My Top iPhone Apps for Christmas and Green Man in Chicago

Top iPhone Apps for Christmas

I use my iPhone a lot.  And I mean A LOT.  I’m a big gamer and app-user.  Besides playing games with my wife and friends, my 8-year-old is also uses it to play games… and he just may get an iTouch for Christmas.  Anyway, here are some great games and apps for you and/or your family!

DIGG this story here!

Fun Games

  • Labyrinth 2 Labyrinth 2 – This game has nothing to do with that awful movie with David Bowie from the 80’s. It is a very fun game for all ages where you have one of those little balls that you have to move through a wooden maze by balancing the iPhone. It’s very creative and there are tons of levels for all difficulties.
  • Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor Spider:  The Secret of Bryce Manor – A beautiful game in which you play a little spider that weaves webs to catch bugs. There is a lot of fun strategy to figuring out the best way to make bugs to catch the bugs… it’s very original and fun for all ages.
  • iBlast Moki iBlast Moki – A fun physics-based game for all ages. You have to get these little guys into a portal by placing bombs around the level. There is a lot of clever strategy to proper placement… and just nice physics fun!
  • I Dig it Expeditions I Dig It Expeditions – This is a very fun and addictive game for all ages.  I played the first one to death and the new one is even better.  It’s easy to understand, you dig up treasure, upgrade your treasure-findin’ craft, have fun in bite-sized amounts, great for collectors, and an amazing source of entertainment…  I’d find myself thinking about it while driving around!
  • Words with Friends Words With Friends – This is basically a slicker version of Scrabble that you can play with all your friends, barely-known-facebook-friends, or strangers. What is cool is that you can take your turn whenever you want, and then you send your triple-letter-score word off into the cloud. Your friend will have a little red 1 on their app letting them know there is a turn waiting for them!
  • Drop 7 Drop7 – A very simple to learn but addicting puzzle game. It’s better than Bejeweled by a mile — and you will just love it. Facebook friend me in the game and see if you can beat my score!
  • GeoDefense geoDefense – Do you like Tower Defense games? This one is the best, by far. I think I have played 20 of these types of games, and this one is the sharpest. If you like this, also go GeoDefense Swarm
  • Rogue Planet Rogue Planet – Do you like turn-based strategy war games? This is a great one!
  • Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid ROLANDO 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid – A fun platform game where you are a little ball-guy and you roll around creative levels with fun goals. It’s impressive in every way… fun for all ages!
  • Knights Onrush Knights Onrush – Very fun action game where you are keeping legions of knights from storming your castle. It starts out simple with throwing knights around then more strategy comes around once you start buying new things to help you fend off the hordes!
  • Tornado Mania! Tornado Mania! – A fun game where you get points for using a tornado to destroy a city. It sounds simple, but there is a nice game to it… you can either touch the screen or tilt it around to move the tornado.

Great Apps and More Fun

  • Tweetie 2 Tweetie 2 – The best Twitter app in the iPhone
  • Best Camera Best Camera – This is a cool app by the photographer Chase Jarvis. I’ve yet to meet the guy, but I think we’d really get along. Anyway, it’s a simple app that lets you put nice filters on your photos. Better yet, you can quickly share that photo in email, Twitter, Facebook, and more. It’s smart, cheap, and fun. It’s amazing what a little filter will do to a crappy iPhone shot! See one I took in Carmel here.
  • Pano Pano – A fun camera app that lets you take several photos that partially overlap — then it builds them into a huge panorama! As you have probably figured out, you can’t fit a whole scene into the default zoom of that lens.
  • Pandora Pandora Radio – You know Pandora, right? It’s a great free music service that will play you songs based on what you like! I use it on my computer too and am a subscriber.
  • RedLaser RedLaser – I use this to scan barcodes everywhere to find the cheapest prices. I rarely buy anything in stores any more because the prices are too high – RedLaser will tell you the cost on Amazon and a ton of other places, and even let you order. If you don’t have to have it immediately, it’s nice just to get it shipped to your place!
  • SmackTalk! SmackTalk! – I don’t even know how to describe this. You talk into the phone and then a hamster, cute cat, cute dog, or something else will repeat what you said in a funny voice. There is nothing better with family or at a party where people don’t mind being silly.
  • GoWalla Gowalla – The BEST geo-location game. Walk or drive around your city collecting stamps, finding cool virtual geocached goodies, and compare your virtual passport stamps with friends. I think it’s so much better than Four Square.

Why not more Photography apps? Frankly, I’ve tried a lot and most are little gadgets that I only use once or twice then never use again. I don’t want to waste your time with useless stuff you’ll just use once then throw away.

I’ll stop there for now – that’s a lot! What are some of your favorites?

Trey’s Book List!

