Mixel Lets You Create Art, Collaborate with Friends on iPad



In this day and age, we can make art by iPad with a simple stroke of the finger. There are painting apps like Art Rage, which we saw at CES.  Now we can do art share remixing – with an application called Mixel.

What is art share remixing? Well, you create a piece of art, then share it with your friends. They will then either enjoy your piece, remix your art or even add items to make it better. Your friend can then share that part so you can view, add or remix.

The program is created by Khoi Vinh and Scott Ostler. Vinh was a digital design director for the New York Times and Ostler works with an image hosting site called dump.fm. The duo is calling it the world’s first social art app for the iPad.

“Most art apps translate the analog art experience into digital form and stop there,” Vinh said. “They overlook the transformative power of a user’s social graph, which can turn an ‘expert’ activity like art-making into something casual, accessible and even addictive. Mixel is a true social experience, which is why it’s so much more fun and engaging.”

The application is available for download from the Apple app store.

Introducing Mixel for iPad from Mixel App on Vimeo.

Pogoplug Mobile Lets You Put Your Cloud on Your Desk



In this day and age, we talk about Cloud like a car dealer talks cars. We put stuff in the cloud and take it down. We don’t even know where this cloud is – but a lot of us trust it for our photos, music, movies and more.

Now we can put a cloud on our desks, and share media through our mobile device. All through Pogoplug.

Pogoplug is a device you plug into your network, plug in your USB drives, then share the contents across the web. You can set access to private or public viewing on desktop, iPhone, iPad, Android or other mobile device. You can also set permissions so your workmates can collaborate on files.

Today, Pogoplug announced their newest product in the line of devices. Pogoplug mobile is a version of Pogoplug geared at taking all the media off your smartphone and keeping it on your personal cloud.

“Pogoplug Mobile is the perfect companion to your mobile phone or tablet.” says CEO Daniel Putterman. “Not only can you stream the media from your hard drives straight to your mobile device over WiFi or your cellular connection but you can also automatically back up your camera roll to your Pogoplug.That means, no matter where you are, the photos and videos you take on your mobile phone are automatically backed up to your Pogoplug.”

Pogoplug Mobile lets you attach USB drives and now SD cards into the device. You configure the drives up on my.pogoplug.com, then download an application for your PC, Mac or mobile device. When configured, you can access your mobile data through your own cloud.

Prices for Pogoplug Mobile start at $79.99 (£59.99 in the UK). For more information, go to Pogoplug Mobile site (http://www.pogoplug.com/mobile/). It is also one of the 5 Backup Cloud Solutions I reported on back on September 21st. You can also check out the video we did with Pogoplug at CES2010.

Watch Me 911: iPhone Safety Application for Women

watch me 911

watch me 911

“For Women, by Women”, they tout. Although, anyone can use this application if they feel concerned or need help. The Watch Me 911 turns your iPhone into a security assistant. That way, you can continue with daily activities with a peace of mind.

There are three options when you download Watch Me 911:

  • Monitor Me
  • Panic
  • I’ve Arrived

Monitor Me is a timer activated alert. You set the timer before activities. If you don’t check in before the timer is up, friends are notified. They would then call you to make sure you are alright.

Panic is a simple button that you can use if you have to pass through questionable areas. Walking through the parking lot or a dark alley, for example. If you feel threatened, you double-tap the button and people are notified. You can also have 911 contacted.

I’ve arrived is an app that lets you get a message ready to let people know when you show up to your destination. When you get there, you send the message. That way, if you get right into business, you don’t have to stop your momentum to let people know where you are.

This application was created by Alice Armitage and Jill Campbell. As businesspeople, mothers and women, they felt the need to have an application like this. They also felt that other women (and men) might also need a personal assistant program.

The application is fee-based. You get a 30 day free trial, and if you like the app, you can either pay $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year for all three products (with 2 months free).

Scanner Pro for the iPhone

Scanner Pro for iPhoneOn occasion I have something that I want to scan it may be a recipe from a magazine, a leaflet or a receipt for a product. However I don’t scan enough for it to make financial sense to buy a full scanner. So what are my possible solutions, I could borrow a friend’s scanner or go to an office supply store to have them scan it, neither of these options are very practical. The answer is an application available for the iPhone called Scanner Pro.

