Entries in Friday Fun (24)

Friday Fun: Material Girl iPad Cover

This is probably the cutest song we have seen played entirely on the iPad so far. Madonna's Material Girl is covered here by Finnish acapella 'girl band' Viisi (meaning Five in Finnish - not to be confused with 90's British boy band Five).

The music, of course, is played exclusively on their iPads. It looks quite impromptu and makes for a bit of viewing fun on a Friday.  Interestingly, there were a few apps used here by Viisi that we didn't know about iBone XL (a Trombone sim) being the main one that we hadn't come across before.

The other apps used are... actually, for a bit of fun, we'll let you work that out for yourself. There is a place where you can find out the apps used, let us know in the comments if you can identify any of them.

Viisi have also posted a much more polished song played on the iPad which really shows off their vocal talents too called "Aikaisintaan sunnuntaina" ('The Earliest Sunday' - according to Google Translate), a track which appears on Viisi's eponymous album.  You can see the video for that one below.


Friday Fun: iPad Robot

A relatively oldie but goodie this Friday. Whilst this might seem quite frivolous, there is actually a very clever and creative person behind this technical demonstration, Kazu Terasaki, who is doing some amazing things with port mods on the iPad and iPhone. Find out more on his blog

Friday Fun: The 'Art Clock'


A little bit garish, but offering a unique approach to displaying the time and weather on your iPad, Art Clock Van Gogh from Enclave Studios is our Friday Fun app this week.

You get a random combination of Van Gogh based art in the background, with random colours and 'artistic' fonts to display the time. There are thousands of combinations apparently which can be achieved by pinching, tapping and expanding the elements on the screen such as the background and time display.

The weather display is fairly comprehensive with temperature, wind speed / direction and humidity, as well as hand painted illustrations for cloud, fog, rain and even the Sun and Moon.

It is fun, but a little cluttered and sometimes a bit of an assault on the eyes in our opinion, but if you feel like brightening up your iPad while it is not in use, Art Clock Van Gogh will set you back $1.99 (£1.19) in the app store.

Let us know what you think?

Friday Fun: Tweet It (iPads vs iPhones)

Sometimes it is hard to find the words. This made us laugh, a lot. Enjoy!

Friday Fun: (one-man) iPad Band

Laughing in the face of anyone who says the iPad is not a device for creating content, Geoff Kaiser posted this video that shows off some of the many musical instrument apps available on the iPad and his musical skill.

We were impressed with Geoff's creativity not only in playing these virtual instruments but also in putting the video together by layering up the parts. Nice one Geoff, thank you for sharing this video with us.

If you enjoyed Geoff's video please pop on over to his YouTube page and let him know.

More Friday Fun: Missing Vinyl Records? Try this on your iPad!

The problem with digital music is that there is nothing physical to connect with, apart from the device you are playing it on.

If you go back as far as tapes or even Vinyl records you will no doubt remember reading the liner notes and staring at the artwork held in your hands, whilst listening to your new album and making the neural connections between them.

That is the philosopy behind ReVinyl a new app for the iPad (and iPhone) from DJ and vinyl collector Christian Faber.  It sounds like rather a grandiose premise for a music quiz, but here is what Christian says about his reasons for developing ReVinyl:

...I sometimes miss the meditative ritual of putting on some wax, studying the cover and diving into the music. Taking the time out to just listen when your vinyl hunt is over and the prey is brought back to the collection.

The convenience of buying digital music makes it almost too easy. Trawling through thousands and thousands of records in innumerable record stores taught me the magic of discovering new and old music in a random and chaotic way. The record cover visuals seduce and have a symbiotic relationship with the sound of the music, and vice versa. Revinyl aims to reconnect this bond between the album cover and the music inside. Discovering new music should be fun and what better way to have fun than using and expanding your music knowledge.

Playing the Game

The game itself is quite fun to play in single player mode, this is where you see the albums represented by the cover art, thrown on top of each other on a desk, and you can pick them up, move them around and select the one you are hearing.  

This is the 're-discovery' mode of the game and relies on you knowing the song and the cover art for that album (sometimes you get more than one album from the same artist). You hear a few seconds snippet of the song at a random point in the track and the faster you answer the more points you get with the bonus question adding to your score.

The game is best when played as a multiplayer, which on the iPhone is a bit fiddly, but the larger iPad screen should allow four players comfortably.

In 'PartyMode' each player has a different coloured section of the screen and you hit your section as soon as you know the song. First one to hit their button gets a stab at answering the question. You get to choose how many questions and which level (1-5) you want to play at.

You can turn off certain Categories in the settings before a PartyMode game, so your audio books and Children's music doesn't appear in the game, but our iTunes libraries are not that organised so it didn't work for some tracks. Mary Poppins still made an appearance next to Guns N' Roses in our quizzes.

