Monday, January 31, 2011

NASA Space Shuttle Crew Photographs
1980 - Challenger Accident



Taken from my collection obtained by writing to NASA in the 1980's to request signed photos. Spans STS-1 through just prior to the Shuttle Challenger accident (25th mission.) View all here.

P90X Chest & Back + Ab Ripper | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 197 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Push ups. Pull ups. New week. More P90X. Bring it, people.

Sunday, January 30, 2011



Kongregate Arcade returns to the Android Marketplace with 300+ free Flash games and counting

RATING
5 out of 5

PRICE
FREE

TASTY
Android phones love Flash, and no other app delivers Flash gaming goodness to Droid owners better than Kongregate Arcade.

BUMMER
The iPhone and all other iOS devices don’t support Flash, so they’re left out of this party. That’s a real bummer, for Apple fans.

COOL
Sure you can play these games at kongregate.com through any Web browser. But why when you can unlock mobile-only badges, high scores, ratings, comments, and even offline play, all through your Droid?

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

On a recent Friday night I headed over to kongregate.com, a super-popular Flash gaming destination boasting thousands of free games powered by Adobe’s popular authoring tool. With more than 34,000 users logged in with access to nearly 38,000 free games, the place was jumping. (Returning for a glimpse of these stats on a Tuesday afternoon, I was unsurprised to see more than 20,000 people playing along. At 2 p.m., on a school/work day. Slackers!)

As you know, our Droid phones are Flash-friendly. But until now, accessing Flash games through our phone browsers was difficult at best. Enter Kongregate Arcade. More than 300 of the best games from Kongregate’s massive collection can be found inside this gem, with the added secret sauce of being able to login to your existing kongregate.com user account to share and rate each title.

Droid owners can instantly unlock mobile-only badges, high scores, ratings, comments, and even play the games offline. This magic is possible due to the app’s seamless ability to store the Flash files on your device, and play them back inside your Android web browser, which is working seamlessly in the background.

The real impact of this app is this: If you’re looking for a massive collection of free games to play anywhere, anytime on your phone, there’s no better app than Kongregate Arcade. With 300 games in more than dozen genre’s to choose from, you’ll be shooting, running, strafing, puzzling, strategizing, and attacking these titles with gusto for many moons to come.

Don’t miss Vector Runner (think Battlezone), G-Switch, and Screw the Nut. And if you happen upon a less than stellar offering, feel free to rate it as such. In the same way, be sure to rate your favorite’s highly so they’ll pop up on your personal best-of lists. (Another way to dodge the bad games? Select Staff Favorites from the menu. You’ll be glad you did!)

As if you needed one more reason to install this app: You’ll receive 50 points in your Kongregate web account upon installation. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, January 29, 2011



My weekly iPad game picks run the gamut from survival and interactive horror to princesses and… Checkers?

From Alien to The Thing, millions of sci-fi fans flock to movies that combine future tech with horror. Gross monsters on spaceships? Disgusting alien virus that alters our DNA or *gasp* combines our bodies with others? Sign us up!

This weeks’ collection of the best new iPad games caters to this crowd, offering up a pair of purchase-worthy games that center on both survival and interactive horror.

Add to that a combination kingdom simulation and time management title complete with a damsel in distress, plus a laid-back take on Checkers, and it all adds up to four solid reasons to put down your snow shovel and curl up with Apple’s gamer-ready tablet!

IPAD APPS REVIEWED

Dead Space for iPad
Must-have survival horror title that’s a worthy addition to the growing Dead Space family of intensely gory, visually stunning games. (Hint: Play over a table, you may drop your iPad in fright!)

My Kingdom for the Princess 2
Princess Helen, kidnapped? It’s up to you to save her in this combo time management and kingdom simulation.

Hysteria Project 2 HD
Horror fans will thoroughly enjoy this unique iOS gaming experience, combining interactive videos with 360-degree environments filled with clues and puzzles.

Pebble Jump
Fans of solitaire and Checkers who enjoy spending hours solving logic problems in the guise of a game will find a lot to love in Pebble Jump.

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

IPAD GAME REVIEWS

Dead Space for iPad ($9.99)

For several years now, Xbox 360, PS3, and even Wii owners have been playing Dead Space games on their consoles, navigating horrific sci-fi locations to exterminate legions of Necromorphs (altered humans who are equal parts zombies and bezerkers.) They don’t so much want to eat your brains as infect them to turn you into one of their number.



Dead Space for iPad is the prequel to Dead Space 2 (360/PS3), and it’s a wholly original, crazy-scary addition to the franchise, and a full extension of the original Dead Space.

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!) The graphics are console-quality, the action is intense, and -- with headphones securely in place -- anyone who picks up this survival horror title should be ready to be scared. Very scared.

My Kingdom for the Princess 2 ($4.99)

Fans of time and kingdom/civilization management games will feel right at home in My Kingdom for the Princess 2. In this 60-level monster, you take on the role of Knight Arthur, who starts the game by traveling to the South Sea with his beloved Princess Helen. Within hours, Helen is kidnapped by Longbeard, a villainous dwarf, and it’s your job to work with the locals to harvest resources (gold, food, wood), build structures, patch roads, span gorges with bridges, and more. It’s all part of your epic (10+ hour) journey to get back to Helen, which unfolds in an easy to follow sequence of plot points. There’s also two fun mini-games which pop up from time to time, adding up to an absorbing experience that will keep you coming back for more.

