Review of “Flames over Norway”

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“Flames over Norway” eBook was published in 2016 (April, the paper version was first published in 1996) and was written by Robert Jackson. Mr. Jackson has written several books, both Fiction and Non-Fiction, on World War II, with a focus on aircraft of the era.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in England and Norway just prior to and during during World War II. The primary character is British Flying Officer Ken Armstrong.

Armstrong is one of those few very brave pilots who flew unarmed aircraft over occupied Europe and even Germany itself to get ariel reconnaissance film of enemy installations and ship movements. The story recounts Armstrong’s encounter and escape from German aircraft. It also tells of his participation in the British military intervention in Norway after the Germans invaded during the spring of 1940.

This is the third of Mr. Jackson’s novels that I have read. They are relatively short, but I enjoyed the 4.5 hours I spent reading this 152 page novel. I found it an interesting coincidence that I had recently viewed a short video of an American who flew unarmed Spitfires on air reconnaissance missions during World War II. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

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Robot News #3 – Robots at Home, Job Loss Ahead and Robots Poor Waiters

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There continues to be a lot in the news regarding robots.

Bringing Robots into the Home

The article “Let’s Bring Rosie Home: 5 Challenges We Need to Solve for Home Robots” is a few months old now, but it brings out some good points. In the decades following the industrial revolution many mechanical devices found their way into the home to make life simpler. The question now is what do we need to overcome to bring the robots seen in TV/Movies into our homes as well. The short list is:

  1. Better Machine-human interfaces are needed
  2. Sensors need to get cheaper
  3. Robots need to grip items
  4. Robots need to handle unanticipated objects
  5. Robots need to navigate through unknown environments

 

Jobs Will be Lost to Machine During Next Administration

Martin Ford (an author, futurist, software developer and entrepreneur) wrote an open letter to the US president entitled “This isn’t crying wolf: Machines will take white-collar jobs during the next administration“. In his letter he raises several issues I have mentioned previously: AI and automation is advancing and jobs are being lost to automation.

If a sufficient number of jobs are lost, then a “guaranteed basic income for all Americans” may be needed. The government needs to start planning on how to handle this threat now.

Robots not Ideal Waitstaff

You would think replacing people with robots would be ideal for restraunts. A couple of restaurants in China have found that to be woefully incorrect. According to the article “Hiring a robot waiter can cost you your business“, expensive robots which replaced the waitstaff were unable to take orders, deliver food or pour customers water. Both restaurants were forced to close.

Maybe the time isn’t quite right yet, but before too long I can see using robotic wait staff, even cooks, as being possible. The larger question is when will automation be less expensive than hiring humans?

 

 

Review of “The House of Daniel”

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“The House of Daniel” eBook was published in 2016 (April) and was written by Harry Turtledove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove). Mr. Turtledove has authored more than 100 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ as there are a few scenes of violence. This novel is set in the mid 30s at the height of the depression in a world similar to ours, but different in that it contains magic, vampires and zombies. The main character is Jack Spivey a semi-pro baseball player from Enid, OK.

Spivey mostly relies on his baseball for enough cash to get by on. He reluctantly takes a job for the local crime boss. When he shows up at the door of someone he is to rough up, he is surprised to find that it is a young woman. Unable to hurt her, he tells her to get out of town.

Knowing that the boss will take out his displeasure on him, Spivey is able to find a position on the traveling House of Daniel semi-pro baseball team and leaves Enid. He isn’t the best ball player, but is able to hold his own with the team. They travel across the southwest playing many games and winning most.

Along the way Spivey sees first hand a lot of people worse off than he had been in Enid. He is confronted with racism when he plays against, then with black and hispanic ball players. Along the way the team competes in an important baseball tournament in Denver and is caught up in a zombie uprising.

I spent about 11.5 hours with this 333 page novel. Certainly this book talks a lot about baseball, particularly as it existed in the 1930s. I enjoyed the fact that I have been to many of the small towns that are mentioned in the story. I guess it could be considered a Fantasy because of the magical characters, but they really only played a small part in the story. Likewise, it could be an Alternate History, which is much of what Turtledove writes now. I am not much of a baseball fan, but I did find this book interesting. There was a bit of excitement, but mostly it was just an interesting story of life in the 30s. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Review of “Outer Domain”

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“Outer Domain” eBook was published in 2012 and was written by Terrence Thomas. This is Mr. Thomas’ first novel.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘G’ from the part that I read. I like Science Fiction. I, sadly, could not get into this particular Science Fiction novel. After reading a little over an hour and finishing 25% of the book, I had to call a Rule of 50 on it.

What little I read of the book I felt that the characters were under developed, the dialog was simplistic and the plot poorly developed. I got the impression that it was a quick first-pass at a novel that needed much follow up polishing. I give this novel a 1 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Free iOS, tvOS and OS X Software 4/16

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I have been maintaining a list of free software for iOS, tvOS and OS X. You may find some of these programs of interest. Those titles which are NOT games are marked by “***” at the beginning of the description. I have also attempted to mark which Apple OS the title is targeted at (iOS, OS X, tvOS).

This is NOT a curated list. All I know about these titles is what you see below. None have been tried or tested.