Scanner Pro works great, just take a picture either within the app or by pulling in a picture from your photo album. It will automatically detect the edge of a document, It also has advance image processing. If you want to crop the document manually, just tap on it and make your adjustments. You can also adjust brightness and contrast. You can customize the page size , which is great if you are scanning a receipt. You can preview your documents before sending them and protect them with a password. Once you’ve scanned the documents you can upload the resulting PDF file to Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, iDisk or a WebDav application. You can also Fax, print or email the document. If you have GoodReader installed you can open and annotate a scanned document within it right on the iPhone.

I like Scanner Pro it works. However I had a little trouble figuring how it worked, the on-screen directions are not very clear. There are a couple of other problems with Scanner Pro. The first is how good the picture depends on how steady you can hold the iPhone and how well the autofocus works. Second you also need to be in a well-lit room to get a good scan. Finally Scanner Pro is great for scanning a few documents every once in a while, however if you are going to be scanning a lot you are better off getting a dedicated scanner. Scanner Pro is available thru iTunes for $6.99.

White Noise

http://f.cl.ly/items/3z3u0T383k2o1u2o2h3O/Untitled.pngI have to admit I am one of those people whose mind starts racing right about the time I am ready to fall asleep. Which leads to me staring at the ceiling not being able to sleep. I think this is not uncommon, especially if you work in tech and keep odd hours or are working on a project.  I have taken sleeping pills before, but I  don’t like them. When I do use them I usually wake up groggy and out of sorts.  I use to have an alarm clock that had some various smoothing nature sounds and white noises and I really liked it. Unfortunately it got broken during a move and I couldn’t find a replacement for it that I liked and could afford, until now. What I found was an application that is available for both the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad it is White Noise Pro by TMsoft. . It has 40 ambient sounds, including those from nature, city noises, white noises and others. You can set it to play a single noise or combine noises together to create a mix. My favorite mix is a cat purring, fire, brown noise and a heartbeat. You can set it to play for a specific time period or to a specific hour. When it stops you can have it play an alarm, music from iTunes, or a different mix. You can have the alarm or music fade in from 10 seconds up to 5 minutes. One of my favorite aspects of this application is that when you hit sleep all you see is a digital clock, which you can dim to your liking.

I know  a lot of people who use this application not only for sleeping, but also while traveling on a plane or train to help relax. I have tried a couple of other similar applications, but White Noise is the best of them all in my mind and has everything I want. There is a lite version you can try for free. The pro version of White Noise is available for $2.99 in the iTunes store. For me this application is in my top ten must have applications for the iPhone or iPad.

MotionX GPS Drive

MotionX-Drive I had purchased the MotionX GPS Drive awhile back but hadn’t had a chance to use it until this past weekend. I was traveling to Northern Kentucky near Cincinnati, OH and area that I am not familiar with. I was looking at GPS products and I remembered I had MotionX- Drive and decided to give it a try. Before I left home I set it up to take me from my home to the Holiday Inn I was staying at. It worked great and brought me straight to the hotel. In fact, the one case when I thought it was taking me in the wrong direction, I double checked it using Google Map and sure enough it was right. The one time when I was not paying attention and went pass the entrance I was supposed to use MotionX GPS quickly recalculated my route and got me on to the highway.

It is really good at finding local restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations and grocery stores. You can also enter addresses from your contacts or Facebook with without ever leaving the application. iTunes is integrated into it so when the directions are no longer needed MotionX gets out-of-the-way and iTunes starts playing. You can also share your location and eta through email with your friends. The voice guidance is free for 30 days and can be renewed for a monthly or yearly basis with an in-app purchase. The monthly rate is $3.00. The yearly rate is $19.99. The monthly purchase doesn’t renew automatically, so you can pay for it as you need it. The newest update added free traffic update, more custom voices and the ability to share on Facebook.  The only negatives thing I can say about MotionX GPS Drive is it does use a lot of battery life, so make sure you have a car charger if you plan to be traveling a long way. I am really glad I purchased this app, it was well worth the 99 cents I paid for it. if you are looking for a GPS application I would highly recommend giving MotionX GPS Drive a try.

