iBooks 1.5

A new version of iBooks has just been released.
From the release notes:

  • Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.
  • Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.
  • iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
  • Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.
  • A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

I so approve. As I tend to read a bit every night in total darkness I really appreciate the new night time mode. Although I still love the way the old Sepia theme looks as well.
And seeing as I grab only free iBooks for the iTunes store they now look a lot better on the library shelf.
Nice update.


Day-O, a free and simple menu bar clock replacement for Lion.

iBooks e-books

What a mess.
The iBooks store in Europe was non-existent thusfar, the only thing we got was free ebooks from Gutenberg, old non-copyrighted works. This week they finally started with commercial ebooks one can buy. And boy what a pile of crap.
The most popular buy right now is a Steve Jobs biography pre-order, the book isn’t even available yet. Fanboy much?
Sadly it’s also the most interesting purchase available as the rest of the offering seems to be limited to popular crap like the Twilight books or Stephen King. Yuck.
What’s even more of a joke is the pricing. I remember publishers saying ebooks would make prices go down. Instead they seem to be going up. And then some. And to make matters worse it’s a big international mess. Why do I see more french than english Twilight books?

And why is the price for a book about Keith Richards nearly 4 times as much for the german edition than the english one? Way too retarded.
I noticed the same pricing problems on Amazon where paper versions are usually considerably cheaper than the digital copy of the exact same thing. I just don’t get why more people aren’t complaining about this. I’ll stick to old fashioned dead tree format, thank you very much.

Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower is one of the most popular games on the iPhone right now, and deservedly so.
It’s sort of an oversimplified version of Sim Tower for anyone old enough to remember that. You manage your building, buy floors, assign residents that move in to jobs and make sure all the stores are stocked so you get more money to buy more floors. That’s it in a nutshell, and it works. It’s the attention to detail in the graphics and mechanics that make it hard to put down, even if you are just a casual gamer. The game is free, but freemium, meaning you can spend money in game to advance more quickly. The thing I appreciate about how it’s been implemented is that the game in no way forces you to buy anything. You can fully enjoy the game and every aspect of it without spending any money, unlike so many freemium games that limit certain items.

Anyway, the game divides floors into Food, Service, Recreation, Retail, Creative & Residential. You need the last one so you can get more residents to move in, and you need 3 residents to fully man a store. You can upgrade your elevator, rename stores, customize how your lobby and your residents look, get bonuses for assigning residents to their dream job, the list goes on. And every app update adds new bits and features.
Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll like it. This is my tower by the way, a work in progress.

Game of Life for iPhone

Electronic Arts games are currently on a big sale, with most of them currently available for only €0.79, so I decided to pick several up, including the Game of Life.
If you’re totally clueless about the game, it’s basically a board game where you have to roll and land on spaces, some offer you money, progress your career, or life points because of certain events like getting kids or visiting places. Other spaces cost you money and set you back, like getting fired from your job, paying taxes or getting sued by other players. The winner of the game is the one who has the most money at the end. Capitalism at its finest.

I always loved playing this as a kid, so it seemed fun to be able to play it again, especially the multiplayer version. And it is fun, except for a few little quirks here and there that seem to haunt most EA games. When you play against the computer it keeps using long term investments, which means whenever someone rolls that number the player gets money. Nice, except as a human player you can’t seem to place any yourself.
Next there’s the cards you can use in-game to either make someone cough up half your fee or to make them give you half their profit, along with a third card to block the first two. In single player they work just fine, but in multiplayer if the active player uses a card, the computer automatically uses the non-active players cards for them instead of giving them the choice. That’s just sloppy.
Still, overall it’s a fun little game, but if I’d bought it full price I’d be annoyed. Of course an update could fix these bugs, but given how long this game has been out… don’t hold your breath.

iAmiga, an Amiga emulator for the iPhone

It was bound to happen sooner or later, an Amiga emulator based on UAE is heading to the iPhone, with licensed games included.
Check out the demo which features Defender of the Crown, Battle Squadron, International Karate +, R-Type, Speedball, Stunt Car Racer, Beast, Virus and Xenon 2 Megablast. Made by the same guy who’s made the C64 emulator for the iPhone, let’s hope this takes off and he gets lots of licensed games to add. I’ll have Speedball 2, Supercars 1 & 2 and Turrican 2 please!
And let’s hope the games will be somewhat reasonably priced.

Ikea for iPhone app

Ikea finally made an app for the iPhone. And it’s free.
That concludes the good news. The bad news is that it sucks in every way possible.
First of all, after you download the app and start it for the first time it says you first need to download a catalogue, which for the Netherlands is almost 60MB. I knew we were off on the wrong foot here. And it went downhill further. What you get is basically a glorified pdf viewer dressed up as an app. But with added functionality, you can click on the + next to products to se product information… yay… except that rarely works and most often you get an error page as demonstrated in the screenshots telling you the product information is not available.
So yeah, epic fail for Ikea, hopefully they’ll learn and eventually make a better version than this heap of crap.

Kingdom Conquest

Well hello stranger, where have you been so long. Out of nowhere Sega jumps on the iPhone bandwagon with a fresh new game, not a Sonic rehash, not Mega Drive classic port like Phantasy Star or Golden Axe, but a new game. And free too. Well freemium technically, but they’ve done it right. Unlike others Sega doesn’t actually let you cheat with their in game purchases or block you from unlocking any content unless you spend cold hard cash. So for all intents and purposes this really is free.

And it’s wonderful. It’s an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) where you have to build your kingdom, expand your territory, group with others in real time dungeons to defeat baddies and build up your monster army to fight in tactical combat. And there’s quests too.

Build your city, gather resources, research & train monsters.

Expand your territory, forge alliances and attack other players.

Unlock new monsters, train them and level them by attacking neighbouring lands.

No screenshot of the realtime battle, I already blew out my 5 daily tries before realizing I wanted to post about this. :D
It’s free, what are you waiting for? Get it!

And thank you Sega! Now make a new console please.


Textorizer is a program that allows you to make pictures formed with text.

It definitely takes some getting used to and lots of experimenting, but the results could be interesting, especially when mixed with some good old Photoshopping.

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.