Create Pieces of Art with Paintastic

Are you a fan of digital sketching and painting? If yes, Paintastic is an excellent app that will let you do exactly that and even more let your creative thoughts come into life. It allows you to create pieces of art that you can use as designs for various purposes that can be either printed or shared online. 

Once the user opens the app, they see a default screen with lot of options at the bottom of the screen that the user can utilize to create their drawing or painting. There are also the undo and redo button at the top right of the screen so that it is easier to just perform these actions if a bulk erase or redo of a previous work is required. There are options to

    • Change color of the pencil or paintbrush
    • Change background color of the palette
    • Add jitter (where you can change size, opacity and add different effects to the jitter like blur, emboss, deboss, neon, glow, outline). You can also choose whether to have smooth edges or not for your jitter, adjust the size, etc.
    • Add basic outline shapes, basic fill shapes like heart, flower, star, etc., floral shapes, smileys, frames & borders, celestial, arrows, card suits, puzzle pieces, objects shapes and random stencils that are free to use. However, there are other shapes like stick figures, transport, buildings & structures, ribbons & badges, speech bubbles, flowchart symbols and fruits, that can also be added to your drawing. You will need to pay to unlock all shapes. These shapes can be inserted directly or as post-transform where you can rotate and transform the added shapes. You also have control over the sizes for these images and can add effects like grayscale, saturation and color filters.

  • Add festival related shapes (There are festival related themes added in the app that include shapes like Christmas tree, candy stick, snowflakes, which will help the user to create holiday greetings during season times).
  • Add text (The text option allows you to add text to your drawings; for example, captions and also to add different effects/filters to the text). You can also add styles to your text like bold, italic and underlined and shapes for the text like linear, arc, box and custom curve. There are a few fonts to choose from too. These text can be inserted directly or can be post transformed. The user has control over the size of the text as well.
  • The eraser lets you erase unwanted information and the size of it can be changed according to needs.
  • The paint bucket tool lets the user fill in the background with a particular color.
  • The selection tool lets the user to move, crop, rotate, resize, etc. like in any other photo editing app
  • Other than these, there are the scratch mode and color picker tools. 

 

Features: 

The user can

  • Insert picture to the created art, and the app lets the user do photo editing and to make collages. The user can also add pictures to their drawings
  • Save foreground of the art that they have created
  • Share drawing on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Email and others.
  • Add artist name to tell the world who created the art 

Cons:

  • A tutorial to use some of the features of Paintastic would be greatly beneficial, if not at least a tip on the screen for first time users as some of the options at the bottom of the screen did not seem to be self explanatory

 

Candy for Bears – Dig Deep into an Ant’s Nest to Uncover Buried Treasure

Being a kid in a candy store is a feeling that can’t be matched. For different people of various ages, that feeling stems from different “kinds” of candy. For some it may be electronics, for others it could be a fashion boutique. For bears, it’s usually what’s hidden underground with hopes that the uncovered treasure includes honey.

Candy for Bears is a cute game for all ages where your goal is to find bear candy that hides underground in ant nests. While it sound peculiar, most bears hunt for honey from beehives, this game has a new take on what a cute small bear wants. He’s a curious little tyke who is fascinated with little ants that are religiously marching in line, in and out of their ant holes, keeping on task.

Your bear must keep his family’s honor intact by collecting the candy gold that lies deep beneath the surface of the ground, hidden in crevices of the ant nest. Keep in mind that these ants are no ordinary ants. They will do all it takes to protect their candy gold and prevent you from mining it.

Bear can only get to the candy gold by mining for it. There are several tools you can use that can be purchased in the in-app store. Purchases can be paid for with diamonds, which you get when you first download the app. Examples of tools include various types of explosives, chemicals, magnets, picks, ropes, and more.

candy for bears

While you are in the SHOP, you will see all of the tools you currently have plus the number of diamonds you have available to spend. In the middle of the screen are the choices to select from. The picks are good for a while, but things like explosives and apples work just once. Don’t worry because you will have plenty of tools to use.

