Hans Zimmer and the Inception iPhone app

A week ago the free Inception iPhone App was introduced. It’s a project by the movie’s director Christopher Nolan, Michael Breidenbrücker and Hollywood’s star composer Hans Zimmer. As an absolute Hans Zimmer fan I tried it out immediately and I must admit, it is intriguing. It uses augmented sound through the iPhone’s headset to change the “dream” your are experiencing which is underlined by music composed by Hans Zimmer.

This app is a dream machine that transforms the world around you into a dreamworld. It uses augmented sound to induce dreams through the headset of your iPhone and iPod Touch. It will change your perception of reality.

Inception The App transports Inception The Movie straight into your life. New dreams can be unlocked in many ways, for example by walking, being in a quiet room, while traveling or when the sun shines. You will get realtime musical experiences, featuring new and exclusive music from the Inception soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer.

Source: “Experience your life as a dream” Inception The App

Hans Zimmer’s music alone is reason enough to get the app, but this augmented sound implementation is a live feedback loop into the actual music experience and is really amazing. Through this feedback you change the music and therefore the dream itself. The app contains 10 different dreams so far. These are:

  • Reverie Dream
  • Still Dream
  • Full Moon Dream
  • Traveling Dream
  • Action Dream
  • Sleep Dream
  • Quiet Dream
  • Sunshine Dream
  • Africa Dream
  • Limbo

To read some reviews about this dreams, look into the Dream Review Site. For more details and some words of Hans Zimmer about the project take a look at this video:

Hans Zimmer talks about Inception The App from RjDj on Vimeo.

Building iAds with Apple’s iAd Producer

Apple has introduced a new software tool for developers: iAd Producer. It enables anyone to create iAd banners without any coding experience. The tool is available to members of the iOS developer program.

iAd Producer makes it easy for you to design and assemble high-impact, interactive content for iAd. iAd Producer automatically manages the HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript behind your iAd to make creating beautiful, motion-rich iAd content as easy as point and click.

For advanced developers, iAd Producer offers sophisticated JavaScript editing and debugging, along with a powerful extension mechanism that enables them to create and re-use their own page templates and components.

Source: “Introducing iAd Producer” Apple

It’s really easy to create simple iAds with this tool. The most parts can be completed with just drag and drop and minimal additional configuration. The tool comes with a nice user interface and a good visual representation of the iAd’s walkthrough.

iAd-Producer-1

You can easily add iPhone apps from the itunes store for purchase in the iAd. All you need to do is insert the application id from the store. iAd Producer inserts the icon, description and screenshots on its own. Of course you can add any other itunes store content but I guess this is a nice way to promote your apps.

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It just takes a few minutes and you can see your iAd live on your iPhone. You need the iOS SDK installed on your machine to preview the app on the iPhone simulator or you can preview the iAd in any web browser since it is based on HTML5.

iAd-Producer-3

Although I really appreciate this tool and everything looks nice, comes with smooth animation and works as advertised, I must admit it looks nothing like a real cool iAd out of the box. I suppose for some supreme quality iAd you still have to do things manually after all. Luckily within in iAd Producer you can.

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This tool really is a great start. I can’t wait to see iAds in action in Germany. According to Apple’s announcement, iAd is coming to Germany in January 2011 with some major brands signed already. If you want to be ready, try out iAd Producer for yourself.

Real time translation with augmented reality

As an augmented reality enthusiast I am intrigued by this new iPhone app called Word Lens by QuestVisual. It instantly translates printed words from one language to another with the built-in camera on the iPhone. The app itself is for free but the actual language pairs have to be bought via in-app purchase. Take a look:

Until now there are only English and Spanish packages available, so it does not come in handy in Germany but more languages seem to be in the making.

Meet my Steve Jobs cubee

Looking through the web for some Apple news, I stumbled upon a cutout of a Steve Jobs cubee. A guy named Jay Hauf provides an iconic template at his Flickr profile.

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(Source: “Steve Jobs Cut Out” Jay Hauf)

I just had to have one of my own, so I got started on creating mine immediately. It took about 30 minutes and this is the adorable result:

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Isn’t he cute? I think so. Finally I have a playmate for my plush Steve Jobs puppet I bought at PodBrix many months ago. I am sure you remember seeing it on the web as well. For 30 € it sure was the best geek investment of my lifetime. Unfortunately the item is no longer available.

