[Updated] 25+ Fun Holiday iPad/iPhone Games and Apps for your kid

My daughter turns three this December (2011). She has had an iPad since her Second Birthday. Here are the top Games and Apps my daughter loves to play. I hope your kid will like it too and keep them happy, while having fun during the Holidays.

Here is the list (not in any particular order):

Note: (*) indicates apps for both iPad and iPhone.
  1. ABC Food ($1.99) (*) — My daughter loves playing around with the foods, peel them, cut them and watch the video. There are over 150 photos and videos on more than 70 delicious foods.
  2. Alpha Writer ($4.99) (*) — Montessorium’s Alpha Writer is an interesting and engaging fun app for kids. It will help your kid learn to read, write and spell phonetically, while composing words and creating stories.
  3. Intro to Letters ($4.99) (*) — My Daughter loves tracing through the letters.
  4. Intro to Math ($4.99) (*) — Another great app from Montessorium, pretty much in the lines of Intro to Letters.
  5. AphaTots ($0.99) (iPad) — Another fun app for your kid learning the English Alphabets with lots of fun stuffs while she learns.
  6. Little Red Riding Hood ($0.99) (*) — My daughter loves this 3D interactive fable, performed by the Bean Bag Kids. Pea, Pinto, Cocoa, Jack and Vanilla have made a show for your kid. Complete with beautiful scenes of this classic bed time story, it is told in an absolutely new way, that will amaze babies, toddlers, kids and parents.
  7. Cookie Doodle ($0.99) (*) — My daughter loves baking cookies through this app. She would fancy-play treating us to various cookies and would promptly help herself to her cookies.
  8. Frogger Decades ($0.99) (*) — My daughter loves this game, perhaps because of the frog. In general, she loves animals of all sorts. The idea of winning don’t really matter to her but just jumping through the obstacles is what really gets her excited.
  9. Grolly’s Animal Adventures (Free, In-App $3.99) (iPad) — The free version gives you one chapter but you’ll feel guilty depriving your kid of the full fun. The In-App purchase of $3.99 is worth it. Another app with animals and my daughter went tapping all over it.
  10. Hickory Dickory Dock ($2.99) (*) — Anything to do with Rhymes, with well-done graphics is sure to get a kid’s attention. Hickory Dickory Dock is another of my daughter’s regular app. No, she have no clue on how to read a clock.
  11. iTubeList (Free) (*) — Youtube is a gem for Videos for your kid but there are lots of videos which are not suited for her. The Youtube App that comes with your devices will lead them to those videos which you want to avoid. iTubeList is an app that helps you curate videos for your kid. It comes pre-loaded with some great videos for your kid.
  12. JibJab Jr. Books (Free, Subscription) (iPad) — Highly interactive and interesting fun app for your kid. The app is free and comes with one book built in for your kid to try it out. You can subscribe to its monthly release of new books or buy each book separately and let your kid take part in the story.
  13. Kids Song Machine 2 – Around the World ($2.99) (*) — My daughter loves this colorful, fun app. It offers an interactive tour through the most beautiful places in the world that will delight your kid.
  14. Let’s Create! Pottery ($4.99) (*) — Not really a kid’s app per se but my daughter can keep herself delighted playing and making pots. She’s yet to learn to burn it after the clay work.
  15. Make it Pop ($1.99) (*) — Anything that pops, burst are interesting to kids and this one is not an exception. Your kid can learn shapes, letters, colors, and numbers while popping bubbles, balloons, fireworks and popcorn.
  16. Peekabo (Free) (*) — How can a Kids App list be complete without a Peekabo. A simple, easy and fun app for your kid.
  17. Racing Penguin, Flying ($0.99) (*) — My daughter beat the free version in one of her early attempts and I had to buy her the full version. She loves helping the Penguin get across without being eaten. However, the levels have become tad difficult and she can’t get past many levels. Anyway, she does not really care about winning, she just loves to play.
  18. Smoody ($0.99) (iPad) — She can’t get past much but she just loves slicing and cutting through. Nice game.
  19. Solipskier ($0.99) (*) — It was not really meant for her but she somehow likes it. She loves it, though I have never seen her succeeding in the major Hurdle Jump.
  20. Sprinkle: Water Splashing fire fighting fun! ($1.99) (*) — Another interesting game, where it needs thinking and motor skills. Fun game for your kid.
  21. SPY Mouse ($2.99) (iPad) — My daughter loves Tom & Jerry. So, it was rather natural for her to like this game. Show your kid the first initial steps and let her take it away.
  22. Talking Ben, Tom and Gina (Free, In-App Purchases) — She loves all the talking Ben series – Talking Ben the Dog, Talking Tom & Ben News, Talking Tom Cat, Talking Tom Cat 2 and Talking Gina.
  23. Where’s my Water? ($0.99) (*) — A little complex but she just loves muddling for the water to pass through. I’m not sure she even get past through any more levels further.
  24. Bord ($0.99) (*) — Let your kid run wild with the chalks, let them draw whatever their finger swipes and taps.
  25. Kids Can Drive ($0.99) (*) — Kids love to drive and this app is a fun to drive, honk, change wheels.
  26. Toontastic (Free, In-App Purchases) (iPad) — A fun app for the family, play with your kid, create stories and let your kid have fun doing it along with you.
  27. Phone for Kids (Free) (*) — Well, kids love the phone and this is a fun app for your kid.
  28. Real Animals HD ($4.99) (*) — Awesome collection of very interactive animals. Your kid will love both the Zoo and the World options. You can also download the free version, try it first and then buy the in-app purchase.
  29. FlickPig ($0.99) (*) — Help your kid get started with the Pigs racing down the tracks collecting coins, fruits and what not. Let her learn how to flip the pig on top of another to get more collectibles and avoid obstacles. She will love those snorting pigs.
  30. Egg Punch (Free) (*) — She’ll love this funny looking chick inside an egg bouncing around obstacles trying to get through the holes. Teach her to collect the feathers and bounce of rabbits.