Hysteria Project 2 HD ($1.99)

Horror fans as sure to enjoy this (short!) iOS gaming experience, combining interactive videos with 360-degree environments filled with clues and puzzles. For two sawbucks you’ll get about an hour of entertainment, leaving the first game’s forest location behind in exchange for a creepy research laboratory. You’ll awake in a live-action movie, and need to be super-quick to make the right decisions as each scene unfolds. Make a good choice, and the story continues. Choose poorly, and a death scene awaits. The soundtrack matches well with the horror themes, while mini-games, interactive elements, and hidden items add to the overall experience. While this second edition is a marked improvement from the first game, I’m hoping future editions will sport better mini-games, solid camera work, and elements that make it more replayable.

Pebble Jump ($.99)

Horror and time management games not your cup of tea? Fans of solitaire and Checkers who enjoy spending hours solving logic problems in the guise of a game will find a lot to love in Pebble Jump. The premise here is super-simple: jump your game piece over others so your final move lands you in a specific spot. It’s a bit like coordinating a series of Checkers moves to result in a King, all without your opponent getting a turn in edgewise. Each level is presented in Angry Birds-style sequence (1-1, 1-2, 1-3, etc.) leading the player from challenge to challenge, ramping up the difficulty along the way. Don’t forget that you can undo your moves, and even start a level all over again if you run out of moves. With 120 puzzles to solve, it’s a dollar-menu download that’s perfect for a snow day, an afternoon at the beach, or your next plane ride.

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 Years Ago: Challenger Disaster

Hard to believe it's been 25 long years since the Shuttle Challenger was destroyed on its way into space. I was, and still am, a pretty big NASA buff. Below is one of about 20 signed crew photos I collected in the 80's, up until Challenger's 25th shuttle mission these were very easy to get. Write a letter, wait for a mission to return, and the crew would sign and send you a photo.

Below is a picture from the 10th shuttle mission, and Challenger's (OV-099) fourth, that Astronaut Ronald McNair participated in (STS-41-B) before being lost on Challenger along with six other American heros.

Finding it pretty emotional thinking back to those times and this incident... My heart goes out to their families and all Americans who know there's risk in going to space, but support these critical endeavors anyway.



On a side note, have a few tickets and a parking pass to see one of the last shuttle missions -- STS-133 with Discovery -- this orbiter's 39th and final mission taking place in my 40th year on the planet. Can't wait till later this month to drive down there from NC to see it. Pictures and more to come.

I also clearly recall President Reagan's speech after the accident. Video and text below...



Ladies and gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us. We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
P90X Shoulders & Arms | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 200 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Missed Tuesday, moved Plyo to Thursday, so needed to give the legs a break. Shoulders and Arms? Yes please. Ouch. I mean that in a good way...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Visuals | Dead Space 1 vs. Dead Space 2

Watch the below in full high def by clicking here. Worth it.



...and just the first 2-3 minutes of both titles should be enough to scream to any sci-fan fan: GET THESE GAMES. NOW! Brilliant storytelling, as good as Alien, Star Wars, 2001, The Thing.
P90X Plyometrics | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 199 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Always get a strong urge to quit these routines with 40 minutes left on the countdown.

I think this is exactly when my body wakes up and realizes what's going on... then I push through, get my second wind, and end on a high note.

Are you quitting before you get that second blast of energy? I always feel 1000 times better when I'm done. Keep getting fit, people.



Make ‘em all! Alchemy Genetics gives you the power of creation!

Platform: Android

RATING:
4 out of 5

PRICE:
FREE

TASTY:
A fun brain puzzle game for kids and adult alike. How many animals can you combine into fun, original creatures?

BUMMER:
Closing the app and reopening can result in lost data of your past progress. Lacking a soundtrack.

COOL:
Who knew that combining a lizard and horned turtle makes… an alien?!

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Alchemy

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

Brain puzzle fans, head over to the Marketplace right now and grab a copy of Alchemy ~ Genetics. Instead of combining the elements of the earth to create things (as in its insanely-addictive cousin Alchemy), this new app allows you to mix animals and their genes, and creating new breeds is a s simple as adding a trait of one creature with another.

Once the game loads, you’ll be introduced to the concept through a series of questions. For instance: “What animal will you get when you combine a horse with something stripy?” Your choices are a set of four animal icons, some familiar (swan?) others, not so much. In this case, the correct answer is a Zebra. (Get it? Horse + bee (striated) = Zebra.)

Once 10-12 questions go by, you’re presented with a wide-open interface, allowing you to drag and drop animals on top each other to see what results.

As you progress through all 200+ variants, you’ll see a counter in the upper right-hand corner charting your path. As you discover new animals, you’ll walk yourself down from 256 to… 0. Can you make ‘em all?

This is a serious time killer the next time you and your kids are trapped in an airport. Delayed? No problem. Let’s make a Chupacabra, Lizard monitor, or an eagle.

The latest update added visible genes on each animal information screen, making the puzzles a bit easier to solve when you get down below 100. Trust me, coming up with fresh combinations as you work your way downwards is… a worthwhile challenge!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



P90X+ Upper Body Plus | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 199 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Wow -- love shaking things up with this blaster. My biceps/shoulders came out sore, could barely lift my plate for breakfast. Perfect. As they say, no pain, no gain. Nothing that would put you out of action -- but if the end result of your workout isn't a but of muscle or overall fatigue/minor pain due to exertion, you're wasting your time.


Beluga is a whale of a group messenging client

Platform: Android

RATING:
3 out of 5

PRICE:
FREE

TASTY:
Set up pods of people and instantly share text messages, images, and even locations. A worthy replacement to BBM.

BUMMER:
Privacy policy is overly broad, so installers beware. No way to delete old messaging or content. Lacking widget. Doesn’t allow users to send messages to non-Beluga users.

COOL:
All of your Beluga activity gets stored on the developer’s servers. No more lost messages or images.

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
LiveProfile
Kik Messenger
Imo Instant Messenger
Text Easy
PingChat!

