Author Archives: Richard A. Cook

Action Movie FX: Blowing Up Your Boss’s Car Has Never Been So Much Fun or Easier

This is a free app you have to get!  It is the best free app since Songify and has something in common.  Action Movie FX put you right in the middle of your own a special effects action movie.  Every wanted to join the likes of Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger in your own action scene? Well in a matter of 5 seconds you can have an automobile tumble towards you, have you home crushed by a meteorite or blow up your boss’s car.  Best of all its free.  However, you can buy other in app special effects such as a tornado, machine gun fire fight, jet plane crashing or side swiping a police car.  Sound effects are included. Action Movie Fx puts a little movie magic in your hands via your iPhone.  You simply chose your action scene video, film your subject and process the video.  It all happens in a matter of seconds through the magic of your iPhone.  You have never laughed so hard as when you blow up your boss or co-worker’s car or better yet see their reaction.  You can share your action clip with friends via email or Facebook as well.  Below is a slide show of out-takes from the FxVideo of what happens at our office if you leave too early…

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Mobile Monet HD: Transforms Your Photos into Works of Art

This is a very intuitive and easy program to use for purposes of transforming your pictures into art. The controls are easy to use and forgiving if you want to alter or change yoru picture. You have a multitude of options if you wish to share your picture with others via the email or through Internet social sites. The app takes your photographs and coverts them to pen and ink drawings which you can color creating a pen and ink watercolor from your photos. The controls also allow you convert the picture to a monochromatic work of art as well. If you make a mistake you can undo your change or use the erase function to eliminate coloring that does not suit your tastes. The erase tool allows you to remove coloring in selected areas. You will be happy you purchased the app. This app is available in an iPhone format or HD format which is compatible with both devices and takes advantage of the iPad’s extra screen size.
Below is a “before” and “after” picture in a saltwater marsh in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.


20120115-133820.jpg. Below is a picture of my father getting his haircut which could easily pass for a commissioned watercolor painting.


iCloud: My Understanding of It is a Bit Clouded


Well, I recently took the plunge and transferred over my MobileMe Account to iCloud.  What is iCloud you say?  Well it is Apple’s attempt to use of push technology to allow you to store all your data in an electronic cloud.  This includes calendars, contacts, email (only MobileMe), apps, iBook,  and your other  iTunes purchases.  For an extra charge of $24.00/year you can also upload all your music (including non-apple purchases) to the cloud for use on all of your machines through iMatch.  When you change something on one machine it gets updated on all your phones, iPads and devices.  This can prove to be a problem if you share your iTune account with other family members.  They will end up with all your contacts and vice versa.  My son now has hundreds of business contacts on his cellphone which he does not want.  Yow!!!

There are other problems as well.  My trouble began with my move from MobileMe to iCloud and has yet to be fully resolved.  I suspect part of the problem is caused by my use of a PC based computer and Outlook with Apple’s products such as my iPhone and iPad. I am unable to transfer my Mobile Me email address to the iCloud in spite of hours on-line working with an Apple Technician over multiple sessions to try and resolve the issue.  The iCloud program will only allow you to use a single Apple Mobile Me.Com email account with iTunes.   This limitation hinders the functionality of your devices.  I have also had difficulty getting my existing Mobile Me account to work with iTunes and iCloud because I used a personal email account to set up my iTunes account years ago before subscribing to the iCloud and it’s forerunner, Mobile Me.  So I wait and wait to see how this problem will be resolved…  From what I have heard from other sources, I am not the only one having issues with the fog of transition caused by iCloud technology.  That being said, the Apple technician I have worked with has been pleasant, responsive and as helpful as she can be.    Unfortunately, it seems Apple has rushed out this technology without first adequately beta testing it.   Hopefully, these glitches will be resolved in the near future and the iCloud will be as responsive as its human technicians.

Index Card – A Great Tool for Writers and Students

Index Card is a simple non-linear writing tool designed for use on the Apple iPad. You can organize your thoughts through the use of virtual index cards. You can also utilize different colored cards to identify and segregate different areas of your project. The program allows you to use the touch screen to reorder your cards. The beauty of this simple isytem and interface is it permits you to capture your ideas and store notes as they come to you.


You can organize the flow of your project by using a simulated corkboard interface. By pressing down on a virtual index card, you can electronically grab it on the touchscreen and drag it to a new location. This is the perfect app for screenwriters, novelists, or students. The program allows you to compile your work into a single draft document that can be read by most word processors and specialized formatting programs. The cost of $5.00 seems quite reasonable given all this program does.

iAnnotate for PDF Documents: An A-1 App!

