Calligraphy Art Elevates the Everyday

Calligraphy Art

I practice my handwriting using Calligraphy Art.

A newer iPad app called Calligraphy Art really impressed me when I recently downloaded it. Although I have yet to spend much time with the app, I have horrible penmanship. So, anything that can teach me to create such beautiful artwork is worthy of my devotion. This app has so much going for it. If you always wanted to give calligraphy a try but thought it would be too difficult to learn, you should try Calligraphy Art.

Calligraphy Art

Calligraphy Art wraps a lot of education into an app that pulls off just being fun to use. It is capable of replicating the strokes of the pen with angle, thickness, and color similarity that really packs a punch.

The app is divided into 3 areas. The photo immediately above this is the main page, where you can freehand calligraphy and play with all the tools available. The other 2 sections are the lessons. There are Western alphabet exercises and Chinese words exercises.

Calligraphy Art

The simple breadth of fonts available is astonishing when you consider how detailed they are.

Each Western alphabet letter is outlined for you to trace and then you are given room to mimic, until you are ready to use the freehand pages. Some have numbered strokes, like the one in the photo (And, those were my first, very quick practice letters).

The Chinese words are explained as to style and variation. The strokes are numbered. And, there is of course room to practice, practice, practice. I found this more difficult to quickly pick up, but that makes sense, since I have been writing in English all my life. The feel of the brush in the Chinese word writing lessons was unfamiliar to me and I wasn’t able to make the smooth strokes I was able to do with the Western alphabet lessons.

But, I can see picking up either set of exercises, or both, if I put my mind to it. The way the pen works is more flawless than in any notetaking app I have yet to encounter, and I have more than 20 apps at least that I can handwrite with. You simply must try it!

That’s it for me today. Until later, …

Calligraphy Art

Some of the font selection.

Apple Store App & My Trip to Mecca

Apple Store

The Apple Retail Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

I apologize for missing reviews the past 2 days. I was having some iPad difficulties and had to take a trip to my personal Mecca, the Apple Retail Store. So, today I thought I’d tell you about my trip, some things I found out, and we can take a look at the Apple Store app for the iPhone. In using the app for more than just making a Genius Bar appointment, I found out that it is really quite awesome and contains a lot of useful information for Apple users.

First, I’d like to clue you in to some things that are coming up on iOS Affairs. My list of to-do’s is very long, so it will take me a bit to get to everyting. But, I am planning a full review of UX Write, a wonderful app discovery at Chili’s restaurant, some more hidden object reviews, some Pinterest app reviews and a why I love Pinterest post, and so many more recent app discoveries that I can’t even list them all.

Think Different

My trip to the Apple Store was prompted by the fact that I can no longer manage iCloud from my iPad. Reason: I was told that my app hoarding ways have overloaded iOS. I actually have more apps on my iPad than any of them had ever seen on one device. Over a thousand. And, I have 4 times that many that I can download at any time from the Purchased section of the App Store. I inquired as to when I would be getting my medal. They said they’d look into it. Seriously, their customer service is just unbeatable and the store itself is just heaven-like to me.

Anyway, Apple Stores have a better ratio of employees to customers than I have ever seen. They keep the air conditioning on yearround to control the temperature of the store to make it perfect. And, with the Apple Store app, you are checked in when you enter the store and can wander around instead of stand in line because they can locate you by your phone anywhere in the store. It’s just too awesome.

Well, I could go on and on, but we should probably get to the Apple Store app review and how-to.

Apple Store app

The Apple Store app contains 5 sections. In the Featured section, you can learn about new products, specials going on right now, and other new things and events going on with Apple.

The Products section gives you every thing you need to know about the 4 types of products Apple sells: the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod. It also features accessories to get for each device.

The Stores section lets you find an Apple Store near you or any place in the world. Once you find the store, it is super easy to set up an appointment at the GeniusBar. The app completely walks you through making the appointment and then can add the appointment to your calendar. No fuss, no muss. You also can find out store details, including hours, driving and parking directions, and information on workshops and events happening at that store.

The Cart section shows you what you have added to your cart to buy and lets you check out from there.

Under the More section you will find a Search function (although, there is a Search bar at the top of every other section), your Order Status, EasyPay Receipts, and information about your Account.

It is under the Account section that you can turn on Express Checkout. Express Checkout lets you scan an item you want to buy at any Apple Store and then lets you pay using your iPhone by just signing in with your iTunes password. Then, the money is just subtracted from whatever card you have attached to you iTunes account. You can also set up Location-Based Alerts, which uses geofencing to make going to and checking in at the App Store more convenient and lets you access other services as you approach the Apple Retail Store.

At any time, there is a Help and Call Apple option at the bottom of the screen.

I’ve used the app a bunch to make Genius Bar appointments. I like to bug them whenever I make a trip to my nearest Apple Store. But, I didn’t realize the app contained so much more than that. It is completely FREE and you should definitely download it!

That’s it for me today. Until later, …

Glaze Lets You Play With Your Photos

 

Glaze

Glaze gives you another way to paint photos.

Glaze is a brand new way to turn any photo into art. This universal app lets you use both preset styles to “paint” your photo and create your own styles using the workshop mode. There are no instructions upon opening the app, but if you press the wrench button in the lower, right-hand corner and then the question mark button, you can view a user guide and take a video tour.

Glaze

Also in Workshop mode, you can generate hundreds of variations of the included styles and blend styles together. The presets are neat, I especially like the grouping represented by the eye, but it is workshop mode that really sets Glaze apart from it’s competitors.

I would love to see the ability to save your own styles that you have blended to the presets at some point in the future.