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(Source: “PodBrix creator brings you a huggable Jobs” Macworld)

Here is what they look like together. They do make quite a team, don’t you think? So why don’t you create your own Steve Jobs cubee?

steve-jobs-cubee-and-puppet

Some Unreal numbers – $1.64M in 5 days

Some days ago, I told you about the first iOS game powered by the Unreal Engine 3, called Infinity Blade. It seems to be quite a hit as I just stumbled upon this:

The first Unreal Engine-powered game for iOS, Infinity Blade, has sold at least 274,000 copies in its first five days on sale, according to recent player counts on Game Center. At $6 a copy that’s a $1.64 net for the publisher, and a new record, according to Gamesindustry.biz.

Source: “Infinity Blade iPhone game nets $1.6M in five days” – The Loop

Not so shaby at all. I suppose there is real money to be made in the app store. The full story can be read at gamesindutry.biz but you need to register for free to read the whole article. Meanwhile I will keep on playing the game.

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My favorite “Last Exit to Nowhere” shirts

I know it is already old news, but I really like the nerdy t-shirts from Last Exit to Nowhere. They really create stuff for the more discerning film fanatic.

We collaborate to create unique T-shirts that pay homage to the most memorable places, companies and corporations in cinema history.

Source: “About Us” Last Exit to Nowhere

Of course there is HAL 9000, the the sentient computer of the Discovery One spacecraft in Arthur C. Clarke’s fictional Space Odyssey saga.

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(Source: “HAL 9000” Last Exit to Nowhere)

Mostly appreciated are the Cyberdyne and Skynet shirts inspired by the 1984 James Cameron film The Terminator.

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(Source: “Skynet” Last Exit to Nowhere)

shirt-cyberdyne

(Source: “Cyberdyne” Last Exit to Nowhere)

In addition one should not miss the Venkman Stantz Spengler Paranormal Studies shirt. Bill Murray would love to have one, I am sure.  Of course, this tee is inspired by the 1984 film Ghostbusters, written by Dan Aykroyd.

shirt-vss

(Source: “Venkman Stantz Spengler Paranormal Studies” Last Exit to Nowhere)

There is more in the Dany Aykroyd corner as well. As a fan of The Blues Brothers, one cannot go on living without endorsing Ray’s Music Exchange.

shirt-raysmusic

(Source: “Ray’s Music Exchange” Last Exit to Nowhere)

So, feel free to take a look for yourself. For about 20 € there certainly is something you can’t live without.

The Unreal Engine on the iPad – Infinity Blade

It’s finally happening. As announced in September 2010, Epic Games brings the Unreal Engine 3 to the iOS platform. Until today, there only was a Unreal showcase application called Epic Citadel. In this app nothing is happening at all. One can just explore a castle realm. It looks nice with lots of animation amazing visuals and textures. It sure has the best graphics on the iOS platform. Since today one can buy the first full game Infinity Blade for just 4,99 €.

Infinity Blade is the all-new action RPG sword-fighting game for iPhone®, iPad™ and iPod touch® developed by Epic Games’ award-winning studio, ChAIR Entertainment. The first mobile game powered by Epic’s cutting-edge Unreal Engine 3 technology, Infinity Blade takes handheld gaming to new heights with gorgeous visuals, adrenaline-fueled battles and advanced character progression in a fully 3D castle realm.

(Source: “Infinity Blade” Epic Games)

TouchArcade reviewed the app quite intensively and describes it as a “must have”. I am not into this particular kind of game, but I needed to see this graphics in action. The game has a decent game center integration and promises to bring a multiplayer mode soon. I really like the concept of game center and hope to see interesting competing modes to arise from it. Infinity Blade really looks amazing and runs quite smoothly on my iPhone and my iPad. Remembering the poor graphics on a desktop machine in the 1990ies, playing games like Half-Life, Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike, I never imagined to see even that kind of performance on a mobile device. So from this perspective I agree that Infinity Blade is a must see. I can’t wait to see more games with high end graphics on the iOS platform.

infinity-blade

Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac? No thanks.