April 2016

  1. *** iOS – Karolina Demianczuk, a 21-year-old student, aims to move Millennials out of the digital world. Her App, ‘Spontime’, helps to make spontaneous plans with friends and enjoy more time together in real life. Although Spontime is not out yet, college students massively sign up for its pre-release version and Angel Investors top their bids, valuing the startup at $3 million. Spontime will be available for free on the App Store and Google Play Store. Sign up at the Spontime website to be the first one to get Spontime when it’s out. Spontime
  2. iOS – Brainvire has come up with new upgraded version of Crazy Wheel 1.2, their mobile game application. The current version has more than 40k downloads and 3700 positive reviews across the world, and the number is increasing day by day. We are happy with these numbers and want to share our feelings globally.  Crazy Wheel 1.2 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store.  Download from iTunes
  3. *** iOS – Chillax Corp today is proud to announce the release of AidMaid 4.1, a maintenance update to their popular lifestyle app for iPhone. AidMaid aims to make any community a safer place to live in. The app enhances personal safety and enforces values of community service, caring, helping, and becoming a watchdog all for the sake of personal safety. Version 4.1 adds more rewards, minor bug fixes and improvements to the app. AidMaid 4.1 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Lifestyle category. Download from iTunes
  4. *** OS X – Eltima Software has recently released a new version of its widely popular Elmedia Player for Mac – version 6.5. The biggest update is it supports AirPlay now. This means you can stream music and videos from any AirPlay device (Mac, iOS, Android devices) to player or you can go the other direction by streaming content from a Mac with Elmedia installed to another Mac with Elmedia or any other AirPlay app. Multiple handy options for excellent video files playback were added to new version of Elmedia Player too. Free version available  There is also a PRO version of Elmedia Player, which costs $19.95 and offers more possibilities
  5. iOS – Perfectrix Technologies today is pleased to announce the release of Arrow Fire 1.0, a high quality tap-to-shoot strategy game developed for iOS and Android devices. Arrow Fire is a skill based archery game that everyone from children to grown-ups will be able to enjoy. Arrow Fire 1.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  6. iOS – Worldwide fans of Ovilex Soft’s astonishingly realistic and massively entertaining 3D driving simulator apps, including Bus Simulator 3D, Truck Driver 3D, Train Driver 15, and several more, can now feast their senses on the latest and arguably the greatest addition to the roster: Driving School 2016. Driving School 2016 (v1.0) is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  7. iOS – Designed by the word-obsessed developers at BigBelly Productions, Trivia Search is a brand new addictive word game with an exciting twist. The game challenges you to find the hidden word using hints and clues provided within each trivial type question. Unlike any other word-based app on the market, Trivia Search combines the interest of quiz questions with the challenging aspects of a word game to create a truly unique and stimulating smartphone and tablet experience. Trivia Search 1.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  8. iOS – Light Pillar today is proud to announce the immediate availability Scribo – Head to Head Word Challenge 1.0, their latest word-spelling game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Scribo(TM) adds some devilishly addictive twists to this all popular genre! 2 friends compete with the same set of 19 random letters with only 48 seconds to spell as many words as they can! Now rinse and repeat over 3 frantic rounds of word-blindness, hair-pulling mayhem and you have the most addictive word game on the block. Scribo(TM) 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games/Word category. Download from iTunes
  9. *** iOS – People heading out on a cruise vacation, regardless of whether it’s their first trip on the open water, or their 100th nautical voyage, should make sure that they pack the new ultimate cruise companion app: Cruise Commander. Developed by Valentin Sandu and available at no cost from the App Store, Cruise Commander has been specifically designed to make any cruise experience easier, more enjoyable, and more memorable. Cruise Commander 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Travel category. Download from iTunes
  10. iOS – Mobile games publisher, LITE Games today is thrilled to announce the release of Daily Chess Puzzle 1.3.2 for iOS and Android, the first two-step chess puzzle app in cooperation with Germany’s leading puzzle creator, Stefan Heine. Historically, chess puzzles go back to the Middle Ages and have been solved by countless chess players around the world since that time. The objective in a chess puzzle is to checkmate the black king in two moves. As of today, chess players no longer have to rely on newspapers for chess puzzles, but instead can solve new chess problems every day with the mobile app, no matter where they are. Daily Chess Puzzle 1.3.2 can be played entirely for free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  11. *** iOS – Taha Consulting today is very pleased to announce the release of NutriGuide 1.3, a nutrition information app developed for iOS and Android devices. NutriGuide helps users to interpret food labels while shopping food products especially if they prefer Vegetarian, Kosher or Halal diet, want to avoid GMOs, and more. The app can filter out 8 most common allergies and aid in controlling long term health conditions by setting thresholds on intake of sugar, sodium and fat. Users set their preferences & triggers, scan the label, and get instant results based on product’s ingredients. NutriGuide 1.3 is currently available for free, for both iOS and Android through the iTunes and Google Play store in the food and drink and Health & Fitness category. Download from iTunes
  12. iOS – Developer Ashley Burnett is proud to announce the release of Type In Time 2.2, an important update to his challenging game for iOS and Android devices. Developed when he was 16 and released when he was just 17, Type In Time is a challenging mobile game by teenager Ashley Burnett. The aim of the game is simple – you have just one second to type the three letter word that appears. The game pulls a random word from a list of 600 three lettered words and displays that word to the user. The user then has to type that word within one second or they lose the game. If they do type the word within one second, their score goes up and they are then presented with another word to “type in time”. Type In Time 2.2 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  13. *** iOS – Veleza is proud to announce the release of Veleza 1.5.9, an important update to their mobile beauty app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The Veleza mobile app enables a community of beauty lovers to get and offer unbiased advice, as well as help members discover products best matching their skin type and personal needs. Veleza 1.5.9 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Lifestyle category. Download from iTunes
