Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

TomTom New Zealand

The TomTom iOS app was recently updated to be universal (i.e. support both iPhone/iPod and iPad resolution in a single app) and this, combined with yet another navigation argument, was enough to convince me to buy it – at $95 it’s by far the most expensive iOS app I’ve bought (although as a percentage of the total app expenditure it’s not very much!).

I gather the interface strongly resembles the dedicated TomTom hardware.  It’s useable, but not as clean or elegant as I imagine Apple’s app will be when they finally reveal it (but I strongly suspect that Apple’s one will be iPhone only, at least at first).  Given that most of the time you’re glancing at the map or just listening to the turn-by-turn directions, the interface isn’t overly important anyway.

It’s done well with directions so far – no errors, and easily correcting when mistakes are made.  The maps have sufficient coverage even in Warkworth and Ahuroa, and being a proper navigation app there’s no need for a cellular connection (unlike with the built-in Maps app), which is essential in Ahuroa, since there’s barely any coverage.

The app is certainly better than having to rely solely on another person to navigate.  Although I don’t often need instructions (since I’m usually driving somewhere I’m familiar with), in the cases where I do, it’s useful to have, and over the course of a year, I think that’s probably worth $100.  (The monthly traffic subscription, however, is not – I haven’t even bothered trying this out).

I’ve tried various free/cheap navigation apps, and although they’re ok, they’re absolutely inferior to this one.  I’d recommend it to anyone that thinks that they’ll get $100 of value out of it, especially over the next year (it seems very likely that iOS 6 will have a built-in app).

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Quarrel Deluxe

Quarrel Deluxe (Quarrel DX in Springboard) is a cross between Scrabble (which I don’t love, although I did, like many people, play Words with Friends for quite a while) and Risk (which I do love, but rarely play non-digital because of a lack of people to play against), and may well be better than either.

The setup is essentially like Risk: a board of locations (countries in Risk) that each have a number of armies and varying numbers of neighbouring locations.  The options in a turn are similar as well: attack, fortify (i.e. move armies from one country to a neighbouring one), or pass.  Even in fortification Quarrel beats Risk – rather than only being able to fortify at the end of your turn, you can do it throughout the turn, but once you’ve moved armies from one location to another, neither of those can then fortify or attack later in the turn (they can receive armies from another neighbour).

Attacking is where Scrabble comes in – rather than relying on the luck of the dice, like in Risk, each player is given the same eight letters (that always form at least one eight-letter word, as well as many smaller ones) and whoever makes the highest scoring word wins the battle.  Not only is there more skill (and less luck) than in Risk, there’s more than in Scrabble, too, since you always have the same letters to work with as your opponent.  The length of the word you can make depends on how many armies you have (so if you have three and your opponent has seven, you’ll need a pretty awesome three-letter word). All the ‘double letter’, ‘triple word’, ‘use a letter from another word’, ‘make multiple words at once’, and hard limits to board size elements from Scrabble are gone: these are the parts I hate most about Scrabble, so for me that’s a clear win.  It’s all about making the best word (i.e. longest and with the highest point letters).

Speed is also a factor – if your word is the same number of points as your opponent’s, then whoever finished first wins.  This comes into play quite a lot – it’s often better to go for a high scoring word really quickly than take a bit longer trying to find the best word possible.  Games can also be against the clock, which adds considerably to the difficulty.

There are many other subtle elements to the game, which clearly indicate that it has been well thought out.  In addition, the graphics and sound are very well done (cutesy little stylised fighters).

I’d recommend this game to anyone that likes word games and/or strategy games like Risk.  There’s very little luck involved (none, really, if you exclude the computer opponent behaviour), and a lot of strategy required.  Games can be quite simple but also range to very difficult.

I’d love to see a future version include a multiplayer (i.e. multiple iPad) game option.  It could also possibly borrow the concept of “continents” from Risk and have some additional larger boards where there are locations that give additional reinforcements if you’re holding the entire island.

Displaying PDFs via the iPad

I used the iPad’s external screen output for the second time today (the first was trying out Chopper 2 with the TV as the screen and iPhone as controller) – this time not just as an experiment.

I have a set of revision worksheets (all PDFs that I inherited many years ago – I might have Word documents somewhere, but I’m not sure where).  Going over the questions in class, I can simply read the question out loud (but people don’t listen well enough and can’t ‘go back’ to it), or write it on the board (slow, handwriting code is problematic when you’ve got messy writing), but ideally it’s projected. Continue reading

Apple’s Dog Food

The saying goes that you should eat your own dog food. It seems to me that Apple should be doing this with respect to their iOS (specifically iPad) applications. Unfortunately, it’s their apps that I have most to complain about. Continue reading