Friday, November 30, 2012

The Artist Picks: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Welcome back to The Artist's Picks. An offline dictionary is what's being reviewed today, and I must say it comes in handy an awful lot.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

One of the awesome things about the Internet is that you can look up any word, any time. No more lugging your dictionary around when the time comes to crack open a big technical book. However, sometimes the Internet is unavailable; you're out in the woods camping, or simply out of range of WiFi when someone asks you to look up what 'excoriate' means.

So I present to you the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the mobile counterpart to that big book that you likely have on your bookshelf in one place or another. This app has definitions to almost every word imaginable, and so far I have not run up against any words it doesn't know.

It supports voice search, and also has a 'word of the day' which gives you a random word every day. In case a simple definition is not enough, the app can also tell you the word's pronunciation, its origin, and it even has a built in thesaurus.

But the absolute best thing about this app is that it stores all of its considerable amount of definitions offline, so you don't have to look for Internet access next time you need to look a definition up. However, storing all this data does make it one of the larger-sized apps out there. However it only comes to about 120 megabytes in total, so unless you're really tight in terms of internal storage, you should be fine.

Like every other app I review, it is free and waiting for you to check out!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

App Bites #37: ARMED!

Today's App Bite will be the first App Bite to talk about a Windows 8 app. Exciting eh?


ARMED! is, as mentioned, a Windows 8 app and it was created by Sickhead Games and you can pick it up for free right here for any of your Windows 8 devices. Basically the app is like a much simpler version of Civilization but with robots instead of people. What you do is you build different buildings that either defend, heal or create units or your main powerhouses which are like your bases. ARMED! is a played through a turn based style of play over multiple modes including one to play against your friends online. There are currently seven unique maps, and tones of upgrades and things to build. The game is very fun to play, and seems relatively glitchless which is quite a feat considering its a Windows 8 app. I also love the graphics, sure they don't compare to console or other PC games, but they do look pretty darn good for an app.

So I recommend checking this app out, just hit up the link above if you can't find it. And I'm going to try and do more App Bites or full reviews on Windows 8 apps because there really isn't much information about these extremely new apps out there and I know most of you are curious as to how good (or bad) Windows 8 apps really are. So check back soon for more Windows 8 app reviews.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bing Home Screen Images

I just wanted to take a minute to express my love of the Bing home screen images. With so many people out there constantly hating on Bing for their various reasons, I feel that people who like Bing (like myself) need to express our opinions so as to counter some of the Bing-haters voices.

Personally I like Bing because every day there is a brilliant new picture on the home screen, and recently they've started putting the style of picture up where everything is still except for one part which constantly loops. I just love launching the internet as seeing this pop up first. However having said that I do use Google often for everything else other then searching. No one can really compare when it comes to Google's other services like Google Maps, but I do feel that Bing's home screen is better. Now I know you can put an image on your Google main page (I've got a great skiing picture up on mine) but it still doesn't compare to the pictures that Bing puts up for you each day. So for that sole reason I use Bing instead of Google for my searches. (Google definitely wins out in every other category though, let's make that clear).

Recommendations of the Week: November 28th

Welcome to this week's edition of Recommendations of the Week. Today we look at three awesome YouTube channels.


I want to talk a little bit about the pure awesomeness that is Vsause and by extension Vsauce 2 and 3. If you haven't heard of the YouTube channel Vsauce you need to hit up this link and check it out immediately, and trust me you won't be let down. Vsauce is this channel that does these great videos that try to answer questions like "What would happen if everyone jumped at once?" or "Why do we have two nostrils?" but the guy behind Vsauce does it in and extremely interesting way that keeps me captivated till the end of every video. There are also tonnes of other videos put out on the channel that show you cool things you can do or buy on the internet and other such information. The Vsauce 2 channel puts out videos about crazy things you'd never think of as well as recaps all of the weirdest things in the news from each month. And the Vsauce 3 channel is all about gaming.

I frequent all three of these channels and today I'm recommending that you do too. You'll find that Vsauce has a video for everyone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Introducing the Wii Mini

Nintendo made a surprise announcement yesterday about another "new" console that they will be releasing. And no it has absolutely nothing to do with the Wii U, the new console is actually called the Wii Mini, and it is literally that- a smaller version of the Wii. This new Wii is essentially the Wii, but without Gamecube backwards compatibility or internet connectivity. The only benefit to purchasing this new console (in my opinion) is the fact that the price tag is a mere $100 which would make it the cheapest console to-date. However the Wii Mini is only coming out in Canada, but I suspect it will be released elsewhere eventually too.