One neat thing I want to point out is that as you try each preset, a little grey circle remains after you move on letting you know that you have already tried that one.

Save your finished products in low, medium, or high resolution. High resolution is good for printing poster prints. You can also share your work by email or on Facebook.

This app has received good feedback in the App Store so far. It is $2.99, placing it in the average range for this category of app. Since it is univeral, you can play on any device. Try it out and let me know how you like it.

That’s it for me today. Until later, …

Quick Fav Dial Great Way to Keep in Touch

I just woke up and have a pile of schoolwork to do, so I decided to do a quick review today of my favorite way to use the iPhone. It’s called Quick Fav Dial.

Quick Fav Dial wraps 3 functions into one app. You can call, text, and email all your favorite people from Quick Fav Dial with just a tap. You tap once to call, twice to text, and 3 times to email.

You assign your favorite contacts to up to 48 positions in this really quite brilliant to look at format. The whole thing is concave, giving it a 3D bended wall look, which was just a great way to add some visual appeal to what could have been a standard look. To see all of your contacts, you just swipe from right to left and back again to keep scrolling along the wall of contacts.

They just updated today with some new looks for any positions you don’t have filled in. Now there are 4 different color schemes you can choose from for those positions.

It’s so quick and so fun to look at that I think you’ll really like this speedy way to keep in touch with your most used contacts.

To see how it works, watch the app video at vidotouch.com.

Are You Tired of Today’s Technology?

Today is my birthday, so I'm taking a 1-day break, but I'm bringing you a pretty awesome infographic. It brings up a lot of issues related to people tiring of current technology. My attention is particularly drawn to the final numbers on people who are interested in the possible iPad Mini and the iPhone 5 versus people who are “over them.” I am definitely still on the interested side of the issue. I cannot wait for the new iPhone to come out (I don't think it will be called the iPhone 5, but I could be wrong).

Also in today's news was the trending on Twitter of the disappointment analysts felt at the “slowdown” of Apple sales, although they posted more than a 20% increase in profits. The Guardian reports that this may be due to people holding off on buying iPhones in anticipation of the new model coming out. This begs the question, if so many people are “over” the new iPhone’s arrival, why are they waiting to buy? Having been in news for awhile, it sounds more like a contrived story meant to make headlines. And, what better way to do that than to predict the downfall of Goliath. By that I mean the infographic and not the reporting by The Guardian (I love that paper).

How do you feel about the Apple statistics? Are you tiring of today's technology! Is it all old hat by now and you want to see something new?

Skeptic Tech

Some Excellent Apps On Sale

Here are some excellent apps that I’ve noticed are currently on sale. Many I have already reviewed and for those I include links to those reviews. Others I plan to review very soon.

My Pearltrees

As a piece of news, Pearltrees (now universal) is available for the iPhone. Download it today. And, read my review of Pearltrees.

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic (iPhone) is on sale for 99 cents (usually $1.99). Read my review of the app.

All MumboJumbo games are currently on sale. Most are $2.99. They usually cost anywhere from $3-$6. They include Samantha Swift and the Fountains of Fate (iPad), which I reviewed. Other games include the Midnight Mysteries trilogy (so far) that I plan to review very soon. You can search the App Store for MumboJumbo or Midnight Mysteries to find all 3 games.

Trunk Notes

Trunk Notes (universal) is currently on sale for 99 cents (usually $3.99). I was not familiar with Trunk Notes, but I am thoroughly impressed with it and plan to review it very soon.

Impressionism HD

Impressionism HD (universal) is currently FREE (usually $1.99). I have reviewed other apps by this developer.

Oflow

Oflow – creative ideas (iPhone) is currently FREE (usually 99 cents). It is a newer app that I instantly added to my AppShopper wishlist. It is a great way to enhance your creative side.

Slow Message

Slow Message (iPhone), which I reviewed, is currently FREE (usually 99 cents).

A PicNote Pro

A PicNote Pro (iPhone) is currently FREE, but only for a few hours. Then it will return to $5.99.

To catch great app sales, make sure you have a wishlist of apps you want on AppShopper or a similar app service. Read how I get all those fabulous apps here.

That’s it for me today. Until later, …

Cut! Cut! Cut! Cute Story for Kids

Cut! Cut! Cut!

Cut! Cut! Cut! A Story of Scissors and Colour Papers

I’m getting a start back into the reviews with the best little book for children I have seen in awhile. Cut! Cut! Cut! A Story of Scissors and Colour Papers by Story Resort is currently FREE for the iPad (usually $2.99).

Cut! Cut! Cut!

Optimized for the new iPad’s Retina display, Cut! Cut! Cut! tells a story about a pair of scissors and his friends, the many colored pieces of paper seen in the photo above.

As they play a game of hide-and-seek, you and your child get to read along (or have the story read to you), and learn words (you can click on any word to have groups read aloud), colors, objects, and hand-eye coordination.

Cut! Cut! Cut!

The hand-eye coordination comes into play in 2 ways. Each time scissors finds a friend, the child must drag the scissors to the friend in order for the page to progress. Then, the child gets to draw an outline for an object for the next page made out of the color of the friend you just found.

There is even a lesson on friendship at the end.

On the whole, Cut! Cut! Cut! is just fun for all with its bright colors, playful dialogue, and unique interactive elements.

The story is recommended for children ages 1-3.5 year olds. There are tips, sample questions, and activities for parents to use with their children provided by Story Resort.

For more information on the developer, visit www.storyresort.com.

That’s it for me today. Until later, …

Cut! Cut! Cut!