App Store Review: Time Crisis Strike

30 03 2009

This week I got to play through Time Crisis Strike for the iPhone. This game has a great nostalgia effect on those of us who’ve played the arcade version.


Time Crisis Strike is a rail-shooter, fire-and-duck game just like his arcade brothers. Your goal is to stop the evil Wild Dog from his new (unknown) plot to cause mayhem. It’s a single campaign with 3 stages totaling 23 screens, and you face off against about a half dozen different types of enemies. Controls are simple, touch where you want to shoot, tilt the iPhone forward to duck and reload, then tilt it back to stand up and continue to shoot.


This game is a lot of fun, especially because it’s Time Crisis. Its graphics are good, and the music and sounds are all great. There were no noticeable bugs or gameplay issues, the game was very well polished. They also have five unlockable “Crisis Missions”, which each challenges you to accomplish a specific task, like only shoot the yellow soldiers. Overall the Time Crisis feel of the game is great, although it does lack the light-gun and foot-pedal, it is a great port to the iPhone.


The only drawbacks to this game are that even though you have a tilt-meter for ducking, sometimes it feels like a button would be much more useful. Otherwise, the game can feel short if you only play through the arcade mode once, but honing your skill at this game can be very entertaining, plus the unlockable challenge missions, or you can challenge friend to see who can get the highest score.

Fans of Time Crisis absolutely have to get this game. Otherwise, if you just want a good rail-shooter, Time Crisis Strike is the way to go. You can pick it up from the App Store for $5.99

2009 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Set for June 8-12 – WWDC 2009

26 03 2009

Apple today has officially announced the dates and opened registration for its 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple WWDC 2009 Invitation

Thursday afternoon, Apple has announced that its annual developer conference will kick off on Monday June 8th at Moscone West in San Francisco and end Friday, June 12th. Tickets for the event are currently $1295 until April 24th, when Apple plans to increase the price by $300. Last years event did sell out in May, with over 5,000 attendees.

This year, Apple is expected to show off a close to finished build of Snow Leopard along with a new iPhone hardware revision as well as a completed (or close to complete) iPhone OS 3.0. More information will be coming soon.

The iLife accurately predicted the dates for this years WWDC and will be providing coverage on the latest builds of Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0.

Updated: Apple has sent out a mass emailing announcing WWDC 2009 and stating:

“Turn your ideas into groundbreaking apps at WWDC 2009. Don’t miss your chance to join over 1000 Apple engineers and 5000 of your peers for an exciting five days of hands-on learning, in-depth technical presentations, and one-to-one code-level assistance. Whether you’re developing, deploying, or integrating with Apple technologies, WWDC 2009 will provide the insight and inspiration you need to take your work to the next level.”

Flip Mino HD Review

25 03 2009

I had the opportunity to get a review unit of (Recently acquired by Cisco, see last week’s Roundup) Pure Digital’s Flip Mino HD.

Flip Mino HD a

The entire Flip line is known for their ease of use, quality, and portability, but this is the first Flip to be High Definition capable, with a resolution of 720p. Since the Mino boasts a rather small size of 3.94″ x 1.97″ x 0.63″, and a light weight of 3.3oz, it’s really easy to throw into your pocket when you go out. It’s really great as a day to day video camera, when you just want to get together with some friends and throw something up on YouTube. It’s also a great starter camera for a tween, so that they can make their first home movies. It even includes some basic video editing and sharing software called FlipShare, which comes right on the camera. FlipShare is really nice, because it allows you to do some basic editing, like trimming and combining clips together, or adding a background audio track, and upload it directly to YouTube. However, if you want to use the clips in another program, like embedding a video into a PowerPoint, or cataloging them in Picasa, you will have to convert them first.

Overall, the Flip Mino HD was really fun and easy to use. All you have to do is hit the big red recording button, and you’re ready to go! You line up your shots, and playback your shots on the built in 1.5″ screen. Personally, I think it would have been nice if it was a little bit bigger. The camera also had battery life, you get about two hours of recording off a single charge, and you can record about one hour of HD video using the cameras built in 4 GB of storage.

Read the rest of the review, after the jump.

Read more…

Speculation begins for Worldwide Developers Conference 2009 as date seems to be set: June 6th to 12th – WWDC 2009

25 03 2009

With the end of March rapidly approaching, speculation is beginning to build up for WWDC 2009. Mark your calendars- June 6th to 12th Apple will be occupying Moscone West.

