What it is: A simple puzzle platformer in which you play Jeremiah the Frog, a cheerful fellow trying to escape Satan’s curse by turning floor squares red and green with his hops — all to the music of brilliant indie rock outsider Daniel Johnston.
Why it’s cool: Didn’t you read the description? Ah, well. The play control is smooth and easy to pick up, the graphics are beautiful and cartoony, and the soundtrack is amazing. I’ve only been playing for five minutes, but I’ve already heard “Some Time Spent in Heaven.” Better still, Jeremiah is based on a mural Johnston painted in Austin, Texas, who cheerfully declares “Hi, How Are You?” to people on the campus of the University of Texas. But it’s a good game whether you know that or not.
Where to get it: On the App Store, of course. Link. It’s only 99 cents for a limited time.
What it is: Tab Toolkit is a sophisticated guitar practice and education app from Agile Partners, makers of the handy Guitar Toolkit app that came out in 2008. Tab Toolkit lets users read and listen to real-time guitar tablature files, scrolling through songs at the correct tempo, showing both traditional and tablature notation and superimposing fingering notation updated in real-time on a virtual fretboard or piano keyboard.
Why it’s cool: Tab Toolkit is an app for serious guitarists willing to invest $10 in something that will make tab charts come alive on the go. That said, the app is cool because it shows the user exactly where to finger guitar parts as a synthesized version of a song is playing in real time through the iPhone or iPod Touch speakers or headphones. Songs can be stopped and started, scrolled forward and back, and the sound output can be muted to allow users to concentrate on their own playing. The fretboard can even be flipped to accommodate left-handed players.
Tab files can be a bit of a rare beast to come by, with the most useful files optimized for Mac being those created and readable by GuitarPro software, which runs $59.
Online libraries such as GPro Tab offer free sharing of user-generated GuitarPro tabs, which can be a great way to get started in the rich world of online instrument practice and education. Tab Toolkit supports text files and PDF files as well, but the genius behind the app is best appreciated with a GuitarPro tab.
The app supports multitrack parts, so users can learn two different guitar parts to a song, for example, or the bass part, the keyboard part, or even the vocal. Tempos can be speeded up or slowed down, and getting tabs from a user’s computer on to the iPhone are a snap over a wireless network connection – from the web onto the phone they are just as easy using the embedded Safari browser.
This reviewer doesn’t have too many $10 apps on his iPhone, but as a musician, I can say without reservation that Agile Partners have created an incredibly useful, well-thought-out app that performs – so far – flawlessly.
Where to get it:Tab Toolkit went live in the iTunes App Store on Tuesday; it sells for $9.99
If you haven’t encountered Reevoo before, go and take a poke around it now. It’s a UK-oriented customer reviews site that’s managed to aggregate an impressively large database of real comments from real people about real products.
And the iPhone version of the site is incredibly useful when you’re out at the shops trying to track down the best product at the best price.
What it is: Developed by the creators of the excellent photo/slideshow sharing app 12 Seconds, which was among the first iPhone apps to support shared audiovisual messaging, 12mail is the first app to fully support streaming video messaging.
Why it’s cool: 12mail features full integration with Facebook and Twitter, allowing users to instantly populate the app with contact information for their friends on the the two most popular social media platforms in use today. The app breaks contacts into Everyone and Favorites groups, making it easy to find those in heaviest rotation, and has an option allowing public posts to a user’s Twitter page or Facebook wall.
Compiling videos stored on a user’s phone or recording new video is dead easy, and most brilliant of all, the app only uses the first 12 seconds of any video users choose, keeping messages small enough to send and receive painlessly even over a slow Edge connection. The app uses push notification and features the ability to annotate with text titles and geotags.
All video streams from servers at 12seconds.tv, which avoids use of limited storage on a user’s device and allows people without the app to receive and even initiate 12mail video messages of their own.
Snow Leopard’s revitalised Services menu is probably my favorite improvement among the many included in the upgrade.
At long last, the user has been given total control over Services. We can choose whether or not they are used, we can assign keyboard shortcuts that suit us, and we can create entirely new Services using Automator.
The crucial difference between Services in Leopard and Services in Snow Leopard is context.
What it is: The developers at Jump Associates – creators of the highly regarded iPhone photo application Pix Remix – have created a free version of the app, called Pix Remix Lite, that blows the doors off of any free photo manipulation software on the App Store.
Why it’s cool:Back in July, we wrote about Pix Remix, the very cool photo transformation application that allows users to easily combine a group of photos with captions into an animated collage or documentary-style narrative show within minutes – and share with friends and family easily via email or posting to Facebook and Twitter.
The free Pix Remix Lite has all the basic features of the highly acclaimed original software, plus some new features that have also been incorporated into an updated version of the 99¢ paid version, making Pix Remix a must-have tool for anyone who likes to share photos from their iPhone.
New features available in both versions let users remix shows others have sent to them, upload photos to a Facebook gallery while posting a show, and embed shows in any blog or webpage.
The paid version of Pix Remix now also lets users save shows locally on their device, export a collage as a high-res JPG (up to 1024×682), and use Copy and Paste to add photos to a show. Users can also save individual photos from a show (one they have created or one they have received) to the iPhone’s Photo Library, allowing for easy syncing with a computer.
Pix Remix Lite limits collages and shows to 5 images, while the paid version supports up to 10 images in a single collage or show.