I figure as long as I am listing out great iPhone Apps, maybe some people also got a Kindle or some Amazon gift cards. I have a FULL “Trey’s Book List” here on the site. Here are a few:

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Richard Feynman, 1981
A Nobel-winning physicist, inveterate prankster and gifted teacher, Feynman (1918-1988) charmed plenty of contemporary and future scientists with accounts of his misadventures in the bestselling Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! more…

Nexus: Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks

Mark Buchanan, reprint Jan. 2000
Will a network science emerge that helps us understand a variety of complex organizational systems by describing the puzzles of human behavior and connections in mathematical terms? So argues Buchanan, former editor of Nature and New Scientist. Buchanan, who holds a Ph.D. in physics…. more…

Aztec – Gary Jennings

A great historical fiction novel about an unconventional hero. Garry Jennings is one of those guys that you just know was born to write…

Live Random Q&A!

I popped into Twitter tonight and took two hours of random questions and answers — sounds like the HDR Book is finally starting to arrive! Cool! I’ll continue to be on Twitter a lot to help you guys out… if I have a spare few hours to dedicate to Q&A, I will do so at random times… but, as always, feel free to ask questions and I’ll attend to them if humanly possible.

Daily Photo – Green Man in Chicago

This is the famous “Bean” sculpture in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.  It was an extremely busy day around there, so there was no hope of getting the bean sans tourists… generally, I don’t like people around in my photos, but if there are going to be people, I want them to be interesting!  Well I was lucky that Green Man was there…  Now, I’m sure MOST of you don’t know who Green Man is… you sort of have to be a mindless disciple of a rather edgy TV show called “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”  Like the apps above, I do recommend it… although, it can be a little offensive, to say the least!

Green Man in Chicago

  • i might be a little early, but flickr says the photos ‘unavailable’ . . .

  • Facebook User

    Favorite Apps:
    “What’s On?” is an awesome TV listing app. You can even view movie times and the such, and set push notifications to let you know when your show is about to start.

    “Geocaching” — Any fan of geocaching with an iPhone MUST get this. If you don’t know what geocaching is, check out This app allows you to use the built in gps (not as accurate as a handheld however), but most importantly find new caches spur of the moment. This is actually one of my greatest photo tools, as my friends and I often use cache areas as placed to photograph.

    “Traffic” Free and accurate

    “TWC” Weather Channel app

    “Trapster” Calls out red light cameras, and allows users to post police sightings…essentially passive radar detector.

    Scanner911 — Great police/emergency radio scanner

    Games: Trism, sudoku, tap tap revenge 2, globall, backbreaker

  • Hey Trey, I’m an iPhone developer. I’m a little surprised with what you said about camera apps, that most are useless. Especially since I’m building my own camera app called Real Camera.

    I’d be interested to know your opinion. What do you think would make an iPhone camera app truly useful?

  • Hi Trey,

    Just to wish you and your family a great Xmas and happy new year 2010.

    All the best


  • Woah! The reflections in the bean are awesome! I could stare at the original sized version for ages!

    As for the apps, those look like really good choices, I’m going to check them out later. But how could you forget Trism!? It’s amazing! Think you might have to pay though :/ But it’s definately worth it!

    I’ve got a good free photography app on my itouch called Exp. Lite which allows you to select from a vast number of lighting scenarios (e.g. heavily overcast, outdoor xmas lights etc…) and the desired ISO, and it recommends a shutter speed and aperture value based on your selection. It also features a shutter priority mode, which does basically what you imagine it would. I think it would be really handy for those who are new to manual shooting, so highly recommend it.

    Man! That sounded like an advert! I have nothing to do with the app by the way, I just like it.

    Merry Christmas Eve y’all (none-deep-south-stereotypes can say y’all too now)

  • Trey…Have a Merry Christmas! Best Wishes to you and the family!

    Some of my fav apps..

    Centipede…old school but great!
    Ramp Champ…fun and the kids love it!
    Arcade Bowling…cant resist!
    ArcadeHoops…Am I at the boardwalk?
    Uno…just fun!

    As for photo apps…
    Photogene…great for editing pics
    Sunrise & Sunset Pro…simple and lets you know sked times all around the world!

    Best wishes! Pete

  • casusan

    Great shot of the bean sculpture – I like the people in this one – a lively scene!

  • Ragdoll Blaster is a great game.

  • Great shot! I like the people and all the action going on around the bean.

  • Great apps!

    Kelvin – thanks for the note – the other camera app I could have put on there is “Pano” – I think that is what it is called. It’s just that I am such a high-end camera guy that the iPhone is always so lacking. Also, in most situations, I have my D3X not too far away and it just not compare. But — I do think it is a good idea to make good camera apps – many people love them that aren’t so snobby!

    I do wish there was a camera app that let me precisely control my Nikon, however – that would be cool!

  • I’m totally into Runway right now on the iPhone but agree with you for most of your apps. I got sick of I Dig, and hardly play it anymore.

    Check out Runway. There is a free version too, but Paid is totally worth it!

  • My faves:

    Space Invaders Infinity: Trey, you HAVE to get this. It’s required. It’s by far the best game out for the iPhone.

