Technology Reviews – Geekshow http://www.geekshow.us Your hub for geek related podcasts. Home of GeekiNtertainment, The BuffCast, Two Geeks, True Believers, MeteorGEEK!, and the AngelCast. Fri, 08 Jul 2016 05:00:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 MacGeek – Spotlight: Simplify Media http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-simplify-media/ Sun, 26 Apr 2009 15:54:17 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=5028 Every song ever made all for $.99.

simplify media artistThis app allows streaming for all of your unprotected audio content directly to your iPhone or iPod Touch from your computer or up to 30 friends’ computer. The connection can be wifi, 3G or Edge for the iPhone and wifi for the iPod Touch. You’ll need a second piece of (free) software from Simplify Media for your computer where the audio content is stored, and it’s available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux. This is the software that actually streams the music. Best of all you can invite up to 30 friends to share music and have their entire music library at your fingertips. I have an iPhone 3G, iTunes, an iMac Core Duo, and it works flawlessly. I have tried it over wifi (best), 3G (better), & Edge (good) and have always been successful.

iTunes, Winamp, or Rhythmbox can be used as the music library application on the computer where the music is stored. Simplify also displays an artist bio page and lyrics for the currently playing song. Previously created playlists are also accessible. If you currently use last.fm, scrobbling is even available as an option.

simplify media listA couple of things that should be noted:

Your host computer must remain on in order to stream music; the music is streaming from the computer, not the iPhone.

DRM protected music (including protected songs purchased from the iTunes Store) cannot be streamed. Although, all of iTunes music is now DRM-free, but if it isn’t, here’s how to fix that.

Cover art must be embedded in the music file in order to be displayed; Simplify Media will not grab the cover art.

If a call comes in while listening to music, it does not save your place or return to the app. Not a big deal, but annoying.

Simplify Media is a great way to have access to your entire music library anywhere your iPhone or iPod Touch has connectivity.

It’s free to share music from computer to computer [download page] and it’s currently $.99 for the iPhone/iPod Touch [iTunes – link]. Software version 2.0 or above is requred for iPhone and iPod Touch.

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MacGeek – Spotlight: Photogene App http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-photogene-app/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-photogene-app/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2009 21:22:09 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4991 Like a mini Photoshop right on your iPhone. Pictures after the break.
photogene main
One of the great things about having an iPhone is taking pictures… Okay, so the camera is lacking, but with Photogene editing is a breeze.
When you open the app, you are give 4 options: take photo, edit new photo, continue last session, and information. The ability to take a photo directly from inside the app is nice, and the information button gives pretty detailed instructions on each feature.
photogene photo
Once a photo is selected, the main options are: Crop, Rotate, Filter, Color, Symbols, Frames, Undo/Redo and Save.
There is a LOT here, so you might want to have a look around.
Crop is nice and easy. Once selected, a rectangle with gridlines and dots at the four corners appears. The user can drag and re-size the crop box. The gridlines are a nice to use as a guideline. the user can also use predefined ratios to constrain the crop. Current ratios available are: 1:1, 3:4, 9:16, and 3:2.
photogene crop
Rotate not only lets you rotate the photo 360*, but also flip horizontally & vertically, and straighten.
photogene rotate
Filter does more than filter; it sharpens too. It also has an effects page. Available effects are sepia, night vision, and heatmap. Another filter is the pencil filter.

photogene filters
The Colors page is the most robust. from here you can adjust Color, Exposure, and RBG. The best part is that there is an ‘Auto’ option that automatically adjusts the photo to optimal levels. Remember the undo and redo are available for mess-ups.
photogene color
The Symbols page is the most fun. You can add text bubbles directly on the photo. Adjusting the size of the bubble is similar to the crop rectangle.  Just drag and drop the style of bubble you desire. there is a drop-down menu that let’s you choose: text color, bubble outline color, bubble background color, and font. Essentially, you could just choose clear on bubble outline and background and basically add text to a picture. Additional symbols are heart, arrow and encircle.
photogene text bubble
Frames are okay, but does not really add anything to the experience. Probably the Polaroid-style is my favorite.
photogene  frame
Once you are satisfied, you may save your photo. If you want to completely discard the photo and start on a new one, select the check-mark and choose ‘edit new photo’ and this will discard your current efforts and start you anew.
photogene final
This app is $2.99 and available here.
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MacGeek – 5 Best Free iPhone Apps http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-5-best-free-iphone-apps/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-5-best-free-iphone-apps/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2009 18:19:19 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4957 These are the 5 free apps that I use the most on a day to day basis…

First, let me say that I use these the most, but don’t confuse that with the best free apps ever made.

