Monday, December 05, 2011



8/88 | INXS #1 “Calling All Nations” Tour, The Spectrum, Philadelphia

Last night saw me sitting about two sections away from an electronics-littered stage in the heart of Philly awaiting the coming of a star rock band – INXS – an English (what else?) rock band boasting a sting of recent hits. Sitting beside me for a 20 minute span was Paula Dengler, a girl I’d recently asked out and come to really like. We could barely talk to one another over the din before the rest of the group showed up (brother Todd and Jen Simon) and within minutes the crowd started to cheer in anticipation.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


5/2/88: Exeter HS, notebook #1, p. 1: "Sportive self-expression can be prized because human nature contains a certain elasticity and margin for experiment, in which waste activity is inevitable and may be precious: for this license may lead, amid a thousand failures, to some real discovery and advance. Art, like life, should be free, since both are experimental." -- "The Life of Reason," George Santayana, Page 172

Beginning today, posting 420-character entries from my notebooks to Facebook and archiving here, dating approx. 1988-1994, during my high school (Reading, PA @ Exeter Senior High School) and college (Kutztown University) years. Most entries written in/around Reading, Lancaster, Kutztown, PA.



WalMart on TV: "We match prices."
In NC: "We DON'T match prices, even less so when you order from us online at a given price for in-store pickup locally. Walmart.com isn't WalMart, technically." HUH?


Today I tried in vain to place a simple order with WalMart for in-store pickup, using walmart.com to set up the transaction.

What I got instead was several hours of my Sunday wasted by a company who's website seems to be blind to in-store stock levels, and the manager of the Cary, NC store offering a litany of excuses which stand 100% at odds with WalMart's current TV ads.

Here's the steps that lead to my disappointment:

1. Visited walmart.com, found the item I wanted to buy, then completed an in-store pickup order for my local Holly Springs location. The website said all three items were in-stock, and I'd be sent a text message when they were ready to pickup. Here's the checkout screens:




2. A few minutes later, I got an email saying all was well, verifying the price of the items and their in-stock status.

About 30 minutes later, I got another email:



WalMart's own internal stock system doesn't know which items are really in stock?! Cancelled the order.

Note that the in-stock immediate pickup price for the items was $119.98, and the order was tallied using this price.

3. Deciding to try my luck at my nearby Cary, NC Walmart store in-person (the website saying there were some in stock), I walked through the door and hurried to the bike section.

Sure enough, there were three waiting for me! The price was posted at $149.99, but no matter. "At WalMart, we'll price match!"

I borrowed a cart, loaded up the three scooters, and headed to the checkout. I had copies of my email orders and the website price on my phone, ready for the cashier to complete an identical in-store pickup transaction, this time in Cary.

4. After asking the cashier to price match, he said he had to call over his manager. This seemed odd to me, since in the TV advertisements the cashiers in each line having the power to match, without an ad in hand, by voice alone. Even showing him my emails and the online price wasn't enough.

Manager "Frank" appears, and I walk him through the story. He immediately denies the request. Why? Walmart stores "never honor prices at walmart.com. We're totally different companies." Huh?

I tell him that I placed an order for in-store pickup from Holly Springs, and that the lower online price was honored. Only Walmart's incorrect stock system caused my order to be cancelled. I said I'd be happy to place the same order via any Internet terminal in the store and use my credit card online, which would make the Cary pickup request identical to the Holly Springs request earlier in the day.

Frank walked me back to the rear of the store and allowed me to do just this, all with his help...


Note the three items, in stock, ready for me to buy.


5. Together, we found the items via their online kiosk, went to add the three items to my cart that were ALREADY in my REAL LIFE cart NEXT to me, and the site said this:



Looks closely. Walmart.com says the items are out of stock online, and OUT OF STOCK at the CARY, NC store. Clearly, they weren't and aren't, they're right here next to us!

Still, he wouldn't budge. Despite the facts being right in front of him.

The facts: Walmart does not price match with anyone, even themselves, when stock and facts are right in front of management's face. Their ads are deceptive, and management's zero tolerance for living up to WalMart's TV promises ads up to a bait and switch. Frank saying: "Pay me the higher price and ignore my company's promises to match printed prices and our own in-store pickup system."

Color me a disappointed North Carolina WalMart shopper, and you'd be hard pressed to get me to recommend or visit any local WalMart location until management and their webteam/local managers get on the same page of their pricing and customer policies. Wall mart, Kmart, sears, price match, guarantee, bait, switch...

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 Business Promotion Tips for 2012

5 Business Promotion Tips for 2012

Like many people, I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. There’s something about one year ending and another beginning that forces us to sit up and take notice of the good, the bad, and the ugly of our situation.

This year, look beyond personal resolutions and instead shine a spotlight on your business. What does your marketing mix look like? Which promotions are getting tangible results, and which tactics are you blindly about to pay an invoice to fund in the new year without knowing its effectiveness? (Yellow pages, we’re looking at you!)

As 2012 arrives, make a resolution to evaluate your business promotional activity, make a plan to fix what’s broken, and be open to new tactics and technology that are proving to be profitable for local businesses. Then follow through and be consistent in the new year.

With this in mind, here are five marketing tips to consider in 2012 and beyond.

#5: Move more of your advertising and marketing budget into online tactics.



Today, your best customers research products and services online before buying from local brick and mortar businesses. People are spending more and more time online, and you need to adapt to this reality in order to survive and thrive.

In fact, the time your customers are spending reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, and watching TV is declining, while time spent online is increasing. A recent Nielson survey found that the average American consumer spends upwards of 40% of their day online.

Friday, November 04, 2011

What's the difference between P90X and P90X2? Find out!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Local Businesses: Get More Customers with Netsertive Technology

With more than 90 percent of local, Internet-connected prospects starting their research for local businesses online, the decision about who handles your online advertising campaign is crucial.

At Netsertive, three core competencies separate us from the competition to give you the highest return on your online investment:

Netsertive High Performance Internet Advertising Learning Engine

  1. Our patent-pending technology proactively targets your best prospects on Google, bing, and Yahoo, while capturing volumes of daily data across millions of searches to power informed campaign changes and maximize conversions.



  2. We know your business inside and out, specializing in a select number of vertical industries.



  3. We deliver personal service and transparent, industry-leading monthly reporting. Your report contains detailed, easy-to-understand data to measure the full impact of your online search and display advertising campaign on your business.



Our new blog post explains how Netsertive’s patent-pending technology gives you the edge to win more online advertising auctions, resulting in more visibility for your business and, ultimately, turn more leads into sales.

Contact Netsertive today to learn more and put Netsertive to work for your business.

The Basics: Online Search Advertising Auctions


Whenever someone goes online and conducts a search for your products and services in Google, bing, or Yahoo, a split-second advertising auction occurs.

In this precious moment, the engine decides which ads will be displayed (impressions), where they’ll appear on the page (position), and how much each advertiser will pay per click. At Netsertive, we know what goes into making the most of these auctions.

Three key factors play a major role in online advertising auctions:


Netsertive Wins Google AdWords PPC Auctions with Learning Engine Technology

To increase the chances of your ad appearing, and achieve the best unit cost, the ad should contain keywords relevant to the user’s search query, have been clicked previously by others, connect to an optimized webpage, and you’ve placed an optimal bid. As an advertiser, you only pay when a prospect clicks on your ad.

The larger your daily media budget for your overall campaign, and the higher your keyword and Ad quality, the more times your ads will appear in relevant results. Revising your budget to match search trends to consistently turn online discovery into offline sales is critical.

Technology Makes the Difference



Netsertive Learning Engine Powered High Performance Web Advertising PPC SEM SEO

With so many variables going into who wins and loses an ad auction, it’s clear that no human can successfully manage your campaign alone. Why? A successful online campaign for a business in your industry is powered by dozens of keyword categories composed of hundreds or thousands of unique search terms.