  14. *** iOS – Lucky Clan today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Top Camera 2 1.7, its new photo/video app developed for iOS. Top Camera is back! Here is the 2nd version of award winning photo/video camera/editor app for iOS. What’s changed? Just everything. Here is the most advanced photo/video camera with unified photo/video editor. Top Camera 2 1.7 is free for a limited time. Normal price is $4.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category. Download from iTunes
  15. *** iOS – KeepSolid, a security and productivity apps developer, is proud to announce the release of Free VPN 1.0 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch devices. This is an app to stay protected, private and anonymous online without spending a dime. When connecting to Wi-Fi networks in crowded places, like coffee shops, airports and exhibition spaces, be sure to activate Free VPN and enjoy fast, smooth and the most important safe web browsing.  Free VPN 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Download from iTunes
  16. *** iOS – Purple Goldfish is proud to announce the release of Gym Bag 1.0, their all-in-one workout and nutrition utility app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. The app optimizes and streamlines workout and nutrition routines by counting sets, timing rests, calculating which plates to use, and calculating macronutrient and creatine intake recommendations. Gym Bag 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Health and Fitness category. Download from iTunes
  17. *** iOS – Velvet Rock Apps today introduces Notesero 1.0 for iPhone, their brand new notes app that safely backs up the users data to iCloud and offers password protected folders to keep notes private and away from prying eyes. With a beautifully polished interface and seamless iCloud syncing, Notesero is perfect for day to day use. Notesero 1.0 for iPhone is free with an In-App Purchase and available worldwide through the iTunes App Store in the Productivity & Business categories. Download from iTunes
  18. *** iOS – AlertFilm Ltd. today is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of AlertFilm 1.3.1, an update to their popular movie discovery app developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. AlertFilm makes discovering and enjoying streaming content simple by combining all the content from all the streaming platforms. AlertFilm 1.3.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category. Download from iTunes
  19. *** OS X – Eltima Software today is proud to announce the release of Commander One 1.5, the newest version of their dual-panel file manager for Mac. It serves as a great alternative to Finder, Mac’s default file manager, and other popular apps such as Total Commander for Windows. Although Commander One is relatively new on the market, it has already recommended itself as a great file management solution and has been acknowledged by a number of respected weblogs and portals.  Commander One 1.5 is compatible with OS X 10.9+. The app has two editions – free and paid. The latter is known as PRO Pack and costs $29.95 (USD), the additional functionality it offers is available for 15-day trial for free. Both editions are available for download from Eltima’s official web-site. Commander One 1.5
  20. iOS – Space Crescent LLC, the team behind Hamad & Sahar and Fanajeel Game, is proud to announce the release of Balloons Ninja 2.0, an update to their fun-to-play arcade game developed for iOS and Android devices. To please his master, Mr. Sensei, players help Sho to master the Balloons Ninjutsu and to become a true balloon ninja warrior in Japan. In this new challenge, your task is to survive the wave of balloons. You do that by jumping from one balloon to another. You must break the record of the previous Ninjas. Enemies will join the game to distract you from reaching higher scores. Balloons Ninja 2.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Balloons Ninja 2.0
  21. *** iOS – Project J Ltd is proud to announce the release of Fy 2.1 for iOS, its innovative new discovery app for iOS. Driven by a vision to create a beautifully simple, easy-to-use mobile shopping experience, Fy offers customers a mix of the world’s hottest jewellery, accessories, watches, stationery and tech accessories all in one place. Fy 2.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Shopping category. Download from iTunes
  22. iOS – Silentmakers is proud to announce the release of Zero Plus 1.0 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, an addictive free counting puzzle game for children and adults. Simply count the zero dots in the line and click one from the available options. Try to answer faster to get more points. Play this challenging count game with different speed levels. Speed will increase as one advances through the levels. Zero Plus 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  23. iOS – Spiel Studios today is thrilled to announce the up and coming release of Galaxy Run 2 – Endless Loop, the new sequel to its immensely popular franchise. Galaxy Run 2 takes forward the One-Tap gameplay from its predecessor and converts it into a 3D Endless Runner with rotating and twisting platforms. In Galaxy Run 2, players need to help get Rez and his new found friends home. Tap to Jump between platforms and run as far as you can and compete with your friends in this challenging and addictive game. Compatible with iPhone and iPad and optimized for iPhone 6S and 6 Plus, Galaxy Run 2 will be free, and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category this Thursday, April 7th. Galaxy Run 2
  24. *** iOS – StoryWorth, Inc., an online service which makes it easy to collect and privately share family stories across generations, launches the new StoryWorth iOS app today for iPhone and iPad on the Lifestyle category in the App Store. StoryWorth 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category. After a free 30-day trial, a year of StoryWorth starts at $39 (USD), and hardbound books of stories gathered start at $34. Any stories written during your free trial are yours to keep. Download from iTunes