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

Hardcore Blackberry users who make the jump to an Android handset invariably ask one question: “Where’s my BBM?” Blackberry Messenger is but one ingredient to that phone’s success. After all, as a universal group messaging app, it’s hard to beat. Until now.

Beluga is a whale of a replacement to this sorely-needed functionality on our DROIDs (and iPhones, too.) After you and your colleagues, family, and friends install this free app, you can easily set up pods (as in whales, get it?) which are private groups of people you’ve organized into buddy lists.

Once created, you can send each pod text messages, images, and even share your current location using your built-in GPS. Turning on popup alerts/push messaging makes receiving this content a snap.
The app makes creating these pods painless, grabbing your phone’s address book as a starting point for organization. Just create a pod, add a few members, and off you go.

I’ve created one for my immediate family for shopping trips, another for my larger family circle we interact with during the holidays, a third for business associates in my town, and so on.
The best part: Sending messages and content in this manner won’t incur the usual per-text fee. Of course, if you’re paying for an unlimited plan, you’re all set.

One major drawback? Beluga’s privacy policy. As of this review, the policy seems to be overly broad, which is turning some users away from the app. Since all of your communications are stored on their servers (both a pro and a con) some users have voiced concerns about data mining or other potential hacking/data breaches that could expose your data to others.

As with all apps, it’s installer, beware.

Monday, January 24, 2011


P90X+ Total Body Plus | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 199 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Talk about shaking off the old routine... The P90X+ workouts are a pretty crazy mix of moves to really knock the body out of a plateau. Get yours.

Sunday, January 23, 2011



Bubble Ball offers a quick, fun physics puzzle experience for all

Platform: Android

RATING:
4 out of 5

PRICE:
FREE

TASTY:
Created by a 14-year-old developer, Bubble Ball is a fun physics puzzle game that will keep you glued to your phone. For a while, anyway.

BUMMER:
Some users have worked through the game in under 20 minutes. Take your time and savor the experience. Picking up objects can be tricky. Graphics are very basic.

COOL:
Did I mention that a 14-year-old programmed it?

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Super Tumble
Newton Lite
Red X – Physics

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

Robert Nay, a 14-year-old living in Utah, is the creator of Bubble Ball, a simple physics puzzle game that’s a treat from the get-go.

Do yourself a favor: Slow down. Ponder each puzzle for awhile. You’ve got a bouncy blue ball that needs to be guided to the goal flag. Drag the various objects into place over the play field, then click GO. Did your layout work? Great, on to the next one. No luck? Try again.

With a relatively small set of levels (21 in all as of today), you can easily devour the game in under 30 minutes. Resist the urge. The graphics are simple, but the puzzles can look deceptively easily. Exact placement of each element will be critical to finishing the game, with every pixel in play. Leave a thin line above your board? The ball may stop. Put a piece too high? It may fall through the cracks after pressing PLAY.

Power ups also come into play to change the effects of gravity or the speed of your ball, and sometimes using a wooden or metal board will make all the difference. Wooden planks will fall when you press PLAY, while metal bars will stay right where they are throughout.

Robert, an 8th grader living in Spanish Fork, Utah, used a program called Corona from Ansca Mobile to author the title. Although the tool allows for stacking of code pieces (think Legos), Nay had to author about 3,000 lines of code to make the app work. He’s working on another app, but for now is mum on its premise. (Smart.)

Here’s a kid with a future in the mobile application business!


Android owners: Take on the zombie apocalypse anywhere with these bloody apps

Here a zombie, there a zombie, everywhere a zombie. Everywhere you look these days, people are whiling away the hours on their game consoles slaughtering the undead horde. Even your cell phone has been infected with these decaying hooligans, who exist solely to eat your Kobe-beef flavored brains. (Don’t ask how I know that. Seriously.)

This week, we bring you the very best in Droid-powered zombie fun. Best of all, one will dramatically increase your texting abilities (or else!), another will help you lose weight as you flee from the undead masses, and the others will keep you glued to your handset for hours at a time.

That is, until Plants vs. Zombies comes to the Android Marketplace in Spring 2011...

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

APPS REVIEWED

Typing Zombie
Increase your texting skills by pounding out the words these zombies are carrying. Too slow? “BRAINS MINE!”

Zombie, Run!
Give that New Year’s resolution another shot. After all, what could get you running faster than AWAY from this zombie horde? “FASTER!”

Welcome to Hell
Zombie killing at its best – via a high-quality first person shooter. “SPLAT!”

Zombies Live
It’s time to turn the tables and recruit fresh zombies to the undead cause. It’s multiplayer mayhem right on your phone! “RECRUIT!”



ANDROID MOBILE REVIEWS

Typing Zombie (FREE)

Quick, here comes the zombies! Instead of shuffling toward you bearing pitchforks and torches, they’re carrying… words? And your weapon load out includes, well, your fingers. This surprisingly addictive, well-crafted free game from Sega satisfies your zombie-killing needs, while dramatically increasing your texting skills. Pound out those words quickly to avoid being turned into brain salad! Be warned the difficulty goes from merely scary to bloody difficult in no time at all. You may even consider jumping from your on-screen keyboard to your physical QWERTY. I know I did on my Droid 1.

Zombie, Run! (FREE)

I may workout regularly, but I’ve never found a way to enjoy running. Until now. After all, what could get me (and you!) running faster than AWAY from a seriously doped up zombie horde? Those guys are quick! Zombie, Run! takes hold of your GPS coordinates and overlays a smattering of baddies, all bent on catching up to you before you can get away. It’s up to you and your running buddies to tell the app how many zombies to send after you, and how fast they can run. You set the end point to this race to the death, and off you go. Faster, faster!