In no particular order:

TwitterFon

TweeterFon
Facebook is ubiquitous, but Twitter is catching up. President Obama even uses Twitter. This app is actually pretty slick. It easy to share ‘tweets’ or take pictures on the fly. You can even reply, direct message, or ‘ReTweet’ easily right inside the app. Updating your Twitter status has never been so easy. You can follow people (even celebrities)  or have followers. Follow me by going to twitter.com/palaemon. Get it here.

Speed Dial #1

Speed Dial 1

This app does one thing. One-touch dialing to whomever you want. It’s easy, simple and free. If you need more than one, there are
3 more. You guessed it: Speed Dial 2, Speed Dial 3, Speed Dial 4. As an added bonus, they are all different colors, so if numbers are not your thing, maybe colors will do it for you.  Get it here.

Vlingo

vlingo main page

A nifty little voice recognition app. Use your voice to call a friend, get directions, or search Google. Easy, accurate, and I have to say It’s a little fun. Check out our full review of Vlingo here. Get it here.

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire

RSS reader extraordinaire. This app is the way I catch up on my news, geeky or otherwise. You have to add your RSS feeds through newsgator.com, but you can delete right from the app. It has a built-in web-browser. This allows the user to not only view the basic feed info, but also see the article in its full glory. As an added bonus, there is an ‘open in safari’ button. Get it here.

Wikipanion

Wikipanion article

This is your basic Wikipedia app. Okay, so basic is totally an understatement. This is probably the most powerful Wiki app out there. The lengthy features include: bookmarking, lookup complete history, jump to topics, related links, move forward and backward through pages, search in page, adjust font size, email link, open in safari, look up in Wiktionary and landscape view. Whew! Get it here.

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MacGeek – Spotlight: BeejiveIM App http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-beejiveim-app/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-beejiveim-app/#comments Sat, 04 Apr 2009 01:45:31 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4758 Pronounced \bē-hīv\, this instant messaging app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is the most feature-rich IM client out there.
Instant messaging is just texting, but without the per-message cost. BeeJiveIM uses the iPhone data plan, so the per-message cost is $0.00.
BeeJiveIM buddy list
With BeejiveIM users can use wifi, 3G or Edge seamlessly and are able to connect to existing accounts including: AIM/MobileMe, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN/WindowsLive, MySpace IM, Yahoo!, and Facebook Chat; group chat is said to be added soon. Setting up your accounts is as easy as selecting the client and inputting your info.

This app is currently  $15.99, so it’s one of the more expensive social networking apps around for the iPhone/iPod touch. But for What you get it’s worth the $$. I know that sounds like a lot of money, but unlimited text messages is $20/month or $30/month for families.
BeeJiveIM accounts
Okay, so instant messaging is all about keeping connected and staying in touch, right? Well BeejiveIM does that in spades. Not only can you have accounts to all the services listed above, you can manage your availability individually. For example, I want to be available to my spouse on MobileMe, but not all my friends on MySpace IM, or Facebook Chat… Check!

Another great feature is the ability to send SMS to your friends who refuse or are unable (read: old phone) to use email or IM. Using either an AIM or Yahoo! account, I can send IMs as text messages. The recipient is sent a text asking them if they want to receive or decline the message, and after they accept, then you are okay to chat. They still get charged the text message rates, but you are free to chat without worry. In order to send a text message, you can either manually enter a phone number or select it from your address book.
BeeJiveIM typing
Okay, so we’ve talked about account set up and text messages. But what if the BeejiveIM app is closed? Everyone knows that 3rd party iPhone apps are not allowed to run in the back ground. Well, BeejiveIM has a nifty work-around: push email. In iPhone settings, choose BeejiveIM and turn on “push” and add your push-enabled email address.