It would take months or years of data derived from a single campaign to most accurately see what’s working and what’s not. Even if you monitor your online campaign daily, you’ll have little time to “read the tea leaves” in your data and make the changes necessary to capitalize on trends.

Netsertive’s intelligent software records and analyzes volumes of conversion data flowing out of every online campaign we manage, spotting trends, suggesting bid changes, and more.

The Netsertive "Learning Engine" Edge



Our "Learning Engine" technology sits at the heart of our proven online marketing campaigns. Once your keyword categories are loaded into our patent-pending system, your budget set, and your custom ads designed, your custom campaign launches in your target market and benefits from the collective intelligence generated by our software.

Netsertive Learning Engine Technology Servers

Our platform continually analyzes conversion data, automating improvements to your hyper-local campaign to maximize your ad spend and keyword mix.

Netsertive Dedicated Account Representative Google AdWords PPC Service

Massive amounts of data flow into our platform daily, giving our Account Representative's the information they need to “tune up” and proactively modify each campaign hundreds of times each month. This level of optimization is only possible as a direct result our technology and its deep, proprietary intelligence.

In a recent head-to-head comparison to a national, our Netsertive "Learning Engine"-powered campaign delivered twice the qualified website traffic and nearly three times the ad impressions, while serving the ads in higher positions.

Our clients give us similar Netsertive reviews every month. Our clients see a doubling or tripling of website visitors within the first few months of their custom, localized campaigns, increased call volume, new customers, and dozens of new sales opportunities linked to their online search and display advertising efforts from Netsertive.

Grow Your Local Business With Proven Online Technology



With results like these, it’s no wonder that we have an industry-leading renewal rate.
With technology like this, it was imperative that we file a patent for our wholly unique platform.
Contact us today to get started!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Netsertive: Inside Track Newsletter Profile

Inside Track Netsertive Profile Audio Video Retailer
Netsertive has developed a patent-pending online marketing technology that helps dealers get discovered online, and steer potential local customers to them ...


Netsertive specializes in helping local businesses harvest online demand for their products and services; we work directly with top brands to support digital Co-Op display ad campaigns that increase product awareness and local dealer sales.

Small to medium sized businesses rely on our technology and online marketing experts to create and monitor customized search and display campaigns, which actively funnel qualified consumers to their local businesses. Your best customers are online. Can they find you?

"We know we are in a recession, but we are seeing sales increases."


An in-depth profile of Netsertive was published in recent issue of the Inside Track newsletter, a trusted source of independent, up-front, and daring news and reviews for local businesses and their product manufacturers in the audio video integration vertical.

Send a request to tmclain@netsertive.com to get your copy of the four-page article via email.

Read what participating local dealers and national brands (Lutron, Integra, Harman HPAV, KEF, and more across our verticals served) have to say about Netsertive's online advertising programs, and how online discovery is making a big impact on dealer channels, local market awareness, and sales.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

P90X 2 | Here it comes! Pre-order today...



Only from me, a Beachbody coach! All pre-orders guarantee delivery before Christmas. So, click here -- bit.ly/timcoach -- then click the SHOP button -- and you'll see a link to the P90X2 promotion.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"It's hard to compete with big retailers. But you can be smarter..." with Netsertive online advertising @ http://bit.ly/TVNets (Video) #sem





Watch how http://netsertive.com and its technology-driven, high-performance online marketing is helping Triangle Visions Optometry of North Carolina turns online discovery into offline sales.

Netsertive drives increased local sales opportunities and targeted online exposure to businesses in select vertical markets, including eye doctors to dentists and beyond.

Based in the Research Triangle Park near Raleigh, North Carolina, Netsertive helps small- to medium-sized businesses and their product manufacturers across the United States attract consumers and increase sales with innovative online marketing technology and a unique Digital Co-Op platform.

The company helps clients transform online discovery into offline sales using a proprietary, data-driven approach to online search and display advertising. Its patent-pending "Learning Engine" ensures that clients acquire the largest number of qualified website visitors for a given advertising budget, through select vertical industry focus and campaign automation. Netsertive serves a wide range of local businesses in North America, as well as manufacturers and brands that leverage local channels for distribution.

With a history of rapid-growth, the strength of venture capital funding from top firms RRE Ventures and Greycroft Partners, a world-class core team and a focus on delivering services to specific vertical industries with its patent-pending technology, Netsertive has moved quickly to the forefront of the digital ad tech industry. The company works tirelessly to leverage its systems to drive exponentially higher value for its clients than any generalist competitor can provide.

For more about Netsertive, connect to http://www.netsertive.com today, then connect to Triangle Visions at http://www.trianglevisions.com to see a visionary small business using the latest online search (Google bing Yahoo!) PPC SEM Internet marketing and advertising techniques to grow their business.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011



Anomaly Warzone Earth HD invades our iPad Games of the Week

Management textbooks teach us that sometimes problems can be solved by approaching them from the opposite direction. That’s the approach the developers of Anomaly Warzone Earth HD took to create this week’s top new iPad game, taking traditional turret defense game design and putting us in the role of navigating enemy emplacements on the ground. Do you have what it takes to chart the perfect course through a heavily fortified maze of alien turrets to take out the enemy without perishing? Time will tell!

Add in some more fresh “death from above” action that brings its own new “shock and awe” approach to taking out the zombie hordes, to a brand new 3D action game with stunning graphics to boot, rounded out by a music-focused, neon-inspired space shooter, and you’ve got yourself our iPad Games of the Week.

IPAD APPS REVIEWED

Anomaly Warzone Earth HD
Yes, it’s another turret defense game. This time, you’re in charge of our military forces, charting the best course through the maze of alien turrets, all to survive to fight another day.

Zombie Gunship
When the zombie apocalypse arrives, I want to be in the gunner seat of an AC-130 airplane, raining death from above. This app gets me so much closer to my dream, I may have to conjure another.

Get Outta My Galaxy! HD
Take control of Waka to restore peace and quiet in the galaxy, through lots and lots of high-res graphical… slapping.

Supersonic HD
Fans of Rez HD and Children of Eden will feel right at home in this music-infused, vector-graphics “tunnel racing” game. Turn down the lights, strap on your headpones, and trip out, man.

IPAD REVIEWS

Anomaly Warzone Earth HD ($3.99)

Forget about tower defense for a moment. Think tower offense.

That’s the fresh approach 11 Bit Studios took in bringing Anomaly Warzone Earth HD to life. And brother, is this app a ton of fun. The Earth has been invaded, and our military is overwhelmed. It’s your job to survey the play field from overhead, plan your route through the alien’s turret emplacements, choose your vehicles, and let each level play out. Once your vehicles are in motion, you’ll need to watch for random drops of repair fields, which you can trigger in the path of your convoys to heal them as they progress.

You’ll need to stay on your toes, plan the perfect path, and keep up the repairs, or it’s game over for you and the human race. You can change routes along the way, upgrade your units, move your forces over large sums of cash (with higher risk of death!), and be quick to divert enemy fire to save your troops at the right times. It all adds up to frantic, anti-turret defense action that’s wholly original, and super-fun.

Zombie Gunship ($.99)

Continuing this week’s “death from above” theme, Zombie Gunship lets you rain death upon the undead from the comfort of an AC-130 assault aircraft. If you’ve played the latest military shooters on any console in the past few years, then you know what you’re in for here: The hum of your aircraft and a grainy, black and white night vision view of the ground, with large white reticules to position on or near the enemy below, pulling your trigger to devastate your foes with all kinds of ordnance.

Wait for the reload, keep circling, and keep firing. Be sure to take out the zombies, and not your friends and neighbors who are running to the bunkers. You’ll need to zoom in and out, get used to the flipped up and down controls, and keep even a single bad guy from reaching your home base. If you’re all about AC-130 action, and you’re a sucker for zombie games, this is your dream app, just in time for the end of your summer.

