEdit (for posting feeds to your blog) are baked right into the application. Even more awesome is the fact that there are two versions of the software for the Mac: a free ad-supported version and a paid, ad-free, version.
If you’re not already using NetNewsWire, rely on RSS feeds, and are planning to upgrade to Mountain Lion when it becomes available, you owe it to yourself to give this application a chance.
DataMan [ v 3.3 ]
Picked by: AliciaB
My pick this Week is DataMan, which measures real time data usage. This is a tool that fills an absolute necessity for me as I recently got a company cell phone with no way of tracking data usage. As I have taken up the habit of using iTunes match and Spotify lately I have used up quite a bit of data from my plan. A friend of mine recommended this handy app and I am pleased to say it fits the bill perfectly.
Setting it up is quite easy. You enter your monthly limit and choose at which points you want to get notified that you have passed certain thresholds. For me e.g. I have 3GB/month so I set up a daily and weekly allowances accordingly to monitor how much data I have been using. But the app has great extras, including the ability to see which applications were using up data and in what amounts, on which days, or how much data you use via cell phone carrier plan or home wifi. You can also set a specific time frame for a data usage query e.g. between this and that date. Needless to say this is quite valuable especially if you spend time in foreign countries and you need to track your usage.
Thanks to this app I now know that apps you would never suspect of using up data are actually doing so like Siri, Viber (which I never use) iCloud service or even Safari. I can surf with more “confidence” so to speak as I am aware of how far I have to go with my available data. Highly recommended!
$0.99 [ iTunes ]
Song Pop Free [ v 1.2.43 ]
Picked by: PatrickJ
This is basically a Name That Tune competition app for the iPhone and iPad, and it’s lots of fun if you know your music, or if you think you know your music. You start off with six basic playlists covering genres like Hits of Today, Classic Rock, 80s, 90s, Love Songs and so on. You can look for friends who are playing or invite friends via email or Facebook, search by username if somebody already told you theirs, or choose to play against a random opponent.
I always think it’s a good sign with games like these when you see that a good number of your friends are already playing the game, and that’s been the case for me with Song Pop.
The gameplay is simple – you listen to slices of 5 songs and try to identify the song or artist as quickly as you can, with a 10 second limit. If your opponent isn’t ready when you play, then you just play against the clock and then submit your result as a challenge to them. When you’re both around at the same time it’s even more fun as you go head-to-head in real time. And damn are some people good at this game. I’ve had a number of times where I tap my answer in less than 2 seconds and I’m still well slower than my opponent.
I think the game is great fun and definitely an easy one to just kill a couple minutes in or stretch it out for a while if you’re in the mood.
You earn points in the game with victories (and even get one for a defeat) and there are also big batches of coins available via In-App purchase. These can be used to buy more playlists and such. I haven’t spent any money yet on this, but it’s worth noting that the coin pack prices go all the up to $25 – so you might want to keep an eye on your kiddos if they play the app.
Free [ Link ]
In-App purchase available for coin packs
Tiny Wings [ v 2.0 ]
Picked by: Brandon
I’m throwing my pick of the week behind a quicklook that Thomas just did this week – Tiny Wings and just as important – Tiny Wings HD.
There’s very few 99 cent games on the app store that are a sheer joy to play. There’s nothing frantic about the game… it’s a relaxing sit down and take a break playing style that I loved from the first minute I started playing it. Now with Tiny Wings HD ($2.99) I can finally have the full screen game on my iPad (and give a bit more back to a developer who isn’t out to nickle and dime everybody).
If you don’t own it yet… you’re missing out.
$0.99 [ iTunes ] iPhone
$2.99 [ iTunes ] HD / iPad
Power of Logic [ v 1.5 ]
Picked by: Jay
This week I’d like to highlight a little game that brought the return of the classic Mastermind® to the iPhone in stunning graphics. It’s called the Power of Logic.
For those who might not remember the days of the tabletop version of Mastermind®, it’s a two person game where 4 pegs drawn from 6 colors are hidden behind a shield by player one, the Codemaker. The task for player two, or Codebreaker, is to determine the 4 peg arrangement is – exact color and position – by playing 4 pegs on a gameboard. The Codemaker gives feedback about how successful the Codebreaker is by sharing “one peg is the right color, but wrong position” (one white key peg), “one peg is the right color AND right position” (one red key peg), or “no right color” (no key peg). Full instructions are here.
Visually, the Power of Logic enhances the fun by putting the game in the context of working in an blacked-out factory during a stormy night - with sounds and sights of electricity – and restoring electricity to the darkened city. You can see a quick promo video here.
Mastermind® used to be called a game of logic and deduction (though it is both deduction and induction), and Power of Logic makes thinking fun again.
$0.99 [ iTunes ]
There you have it! Hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Picks of the week. Please let us know what you think, and share with us some of your favorites in the comments section below.