Welcome to Hell ($2.99)

Welcome to Hell combines all the best elements of zombie killing wrapped into a top-quality first person shooter. The shuffling monsters are slow and noisy at first, perfect bullet-fodder for your assault rifle. You’ll need to shoot them to a bloody pulp. (Literally.) The blood splatter is realistic enough, the zombie sound clips are spot-on, and the tight play fields make this a pretty scary “run and turn” kill-fest. The on-screen joystick works well enough, and tapping the screen repeatedly lets loose a hail of bullets. How many headshots can you score in a row?

Zombies Live (FREE)

It’s time to turn the tables and recruit fresh zombies to the undead cause. It’s massively multiplayer mayhem right on your phone! You start in a dark, cold morgue. Not quite alive, and not at all dead. Your first snack? The morge staff. Then it’s off to a massive online world to lay traps, complete missions, and upgrade your growing legion of followers. The more friends you bring into your brood, the better. This is a truly unique MMORPG that you can take with you anywhere, fighting other players online in real-time. The graphics are top-quality, the sound effects are stellar, and the strategy elements are a welcome addition. Do you have what it takes to be the next Crypt Lord?

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Interview w/Ricky Gervais
Post-Golden Globes comments, always find him interesting and insightful...



Soccer and zombies, together at last in this week’s roundup of the best new iPad games

If Homer Simpson was impressed when they combined gum and nuts (“Togther at last!”) he’ll be doubly-blown away to know that iOS developer Chillingo has finally merged soccer and the zombie apocalypse. This week’s top new iPad game will have you kicking deadly soccer balls into the never-ending zombie horde for many moons to come.

Space shooter fans also get a frakking fun new excuse to exterminate an infestation of alien insects, while 80’s retro gamers should jump on board to grab Llamasoft’s new old-school fusion of Asteroids and Space War. Rounding out this week’s set is a must-have RPG crafting game that will make hardcore Japanese-style dungeon crawlers/“gather materials and create” fans squeal with glee.

APPS REVIEWED

Pro Zombie Soccer Apocalypse Edition
Help Jax take on the zombie horde in this fast-paced soccer shooter. (Yes, I said soccer shooter!)

Space Frak HD
Another week, another frakkin’ invasion. Blast your way through never-ending waves of swarming aliens to keep your planet safe from infestation.

Minotaur Rescue
Combine retro-80’s Atari graphics and endless replayability and you’ve got yourself an instant iOS classic.

Dwarf Complete HD
A must-download for all in-game crafting fans. Can you collect all 40 items? Start harvesting materials, your dungeon awaits.

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

IPAD APP REVIEWS

Pro Zombie Soccer Apocalypse Edition ($1.99)

Zombie fans who are used to employing everything in sight to wipe out the never-ending zombie horde (Dead Rising, anyone?) will feel right at home in this week’s top iPad newcomer. Jax, a down and out former soccer star, has been nibbled on by a zombie in a dark alleyway. With only hours before he, too, joins the undead horde, he grabs a soccer ball and prepares for the end. It’s your job to aim his powerful kicks to take out the baddies, holding down your finger to charge up corpse-smashing attacks. The game takes full advantage of your iPad’s massive screen, cramming more and more zombies into the alleyway as you progress. You’ll need to time your kicks just right to score headshots, unlocking special abilities, combos, and rewards. The graphics are top-notch, the music is spot-on, and the storyline is hilarious. “GOOAALL!”

Space Frak HD ($.99)

Yes, Battlestar Galactica fans, it’s Space “FRAK” HD. Not that this fresh app has anything to do with this frakking’ incredible sci-fi series laden with this in-show (made up) profanity. Instead, this new app is a dollar-menu space shooter, giving you control of a center-fixed ion cannon that sweeps the skies, sending hot balls of death to meet the incoming alien swarms. Hold your finger down to charge up a massive attack to take out the larger baddies or gather power ups that rain down between waves. The more enemies you take out with a big shot, the better the chance of getting more power ups. With five massive firepower upgrades to earn, and ever-increasing difficulty, it’s $1 frakking well-spent.



Minotaur Rescue ($.99)

I’m a child of the 1980’s, when simple sprites moved around the screen of my C64, VIC 20, and Atari VCS via an equally simple joystick. This week, developer Jeff Minter kicked off his Minotaur Project to recapture the retro look and feel of these early games with the release of Minotaur Rescue. One part Asteroids and another Space War, this iOS original 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. Blasting these rocks may kick loose a minotaur or two. Can you or up to four of your friends on the same iPad rescue these floating point-boosters before they burn up?

Xbox 360 owners, be sure to pick up Llamasoft's equally-inspired Space Giraffe from the Game Marketplace. Trippy, retro, cool.

Load “Must-Have X2”, 8, 1. Commodore 64 owners, you know were I'm coming from.

Dwarf Complete HD (FREE)

Most Nintendo DS RPG games coming out of Japan these days contain some form of crafting mini-game. You know the drill: Collect materials that, when combined, create a specific weapon, armor piece, magical spell, upgrade, or other item. Dwarf Complete HD offers up all the RPG crafting goodness you could ever want, without pesky add-ons like storylines, quests, or even character creation. You’re plopped down into a dungeon filled with materials, tables containing recipes and combining tools, and a few panels of anime showing you how to get started. Your job is to collect 40 items scattered throughout the area, many hidden in rooms secured with puzzles. A gem for all hardcore crafting and RPG fans used to skipping tutorials and getting right into the action.


P90X+ Kenpo Karate Plus | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 199 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Saturday, brought it, Kenpo Karate-style with Tony and his P90X+ crew.

Little cardio, little punching, kicking, sweaty-goodness, as always.