Get Outta My Galaxy! HD ($2.99)

Fans of Super Mario Galaxy will feel right at home in this newcomer, swapping in Waka for Mario, and an invading horde of Wikus who must be slapped back into space for Mario’s foes. Each level takes place on a different kind of rotating, 3D planet, and you’ll need every one of your crazy arms to reach out and slap them into the vacuum from whence they came.

The graphics are top-notch, the action pitch-perfect, and the level movies and animations console-quality. Moving Waka around is a snap, slapping even easier, and picking up power-ups a breeze. Hang in there until more difficult levels open up, it’s worth the wait! Initially easy, the difficulty ramps up super-slowly, making the app a perfect purchase for younger gamers out there. A must-buy for anyone looking for a top-quality game that’s perfect for any age! Burning up the rest of your summer vacation with Waka will be time well spent.

Supersonic HD ($.99)

Fans of Rez HD and Children of Eden will feel right at home in this music-infused, vector-graphics “tunnel racing” game. Turn down the lights, strap on your headphones, and trip out, man. You’ll need to tilt your way through each level, picking up power ups and point-filled shapes, while avoiding pillars and other traps. The longer you go without making a mistake, the higher your point multiplier.

While the overall speed of each tunnel run is set for you, it’s your job to tilt your iPad this way and that to maximize your points. Half the fun is enjoying the soundtrack, which makes this dollar menu game a must-purchase. The only drawback? You have limited credits and can only progress so far before the game starts asking you for in-app purchases. Don’t let the opportunity to dive into a sizeable chunk of musical goodness-powered gaming for just $1. Trance out!

Sunday, July 31, 2011



Roboto defies gravity to lead our iPad Games of the Week

Take the hoverboard from Back to the Future, place a cartoony robot on top, add in 2D platformer action with 3D backgrounds, and you’ve just made Roboto. It’s one of the most content-rich, fun iOS games to come along this year, and it’s this weeks must-install.

Add in a gross-out-good puzzler, take to the skies with a spot-on remote control plane sim, and bring your best tile-removal skills to a new Mahjong title, and you’ve got yourself our iPad Games of the Week.

IPAD APPS REVIEWED

Roboto ($2.99)
Side-scrolling 2D platformer with 3D backgrounds and some of the best visuals in any iOS game to date adds up to this week’s must-install game.

Gesundheit! HD ($1.99)
Forget Rudolph and his shiny nose. Take control of a little piggy with some seriously snotty allergies in this gross-out classic puzzler.

RC Plane 2 ($.99)
Put away the balsa wood and airplane glue. Take control of a remote controlled plane and soar through the air from the comfort of your easy chair.

Mahjong Towers Touch HD (FREE)
Tile removal fans, you’ve just found your newest obsession. Mahjong at its in-app-purchase finest.

IPAD APP REVIEWS



Roboto ($2.99)


It’s rare to find an iOS game with a high level of graphical polish and top-notch level design. But Roboto proves that a little extra effort goes a long way. Fusing side-scrolling 2D platformer action with rich, 3D backgrounds adds up to a deeply satisfying gaming experience. The on-screen controls are crisp, with the usual movement stick and jump/fire buttons within easy reach. You’ll need to guide your little robot across 30 game fields, powering up walls, over massive jumps, while barreling along at top speed. Your blaster will take out any enemies in your way, while intense boss battles will truly test your skills. The controls do tend to be difficult to trigger in rapid succession, especially during the boss fights, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Grab Roboto this week before the price goes up. You won’t be sorry!

Gesundheit! HD ($1.99)

Snot happens. Young boys (and men who act like young boys) will find Gesundheit’s singular focus on snot and sneezing a gross-out-loud barrel of fun. In a Rudolph-like twist of fate, you play not reindeer with a glowing nose, but a little green big with some serious allergies. After your friends refuse to let you play in their little piggy games due to your “different” nose, some serious monsters show up with a taste for pork. Thankfully, they’re easily distracted by your green balls of mucous. It’s up to you to save this jaw-droppingly rendered city and its piggy inhabitants from a terrible fate, using your nose gremlins as bait to lure monsters into traps. You’ll need to hide, send balls of phlegm into various traps, and watch as the monsters pounce and munch away. There are lots of ways to approach each level, and you’ll need to master the “sneeze/hide/sneeze/hide” approach to grab power ups, magical StarFruits, and other important items in order to unlock maximum achievements. It’s 40 levels of… “ACHOO!” “Gesundheit.” goodness.



RC Plane 2 ($.99)

As a boy, I spend many a summer afternoon on the flight line of a nearby RC plane club, watching my father put his remote controlled planes through their paces. He’d spend all winter building, coating, testing, and tweaking his creations, which sometimes ended up as broken wrecks after just a few hours of flight. (Ever try to land one of these suckers?) Now we can all experience the virtual thrill of RC plane flight in RC Plane 2. You’ll get similar on-screen controls to the real thing, moving the levers up and down, left and right to control the flight surfaces of your model plane. The feeling of flight is spot-on, with a reasonable learning curve before you master the controls. Your dollar gets you a starter plane and places to fly, while a few more bucks get you even better planes and locations to soar. Anyone with even a passing interest in flight sims, model plane flying, and planes of all kinds will find lots to love about this app.

Mahjong Towers Touch HD (FREE)

Search the App Store for Mahjong apps, and you’ll find dozens to choose from. As a fan of this genre, I’ve yet to find the perfect tile-removal game for my iOS devices. Mahjong Towers Touch HD comes very close to being the best of the best, once you plunk down an extra $2.99 to unlock the full set of tile sets beyond the six basics included with the free initial download. The touch controls in this new offering are super-solid, which immediately gives the app a massive boost over its competitors. Keep removing tiles by touching the pairs in sequence, working your way down to an empty board. You’ll need to being your A game, strategically uncovering the right sets at the right times to keep the action going. The best addition? A counter shows you how many matches are available every step of the way, so you’ll never wonder if there’s anything left to remove. The usual reshuffle and hint buttons are just a tap away, along with undo and more. With 192 layouts in the for-pay version, a quality musical score, and HD graphics, this could be the best Mahjong title available on the App Store today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Online Fitness Club Marketing @ FitLife Club Network (Video)

FitLife Club Network Online Marketing Video from Netsertive Marketing on Vimeo.



FitLife Club Network, visit http://www.netsertive.com to:
✔ Leverage the power of the Internet for health club marketing
✔ Actively target new FitLife Club clients
✔ Harvest demand for your fitness services
✔ Maximize your online ad budget, get the best possible results

A turnkey Netsertive online marketing program will deliver sustained online exposure for your FitLife club. Our patent-pending platform guides purchase-ready prospects to your website and club location(s).

Custom Campaigns. Receive a one-on-one consultation to craft your unique online search strategy. Focus on your sales goals, product
offerings, local marketplace, preferred customer profile and more.

Netsertive's Key Services:

- Managed Campaign - Personal Account Rep. for Your Club
- Better Organic Search Results - Website & Optimization Audits
- Own Your Market - Search & Display Ad Management
- Informed Geo-Targeting - Mobile Optimization & Call Tracking
- Improve Your Campaign - Detailed Monthly Reporting

Leverage Our Expertise & Technology. Our "Learning Engine" continually analyzes online advertising data, automating improvements to your hyper-local campaign to maximize your ad spend. Our wealth of pooled, historical performance data spots trends and predicts keyword and ad placement impact, enabling us to make daily changes to your club's campaign.