If you work with PDF documents or photographs and need to annotate them then this is the app for you. The application seamlessly allows you to mark up PDF documents with symbols, highlighting, hand written and typed notes. You can also insert pop-up comments as well.

The application allows you to take full advantage of the iPads touch screen by allowing easy navigation of the apps controls which be customized to fit you needs. This app is pretty amazing as it allows you to do things that previously could only be accomplished with a pen, highlighter, typewriter and post-its. Once completed, your document has a side menu with a shorthand listing of your annotations.

You can email the document directly through the program. The email generated by the app creates a short summary of your annotations. The app also includes a library which you can easily navigate organize and manage your annotated documents.

The program has drop down help menus and tips. The documentation for operating the app is very clearly written and organized for ready reference. The controls are intuitive and easy to operate. Documents can easily be accessed from outside sources such as DropBox. This is really an impressive application which is quite affordable at only $9.99 for all it does. With nearly 500 five star ratings by the apps purchasers, I am not alone in my opinion that iAnnotate is an A-1 app.


Using a New Blue Tooth Keyboard

The New Trent Bluetooth keyboard is smartly designed. It allows for typing on your iPad via a Bluetooth connection. The case is smartly designed and the charging cable is stored on board in a “secret compartment”. The keyboard charged fully in about an hour after being hooked up to my desktop computer at work.

The case is well designed and allows easy access to all buttons and does not obstruct the front facing camera lens. The case includes a silicone cover for the keyboard which is translucent and allows typing even with the cover in place. The case is so well integrated with the iPad 2 that it makes it appear as if it’s a notebook as opposed to an iPad. The keyboard when closed securely clicks shut and automatically turns off your iPad 2. I highly recommend the New Trend Bluetooth keyboard for use by anyone. on the go who does heavy typing on their iPad 2. The cost for me through Amazon Marketplace was approximately $50 including shipping. Quite a bargain, if I do say so myself.

Picture Perfect: Fine tune your picture perfectly!

Want to make your pictures look their best, than Picture Perfect is the App for you. Adjust your pictures for color, exposure, contrast, brightness, and crop your image as well. Once you have perfected your photograph you can readily save the picture, email it or upload it to Facebook or Twitter. The program has a easy to use menu system which can be readily navigated. I especially like the ability to photo shop my picture right on my iPhone. So starting shooting your pictures on your iPhone and make them picture perfect.


iPad 2: I’m moving on up.

I was looking for a program that could emulate the structure of my file system I use for jury trials. I looked at several programs that were touted as the answer for use on my new iPad 2 I received for my birthday. I looked at all the Apple App World had to offer to no avail. I download one such program and found it to be slow and cumbersome to navigate through. I needed something with multiple tabs that could take advantage of the iPad touch-screen to navigate quickly to pull up needed information. This has always been one of the limitations of a laptop… its hard to navigate and pull up information as fast as you can with a well organized physical file. After giving up hope, I came across such app called simply “Outline” for the iPad. It will import notebooks from from the Microsoft program One-Note for ready use on the iPad. It works quite well and best of all it’s free. The materials are all organized just like my files and you can link documents such as depositions, medical journals and pleadings are linked for full review.


The Sleep Cycle App: Good Night and Good Luck!

Did you ever feel as if you got up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning? Ever wonder why you feel so tired even though you’ve slept a full eight hours? Well maybe your sleeping and waking stages are simply out of sync.  We all run through various cycles of sleep during the night. If you wake up while still in a deep-sleep stage of your cycle, you will undoubtedly feel tired and listless. Enter the Sleep Cycle App which assures you of waking up while you’re in a lite stage of sleep.   You simply open up the app on your iPhone, hook your iPhone to it’s power supply, turn on the app and place your iPhone face down next to your pillow. The motion sensor in your iPhone records your various stages of sleep wakes you up near your appointed time provided you’re in a lite stage of sleep. The program also graphically records your various stages of sleep for ready reference and analysis once you have woken up.

So get the Sleep Cycle App… sweet dreams are just around the corner.

Keep Up With Your Fellow Bloggers

Keeping with your favorite blogs has never easier than with Offline Reader. The application allows you to pick from the usual suspects in news for offline reading. It also allows you to search the Internet to find less known blogs. You can then manually set search criteria or enter in the blog’s address. The app will at your command update the blogs you are following. Best of all you can read them later off-line. Now you have no excuses for not reading a blog.