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Ever since Carl Sagan brought Cosmos to viewers on PBS, scientific educators (as well as their publishers and TV producers) have searched for ways to make mind-boggling concepts like cosmic time and the Big Bang easier for people of all ages to understand. Landka’s Back in Time for iPad, which is part edu-app and part digital coffee table book, tweaks Sagan’s metaphoric Cosmic Calendar by collapsing the history of the universe’s 13.7 billion years into a single day.
Back in Time breaks down the 24 hour period into epoch’s of cosmic or geologic time, so the reader c
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an move through the Earth’s history from the Big Bang to the present, stopping at each event to view photos, watch videos, and read text geared for a curious, but not necessarily scientifically-trained, audience. Back in Time entertains as it educates, bringing the message of educational television programs such as Cosmos and Nova Science Now to a new medium.
While readers may be tempted to dive in and start exploring the app, it’s well-worth the time to read the book’s introduction, which is accessible from the splash screen. The introduction reminds the reader that according to the app’s imaginary clock, human evolution began only sixteen seconds ago, and Homo Sapiens have existed for just over one second.
Back in Time’s purpose isn’t (just) to make humankind’s place in cosmic history feel small and insignificant, rather it’s to use the clock, which is a device so utterly familiar, to contextualize events for its readers.
Navigating through Back in Time’s stunning UI is straight forward. To enter the timeline the reader simply adjusts the hands of the on-screen clock to a particular time, then taps the clock to reveal an interactive cosmic timeline. Readers can use a swipe gesture to pan along the timeline that runs along the bottom of the page or tap one of the images that arcs through the sky to go to a particular event such as the Origin of Birds or the acquisition of fire by Homo Erectus.
Each event on the timeline has its own section, complete with a brief article, as well as images and videos that the user can access through gesture controls. As the event screen is opened, a short animation rolls. Readers can also access interesting facts related to each section by tapping the lightbulb in the lower-left corner. For example, the section on the K-T Extinction (which finished off the dinosaurs) begins with the question, “Did you know that the reign of the dinosaurs began and ended with mass extinctions.”
Much as a reader would flip through a coffee table book, one can enjoy Back in Time by following the progression from the Big Bang at 0:00 to the present, or moving back and forth through the events in any order.
Download Back in Time for iPad from the App Store for $7.99. Back in Time for iPhone is also available as a separate purchase.
What I liked: Landka’s team spent more than a year creating Back in Time and their efforts were well spent. The beautiful UI creates the perfect back drop for the detailed time line, while the writing stays away from jargon or overly technical terms that might deter some readers.
What I didn’t like: Though the app’s soundtrack is pleasant, it was a distraction from reading. I would have preferred to mute the sound from within the app.
To buy or not to buy: Any reader who enjoys learning about science will find Back in Time a solid addition to his iPad library. While some of the information might be too challenging for kids younger than 10, the app may provide a chance for parents to explore the book with children who aren’t ready to read it on their own yet.

App Name: Back in Time for iPad
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Category: Books
Developer: Landka
Price: $7.99

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River of News for Google Reader, as the name might give away, is an RSS reader for the iPad for those who use Google Reader to keep up with their favorite feeds.
I’m a big consumer of RSS feeds as a major part of how I keep up with news each day – whether it’s iPad and iOS news, general tech news, or just news in general. I also follow Twitter, Google+, and news magazines like Flipboard, Zite, Google Currents, and others to keep up with what’s happening – but tracking my 200 or so favorite feeds in Google Reader is still my most used and most effective way to try to keep up with th
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e daily information overload we’re all faced with these days.
I’ve tried other RSS apps on the desktop but Google Reader in a browser has remained my favorite for years on the desktop. It was my favorite on the iPhone for a long while too – even after the App Store opened and many decent native RSS reader apps came along. These days I do most of my reading on the iPad, so finding a great RSS app for the iPad was a priority from Day 1. Happily, River of News hit the iPad App Store a few months after the iPad was released – and it has been my favorite RSS app ever since.
(...)Read the rest of Review: River of News for Google Reader for iPad (557 words)