Your Netsertive Fitness contact:

Buzz Truitt
Director of Business Development
919.890.3887 (W) | 303.885.1111 (C)
btruitt@netsertive.com
http://www.netsertive.com

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cataline HD purrs into our iPad Games of the Week



Dream Track Nation ($.99)

Many moons ago (Ok, 1985) I spent the best days of my youth creating my own race tracks inside Electronic Art’s Racing Destruction Set for the Commodore 64. Along comes Dream Track Nation for our thoroughly-modern iPads, and I’m glad to say that I can now scratch the old itch that is “make it and race it.” The creation module aside, the app delivers a fun, 2D physics racing experience across 60 levels of high-speed insanity. It’s the off-kilter physics that really shines in this dollar-menu offering. Roar around the turns, hit the jumps at high speed, and grab as many stars as you can along the way. Want a real challenge? Try the multiplayer mode, or go online to grab player-made tracks, then make your own. The initial release is not without its problems. Dropping right through a section of track several times takes the fun out of any racing experience, while a scarcity of power ups on some tracks that help you float or otherwise make it across a level in one piece can make for a 100% un-fun game session. And finding an opponent via Game Center was more tumbleweed and crickets than the head to head goodness that was promised. With some tweaks and an update or two, Dream Track Nation will cross the finish line in first place, no doubt.

Cataline HD Mini (Free)

This app has it all: A full port of Angry Birds’ controls and physics, set in a magical land full of embroidered felt castles, rainbows, and landscapes (so soft!), with cute cats standing in for birdie ordinance. Your goal? Launch your kitties into the air (propelled by rainbows!) and get them to land in the pool of water with a waiting fish, or friendly kitties with presents, and more. The artwork alone makes this freebie a must-install, conquering up fond memories of Yoshi’s Story from my N64 days (or even LittleBigPlanet today), with embroidered, soft fabrics making up every element of each level. (So realistic you can almost feel them through the screen.) Add in adorable cats of all shapes and sizes, gray unhappy clouds who cry rain drops (aww!), and tons of other cute touches, and you’ve got the perfect Angry Birds-like experience for young (and young at heart) iPad gamers. You won’t find this gem on the App Store’s top free games listings – yet. Go grab it and help developer Afzainizam Zahari get his 15 minutes of app fame. It’s well-deserved!



Allied Star Police (FREE)

Cheers to PopCap for teaming up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to turn 9-year-old Owain Weinert’s dream app into reality. While fighting leukemia, Owain worked with the PopCap team to create a super-fun tower defense/RTS game for all iOS devices, and it’s available for free right now in the App Store. The Flamions have invaded Earth, and it’s your job to stop them. Just like Plants vs. Zombies, you’ve got lanes of attack to defend. But instead of standing still and placing turrets and other snares, this time you drop tanks, sniper and machine gun trucks, and other offensive vehicles into each lane. They’ll roar down the game field and attack incoming baddies. You’ll need to focus your attention on the top of the screen to see which lanes contain Flamions, then spend your cash wisely to send over comparable vehicles to take on each threat. The action is wild and wooly, and honestly, refreshingly original. Boredom won’t be an issue with Allied Star Police. A must-have for any iPad gamer looking for a quick hit of free iOS gaming goodness. Thanks Owain, PopCap, and Apple for bringing this gem to the App Store to support a great cause!

Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad ($3.99)

They said it couldn’t be done. But Firaxis proves once again that they’re up to the task. Take a fan-favorite from the 80’s, upgrade the graphics and game play, add on a plethora of updates and fresh mechanics to take full advantage of the iOS platform, and you’ve got yourself a rousing success. Sid Meiers’s Pirates! harkens back to the original Commodore 64 edition, complete with the same story line, crazy hats, baron-killing mini games, and full-on bombardment of 18th century harbor towns from the deck of your ship. You can choose to dig into the back story and vie for political power to rule the land, or simply be the baddest, meanest, and destruction-oriented pirate you wish to be. The ship-on-ship battles can overwhelm your original iPad’s processing power from time to time, while it’s the mini-games that really grab and keep your attention. You’ll feel the familiar, Civilization-like “just one more turn!” feeling throughout the game, which is a very good thing. Rining up at a mere $4, Pirates! for iPad is a monster of a game that will keep you swashbuckling, plotting, and doing all you can to ensure Dutch dominance of the high seas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shadow Vanguard HD leads our iPad Games of the Week



Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard HD ($6.99)


Like its console predecessors, the first-ever iPad edition of the Rainbow Six game series brings all the best in tactical, team-oriented combat to our tablet’s intuitive first person shooter controls. N.O.V.A. 2 owners will recognize many of the elements, which blend well into the usual routine. A near-dozen single player campaign, where you sneak into a location, take out the bad guys (triple taps, please), and save the innocents. The levels themselves vary nicely, both in terms of the their play style and size (some big some small), and your pair of AI-driven squad mates handle themselves with great aplomb. Be careful to aim for the head (duh) and take out as many as you can on your own. You’ll earn precious XP, which gives you many unlocks, new weapons, fresh armor, and other goodies between levels. These items follow you into both multiplayer modes. So master the campaign and prepare to dominate online. (Which reminds me, where did I put my snake cam? Don’t head into the field without one!)

Pocket RPG ($2.99)

Let’s get one thing straight: Pocket RPG isn’t big on storyline. If you want a plot, read King Lear. No, this little gem of a dual-stick shooter comes off as a Gauntlet hack and slash clone, dropping you right into the Swing! Slash! Kill! action, with one interesting twist: Your character’s development is linked just to the dungeon you’re crawling at the moment. All of the rank increases, power ups, loot, and other items you earn during each session are available for just that level. Once you move on, it’s back to Level 0. Loot whores, be warned. Still, it’s a fresh approach, and it works well. Forget filling your bags with useless junk, or swapping out those level 0 spells for level 1, 2, and 3 as they drop. With six areas to explore, and several unique classes to play (each with their own save slot), there’s plenty to do in Pocket RPG, and everytime you pick up your iPad, you start fresh. Adventure awaits!

Reckless Getaway ($2.99)

Third person view racing fans, you’ve found your new addiction. Reckless Getaway drops you into the getaway driver’s seat for a wholly original experience: You and your mates just robbed a bank, and it’s time to get out of Dodge! (Strangely enough, in a vehicle closely resembling a vintage Dodge. Who knew.) The cops are always just a wrong turn away, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you through all 16 levels of getaway mayhem. Try the freeway, then take an exit, drift through oncoming traffic, and hit the dirt side roads. The physics are spot-on, with flipping police cars and other bystanders soaring past your screen in geometrically correct angles and speeds. Sadly, all of the cars in the game were gassed up within minutes of getting on the road, so there’s explosions aplenty. And with gas prices this high, that’s a real shame. The best part? You’ll need to try various crazy driving maneuvers to earn points. It only adds to the craziness of just trying to get away from the Fuzz. “Hit it!”

Onslaught! ($1.99)

I was an 80’s era dungeon-crawler fan. Yes, first of the paper variety (D&D, anyone?), but soon 8-bit incarnations of my favorite pastime hit the Commodore 64, Atari, and other platforms. Onslaught! is a love letter from this awkward era, when entering a virtual dungeon of wizards, orcs and goblins was de regeuer for middle school-aged boys everywhere. You’re dropped into a dungeon arena where you’ll need quick dual-stick shooter skills to take out the pixel-rich baddies, bosses, and lil’ bats of badness. The music is 16-bits of solid throwback goodness, with a massive play field to get medieval on the bad guys. The newest update brought a thoroughly modern HTML5 Shield to the in-game store, Gold (bling) Armor, and more. While away your middle-age, children of the 80’s. I’ll join you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pardot | Personal Online Marketing Automation Webcast

Personal Marketing Automation Webcast from Tim McLain on Vimeo.



Kevin Goldstein, Senior Account Manager at Pardot, takes webinar attendees through a quick, less than 15-minute product demo showing off the Pardot system and the latest features to date. Register for Pardot Test Drive here.

About the video: I sat with a Pardot rep recently via webinar for a great Salesforce tool recently. So excited by what it can do, I asked for their master video demo from their site and just added zooms and pans w/Camtasia so you can actually see what's going on. Yea, I roll like that. Gratis. Right back to you www.pardot.com -- overwrite the old zoomed out version. More customers for YOU.