  25. iOS – Bantasy, Inc today is pleased to announce the release of Bantasy 1.0.4 for iOS and Android, a free and entertaining Daily Fantasy Sports Game unlike any other. Players can never lose a dime because Bantasy is not gambling. While FanDuel, DraftKings and other ventures are struggling to obey the law, and putting their users at risk, Bantasy stays above it all. You don’t use real money. Enjoy the thrill of daily competition with quick results, while playing like a high roller!  Bantasy 1.0.4 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Sports category. Download from iTunes
  26. iOS – Conceptis today introduces Conceptis Cross-a-Pix 1.0 for iOS, a new brain-bending puzzle game that lets you reveal hidden pixel-art pictures by pure logic deduction. Cross-a-Pix, also known as Campixu, PoliPix and Crazy Paving, is a fun and addictive region-filling puzzle. Each puzzle consists of a blank grid, divided into various regions, with clues to the left of every row and at the top of every column. The object is to reveal a hidden picture by painting squares and filling regions according to the given clues. Conceptis Cross-a-Pix 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  27. iOS – SpiritBomb, an indie game development studio, today is proud to announce the release of NOVA Strikers 1.0.10, its flagship game for all major mobile platforms, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone. NOVA Strikers is a sci-fi arcade flyer & shooter game which lets you play as a squad leader to fight against hordes of cyborgs invading the galaxy. The game aims at casual and mid-core gamers who prefer simple, fast paced arcade-style gameplay. It also aims at rewarding frequent players with permanent progressing upgrades. NOVA Strikers 1.0.10 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  28. *** iOS – Busy IT managers, directors, administrators, and all other tech professionals who want to save time, save money, stay informed and get organized, can now head to the App Store and download IT Managers App: the must-have new toolkit by I Work Smart Ltd. Available at no-cost, IT Managers App features a suite of essential tools and portals that have been specifically designed to address the everyday workflow needs, goals and challenges of IT professionals, regardless of whether they work in small startups or large enterprises. IT Managers App 1.3 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Download from iTunes
  29. *** iOS – Independent app developer, Fabrizio Bernasconi is proud to announce the release of Search Out 2.2, an important update to his app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch devices that quickly searches within Contacts and Calendar Events. It overcomes the limitations of research using Spotlight (included with iOS 9). Search Out 2.2 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. The free version offers limited search. The full version is available as a convenient in-app purchase for only $0.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies). Download from iTunes
  30. iOS – Indie game developer, Jeffrey Yim, one of the developers of the Apple featured game Mechanic Panic, today is thrilled to announce the release and immediate availability of High Fives 1.0 for iOS, a new puzzle game about combining colors and numbers. High Fives’ simple, accessible, gameplay can be summarized as combining numbers to increase their value, until two fives match, creating High Fives. High Fives 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  31. *** OS X –  Indie developer, Jendrik Bertram today is pleased to announce the release of iFlicks 2.4 beta, a major update of iFlicks 2 for Mac OS X. iFlicks has integrated video muxing and encoding capabilities, so that users can choose the best option to quickly import their video files into iTunes. They can add metadata to Movies and TV Shows to make their iTunes library look awesome and even update existing videos by dragging them from iTunes to the iFlicks window. iFlicks 2.4 beta is free during the public beta. Purchase and Download iFlicks 2 (MAS)
  32. *** iOS – xNeat, a startup founded by an ex-Microsoft employee and his wife, today is proud to announce the release of Fraction Calculator 1.0.6, an iPhone/iPad app that eases doing calculations with fraction, feet and inches. Fraction Calculator 1.0.6 is Free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Productivity category. Fraction Calculator 1.0.6
  33. *** OS X – iFotosoft Photo Stitcher is a professional photo stitch application that lets users make panoramas in few clicks. The application is currently available on Mac Store. The Mac version allows users to select different stitch modes to create panorama, the automatic algorithm provides the effective way with the optimal results and multiple editing tools to perfect panoramas.  Free and Pro version Direct Download
  34. iOS – Independent developer, Evgeny Radokhlebov is proud to announce the release of Craziest Duck 1.1.8, an important update to his entertaining game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Craziest Duck is a 2D shooter with randomly generated levels, lots of firearms and some RPG elements. It’s a story about duck that was on a vacation while some space invaders landed on the planet. Your mission is to fight against evil and defeat homeland! You’ve got a good amount of weapons to do so. Craziest Duck 1.1.8 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  35. *** iOS – iAppsTechnology has announced Best Greeting Cards App 2.0, its amazing eCard app developed for iOS devices. A picture paints a thousand words. This app will simplify the creation and sending of eCards for all occasions to greet your friends, family and loved one’s. Personalize the eCards with pre-loaded beautiful templates and meaningful messages.The eCards can then be saved as wallpapers, sharing via email and social media. The Best Greeting Cards App 2.0 is FREE and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category.  Best Greeting Cards App 2.0
  36. *** iOS – Showzee, a UK based start-up, today launched Showzee 1.6, a new iPhone app that makes it easy to share beautiful mini stories based around your interests and experiences. Showzee allows people to share their experiences and discover new ones in a community of friends and others who share their passions. Showzee 1.6 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo and Video category. Showzee 1.6
  37. *** OS X – Idea2Inspire is happy to announce the release of Desktop Bible Free 1.0.1 in the Mac App Store. This is the free edition of the very popular Desktop Bible app for Mac OS X. This free version comes with Kings James Bible Version and every bit of Desktop Bible in terms of features and functionalities. The only thing that is missing in the free version is that 48 Bible Versions.  Desktop Bible Free 1.0.1 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Reference category. Download from Mac App Store