© patrickj for iPad Insight, 2012. |
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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 2.2
Device: iOS Universal
Category: Games
Price: $4.99 -> $2.99, Version: 2.2 (iTunes)

For LEGO Harry Potter LIMITED TIME OFFER!!! LEGO Harry Potter is only $2.99 --------------------------------------Experience the events of Harry Potter's first four years at Hogwarts – LEGO® style!---------------------------------------Top iPhone Game of 2010(RPG Category) - TouchArcade***"This is the game to show your doubting friends as I don't believe a game of this depth or breadth presently exi
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sts on the App Store, and certainly not one with the care and attention that the Warner Bros. team have expended on it."("Okay, so if you're buying only one game this week, which one should it be? No contest: Lego Harry Potter. It's that good, even if you're not a fan of boy wizards or building blocks."("...early impressions seem to indicate that this could be one of the best games currently on the platform."("LEGO Harry Potter looks razor sharp on a Retina display device."(IGN - 8 out of 10)"...instantly charming and thoroughly impressive."(PocketGamer - 8 out of 10) ----------------------------------Play as Harry, Ron, Hermione and many more as you explore Hogwarts and engage in countless hours of gameplay spread across 40+ levels based on the Harry Potter books and movies. LEGO® Harry Potter™: Years 1-4 brings the world of LEGO® Harry Potter to life on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, giving gamers the power to play with LEGO characters and models in a brand new way. Based on the first four Harry Potter books and movies, LEGO® Harry Potter: Years 1-4 builds on the foundations of previous LEGO® video games by offering a mix of fun, accessible gameplay and light-hearted humor – appealing to all ages. Players can explore the wizarding world and feel as though they are at Hogwarts. Features:• The Events of Harry Potter’s First Four Years at Hogwarts – LEGO® style! – including the Triwizard Tournament, the Quidditch World Cup, the Basilisk battle in the Chamber of Secrets, the encounter with Aragog and the face-to-face confrontation with Voldemort himself. • Stunning Graphics – take advantage of the Retina Display.• Intuitive Touch-Screen Controls – take complete control over your character to explore, solve puzzles and duel.• An Authentic Harry Potter Experience: - Visit Iconic locations – including Diagon Alley, the Forbidden Forest, the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts castle – a grand, immersive 3-D environment and the largest, most detailed LEGO® game location ever built. - Play as over 100 characters – including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. - Attend Hogwarts – cast spells, mix potions, fly on broomsticks and complete hundreds of magical tasks to earn points.• Character Customization – using hundreds of different LEGO® Harry Potter pieces.• Classic LEGO® Humor – enjoy the characteristic comedic LEGO® ‘twist’ on events from the fiction.• Endless Replayability – use ‘Freeplay’ to discover areas of gameplay not accessible in Story Mode.• Collectables – pick up a huge variety of items throughout the game. -------------------------- **Check out these other exciting WB apps:• Scribblenauts Remix• Tapper World Tour• Tapper World Tour HD (iPad only)• Harry Potter: Spells• LEGO Batman: Gotham City GamesWhat's NewIN THIS UPDATE(v2.2):- Major Bug Fixed - Red Brick issue corrected (Please see note below)Note: To Toggle between the red bricks, click on the character portrait in the upper left corner of screen. This will bring up a menu where you can toggle between the red bricks you have unlocked.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

The increasing power and proliferation of smartphones has given us an increasing amount of ways of connecting with each other. However, all of these new communication venues have also given us an increasing amount of contact information to keep track of. Android users already know how Xobni’s app Smartr Contacts can help simplify that process and now iPhone owners can too.
Smartr Contacts pulls data from various sources in order to create a master contacts list. Whether someone is a Facebook friend or a LinkedIn connection they will be accounted for. Smartr Contacts then puts
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that person’s email, phone number, picture and whatever else it can intelligently detect in one handy place. The app keeps track of recent communications one has had with their contacts and will even rank contacts in order of importance. Think of it as a way of knowing who one’s real friends are.
While the app works with other existing social networks like Twitter, in order to use Smartr Contacts one must sign up for a Xobni account. Smartr Contacts is available for free on the App Store.

