Quick Takes on Five Apps (#8)

This is the eighth installment of the Quick Takes series, where I look at five apps and tell you my thoughts on them.

Dealnews (iPhone)

When I first got a Mac I used to visit Dealnews every morning to see what I could afford on the little cash I had at the time. In recent years I haven’t looked at the site, but somehow I came across the app for the iPhone. The app is easy and straightforward and still only appeals to those shoppers that like buying things because it is a ‘deal’. My biggest complaint is the way the app displays the information seems to not take into account its primary users.

It would seem that if you specialize in showing low priced items, that your customers would naturally be most interested in the price and the product. Instead, the point that draws your eye is the ‘hotness’ meter, the price is buried at the end of the product name, in the same font and the same color and size. That’s a little backwards if you ask me.

Alpine Crawler (Mac OS X)

This is a simple little game that is free in the Mac App Store. It reminds me a lot of Excite Bike for the Nintendo — except you are in a truck and can (apparently) kill yourself with too big of jumps. Other than that…

This game is not great, it’s not even really that good. That doesn’t mean that my buddy and I didn’t have a hell of a good time playing it the other night.

Battle Bears -1 (Mac OS X)

Another free one that my buddy and I grabbed from the Mac App Store the other night. It is a first person shooter where everyone is bears, luckily your bear has a variety of guns to fend off the onslaught of attacking bears that will hug you to death (bastards). I want to point out that while I don’t think this is the best game out there (not by a long shot), it is free and entertaining as all hell.

I love that the developers had a good time writing the copy for the game — it makes the entire thing that much funnier to play. One annoying thing I did notice is that this game doesn’t seem to work with the Magic Trackpad — not sure why, not that you really want to be using that for a first person shooter.

Bing for iPad

It searches stuff using the Bing engine — surprising huh? It’s a very interesting app — not in a bad way, but it feels more like a home screen replacement app than a search app. When you pull up the app it shows you a ton of data that is all somewhat relevant. It really looks nice on the main view, though the search results are presented in a less than pleasing way (white background, blue links).

I also like the ‘card’ type navigation for moving back and forth between an individual search result and the list of results. I just can’t get over the feeling that this looks like what a Windows Tablet should look like — meaning it truly feels like it is trying to replace iOS, not compliment it. Interesting.

Jetsetter (iPad)

It doesn’t rotate — no seriously you can only use it in portrait, which almost made me uninstall it. I don’t get why you would develop for a device that rotates around and then lock your app to one orientation — stupid. Having said that, this is a great app for people looking to spend a lot of money on vacation. There has been some rumbles around my home about taking a trip to Hawaii — specifically Maui. So I searched for Maui and two hotels came up, I clicked on the Fairmont Kea Lani which boasts rooms starting at $699 a night — something I can’t afford right now. That said I really like that the app also told me that WiFi costs an additional $14.50 a day (absurd).

Another great use case for this app is if you have a specific hotel in mind that you want to know more about — if they have it in their database I can’t imagine a better way to get all that information. The pictures are stunning and the details about the hotels are unmatched by other sites I have used in the past. Including the information that a taxi will cost $70 from the Airport to the hotel (again, absurd).

If you liked this installment be sure to check out the other installments).

Originally posted for members on: April 11, 2011
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