Worldwide Developers Conference 2008 Moscone Center
The front of Moscone West, WWDC 2008

Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, often abbreviated as WWDC, is an annual conference held in San Francisco for Apple Developers. In recent years, thousands of developers have gathered at the Moscone Center and notably in 2008, Apple sold out of tickets- which can be attributed to the success of the iPhone SDK. This year shouldn’t be very different, as the recent iPhone OS 3.0 preview and SDK update will keep new developers attracted to the already huge platform. Along with the iPhone OS 3.0, Mac OS X Snow Leopard which was announced at WWDC 2008, is expected to be near or ready release.

Moscone West WWDC 2009 Dates

WWDC typically kicks off with a Keynote from CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on a medical leave until June. It is still unclear whether Steve Jobs will present at this years keynote, which usually kicks off the conference. Usually WWDC is held in the second week of May or June, but was rescheduled to August in 2006. Curiously the Moscone Center schedule shows only one week long date reserved with the title of “Corporate Meeting” in between events such as Sun’s Java One, Cisco Live!, Linux World, Oracle OpenWorld- June 6-12. In past years, Apple has used the “Corporate Meeting” as a mask for their own events, keeping the dates secret until an official announcement is made. Interestingly however, there is another event from May 27th to 28th with the same “Corporate Meeting” title.

WWDC 2004-2009 Date Chart

The June 6th to 12th dates fall on the same week as WWDC 2008. Above, a chart of WWDC dates going back until 2004.

Aside from the Snow Leopard and iPhone OS 3.0 releases, Apple is also expected to release the iPhone 2,1 that has been spotted in sever logs. If Apple intends on holding the conference in early June this year, we should hear of an announcement sometime very soon. Stay tuned to The iLife for the latest news!

How to record a time lapse on your Mac using your screen, iSight or favorite camera!

24 03 2009

You’ve seen them before. The sunrises over the desert in less than 5 seconds. Someone takes apart a computer and puts it back together in 10 seconds. Time-lapse, or stop motion photography.

Time Lapse

Time-lapse photography is a technique in which each film frame is captured at a variable rate much slower than it will be played back. When these clips are replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. Time-lapse photography is the opposite of high speed photography, where a higher number of frames are captured than is typical.

But how do you start making your own time-lapse? Even if you don’t own a Mac with a built in webcam, you can start by making your own time-lapses from your built-in screen. There are a number of great pieces of software available- so lets look at the required setup before we explore the software options.

You must have this basic hardware setup:

*A static camera: preferably a mounted camera or camcorder via steady tripod or otherwise rested on a non-moving object- but can just be your built in iSight.
*Power supply: both the camera and computer will need a consistent power source, especially over a long period of time.
*Good lighting: especially if you are shooting inside, it is important that the lighting stay consistent throughout the time-lapse- otherwise it may end up looking like a rave party with constantly changing lighting.

Once that is ready to go, explore some software options for capturing your time-lapse:

GawkerGawker is a free, open source alternative to iMovie or iStopMotion developed by Phil Piwonka. Not only can it take a time-lapse from your iSight or other attached camera, but also from your built in display. That isn’t where Gawkers features end, either. Utilizing Bonjour, you can share your camera and let others to record from your video stream. Multiple steams can even be created from up to four locations side by side. Get Gawker here!

iStopMotion-While a little pricey at $49, iStopMotion, developed by Boinx is a wonderful piece of software that will let you do more than just create a time-lapse and offers a great deal of control of your time-lapses. Download it here.

iMovie 6– In iMovie 6, which was available for free until iLife ’09 was released, offers a basic Time-Lapse function. You can start recording if you click on the Camera icon and choose Time-Lapse from the sub menu. In the box that appears, simply enable the time-lapse feature, and enter the rate at which you want iMovie to capture video frames- which will require a bit of forethought. If you want one frame per second you would enter 30 (since there are approximately 30 frames per second) and from there you can do the math. Note: if you do not have iMovie ’06 installed already, you are out of luck unless you happen to have an old CD laying around- Apple has discontinued software and both iMovie ’08 and ’09 do not have time-lapse capturing support.

Make your own Time-Lapse– By taking a steady clip that was shot in real time and speeding it up significantly, you can essentially create a time-lapse similar to the ones using specialized software.