Brick Wars #46

I did something a little different with this comic, playing around with the angles of the set. Literally. I actually tilted the whole set and took pictures from my normal horizontal viewing point.

The script originally had the Jedi talking on a flat plane, but I thought that it might get boring after a while, so I decided to mix things up a bit. And I always do enjoy having a bit of fun with Panaka. :-)

See you next week, for more Jedi 'action'!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Apps Plus Comms- Week 11 Recap

Another week another set of commentaries. Advancements in our ongoing playthroughs in Mass Effect, TIE Fighter, Kingdom Hearts, and Battlefront were all made this week with new videos popping up daily on our Blip and YouTube pages. And we have officially caught our YouTube page up with Blip so you can see all our videos through either medium. And, as always, there is a complete set of links to all the commentaries we've ever done on the Commentaries page of the blog.

See you next week for more exciting videogame ownage!

Apps Plus on Blip:
Apps Plus on YouTube:

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Artist's Picks: Bump

Happy Friday, and welcome back to the Artist's Picks. I'm reviewing Bump today, a pretty cool file-sharing app.

In the eventuality you want to share pictures with someone, your only option is usually to email the shots to them. You could also post the pictures to Facebook, but what if your friend wants the pictures you took to be downloaded to their phone? Well, just start up Bump, and tap your phones together and you're done! The photos are magically transferred over.

Photos aren't the only things you can Bump. You can also transfer contact information and app suggestions. You can even transfer your pictures to your computer, if you go to and tap your phone on your spacebar.

I don't use this app too often, but in case I take a bunch of photos with a friend and want to share them quickly, it's good to know that I have it installed.

If you're like me and enjoy sharing photos quickly and instantaneously, go ahead and download this app.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Apps Plus Comms- Battlefront Part 2

In this episode, we start the main campain. Our first mission is on the frigid planet of Mygeeto, where we discover giant ice spikes and figure out the Grand Army of the Republic's system for ranking us troopers.

Commentators: the Cake Loving Artist and Ernesto Guillermo

Buy this game:

Battlefront II owned by LucasArts (which is now owned by Disney)

Recommendations of the Week: November 21st

Welcome back to another edition of Recommendations of the Week. Let's begin.

Wii U:

Now I don't actually own a Wii U, but I have very briefly used one, so I'd still like to recommend it. I always get very excited whenever developments are made in any technological field, so naturally I was very excited when I first heard about the Wii U. That was a long time ago though when we first heard rumors of the Wii U, and man am I ever happy the wait it over. I find the Wii U to follow along with Nintendo's whole innovation theme going on. Take the Wii, for instance, which was the first console to really implement motion controls and to bring those motion controls front and centre for the whole world to have easy access too. Or look at the 3DS, though personally my eyes get extremely bothered by the 3D, I still admire their efforts in advancing 3D technology and bringing it to everyday consumers. Once again Nintendo has brought us something completely unlike the competition (as far as consoles go) with the Wii U. And word on the street is that the Wii U is actually pretty awesome. So those are the reasons as to why I'm recommending the Wii U this week.

And don't worry non-North Americans, you only have to wait a short long time till the Wii U arrives in your country.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Apps Plus News- 100 Posts!

We've made it! The first official milestone for the new Apps Plus blog! Today we've reached 100 posts!

And don't worry we have no plans of slowing down. Keep checking back daily for more reviews, comics, commentaries and more! Remember to check out our Blip or YouTube pages to see our commentaries, or visit our Commentaries page to see a complete archive of all the videos we've ever made.

Apps Plus Comms- Mass Effect Part 17

A democratic run of the original Mass Effect for Xbox 360.

  • Lorl
  • Hatok
  • Ernesto Guillermo
  • Bryan, The Cake Loving Artist
  • Urdon
Buy this game

Mass Effect is owned by Bioware, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts

Brick Wars #45

Brick Wars returns! This week, we see more of BD-1023 and his new friend, the Protocol Droid. And...whatever could that silhouette in the background be?

It couldn't be the Jedi's ship, could it? Wasn't that destroyed? Are there even pilots aboard it?

Not to fear, your questions will be answered in the next five comics, as well as the story being wrapped up. That's right, the plot will advance! And before Christmas, to boot!