In November Sophos announced its free business-strength anti-virus program for Mac. Since any anti-virus software for Mac I tried has been a disappointment I was looking forward to this and tried it out after reading:

That means your home Macs can be protected automatically in-the-background with the latest anti-virus protection, checking every program you run, every file you download, every USB stick you insert, completely free. Is there a catch you’re wondering? Well, nope! There isn’t!

(Source: “Yes, you need anti-virus on your Mac.. and now it’s free” Sophos Naked Security)

But as it turns out, it is a disappointment as well. I admit it is just a security tool, but the look and feel alone is a flashback to the last decade and not really the desired pitch. In addition I feel that it is a lousy piece of engineering when it comes to process management. Like any other anti-virus software it consumes huge amounts of CPU power. Of course this is already a known issue, but nothing is happening. For automatically protecting my machine in-the-background I am not willing to reduce its power to the point where I can’t browse the web anymore.

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It feels like anti-virus software for Windows performed in the 1990ies. I suppose porting Windows software to the Mac just doesn’t cut it anymore. There maybe sufficient reasons for the necessity of a anti-virus software on the Mac but as long as they perform like this, I have to get by without it. I just have to limit my contacts to Mac users only. I don’t want to get involved with Windows users anyway.

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I need the LCARS and a tricorder

As I mentioned LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) for the iPad in my blog entry recently (Star Trek on the got… iCARS for iPad), it became obvious: I am into Star Trek. Reviving the passion from my childhood, I was looking for a LCARS theme for my gmail account. As it turns out, there is none. Disappointed by the certain lack of enthusiasm of google engineers and other willing google users to accommodate my desire, I almost lost my faith in nerds and geeks around the world… but I found something amazing instead.

There is this guy, Bracer Jack, who is willing to do anything that pays the bills. And this is what he did: He created a LCARS GuideLine, a LCARS Manifesto and of course he is working on a tricorder as well. Not only does he explain what a decent LCARS has to look like, he even takes it further, suggesting LCARS could be 3D. This actually seems reasonable to me. It’s just a holographic version of LCARS. I am sure Lt. Cmdr. Data would have liked that. Take a look for your self.

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(Source: The LCARS Manifesto)

Also he used augmented reality technologies to show very promising results. You can try it out for yourself within his LCARS Guideline article or have a look below.

For the Average Joe Star Trek fanatic the LCARS Guideline surely is quite enough. The LCARS Manifesto really pushes the limits. As he points out for himself:

Please understand that the creation of this manifesto goes beyond trying to please your average Star Trek fan who is simply after something that looks pretty and cool with random scrolling numbers, […]

I couldn’t stress this enough, if you are a die hard “LCARS is pretty” fan that couldn’t care less about the intellectual deployment side, please stop reading now and move on, there is nothing here that will please you, this is not a good source if you just want to create a pretty LCARS web site or something just pretty for its own sake.

(Source: The LCARS Manifesto)

So, if you really want to know where the LCARS evolution should be going, take a look for yourself and find out if you’re are a real LCARS aficionado. If not, you might just like to have a tricorder of your own. Feel free to admire the development of Bracer Jack’s tricorder project.

In the end, I am not sure wether any of this pays any bills at all, but I highly appreciate Bracer Jacks’ efforts and his appreciation for Star Trek. Thank you Bracer Jack for brightening my day.

Charging the Apple way… different

Using Apple’s wireless keyboards and mouses keeps annoying me with the need for new batteries in the most inconvenient situations, such as sunday afternoon when there is no place to get new ones. Obviously rechargeable batteries would be an option but it never quite worked out with my Apple peripherals before.

Still, I want the most energy-efficient way to power my accessories. As advertised, the new Apple Battery Charger might just do the trick.

apple-charger

Reduce, reuse, recharge.

Introducing the first battery charger designed by Apple. It charges quickly and uses energy wisely. And it comes withs six AA batteries, so you’ll alway have plenty of power for your wireless Mac accessories.

I don’t really know if it is the promised “More charges. Less waste.” “The Smarter way to charge”, nore can I varify it in any way. Fact is, it is not important because what gets my attention in the end is “It’s a beautiful fit.”. It is the most beautiful battery charger around for sure. Just google “battery charger” and you will know what I am talking about.

One could argue, it is not really important what the charger looks like because it is hidden away behind the desk anyway but I prefer the hidden spots to look nice as well. So for just 29,99 € you get something nice for your other power supplies and cables to hang out with.