iPhone apps I have known: second page

These apps are the ones I use occasionally, and/or that my three-year-old son likes. Titles link to the app store; images link to the Flickr photoset.

(See the other iPhone app reviews in the series.)

Attaining Zen

<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3208/3142832081_c5e61e8f40_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Attaining Zen” />

0.8 MB, $2

A zen garden toy. Place rocks, move/resize/rotate them, and rake the gravel. Not generally worth the price, but….

Three-year-old evaluation

The dude can be entertained by this for as many as ten minutes.


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3125/3142832407_3cc1a4a2d1_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“Classics, “Alice in Wonderland”” />

21.8 MB, $3

Public domain works with newly-designed covers, presented very nicely. As you drag across the phone, the page-turning is animated, with sound.

Three-year-old evaluation

Turns out that flipping pages on a touchscreen with a finger can be funny, especially if it makes a soft papery “thwack” noise.


3.1 MB, $5

<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3239/3142832553_c60741c65f_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Cocktails, the Jasmine” />

Old-school cocktail recipes (some even from the Good Book), in case you’re in a bar with no network and really need that particular drink and don’t mind irritating the bartender in the process. Nice presentation, too: Many drinks include recipes from different eras, and older recipes’ pages are darker and more aged.


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3195/3143662244_fe09ca1e82_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“DINO! CARD-O-SAURUS, Therizinosaurus, one of the zillions of dinosaurs cooler than the ones we had when I was a kid” />

2.4 MB, free

A fun little kid-entertaining app. Twenty-four dinosaur illustations (23 species, one of which includes a separate fossil illustration), with taxonomy, size, time it lived, and location of discovery. The developer and artist plan to add more cards.

Three-year-old evaluation

More please now.

Emerald Chronometer

<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/3143661806_fc167b6206_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Emerald Chronometer, Mauna Kea watch” />

4.8 MB, $5

Pure eye candy: Detailed models of imaginary high-end wristwatches, with dozens of complications each.

Three-year-old evaluation

This is something else the dude likes to play with, especially the one which models the moon’s phases: As you spin the hour hand to set the time, the moon flips rapidly from new to full and back.

Koi Pond

<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3132/3143662434_28b3fbc170_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“Koi Pond, with ripples distorting the fish” />

4.4 MB, $1

Surprisingly entertaining, even for an adult. Koi swim around, with water, wind, and frog sounds in the background. Shake the phone to feed the fish, drag your finger across the water for ripples (the fish scatter), or hold your finger still for the fish to come up and nibble. Beautiful and relaxing.

Three-year-old evaluation

Tons of fun. Make sure he’s holding the phone carefully when he’s shaking it, or it’ll get another battle scar.


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3075/3143662534_d29bb9fca0_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Shazam, after one of its many successful listens” />

0.6 MB, free

Magic, as the name implies: Hold up the phone to listen to a song for about 15 seconds. It uploads the sample (or some processed version), and sends back the song details (as well as links to buy it, watch a video, etc.).


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3123/3143662618_da5364470c_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“Stanza, with purple prose” />

1.6 MB, free

Of the many ebook readers for the iPhone, this is the one I’ve provisionally chosen for myself. You can buy and/or download ebooks from within the app; there’s also a corresponding (free) desktop app with which it syncs.


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/3142833155_b345f7459e_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Urbanspoon, about to find a sandwich place in Lake City” />

0.5 MB, free

The developers would probably be the first to tell you that the slot machine pick-a-place-to-eat feature is a gimmick. Personally, I’ve more often found myself browsing the directory to choose a place to eat, or do quick research on a place I’ve heard of. (Now that my office has moved to downtown Bellevue, though, I may end up using the slot machine more often.) The app feels a little awkward at times (it seems like much of the content is being served as HTML, which may explain that), but the content itself is top-notch. It also has clever features like letting you upload a photo of a restaurant.


<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3259/3142833215_2fc10f02d2_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“vlingo, letting me call Meghan” />

1.0 MB, free

This is another of those apps I feel like I should use, but probably won’t. Perhaps I’m too old to be comfortable interacting with devices by voice. In any case, I can say “call Meghan Nash mobile”, and much of the time it’ll dial for me. The rest of the time, it’ll pull up her contact info and let me tap her number to call. (If I just say “call Meghan mobile”, it’ll pull up a different Megan from my phone book.) There’s potential here, and I may experiment with putting it on the first page, but it’s likely to drop into the “not for me” category.

Wikipanion Plus

<img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3133/3142833277_0e19c067a7_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail left” alt=“Wikipanion Plus, adding to the queue” /> <img src=“http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3075/3143662906_8197bfe291_t_d.jpg” class=“thumbnail right” alt=“Wikipanion Plus, the queue itself” />

1.0 MB, $5 (also Wikipanion, free)

This is the correct way to access Wikipedia via the iPhone. Content is formatted without sidebars; tapping a link will put it in a queue to facilitate an hours-long wikidive; you can pre-fetch pages from the queue for offline reading; the page’s table of contents is accessible via a button at the bottom of the screen; etc. etc. etc. I upgraded from the free version.

Three-year-old evaluation

He never launches this himself, but it’s a great way to quickly look up an answer to a question so that you’ll seem to know everything.

(See the other iPhone app reviews in the series.)