While it sounds a bit violent due to the notion of explosives, it is very minor because they are just small explosions used to break up barriers to the candy gold that the ants may have set up. I even spotted an apple, which may have served as a distraction to lure ants away.

I thought the overall app was cute and fun to play – it’s not just for kiddos. It was amusing and different from what I have seen before. I would like to see a better conversion of candy gold to diamonds, so fewer in app purchases are needed. My kids went through so many diamonds, that I had to make a few purchases to keep the game going.

Barring that, this game is a treat for all, especially if you have little bears of your own. I highly recommend downloading Candy for Bears.

Semler Heart – Health App That Works

Cardiac disease is on the rise, and while we all see so many people with step counting devices, the real question is whether they are using it correctly and to their benefit. This requires knowledge about cardiac disease and what to do to prevent it. If you are already sliding down the slippery slope with issues like high cholesterol and such, then staying informed and using information to design a plan of attack is essential.

Dr. Herb Semler, renowned cardiologist, has devised an app like no other fitness and health app that educates and helps users execute on their quest to rid themselves of cardiac problems. Just exercising is not enough, he says. It’s called Semler Heart for iOS. People need to understand their medical history, their risk factors and habits and use this information to counter cardiac disease. Everyone’s plan is different. No one plan works for all.

While the app does track steps and times, it expands on this data with useful information. As you build up points from activity, you can use them at retail partners. This creates an incentive for users to get active and fight the cardiac disease from taking hold. A proper diet along with exercise helps ward off the damaging effects of this disease and keeps you away from its devastating effects.

Information was easy to find and the data was easy to track. I also liked the daily, weekly, and monthly summaries, as well. It helped me see trends that I otherwise would have missed. This is especially useful as most heart-conscious folks tend to be older and need more simplistic presentations of data.

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I really liked the feature where I could monitor yesterday’s steps, which helped me push for more throughout the week, if needed. You also get inspirational tidbits of information so you don’t lose focus of your goals. Which leads me to the next item, goals. You can set goals for yourself so you are not walking around like a fool with no purpose. That will get you nowhere.

The only shortcoming I could find was the inability to see who the retail partners were. I was excited to find out about the point reward systems and hoped to purchase more exercise related gear as my step count increased.

While I wait and look forward to that perk, I will make maximum use of everything else Semler Heart has to offer. There is so much and I am already starting to feel stronger already!

Cookie Crush Crazy – A New Cookie Blast Game

If you are a fan of the famous game Candy Crush, then I bet you’ll love this game where you crush ingredients in order to help a chef build cookie in each level. This is a cookie blast game powered by Unity and is available free on the play store.

Cookie Crush Crazy is a game where you crush ingredients by matching a minimum of three ingredients of the same type and color. It is a game where you strategically plan and crush the required amount of ingredients in the given number of moves. In case you fail to accomplish this, you can replay the level, provided that you have enough life. The player can also buy extra moves (in case they run out of moves), using coins they may have.

The task that the player accomplishes in the game is helping a cook to obtain the required ingredients for his cookie recipes. Each level has a cookie with different requirements in the amount and type of ingredients required for each recipe and you as a player crushes these ingredients in order for the chef to acquire them to make the recipe.

Once downloaded, the Cookie Crush Crazy app installs itself in your device. On opening the app, tapping on “Play Game” will let you start playing the game. You start with level 1 and complete each level to move on to the next.

You can collect 3 stars in each level, you earn stars as you progress through the level continuing ahead and collecting all the three stars while completing a level.

Cookie Crush Crazy

The player starts with 5 lives while starting level 1. Each time you fail to finish the level in the given number of moves, you lose a life.

When it comes to settings, you can turn music or sound on / off by tapping those icons at the bottom left of the screen.

Initially when you start the app and tap “Play game”, you choose level 1 to start the game. At each level, collecting various ingredients is required in order for you to complete the required level.

You can login with Facebook and earn an extra 200 coins. This lets you see the progress of your friends and also helps to share  and request coins, lives, etc. when required.

