Dec 27, 2012

Keeping Score on Your iPhone

Around the holidays, you probably take vacation and spend plenty of time with family. Chances are good that you sometimes play card games or board games during this time. Whether you play UNO, Spades, Rook, or some versions of dominoes, you'll need to keep score. Typically, with pen and paper in hand, you tally the score and add up each hand or round in your head.  There's a better way.

Using Score Pad, a free app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can keep score without doing all the math. I used this recently when I played a game of UNO with the family. You can score up to 7 players and simply touch to add a new score (for a hand in a card game or a round in another type of game). What is really helpful is that you can include simple addition within a score for a single round. Let me explain with an example:

Let's say Bob goes out first in a given hand of the card game he is playing. Bob gets points for the remaining cards in each of the other players hands. Suzy has 12 points worth of cards, Joe has 11 points, and Sally has 7 points. If you are keeping score, instead of adding those up and entering "30" for Bob's score, you can simply enter "12+11+7" as Bob's score. Bob's score will then show as "30" on the score pad.

There are other scoring apps out there but I like this one because it's simple and it's free. Some people will prefer pen and paper but I'd like to keep my mind on the strategy of the game, not adding up scores in my head.

Dec 12, 2012

(iPhone or iPad) + Apple TV = Cozy Fireplace

There's nothing like a listening to Christmas music by a fireplace full of burning logs. But what if you don't have a fireplace? I stumbled across an app for the iPhone or iPad that, if you have an Apple TV, turns your big screen TV into a nice roaring fire.

A Very Cozy Fireplace HD turns your HD TV into a high-definition fireplace with a roaring and crackling fire. For $0.99 (at the time I write this), you get an app for your iPhone or iPad that, when you launch it, plays a video of logs burning in a fireplace. To play it on your Apple TV, just choose the AirPlay option from the app. The video is very short but seemlessly loops to give the appearance of an a continuously burning fire. The video is very high quality and looks excellent on a big screen TV. The picture at the top of this post doesn't quite do it justice.