Sunday, July 10, 2011



Swords and Soliders leads our iPad Games of the Week

Like a great summer popcorn movie (Transformers 3, anyone?) Swords and Soldiers offers up a perfect excuse to stay indoors where it’s cool, turn down the lights, and fire up some side-scrolling RTS, button-mashing, all-out troop destruction mayhem. With three playable classes to master, you’ll be unleashing attacks and enjoying panoramic battlefields of destruction for days to come.

Add in a fresh, high-powered arcade golf simulation inside Flick Golf Extreme, all-out melee action for nary a penny in Eternity Warriors, and overhead tank destruction fun in Touch Tanks 2: Europe, and you’ve got our iPad games of the week.

IPAD APPS REVIEWED

Swords and Soldiers HD
Pit Vikings, Aztecs, and Chinese against one another in this side-scrolling RTS troop destruction title. Perfect for wiling away another hot, sticky summer afternoon indoors.

Flick Golf Extreme! HD
Flight a golf ball into the air (“FOUR!”) then use swiping gestured to control its direction, spin, and more. With upgraded graphics for iPad 2 owners and some crazy-fun hole setups, and you’ve got yourself an instant classic.

Eternity Warriors
Put on your virtual armor and prepare for some crazy-great melee action on your iPad. You’ll need all the special attacks, combo moves, and heavy/light attacks to win the day.

Touch Tanks 2: Europe
Multiplayer tank madness like you’ve never experience before, Touch Tanks 2 will have you blowing up scenic towns all over Europe.

IPAD REVIEWS

Swords and Soldiers HD ($4.99)

When you come right down to it, a solid side-scrolling RTS iPad game needs just three things to make its mark: Excellent graphics and quirky story lines, at least three factions to pit against each other, and wide-open spaces to unleash ammo and special attacks against each side.

Swords and Soldiers HD brings all three in spades, with a silly storyline that keeps you engaged, Chinese, Aztec, and Viking factions with their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and weaponry, plus a litany of special attacks that rain death from above. Start with the mini-campaigns for each faction to get a feel for their side, where management of build orders and resource collection has been minimized, and the focus put on attacking and resource-collection presented in easy waves of action. Sit back, relax, and zone out in the comfort of your own dark room as this hot, hot summer continues.

Flick Golf Extreme! HD ($4.99)

Remember those mid-90’s McDonald’s ads with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird making trick basketball shots to win a burger: “Off the floor, off the scoreboard, nothing but net?”



If they’d been playing Flick Golf Extreme! HD today, they might have said this instead: “Off the helicopter, onto the aircraft carrier, off the F-16, nothing but a hole in one.”

The premise is simple, just like real golf: Hit the little white ball, chase it until it gets near the hole, then sink it. This time you’ll travel to richly-rendered locations (including an oil rig, aircraft carrier, and more) and flick the screen to launch your ball towards the hole. Whilst in the air, you can swipe the screen to control its direction and add spin to the ball. iPad 2 owners get an extra package of graphics to take full advantage of their devices, while everyone gets a full set of game modes, including nine or five shots to the highest score possible and quick-shot mode with 60 seconds to rack up your score. If you’re a fan of arcade golf games, Flick Golf Extreme! HD is your ticket to fun!

Eternity Warriors (FREE)

Freemium games are all the rages these days. They’re free to buy from the App Store, with premium content available for a small fee embedded inside the app itself. (The first one’s always free, right?)

Glu has essentially converted Gun Bros. into this new game, moving away from ranged combat into close-quarter melee warfare. You’ll battle across Udar with your Facebook and Game Center friends in tow, destroying enemies and then turning in their mangled corpses for coins. (Yes, you read that right.) These slay-coins are free, but you can buy premium gems in the in-app store. (Follow the money, people.)

Buying new weapons, armor, potions, and more will make you even more effective on the battlefield, where you’ll need to button-mash your way to victory. Fantasy fans will love the arcade-style action, while anyone tired of Glu’s reskinning efforts (Men vs. Machine, Star Blitz anyone?) may want to give this rehash a pass.

Touch Tanks 2: Europe (FREE)

Europe is ablaze with war, and it’s your job to man a tank and put your shells into the front, back, and sides of your enemies. The top-down view, solid controls, and power ups add up to a solid free game, although the training offered up a slew of AI opponents who pulled off one-shot kills far too often for this gamers taste.

Pro tip: Use the dual joysticks to steer and shoot, then use your finger to aim your shots by rotating your barrel. You’ll need to stay out of range and keep moving to take out the top scorers.

With 30 tanks to choose from, two-dozen upgrades to apply, both four and six player modes, and tons of maps, there’s a whole lot of free action to be had in Touch Tanks 2: Europe.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Top 10 iPad Games of 2011 (to Date)



The corn is knee-high, neighbors are setting off fireworks in the cul-de-sac, and people everywhere are spending more time at the pool than the office.

With July and mid-2011 upon us, now is the perfect time to recount the very best iPad games to date. We’ve got nearly every game type covered, with lethal shooters to family-friendly apps topping the charts.

So without further adieu, let’s “dive” right into the deep end and see which apps sink or swim!

1. Dead Space for iPad ($9.99)

Successfully mixing survival horror and first person shooters, wrapped in a healthy does of quality story telling, makes Dead Space for iPad the top game for 2011 to date. This prequel to Dead Space 2 is an original, must-play addition to EA’s franchise. You’re a willing pawn in an unfolding conflict between EarthGov and the Church of Unitology, and you’ll need every gun that’s near at hand to fight your way out of this one. (Hint: Play over a table, you may drop your iPad in fright!)

2. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ($4.99)

Anyone who appreciates video game as art will fall instantly in love with Sword & Sworcery EP. This app masquerades as an “experimental treatment for acute soul-sickness,” challenging you to double-tap the screen to make your way through the 8-bit fantasy landscape. Taking on the role of an adventurer, you’ll meet interesting people along the way, swing your sword, interact with the environment, and become one with this unique offering.

3. You Don’t Know Jack HD ($4.99)

Trivia lovers who aren’t afraid of some mild adult humor will be happy to find that they “Don’t Know Jack.” After playing through the CD-ROM originals in the ‘90s, I was totally jazzed to see this animated, pop culture treat coming back for more in the ‘10s. JellyVision’s silly-fun trivia questions are delivered with just the right amount of twisted, semi-adult humor. There are 20 full episodes to digest, making this a must-buy to power car trips and plane flights for months to come.

4. Bloons TD 4 HD ($6.99)

Tower defense fans, it’s time to get your monkey on! Your mission is to place a plethora of monkey-themed towers onto each play field, and pop all the ‘bloons (balloons, get it?) before they can make it through the circuit. All tower types are clearly visible on the right side of the screen, while upgrade options are perfectly visible across the bottom. Once you get beyond level 30, things get a little crazy. You’ll need to use the pause button to get your bearing from time to time, and the last few stages will cover your screen in some downright crazy mayhem.

5. Minotaur Rescue ($.99)

Earlier this year, Jeff Minter kicked off his Minotaur Project to recapture the retro look and feel of early ‘80s games with the release of Minotaur Rescue. Mixing Asteroids and Space War, this fun app puts you in control of an always-firing fighter, which can be moved around the trippy star field with a single finger. Your job is to avoid the gravitational pull of the center sun, while at the same time destroying asteroids floating through the area. C64/Atari 2600 fans will feel right at home.

6. Artillery Brigade ($.99)

In Artillery Brigade, you’ll take your place at the controls of a WWII-era heavy weapon, rotating your artillery piece a full 360 degrees to locate and destroy incoming German forces. Sometimes you’ll face light infantry coming in bunches, other times it’s planes, tanks, and other vehicles. The difficulty ramps up nicely as the levels progress, adding additional types of enemies spread out all around you.

7. Ultimate Mortal Combat 3 for iPad ($.99)

Take control of one of 13 different fighters, doing battle to work your way to destroy the dreaded Shao Kahn. Each avatar brings a fresh set up combo moves and gory finishing animations, and the button response times are finally close to being spot-on to allow for near-console quality gameplay. Add in same-iPad, head-to-head action, wifi multiplayer hook-ups, and an expert “take on Shao Kahn” mode to rack up high scores, and you’ve got yourself a near-perfect Mortal Combat experience for your iPad.

