Free App Alert: Memory Mania

JVacation’s over for another year. So to cheer up all the kids who just started back at school, we’re now giving away MemoryMania completely free! This is a limited period giveaway offer.

MemoryMania is the biggest memory match game for kids in the AppStore. In MemoryMania users find 20 different sets of cards to choose from, and each set contains 15 different pictures. That’s 300 pictures – no other memory match game can compare with MemoryMania!

There are two game modes – a classic memory match, where you look for pairs of cards, or a hide-and-seek game, where you try to remember where the picture is and uncover it.
MemoryMania users love the 2 different game modes, the large choice of cards and the cute design that’s just perfect for kids.

Here’s a link to see a video of the app. And if you’d like to read more about the app, you can do so on the developer’s website.

Memory Mania: FREE*


*Price at time of this writing

Lola’s Alphabet Train – iPhone Game

WClick here if you’d like to see a video of the game.

Lola’s Alphabet Train: $1.99*


Lola’s Alphabet Train is also available for the iPad:
Lola’s Alphabet Train HD: $2.99*


*price at time of this writing.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of these apps for review purposes

The Big Brag and Yertle the Turtle – ebooks for the iPhone and iPad

Oceanhouse Media has recently released the next set of Dr. Seuss books as universal apps that work both on the iPhone and iPad. I’ve already expressed my love of Dr. Seuss books, so once again I’m thrilled to see the collection continue to expand. The Big Brag and Yertle the Turtle feature the ability to read the story yourself, have the story read to you (manually turning the pages), or auto play (pages turn automatically). Sound effects can be turned on or off.

In case you’re not familiar with these titles: in The Big Brag, a rabbit thinks outloud to himself about he thinks he’s the best animal of all, at which point a bear listening nearby disagrees with him and boasts that he is the best of all animals. So they put their skills to test against each other, the rabbit trying to hear as far away as possible, the bear trying to smell as far away as possible. They are then interrupted by a worm who says he can see so far, he sees around the world and back again to two fools who have nothing better to do than argue who is better than the other.

In Yertle the Turtle, Yertle is king of his pond, and all he can see, but he is greedy and wants to be king of more – to do so he needs to see more. So he orders his poor loyal turtle subjects to come and make his thrown higher and higher. They obey, but one turtle complains that it isn’t fair. Yertle ignores his pleas and continues to order more and still more turtles over so he can sit on them. Finally the complaining turtle sneezes and makes the huge turtle tower crumble to the ground, sending Yertle into the mud and freeing all the turtles.

I think you’ll love these stories as much as my kids and I do. Zach happily listens to the stories over and over again.

The Big Brag: $1.99*

Yertle the Turtle: $3.99*

*price at time of this writing
Disclosure: I received a free copy of these apps for review purposes

Highlights My First Hidden Pictures – iPhone Kids Game

IHighlights Magazine falls into that category. Of course, one of the best parts to the magazine was always the hidden pictures game. This game is now available on the iPhone with Highlights My First Hidden Pictures. The game is every bit of fun on the iPhone as it was in print, but with more bells and whistles. The pictures are in color – when you find an item, simply touch it and it’s marked as found. You can zoom into or out of the picture.

The game comes with 8 puzzles, and if you register, you get 2 bonus puzzles. More puzzles are available for purchase as an in-app purchase. One thing I really liked that they did was explain how to TURN OFF the ability to purchase items from within an application so if you don’t want this ability freely available to your child, it’s pretty easy to enable and disable.

When I played the game, the pictures were fairly easy to find – although I did struggle on a few. Zach also liked the game and found a few right away, but seemed to struggle on some of the items as well. I would have assumed that the game would have been easier than it was given it’s title, but I still thought it was well done. Also, features like the “hint” button help reduce any frustration a child might have from not finding the item more easily by zooming in closer and closer to the item, each time you lick the “hint” button, to help you find it.

The game is available for both iPhone and iPad (however, and iPad Optimized version is still in the works). Additional puzzle packs cost as little as $0.99. To see a video of the game click here.

Highlights My First Hidden Pictures: $1.99*


*Price at time of this writing.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.

AutoStitch Panorama vs. Pano – iPhone Panorama Apps Review

A previous post about the You Gotta See This! app – I went looking to see what other types of panorama apps there are out there. I had bought one several months ago called Pano – but the favorite it seems, as far as I can tell from posts I was finding online, is another one called AutoStitch Panorama.

I was impressed with a few of the AutoStitch Panorama features – namely the fact that you can just take as many photos as you want, using the regular iPhone camera. You don’t have to take them in any particular order – just shoot away (but try to get a 30% overlap). And you can crop the photo yourself at the end.

However, despite the rave reviews the app was getting – I was not impressed with it’s stitching results. I tried several times to be as careful as possible about the photos I was taking, making sure the phone was the one rotating, not me – making sure the photos were well in focus, angles were consistent, etc. – and yet in just about every panorama I took, there were way too many “bad overlaps” and a lot of ghosting for my satisfaction. This was especially noticeable if there was a definitive structure line in the picture (like a post etc.)

However, the application I had bought those many months ago – still created the best looking panoramas. But where Pano fails, is what I liked about AutoStitch; with Pano, you do have to take the pictures in a particular order, and in fact, you have to take it in a particular direction too – left to right (I can’t find anywhere a way to change this). Also – you’re restricted to taking the pictures going in one straight line, if you want to add more “height” to the panorama, you can’t. But in the end – the panorama you get, is very clean – with minimal oddities in the overlap. When you’re taking the pictures – it shows you a shadow of the edge of the late photo you took, so you can be sure to get the right amount of overlap and help line things up. (However, this isn’t very useful if the scenery is somewhat repetitive) :)

But the proof is in the pictures. Take a look below. Same scene – two different Panorama apps:

First by AutoStitch Panorama:

(right click – and open link in new window or tab to see the closeup. The “lightbox” thing doesn’t do so well with how wide these are…)

Might be easier to see the details on VR rotator (You’ll be able to zoom in/out in the VR rotator thing)

Second by Pano:

(right click – and open link in new window or tab to see the closeup.)

And again the VR rotator.

I think the difference is really clear. You can see I was able to get more height on AutoStitch, but the ghosting was ugly. Pano’s panorama was beautiful – but limited.

Again, this is why I think that there is in fact room for one more panorama app despite You Gotta See This!‘s claim that “there are already plenty of panorama apps.” I think making use of the gyroscope in the phone is an excellent way to improve on what’s already been done. (And actually on a slight tangent – with the gyroscope in the phone; WHY oh WHY!???! is there no “stabilizer” in the iPhone camera? In this day and age – all digital cameras have stabilizers so that you don’t have to hold your breath and hand very very still so you don’t shake the camera. And yet the iPhone camera lacks a stabilizer. Really?? I hope we don’t have to wait as long as we did for “copy/cut/paste” to get camera stabilization. Seems to me, with the gyroscope in there, it should just be a matter of software. What good is that great camera on the iPhone if every photo I take is blurry???) =steps off soapbox=

AutoStitch Panorama: $2.99*

Pano: $2.99*

*price at time of this writing.

Updated to Add: I just recently made another panorama using Pano – I still think this app does a much better job than AutoStitch – but just to prove it’s not totally perfect -you’ll see in this most recent one – a small oddity to the right of the picture where the trees and grass are duplicated. It didn’t get the overlap perfect at the end there – but still pretty good. Also – This time I used the app in portrait mode, rather than landscape to get as much height as I could. It’s a smaller area (only about 90degrees rotation). Here it is.