Smartr Contacts for iPhoneiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Buy Now: FREEReleased: 2012-01-13 :: Category: Productivity

Apps mentioned in this post: Smartr Contacts for iPhone

About: Smartr Contacts is a Magic Address Book is a post from 148Apps
Last November I had the pleasure of first reviewing the Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe. I praised it for being the kind of high-quality app that you would expect from Disney and for giving us a way to celebrate the enchanting and engaging story of how Beauty finds true love in the Beast.
The recent update to this wonderful app has added a new dimension with animations direct from the film and a series of special effects that will amaze you.

The same great features exist, with activities, coloring pages and puzzles that serve to supplement the storyline and give your chi
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ld the chance to learn a few things while spending time with their favorite Disney characters.
I think I still love the ability to sing along to songs from the movie best, because my daughter just loves music. But the eleven added animations really served to further supplement the story in a way that will bring the book to life almost like a mini-version of the film itself –only with this version, your child can participate!

What I liked: Animations from the film will be familiar for many children which will help them to relate to the story and increase their interest and investment in the app itself.
What I didn’t like: For those of us who have already been enjoying this app on a regular basis, it would be nice to have a quick-link to the new features so we can share them more directly with our child.
To buy or not to buy: If you weren’t persuaded to grab this app before there are even fewer reasons to resist now. In addition to the quality app that they began with, this update demonstrates their commitment to continued quality and further enhancements which should give you confidence in their products.

App Name: Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe
Version Reviewed: 1.3
Category: Books
Developer: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
Price: $4.99

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Wanna turn your Photos into Art? The Color Effects Pro universal app download lets you enhance your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Facebook photography with cool techniques to change colors. Essentially, you highlight parts of the photo–a person, an interesting aspect of the background–with photo effects by moving your finger on your iPhone and iPad [...]

Read the full review at

LostWinds for iPad, originally a 2008 WiiWare release for the Nintendo Wii, is now available on mobile platforms. Despite the game’s appearance, music and otherwise gorgeous presentation, it appears to be more successful for the Wii than the iPad – primarily in terms of how difficult the controls are on the mobile version.
(...)Read the rest of Review – LostWinds for iPad (580 words)

© Beth Elderkin for iPad Insight, 2012. |
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s for iPad
Just days before Apple's recent educational announcement, one toymaker was busily demonstrating the AppCrayon classroom stylus to a conference of California's Kindergarten teachers. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and the verdict was clear. Teachers want a stylus. This was not entirely surprising for the folks at DANO Toys who designed the AppCrayon with input from professional educators and beta-tested it in classrooms across the globe for almost a year."By pairing a stylus with letter-writing, drawing, note-taking and other apps, DANO Toys has found a way to meld the new, forward-th
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inking iPad education program with traditional educational methods," says DANO Toys Education Director Chelsea Monahan. "Despite using a touchscreen device, students are still able to hold a pencil-like stylus to develop the motor skills that are necessary for printing, cursive and drawing." (more...)

MacWorld|iWorld officially kicked off today, and there were over 80 iOS apps highlighted in the Mobile Apps Showcase. We found our app of the day in the showcase, and it’s FavorIt from 2x6Apps. The app is geared towards app discovery by connecting you with your friends’ favorite apps. Rather than providing the most liked apps from random people or App Store activity, FavorIt focuses on your favorite friends. There are some people who’s opinion you trust, and their app picks are definitely intriguing to you.

FavorIt provides the back engine to make it easy to connect your favor
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ite Facebook friends and favorite apps. The app is as simple as selecting your five favorite apps, and all of your friends doing the same thing. Then you get to see your closest friends’ selections, and download them yourself to see if they become your favorites. It’s effortless to swap out apps, though it would be nice to see more choices beyond five. Also, the app only focuses on Facebook Connect, and could use the same type of friend integration with Twitter and contacts.
As it stands, more people use Facebook than anything else, and now your friends just need to download the app along with you to take full advantage of FavorIt. FavorIt is free, but it just focuses on iPhone apps at this point.
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