The physics-based iPhone game, like Tiggers, is made for bouncing.
Enigmo salutes those who "fix" ceiling leaks by placing a bucket underneath, making this mechanic into a game. A faucet drips a steady stream, and a vase waits some distance away, often obstructed by walls and other blockades. You’ll have to route the water to its goal by bouncing it off drums and other objects. Originally released on the Mac, Enigmo works well on the iPhone and iPod touch; you just drag parts to reposition them. We usually enjoyed the game’s pace and challenge, but an inconsistent difficulty progression and a lack of a tutorial keep Enigmo from fully riding its wave of potential.
New software company, Publisher X, has targeted the iPhone and iPod touch in launching its first five games through the App Store. A pinball game, a puzzler, and three casino titles are available now at a price range between $4.99 and $9.99.
Zen Pinball: Rollercoaster brings a pinball table to the iPhone. 3D graphics show the action, while finger taps to any of the four corners launch the left or right flippers. An optional tilt mode even lets players nudge the table by twisting the iPod. In our initial experience with the game, the action felt fluid, resembling a physical table. Zen Pinball: Rollercoaster costs $4.99.
Digital video recorders that connect to a TV rely on a hardware-and-software combination to capture and play shows—Mac DVR solutions are no different. Tuner hardware turns airborne signals or a cable feed into something the computer understands, but it’s the software that drives the user experience. Elgato’s EyeTV 3 app is designed to work with any of the company’s TV tuners, but it also supports hardware from a dozen companies, including some that only offer PC devices. The application presents the video window, allows browsing through a channel guide, lets you make basic edits to recorded shows, and more. While its interface could be improved, most of its functionality is intuitive, wringing every last feature out of your TV tuner hardware.
Sorenson Media’s Squeeze compresses video into file sizes aimed for the Internet, digital media devices, or DVD, and in formats such as QuickTime, Flash Video, and Windows Media. Essentially, there’s no flavor of video it can’t create.
Need to catch your little sister borrowing your Members Only jacket? Do you suspect your cat of having cocktail parties while you’re at work? If you’ve got an iSight or other Mac-compatible webcam, Periscope can be your eyes and ears while you’re away from your Mac, capturing images like a security camera would and providing multiple options for sending the pictures to yourself. Just be wary of the manual, which is deceptive.
While no one would dispute that we live in the era of digital photography, the fact is that there’s an entire history of film that simply refuses to ride off into the sunset. If you grew up in a darkroom—like this reviewer—you’ll remember the smell of the chemicals, the intricacies of the different brands of film, the subtleties of Tri-X film, the tricky process of “pushing” film beyond its ASA rating, and all the art that surrounded those smelly strips of celluloid. Alien Skin, in its quest to cook up unique Photoshop plug-ins, has essentially condensed the history of film into Exposure 2, a wonderfully capable and sublime tool for emulating a vast range of film stocks and looks.
Time Machine, Time Capsule, and the proliferation of affordable and large-capacity external drives have finally gotten it through the general population’s heads that backing up your data is important. After all, every Mac has a hard drive, and every hard drive will one day go belly-up, so you might as well be prepared. But besides backing up data, it’s smart to keep your hard drive in tip-top shape with regular maintenance, and that’s where Drive Genius 2 comes in.
Instant Filters: This Zoom effect takes time to render in Photoshop, but happens instantly in Pixelmator, thanks to Core Image. Apple loads iPhoto ’08 as standard issue onto every Mac sold, and while the app makes sharing and organizing photos a super-cinch, iPhoto doesn’t offer much of the power of Apple’s real-time Core Image technology. So is there room for a Core Image–savvy contender in the sub-$100 category of image editors? Pixelmator seems to think so. The Pixelmator app offers a $59 alternative to Photoshop. While we love the real-time filter effects, there’s a quite a bit that does not thrill us with this initial offering.