Friday, January 21, 2011



P90X Legs & Back | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 200 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Angry Yoga was... powerful. Tons more energy than usual, from not a great source, but there it was. More holds, downward dogs, warriors, than usual. Today, it was adrenaline-fueled Legs and Back. No problem summoning everything needed to power through this Friday goodness.

Except I get my best results when my mind is clear, and things are positive. Attitude adjustment needed, stat.



You’ve got a golden ticket to the ultimate Candy Farms, ever!

Platform: Android

RATING: 3 out of 5

PRICE: FREE

TASTY:
Sure, we all like to eat candy. This combination puzzle and line drawing app puts you on the production line. Can you ship the candy on time?

BUMMER:
Difficulty ramps up significantly, taking the app from pretty fun to crazy-hard in a short period of time.

COOL:
Stuck? Post a picture of your screen to Facebook or Twitter and plead for help. (Wimp.)

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Cut the Rope!
Cut Rope
Rope Cut
CandySwipe Free

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

Let’s face it, Charlie and Chocolate Factory has ruined two generations of Americans. I say ruined, because let’s face it: None of us are ever going to get our grubby hands on a golden ticket, which would let us tour a creepy British candy manufacturer and let us drink from a chocolate river.

Thankfully, Candy Farm lets us hop on a series of virtual candy assembly lines to help an unseen Willy Wonka-like boss ship an unlimited supply of sugary treats from points all over the United States and Britain.

The game takes pre-diabetic users from factory to factory, each ramping up the difficulty of its casual puzzle and line drawing game mechanic.
The goal is simple: Get each candy from the wrapper to its specified gift box, which has the same color as the candy throughout your drawing ribbon. (So red to red and green to green, right?) Just trace a colored line from point to point to complete each puzzle.

Easy, right? In the early levels, sure. But the game quickly falls of the cliffs of insanity within a few levels, offering up nearly unsolvable puzzles that anyone crashing down from a sugar high will find… rough. The real trick comes in drawing corners. You’ll need to drag your finger in one side and out another, forming a turn. (Yikes!)

Once you get stuck (and you will) you can use the built-in “call for help” function, which lets you share the problem with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Hey, it’s not cheating! (Much.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ron Paul:
His words, and actions, match perfectly. See...

P90X Yoga & Ab Ripper | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 197 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)




Lightweight eReader for comic book files goes the distance

Platform: Android

RATING: 5 out of 5

PRICE: FREE

TASTY:
View comics and manga files on your phone, anywhere, anytime.

BUMMER:
Readability can be sketchy on your Android phone. A tablet-sized device (Galaxy Tab) makes things easier on the eyes.

COOL:
A built-in link to the Marketplace makes it easy to download hundreds of free and inexpensive books.

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Perfect Viewer
Vintage Comic Droid
jjComics Viewer

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

Comic book fans will do just about anything to take their favorite titles with them on the road. Droid Comic Viewer (also known as ACV) offers a light, barebones app that does exactly what its name implies: Users can load comics, manga, and image files directly into folders on the root directory of their phone’s SD card and view them on-screen.

Diehard readers will no doubt already have dozens of CBZ/ZIP, ACV, CBR/RAR, JPEG, PNG and BMP files at the ready, which the app handles natively. Just load ‘em up, launch the app, and away you go.

With simple touchscreen reading and zooming controls, the ability to swap to left-to-right and right-to-left (manga) reading direction, more than a dozen custom control tweaks available, and auto-bookmarking, it’s no wonder than more than 250,000 Android users have downloaded this popular app.

If you’re on the hunt for fresh content, the app provides a direct link to the Marketplace, auto-displaying a long list of supported content files from Robot Comics, most of which are available free of charge or $.99 each. Just tap an entry, download it to your phone, and the app does the rest.
The icing on the cake: Sharing. With one click the app allows you to share the current screen with all major social media outlets, email, and more.

Be sure to conduct some Google searches for your favorite comics and include CBZ/ZIP, ACV, and CBR/RAR in your search terms. The Net is home to dozens of message boards and other sites that allow you to download back issues directly to your computer. Moving them onto your phone is a snap using the included USB cable. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Running for Weight Loss
By Rita Klabacha, M.S.

Many people use running as a means to weight loss. Running is a sure fire way to drop all that unwanted fat, right? Possibly, but not necessarily. Starting a running program, for any reason, is a great thing! But there are some things to keep in mind if your primary goal is weight loss through running.

When it comes to weight loss, we intuitively accept the theory “calories in v. calories out.” That is, expend more calories than you consume. In the healthy person, someone without any true metabolic disorder or other health-related issues, this equation works. In my experience, the majority of people who insist they’ve “tried everything to lose weight but just can’t,” are unaware of three important bits of information about themselves. I ask the following three questions of individuals who fall into this category:

1) How many calories do you consume each day?
2) How many calories do you expend each day?
3) How many calories do you need each day?

Studies again and again have shown that the average person regularly underestimates calorie intake and overestimates caloric expenditure. When it comes to caloric need, most people either have no idea, or tend to swing toward highly restrictive diets, especially if they’ve spent years in that very common pattern of rapid weight loss that eventually results in excessive weight gain. Unfortunately, very-low calorie restrictive diets DON’T work in the long-term, and are detrimental.

On the flip side, just because you’ve started a running program, don’t succumb to the belief that now you can eat anything you want! Knowing how many calories you expend during exercise can be problematic. First, understand that intensity matters. If you’re running slower than a 9-minute mile and weigh 150 lbs, you’re expending up to 350 calories for a 30-minute sustained run (less if you’re running slower). On the other hand, a 150 lb runner who is running a 6-minute mile expends closer to 575 calories during that same 30-minute run.