We think it would be better if you could base the quiz on certain playlists as well, which are easier to set up in iTunes to exclude albums or artists as well as genres.

We liked the graphical elements, which are minimalistic, clean and modern looking, making the game easily accessible.

Shows Potential

It is the future developments which are most interesting about this app though.  Here is what is planned for future versions:

  • Connect with other players via WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Share music to create quizzes
  • Access the iTunes music store (presumably previews) to create quizzes
  • Share customised quizzes with others
  • Discover music and purchase it immediately 

We are not sure Apple will allow some of this, especially access to the iTunes previews, but if he can deliver on that promise Christian will definitely have a winner on his hands. We just hope it doesn't take too long to update the app with these features as they will greatly enhance the value of this app.

If you are curious, there is a video of the iPhone version of the game running at the site if you want to check it out first. ReVinyl is available now for just $0.99 (59p) in the app store and it is definitely worth that price for multiplayer fun on the iPad.

Friday Fun: The iPad - now in Hardback

Got an iPad loaded with eBooks? Got lots of 'real' hardback books hanging around taking up space that you don't want to throw away?  Re-purpose a hardback book into a case for your iPad - watch this video from Larry Greenberg (more detail below the video):

These cases are made by Etsy seller vintagecovers (artist Randy Belyk) and the design of the case seems pretty sturdy. We like the strap that fastens around the back cover when closed to keep the iPad wrapped up tight and also stretches across and attaches to the front cover when used as a stand to prevent slipping. Nice touch!

There are some pre-prepared covers on the site using vintage books but if, like Larry in the video above, you have a classic book (or comic it seems) then Randy can make you a custom cover.

A custom vintage cover for your iPad will cost you around $50, but you really will have a unique case for your iPad.

If you get one of these let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

Friday Fun: The Sprocket Pocket

Two great passions of ours (well mine anyway) are Gadgets (obviously) and Cycling. If a third was embroidery then we would be making this our weekend project.

From the madly creative team at Maya Design, this idea was a 24 hour project for them just about the time that the iPad launched, so sorry if you have seen this before, but you should see it if you haven't already. It is great fun and shows a particularly creative use for the iPad.

Using their own app Maya Sprocket, the team designed this pocket to be worn initially on the rider's back so that particular signs were shown when the cyclist stops or turns left or right, or example.  All the signs can be customised with your own images too.

There is even the option to show a custom message when tapped, such as the "Back off Buddy!" message shown in the screenshot here. We imagine this could end up getting a bit more offensive in some hands though.

If you are on a bicycle made for two the back seat passenger has a built-in entertainment system, they show someone reading a book but imagine watching a video or (3G willing) checking Twitter as you provide the rear-engine leg power and let someone else do the steering.

Health and Safety concerns aside we loved this project and wanted to share it with you on this Friday lunchtime. Enjoy!

(The video starts just over 3 minutes in to show the Sprocket Pocket in action, but if you want the full detail of how to create this awesome jacket with iPad pocket sewn in, then please feel free to play the video from the beginning.)

Friday Fun: Steve Martin Jokes About Using iPad Live

Steve Martin, whose Album “The Crow: New Songs For the Five-String Banjo" won "Best Bluegrass Album" at this year's Grammys, shows off his iPad here in this video clip from one of his recent concerts.  We don't want to spoil it for you but he makes a few in-jokes about Social Media and the iPad's cost, which made us chuckle and because it is Friday we thought we would share it with you.

We shouldn't be surprised at Mr Martin's Banjo skills though, it is one of the talents he used to entertain audiences as he tried to make a name for himself, even appearing on the Muppet Show playing 'Duelling Banjos' back in October 1977, enjoy:

Friday Fun: The iPad Typewriter

Got an old dust covered typewriter in the loft that you thought you would never use again? Well, dig it out, we've got something cool for you!

Give it enough time and there is no end to the creativity of some people as far as re-purposing old things as a dock for their iPad. We have covered a few of them recently. If they get it right, they might even create a little cottage industry around these devices, just like Jack Zylkin is beginning to.

Jack has devised a clever way to reuse old typewriters to act as a dock for your iPad, especially for those with a hankering after the old analogue way of life in this digitally swamped age. Jack gives you the option to buy a complete vintage typewriter set up and ready to go with your iPad (for around $300), or you can get the soldering iron out and buy just the kit itself (at $75) and try following the instructions to turn your own typewriter into an iPad dock. There is another option, send off the old typewriter and let Jack install the kit for you, which will cost $200 plus shipping.

We have looked through the instructions and it looks do-able, with some care and a day without any distractions. We are off to search through our Parents' lofts for old typewriters. If you try this, let us know how it goes, and in the meantime enjoy your weekend.