8. AR Missle HD ($.99)

iPad 2 owners, take note. In this instant classic, you can take a picture of anything – oppressive dictators, a broken-down car, your mother-in-law on the 9th day of her visit – and then shoot a hail of virtual missiles at the subject. The app’s AI does an excellent job of rendering “attack points” across your image, smartly locking into things like heads, sharp edges, even small animals in the frame, then letting you tap away to send up to 16 missiles at your target.

9. N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD ($6.99)

Offering 10-player online matchmaking, hulking mechs and other fresh vehicles, upgraded graphics, and plenty of “shoot to kill” Halo-like action, and N.O.V.A. 2 is Gameloft’s reigning champion of game apps. Kal is back in action, running, gunning, and strafing his way through massive levels, interspersed with choke points of action (think hallway shootouts and small battles in tight corners). It may take you a little time to master the hulking on-screen controls, and learn to precision-shoot using the tilt and gyro controls, but it’s time well spent.

10. BackStab ($6.99)

BackStab from Gameloft delivers an open-world, pirate-themed sandbox game that reminds me of Assassin’s Creed. You take on the role of Henry Blake, who’s out to find and destroy Edmund Kane, a fellow officer who betrayed Henry back in the day. After both arrive on a massive island, Henry sets off on a bloody quest to track down his prey. Getting from one side of the island to the other is where the adventure lies, and each mission offers up new set pieces and tons of button-mashing goodness.

Friday, July 01, 2011

“The 35 dealers in our Local Extend™ program saw sales ride by 17.5% year over year, compared to 8% for the dealer base overall--a 118% growth rate.”
- AV Manufacturer


Netsertive Powers Local Dealer and National Manufacturer
Search & Display Marketing


InfoComm 2011, Orlando, FL



Netsertive drives increased local sales opportunities and targeted online exposure by providing technology-driven, high-performance online marketing to businesses and their related brands. A Netsertive campaign will drive twice the qualified website traffic, deliver 200% more ad impressions in better positions, all at roughly half the cost to our competitors.

Unlike online campaigns offered by our competition, only Netsertive:

1. Knows your business inside and out, focusing on a select number of industries

2. Uses patent-pending technology to power every campaign, targeting the best prospects while capturing volumes of daily data across millions of searches to power instant, informed changes to maximize results

3. Scalable and flexible, enabling you to instantly change your marketing focus or add new locations, product lineups, adapt to seasonal sales patterns, and any other elements of your campaign (just call us)

4. Delivers personal service and transparent monthly reporting that provides detailed, easy-to-understand data to show how we’re spending your ad budget and measure the impact on your business


KEF Local Dealer Online Search and Display Campaigns
Netsertive Local Extend™




In this video, join Stephanie Scola of KEF and Jamie Sasser to see how Netsertive drives increased local sales opportunities and targeted online exposure to KEF USA by providing technology-driven, high-performance online marketing to businesses and their related brands. More @ http://www.netsertive.com.

Netsertive works directly with top brands in select vertical industries, creating digital Co-Op display campaigns that increase brand and product awareness.

Participating dealers then proactively harvest demand for your products in their local markets.

 Our patent-pending platform effectively funnels qualified sales leads for your products by targeting consumers through contextually relevant websites and directing them to their nearest dealer. Our clients average over a 100% increase in defined search conversions when a targeted Local Extend™ campaign is applied.

Our experts will place your brand's digital display ads on contextually relevant websites, while the ever-expanding pool of shared campaign data inside our "Learning Engine" enables us to maximize conversions.

Netsertive's Local Extend™ program enables manufacturers to provide dealers with turnkey, locally-targeted online marketing campaigns pre-loaded with high-impact display (banner) ads.



Drive Sales. Your co-branded display ads will raise brand and product awareness, directing qualified customers to dealer websites and physical locations to effectively channel online discovery into offline sales. Our campaigns will increase mindshare and goodwill in your dealer network, providing your sales channel with a ready-made tool for boosting revenue.

Leverage Technology. Every Netsertive campaign actively targets new customers who are seeking your products via search engines and industry-specific websites, then proactively harvests this demand to boost dealer website traffic and offline sales.

Our "Learning Engine" continually analyzes online conversion data, automating improvements to all of our hyper-local, brand-specific campaigns.

Unlike generalist marketing solutions, Netsertive knows that no two businesses are alike. We believe that delivering sustained, long-term results can only be achieved through a deep understanding of your industry. Our commitment to this specialized approach led us to hire a team of industry experts. Comprehensive knowledge of your business, plus real-world insight into the best practices for attracting the most qualified buyers, combines to produce superior results.

More @ http;//www.netsertive.com

Sunday, June 19, 2011



Ultimate Mortal Combat 3 brutalizes our iPad Games of the Week

Whether it was at the arcade or back at home on an early console (N64 anyone?), Mortal Combat was the ultimate action kung-fu game of last century, letting us “finish” our opponents in crazy-gory ways, and sending our parents into fits of worry over our glee at each bloody kill. It was the first game I recall actively seeking out combo sequences in gaming magazines and from friends to master each finishing move, committing each to memory where those math lessons were just taking up space. (Oops.)

Bloody arcade action isn’t all we have in store for you this week. Hospital Haste HD will help you cure the ills of incoming patients and our healthcare system inside a free, fun app, while Carcassonne brings this European-classic to our iPad’s after a very long wait. Finally, Dog vs Cat is the perfect free game for your summer travels with the kids.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.


IPAD APPS REVIEWED


Ultimate Mortal Combat 3 for iPad
“Finish him!” Relive the brutal combos and brutal finishing moves of this 20th Century classic on your tablet.

Hospital Haste HD
Fresh out of med school, you’ll need to keep your wits about you to heal the incoming patients in this well-made freebie.

Carcassonne
Arguably the best board game available on the iPad to date. Put all 71 tiles to use to take over the land and put your Meeples in the right spots to win.

Dog vs Cat -- Fish Guard
Cats love fish, and the dog is out to stop every feline from eating these little chickens of the sea. Perfect car trip app for the little ones!

IPAD REVIEWS

Ultimate Mortal Combat 3 for iPad ($.99)


It’s time to put the original Mortal Combat 3 app behind us. With a much-needed revisions, crash-fixes, and better button response times, the Ultimate for iPad edition finally lives up to our Mortal Combat expectations of yore. Back in the day, this black-cartridge 2D fantasy fighting game was the pinnacle of “bad boy” titles for the N64 and other platforms.

Taking control of one of 13 different fighters, it’s up to you to battle your way through your opponents to reach the dreaded Shao Kahn. Each player brings a fresh set up combo moves and crazy-gory finishing animations, and the button response times are finally close to being spot-on to allow for near-console quality gameplay. Add in same-iPad, head-to-head action (get cozy, you’ll need to get close to one another), wifi multiplayer hook-ups, and an expert “take on Shao Kahn” mode to rack up high scores, and you’ve got yourself a near-perfect Mortal Combat experience for your iPad.

Hospital Haste HD (Free)

Do your kids want to be doctors or clinic administrators when they grow up? Good, because Hospital Haste HD will give them a real taste of in-taking patients, treating their odd diseases, cleaning up after them, then sending them on their way. You’ll need to get patients to their rooms – STAT – then bring them a chart, medicines, and let them heal. Once they’re well again, they’ll take off, leaving dirty linen to clean up. You’ll need to be alert and precise in your moves to serve each patient; take too long, and off they’ll go, bill unpaid, dirty laundry to be done. An excellent, free time-sink for any road trip this summer.

Carcassonne ($9.99)

As an admittedly addicted Xbox player of this classic title, I was happy to see the iPad version hit the App Store so I could take the app on the road with me this summer. And the new version, while not as deep as its Xbox cousin, does provide the basic flavor of the original on my tablet.