If you know how to read a food label and use a food scale, it is relatively easy to determine your daily caloric intake through tracking with a food diary. Figuring out accurately how many calories you need daily AND expend through exercise, can be more of a challenge. The most accurate method is through clinical metabolic testing. Having your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR, sometimes also referred to as Resting Metabolic Rate) measured, as well as having your exercising metabolic rate measured during steady state exercise, will give you caloric expenditure at rest and exercise, and thus caloric intake needs at rest and during exercise. These types of measurements can often be made at a sport medicine clinic, or university. We offer such testing at the Mammoth SPORT Center. A less accurate yet simpler method is through use of the Harris-Benedict Equation. First, estimate your BMR by applying the appropriate calculation for your gender:

Women: 655.1 + ( 9.563 x weight in kg ) + ( 1.850 x height in cm ) – ( 4.676 x age in years )
Men: 66.5 + ( 13.75 x weight in kg ) + ( 5.003 x height in cm ) – ( 6.775 x age in years )

Then, apply your activity factor to estimate daily calories needed:

Little to no exercise: BMR x 1.2
Light exercise (1–3 days per week): BMR x 1.375
Moderate exercise (3–5 days per week): BMR x 1.55
Heavy exercise (6–7 days per week): BMR x 1.725
Very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts): BMR x 1.9

You may need to tweak these numbers a bit to find your ideal needs. Good luck and let me know how this works for you!


Loot this treasure trove of battle-ready Android RPG games

If your idea of a perfect afternoon is sitting at your PC, running dungeons, tanking or healing, earning XP, and equipping the latest phat loot, then these role playing apps will help you scratch your online itch anywhere, anytime, right from the comfort of your Android device. “Ding, level 20, woot!”

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

APPS REVIEWED

ZENONIA: 16-bit RPG goodness right on your Android device. With more than 40 hours of content to pillage wrapped in a familiar interface, you’ll swear you’re playing a full-fledged Nintendo DS title on your phone.

Pocket Legends: It’s World of Warcraft right on your phone. Hands-down the best MMORPG on any mobile device. Raid and earn XP anywhere, anytime, online.

Parallel Kingdom AOT: Turns your GPS maps into a “parallel kingdom” where you can chat with and fight other players. Take your neighborhood before someone else does!

Attic Tales (RPG): Attic Tales is a worthwhile diversion that keeps on getting better with time, bridging the past and present of the RPG genre.

REVIEWS

ZENONIA ($4.99)

Today’s kids have been playing handheld role playing games like ZENONIA for years now, until now mostly on Nintendo devices like the DS and DSi. Loaded with more than 40 hours of content, wrapped in a classic 16-bit graphical interface, you’ll swear you’re playing a full-fledged $40 DS game on your phone. As the top classic RPG title in the Marketplace, you (and your kids!) will spend many weeks working your way through ZENONIA’s storyline, earning upgrades and skill enhancements, equipping powerful gear, making new friends, and generally questing with a huge smile on your face. Choose to be an assassin, warrior, or paladin, customize your abilities and base attributes, then jump into the story, where every decision and text tree will change your alignment (good vs. evil) and the ultimate outcome of the game. When you’ve exhausted every path, pick up ZENONIA 2 ($4.99). They’re that good.

Pocket Legends (Free)

My son and I have been playing Pocket Legends for months now, both in iOS and Android devices. Since all game data is stored online, it’s a simple matter to jump from phone to iPad and back again with no loss of data. Pocket Legends is a fully-featured massively multiplayer role playing game (MMORPG) in the vein of World of Warcraft. Logging into the server grants you access to your character and several worlds of content, thick with dungeons, lootable chests, and – best of all – thousands of other other players who are waiting to raid with you. Quests are easy to obtain, and clicking “Go To” jumps you right to the specific raiding area. Other players in the dungeon work with you, side by side, to share xp, loot, gold, and more. While the app itself is free, paying real money for in-game platinum allows you to unlock higher-level dungeons and special equipment. I’ve spent a grand total of $4.99 thus far, and it’s been enough to unlock most of the upper-level content. A must-install for all RPG gamers.

All Pocket Legends players on iPod, iPad, and Android: Be sure to friend ILLW in the game and join me.




Parallel Kingdom AOT (FREE)

Here’s a hack and slash RPG that’s truly unique. Parallel Kingdom: Age of Thrones combines an MMORPG with your phone’s GPS map system, overlaying a massive “parallel world” over your neighborhood, state, country, and ultimately the world. After logging in, you can plant a flag right in your part of town, plant trees, gather resources, make items, and fight with other players and avatar mobs. An online game is only as good as its community. While Pocket Legends is populated with players who generally work together well and chat without resorting to swearing or worse, my Parallel Kingdom is home to rude and obnoxious players more interested in being jackasses vs. having a worthwhile gaming experience. If you can avoid the trash talk, there’s a worthwhile experience to be had in this app.

Attic Tales (RPG) ($1.60)

Back in the 1990’s, college students spent countless hours on the fledgling Internet working their way through virtual dungeons, via a text-only interface. These MUD’s and MOO’s (I’ll leave you to look up those terms) formed the basis for today’s fully-featured graphical RPGs. Attic Tales is a bridge between the past and present of the genre, offering classic text-based RPG storylines and text trees, along with first-generation sprite-like graphics. There are plenty of monsters to slay, levels and dungeons to explore, gold to plunder, and special armor to equip. Attic Tales is a worthwhile diversion that keeps on getting better with time. Upcoming updates include achievements, additional special items, and a third epic chapter.
Wake County Schools, NC & The Colbert Report
When 94.5% of parents are happy, it's time to kill a working system...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Disintegration
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog<Video Archive


...right Tea Party folks? Republicans who moved here from parts North and want to force their way of doing schools on our residents? Watch the video for more, and we'll keep working to help our system survive and thrive without untested "hey let's do this" anti-planning ideas from the GOP majority running our schools.

