It’s summer, so that must mean heat, humidity--and, in 2010--time for a new update to the Adobe suite of apps, including the flagship of the fleet, Photoshop. The CS5 iteration is a significant step forward, for reasons big and small, and overall, it’s one of the strongest upgrades in the 20 years that Photoshop has graced hard drives around the world.
If you’re a fan of buddy-cop movies, clichéd puns, and slapstick humor, you’ll feel right at home in Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse, Episode 1: The Penal Zone. It’s the first episode in a five-part adventure series, as the rather lengthy name suggests. In this first installment, the kooky pair of freelance investigators deals with some equally kooky characters, including the main villain, an alien named Skun’kape who lands on Earth in peace but clearly has an ulterior motive. It’s up to Sam and Max to find out the true reason for his arrival and banish him to another dimension.
Shazam was the original song-identifying app for iPhone, giving you the artist and title of nearly any studio recording within earshot, and the free iPad version offers the same kind of functionality. Hear an unknown, appealing song on the radio or in a commercial? Bust out your iPad, click the little blue icon, and let Shazam work its magic.
Last summer marked the 10th anniversary of InDesign, Adobe’s page-layout tool. While early versions of the program generated a buzz and built a solid user base, the pace of innovation slowed over the years, and some of the more recent updates have been less than sensational. Fortunately, that’s not the case with InDesign CS5, which has several cool new features for print publishers, some significant interface improvements, and an expanded set of tools for creating media-rich online publications.
There was a time when Premiere was the editing application on the Mac. Then Final Cut Pro and iMovie appeared. That prompted Avid to create consumer and prosumer versions of its expensive pro products, and Premiere quietly disappeared from the Mac landscape. But Adobe brought its video editor back a few versions ago, and this latest version is ready to do battle with Final Cut Pro--but it’s also charging too hard into the prosumer market.
iPad is the perfect device for keeping up with all of your favorite websites' updates via RSS feeds, and NewsRack is the first fully-featured reader to make an impact on the tablet. While some other readers offer more colorful or newspaper-like user interfaces, NewsRack keeps things clean and simple with easy to use touch commands in both portrait and landscape modes.
Considering the mobile web-browsing prowess of the iPad, apps that largely reinterpret existing websites must improve upon the original experience to warrant a download (or purchase). Wikipanion is luckily one of those apps -- much as it was on iPhone -- as the simple interface sorts through the Wikipedia database and presents entries in a very handy, easy-to-read format that skims out the filler.
These days, we all have way too much email to cope with. So when RSS readers make my news feeds look like emails, I find something else to do. That’s why Times impresses me so much. Thanks to its cleanly designed, gorgeous presentation and simple interface, it restores the pleasure of reading news in the way that only newspapers could previously provide.
The Brothers In Arms series is one of the greats in gaming--it stands out from the slew of generic shooters that trivialize World War II thanks to its perfectionist, respectful approach to historical accuracy and realistic squad combat. Which just makes this shoddy port all the more disappointing.