iPad Apps

Loopimal, Music, Animation, and Sequencing for Your Kids.

I came across this video this morning on Vimeo for Lucas Zanotto‘s game Loopimal and fell in love with the nice blend of simple animation, live action, and fun music. After watching the film, I jumped over to his website, then the appstore to check out the actual game. I know this was deigned for kids, but after getting Loopimal and spending some time with it, I’m kind of hooked. It’s actually a blast to play with and kind of addictive.

Loopimal is designed to be your child’s first entry into the world of computer sequencing. Using a series of animations which are linked to sound effects you create animation sequences for different animals. The game uses intuitive gestures, that create loops of rhythms, melodies and movements that are endless. This is so simple and so fun.

 

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WordPress Are You Listening? Fix Your iOS Experience.

I just spent 30 or so minutes composing a post using the WordPress App for iOS on my iPad. As I was wrapping up I began to insert images into the post only to have about half of them fail. Apparently the latest update to the app has broken the insert image feature. If you select more than two, it will fail to upload all of them to the WordPress servers. Along with this, the app no longer posts to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

I have been a WordPress user for six years now, and for the most part a huge fan. When working correctly it is a powerful content management tool, that is far more robust than Blogger, or SquareSpace in my opinion. Note that I said “When working correctly”. WordPress if you are listening, you need to take note of the following constructive criticism.

About a week ago WordPress updated its desktop authoring environment with a new simplified editor. As the screen takes what seems like days to load yu are greeted with the juvenile “Beep, beep, boop” phrase. If and when the page finally loads, there are far fewer options than the old editor, a confusing UI, and a slightly cleaner look. WordPress must know that they have issues, because in the upper right corner of the screen they have a link that takes you back to the classic editing environment, which I have done every day since they rolled out the new set up.  This isn’t such a big deal for me, well not a big deal until they get rid of the classic editor and force us to use the new one. At that point I’ll probably drop WordPress and move on. Yes that is how much I dislike it.

I chose WordPress because it was billed as a professional tool. Because 6 years ago and earlier it had recieved so much good press and reviews from people y that used it daily, and because even businesses were using it do to the robust tool set and depth of professional themes. The latest update feels like they have rolled it back to amature hour. I get ease of use. I get clean simple design. I get streamlined UI. What I don’t get, is “Beep, beep, boop” and the removal or hiding of tool sets.

Now lets talk iOS.

WordPress for the iPad is a joke. There is no other way to say it. It’s horrible. The app is so bad that with each new update they break something new. In the latest version they broke image uploads, social media hooks, spell check, categories, and more. They failed to fix the ability to embed video from Vimeo, or YouTube.  With each update the iOS app has remained unstable, buggy, and feature broken. With each update WordPress says it has done “Bug Fixes”, but with each apparent fix, they have introduced even more.

WordPress in Safari, or Chrome on iOS is no better. The pages do not load correctly, even when you “Request Desktop Site” in Chrome. The editor simply doesn’t load correctly. Simple things like scrolling, and selecting don’t work. Embedding images and video is difficult, and the overall experience is just goofed. Even simple acts like selecting a line of text don’t work well. It’s so bad that if I have to use my iPad, i now have a multi-step workflow that involves drafts, and multiple apps.

The first step is to write all the text out in the Pages and copy the text.

Step two, go to the WordPress app, create a new post and paste.

Step three, save the draft.

Step four go to Safari and open the draft.

Step five embed video and save the draft.

Step six, go back to WordPress, open the draft, embed any images one at a time.

Step seven, select the image tag, cut, go to the insert point I want the image to appear and paste. (Yes the iOS app doesn’t embed images at the place where your cursor is. It embeds everything at the bottom of the post. Another fix needed) Save the draft.

Step eight. Launch Chrome, and spell check. Save the draft.

Step nine launch Safari, open the draft, and publish.

WordPress are you listening. This is an excercise in frustration. You need to step it up and fix your product. Fix it, test it, and then roll it out. Right now it feels like your dev team is just throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks.

“Monument Valley”

The game Monument Valley from ustwo was officially released today for the iPad and iPhone. It is a surreal exploration through MC Escher like architecture and geometry featuring a beautiful princess that you navigate silently through the space. As you wander through the minimalist 3D world you discover hidden paths, unfolding staircases, optical illusions, and mysterious crow people. The game, has a really nice look to it, with semi flat graphic design applied to an isometric space. Described as “art” Monument Valley is a game of moving experiences that in many ways moves beyond the traditional gaming experiences.  It is immersive in the sense that you can easily get lost in the visual space and experience of playing the game itself.

“Every screen of Monument Valley has been carefully considered as graphic design, so that each one could be printed and framed. Players can enter ‘Camera Mode’ to zoom in and compose their own take on the artwork, which they can then save or share with friends.”

monument

 

“We’ve focused our attention on the design of game alongside a lot of user testing, and we really hope Monument Valley is what people are looking for right now – a premium game of the highest artistic quality offering players a satisfying journey from start to end.” Neil McFarland, director of games at ustwogames 

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MIXIMAL

YATATOY is the brain child of animator and designer . The games for the iPad and iPhone are designed to be smart, safe teaching tools for children. The latest, MIXIMAL is an entertaining game based on traditional children’s flip books. Filled with fun illustrations, analog sounds, and handcrafted animations, MIXIMAL features more than 48 animations, and 1000 animal combinations to help kids learn syllables and phonetic pronunciation. The video below shows how the game works. It looks pretty fun, and definitely entertaining for kids.

StopMo Pro and a Cool Animation About StopMo Pro.

The National Film Board of Canada is currently offering their StopMo Pro for iPad2 software for just 99 cents. If you have any inclination toward film making and or stop motion animation this is a no brainer. Seriously. The software is a killer, easy to use tool that produces great results. Now with that said, take a look at the stop motion animation below that was made with StopMo Pro for iPad2.

Ikea’s 2014 Augmented Reality Catalog.

Whoever is responsible for Ikea’s integrated marketing and digital initiatives deserves a raise. Every time I turn around, Ikea is launching another fun, useful, forward thinking app, website, or digital tool that connects directly to their shop/buy strategy.

The new 2014 catalog app allows you, the shopper, to see just how their furniture would look in your home. The augmented reality catalog works with your tablet or smartphone.

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All you have to do is place the catalog on the floor in the place you imagine the new piece of furniture sitting. Then, use the app to select the product that you’d like to see there. The ikea app places the image in the room with the correct perspective and scale.

It’s a great shopping tool, and an app that helps you know what you want before you go to the Ikea store or decide to buy online. Currently the selection of pieces is limited, but since the app is net connected, updates can happen on a regular basis. The video below, while a bit silly, shows the app in action and all the potential it has.

Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Goes Interactive.

How do you take a song that is almost 50 years old and breath new life into it? You create a compelling interactive experience that creates an entirely new way to experience it. Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” is just that. The interactive video can be found here, and if you install the dedicated app, you can get the full experience.

Produced by New York based VFX studio The Artery in conjunction with Israeli director Vania Heymann, the interactive video comprises the look of 16 interactive TV channels. It’s absolutely brilliant, and about a million times better than Dylan’s latest album release. This is actually quite addictive once you get into it.

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