Wednesday, April 29, 2009

iPhone nation part 3, Singapore ranks number 6

According to a recent survey by mobile advertising network Greystripe, Singapore is number six its list of iPhone-using countries. Remarkably, Singapore is ahead of much bigger markets like Japan (6), Hong Kong (7), Mexico (8) and Germany (10). The top five are the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and France.

This list ranks countries by the number of ad impressions delivered by Greystripe to iPhone users in those countries.

Greystripe's full report is available here.

iPhone nation, part 2

How popular is the iPhone in Singapore? This story might give you an idea.

I was on the MRT on Monday evening, heading into town from Clementi. I was standing at the door, attempting to read news stories off my RSS reader when I noticed that the guy sitting down in front of me was listening to music on his iPhone. Then another guy walks into crowded carriage, and stands just next to me. He too is listening to music on his iPhone. I start looking around the carriage and about two metres to my right, I see a guy sitting and using what *might* be an iPhone (with the number of clones around, it's not always easy to tell from a distance). Soon after I notice him, he gets off and a woman sits in his place. She starts using her phone and it's definitely an iPhone because she is going through her email.

Not bad for a random sample, and more impressive than the three sets of middle class parents waiting for the kids at gymnastics practice.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New app: HungryGoWhere

HungryGoWhere is a free restaurant guide covering over 6,000 F&B outlets in Singapore. This iPhone app is a collaboration between the people behind the HungryGoWhere website and Xsago (who gave us Foyage).

New app: SG Mahjong

Gamefront Singapore's SG Mahjong is selling on the App Store for US$0.99. Its features include:

1) 3 levels of difficulties for novice, advance & expert players. There are also 8 AI players with different playing styles.

2) Speed selection & tile color selection, it’s up to you.

3) Comes with all Singapore mahjong rules
- 13 Terminals hand is possible, if you can do it!

4) Character selection
- 9 avatars to choose from. Use your own name as well.
- Up to 3 profiles to save your character in. You can save your progress.

5) Motivating ranking system
- A scoring board to keep track of all human and AI players.

buUuk now on shelf

buUuk 2.5 now available on the App Store.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Glass, when dropped, will break

Who knew? I'm now in the market for a skilled iPhone repair person.

plan.pack.go travelling up the charts

Michael Tan's excellent packing and travel preparation app, plan.pack.go is now on the list of top 20 paid apps in the travel category of Apple's US App Store. Michael's success is much deserved. The US$1.99 app is clean, well-designed and works well. Congrats Michael!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ST's Razor TV app now available

It's free. Get it here.

StarHub's callback service now available on iPhone

StarHub's callback service, Bounce, is now available for the iPhone. The free app can be downloaded from the App Store. I haven't tried it out yet but it looks worth checking out. Do remember to compare rates before making your calls. When I checked today, Hoiio's rates for Cambodia, New Zealand and the US were a little cheaper than Bounce. Your mileage may vary depending on where you're calling, I imagine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

BuUuk to get Facebook linkup

The latest version of restaurant guide buUuk will feature Facebook integration.

In version 2.5, users can sign in to Facebook to post buUrps (reviews) with their Facebook ID (You can still do so with Twitter ID, or anonymously)

buUuk users with a Facebook account will have these extra features:
- Update Facebook status e.g. Jon Peterson is chewing fat at buUuk HQ
- Tell a friend 
- Post buUrps in Facebook (text & photo) 
- A new Friends page. This page shows Facebook friends that are also buUuk users (only if the buUuk users signed in to Facebook inside buUuk). This page shows new messages sent by their friends, so they can start following their friends in buUuk

Other features:
- buUrps nearby.
- Search function for buUrps and forums

Don't forget to check out the buUuk Facebook page.

Expect to see the latest version of buUuk on the App Store in a few days.

Price of Upcoming Events drops to US$0.99

Michael Tan's excellent Upcoming Events is now a steal at just US$0.99. Never forget a birthday or anniversary again. I use it regularly to track significant events. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't stop believing

Check out this video. It has the intro to Don't Stop Believing as demo-ed by Joash using Chordica. The song starts around 2:24. He also does a mean version of I'm Yours. I gotta learn how to use this app ....

Watch the whole video to learn about the new features of the latest version of Chordica (now at version 1.2). To learn to use Chordica from Joash himself, head down to the iShop at Orchard Cineleisure on Tuesdays (7pm) and Saturdays (2pm).

Chordica is available on the App Store for US$2.99.

Local web app is Apple "featured web app"

Lim Thye Chean's Space War, an arcade-style game where you shoot down aliens, is a featured web app on Apple's site! Space War, which is written in Javascript, can be played in Safari and Mobile Safari (though you can't get sound if you play it in Mobile Safari).

Space War was originally written in Java for Android by Thye Chean and his son Ding Wen with Thye Chean working on the main logic of the game while his son worked on the collision detection and explosions.

Thye Chean ported his version (without the cool explosions) to Javascript for the iPhone but it ran too slowly on the currently build of the iPhone OS. He then decided to make Space War available to others by putting the Javascript version online.

He is waiting for 3.0 to be released before making Space War available as a native app for the iPhone. 

The current version of Space War is largely Thye Chean's effort because it lacks the explosions that Ding Wen worked on for the Android version. However, this might change soon, so watch this space!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Never forget your passport again

Michael Tan is an organised guy. We know this because his latest app, plan.pack.go is the very paragon of organisation. It's a very simple app that helps you pack for your trip. It has four templates, for business trips and holidays, with versions for men and women.

