iPad e-books for children: Five more amazing titles

A few months back I told you about five amazing iPad e-books for kids, noting that Apple's tablet is arguably the single best platform for reading (and, thanks to various interactive features, experiencing) children's books.

App developers and book publishers seem to agree, as the App Store is now home to dozens, if not hundreds, of kid-friendly e-books.

Here's a look at five more (seven if you count the Seuss stuff) that are sure to please wee readers and parents alike.

1. Aesop's Wheel of Fables  No children's book collection is complete without Aesop's Fables. This app serves up 20 tales, all of them showcased in a spinning wheel that adds a bit of tactile fun to the story-selection process. It also has spot-the-difference games that get unlocked as you read, and an option for parents to record their own voices for kids to listen to in place of the prerecorded voice. The app's on sale for $6.99 until August 5, when it goes up to $8.99.

2. More Dr. Seuss  Oceanhouse Media continues to crank out terrific Seuss classics, all of them optimized and enhanced for the iPad. The latest releases include "Green Eggs and Ham" ($3.99), "Gertrude McFuzz" ($1.99), and--yay!--"Yertle the Turtle" ($3.99). If only my kids weren't on the verge of outgrowing these! Hmm, maybe I should have one more...

3. "The Little Mermaid"  Not the Disney version, but the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale, here brought to life with animated, interactive elements reminiscent of the now-classic "Alice for iPad." Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly engaging, the $8.99 app also includes "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Happy Family."… Read more

PlayOn skips App Store, uses Safari for streaming

What do you do when your Hulu and Netflix streaming iPhone app remains in Apple's App Store purgatory a little too long? You do just what Steve Jobs encouraged developers to do before there was even an App Store--you make your app in Safari instead.

That's just what PlayOn has done. As per a report in VentureBeat, PlayOn had a plan B for getting its video-streaming service into the hands of iPhone and iPod Touch owners, and has created an HTML5-powered Web app that can stream that content from a connected computer running the PlayOn software client.

The … Read more

Microsoft details Office for Mac 2011 release

Microsoft on Monday announced pricing and availability for its Office for Mac 2011 software suite.

The version of the Office suite for users of Apple's Mac computers is scheduled for release via retail outlets at the end of October, in two editions: Office for Mac Home and Business 2011, and Office for Mac Home and Student 2011.

"For better alignment across platforms," Microsoft said in a statement, "the Office 2011 pricing and edition options map closer with Office for the Windows operating system."

The software titan also said that anyone buying Office 2008 for Mac … Read more

InkVaders HD: Blast aliens on your spiral-bound notebook

If you ever sat in third grade math class imagining that the doodles covering your spiral-bound notebook could come to life, InkVaders HD for iPad is for you.

Simplicity is the name of the game in this side-scrolling, alien-blasting, shooter from Chillingo. The unique artistic style of InkVaders HD takes advantage of iPad's amazing screen, combining retro-inspired "doodle chic" animation and live-action hand interactions.

You'll get to use three weapon styles--futuristic energy guns, everyday physical attacks, and the always exciting grenade launchers--to guide Generic Marine (or "G" to his friends) in his quest to … Read more

Stop-motion movies and racing on water: iPhone apps of the week

It's probably not a good sign that the first thing people ask me when they notice I'm holding an iPhone 4 is always something about how I deal with the reception issues. I've said here before that I have yet to experience dropped calls or any other issues related to "Antennagate" (yeesh, will we--as a society--ever get over the whole "Whatevergate" meme?), but that's probably largely just luck; maybe I'm fortunate that where I go in my daily life is covered pretty well by AT&T. I suspect I could be a rare exception.

The interesting thing to me is that the reception issues and "Death Grip" have been all over the news here in the U.S., but reports trickling in from other countries are quite the opposite. An Australian publication, The Daily Telegraph, gave a very positive review to Apple's iPhone 4 today saying finally about the reception issues, "Is the antenna an issue? No it's not. Have I dropped calls? No, I have not." Another story out of Norway (via AppleInsider) had similar results, with the writer concluding that the issues are more about weak U.S. mobile networks than they are about the iPhone 4 itself.

So my question is, even though the "Death Grip" might reduce your signal by a bar or two, if Apple had announced a deal with Verizon (or some other carrier) at launch, would we even be talking about "Antennagate?" I think I know what Steve Jobs would say if he thought nobody else was listening.

This week's iPhone AppsGate includes a fun tool to make stop-motion movies and a water-racing game sequel that is a huge improvement over the original.… Read more

Apple tries to patent travel, hotel, shopping apps

In its App Store, Apple provides a platform for third-party developers to design and sell mobile applications. But the company also appears to have its eye on patenting a few key types of apps.

Unwired View unearthed three patent applications filed on Apple's behalf that cover travel- and shopping-related apps. One for travel booking, one for hotel services, and another for high-end fashion retail. All three were applied for between October and December, but were published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday.

The first, a travel-booking app, is designed to reserve travel plans, check in to … Read more

360 Panorama does instant, awesome panoramas

Shooting panoramic photos with a mobile phone can be difficult. Often it requires doing all the work in a software app when you get back from wherever you are, as well as trying to make sure that the phone's camera does not change its white balance or exposure between shots.

Occipital, the creators of the popular RedLaser scanning app (which wassold to eBay last month) have a new iPhone app debuting on Friday called 360 Panorama, which is attempting to change that. For $2.99, users can simply move their phone from left to right to capture a … Read more

Android Atlas Weekly 9: Data theft disguised as a wallpaper (podcast)

A wallpaper app that steals your personal info, piracy controls coming to the Android Marketplace, and a look into the world of Android gaming. Plus, Jeff Bakalar shares an awesome tip on creating itineraries for Google Maps Navigation, and Jessica Dolcourt helps us pronounce the death of the Android phone that started it all.

Updated: The wallpaper app discussed in this episode has since been cleared of any wrong-doing by Google itself. More details on that here.

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Firefox Home for iPhone, Firefox Sync see fixes

Updates to the Firefox Home app for iPhone and to the Firefox Sync add-on for Firefox (Windows|Mac) fix the top three problems users reported for each program, says Mozilla.

The new version of Firefox Home (1.0.1), a companion app for the Firefox browser on iPhone, now supports usernames with upper-case letters for logging in to the URL viewer.

It also inserts a help button on the log-in page that will link you to common troubleshooting tips. The final addition is a set of error notifications that Mozilla hopes will explain application errors with more clarity when they … Read more

Viper's SmartStart car control app hits Android

Android users with Viper remote start systems who have wanted to use their phones to lock, unlock, and start their cars are now in luck. On Thursday, Viper creator Directed Electronics is making its Viper SmartStart app available on the Android Market, as well as through its site.

The company released the same version of the app for iPhone users back in October and to BlackBerry users at January's CES.

The app, which contains no new or additional features over those versions lets users start their car using their phone, as well as doing things like locking and unlocking … Read more