If you already have a MobileMe account, then you are good to go. If not, get a free Yahoo! account. I used an old free Yahoo! account that I set up many years ago, but barely used and it work perfectly. Although, I have talked to people who have re-activated an old Yahoo! account and push just didn’t work. I have noticed that just setting up a new Yahoo! account just for BeejiveIM works well.
BeeJiveIM landscape
This feature works well with another great feature: BeejiveIM will keep you logged in to your IM services for up to 24 hours. As long as you open BeejiveIM once a day, you will essentially be connected forever. If the app is closed, and someone sends you a message, you will receive an email with not only the missed message, but a button that opens the BeejiveIM app so that a response can be made.

Let’s talk about features. Some of my favorites are:

Send/Receive Images/Voice notes through IM. Voice notes are done right in the app.
Send text/images as SMS/MMS to most carriers.
Easily switch between chats. Ability to shake iPhone to switch chats in BeeJiveIM.
Portrait or Landscape mode keyboard.
Push Notification.
Attachments available as a web link or in-line view.
Email chat log(s).
Buddy Icon support.
Growl-like display when typing.
Background wallpaper support.

BeeJiveIM chat

This interface is sleek and beautiful. It’s exactly what you’d expect in a top-notch (who uses top-notch these days?) iPhone app.
It’s available for $15.99 here.

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Spotlight – Shazam App http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/spotlight-shazam-app/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/spotlight-shazam-app/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2009 22:28:35 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4500 What’s that song on the radio? Shazam will tell you!
This award-winning free app listens to a portion of the song in question then miraculously tells you the who and what.

Shazam is simple and surprisingly accurate. It catalogs your requests as ‘tags.’ These tags are basically your Shazam history. Tags contain all the usual information: Artist, Song, Album and Cover Art. It also gives Artist bio, discography, the ability to take or attach a picture and a link the YouTube video (if available.)
You can sort tags by artist, date, or title. Just click Tag Now and Shazam ‘listens’ for 20 seconds.
It’s free and available here.shazam listening
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Spotlight – Bounce On App http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-bounce-on/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/technology/technology-reviews/macgeek-spotlight-bounce-on/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2009 07:06:41 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=4270 Welcome to another edition of a MacGeek iPhone game review. This week we review a fun new platformer from Team Phobic. Video after the jump.

bounce on 1
Bounce On is the story of a lonely little red ball looking for the pocket from which he fell out at the begining of the game.

The gameplay is simple and responsive.

The game uses 2 mechanics. Tapping anywhere on the screen makes the ball jump, and the longer you hold, the higher he jumps. The game also uses the accelerometer to move left and right.
bounce on 2
The goal is that of any other platformer: Stay alive and don’t get killed! To kill enemies, just jump on top. Sometimes enemies need multiple hops to be killed.
The graphics are clean and crisp, yet simple.
bounce on 3
The player gets checkpoints in the form of gold stars and is able to continue from that point if he dies. After each level statistics are given including a “beat by” time that offers the player an “acheivement-like” gold medal.
bounce on 5
The game is broken up into worlds and levels. The free “lite” version has 3 levels in a single world. The full version is on sale untill March 3rd when they plan to release the complete 3rd world.

A couple of things to note:

The game doesn’t have a manual, other than in-game explanations.

The main advantage of killing enemies is so if you come back to a previous place (ie you’re working your way up a level and you miss and fall back to a previous play), there wont be enemies there to kill you.

There’s a number of power ups:

High jump ball – Allows you to jump high because you fall slower.
Metal ball – Makes you invincible from enemies, but you can’t jump as high.
Magnet ball – Allows you to roll along magnet walls and ceilings.

Future updates will bring more levels and power-ups.

Free Lite version available here [iTunes link] and full version available here [iTunes link] for $1.99 until March 7th.

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JoikuSpot – Become a Mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot http://www.geekshow.us/content/articles/joikuspot-%e2%80%93-become-a-mobile-wi-fi-hotspot/ Sun, 01 Feb 2009 05:09:18 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=3492 Ever wanted to have your own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot? If you have a Nokia or Samsung phone then this piece of software may meet your needs.