Very well, I'll see you next week with more Brick Wars--set aboard the Queen's starship again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Apps Plus Comms- Week 10 Recap

This week brought more advancements in our multiple ongoing commentaries series. You can check out the whole crew as we go through more democratic Mass Effect. Or join Hatok with this week's co-commentator The Cake Loving Artist as they enter a new world in Kingdom Hearts. And of course you don't want to miss The Cake Loving Artist as he advances through TIE Fighter.

An archive of all the commentaries can be found, as always on the Commentaries page (link at the top of the page) or on our Blip and YouTube channels (links below).

Apps Plus on Blip:
Apps Plus on YouTube:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Apps Plus Comms- TIE Fighter Part 9

The Cake Loving Artist does some much needed humanitarian work. Though most of his time is spent getting his revenge on a certain TIE Fighter pilot...

Apps Plus Comms- Kingdom Hearts Part 17

A commentary of the original Kingdom Hearts

  • Hatok
  • Bryan, the Cake Loving Artist
Buy this game

Kingdom Hearts is owned by Square Enix and Disney

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Recommdendations of the Week: November 14th

Welcome back to another edition of Recommendations of the Week. Today we look at another great book by Christopher Reich.

The First Billion:

I've recommended quite a few books by Christopher Reich in the past so it should come as no surprise to you that I'm back with another one- this time I recommend reading The First Billion. Much like Reich's other books, The First Billion is loaded with espionage and international business. The main character this time round is a millionaire who is trying to save his multi-billion dollar company from bankruptcy, and he's willing to go great lengths to do so. I won't say anymore so that I don't spoil anything.

So go check this book out, it is an awesome read.

Apps Plus Comms- Mass Effect Part 16

A democratic run of the original Mass Effect for Xbox 360.

  • Lorl
  • Hatok
  • Ernesto Guillermo
  • Bryan, The Cake Loving Artist
  • Urdon
Buy this game

Mass Effect is owned by Bioware, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Artist's Picks: Google Sky Map

Welcome back to the Artist's Picks! Today I'm talking about Google Sky Map, the app that lets you find any visible star in the night sky.

Everyone knows that Google has maps of the Earth, but what about the night sky? How will you identify that little star or constellation in order to impress your friends? The answer is Google Sky Map, a map of the sky.

When you start it up, it asks for your location and can find it through GPS, Wifi, or even your cellular network. When it's found you, it then displays the entire celestial sphere on the screen

The cool thing is, that it only shows part of the sky at a time. To search for the rest, you simply move your phone around, and it will show you the stars that you are currently looking at.

 This is a really useful tool for figuring out what the name of that particularly bright star on the horizon is ("What? It's Venus? Oh,"), and you can even use it to find stars thanks to the search feature that points you in the direction of whichever celestial body you choose.

It's absolutely free, with no ads, so go check it out!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Angry Birds: Star Wars

Yes today is the day, Angry Birds Star Wars is now out! The highly anticipated sequel to Angry Birds Space is here bringing along with it all your favourite Star Wars characters along with tones of new abilities for your birds. Angry Birds Star Wars is, in my opinion, the most enjoyable of the Angry Birds games and has brought renewed interest to the series for me and what is sure to be millions over the coming days.

You can pick this game up here in the App Store, or here on Google Play, or here for Windows 8.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Recommendations of the Week: November 7th

Welcome back to another edition of Recommendations of the Week. This week we talk about one of the best movies I've seen in a long time and possibly the best movie to come out of 2012.


Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the role of a "looper". Basically the year is 2044 and these guys called loopers exist to kill off, and more importantly, dispose of the future's unwanted men. In the year 2074 time travel was invented, but outlawed right away- but that doesn't mean it isn't used anymore. The mob bosses of the future have the problem of not being able to get rid of the guys they kill due to futuristic tracking systems, so they send the bodies back 30 years into the past and have loopers waiting there to shoot and dispose of the bodies. But then a new guy takes over in the future and starts "closing all the loops" which means that he has all the future selves of the loopers sent back in time to be killed by their past selves. The only problem for Gordon-Levitt is that his future self is Bruce Willis, and everybody knows how hard it is to kill someone like that. Of course Bruce Willis is back with his own agenda but I don't want to spoil anything more so I'll stop talking now.

