Are you trying to live greener, but little indiscretions like leaving your computer on keep slipping your mind? Well, don’t sweat the small stuff and allow it to become a big problem. Instead, try using Off, which enables you to shut down your computer (regardless if PC or Mac) remotely. Whether for your home gaming rig or your office setup, this app helps you control power states of all computers at your disposal as well as be a means to monitor the computer usage of your kids. No more late night WoW for Jack and Facebook posting for Jill. One caveat: this app requires a small additional install on each computer. For less than a buck, it’s the least you can do for the environment. However, you still should fix that leaky faucet in the bathroom. Price: 99¢.
It always starts off innocently enough: “Let’s go to California Extreme,” Steve will say to me sometime this summer. “All the classic pinball and video games will be set to free play, man. It’s gonna be awesome!” Carried away by his enthusiasm, I’ll follow suit and probably have a great time reminiscing of days long gone by. Later, when summer is winding down, I’ll get another phone call, which is the by-product of that earlier little excursion: “Get your truck and pick me up,” Steve will say with a contrived sense of urgency. “I’m getting Pinbot at Super Auctions!” Of course, he’ll never pick one up for one reason (poor condition) or another (price), but at least we would have gotten more free play, which is also what makes SmallBall Pinball, Grand Canyon a pretty sweet deal. Explore and solve expansive multiple boards with fine graphic details in a Grand Canyon-themed setting. Touch anywhere on screen to snap the flippers and if you quit at anytime, your score and position will be saved. With global rankings, you really can’t do much better than this for free play. Price: Free.
I’m pretty sure I’ve played darts more in video games than I have in an actual bar, but I really do prefer it that way. I mean, haven’t you ever had that fear you’ll hit someone in the head with a dart and it’s so deep that pulling it out would cause irreparable damage? God forbid that person will need to live with the dart in their head for the rest of their lives, which most likely will affect their social life and maybe, just maybe, not making it possible for them to wear a hat ever again. Complete sadness! So rather than tempt fate, I’ll just play Darts on my iPhone, which is graphically rendered in 3D, plays very smoothly in either Cricket or X01 game variation, and now includes the sweet new ‘Aim and Flick’ control. Best in its class. Price: Free.
As I continued to rummage through the App Store, I realized there are a lot of apps that use very unspectacular graphics. It’s like some devs decided to use clip art or Wingdings rather than deal with artists, which is understandable with those fragile egos. Just kidding! Of course, on occasion, you run into a game like Trace, which basically says to you “Look, this may look like a child’s fingerpainting, but at least, you will never forget me.” It’s true: I never will, but it is also because of it’s creative gameplay of drawing paths using the touch screen to avoid obstacles in the fastest time possible. The game is a puzzler and a platformer all in one. With 6 unique worlds and 120 levels, you really can’t ask for anything more, including a break on the price… because it’s free. Price: Free.
While looking for a Lode Runner clone (one of my all time faves) in the App Store, I ran into this little gem, which reminded me of Atari’s Night Driver and the original Star Wars coin-op arcade machines from the late 70′s and early 80′s respectively. Gosh, I’m dating myself. One of the first games available when the App Store launched, Cube Runner is a simple, yet addictive game of maneuvering your ship through a maze of cubes strewn about in your path. In a behind-the-ship 3rd person POV, tilting your device veers your ship to the left or right narrowly avoiding on-coming obstacles. Don’t let the graphics fool you: this is a fun game, which has an almost therapeutic quality the better you do. Definitely worth downloading. Price: Free.
We’ve written before about how we aren’t musicians over here. However, Slow Down Music Trainer is a very useful application, which can slow down or speed up your favorite song, all the while maintaining the pitch. This enables aspiring musicians to pinpoint the note, beat, chord or lyric to play or sing a song correctly. Plus, you can easily change the key of a song helping aspiring songwriters and producers to infinitely tweak a tune saving time and maybe even some money. High-end PC trainers can go for upwards of $200, but this app is way inexpensive and perfect for bands still in their salad days waiting for their big break. Price: $9.99.
Are you afraid your son or daughter just isn’t putting in the time to excel in his or her US geography class? Are you afraid you’re about to raise the next Mister or Miss South Carolina? PopGeo USA Geography is a fun little app that’s basically an interactive test on US states and their capitals. The gameplay is simple: floating on a map of the US are labels with the names of four states, state capitals, cities or national parks. Just drag and drop the labels to its correct map location and wait for the ‘oh so satisfying’ jingle of coins if you’re correct. For the price, it might be the little nudge to inspire your unmotivated student. Price: 99¢.
In 1980, I was 9 years old sitting in the bleachers at Candlestick Park, home of the then (and I guess still) hapless San Francisco Giants. It was the last home game for one of my favorite players of all time, Willie McCovey, who came to bat sporting a .204 batting average and the obvious effects of chronic injuries late in his career. Still, Willie battled and eventually lined a single to score a runner. While it wasn’t one of his huge bombs from yesteryear, I still gleefully jotted it down in my scorekeeping book, recording history with my own personal touch. Now create similar memories with this high quality scorekeeping app, iScore Baseball Scorekeeper, that even a rookie can use. Whether for Little League or the Big Leagues, keep track of each pitch, each at-bat, and each play without breaking a sweat. Fully customizable and the best investment you can make to actively take part in our national past-time. Price: $4.99.
Have you ever gotten a bite to eat with a vegetarian or vegan at a Chinese restaurant and ordered a vegetable plate only to find that it consists primarily of celery, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts? It’s like getting a main course filled with condiments. Well, those dark days are over with this little app, VegOut (powered by our friends at Happy Cow), which provides you with a list of both reputable vegetarian and vegan restaurants as well as restaurants that are vegetarian friendly around the world. With over 9000 listings, dine with confidence at the right places for you, your family and friends. Constantly updated for accuracy, don’t be satisfied with makeshift dishes and instead have a real delectable vegetarian or vegan meal made to order. Price: $2.99.
Driving around your neighborhood in The Hub searching for a parking space, you find one, but there’s street cleaning the following day. You pull into the space anyway and set a mental reminder to move it first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, you forget and Lovely Rita gets you. With Sweep:BOS, easily set up an email or SMS reminder to move your car so you don’t get the dreaded $100 ticket. Get alerts to street cleaning all year round, and, in the winter, also get alerts to move your car for snow removal. While currently limited to Boston, expansion is slated to a significant number of US cities over the next couple months. It’s a great buy for the price, especially when compared to a single ticket! Price: $1.99.