    Navigon: I dislike getting lost. I tried both this and TomTom – TomTom has a marginally better streets database (it’s proprietary and Navigon uses a shared DB with most other nav apps) but Navigon wins on support. Integrates very well with many other iPhone apps like Google Maps and Where To. You really need a car mount for a nav app but it’s worth it (will charge your phone, too)

    Kindle: OMG this app literally has changed my life. If I ever get bored I pull out my phone and read. The form factor is perfect for me but your mileage may vary, some complain it’s too small to read comfortably. I have no motivation to buy a real Kindle – why would I, I have books in my pocket now.

    Epicurious: The best of the recipe apps for the iPhone, I think.

  • LOVE Smack Talk! So fun!

    Here’s my list…

    Wikipanion – I admit, I’m a nerd
    WootWatch – Love having this on hand, especially during woot offs!
    Amazon – The “Amazon Remebers” thing is pretty awesome. Going to try your Red Laser though.
    Chipotle – Self explanatory
    PS Mobile – Photoshop for iPhone. It’s free and I actually don’t hate it.
    TFLN – Texts from last night. Stupid humor.
    FML Pro – See above. Mindless entertainment.
    BNO News – Push updates when major news events happen. Again, nerd.

  • Wassim

    Hi Trey, a quick question, when you fly do you just squeeze your tripod in one of the baggage to check in or you need a special check-in ?(like ski and stuff)

  • Daniel

    Gotta love Philadelphia. 😉

  • I think the DSLR Camera Remote app from onOne Software lets you control a bunch of settings on either Nikon or Canon. But it needs a computer nearby running their server software… so maybe not so great for travel.

  • Great feedback 🙂

    Scott – Yes I have that Space Invaders too – it is great – but man it gets hard about an hour into it! But, I do suck.

    Wassim – I don’t check it – I carry on

    Kelvin – yeah – I saw that – I don’t want to haul my computer out there too!

  • I’ll second Pete Talke’s suggestion of “Photogene” (way better than PS Mobile!) and also add a few more must-haves for photographers:

    “Photocalc” – DOF calculation, exposure conversions, flash power calculation, sunrise/sunset times. I use this a lot.
    “Night Camera” – low light camera app that does an amazing job when the normal camera app just can’t get the picture.
    “Darkslide” – A rather nice Flickr interface with cool features like “near me” which uses GPS to show photos taken near where you are.
    “Fotomatic” – A great presentation tool with very professional transitions. My iPhone portfolio is shown via Fotomatic. Also interfaces with Flickr.
    “Focalware” – sun/moon angle calculator using GPS and, on iPhone 3Gs, compass, to show sun or moon positions.

    These apps are either free or pretty cheap. I think the most expensive was Focalware which I paid $9.95 for if memory serves.

  • Great recommendations everyone – thank you very much!

  • You should check out “ProCamera”. It’s replaced the Apple camera app on my phone. It has a nifty display that uses the accelerometers to let you know when you’ve got the horizon level, includes a digital zoom, a feature, like Night Camera, that waits until the camera is steady before taking the shot, and a countdown timer.

  • Facebook User

    Happy Christmas! Got my book book and picture today just in time for Christmas!! Can’t wait when I have a few minutes together where I can properly peruse it. 😀

  • Hi Trey,

    I gotta say, the iPhone is a terrific camera, a fun to use, easy to carry and creatively inspiring device. If you have the right apps, you can make some great images…more camera app suggestions:

    Hipstamatic (absolutely addictive analog camera fun)
    Photo ƒx (Tiffen’s filter app)
    Camerabag (more filter effects)
    Lo-mob (lofi photography effects)
    TiltShiftGen (get your blur on)

    Some samples here:

    Apps that pro photogs might also find useful:

    MagicHour (daylight guide)
    Strobox (diagram lighting setups for later reference)
    Photobuddy or Photocalc (as mentioned above)

    Kind regards,

    Bryon Paul McCartney

  • It’s Always Sunny has to be one of the best shows out there!! My favorite this season was Charlie trying to patent Kitten Mittens, too funny.

    Most used app for me is a game called Touch Grind…lots of fun.

    Happy Holidays!!

  • Facebook User

    iPhone App: My nephew LOVES ‘Atomic Fart’ – and I have to admit, it’s pretty funny. You can even set it on a timer/motion sensor. I honestly just put it in my co-workers jacket on his chair a few hours ago. When he came back to his desk … well … it was pretty darn funny. That was my inner 5 year old enjoying that.

  • Facebook User

    iPhone App: oh … ‘GPS Drive’ and ‘Ambiance’ are my two favorites! So worth the low cost of the apps. Also check out ‘Dragon Dictation’ … no more texting while driving! Just speak your texts messages.

    ‘i.TV’ is a really awesome TV guide in you hand. Cool options too.

    ‘Scanner911’ is cool if you want to listen to actual police scanners around the world.

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