  38. *** iOS – MobiBlossom Solutions Inc. today is proud to announce the release of FabSwapp 2.0, an important update to their item swapping app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Trade your pre-loved stuff with other people nearby. Fabswapp is an eco and financial friendly way to keep your closet constantly changing by being part of the local item swapping community. FabSwapp 2.0 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category. Download from iTunes
  39. *** iOS – Today, Juicy Bits, maker of three App Store Best of the Year award winners and two Editors’ Choice apps, released Bez 1.0 for iPad Pro. Bez (a nod to Pierre Bezier’s eponymous curve), is a powerful vector graphics editor that makes it easy to create beautiful and precise art on an iPad Pro. With full support for Slide Over, Split View, Smart Keyboard, and Apple Pencil, Bez is a flexible and professional tool for designing high-quality illustrations. Bez 1.0 is currently available for free on the App Store. A single “Unlock Everything” in-app purchase for $7.99 USD enables all premium features. Bez runs on iPad and iPad Pro with iOS 9.0 (or later). Download from iTunes
  40. iOS – Intelligent Apps, LLC today is pleased to announce the launch and immediate availability of Cubes 1.0, a challenging new puzzle game specifically designed for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Available exclusively in the Apple Store, Cubes is an innovative and challenging puzzle game designed so that people of all ages will enjoy. The game allows players merge cubes to create a new and more colorful cubes. Its game play challenges players to reach The Rainbow cube. Cubes – Addictive Puzzle Game 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games (Board & Puzzle) categories. In-App purchases are available to remove ads. Download from iTunes
  41. *** iOS – appxs limited is proud to announce the release and immediate availability of RAMS Manager 1.0, their risk assessment app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. In business today, safety is paramount. Gone are the days, and rightly so, when it was seen as “unfortunate” because there was a fatality down at the local steelworks. Everybody has a legal duty to ensure that they comply with health and safety laws, whether we are the owners of the facility where the work is due to take place or we are the person responsible for completing the task. RAMS Manager 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category. Download from iTunes
  42. *** iOS – Independent developers, Phil Hudson, Levi Wigchert and Justin Holmes are proud to announce the release of Mixmatic 1.0.2, an update to their popular music discovery app developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Mixmatic gathers thousands of quality mixes, organized by genre, to help users discover the best mixes out there. The web version of Mixmatic was previously featured on Product Hunt’s frontpage. Version 1.0.2 fixes an Analytics issue. Mixmatic 1.0.2 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Music category. Download from iTunes
  43. *** OS X – Since it’s release, Remote Buddy Display has made a considerable splash in the media and in living rooms around the world. It has been widely received as one of the most innovative Apple TV apps to date and highlights the potential of this little new box as a platform for apps beyond just games and on-demand video. The tvOS companion app for Remote Buddy allows users to see, hear & control their Mac from their Apple TV using the Siri Remote. Remote Buddy Display is a free app and available now on the Apple TV App Store. Search for “Remote Buddy Display” on the Apple TV to download it. Licenses for Remote Buddy for the Mac are sold separately and not included with the Remote Buddy Display app. Remote Buddy Display 1.1
  44. iOS – Bluevr, Inc. is pleased to announce availability of Letteroo 1.0, their entertaining game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Letteroo is a fun and entertaining word puzzle game with engaging gameplay. Letteroo is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  45. *** iOS – SHELF is proud to announce the release of SHELF Cosmetics 1.4 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, their app that is digitalizing the social experience of cosmetics. Overwhelmed at the Nail Salon? Feeling lost in the beauty aisle? The solution is simple: SHELF, the one stop-shop for all your beauty needs. SHELF Cosmetics 1.4 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Lifestyle category. Download from iTunes
  46. *** iOS – “Kidz Learn Applications” is happy to announce the release of “Kidz Fun 25” for iOS, Blackberry, Google Play Android and Amazon Kindle. “Kidz Fun” is an educational application intended for kids between ages 3 and 5. This application has 5 menu options for kids, to choose from including – “Alphabets”, “Numbers”, “Songs” and “Stories”. Kidz Fun 25 is free, and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Education category. Kidz Fun 25
  47. *** iOS – Finally! There’s a new and potentially life changing app designed for people around the world who love the idea of social media, but are hesitant to share their personal thoughts, moods and feelings for fear of being ignored, mocked or attacked: Paralign. Paralign 3.3 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Social Networking category. Download from iTunes
  48. *** iOS – Independent developer, Marc Braun is proud to announce the release of XCubes 1.0.1, his new multidimensional spreadsheet app developed for Apple’s revolutionary iPad device. XCubes was designed specifically with the aim to be an innovative and breakthrough solution for demanding users. Originally developed for Windows PCs, XCubes has been completely redesigned to take advantage of the advanced features of the iPad and iPad Pro. While most traditional spreadsheet apps are limited to a flat row/column format, XCubes features “cubes,” which allow building and editing in two or more dimensions. XCubes 1.0.1 is free for a limited time, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category. Download from iTunes
  49. *** iOS – The Lim brothers are pleased to announce the release of Map List 1.0 today, an iOS app that allows users to create lists of their favorite locations. Aimed at users who like to be organised, Map List can help users track locations of any type of place, for example their favourite restaurants to try, bars, or friends places. Simply search for the name or type of place and add it directly to the list. This simple app also allows users to add notes, ratings, and other details for each saved location. Map List 1.0 is free with an in app purchase to remove advertisements, and available worldwide through the App Store in the Productivity category. Map List 1.0
