I recently found another game I’m enjoying on my iPhone: Rogue Planet. It’s a turn-based combat strategy game the pits human armies against robot armies. It’s got a simple story line and animation that adds considerably to its charm. I’ve spent quite a bit of time playing and it continues to hold my interest. If turn-based strategy games appeal to you, you should definitely check this one out.
My family is a huge fan of Netflix. Not only does it give us Blu-Ray movie rentals by mail for a set monthly price, they also offer a large library of movies and TV show episodes that can be streamed to a computer or, via the Roku device, onto an HD TV. All for no extra charge over the normal monthly rental fee. We own a Roku box and use it regularly with our 52″ HD TV.
One thing sorely missed about their video streaming service is an iPhone viewer. Netflix has allegedly reported that they may, or may not, provide such software – and if they do it appears that it’s not coming anytime soon. I really wanted to be able to watch such videos when traveling. Sometimes I do so in my hotel room on my HP Mini 5101 netbook, but I also wanted to be able to do so at airports while waiting for planes, or even on a plane. What to do?
I have now come up with a solution. The picture above shows an episode of Showtime’s Dexter playing on my iPhone. Dexter is one of the many TV shows that have episodes available for streaming from Netflix. This episode is now stored on my iPhone as a Quicktime movie.
Making this happen involved using two programs on our Gateway LX6810, one that costs $39.95 and one that’s free. The first is Replay Video Capture. It does just what its name implies – it will capture any video playing on the screen of your Windows PC and save it as an MPEG 2 file. It’s very easy to use and certainly works great with the Netflix PC Streaming Video Player.
Alas, iTunes won’t import MPEG 2 videos. So, I next used the free MPG to MP4 Converter program to get the file into a format usable by iTunes.
That’s it. After running the Replay Video Capture file through the MPG to MP4 Converter, I just had to use the “Import File Into Library…” command in iTunes, sync my iPhone, and I was watching the start of the Dexter episode on my iPhone. I’ll be watching the complete episode tomorrow when I board a plane to NYC. I’m looking forward to being able to do so with more Dexter episodes, and many other Netflix streaming videos.
Netflix, as far as I’m concerned you can now take your time creating an iPhone Streaming Video viewer. I don’t need it anymore!
Need for Speed Undercover is a new game I reently downloaded to my iPhone. It’s certainly the most sophisticated racing program currently available for the iPhone/Touch. It has a simple story line complete with videos of the characters you are interacting with. It features a rock sound track and amazing graphics. You play an undercover cop attempting to infiltrate the illegal racing scene. The game is easy to control, and just difficult enough without being frustrating. You particpate in a vareity of races, and each race is challenging and not too long. All-in-all, I’m finding this to be a very sophisticated and very fun game on my iPhone.
Metal Gear Solid Touch is a fairly new game for the iPhone and Touch. It’s a shooter that makes innovative use of the touch interface of the iPhone and Touch. It’s got interesting graphics, a simple story line, and just enough challenge to make for an interesting but not overtaxing game. You’ve got access to an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, and sometimes a rocket launcher. I’m not a hard-core gamer, but I found this game to be enjoyable without being frustrating. Hard-core gamers my be disappointed but I think most people will find this game quite enjoyable.
MapsBuddy is a wonderfully simple little 99 cent program that I’ve found to be extremely handy to have on my iPhone. It does just one thing, and one thing well. It allows you to tap on a search term contained within the program, and have the built-in Maps program launched using that search term. It has multiple categories of search terms and allows you to create new ones, and to move search terms into a favorites section that appears at the top of the list. Above you’ll see my favorites – the terms I use most when I’m travelling on business. This little program saves me lots of typing, especially when driving!
DirecTV is a very handy free application for subscribers to that satellite television service. The application allows you to search for shows up to two weeks in advance and then remotely program your DirecTV DVR to record them. Very nice little app!
Pocket Informant was a favorite PIM application for me back in the days when I owned a Pocket PC PDA. It provided a wonderful view into all of the critical data for managing my daily activities.
Now there is a version of this program available for the iPhone/Touch. I’ve been using it for over a week now and I must say I’m quite pleased with it. Be aware, however, that this is definitely Version 1.0 of this application and it does not yet have all of the features available in it that the current Windows Mobile version of ths application does. It is quite a bit nicer than anything else I’ve seen in PIM applications for the Apple platform, though. It syncs very nicely with Google Calendars and Toodledo.
One warning should be noted – appointment alarms don’t work unless the application is actually running at that time. This is a limitation imposed by the current lack of access to the Notification Manager by developers and should be remedied by the release of Version 3.0 of the iPhone/Touch firmware this summer. In the meantime, I’m syncing both Pocket Informant and the built-in Calendar application to Google Calendar and just using the built-in Calendar application as a way to set off audible alarms when appointments come due. Although this sounds kind of kludgy, once it’s set up it works flawlessly.
Flight Control is a very fun little game I recently bought for my iPhone. It’s very simple to play, but quite challenging. It puts you in the role of air traffic controller directing landings into an airport. There are two runways and a heliport for accepting aircraft, and four different aircraft types arriving: helipcopter, private plane, jet and jumbo jet. I’ve wasted hours playing this game. It’s easy to pick up during odd moments of downtime and play. I really like it’s combination of simple play and challenging strategy. You’ll quickly become overwhelmed at first, but with experience you’ll be able to safely land more and more aircraft. Highly recommended!
Amazon now has a wonderful free application for Kindle owners available for download from the App Store: Kindle for iPhone. It gives you access to all of your Kindle books archived on Amazon’s Web site. You can change the font size and set bookmarks and the overall reading experience on my iPhone is excellent. It doesn’t seem to support subscriptions to magazines and newspapers – at least not yet. It even claims to sync current reading locations between a Kindle and the iPhone/Touch, although I haven’t figured that out yet. I’m really happy to see this application as I’ve been a big Kindle fan since they were first released.
Because of our recent vacation in NYC, I wanted to find a nice subway map to carry with me on my iPhone. During the many years I worked in NYC I always carried such a map application on my Treo and found it invaluable for getting around the city. Well, I think I’ve found such an application for my iPhone: Kickmap. It’s contains a plethora of information on daytime and nightime subway service in the Big Apple, and is extremely easy to use. It’s also well integrated with the built-in Map application. If you plan on going to NYC anytime soon, be sure to check out this very handy application.