The plot of this movie is amazing. There are so many different things going on at once- since you have the whole time travel aspect- which just makes for an awesome story (don't worry though its not to complicated that you get a migraine). The acting is great, music, and everything else is great too. One thing I love is that they did the future right. Most movies say "hey look, its the year 2044 and everyone has flying cars and there are giant sky scrapers covering every square inch of the planet and we habit all the planets, etc, etc". But Looper does it realistically, like the year 2044 is exactly like what it probably will be like. The buildings are pretty similar, technology like cell phones are quite advanced etc. Which is exactly what 2012 is compared to 1982. And yes the time travel thing isn't exactly the most realistic, but that doesn't come for 60 years in the year 2074, and hey maybe we will have time travel by then.

Looper also has the perfect balance of action and story. You get loads of blood and shooting and explosions, but you also get loads of plot and character development. And everything happens for a very logical reason, like no one just decides to take over the world or something for no reason.

All in all everything about this movie is great, and I definitely recommend seeing it. Its a 5/5 all the way.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Apps Bites #36: Happy Street

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I am a fan of the app Happy Street.

In Happy Street you basically build houses and stores and other buildings for the people of your street and you try to complete all the missions the populous asks of you. You can also craft things and go fishing and play a few other mini-games in the app. This is a casual kids game all the way but man is it ever addictive.

Happy Street reminds me a lot of the extremely popular app Smurfs Village where you build a village for your Smurfs. Smurfs Village remains to date one of the highest grossing apps ever- even though the game is free- because of a little thing called Smurf berries. These berries speed up times to build things, go you special items, as well as other bonus things and just all around made the game better. But you get the berries you had to fork over real life money, which has earned the creators millions and caused a insane jump in the number of games that were based of this simple philosophy. This is why if you look at the top twenty grossing apps in the App Market, you'll notice that usually around 16 or more of them are free and rely solely on in app purchases. And this is exactly what happens in Happy Street, except instead of Smurf Berries, you're prompted to buy Flooz.

Regardless Happy Street is still an addictive (in a good way) and fun game that I encourage you to check out. You can get it for free here on the Play Store.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Brick Wars 44

My! BD-1023 isn't usually that impolite. I suppose he has a lot on his mind, along with the stress that comes along with trying to capture the Queen of Naboo.

And just like C-3P0, this one talks too much about its feature list. I guess all protocol droids are alike, aren't they?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Artist's Picks: Flipboard/Pocket

Welcome back to The Artist's Picks, and happy Friday, by the way! Today, we're taking a look at two apps, for a change, but they work very well together: Flipboard and Pocket.

This entry actually consists of two apps, but they work so well together. Flipboard is a news reader app, which gathers news from all over the internet and presents it in a beautiful, easy-to-read format.

Flipboard only recently came to Android, but it is already one of the most popular apps on the Play Store, so you can get an idea of how great it is.

Pretty much you can set it to search for anything, (such as science, or food) and it will display the top stories on that topic from websites everywhere. It also has 'Cover Stories', which are all the top stories from your various feeds.

Not only can you search by topic, but you can search by source as well. If you are only interested in, say the New York Time's news stories, then just search it up and that website's stories will appear on the app. It's not limited to newspapers--I was able to get some of my favourite webcomics to update on the front page too.

It consolidates all these pages into one lovely interface, reminiscent of a magazine. At the top of the screen, the 'Cover Stories' are displayed, then one or two other feeds you have subscribed to. To change pages, you don't swipe sideways or press 'next' like conventional apps, instead you swipe upwards and the bottom half of the screen 'flips' over like a book.

This interface is carried over when reading stories too. I find that the whole experience is rather like reading a book, as you're forced to read to the end of the page, rather than constantly scrolling up all the time.

The second of this dynamic duo is Pocket. It's simply a read-it-later app, but it works well with Flipboard as it is one of the default 'read-it-later' options. If you enable it in Flipboard's settings, then you can long press a certain story you'd like to read then select 'read-it-later', and Pocket will download that story to your device to read later.

This is really useful if you foresee a long trip where there won't be much Internet access and you'd like to keep busy. Just browse through recent news stories on Flipboard, save all the ones you'd like to read later to Pocket, and boom! Instant newspaper.

Pocket isn't exclusively for Flipboard though. You can use it to download almost any media. For example, if I see a neat YouTube video I'd like to watch but am in a public place without earbuds, I'll save it to Pocket so I can watch it later at home. In that case however, Pocket won't actually download the video to your phone, but provide a link to YouTube where the video is located.

You can also save webpages for offline viewing, so if Flipboard doesn't work out for you, then don't uninstall Pocket until you have a chance to see its true potential.

Both apps are free and devoid of ads, so check 'em out and start reading!