  50. *** iOS – Lake Effect Solutions, LLC today is pleased to announce the release of Snapeas 3.0, an important update to their popular iOS book creation program. In addition to the Apple Pay enhancements to the previous version, this iteration introduces native support for all iPad devices. Creating a book on an iPad is a truly pleasurable experience. With all pages visible at once, no scrolling is needed to see the entire book on the screen. Snapeas 3.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Books category. The app creates a book from 20 to 24 user-selected photos, with optional captions and title page, and uploads it to the Snapeas web site where it is printed and bound into an 8 by 8 inch linen hard cover book and mailed to the user. A special promotional price of $19.95 includes free shipping, with expedited shipping just a few dollars more. Download from iTunes
  51. iOS – Independent developer, Gordon Roberts today is proud to announce the release of Tanks and Turrets 3, the latest open field style tower defense game with retina graphics for iOS and Android Devices. In Tanks and Turrets, players must defend their medieval village from invading Tanks using futuristic weapons. This classic defense-style game offers 10 different Turrets to defend your lands. It features 10 Maps with 3 difficulty levels, offering many hours of gameplay. Level up your Turrets to advance and compete with Game Center achievements and Leaderboards. Tanks and Turrets 3 (v1.0) is Free (with in-app purchase) and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category.  Download from iTunes
  52. *** iOS – Capable Bits today is proud to announce the release of Photo Transfer App 1.0 for iOS, their new advanced transfer app with live photos and videos support. Supporting all the latest technologies and features of the platform, Photo Transfer App allows you to transfer, backup and share your videos and photos (including Live Photos) privately, quickly and in full resolution. Easily free space on your device with Photo Transfer App. The app features a beautiful as well as easy-to-use interface.  Photo Transfer App 1.0 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photo & Video category.  Photo Transfer App 1.0
  53. *** OS X – KnowledgeMiner Software today is pleased to announce the release of Insights 5.0 for OS X, a major update to its critically acclaimed application that implements original self-organizing modeling for classification, diagnosis, and forecasting problems of complex nature for decision support. Following the principle of Occam’s razor, the app now develops complexity minimized predictive models from observation data, autonomously, and it generates new knowledge in form of explicit model equations that describe the data, mathematically, for further analysis, interpretation, and theory formulation purposes. Insights extracts all information needed for model development from the observation data, exclusively, why it is increasingly recognized as a superior alternative and supplemental tool to established assumption based confirmatory science approaches for complex modeling. Insights for OS X is available as Free, Student, Advanced, or Pro edition exclusively from the KnowledgeMiner Software website. Until April 30, 2016, promotional prices with up to 75% discount are provided. Academic versions can be purchased by contacting KnowledgeMiner Software directly.  Insights 5.0 for OS X
  54. *** iOS – Flotrak Ltd is today proud to announce the release and immediate availability of Flotrak 1.1, the important update to their popular music loop creation and sharing app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. This app is the first of its kind, which allows anyone to create music loops, known as “flo’s” which are 30, 60, and 90 second music loops which include beautifully created artwork, created directly within the iOS app. Flotrak 1.1 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Music category.  Download from iTunes
  55. *** iOS – MySpecialDays is pleased to announce the availability of their free app for iPhone, iPad and Android. MySpecialDays makes special days even more special, with deals and other gifts, delivered by email, on or before the days that are special. Users choose from businesses like restaurants, jewelers, hotels, entertainment, florists and more, then specify what days are special such as Mother’s Day, anniversary, birthdays, National Pet Day, Christmas, and dozens more! My Special Days 2.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Lifestyle category.  Download from iTunes
  56. *** tvOS – Today, IOSPIRIT GmbH is proud to announce the immediate availability of Remote Buddy Display 1.1 for Apple TV. Since its release, Remote Buddy Display has made a considerable splash in the media and in living rooms around the world. It has been widely received as one of the most innovative Apple TV apps to date, and highlights the potential of this little new box as a platform for apps beyond just games and on-demand video. The tvOS companion app for Remote Buddy allows users to see, hear & control their Mac from their Apple TV using the Siri Remote. Remote Buddy Display is a free app and available now on the Apple TV App Store. Search for “Remote Buddy Display” on the Apple TV to download it. Licenses for Remote Buddy for the Mac are sold separately and not included with the Remote Buddy Display app. Remote Buddy Display 1.1
  57. *** iOS – Patook LLC today is thrilled to announce the release of Patook 1.4, an update to the company’s popular social networking app developed for iOS and Android devices. Patook is a unique user-friendly app that focuses on matching singles and couples for strictly platonic friendships. It uses an innovative system trained on years of data to identify messages that are considered flirty or inappropriate. Whenever a user attempts to send such a message, they are notified that it will not be delivered. Patook 1.4 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Social Networking category.  Download from iTunes
  58. iOS – KerCodex today is pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of 7 & 17 version 1.0 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. 7 & 17 is an addictive game where falling dice rapidly fill the screen. Your mission is to clear them out by aligning three dice that add-up to 7 or 17. If they are of the same color, you’ll even get a bonus! 7 & 17 offers a nice mix of strategy and speed, and with Game Center support you will be able to challenge your friends or aim for the 10 achievements. 7 & 17 (v1.0) is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games (Strategy & Dices) categories.  Download from iTunes
