Author Archive for Lory

Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

PadGadget’s Sound Stage: KnowNote is a Modern Day Guitar Hero for the iPad


The first time I played Guitar Hero, I was both fascinated and appalled. I couldn’t believe that rock ‘n’ roll had been turned into a video game. At the same time, I was excited that video games were catering to music fans. Within an hour, I was hooked on the game and decided that it was awesome and could even serve to encourage gamers to venture into the music world to learn how to play real instruments.

KnowNote has a similar theme, but the mechanics are much different. First of all, you don’t need a plastic guitar to play it. Instead, you use a keyboard. The original desktop game utilizes your computer’s keys. The iPad version includes its own customized in-app keyboard so you can rock those shredding solos without having to tap the shift key. In fact, there is no shift key.

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See What it is Like, First Hand, to Spend a ‘Night at the Museum’ on your iPad

Night at the Museum 1

The third installment of the “Night at the Museum” series starring Ben Stiller as the night watchman at a particularly animated history museum will premier on Dec. 19, just in time for the holidays. To get your ready for the night’s excitement, Fox Digital in collaboration with Pocket Gems has created a hidden objects game that puts you right in the midst of an adventure.

Night at the Museum: Hidden Treasures is a hidden objects game with lots of story to follow. Players take on the role of a new night watchman under the tutelage of Larry Daley (Ben Stiller). You must help him set up exhibits, find lost keys, and keep the restless ancient objects from running amuck in the building, or worse, escaping.

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Hour of Code is Back and Apple is Hosting Free Seminars Dec. 11

hour of code

This year, Dec. 8 – 14 is Computer Science Education week. Apple participates in the yearly awareness campaign by offering a number of different workshops and events. Dec. 11 is Hour of Code day, a campaign started by to get more people interested in coding and to advocate for more computer science classes in public education. One of Apple’s workshops will be to participate in Hour of Code with a free, one-hour introductory seminar to learn the basics of computer programming.

The weeklong event will focus on all things related to computer science. Some of the events that Apple has planned include interviews with Flask founders Hideko Ogawa and Takako Horiuchi in Tokyo, Author Theodore Gray in Illinois, NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil in London, coding expert Jocelyn Leavitt in New York, and more.

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PadGadget’s Flashback Friday: The Longest Journey Remastered

Longest Journey2

In the late 1990s, a point-and-click adventure game came out on PC that allowed gamers to spend some time in the shoes of a magical art student. The epic journey of April Ryan made waves because it was one of the first times that a female took the lead in an adventure game role. The witty protagonist and the complex storyline made the game a cult classic. Last week, the game’s original developer, Funcom, ported the original to iOS. Now, you can replay the beloved classic over and over again anywhere you want on your iPad.

The Longest Journey starts you off in the middle of April’s dream. She is transported to a magical world where she learns a few things about her destiny, which she promptly ignores when she wakes up, assuming it was nothing more than a dream. After a couple of waking moments that include dreamlike events, April discovers she has more power than she realizes.

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Alabama Honors Apple CEO Tim Cook by Naming Anti-Discrimination Bill After Him

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach

This past October, Apple CEO Tim Cook came out. He told the world he was gay an essay for Bloomberg Businessweek in which he also expressed his concern with the lack of human rights and protection many people face based on their sexual orientation. He noted that his decision to come out was influenced by the idea that he might be a role model to the gay community. “If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is… then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” he wrote.

After hearing the news, Alabama Democratic state Representative Patricia Todd, who was in the process of drafting an anti-discrimination law, joked that she would name her bill after Cook.

It was just a joke, but the news cycle picked it up and Apple heard about it.

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The Woz Debunks the Legend that Apple Inc. Started in Steve Jobs’ Garage

Steve Wozniak

We’ve all heard the story about how the two Steves, Wozniak and Jobs, started a computer giant in the mid 1970. The two upstarts had a lot of moxie, but not a lot of money. The story goes that Jobs and “The Woz,” as he has been affectionately nicknamed, toiled away on designing and building the Apple I in the former’s garage.

It turns out that none of it was true. At least, the part about building computers in the garage wasn’t. Wozniak told Bloomberg that the iconic garage was nothing more than a fable.

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Apple Donates $291K to Pennsylvania School District to Start Their Own iPad Program

LAUSD iPad Education Program

The education of the iPad is in the air right now. A new report showed that more Chromebooks were distributed to school districts than iPads this past quarter. The LAUSD officially ended its contract with Apple after a year-and-a-half of complications. Apple recently pledged to provide 114 schools with a variety of technology products, including an iPad for every student. Today, we’ve learned that Apple has donated nearly $300,000 to the Steel Valley School District in Pittsburgh, PA to implement a district-wide technology plan using iPads.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Apple’s donation, in conjunction with a separate gift from local philanthropist William Campbell of $62,921, will go toward buying iPads for every student in the District, as well as training teachers and staff how to use the devices in the classroom.

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Mozilla’s Firefox Web Browser is Headed to iOS

Illustration Courtesy of TechCrunch

Illustration Courtesy of TechCrunch

I remember using Firefox a long time ago, before I purchased my first iPad, before I purchased my first Mac computer. I’ve since lost touch with the stylish web browser because Safari became my standard. Apple uses cloud technology to allow users to sync browser history, bookmarks, and form filling content from any iOS or OS X device. If I were a diehard Firefox fan, I’d be upset that it hasn’t yet been available on iOS.

This week, Mozilla officially acknowledged it is in the early stages of experimenting with Firefox on iOS.

According to TechCrunch, Mozilla held an internal event in Portland, OR where Vice President Jonathan Nightingale was quoted as saying the company is going to make Firefox for iOS.

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Apple’s New Commercial Makes Use of Voice Text Feature

Voice Text

Have you tried the new Voice Text feature in iOS 8? Did you even know about it? I almost forgot it existed. I don’t associate voice messages with texting (that’s why they call it text). Apple recently released a new advertisement that spotlights Voice Text on an iPhone 6. But of course, it is also available on your iPad.

Voice Text lets you “actually LOL. OL.” It is a recording feature available within the Messages app that allows you to quickly record and send any audio. All you have to do is touch and hold the microphone next to the text bar to activate the recording feature. Then, swipe up to send it.

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LAUSD Officially Ends $1.3 Billion iPad Program Shortly After FBI Seizure

Photo Courtesy of L.A. Times

Photo Courtesy of L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) officially canceled its billion-dollar contract with Apple earlier this week. The new superintendent, Ramon C. Cortines, announced that he was shelving the program just one day after the FBI subpoenaed the District to hand over 20 boxes of documents relating to it. Cortines said his decision had nothing to do with the FBI investigation.

The iPad Program at LAUSD is a long and sorted affair. It started in June of 2013 when the L.A. Times reported that the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to approve a contract that would eventually supply every student with an iPad. At the time, the contract was for $30 million. The teachers union criticized the move, noting that then Supt. John Deasy had recently appeared in a promotional video for Apple not long before the bidding process. Deasy also admitted that he owned stock in Apple, but said he “abstained from involvement in the decision.”

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