Speaking of over the top GOPers...



In other political news...



"For all of you sitting and watching at home, playing the drinking game where you take a shot every time a Republican lies; you better get a designated driver." -- Anthony Weiner (D-NY) commenting on healthcare repeal ("Obamacare") debate. Background: http://bit.ly/h7iK8q
P90X Chest, Shoulders, Triceps | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 197 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

When I can't lift my arms above my head, nor do one more push up, that's bringing it people.

Right, Tony?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Summon your inner girl power for Hero Princess in our latest iPad Games of the Week roundup

When I was a kid, our virtual princesses knew their places. They were to stand next to the gigantic ape throwing barrels, or helplessly cling to Bowser while our fat red plumber avatar collected coins and defeated his minions to reach her.

Today’s in-game princesses are increasing going on the offensive against their captors, taking the hero role to fight back and regain their precious freedom. That’s the gist of Hero Princess, who will stop at nothing to repel a never-ending horde or brutish Vikings intent on taking her castle. You go, girl!

There’s also several additional must-have games this week in this fresh set, including an immersive, 360-degree WWII shooter, a colorful puzzle game perfect for kids and adults alike, and a magical line drawing strategy app that will keep you on your toes and beating back the undead hordes for weeks to come.

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

APPS REVIEWED

Hero Princess: This is one princess who’s clearly not interested in being rescued! Take command of a sassy lass, throwing rocks and shaking the ladders of an invading Viking horde as they try to raid her castle.

Artillery Brigade: Offers a full 360-degree view of WWII-era battlefields, letting you shoot and rain hot death on incoming forces on land, sea, and air. Take that, Hitler!

Catcha Mouse HD: Do you have what it takes to trap a furry mouse before he reaches the exit holes? This week’s best new puzzler awaits, free of charge.

Avatar of War: The Dark Lord: Defeat the undead army with your never-ending supply of swordsmen, arches, mages, and more.

IPAD APP REVIEWS

Hero Princess ($1.99)

Here’s an app that’s clearly trying to go against type. In most games featuring a princess, you take on the role of a noble hero who still stop at nothing to rescue said damsel in distress. Hero Princess, instead, puts you in the role of a feisty lass standing atop the walls of her beloved castle. Down below, the Viking hordes are prepping their ladders to scale the walls and snatch the future queen. Tap the screen to move your heroine from ladder to ladder, throwing down castle bricks to knock the filthy brutes off their perches. When special heavy raiders start their climb, you’ll need to tap and hold your finger on the ladder then shake left and right to throw these guys off. The icing on the cake: special attacks with names like pony, bath, and piano. (Oh yes!) You’ll need quick fingers and all the girl power you can muster to keep the baddies at bay.


Artillery Brigade ($.99)

We’ve all seen them: World War 2-era fixed artillery and heavy gun emplacements, spitting bullets, anti-aircraft rounds, and even rockets at the enemy. In Artillery Brigade, you’ll take your place at the controls of these heavy weapons, rotating a full 360 degrees to locate and destroy the 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. The game has a lock on replayability, unlocking survival modes for each campaign mission you complete. At a mere dollar menu price, the music, sound effects, and retina-display powered graphics add up to a worthy WWII shooter app for iPad gamers everywhere.



Catcha Mouse HD (FREE)

If you’re a fan of kid-friendly games sporting cartoon characters and wide-open playfields, Catcha Mouse HD will find a welcome home on your tablet. The scenario is simple: A cute, cuddly little mouse is trying to jump into a hole on your screen. Your job is to place mousetraps, one at a time, around the furry guy to prevent him from escaping. The good news? This is a turn-based puzzler, giving you the chance to see his move then counter it by placing yet another trap on the board. With 30 free levels (and dozens more available for $.99), you’ll spend hours mastering each level, with many furry friends slipping through your fingers before you get the hang of things. Hint: Focus on putting traps on the perimeter vs. close to the mouse. There are times the game AI lets you off easy, and other times it’s almost as if there’s another person on the other side of the screen thwarting your every move. Patience!

Avatar of War: The Dark Lord ($2.99)

Fans of tower defense, line drawing, and RPG’s will find a lot to love about Avatar of War. Your job is to defend your castle against the incoming undead army. You can use mana to purchase warriors, archers, mages, knights, catapults, assassins, gryphons, and more. These forces lock horns with incoming waves of baddies, unleashing their weaponry on the enemy. As the game progresses, you’ll need to learn special line-drawing moves to unleash special attacks, upgrade your forces, and earn 15 different magical weapons to add to your arsenal. The game does take some getting used to (a guide to the line drawing moves would help!) and my game seemed intent on scrolling from side to side without my input. Those issues aside, the artwork (reminiscent of Castle Crashers), sound track, battle effects, are all top-quality and make Avatar of War a worthwhile iPad gaming experience.

Monday, January 17, 2011


P90X Chest & Back + Ab Ripper | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 197 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

Push ups. Pull ups. New week. More P90X. Bring it, people.



Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mac Daft Punk Helmet > Apple Geek Goodness

Kid Chameleon Intro from Phoenix 01/06/11 from Matt Loniero on Vimeo.



Mashable! links social media and Web 2.0 pros to the latest news, trends, events, and more

Platform: Android

RATING: 5 out of 5

PRICE: FREE

TASTY:
Stay up-to-date and in-the-know about all things Web 2.0 and social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, My Space, etc.) via Mashable’s official reader app.