Watch the Videos Your Friends Share on Showyou


With the advent of Airplay for the Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and ipod Touch video applications are beginning to appear in the App Store that take advantage of it. Showyou is one of these apps. On the iPad Showyou takes the videos that the people you are following on Twitter and Facebook are sharing and presents them in a beautiful grid. The most current videos appear on the upper left hand side of the grid. You can have the grid show you just the videos from people that you are following on Twitter and Facebook, or just Showyou users or both. The size of the images in the grid are set randomly and have nothing to do with the importance of the video. On the iPhone and iPod Touch the video images appear as a list with the most current first. If you have Airplay you can then send the video to your Apple TV or to your Mac if you have Banana TV.

If someone likes or comments on a video of your’s that appears in Showyou then you will see a little red flag at the top of the application. The same flag will appear if you get a message back on a video you commented on.  If you see a image of a video you think you might like, you simply tap on it and it opens up. If you like a video you can heart it (like it) and send a comment to the poster. You an also share the video back your followers on Twitter and Facebook. This app reminds me a lot of Flipboard or Zite in terms of how it is set up and how well it is designed. This is an app that is worth downloading, especially if the people you follow post a lot of video. I’ve only had it for a day, but it is already my go to app for watching videos that are posted by the people I follow. Robert Scoble did a good interview with the founders for Building 43.

MLB.TV and MLB.com At Bat 11 are Back

MLB.comToday, April 1 is the second day of the baseball season and I was all set to watch the Red Sox on MLB.TV. I had paid the $119 for the premium subscription and had updated the MLB.TV app on the Roku . I fired up the Roku  and selected MLB.TV and then I selected the Red Sox vs Rangers. It started to connect and it was taking a long time to connect and I thought oh no, but finally it did connect. Unfortunately I then saw those words every MLB.TV user hates, “this game is blackout in your area.” I sat there and stared at it confuse, because I am in West Virginia, which is the home territory to neither of these teams. I checked the MLB.TV Web site under blackout and my home teams are Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburg Pirates. I disconnect the power from my Roku and reconnect it, nothing. Then I power down my Airport Extreme and restarted it up, still nothing. Finally I disconnected the cable and waited a couple of minutes and reconnected, no change it was still showing the Red Sox game blacked out. I decided to try the MLB.TV app on my iPad, so I paid the $14.95 and installed the app and fired it up and the Red Sox game came in clear as can be on the same network. I then tried to Googled the problem, I found a lot of complaints on various forums, but no solution other than to call MLB.TV, which I really wanted to avoid. The one thing I did notice was when I clicked on to look up your current IP Address click here it brought up my Airport Extreme ip address and not my external ip address. i knew that was where the problem was, I just wasn’t sure of the solution.

While writing this post I finally found the solution to the blackout problem. I decided for the heck of it to play the TwinsBlue Jays game directly from the MLB Web site and sure enough it said the game was blackout in my area. However it said we are unable to locate you please click here. I then had to enter my credit card information and my address once I did that the game came in well. I fired up my Roku and selected the same game and it played fine there too. I still haven’t figure why it was working fine on my iPad and nothing else, since everything was on the same network, oh well I guess that has to remain a mystery.

If you are a baseball fan and you live outside your favorite teams home territory like me I definitely think that MLB.TV is a must, whether you buy it month to month or a full subscription. I also think that the MLB.com At Bat 11 app on the iPhone or iPad is worth getting, although you probably don’t need both. You can also get MLB.com At Bat 11 on various Android devices. My understanding is that the Android device does video highlights and live pitch by pitch. However it doesn’t do full live game video, that is audio only. If you are going to be where you can watch games, then I would go for the iPad application. The games look really nice on the iPad, once its fully connected, although that can take a minute or so. I also love the Gameday simulation, if I am listening to a game and want to check where a pitch went or the stats of the pitcher or hitter. it is fun to be watching the game through the Roku and start pulling up the various stats both in-game and historical on the iPad.

