Fans of the popular Discovery Communications-owned site HowStuffWorks.com should be pleased about the release of app HowStuffWorks for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Based around the content of the HowStuffWorks web site, the HowStuffWorks app offers a multitude of articles, videos and podcasts about pretty much every topic you can think of.
One of the biggest features of HowStuffWorks is its integrated podcasts (more than 2,000 are available) found under the Shows tab. I experienced a few crashes when using this function but had no problem stopping or starting the podcast while remaining in app. What I did have issues with was the lack of fast-forward and rewind. While you can move the slider bar forward, there is no functionality attached to it. Audio will continue to play in the background if you want, and, after receiving a phone call while listening to a podcast, the podcast auto-started after I took the call. On occasion, when flipping screens or re-entering the app, I did lose access to the "stop" button, which meant I had to fully quit the app to get some peace and quiet. HowStuffWorks needs to improve the usability of this area, but I do like that the app will send you a push notification when new episodes are available.
In addition to the show-specific podcasts, there is a database of text articles divided by categories, such as home and garden, adventure, money and science. The video sections, which played without any problems, are presented in a seemingly random order. While that could be slightly annoying, HowStuffWorks does provide a search function if you're looking for specific information.
HowStuffWorks requires Internet, so you won't be able to kill time — and this app is an excellent, educational time-killer — without at least a Wi-Fi connection.