Archive for the ‘Phone Accessories’ category

Free games to play on your iPhone

January 22, 2008

Not all games have been optimized for the iPhone equally. In fact, I found quite a few clunkers that seemed to exist only to take your cash, advertise dubious services, or bombard you with cut-rate graphics. Shudder. These five games, added just this month, test your strategy and timing while offering above-average graphics. 

501 Darts

A two-player strategy game that pits you against your cutthroat iPhone. The goal is to roll down your points from 400 to zero by lobbing darts where it counts–in the highest point zones possible. Tap the red button once to set your horizon and once again to choose the vertical axis. Then watch the arrows fly. The game is fun, but lacks settings to change the game style, pause or save a game, or even reduce the points if you want a shorter game.

 501 Darts is free, supported by a banner ad that doesn’t obstruct the graphics, though it certainly won’t beautify them either.

The same publisher, Ion Games, brings you Golf Driving Range, which uses similar horizontal and vertical bars tirelessly vacillating between extremes to set the direction and strength with which you hit. It behooves players to also pay attention to wind direction and the course schematic while planning their shots. The iPhone’s timing eluded me for the first two games, but as I started getting the hang of how to plan my taps, frustration melted into personal challenge.

You can always tell Sudoku sovereigns by their intense, withdrawn stare. Addicts of the Japanese puzzle game can solve a daily conundrum for free, and ad-free, with Radworkz Daily Puzzles. Insert a digit into the appropriate square by tapping the square once and selecting from the number wheel.

Sometimes the simplest game is the most satisfying. Connect4 touch is one of those. The iPhone-generation’s high-tech take on the classic two-player game again matches wits with your Apple’s AI to see which player can line up four colored circles first. This one is ad-supported, but once you click the “play” bar below the ad, the game is nuisance-free.

A new day, a new puzzle–that’s iFreecell’s philosophy. Each day, tiles of three designs are shuffled into a 64-square grid. Your job is to remove the tiles by clicking the designs–but those social tiles only disappear when they have a companion. Use your noggin to click away the adjacent or stacked tiles without leaving any singletons behind.

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Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

April 17, 2007

Aliph has finally given their old wired Jawbone headset a much-needed upgrade for the Bluetooth generation. The Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth headset is quite simply one of the most eye-catching headsets we’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Designed by renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the headset even comes packaged in a museum-style showcase. But the Jawbone isn’t all beauty and no brains; it packs in three microphones and a voice-activity sensor as well as military-grade “noise shield” technology that has been approved by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the
U.S. Department of Defense’s independent research branch. We did have an issue with the quirky buttons, but it’s a lesser issue given that it’s such a beautiful piece of hardware that delivers excellent quality. It does cost a hefty $119.99, but it’s well worth the price. The headset is available in three colors: gray, black, and red. You can purchase it from Cingular or from Jawbone’s Web site.

As we’ve mentioned, the Jawbone Bluetooth headset is one of the sexiest headsets we’ve ever laid eyes on. Its rectangular design has a perforated texture on the front that makes it look more like a piece of art than a simple headset. It isn’t a terrifically compact headset by any means, measuring 1.8×2.2×0.7 inches, but its smart design more than makes up for its slight bulk. Above the perforated piece is a slick LED that glows white when the headset is active, and on top of that is a curved piece of black plastic.

If you’re wondering where the buttons are, the very top part of the perforated piece is actually the Talk button and the bottom part of the black plastic is the Noise Shield button. We found these “hidden” buttons a little tricky to press since you have to push down on a large piece of plastic, resulting in a somewhat spongy feeling. The Talk button can be used to power the headset on and off, answer and end calls, redial the last number, and transfer a call from the headset to the phone or vice versa. The Noise Shield button is used for pairing, turning the “noise shield” technology on and off, rejecting a call, and changing the headset’s volume as described below.

We must note that the Jawbone Bluetooth headset doesn’t come with a volume rocker because its audio enhancement technology will automatically adjust the volume according to the environment. That said, if you do want to manually adjust the volume, you can do so by pressing the Noise Shield button to increase the volume up to the maximum level until it loops back down to the lowest volume (there are five volume levels). That said, we would have preferred an actual volume rocker for ease of use.

Behind the headset are the earpiece, a curved flexible ear loop, and a tiny voice-activity sensor (it’s the tiny, white rubber piece) that must lie against your cheek in order for the headset to detect the vibration of your voice. The earpiece fits very comfortably just inside the ear, and the springy ear loop made it easy for us to position the headset so that the voice-activity sensor was properly placed. The headset comes with an array of different earbuds and ear loops for additional comfort and security.

More impressive than the headset’s looks, however, is the technology behind it. The Jawbone has three different microphones built into the device, the aforementioned voice-activity sensor plus Aliph’s proprietary Noise Shield audio processing in order to help reduce outside noise and not only amplify your own voice but also enhance incoming audio. We tried this with the T-Mobile Sidekick 3 at a traffic-heavy intersection. We were impressed that we could hear our caller without too many