BUMMER:
Sharing articles via the built-in sharing function is hit or miss, sometimes appearing in my Twitter or Facebook feeds, and sometimes not. Given the app’s focus on the same sites where their articles can be shared to/posted, this is an important feature to fix an upcoming update.

COOL:
Mashable’s coverage of Web 2.0 trends, as well as hands-on advice for making use of these networks for personal and professional use, is not to be missed.

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Best Tech News
Tech News
Google News

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

I’m a Mashaholic. As a marketing manager for a global online research and library solutions company, our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube channels are critical to communicating and interacting with researchers and librarians everywhere.

Billing itself as “the social media guide,” the Mashable! blog is my one-stop resource for staying up-to-date and in-the-know about all things Web 2.0 and social media. The Mashable! app keeps me connected to this critical resource via a simple, clean interface that delivers the latest tips, trends, and must-attend event information to help my company and I make the most of our online channels.

Quickly switch between the site’s multiple channels of news – All, social media, social good, mobile, Web video, entertainment, business, startups, tech, development and design, and Android – to view lists of recent posts. Selecting each article brings it up for reading, with the standard gestures used to scroll up and down, with embedded hyperlinks to related articles and company information built right in.

The search feature makes it super-easy to access the full archive of articles from the site, and built-in sharing features allow for cross-posting content directly to your personal Twitter or Facebook feeds. In my tests, articles sometimes appeared in my feeds, sometimes not. It’s not clear if this is the app’s fault, or (in most cases) Facebook’s, given its recent penchant for hit or miss posting through these kinds of applications.

The icing on this news reader application? Click Read Later at the top to send the article directly to Instapaper so you can read it anytime, anywhere, online or off.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Hey Dead Space Fans...



...is it just me, or does this year's NFL Pro Bowl statue look a heck of a lot like the marker in Dead Space? (Altman be praised!)



Jan. 25th can't come soon enough. Dead Space 2... trailers here. Collector's Edition, on order. Time for Isaac to get back into the fray.


Locus: Online/Offline Map App Review

Locus puts millions of maps on your phone, accessible online or offline, anywhere

Platform: Android

RATING:
4 out of 5

PRICE: FREE

TASTY:
Finally, an all-in-one tool that tames the millions of maps available online.

BUMMER:
Ad-supported. The app is still under development, so expect some traffic jams, potholes, and detours of the early-app kind. Some features are missing (and coming soon), but the core functionality is more than enough to justify a download.

COOL:
Will soon allow you to more easily share your current map view via numerous social media and other communication channels.

SIMILAR APPS IN THE MARKETPLACE:
Maps (-)
Google Maps
Street View on Google
My Maps Editor by Google
Topo Maps Lite

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

Ever been out in the middle of a forest, with zero bars, wishing you could access a map of the area? Menion Asamm’s Locus app makes this a reality, putting the millions of maps available online right on your phone for use anyhere, anytime, regardless of whether you’re connected to the Net or not.

Right out of the gate, you’ll notice the standard map overlay looks decidedly different from Google Maps. The roads, landmarks, and other points of interest are illustrated in different shades of green, blue, and even pink.

After a few minutes putting Locus through its paces, it’s clear that the underlying code and features are still under development. Regardless, there’s plenty of functionality built in to make it a must-download for all serious map users.

Moving around the maps is easy using standard gestures, plus pinch and zoom allows for clean zooming. Add to that the ability to twist two-finger touches to rotate the map, and the standard Google Map app has met its match. (Although turn by turn directions are only available from Google’s app.)

Loading a given address is a snap, as well as entering discrete GPS coordinates to jump to a location. (Geocaching aide, anyone?) The standard overlay features are also here, including satellite, terrain, etc. A growing collection of map sources (including Google, Yahoo!, OSM, OVI-Nokia, and Bing) opens up a world of overhead views.

And once you have the perfect map up on your screen, Locus plays its strongest hand when you click the Map Manager icon in the top-right corner. Here you can immediately change the online map source, load your own user maps you’ve loaded on your phone, and download the current map to your device. The selections for this last feature include: Download this screen, select an area, by state, or select path.

What it adds up to is an offline map storage capability that’s immediately useful for a myriad of professional and personal uses. Add the ability to import tracks, data, and other elements to tweak your current view, switch to offline view so only cached tiles are displayed (great for going offline and deep into the forest), and we’ve got ourselves a winner. Coming soon will be an enhanced ability to directly share your map view with others via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and much more.



P90X+ Kenpo Karate Plus + Ab Ripper | Workout
Fitness Blueprint | Insanity/P90X #10 (Get P90X or start with Power 90)
Personal | Weight: 199 (Shakeology Snack Added)
Tracking Calories (iPad App)
Working at my Stand Up Desk (plans) (Why you should, too!)

HAI! Brought it, Kenpo style. Little cardio, little punching, kicking, sweaty-goodness.
Palin's Breath: Paging Dr. Lightman



...intriguing bit of video here. Watch her eyes and tight expressions. This is all of her breaks between sentences on her (Defensive? Worry? Fear? Regret? Being caught with her hand in the gun metaphor cookie jar?) "Blood Libel"-implied reaction speech to the media's reporting on her gun sights image placed over U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Congressional district in Arizona, and who was terribly wounded during the Tuscon shootings last weekend.

I'm no expert in reading people's emotions from their faces, but surely Dr. Lightman (Lie to Me details) would have some instant analysis for us. I'd say Tim Roth's research into playing a TV actor who can interpret facial and body microexpressions are about the same as Sarah Plain's efforts to be a credible political leader and Republican potential candidate for the highest office in the land.



"You can spin up anything out of anybody's statements that are released and use them against the person who is making the statement." Yes you can, Mrs. Palin. Pot calling the kettle black?