February may have been the shortest month of the year, but you wouldn’t know it by the thousands of free iPhone apps released over the past 28 days. Newly released iPhone apps include inspiration for designers, news for science geeks, a goofy slingshot game, a tool for non-linear thinkers, some wonderful films and an odd iPhone app instrument.
In 2006, Brazilian designer Fabio Sasso began a blog, Abduzeedo, to chronicle his experimentation in, and abduction by, the graphic design industry. Since that time Abduzeedo has grown into a popular source for designer inspiration and tutorials.
This month, the Abduzeedo iPhone app (free) debuted. It is a daily series of visually inspiring images. Blog readers can submit pictures of what they see during the day that inspired them. The result is an eclectic mix of compositions.
The downside of the Abduzeedo iPhone app is that it still needs work. Sometimes the images get stuck spooling. Another glitch is a recurring logo design for “Lost in Space.” The graphic appears at least a dozen times in every day’s image series, and it seems to be the default image when the iPhone app stalls proceeding to the next image. All in all, the iPhone app works all right, and it’s a high-quality design collection, enjoyable for professional designers as well as casual art fans.
If you’re more left-brained than right-brained, however, the next iPhone app is right up your alley – or lobe. The popular science magazine “Nature” now has the Nature iPhone app to read stories on the go. You’re a few taps away from learning about dark matter, lasers and carbon credits. The iPhone app does require registration with yet another password to remember, but that’s still a reasonable trade-off for a zero-dollar subscription.
After you get your creative juices flowing and read some news, you may feel like playing a game. And for that I recommend (free) Angry Birds Lite. This is a slingshot and physics game enrobed in colorful graphics and a sense of humor. The storyline is this: Green pigs stole birds’ eggs, birds are mad, pigs hide in structures and birds heave themselves at the pigs. All of this is done with humorous elements, including the sound effects of birds screaming, “Whahhh!” as they fly through the air, and pigs snorting, content in their fortresses. When you fail to complete a level, the pigs taunt you with grins. Angry Birds Lite is a relatively short game, but definitely fun and humorous.
After your game, it’s time to get back to work. Perhaps you’re solving a problem that requires a creative approach. Or maybe you’re trying to get a better handle on a list of tasks. In either case, an iPhone app that might help is the free iMindMap iPhone app. A mind map, or idea web, is a diagram with a central word or idea, and colored branches stemming from it with the terms and concepts that accompany that central idea. You can link branch-to-branch, change branch colors, edit text and scroll around your entire map with two fingers.
When your problem is solved or your tasks are completed, it’s time for entertainment. The QuickVid iPhone app (free) contains full-length creative commons films after you download them within the iPhone app. Currently, there are three animated films available: “Big Buck Bunny,” “Sita Sings the Blues,” and “Elephants Dream.” All three films are cutting-edge, very well done and visually arresting. For example, “Big Buck Bunny” is a comedy about a rabbit, rodent bullies and sweet revenge.
Last month in this column, I introduced the free Piano Cats Free iPhone app, two rows of animated kitties in the form of a keyboard. This month I present you the Slide Whistle! iPhone app. It is what it says it is, a dipping and ascending whistle note when you tap or shake your device. Between the Piano Cats Free and the Slide Whistle!, I’m beginning to envision a hypothetical musical group forming, composed of the strangest iPhone app instruments. If you have any suggestions for this new app band, I would love to hear them. Please write them in the comments below. And, by all means, check out Slide Whistle!; it’s a toot.
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