Once you have setup your hardware and made your software choice, you can start creating time-lapses like these! Also worth noting, an awesome screensaver titled TimeLapse Screen Saver can continuously create a time-lapse from a camera, developed by Oriol Ferrer Mesià. Download the screensaver here.

Otherwise, have fun creating your own time-lapses, and feel free to share them with fellow readers of The iLife.

iPhone Game Developer Interview: Nitako (Rasta Monkey)

23 03 2009

A founder of Nitako (makers of Rasta Monkey) Noam Abta was kind enough to answer a few questions for us to go along with our recent Rasta Monkey game review.


The iLife: First off tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and how did you get involved with designing games?

Noam Abta: Nitako was founded by me (Noam Abta) and Yuval Markovich and we are located in Rishon Le Zion, Israel.
We are both animation film makers and In the 2 years prior to starting Nitako, we were the founding team of, an animation portal which is also an international animation studio. In Aniboom we were heavily involved in the product and technology, so when we decided to leave there, game design seemed like the most natural choice considering the combination of our skills and the love we had towards gaming.
It seems that with todays tools and technologies, and the increasing awareness to the fact that Indie gaming could also be profitable, more and more people like us who come from either art or technology are drawn into this line of work.

The iLife: Where did the idea for rastafarian monkeys come from?

Noam: Good question. Basically the game started out as a pretty abstract gameplay. We were fiddling with all sorts of movements you can create using physics elements (like springs for example), connecting those elements together and watching how they behave and move when gravity comes into action. In a while, different characters began to emmerge and we chose to use something that reminded us of a monkey. Since we love reggae music so much (our office band, together with our musician friend, Nimrod sarda, recorded all the music for Rasta Monkey here in our offices), we decided we want a Rastafarian theme to the game, and the idea of Rasta Monkey was first conceived.

The entire interview is after the break.

Read more…

App Store Review: Rasta Monkey

23 03 2009


Rasta Monkey is a 2D platformer where you play as a (gasp) monkey swinging in the trees trying to collect fruit to make smoothies. It uses a nice little physics engine to accomplish jumps, swings, and some puzzles. You’ll have to contend with monsters and some tricky jumps to finish each level.

The game only comes with 10 levels, two of which are tutorial levels. The levels aren’t very long, though they do have a lot of variety. Each level you are given a set amount of each type of fruit to collect. The game definitely doesn’t make it hard to collect these fruit, and a lot of the time you’ll find you’ve collected more than you needed. It never penalizes you for falling out of the trees, which is a huge relief in some of the harder areas. All it will do it set you back to your last checkpoint, which are never too far off.


The controls work surprising well. You hold the the corner of the screen where you wish to go, and hold with two fingers to swing on the branch. If you let go of both fingers at the same time you’ll jump, or you can abort the jump by letting go of one finger at a time.

The art is cartoony and colorful, which fits the game very well. The music, even though there seems to only be two songs, are catchy and, at worst, can just be turned off.

The only downsides to the game are its intermittent slow-downs and some frustrating monsters you face later on in the game. On my first generation iPod Touch when the camera zoomed out I’d occasionally run into a frame-rate drop. It wasn’t terrible, it was still playable, though it does makes the game feel buggy. Lastly, certain monsters are just plain annoying to get past. Some are big and move fast, and constantly knock you off the branches. It gets tricky, you either have to move fast and nail the jumps to avoid them, or get lucky and have the monster boot you in the right direction.

For the (currently introductory) $1.99 price tag it is definitely worth the couple days of fun you’ll get from this game. It isn’t a huge amount of content, but the actual game has a lot of variety and was put together very well.

iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 7A238j Screenshot Gallery

23 03 2009

Below are a number of screenshots leaked from the recent seed of iPhone OS 3.0 to developers.

General Settings iPhone OS 3.0 Beta

After the jump is a huge gallery illustrating some of the most significant changes in the iPhone 3.0 OS. The anonymous tipster who submitted the following images noted that the build is plagued with a few bugs, but nothing too serious.
Read more…

Using Twitter on your iPhone: Tweetie 1.3 Review

22 03 2009

Tweetie is by far the cleanest, most versatile Twitter client I have ever used for the iPhone. Find out what makes Tweetie stand out from the rest below!


Twitter, one of the most pervasive social networking services has grown to encompass over 6 million active monthly users. It seems that everyone from President Obama to Britney Spears is now tweeting everything from breaking news to interesting articles and cool events going on. If you’re new to Twitter, or don’t have an account, you should sign up here. If you’re on a Mac be sure to check out my previous article on “Getting the Most from Twitter on your Mac” to get started from your computer.