Which are your kid’s favorite apps? What good ones have I missed? Add them in the comments, it might be useful for other parents.

3D, enhanced 2D and gaming takes center-stage in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3

Adobe announces the immediate availability of Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3. This release pushes the boundaries of what’s possible on the web, and helps customers deliver innovative games, data-driven and rich media apps consistently across multiple devices and platforms including Android, iOS, BlackBerry Tablet, Smart TVs, Internet-connected Blu-Ray players and set-top boxes, Windows, Mac and Linux.

As the game console for the web, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 allow game publishers to instantly deliver console-quality, immersive games; with new 3D and enhanced 2D support, game publishers and developers can more easily monetize their content by delivering engaging 3D games to desktops and TVs, as well as greatly improving 2D game performance. Dozens of new features in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 allow developers to deliver a new class of gaming and rich media application experiences, as well as sophisticated, data-driven content with back-end systems integration across devices, including the iPhone and iPad via AIR. Media companies can take advantage of new features to seamlessly deliver protected feature-length, cinema-quality HD video through the web, in apps, and complete with surround sound for connected TVs.

Continue reading

Startup Review: iAccelerator’s HashCube

Got an email from the iAccelerator guys and felt good to learnt about HashCube doing well at the iAccelerator Program. HashCube is a start-up supported by the iAccelerator program at IIM Ahmedabad’s Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE).

One of their game – Sudoku Solver on Facebook, is gaining attention, users and huge traffic. (Source: AllFacebook)

Developed by HashCube, Suduko Solver is a free Sudoku game that you can play right inside of Facebook. Given the successful trend Sudoko has seen, it’s not entirely surprising that this application is among the fastest growing on Facebook.

The Soduku Solver games keep your time, and show your progress as you play. The Sudoku board itself is color-coded, making the problems and solutions a little clearer for you. If that doesn’t help you enough, there are a couple of options for actually solving the Sudoku puzzle; you can solve the whole thing, or just one step at a time. You can also undo moves. Additionally, there are options to print the puzzle, or load a new random game.

If you like Sudoku and want to start playing, go install Sudoku Solver on Facebook.

Visit HashCube for more details and other Social Games.

Be super-productive with Linux

Productivity with Linux

Photo by Pigpogm

LinuxHow to be productive with it.

It might sound a bit weird but the kind of Operating System you’re probably using may affect your productivity at work! Though, a user is a more responsible entity when it comes to productivity, but somewhere down-the-line, we can hold your operating system responsible for the same.

Talking about Xbox 360, for example, I doubt you’ll use its processing power to do to something other than playing 3D games! Expecting something else out of it would probably be undesired. Similarly, MS Windows Vista is a multi user, multi purpose operating system which caters a user’s primal needs to tedious tasks. On similar lines, Linux offers a rock solid environment for servers/desktops with a powerful command-line support.

