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Six fun and useful iPhone apps

Some iPhone apps are fun, some are useful (and some are neither). In this set of iPhone app reviews, we've got a mixture of each. In this batch of mini-reviews: iShred, Quik, Pro Basketball, Silly Songz, Wordology, and Silver Revolver.

iShred ($4.99US)
If you like playing the guitar or other musical instruments, then you might want to consider this app -- it could be one of the most full-featured guitar apps on the iPhone. From the ability to create and record your own songs, to the ability to listen to others play songs around the world -- iShred [iTunes link] has it all. There are over 2,000 built-in chords, scales, and fret positions that get assigned to the two fret rows at the top of the screen. When you tap a fret and strum the strings, a sound will be played.

When you set up the frets for a certain song, you have the ability to save this setup for later. You can also save your songs or transfer them to another iPhone anytime you have a wireless connection. The application includes other effects including several virtual stomp boxes, like:
  • Adrenaline: A treble booster
  • HK-2000 Delay: Echo
  • Hot Fuzz: Distortion
  • Kömpressör: Power chords
  • Sybil: Dual chorus pedal
  • Trembler: Tremolo
  • Wahsabi: Tilt control for wah pedal
You can use up to four of these effects on a song. Getting to play your own songs is a cool feature of this app, but something just as cool is the ability to listen to others playing their iPhone guitars. AirPlay, a built-in feature, allows you to do this. Just open the AirPlay feature and watch as other users from around the world rock out. Overall, this application is great for guitar aficionados or people who just want to be able to play guitar anywhere. You can pick up iShred in the iTunes App Store for just $4.99US.




Quik Search (free, pro version available)
Searching different sites on the iPhone can be a kludge, especially if you don't like having only two search engines available natively with Mobile Safari. Quik Search [iTunes link] hopes to solve this by adding different sites and engines. Quik allows you to customize your search experience by adding a list of sites that you wish to search to the main screen of the application. You can choose from over 50 pre-designed search engines/sites (including Google, Amazon, Twitter, and of course, TUAW). Just enter your search term in the application and press the blue arrow ... your search query will be sent away to the site of your choice and you can view your results in the Safari-like browser built into Quik Search.

You might ask "What if they don't have my favorite site/search engine?" Well in that case, you can create your own "search plugin" by entering the name, adding an icon, and entering the template search string. The application helps you to understand what a template search string is, and how to format it for Quik. You can also enable/disable "Launch Safari" when searching (if you don't like the built-in browser).

If you are looking for a better search solution on the iPhone, then this application could definitely save you some time and energy. You can get Quik search for free on the App Store, although it is ad supported. If you wish to get rid of the ads, you can purchase a pro version [iTunes link] for $1.99US.

Pro Basketball (free)
Do you thrive on keeping up with the latest basketball scores? No matter which team you're rooting for, Zumobi's Pro Basketball [iTunes link] application is sure to leave you dribbling. When you first launch the app, you are presented with a "home screen" that gives you an overview of the team you are currently following. You will see the stats, standings, scores/schedule, news, and information about the team. You can tap on any of these sections to zoom in and see more details about each section.

You can add as many teams as you want and follow them with this app. In addition to following real teams, you can even create your own Fantasy team and follow them. Just open the favorites section and tap "Create custom team." From there you will be able to put in your team name and add NBA players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. You can then follow your Fantasy team just as you would with a real team.

Overall, this application is excellent for following your favorite NBA teams on the go. The application is ad supported and remains free for all iPhone/iPod touch users. You can grab your copy on the iTunes App Store.




Silly Songz ($2.99US)
Have you ever wanted to say something in a song? Perhaps you wanted to tell someone happy birthday, happy anniversary, or tell someone you got dumped. Whatever the occasion, Silly Songz [iTunes link] for iPhone has you covered. There are over 25 pre-recorded songs ready to send as is, or ready for you to add your own voice.

The application works by you selecting a song and recording your 15-second message. Silly Songz will then trim the song to fit with your message, and attach it as an email. The email being sent will be in QuickTime format, and will be placed on Silly Songz's server. If you have QT Pro, you can easily download the song, otherwise it will be automatically removed after 30 days.

So, the next time you find yourself wanting to send a customized song to your special someone, be sure to check out Silly Songz for iPhone. The application is available from the App Store for just $2.99US.



Wordology ($2.99US)
There are many word games for different platforms; one of the best that I played before Wordology [iTunes link] was Bookworm from Popcap. After playing Wordology, I believe it is one of the best word games for the iPhone. Wordology's basic principles are very simple to grasp: try to spell the longest words that you can given the letters on the board, and spell then before the time runs out. You have 30 seconds to spell each word.

Wordology includes several cool features like the ability to play four different game modes, and you will never repeat a game. Game modes include: slow, normal, lightning, and freestyle. Within each game you have the ability to pause and resume as necessary. The game will automatically pause when you return to the iPhone home screen. You can compete with people locally on your iPhone by logging your scores on the device, or sharing them with the world to compete for the highest score.

Wordology is elegantly designed and will provide you hours of fun on the go. You can purchase this app on the App Store for $2.99US.



Silver Revolver ($.99)
While you don't have to have a license to carry this application in public, you might want to mute it before public use (just in case it sounds too real). Silver Revolver [iTunes link] is one of those fun applications that is just cool to own. When you launch the app you will notice the large revolver on the screen, you can load the gun by tapping in the bottom left corner. Once the gun is loaded you can fire it by tapping one the trigger. In the settings you can choose whether or not the gun will be reloaded by shaking sideways, where or not you can fire the gun by shaking forward, turn on/off auto-reload, or turn on/off vibrate.

This simple, yet fun application could provide some quick thrills. If you're inclined, you can pick up your own copy of Silver Revolver on the App Store for just $.99US.



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iPhone App Store iPod touch

Some iPhone apps are fun, some are useful (and some are neither). In this set of iPhone app reviews, we've got a mixture of each. In this...