A few months ago while reading a tech magazine I read a short review of a phone application called JoikuSpot. It boasted that it could use a phones inbuilt Wi-Fi and internet access to create a local Wi-Fi network that any user could access. I am a big user of the internet away my home network and I  have several devices that have Wi-Fi but need a network to access the internet. This software looked to be just what I needed.

The software is designed primarily for phones running the Symbian S60 3rd Edition operating system, which are typically most Nokia and some Samsung phones. It is available as a free basic version (with some limitations) or $20 for the Premium fully featured license. Ideally you need an unlimited 3G internet access package for your phone (or at least a good high monthly GB usage to avoid big bills). The software can be downloaded from the site or a link sent directly to your phone to allow you to download it directly.

JoikuSpot ScreenshotThe installation process is painless and once you open the application you can enter the Settings option to configure your own Wi-Fi hot spot. You can change the name from the default ‘JoikuSpot’ and set up encryption via the inbuilt WEP protocol (a must to avoid passing strangers swiping your bandwidth).

Once configured simply Start the application and select your Internet connection option and after a few moments your phone will magically become a Wi-Fi hotspot. As you connect devices to the hotspot, the MAC code & device ID will appear on the phones screen identifying what device is connected so you can monitor for any unlawful access.  A status tab will allow you to monitor how long you are connected and the amount of data transferred.

JoikuSpot ScreenshotI have so far used this with my macbook, windows laptop and my iPod Touch and all have connected without any issues and provided reliable, fast internet access. It has also proved useful to allow access to friends and family when travelling with multiple users all connecting and the software handling this without any issues.

The only downside I’ve found with the application is that it loves power. My battery life suffers terribly, with my Nokia N95 struggling to operate more than 90-120 minutes during high usage. Still, this is more than enough for accessing a few sites and keeping up to speed with the latest on Geekshow.us!

If you have the right kit and would like to try this you can find it here. I hope the developers are working on similar applications for other operating systems because this would be a neat feature for all phones to have.

GadgetGeek – Tech Reviews, News, and Future Views

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GadgetGeek – Release Your DVDs to the Mobile World http://www.geekshow.us/content/articles/gadgetgeek-release-your-dvds-to-the-mobile-world/ http://www.geekshow.us/content/articles/gadgetgeek-release-your-dvds-to-the-mobile-world/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2009 19:40:34 +0000 http://www.geekshow.us/?p=1863 Ever wanted to watch your favorite movie or TV show on the move? One excellent piece of software allows you to achieve this effortlessly and best of all its free!

Handbrake is a free open-source video conversion tool available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux. I stumbled onto this piece of software only a few months ago and I have found it excellent at producing first rate compact versions of some of my DVDs.

It is specifically designed to create MPEG-4 versions on DVDs, but will also complete conversions between a limited set of video codecs (e.g. MPEG to AVI).

Handrake Front

Using Handbrake couldn’t be simpler. Just insert your DVD and from the Handbrake main screen select the  VIDEO_TS folder of the DVD and Handbrake will scan for content and provide a list. The normal tricky part of trying to figure out what video and audio codec your device needs has been made easy by having a varied selection of devices to pick from. Selecting your device automatically sets up Handbrake for the optimum quality of video and audio for the output file. Hitting ‘Start’ kicks of the encoding and will dump the file to the place of your choice.

Handrake Load Screen

I’ve so far tried this on my iPod Touch and PSP and found that a 2 hour movie ends up around 1GB when encoded for my Touch. With 32GB to play with I’ve stuck several movies onto my iPod and have found them all very clear and easy to watch while sat on the train. I also have many more sat on my Mac and they still look pretty good on the full screen. Having a whole selection of films and TV shows on my Mac is great for traveling and also cuts down on battery consumption as there is no DVD drive to power.

Some of the devices included in the automatic settings include Apple TV, Xbox 360 and PS3, so you can also load these up for watching on your TV.

Buy an 8GB USB stick, load it up with 16 hrs of all your favorite movies and TV shows and you can watch them whenever you have access to a computer, PS3 or Xbox 360.

Please remember, using this software is for personal use only and not for selling on copies of all your DVDs!

Find the software here.

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