The fun part of the game is, you need to help the cook collect ingredients to prepare the cookie recipe. You match 3 or more of the same ingredients and crush them thereby collecting ingredients and in each level you will be given a target and certain number of moves to collect all the required ingredients. What you need to do is, use these moves, collect ingredients and help the chef make the cookie.

Completing a level gives you stars based on the number of moves in which you completed the game and if you complete a level before the number of moves run out, you get bonus for all remaining moves. If you run out of moves, you can purchase moves using coins or skip the level using more coins.

There are loads of exciting levels to be accomplished and the difficulty increases with each level, so does the excitement.

Cookie Crush Crazy is quite an interesting mind game, but there are these annoying ads after completion of each level. Also there are in app purchases which may be less advantageous for users who may not wish to make a purchase.

Secure Supremacy and Win Guild Wars in Final Chronicle

Bored of your gaming selection and looking for something different? Look no further – Playmage has created a JRPG that will blow your mind. Most class RPG games that feature top quality graphics and animation are hard to find, for free at least. You have to pay for what you, and that’s fair.

Playmage has created something for everyone in Final Chronicle, taking a classic game reminiscent of Playstation gaming quality and placing it in the palm of your hand. Final Chronicle is the mobile version and runs on both iPhone and iPad, provided you have iOS 6.0 or newer.

Final Chronicle is the fourth creation offered by Playmage, who has given us several popular gaming apps, so it’s no surprise that it’s a huge hit. I was mesmerized by the quality of the animation, which is usually my focus. I also found the graphics and movements to be on target and accurate. Oftentimes free games just don’t have the correct mechanics, but Playmage has done an excellent job.

The game itself centers around role play, and who doesn’t need that. You are immersed in a fantasy world in which you must defend your existence against a myriad of destructors. The epic story is partitioned into six chapters. You take on a role as a hero or heroine, adorned in finery and vicious war gear, armed to the hilt.

You will partake in battles and quests. You will have puzzles to solve and traps to outsmart. The challenges abound aplenty in this game, keeping energy levels high and entertainment value maximized. I have never experienced so much energy in a game before, and there is no way to get bored, ever, because there is always something different to do.

Some more elements to the game that are noteworthy include:

  • A variety of options – there are several skill levels to play, weaponry to choose from, enemies to outsmart and fight, and quests to complete. Quests will result in the discovery of hidden treasure that you can in turn use to beef up your strength.
  • New types of adventures – defeat evil raid bosses and save fairy pets; invite friends to play and engage in Guild Wars.
  • Player vs Player games, where you can battle individuals and secure supremacy
  • Prizes galore – each battle offers a new type of prize and there are daily winnings; this was the really cool part

I found it a bit difficult to move from chapter to chapter, taking longer than in most games. It could be a deterrent for some to just close shop and stop playing, so maybe making movement between the first two chapters will keep gamers hooked longer.

Other than that, Final Chronicle is an unexpected surprise in the world of RPG, because for something that costs nothing, you get a treasure trove of entertainment! This game is also available on Android.

Santa Claws – Seasonal Gaming Fun Bringing Monsters into the Mix

The holiday season brings with it festive times fueled by fun. Along with the experiences, we often see a flood of games that can charm the pants off any elf. Santa Claws – Monster Mash is just one of those games.

Created by a chap named Gary George, Santa Claws brings a bit of merriment and adds a touch of macabre by adding Monsters to the mix. It’s not really all that scary, as the game is geared more towards kids than adults. For kids who love Halloween, this is a great mashup of the two holidays – keeping kids entertained and adults laughing.

The game is very similar to other kids’ iOS games like Fruit Ninja, but with different characters and goals. The basic layout includes various stages: Santa Claws, Easter Mummy, Putrid Cupid, you get the idea. Gary created cute takes on various holidays and made games out of them.