  59. iOS – HowzUr App is proud to announce the release of Wrong side adventure 1.0 their very addictive car game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Users can download it for free from the App Store. In this game, you can control your car by accelerometer mechanism so that the car moves in the direction in which you tilt your mobile. While controlling your car you need to avoid collision with vehicles coming from front. At the same time you can collect the useful powers too. That makes it great fun to play the game and score more and show your skill to the world. Wrong side adventure 1.0 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download
  60. *** iOS – Bluewave Solutions is proud to announce the release of Tell my Dad i’m good in Math 1.10, their educational app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. At Bluewave Solutions, we are reaching out for the parents who want to engage their Kids in math, who want to sharpen their math skills and to followup with their progress during this experience. The app is a simple old fashioned math operation skills tests math app. It provides training with random exercises about different simple math operations (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division) in different types of formats, through a simple but not complicated interface to give the kids maximum focus. Tell my Dad i’m good in Math 1.10 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. It is a serious App to master math skills, and it is for free as it is from parents to parents.  Download from iTunes
  61. *** iOS – People who don’t want to deal with long waits at the doctor’s office or emergency room, especially if they’re on an important business trip or having a fun vacation, can now easily, rapidly and securely connect with a physician via their iPhone or iPad thanks to InstaDOC, an innovative new no-cost app created by InstaDOC LLC. InstaDOC 3.1 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Medical category. Download from iTunes
  62. iOS – The new “Alphabet First Writer Tracing” app teaches children how to write cursive and uppercase letters, in a fun and effective way. The benefits of this new educational game app go beyond writing, because learning to write in cursive stimulates the brain like nothing else. Alphabet First Writer Tracing 4.5.2 is Free (with in-app purchases) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. The free app is complete with all the letters of 4 games. Download from iTunes
  63. iOS – Alima Studios is proud to announce the release of Alima’s Baby Liam (Virtual Baby) 2.1, an important update to their virtual baby app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices. Baby has to be attended as if he was your own real baby. His responsive body changes as you feed him and gestures will change as well according to his happiness, health, and hungry, in an environment designed with colorful 3D cartoon graphics. Alima’s Baby Liam (Virtual Baby) 2.1 is free, and is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  64. *** iOS – FanLyfe LLC today is proud to announce the official release of FanLyfe 1.1, an update to its video based sharing app developed for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. FanLyfe allows sports fans to post and upload videos directly inside their favorite team’s feed on game day, and the opposing team’s feed as well. FanLyfe lets users have control of the community-based content published on their team’s feed and allows interaction with other fans through video. FanLyfe 1.1 is a free app and is available worldwide through the App Store in the Sports Category. Download from iTunes
  65. *** iOS – Drivers around the world who have fallen in love with GeniusApps Technologies’ extraordinarily useful lost car finder app, TrakCar. And people who have yet to download this must-have app to their device, can head to the App Store and download the latest version at no-cost. TrakCar answers a question that millions of drivers around the world have nervously asked for decades after roaming across parking lots at the mall, airport, beach, or anywhere else: “where did I park my car?” TrakCar solves this age-old riddle with a patent-pending artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that automatically detects when a user shifts from driving to walking, and as such remembers the exact location of where their car is parked. TrakCar 2.2.1 is Free (with in-app purchase) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Navigation category. Download from iTunes
  66. iOS – smuttlewerk interactive is happy to announce the latest triple patch, featuring cross-playability between the three games of their “Battlle” series of games. Many people played a Battleship-style game at least once in their lives – be it in school or at home. These memories can be refreshed, thanks to smuttlewerks games Fleet Battle, Air Battle and Space Battle. Since the first release of the flagship of the series in 2013, Fleet Battle, the games were downloaded more than 2 million times. All games are free to download with ads as monetization measure. The ads can be removed by paying a small amount of money. Download from iTunes
  67. *** iOS – Qrayon today released Cardflow 2.1 for the iPad, a major update to their popular digital index card App. Cardflow 2.1 adds major new features including the ability to insert links to web pages and online videos, and create tappable hotspots to navigate between cards. This can be used for mind-mapping and to create interactive experiences without any coding. Links continue to work in exported PDFs, which can be shared with colleagues and friends. There are two editions of Cardflow. Cardflow (Standard Edition) is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Business category. Cardflow has additional features, and is priced at $9.99 USD (or equivalent local currency). Download from iTunes
  68. iOS – Novasoft LLC today is proud to announce the release of Save Dan 1.0, their new game title developed for iOS and Android devices. Bon vivan, millionaire and poker player Dan Bilzerian has been attacked in the cyber world by sexy zombies! These villains want him as much as the long-legged beauties in real life, but unlike the cuddly girls Dan is surrounded with at all times, these creatures are bloodthirsty. Only you can help him out! Avoid and gun down bloodthirsty zombies! Choose from an array of destructive weaponry and put them to use in locations throughout America! When you play Save Dan, you can expect to hold your breath for action packed moments! Save Dan 1.0 is Free and available worldwide through the App Store in the Games category. Download from iTunes
  69. iOS – Independent games- and app-developer, iParty! Mobile is proud to announce the worldwide release and availability of Conundrums 1.7.2 to the iOS(R) digital App Store. Available as a Free download and compatible with the Apple iPhone(R), Apple iPod touch(R) and the Apple iPad(R), Conundrums offers fun and thought provoking entertainment and discussion for friends and families. Conundrums 1.7.2 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.Download From iTunes