The app doesn't just help you pack, it also ensures that you take care of the stuff around the house before you go off on your five-day business trip.

The lists are comprehensive and customisable. Shake the iPhone to switch from a list to do, to a list of things you've done.

The app, plan.pack.go is available on the App Store for just US$1.99. Don't leave home without buying it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pong! iPhone Mahjong, Singapore-style

If you like playing mahjong using Singapore rules, you’re in luck. SG Mahjong Lite is a new app on the App Store that allows you to do just that. The game was developed by Gamefrontz, which consists of three friends who go by the handles Clouette, Kolslorr and Blurlam.

According to spokesman Clouette, they decided to develop the app because they are big mahjong fans. “My buddies and I are mahjong players who meet almost everyday during festive seasons to play. It's the game we're most confident we can do well in. Furthermore, the mahjong games available on App Store are all Taiwan style, and are slow. We wanted something fast and with Singapore rules.”

With the Lite version out, Gamefrontz is now working on getting the Pro version out. The pro version will have additional features like the full mahjong round, the full scoring system, difficulty selection, speed selection and character selection.

They are also planning improvements based on feedback from users. Many people have commented that the current version is too fast, does not have sound and is hard to read. According to Clouette, they are updating the speed and adding sound effects for both the lite and pro versions. “Size will be tough to improve but we'll try,” says Clouette.

The trio, who are Computer Engineering graduates from NUS and NTU, have other plans as well for the iPhone. They are looking at board games and card games. In addition, they are toying with the idea of leveraging on their expertise to design a “powerful pseudo-human AI” on the mobile platform. Says Clouette: “You should be seeing something that test gamers’ brains from us.”

SG Mahjong Lite is free.


Singapore Mahjong differs from other versions in the number of tiles and the way the game is scored. Singapore Mahjong has 148 tiles, an additional eight flower and four animal tiles.

The scoring system is based on exponential increases.

Normal scoring rules:
1 point = $1
2 points = $2
5 points = $5

Singapore scoring rules
1 point = $1
2 points = $2
3 points = $4
5 points = $16

Because of the exponential increase, there is greater incentive to score higher. With the exponential scoring system, there is usually a cap of 5 points.

Major Chordica update soon

Joash Chee has just completed a major update to Chordica. Version 1.2 brings with it an updated rhythm rack and instruments selection. It has been submitted to Apple and should be in the App Store soon.

Major changes:
  • MET1K has been updated to NeuMET1K. It now allows you to set drums and percussion sounds as your metronome in a step sequencer for some pseudo drum machine action.
  • A new rack called iNSTRUMENTS now allow you to set different sounds for the Bass and Harmony section. 
According to Joash, they are now inches away from updating Chordica to Chordica Pro.

They are also releasing Chordica Lite Edition, a free version of Chordica for folks to have fun with. Says Joash: "We hope that this free release will add value to the Chordica Open Sessions and Master classes."

BTW, I made a mistake with the time for the Saturday open session and master class. It should be at 2pm not 10 am. Be there or be square.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hopeful (or hopeless) musicians can now get Chordica lessons

I’ve always been fascinated by Chordica. It looks like a cool way to make music, especially if you’re like me and you can’t play a real piano. Unfortunately, using Chordica is slightly more complicated than playing on the Ocarina and I soon gave up my dream of accompanying Steve Perry on “Don’t Stop Believing”.

Fortunately, Chordica developer Joash Chee has given us a reason to continue believing. To help cluelees noobs like me, Joash will be starting an hour-long workshop on using the Chordica at the iShop at Cineleisure from next week. The workshop will be on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Each session will cost $10.

The workshop will cover things like maximising the use of the Chordica button layout, tips and tricks for creating fancy chord voices and proper scoring methods.

Just before the workshop, Joash will be hosting a free Open Session where he will showcase the Chordica. If you can, try to make it for the open sessions next week because helping Joash to showcase Chordica is Aiping, a singer with an incredible voice. You can hear her singing Amazing Grace accompanied by Joash on Chordica here. Aiping will be performing on both Tuesday and Saturday next week (April 7 and April 11).

Joash has high hopes for the sessions. “I hope that this will become a permanent platform which I can use to educate people in general about the Scoreless Music revolution and how Chordica plays a part in it.

“Eventually, I hope to partner with other budding musicians and singers who are in need of accompaniment and a platform to expose themselves. Let this be something for the creative arts exposure too!”

The open sessions start at 7pm on Tuesdays and 10am 2pm on Saturdays. For more details, check out the flyer. Sign up quickly, so you can take the midnight train going anywhere.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

iPhone 3.0 beta 2

Apple has released the second beta version of iPhone 3.0. It's supposed to be largely bug fixes but it has been reported that this version will allow you to have 11 home screens for your apps, up from nine. This means you will be able to have up to 180 apps, up from 148. 

Local app update - tranSGuide and Singapore GST

TranSGuide is another free bus guide for the iPhone. What's different is that it tells you which bus stops are near you, and allows you to bookmark your favourite buses at specific bus stops. Nice idea. TranSGuide is free.

Singapore GST allows you to calculate the GST in Singapore. You can type in the pre-GST price to see how much something will cost with GST included, or you can type in the total price (plus GST) and see how much the GST alone is costing you. Singapore GST is US$1.99.