Productivity is a term which involves one’s personal interest apart from the tools/services which an Operating System can offer. However, we being human beings are prone to influences. But small steps towards increase in productivity shall yield big results. One must never forget — “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.

Before we proceed further, I would like to mention that in my opinion, productivity comes within the user and not the operating system. So do not take this article as an ingredient to help you switch to an alternate Operating System!

Narrowing our discussion to productivity on Linux, we shall now explore some aspects which help increase the productivity and at times, otherwise.

Reasons why Linux may be productive

  • The power of command line: Linux has a powerful command-line shell (Eg. BASH) interface for servers and desktops letting the novice as well as power users accomplish tasks and run applications from a common terminal.
  • Customization: GNU/Linux is customizable to a good extent, based on one’s needs and kind of work he/she is involved into. For example, you can run multiple desktops, create scripts to automate tasks, et al. Such features eventually enhance your productivity off an Operating System.
  • Less prone to distractions: I would not advocate the incompatibility of Linux with the latest 3D games in the gaming arena but when it comes to productivity, the not-so-gaming-friendly Operating System allows you to work with a better concentration. Imagine a game freak user trying to do something else, with his favorite 3D game’s icon residing on the desktop!
  • Viruses: I would not say that GNU/Linux is free from viruses, but when compared to MS Windows, it gives far more stability in this regard. I’m sure, most of you would spend a considerable amount of time in either blocking, removing, or preventing viruses/malwares/spywares/trojans, etc. on your MS machine. When it comes to Linux, you don’t really have to worry about tracing viruses, due to the fact that Linux is not as highly targeted as Windows by the spammers. This means, you shall not have a defensive stand all the time and hence, better productivity.
  • Maintenance: When we talk about a GNU/Linux distro, we do not think of disk-defragmentation or any similar maintenance issue. For a large hard drive, which is very common these days, you might have to leave your system unattended/unusable for long hours while you defragment it. Vis-a-vis on GNU/Linux, all you need to update/upgrade are the security updates and recommended application updates.

We saw some reason which can be a medium to evangelize GNU/Linux for its productivity. However, there are situations where using Linux may make you feel deprived of certain easy-to-handle situations.

Reason why Linux may not be good for

  • There is no substitute to learning: If you’re a firm believer of thesaying, “Hard work pays off in future, laziness pays off now!” then Linux is surely not for you. For people like me, who have switched to Linux from MS Windows or any other Operating System, it’s not going to be a cake walk. There may be times when you’ll need to do a lot of work, which might appear to be pretty lame, like hunting for solutions in forums/IRCs, fixing apps which do not run, compiling source binaries, etc. Being a newbie user of Linux, it is quite likely that you start to accomplish a small task and end up hunting for a solution to another problem, which may not be directly help you get you task completed, in any of the IRC channels! Linux is all about learning, exploring, thinking – it’s a choice, an alternative.
  • Over customization and tweaking: We discussed that GNU/Linux offers a good customization support for the users, both – power and novice. But this may often lead to obsession with tweaking! This has happened to a lot of Linux users who spend a lot of time just to customize their Linux distro, at times unnecessarily. This turns out to be a real productivity killer.

Lastly, productivity comes from within a user, not entirely from an operating system. An Operating System may have support, features and tools enabling a productive work environment, but it’s you, who has to capitalize on it!

C/C++ to Flash Compiler

While browsing around Flash/Flex blogs, I stumbled on an interesting article from Ted — Extending Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR with C and C++ via ActionScript 3.

The interesting thing as told by Ted was that Adobe’s Engineers are working on an internal project which is sort of a cross-compiler for ActionScript allowing any c/c++ code to run in the Flash Player or Adobe AIR. This is a rather nerve racking feat and Ted have already written of many interesting implications for extending Adobe’s platform in terms of legacy code, programming languages, and other open source code libraries.

Part of this implementation includes a pattern in ActionScript that allows for “green threading” that supports executing synchronous code in the asynchronous ActionScript virtual machine. The work done here is quite groundbreaking and has highlighted quite a few performance improvements in the current virtual machine while expanding the capability of the platform.

Adobe engineers and hackers have ported the C++ version of Quake 1 engine into Flash Player and it worked perfectly and performed well. This is extreme engineering and an utmost over-the-top expectation from the Flash Player. What if multiplayer games can be played without even downloading a piece of it, right off the browser, have all the office tools working flawlessly right inside your browser — well, it is rather limitless of what you can do; think of it and it might just be possible.