iPhone Life Newsletter (5.11.11)

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iPhone Life Blogs
Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune Magazines Now Free to Subscribers Via the iPad Apps
By Jim Karpen
One of my main uses of my iPad is reading the news. I'd actually prefer to read all of my magazines via the iPad. And the great news out today is that Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune magazines are now available via their respective iPad apps for free if you're already a subscriber.


The DCS-930L Camera by Dlink Will Put Security in the iOS Palm of Your Hand
By Andrew Weiner,
The DCS-930L Network Camera by D-Link will give you piece of mind while away from home. This small and unobtrusive (not really detectable unless you are looking for it) camera will watch your home, your pets, your children, 24X7 and 365 days a week.

CaMeasure - Use Your Camera to Measure Size or Distance
By Jim Karpen
I'm always amazed by all the novel uses of the camera on iOS devices — from taking your pulse to helping those who are colorblind determine colors. And I just received a press release for another. CaMeasure lets you use your camera to measure size or distance.

Catalog Spree - Free App for the iPad Brings an attractive Assortment of Catalogs
By Jim Karpen
Catalog Spree (free) brings you over a dozen catalogs, with more to come. The app offers a very attractive and functional presentation of catalogs ranging from Nordstrom Lingerie to Filson (men's outdoor clothing) to DwellStudio (bedroom domestics). You can order from within the app.
News from other iPhone sites
iTunes-Less Updating May Be Coming In iOS 5
Gone may be the days of time-consuming iOS updates constrained by iTunes. iOS 5 could bring over-the-air updating according to 9 to 5 Mac, allowing you to install the latest software version wirelessly from your device.

Amazon Cloud Player Starts Working on iOS Web Browsers
Amazon in an unannounced step extended an olive branch to iPad and iPhone users by fixing Cloud Player access over the web. Having previously been denied access, iOS users can now play songs from Safari much as they would on the desktop. It works with multiple tracks and will even pause properly for an incoming phone call.

Gigwalk..the App that Pays!
I was skeptical when I first read information about this app, but I gotta say, it’s the real deal! The free Gigwalk App essentially pays you to run errands or post information about businesses in your area. A business can post small jobs that can be completed using only their iPhone or smartphone. A job could be anything from taking pictures of a restaurant or business to seeing if you were asked for identification when purchasing alcohol.
Fortune Goes Inside Apple
Fortune‘s Adam Lashinsky goes Inside Apple to detail how the world’s most secretive and successful computer consumer electronics company is run, from Steve Jobs… down to the janitor. And it’s a doozy of an article.
eReading: Gulliver's Travels   Narrated in English and Spanish!  Learn Spanish the fun way! Available on the App Store.  www.eReadingBook.com
Featured App
Monster Trouble
Magic Dream Games srl; $0.99 iPhone/iPod touch; $4.99 iPad HD
by Nate Adcock

Monster Trouble is 3D Tower Defense fun, and make no mistake, this game will suck you into endless hours of grinding gameplay. If you like TD games already, and looking for one with a medieval theme, high-quality rendering and effects, and a bit of campy humor, then this is definitely your game.

The main trouble so far I have with Monster Trouble is the load speed (and very minor trouble indeed). Each level takes around 20 seconds to load, which seems a bit long on my iPod touch 4. The game is around 108MB, so not a tiny program, but still not huge. The rendering is well done, but I have several games that eclipse this game in size, and start much faster (with 3D, high-quality graphics, etc). I grabbed it via iTunes on my computer, and sync'd to my iPod without issue.

Tower Defense is not my favorite game type, but I enjoy a spot of Fieldrunners now and again, so not alien to the genre. My big complaint with Fieldrunners (and simple TD games in particular) is that the enemy always does the same thing. Over and over, wave after wave. The only thing that really changes is the concentration and fortitude of the waves of advancing opponents. It's a lot like trying to stop ants from getting in your house, and after awhile is all a bit boring. Monster Trouble adds dynamic features to this idea (namely, a true 3D perspective) that makes it a much more interesting prospect.

The objective is still pretty simple. Your job is to build and provide a defense for something (in this case a farm, village, mill, etc.). Monsters will swarm in from various approaches to attack your location. You must quickly erect fortifications upon which to station your defenders. Key elements of deployment (as in all defense strategy) really depend on terrain and approaches to the target. The most important consideration being the location and proximity of your defenses. Interlocking fields of fire are key, so it is always good to position towers so that the combined firepower--close to each other and the defended object--will have maximum effect against advancing waves. The game has good tutorials to help you get started.

TD usually involves a time/money trade-off between force protection (upgrading your defenses), and/or simply deploying more cheaper defenses to stop the enemy. In other words, do you wait to have enough money for better options/defender types, or simply build the cheaper defenses now (sometimes you don't have a lot of choice). MT has several types of defenders and tower types as you progress through the game, and employing them properly is important. A hunter can shoot at greater range, but he has a lower reload speed than a farmer (A hunter also costs more).

Monster Trouble differs from many TD games in several key aspects. Firstly, it is more akin to a 3D battle-strategy game than with pure TD. Enemies attack the towers in a much more random fashion, and when shot at, will run directly to a defender to fight instead of blindly toward some distant goal. The game area can be zoomed back to encompass the whole scene or zoomed into a specific area of melee, and it is often imperative to monitor and interact in this fashion. You can move defender positions quickly (say a hunter dies and you don't have money for another) to respond to catastrophic failure of parts of your defense.

MT also adds the element of picking up battlefield booty during game play, which is another unique aspect of this game. As attackers are destroyed, coins and power-ups pop out (potions can be used as weapons, or to heal your defenders), and can then be picked up by tapping on them. This keeps you engaged in the combat beyond simply building and fortifying new defenses. Some monster characters can steal your coins, which require them to be destroyed faster than others. You can quickly kill such targets with a special weapon, or by directing fire from your defenders at them.

Monster trouble is plain and simple the best TD game I have yet played on iOS. The 3D effects and movement of both attackers and defenders is fantastically detailed (especially at the higher zoom levels). The added battle concepts—picking up power ups and coins—also make this an even more interesting challenge. I give it only a minor critique on startup time, and I noted that defender position selection could be quirky and unreliable at times. Otherwise, I enthusiastically recommend this game! Grab it here in the App Store for $1.99.
Tip of the Week
How to Convert a Phone Number to a Contact
You can convert phone numbers into contacts very easily with the iPhone. You can even add an additional number to an existing contact. Here's how you do it:
  1. Tap on the Phone icon from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the Keypad option in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Dial the phone number but don't tap Call.
  4. Instead, tap the Add Contact icon to the left of the Call button. (It's the little man with a plus symbol beside it.)
  5. Tap Create New Contact or Add to Existing Contact.
If you're creating a new contact, the iPhone will prompt you to fill out your new contact's information. When you're done, tap on Save and you'll go back to the keypad screen to proceed with the call if you wish.