DAC Coming to Austin

The IEEE Design Automation Conference (DAC) is coming to Austin, TX June 2-10. 2016. DAC is the world’s premier EDA and semiconductor design conference and exhibition. DAC features over 60 sessions on design methodologies and EDA tool developments, keynotes, panels, plus the NEW User Track presentations. A diverse worldwide community representing more than 1,000 organizations attends each year, from system designers and architects, logic and circuit designers, validation engineers, CAD managers, senior managers and executives to researchers and academicians from leading universities.

The “I LOVE DAC” registration level is FREE! (free registration deadline is May 18th) It includes:

  • Exhibit Floor (180+ exhibitors)
  • Keynotes and SKY Talks
  • DAC Pavilion
  • DAC Art Show
  • Designer Poster Sessions
  • Three “Teardowns” by iFixit
  • Receptions (nightly)

Other paid levels of registration provide access to even more presentations and content. Check the web site to see the full range of presentations and to determine which registration level is the best fit for you. I have already registered for the “I LOVE DAC” level.

Libraries Around The World

A great set of libraries to visit from around the world.

Cafe Book Bean

lookbookThere are so many amazing, unique, and gorgeous libraries all over our beautiful world. Today I’ll highlight a selection of wonderful and culturally diverse libraries.

Stunning Literary Harbors from all around the World:

“Bristol Central Library” Englandbristol central libraryA historic building built in 1906 by Charles Holden, its design was influential in the development of Edwardian Free Style architecture.

“Central Public Library” Vancouver, Canadacentral public library vancouver canadaCentred on the block, the library is a nine-story rectangular box containing book stacks and services, surrounded by a free-standing, elliptical, colonnaded wall featuring reading and study areas that are accessed by bridges spanning skylit light wells. The library’s internal glass facade overlooks an enclosed concourse formed by a second elliptical wall that defines the east side of the site

“Baltimore George Peabody Library” Maryland
baltimore george peabody libraryThe 19th-century focused research library of The Johns Hopkins University. It is located in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere historic cultural neighborhood north of downtown across…

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Review of “Tail Gunner”

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“Tail Gunner” eBook was published in 2016 (originally published on paper in 1943) and was written by R. C. Chivaz. This is Mr. Chivaz’s only publication.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. This is the first hand story of Flight-Lieutenant R. C. Rivaz, D.F.C. He starts as a tail gunner in the British Whitley Bomber, then transfers over to the Halifax Bomber, again as a tail gunner.

Chivaz gives many first hand accounts of flying over occupied Europe and Germany. He also tells of the two instances when his aircraft had to crash land in the North Sea. He describes life as a British flyer during World War II and includes many of his personal thoughts.

I thought that the 4 hours spent reading this 119 page novel gave a good view of life during World War II. This was a short story, actually more of a novella. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

They Are back! After 20 Years!

I always liked the original Independence Day movie. I know it isn’t the best Science Fiction movie, but I enjoyed it. I know that a lot of the “Science” in that movie was far fetched (or simply inaccurate). It will be interesting to see if they take as much latitude in this sequel.

I am looking forward to this long awaited sequel. It looks to be full of action, like the original.

iOS and OS X Tip: Creating Text Shortcuts

Updated 4/27/16

Being able to type in a short phrase and have it expanded is a great productivity tool. Fortunately you no longer have to buy a third party application to have this ability, it is built into iOS and OS X.

On your iOS device, shortcuts can be created through the Settings App. Launch Settings >> General >> Keyboard >> Text Replacement. This page will show all of your currently defined text replacement strings. As you can see in my example below, the default “omw” for “On my way” is defined, as is also “sfv” which I added that will display the emoji for Spock’s “Live long and prosper” hand sign.

text shortcut
To add a new replacement string, click on the “+” in the top right corner. In the “Phrase” field type the phrase that you want the shortcut expanded into, and into the “Shortcut” field type the text shortcut you want to use. Then click on “Save”. As shown below I
want to use the shortcut phrase “*jb” to expand into “http://johnpurvis/wordpress.com”. Now anytime I type “*jb” it will get expanded into the full URL of my blog site.

shortcut1

I use the splat (*) as the first character of the shortcut to differentiate the expansion string from regular text. You can go through this same process to edit existing text strings as well. When creating the text shortcuts, you should in general:

  • avoid dictionary words
  • keep the length to 4-5 characters
  • use a special character as the first character

shortcut2

Now that I have defined the new text expansion string on my iPhone, it is automatically synced over to my iPad as well. Even better, the text shortcuts are also synced with my Mac. On a Mac if you go to System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Text you will see the
defined text shortcut strings as well. To add a new phrase there, use the “+” at the bottom left of the screen.

When using on the Mac, you may need to enable text replacement in some applications. Usually that is done, if needed, by going to the menubar within the App >> Edit >> Substitutions >> Text Replacement.

shortcut3

Using that approach you would need to go through
each application and enabling Text Replacement. There is a Command Line (CLI) alternative that can be used to enable Text Replacement for all supported Apps. Open a Terminal (Go >> Utilities >> Terminal) then type in:

defaults write -g WebAutomaticTextReplacementEnabled -bool true

Not all third party Apps support Text Expansion. One such is the Chrome web browser.

Even though there are occasional synchronizationproblems, I find having this text expansion feature very helpful.

– –

1 Sync is supposed to work between devices, but doesn’t always. As you can see from my example above, my Mac has more text strings than my iPhone. From what I have read, syncing is sometimes a problem between devices for some reason. Some trouble shooting
steps to try if iCloud is not syncing your text shortcuts:

  • Tun off iCoud Drive in Settings, reboot the device, then turn iCloud Drive back on
  • Try a hard reset of your iOS device (hold Home and Power buttons down)
  • Log off of iCloud, then back in

If you want to backup, then restore your text substitution strings you can do that too


See my other iOS and Mac OS X articles