Game play is simple. Each game consists of items that catapult from the bottom of the screen. Players then swipe each item to earn points and stay alive. One catch – do not swipe the bombs. Those will clearly take you out of game play, setting you back to the start of the game. Each successful swipe earns you coins and stars, that later become extremely useful in unlocking hidden items.

The screen will always show your star and coin count at the top right and left corners. You will also see how many strikes you have against you in the lower right corner.

Options include being able to control sound and music, which is a must for those with kids who can’t hear anything!

Each game will have a different set of items to swipe based on how far into the game you get. If you miss swiping three items total in a game, then its game over. Each swipe of a bomb counts as two chances.

My favorite game was Santa Claws, of course, because who doesn’t want to put Santa into action? It was such a funny game and I never expected some of the items I saw.

What I found very difficult and what made my kids get frustrated was that at times, a cluster of items would pop up close to a bomb, making it nearly impossible to avoid swiping the bomb, making it kind of an impossible situation to get out of or avoid.

While the graphics are quite simple, this game was treat for all; it acted as an escape for all us when things got hectic. I plan on still playing even after the holidays are long gone. The themes are cute and amusing and help to bring humor to the chaos we so often instill into a holidays that should be just fun!

Efficiently and Safely Use Your Mac with Combo Cleaner

Macs are fine machines. Left to their own devices, they deliver superb computing power, freeing you from being fettered by slow running operating systems of yesteryear. For the most part, they are also very tightly contained, thanks to robust operations systems and meticulous vetting of apps that are “allowed” to run on Mac’s OS’s.

Yet, one has to think that with the advancement of computing power and the cleverness that so many hackers seem to be wielding these days, our Macs may be in need of some assistance to be thoroughly protected. Combo Cleaner is an app for Macs that I would highly recommend you look into if you are looking to keep your stuff safe and help your Mac run as efficiently as possible.

Sounds like a strange combination, but it will make all the sense in the world once you download and use it.

I was hooked when I saw the main page. The layout is clear and you can get to each of the app’s functions instantaneously and easily, thanks the icons neatly stacked on the sidebar. First off you get a dashboard view of the app’s findings:

  • GBs of storage used
  • GBs of free storage
  • Percentage used

combo cleaner

Underneath this, you get results of each function you may have run. This includes the Duplicate File Finder, Big Files Finder, Disk Cleaner, Privacy Scanner, and Antivirus. The app also offers an App Uninstaller which I found to be brilliant, as so many apps can be “uninstalled,” leaving behind so many files for that app that you don’t need anymore. Why keep all of those files if you are not using the app?

To start, I ran the Antivirus, just to see if anything popped up; and it did! Combo Cleaner found bad files and listed them for me so I could decide on what to do with them. I ran the Full Scan, because I wanted to scrub my machine clean. Other options for antivirus include Quick Scan and Custom. I would highly recommend a Full at least once a month, and an occasional Quick if you have suspicions.

After that, I went over to the Disk Cleaner. I have to admit, my Mac was not running as well as it was when I first bought it, so I thought, let’s give this a try. I was shown a few gigabytes of unused files, which I proceeded to delete. Once I restarted, my Mac was like a new machine.

What would be neat to have in Combo Cleaner is the ability to collect and draw data from reports it creates, just to see if you can find trends of privacy issues like time of year when you see more hacks, or map it against the times of the month you have visited more shopping sites than more work related sites.

Even without this extra, Combo Cleaner is a huge plus to have if you have a Mac. The download is free, and you can choose from several subscription offers to keep your Mac safe and running smoothly. It’s a definite download!

Coach Guitar – Learn to Play the Strings on Your Own Schedule

Playing the guitar does not have to be a dream that never comes true. Even if you don’t have a real guitar, you can still learn how to play a guitar using an app on your iPhone. Yes, I know that sounds too hard to be true, but it is.

Introducing Coach Guitar. It turns your iPhone into a guitar of sorts by displaying a set of strings on your device. What is really cool is that you can set it up based on whether you are right- or left-handed. A refreshing upgrade to so many app that are blind to lefties.