The one thing I don’t like, besides the price and having to pay for the iPad application each season, is there is no sound when the commercials run, which is just weird. Again as I said before, if you are a baseball fan and live outside your favorite teams territory then I would recommend getting the subscription to MLB.TV and the app on the iPhone, iPad or your favorite Android device. If you live in the are where your favorite team is blacked out, I am not sure it is worth it. Before you purchase a subscription to MLB.TV I do recommend going to their site and checking to see if your favorite team is blacked out in your area. I do think that it is ironic that Major League Baseball, which is the oldest professional sport in the U.S. has embraced the on-line world, while the NFL is still stuck in the 20th century.

Pocket Cast a Podcast Alternative

I am a big consumer of podcasts I listen to them mostly on my iPhone , however I am not a big fan of the way iTunes handles podcasts. First it is slow to update, many times a Web site has a podcast available but it will not show in iTunes till the next day or even later.   Syncing takes forever and since I am usually running out the door it’s not a very good option. I usually end up sitting in my car outside my place downloading one on the iPhone, if I forget I am pretty much out of luck because you can’t download a podcast over 10 MB over 3G. So I have been looking for an alternative for awhile. I think I found it, Pocket Cast. Pocket Cast is a product of Shiftyjelly. I first heard about Pocket Cast while listening to the interview of one of the developers Russell Ivanovic on the 200th episode of the GSPN’s Podcast Answer Man. By the time they got to the middle of the interview I was trying to find the application in the iTunes App store.

When you first open the application up it will ask you if you want to import any podcast, I clicked yes and in a very short time all the podcast I had appeared on the screen in front of me. The icon’s of the podcasts appear in a grid, you can make the icons either large or small. You have the choice of three colors for the background, red, blue or orange.  There is a menu icon for any podcast notes. The number of un-played episodes of a podcast appear in the upper right hand corner of the podcast. All un-played podcast appear in the bottom dock. If you click on an individual podcast you have the choice of either downloading it or streaming it over Wifi or 3G. Unlike Itunes you can download any podcast no matter the size even over 3G. If you want to get a new podcast you can search by name, within popular podcasts or add by url. Once you choose your new podcast it will download the latest 2 episodes. Finish playing a podcast, hit the edit button and then delete.

ShiftyJelly keeps track on their servers of when a new episode is available. When a new episode is available it will download automatically. They appear much quicker then in Itunes. Episodes download in the background. so you can continue to read your email or play a game while they download. When you are playing a podcast if you click on the icon you can go forward 30 seconds or back 10 seconds. You can use the application with Airplay. The one problem I did run into was when I tried to add a premium podcast that required a user name and password it didn’t download. Other then that problem I really like the application and I am no longer subscribing through Itunes to get my podcast.


For some time now, when it came to desktop and laptop computer hardware, innovation has seemed to be somewhat stagnate. After all, what more can be done with word processing software? How can spreadsheets possibly be improved? How can the browsing experience be made better? Can email be made more effective or efficient?

Form impacts function, but function often defines form. The popular form of the day is the smartphone and the tablet, both popularized thanks to Steve Jobs and his team at Apple. Today’s smartphones have processors that are as powerful as desktop machines were five years ago. However, the smaller capacitive touch input screens as well as always-on Internet connections have ended up making possible convenience, ease-of-use and sheer simplicity paramount features. That new software design/interface aesthetic is now traveling back to it’s larger computer counterparts.

Some time back, I downloaded the App store on my Macs, but gave it no more than an initial cursory look and promptly forgot about its presence. This evening while waiting for some files to upload, I noticed the Mac App Store icon and decided to look it over again now that it’s been around for a while.

I must say, the Mac App Store pleasantly surprises me. I ended up downloading a few free apps. The Mac App Store browsing and download experience replicates the iPod/iPhone app store experience. The process couldn’t be easier. By putting all of these apps together in one coherent place it makes it much more likely I’ll end up finding software that (a) I might never have gone looking for in a search engine and (b) gives me a place to look for specific types of software when I might need it. While it’s by no means a complete list of all possible Mac software, it is a welcome addition that will likely spur additional future software development.

Can desktop/laptop operating systems become more useful? There is always room for improvement. Basic business software – word processing, spreadsheets, etc. likely cannot be improved beyond what they are. On the other hand, other computer functions such as photo editing, video editing, etc. likely still have dramatic gains that can be made, particularly as hardware speed and throughput continue to improve.