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Ball Invasion for iPad2: Find & Shoot Virtual Balls in the Real World

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Here’s an interesting Augmented Reality (AR) app that is only for the iPad 2.

Ball Invasion for the iPad2

The app makes use of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology developed at NASA. It builds 3D maps of the world seen through the iPad 2′s camera and requires the proceesing power of the iPad 2′s dual core A5 processor. The SLAM technology provides tracking for the game’s AR that does not require the special markers needed by most AR apps.

The object of the game is to shoot the virtual balls “hiding” in the real world view. You can get an idea of how this works in the video embedded below.

The developers note that the app requires a lot of the iPad 2′s resources and that you may need to perform a soft reset in order to make sure the app has as much of the system’s resources as possible.

The app is currently available $1.99. This introductory price is half of its normal $3.99.


Video courtesy of 13thlab

LEGO Photo for iPhone Turns Photos Into LEGO Mosaics

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I’ve been a huge fan of LEGO products since childhood. So, I was excited to learn about this free iPhone app produced by The LEGO Group.

LEGO Photo

The app can work with either a photo from an iPhone’s photo album or a photograph taken by the app itself. It transforms the photo in what a mosaic built out of LEGO pieces would look like. Unfortunately, it appears to only detect shape and relatively brightness levels. It does not attempt to deal with color. Tapping the screen after the first mosaic is created switches to a series of color palettes. However, since color is not matched, the resulting image is hit or miss.

I found that selecting a palette with a smaller number of colors (monochromatic shades) worked best for me. It also helps to choose photographs with large easy to recognize main shapes. The app has a lot of promise but needs to deal more effectively with color in the photo to create a better end result.

Evernote Peek for iPad 2 Uses the Smartcover as a Study Accessory

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Evernote has turned the great iPad 2 Smartcover accessory into an app accessory with its new free app.

Evernote Peek (iTunes App Store)

Evernote Peek lets you create study notes that can also serve as a self-test system. It places a question or problem at the bottom of the iPad’s display (landscape orientation) that is revealed by pushing the first Smartcover fold up. More information is revealed with each fold segment that is moved off of the iPad 2′s screen.

It is one of those simple but great ideas and, to my knowledge, the first one that makes active use of the iPad 2 Smartcover.


Video courtesy of EvernoteAndrew

Big Brother Camera Security: Take Photos of People Messing With Your iPhone 4

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Here’s a clever free app for the iPhone that is very interesting despite a big hole that the developer points out himself.

Big Brother Camera Security

The app uses the front facing camera of an iPhone 4, 4th generation iPod touch or iPad 2 to take a photo of the person holding the device when a passcode is entered. This happens whether the code is entered correctly or not. An email is sent with geo-location information and a photo of the person who used the app.

The hole in the system is lock code only locks the app and not the entire iOS device. Tapping the device’s select button bounces out of the app. However, the app takes a photo on its way out and sends that information to the owner via email. The bigger hole is that you need to remember to leave the app running in order for it to do its work. Putting these two issues aside, the app’s price is right: Free. And, I hope Apple considers integrating some of its features as part of its own lock screen and Mobile Me Find My iPhone service.


Video courtesy of danielamitay

Mini-review “My iPad 2″ Book: A Book to Buy for Your iPad Newbie Friends & Family

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Gary Rosenzweig updated his iPad book to cover the iPad 2. Here’s my quick take of this 400 (paper) page book.

My iPad 2 (covers iOS 4.3), 2nd Edition

My iPad 2 provides simple to understand step-by-step instructions for working with every aspect of an iPad 2 as shipped from Apple. The full-color screenshots with easy to see and read pointers makes it easy to find objects on the screen that need to be tapped, swiped or typed in. The level of detail in the book is amazing. The only small error I found is in the section about activiting 3G service for AT&T. It still refers to the unlimited 3G data plan that AT&T discontinued as an option for new iPad 3G service requests.

I’m very impressed by both the completeness and the level of detail provided in each operational description in the book. This is one of those books that you probably wouldn’t buy for yourself but will buy to give to someone brand new to using an iPad 2 (or even the older original iPad). The book lists for $24.99 but is available for $16.32 in Amazon for the paper edition and $9.99 for the Kindle ebook edition. Que also provide a watermarked PDF DRM-free ebook for $17.99. Ironically, I did not find the book in Apple’s own iBooks store.

Finally, a shout out and thank you to the book’s publisher Pearson Educaion/QUE who provided a review copy of the book in an ebook format. This not only got the book to me while I was actually thinking about it but also let me “carry” the book in my iPad so I could read it as time allowed and while on the move. I wish all publishers would provide ebook review copies to get them to reviewers in a more timely manner, a more convenient format and with a smaller carbon footprint.

iPad Smashed by Baseball Bat Video Earns Two Million Views

Simply titled “Brand new Ipad 2 getting smashed by a baseball bat,” the video embedded above has earned more than 2,002,600 views on YouTube.

UPDATE: This video was deceptively titled. It is actually an iPad 1 being smashed with a misleading video label.

Every time a new iPhone or iPad gets released, somebody videotapes themselves destroying it. Why are we fascinated by the destruction of expensive electronics?

It is a controversial video–earning more than 4,450 “likes” and 7,500 “dislikes” on the video network. In the highest rated comment on the video, one YouTube viewer wrote: “And we wonder why the rest of the world hates America.”