The goal of Carcassonne is to put 71 different tiles to use to take over the land, then place your Meeples in the right spots to win. Each tile gives you a piece of road, structures, cloisters and fields to place. You’ll want to get them close together, with each landmark aligning to maximize your point gains. The real fun comes in pieces ever-larger cities together, placing Meeples inside, then closing off the walls for maximum size and points when complete. Since, like most games, your pieces are given to you in random order, you’ll need to be tactical with each and every placement, holding your breath while your four opponents place their tiles in turn.

Do the tutorial – twice – to be sure you grasp the importance of your Meeples placements. They’ll make the different between a so-so round and supreme victory. Trust me.

Dog vs Cat -- Fish Guard (Free)

Free and fun? Sign me up! The cats are crashing the kitchen, desparate (as always) to reach the fish bowl of goodness on top of the fridge. As the dog of the house, you’ll need to strap into little Timmy’s toy helicopter to hover nearby, your bone machine gun at the ready to pop the balloons each kitty is floating on to reach the fish bowl.

Your kids will get a ton of laughs from this little gem, watching the little kitty’s fall from various heights as your bones pop their rides. Paced in little chapters just like Angry Birds, it’s a free, fun little app that’s a must-install before your next summer travel spree. Go, dog, go!

Sunday, June 12, 2011



Pirate Subs! explodes into our iPad Games of the Week

Fill your summer with these casual games without breaking the bank!

First, forget Jack Sparrow, Blackbeard, and those other moldy oldy pirates. Today’s ocean-going swashbucklers are better organized, hunt in packs, and use the latest submarine technology to plunder unsuspecting victims. That’s the premise of Pirate Subs, which brings a fresh dual-attack mode to your Apple tablet, along with an eerily familiar soundtrack (Pirates of the Caribbean, anyone?)

The rest of our weekly roundup is a 100% free set of “quick to pickup but hard to put down” sports-related gems, offering table tennis, running, and baseball experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.

APPS REVIEWED

Pirate Subs!
Tap then swipe your way through a never-ending stream of pirate submarines. Torpedo’s and cruise missiles at the ready!

World Cup Table Tennis HD
Away from your favorite ping pong table? Get your fix in this free, fun app.

Run Run Dash!
Take the role of an 8-bit, pixelated Cary Grant, dodging falling bids and grabbing power ups. Run, run, dash!

XLARGE “X-Baseball”
Another 8-bit freebie, offering a clean, easy baseball experience on-the-go.

IPAD REVIEWS

Pirate Subs! ($.99)

If you’ve seen the new X-Men movie, then you’re ready for Pirate Subs! In this dollar menu explosion-fest, you’ll tap on underwater pirate subs to launch them above the water (no magnetic super powers necessary), then swipe across the airborne swashbucklers to send a deadly cruise missile into their hulls. BOOM! Rinse and repeat.

Avoid the whales and dog-paddling polar bears to keep the game going, and combine your attacks into multiple explosions to boost your score. The game goes even deeper, offering five ways to destroy your foes. Classic mode is a never-ending mode to kick things off. Next is timed mode, where you get a single minute to rain death on the subs. Expert mode cranks things up to 11 in terms of toughness, while Zen mode takes the underwater animals out of the mix so you can’t accidentally kill a creature.

Cheat mode, folks, is where the real fun lies. Turn off gravity, attack only mini-subs, invincibility, crazy-huge uber blasts, and more await. No score is recorded when you cheat, but the fun factor is boosted by 10,000%. Trust me.

World Cup Table Tennis HD (FREE)

I’ve worked at several Internet startups over the years. They all sported at least one ping pong table. I’m happy to report that despite my ho-hum table tennis skills that this new free app does an excellent job recreating the whole paddle and little white ball experience.

It’s you against a disembodied opponent, and you’ll need to simply drag your finger around the screen to get your paddle in the right place at the right time. Your iPad will decide when you’ll smash a return or drop a shot in just the right spot. AI mode was a blast, while head to head lets you play against a fellow human on the same device. Career mode opens up a set of countries to play against, with some players much better than others. Tournament Mode lets you pick a country to play for, then blast your way through a traditional set of brackets.

Finally, Arcade Mode folds up half a table which is marked with specific spots to hit with your ball. While some shots go awry for no reason I could discern, overall this is a freebie that will feed your need for ping pong goodness anywhere.

Run Run Dash! (FREE)

Taking its cues equally from two Hitchcock movies (an 8-bit, angry Cary Grant if he ran from “The Birds” anyone?) and Pixar’s “Bird On A Wire” animated short, this freebie will have you dodging dive-bombing blue birds while running from side to side, gathering power ups and generally trying to stay alive.

With squished 8-bit graphics and an 80’s electronic soundtrack to round things off, there’s a ton of fun to be had in this freebie. How long can you avoid the inevitable? New birds continually land on the wire above, and you’ll need to bring your A game to dodge them all. A poolside time killer that’s worth an install, even if you find it isn’t your cup of tea. Run, run, dash your way to the App Store!

XLARGE “X-Baseball” (FREE)

Another 8-bit gem that will appeal to arcade game baseball fans and iPad owners in general, XLARGE X-Baseball is a hoot from start to finish. (And, trust me, there’s not much difference between the two!)

You’re at the plate, facing a pitcher and open ball field. Above you, birds cross your field of view. Below them is a happy crowd of spectators. Tap the screen anywhere to swing the bat; land a solid hit, and the ball will cruise up into the air and take out a bird. Score! That’s all there is to it. How many birds can you take out before you strike out?

With a fun sound effects track that will take you back to the golden age of Intellivision and the Atari 2600, this is a must-install for old timers and younglings looking for some quick, free fun this summer.

Sunday, June 05, 2011



Cube It 3D stacks our iPad Games of the Week

Edutainment: A form of entertainment designed to educate as well as amuse. This week, meet the living definition of the word inside Cube It 3D Free. Brush up on your spatial abilities by simply adding and removing cubes from each structure. Sounds easy, right? It is, up to a point. Perfect for kids as well as adults!

Jumping game fans will fly to heaven after playing Jump and Fly for a few minutes (or hours!), while art and puzzle gamers will find Feed Me Oil HD to be downright slick. Finally, Companions brings top-notch dungeon crawling RPG goodness to our Apple tables. Watch out Detexx, I’m coming for you!

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.

APPS REVIEWED

Cube It 3D Free
Stack, removed, and add 3D blocks to polish your spatial abilities with this fun, educational app from SlickClick.

Jump and Fly
Diesel’s Puppet’s newest addition to the platform jumper genre is a dollar menu must-have. Jump, jump!

Feed Me Oil HD
This slick puzzler challenges gamers to channel black gold into the mouths of hungry oil-eaters.

Companions
Dungeon crawler fans looking for a combo Gauntlet-tactical RPG game will feel right at home in this instant classic.

IPAD REVIEWS

Cube It 3D Free (FREE)

The next time you have a few minutes to burn, you’ll be faced with a choice: spend it mindlessly blasting some baddies or jumping ever-higher between platforms, or work on your 3D spatial skills.

Cube It 3D Free is one of the first edutainment apps to hold my family’s attention, keeping father and son glued to our shared tablet for more than an hour at a time. You’re confronted with stacked cubes of various colors and sporting different designs. The goal? Make the group on the right side of the screen match the one on the left. You’ll need to zoom in and out, then add and remove blocks to complete the puzzle. It’s a right-brain intensive app that may very well enhance your creativity as well as bolstering your spatial abilities.

Jump and Fly ($.99)

Yes, friends, the good people at Diesel Puppet are serving up a fresh helping of platform jumping goodness, and at a dollar menu price, it’s the perfect companion to your next fast food lunch. All the usual elements of jump game success are here – platforms, clouds, fans, springboards, and other elements to launch you ever-higher, along with a cute main character and (honestly) the most sensitive accelerometer code I’ve ever experienced.

