OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! It's here. It's finally here! Ironhide Studios released Kingdom Rush Origins. That sound you're hearing is my holiday week vanishing in a puff of extended iPad tapping. Seriously, the Kingdom Rush franchise are my favorite iPad games, and each addition gets better. Established as a prequel to Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers, Kingdom Rush Origins is a tower defense game. With the help of a mobile hero, the player sets up towers to defend paths from an invading force. It's tons of fun, with new tower types, new heroes, new monsters, and assumedly a new final boss. The iPhone version is $2.99, while the "HD" iPad version is $4.99 (I recommend it on iPad). You can easily play without making any in-game purchases.
iTunes is the only option Apple gives us for loading media onto our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from our Macs, and it limits the audio and video file formats we can upload. That's a thing of the past thanks to WALTR from Softorino. This awesome Mac app lets you upload a long list of file formats — such as MKV, AVI, MP4, CUE, FLAC, APE, ALAC, OGG, AAC, AIFF and WAV — to your iOS device without ever touching iTunes. Just fire up WALTR, connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via USB, and drag files to convert and upload them so you can watch or listen on the go. It really is drag-and-drop simple, and file transfers are surprisingly fast. You can try out WALTR for free and a license costs US$14.97.
If you are a woman who has ever purchased a pair of jeans, you know this process can be…fraught with peril. You have to guess at the random number that is allegedly your size, since it varies from year to year and designer to designer. Then you have to guess close enough that you don't get stuck in them in the dressing room, and you have to hope they aren't too long/short/wide/narrow/high-waisted/low-waisted/whatever. If you find a pair you don't hate, you purchase multiples on the spot, even at full price. You know. In Case. Well, Crystal Beasley decided enough was enough and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fix this. Called QCut (as in cut on cue), Crystal is designing jeans for you. And you. And you, too! They're all custom made, based on five measurements that include shoe size and bra size to help determine body type. This campaign has two weeks left as of today, and even though it's funded, you still may want to get in on it. Jeans that fit make an awesome Christmas gift! (Full disclosure: I know Crystal, and I am a woman who wears jeans.)
It's scientifically impossible to get too much Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a very good thing because it's now available for rent and purchase on on Apple's iTunes Store. For US$19.99, you get the movie in HD, plus extras like deleted scenes, bloopers, and behind-the-scenes details. Bonus: You also get an exclusive look at Marvel's upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. If you saw GotG in the theater, you know why you need to buy it now. If you missed it, here's your chance to redeem yourself.
I. Just. Don't. Get. It. Detachable keyboard. Stylus. Touchscreen/laptop/tablet/toaster/fridge. These are the features that have helped propel Microsoft's Surface product line into some distant nth place in the tablet wars, and these are the features Microsoft is touting in a new Christmas commercial for the Surface 3. This time, though, instead of comparing the device to the iPad, Microsoft is comparing it to a MacBook Air. Oh, and the kickstand. That's been a megahit packing in customers at the Microsoft stores in a binary orgy of 0s and 1s at a time. It gets air time. Every time Microsoft does something right under semi-new CEO Satya Nadella, the company reminds us that it doesn't get tablets. Anyway, here's the commercial. I do have one nice thing to say about it: it's a clever use of "Winter Wonderland," but the that clever use is wasted on an awful message.
One of the big issues among us watch geeks that are also tech geeks has been merging our desire to continue to wear our favorite analog watch(es) while simultaneously getting smart watch features. Seems the folks at Kairos had the same concerns and have been hard at work concocting the T-Band - a smart band for your existing watch. They've got three models, one of which even features a OMOLED display right in the band for $179. It's just now beginning its Indiegogo campaign but will fund even if they don't hit their $50k goal (but I'm guessing they will).
As a child of the 70's and 80's, I have a soft spot in my heart for Underoos, the fantastic underwear that looked like actual outfits for Supergirl or Wonder Woman or other characters. It was a tragedy when they disappeared. Luckily, not only are Underoos back, but they are back in adult sizes! Exclusively available at Hot Topic, there are eight varieties at the moment: Batman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Captain America, He-Man, Skeletor, Superman, and Wonder Woman. This is one of those times when you may actually have to brave the mall, they appear to be entirely sold out online and it seems the sold-out ones vanish from the Hot Topic site. While it's fantastic they exist, you may find it difficult to get your hands on them, at least for now. But now you know, and as another 80's favorite explained to me, knowing is half the battle…
Chuck Joiner was foolish enough to invite me to MacVoices this week (episode #14218), and my interview went live on Friday. Chuck asked my thoughts on the current state of Bitcoin, talked to me about the hardware and software I use for TMO and writing fiction, plus my take on renting software. It's 49 minutes of wannabe Ben Franklin nonsense, so enjoy!
I've seldom met a Bluetooth speaker that interested me, but I paid attention when Audioengine announced the B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker. This powered speaker can play music streamed from any Bluetooth-enabled source (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android devices, or Bluetooth-equipped Macs and PCs). It also has a minijack input. They have a built-in 24-bit digital audio converter (DAC), and they're designed around the Audioengine 2+ Powered Desktop Speaker. The woofers are made of kevlar, while the tweeters are made of silk. Plus, the cabinet is handmade wood (in three finishes). I look forward to testing this one in a full review. designed for the high end of the market, the B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker are $299 and available now. They're eligible for the company's 30-Day Audition.
The highly anticipated update for Monument Valley is finally available, and it brings eight new chapters to the iPhone and iPad game. The new levels, titled Forgotten Shores, include more MC Escher-like puzzles to work through with the same mysterious beauty we saw when the game was first released. The new levels will cost you US$1.99 as an in-app purchase, and the game costs $3.99 through Apple's App Store.
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