But I digress…what I really liked about this guitar learning app is that it launches you straight into learning where to place your fingers to create the notes you need. Lessons are based on songs you already know – think “Happy Birthday,” “Hotel California,” and “Diamonds.” There is a wide variety of songs to choose from that come with the app. Once you have mastered those or just want to choose from their in-app purchase library, you can select from an even wider set of choices. Each song for just $3.99.

I am not super musically inclined, so the feature that I really liked was the high definition videos that you can watch of someone playing the tune. You can watch their fingers as they find their placement along the strings and as the pick strikes each string at the right moment. This is shown side by side with the graphical display of strings upon which you play. You even get a pick with the app to strike your strings.

The app has different levels of learning packages for purchase, so if you are not sure of how big an investment you’d initially like to make, then opt for the Beginner level priced at $3.99/month. If you are confident to see this thing through to a more advanced stage, I recommend going straight to the Premier level to take advantage of more videos and songs right away for $7.99/month. Both are much more economical than a music teacher.

I started with the Beginner Pass, because I was in it for some basic instruction. I chose the most simplest of songs to learn from first because I like to start off slow and work my way up at a gradual pace. The videos that go alongside each song made it very easy for me to see what the finger placement would look like and helped me get started. I have to say that the videos were the highlight for me.

Another neat feature in the app is that you can find instructional songs by searching for them in various ways: by title, by artist, by level of difficulty, and more. This way you can get to what you want to play quickly.

The only downside to the app would be accessibility to songs. If you buy the Premium level, you get unlimited access to songs with unlimited time to use them. The Beginner level is not so generous and that, quite frankly, is the level at which people need more time and access to a particular song.

I still like Coach Guitar for what I do get. I couldn’t get this much instruction at this price from a live instructor; and besides, I have no interest in music theory, just in playing the strings.

Exif Viewer by Fluntro Masterfully Manages Digital Images

There are plenty of image viewers that extract photos from the sea of images you’ve captured, either from a device or from your DSLR; the question is, do those apps have the power to present those images in a way that is easy to navigate and makes image manipulation easy?

You need to download Exif Viewer. For a small price, you get access to all of your images that have been captured by a DLSR. The app then presents these photos along with all the goodies that go with – all accessible from any of your iOS devices.

Take all the pictures you want with your camera, let them download to your main iOS device, whether it me a Mac or workbook, and then explore and experiment from any device. Most likely, you will make your edits from either your iPad or Mac, but if you ever want to find and view them quickly when you are away from either, you can do so using your iPhone.

Our world is filled with astronomical amounts of data, that it take a special kind of app to organize and sort through it all to make sense of it and help you use it. The same goes for Exif. This app takes all the information that exists behind the scenes of each snapshot and creates the perfect stage on which to present it.

The data is easy to get to. When you first open the app and connect it to your photos, you will see a series of photo cards. Consider these your rolodex into your photo library. On this card you will see summary information about your photo.

Tap on the photo and get the inside scoop. This includes all the technical details for each photo, including speed, aperture, use of flash, ISO, device used, and more.

What is really neat about the app is that you use this detailed information to organize and find your photos – and believe me this is what you will use the most. This detailed information serve as tags that help you define an identification to each picture.

Add to this the location of the image and you have access to images instantaneously, as long as you remember where you took the picture that you now want to find.

The app shows each image as clearly as if you were looking at the original live image. It makes going through your photos and using them so much more fun.

If you are using this for work, then this is a go-to tool to get you to each photo and find out just what may have gone wrong, so you get it right the next time. The data points captured on each digital image is oftentimes not easy to find. Exif extracts that information and presents it in a way that is easy to understand and use.

One feature that really sold me was the ability to share my photos easily and be able to turn the data that goes with those photos off or on.

What I wait for now is the feature that will allow me to print my photos. I didn’t really find it that easy to do so now, but look forward to it being as easy as a tap.

If you use your photos in a way that is more involved than most snapshot savers, then Exif Viewer is an app that you must download soon. You will wonder how you were managing without it.