You’ll barely need to tilt your iPad to get this wingless (but not flightless) little guy from location to location. Toss in a hearty helping of moving and time-bomb platforms, the ability to jump through the sides of your screen only to reappear on the other, plus power ups and other helpful collectables, and you’ve got yourself a must-have app that jumps to the top of the heap.



Feed Me Oil HD ($1.99)

Leave it to Chillingo and HolyWater Games to turn our angst over high crude oil prices and channel it into a mind-bending puzzle game that’s two parts art to one part physics game, with just a dash of hyper-realistic oozy/gooey oil (World of Goo anyone?) baked in as icing on the cake. Your goal is simple: Guide time Texas-tea from the broken pipe, across the play field, and into the waiting maw of each hungry oil-eater. That’s right, I said EAT. As in Nom nom.

You’ll employ things like wind, oil magnets, windmills, fans, platforms, and other objects to push, pull, or actively fling the dinosaur and plant remains across the screen. The fewer objects you use to channel the flow, the more points you’ll score. And once your items are in place, you’ll have to tweak them seven ways from Sunday to get the flow just right. With an unround 49 levels to tackle, and four bonus levels unlocked as you earn points/stars along the way, there’s more than enough bubbling crude-goodness to go around for the low-low price of two sawbucks.

Companions ($4.99)

I’ve lost count of the number of dungeons I’ve crawled over the years. Add in never-ending catacombs from titles like Gauntlet, and there’s been more loot pillaged and ranged/melee weapons deployed by my magic users, archers, tanks, and humans that I could shake a stick at.

That’s why Companions was a must-download for this RPG fan, and I’m happy to say that if you’re looking for a Gauntlet experience that lets you control four party members simultaneously, crawling your way through never-ending dark and dangerous underground locations, then this game is for you. Ignore the tutorial and jump right into the campaign, where the difficulty of the controls and action ramp up considerably within the first few minutes of play.

Be sure to take advantage of the tactical pause feature if things get out of control, and the hint system (despite 30 second pauses between each) is sure to get you out of the toughest spots. The main campaign will keep you engaged for weeks to come, while survival mode will challenge your skills to stay alive as long as possible. If you’re willing to tough out the trial by fire introduction to the controls you’ll come to appreciate the top-quality game that is Companions. Have at it!

Sunday, May 29, 2011



KAMI RETRO HD jumps into our iPad Games of the Week

“Feed me, Seymour!” Fans of 1980’s Broadway musicals (“Little Shop of Horrors, anyone?) and pixelated arcade gaming will fall for KAMI RETRO HD. Hard. Pro tip? Try not to take a tumble in this stunner, positioning fans, springs, and other objects across each level, helping your ever-faithful troops make their way from one end to the other. Along the way, man-eating plants are just waiting for a snack.

Retro gamers looking for a second cheap, happy thrill will line up on the 80’s free-throw line in Free Pixel Ball, while SimplePhysics successfully combines a structure-building app with all the gravity-crushing fun of Angry Birds and Ragdoll Blaster.

Last but not least, Storm in a Teacup (cute, cute, cute!) puts the fun back in gliding artfully across 40 levels in a magic teacup. Make your kids and your iPad happy this week with my iPad games of the week!

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.

IPAD APPS REVIEWED

KAMI RETRO HD ($2.99)
The iPhone hit now on your iPad. Perfectly marries modern 3D with colorful, retro visuals, challenging all comers to guide troops across 60 stages using fans, springboards, and more, while avoiding a litany of death traps of doom.

Free Pixel Ball (FREE)
Relive the ‘80s glory days of pixelated free throws, tossing unlimited balls and other objects at a virtual hoop. The soundtrack and graphics take you back!

SimplePhysics ($.99)
Build your own structures in this simple editor, then let gravity, a ragdoll, or an explosion poke holes in your design. That’s edutainment!

Storm in a Teacup ($.99)
The cutest platformer you’ll ever play on your tablet. Glide across 40 levels in your magic teacup!

IPAD REVIEWS

KAMI RETRO HD ($2.99)


As a triplet, sharing a lone Atari 2600 with my brother and sister was downright challenging. Thankfully, I can revisit the glory days of Atari-inspired, pixelated gaming goodness in KAMI RETRO HD. (And keep it all to myself. Suck it Todd and Kelly!)

This iPad must-have instantly charms its way into your heart with a bouncy, throw-back soundtrack, a hapless band of bearded heros, simple controls, and tons of stars to collect along the way. There’s 60 stages to explore, which rapidly move from training-easy to downright difficult. You’ll need to time your jumps perfectly to score maximum points, while positioning fans, springboards, and more to help your guys avoid a litany of death traps of doom, including “Little Shop of Horrors”-inspired man-eating plants. (“Feed me, Seymour!”)

You’ll want to play close attention during the tutorial, as the basic jumping controls can be a bit challenging to master. I kept swiping in the wrong direction for a left-hand jump. That’s what getting older does to your brain. It all adds up to an original, neon-colored love letter to the 80’s we can all enjoy on our modern Apple devices. Go get it!

Free Pixel Ball (FREE)

Nintendo retro-gaming purists, do I have the app for you. And it’s 100% free. No charge, with easily ignored ads to boot. Free Pixel Ball puts you on a pixelated free-throw line, then encourages you to let loose with multiple basketballs, swiping your finger across your iPad’s generous screen to sink each point. If you have multiple balls in play, they’ll interact in their arcs to the basket, while angel and devil balls, clocks, and other tossable objects add a fun element to the gameplay.

The secret sauce of this must-have game? The music and sound effects. It’s all vintage from stem to stern. Multiple game modes keep the game fresh (and the ads flowing to your brain), including Fight Mode (turn on Bluetooth and challenge nearby opponents), Survival Mode (how long can you last?), Free Throw Mode (timed levels with ever-increasing distractions and interactive ball types), and more. The multiplayer mode alone is worth at least $.99, but the good folks at WedgeKase Games are counting on ad impressions to pay the bills. And that’s good for all of us!



SimplePhysics ($.99)

“Prepare your brain, SimplePhysics is loading!” At first glance, this app looks like more work than play. But once you dive in and start constructing things, the fun side of the app kicks in quick. To start, you’ll make a simple tree house, which has been unceremoniously nailed to a tree in your back yard. A grid of squares represents the construction area, with square anchors bolting the structure to the tree. Tapping on the dots and drawing lines between them adds connective structure to the design. Watch your budget; each additional support costs money!

When you think the structure is solid enough, click the blue icon to put it through a certification test. In the tutorial, heavy boxes stand in for kids. (Phew!) Each box is tossed up into the house, and once all four are in place, there’s a 10-second stress test to see if it holds. (Mine did, thanks!) After an hour of making and testing structures, I was hooked, and so was my 9-year-old. Edutainment at its best, with explosions and rag dolls thrown in to really test your creations (Ragdoll Blaster and Angry Birds, anyone?)

This dollar menu offering is worth every penny, and then some. Suck it, gravity!

Storm in a Teacup ($.99)

Leave it to Chillingo to give us yet another instant iPad classic. This time around, it’s the charm-infused Storm in a Teacup. You’re a speed-loving teacup driver, holding a lightning button to sail ever-higher, and employing a pair of directional arrows to control the direction of travel.

You’ll need to move from platform to platform, collecting sugar (aww, sweet!) and more. The real challenge comes in using your lightning propellant to its best effect. You have a limited supply, but it refills fast. So getting used to boosting a bit, pausing for a second or two, then tapping it again to grab power-ups and other items is key. With Paper Mario-like graphics, sinister dark clouds waiting to rain on your parade, and each level offers fresh obstacles to overcome to collect the most sugar cubes.

At the end of the day, this app’s secret sauce is its “floaty” control scheme, which is executed perfectly using the screen controls. Other iPad developers could learn a lot from this dollar menu gem. A must-download.