Twitter Main View Tweeite 1.3

The iPhone provides one of the greatest interfaces to Twitter seen to date- arguably much nicer than the Twitter web interface or other Twitter (computer based) software- with its integrated camera, GPS (or GPS like capabilities) and multi-touch you can not only stay on top of Twitter but interact with it in new ways. Although there are dozens of Twitter applications for the iPhone platform, there are only a few that really stand out.

Twitter Profile Page Tweetie 1.3

Tweetie implements the full Twitter API- which means all the possibilities Twitter offers to developers is implemented in Tweetie. Upon first glance, Tweetie displays tweets and messages making use of the iChat style bubbles. At the bottom menu you can quickly switch between your Tweets, @Replies, Messages, Favorites and More- which includes “My Profile”, “Go to User”, “Nearby”, “Trends” and “Search”.

Twitter Location Tweetie 1.3

Tweetie is very simple, easy to use and works the way you expect it to. Everything you would want to do is available to you fast- starting with support for multiple Twitter accounts, updating your location, browsing tweets by location and even Twitter searching and trend viewing. You can view links posted in tweets through the built in Safari browser or even re-tweet the link! And all links posted are automatically shrunk with the service. Even photo uploading is simple, as Tweetie allows for quick access to your photo library or camera and will compress and upload each photo you tweet to

Until Tweetie came around in November 2008, Twitterific and Twinkle respectively held the titles of the best paid and unpaid Twitter clients for the iPhone. Although Tweetie costs $2.99, it clearly provides quite simply the best Twitter experience on the iPhone OS platform. If you are on Twitter, this application is a must have.

iStat for iPhone Review: Hardware Statistics, Information, Remote Computer Monitoring and RAM Management

20 03 2009

The iStat application is quite easily the best hardware monitoring application available on the App Store today.

iStat for iPhone Icon

Bjango, an exclusive iPhone developer team is a new venture of iSlayer who developed iStat Pro, iStat Menus and Organized. The team has also published a number of high quality applications prior to iStat including Darkness, Jobs, Cities and Phases.

iStat Pro Widget Display

For those familiar with the iSlayer team and use iStat Pro or iStat Menus already know why iStat makes for a killer iPhone application. Keeping on top of your hardware is a crucial- not only will it allow your iPhone to preform better but extend your battery life. While there are a handful of other applications that promise to do the same in the App Store and even Cydia or, iStat does it the best and with more features without question.


From first launching the application, you are presented with a well laid out screen with all of your vital statistics in a number of panes laid out before you. The first group is information pertaining to the iPhone’s memory. A pie chart of the iPhone’s RAM displays the Wired, Active, Inactive and Free number of megabytes combined with a display of Page Ins and Page Outs. You can also free up RAM by pressing the Free Memory button.

The second pane has a small graph of the disk usage on the iPhone and displays the space available.

The third pane contains the IP addresses on the Wi-Fi and Cellular network.

The forth pane contains the iPhone’s uptime, along with the past load averages for 1 minute, 5 minutes and 15 minutes.

Finally, the last pane contains the Unique Identifier and the Wi-Fi MAC Address along with three buttons “Email ID”, “Email Both” and “Email MAC”. These pieces of information are handy when registering the Wireless MAC address to a new network, or sending the iPhone’s UID to get an Ad-Hoc distribution.

While iStat organizes a great deal of information about your iPhone, it isn’t where the functionality ends. iStat can give you remote statistics on any Mac running OS X Tiger (or later) and connected to the internet. By simply downloading the iStat server and installing it on your computer you can start looking at statistics from computers thousands of miles on your iPhone or iPod touch.


The installation of the server is simple and can be found on Bjango’s website here. Once running, you simply enter a four digit number randomly generated on the server side into your iPhone, assuming all of your routing is in place. Once this is done you can now start viewing statistics of your Mac! The statistics are laid out in the same format as the stats for your iPhone, but depending on the age of your Mac, will most likely contain more information (such as the different network interfaces, battery or fan status and more).

iStat for the iPhone is an excellent application for monitoring both your iPhone and your Macs from on the go. Check out iStat in the App Store here, on sale for $1.99 (limited time only)! We would also like to thank Marc Edwards at Bjango for giving us the opportunity to review iStat.