Five Little Monkeys is a colorful sing-along app designed for toddlers and preschoolers, with three different versions--country, rock, and pop--of the popular simian head-injury song ("Five little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head..." etc.). Kids can select which version they want to hear using a visual menu, and then they watch the ever-dwindling squad of monkeys bouncing on said bed, as karaoke-style subtitles run below. You touch a monkey to trigger the next line of the song, at which point an owl--apparently a doctor, with a white coat and a head mirror--breaks … Read more
Bird flu, swine flu, anthrax; and now add Hendra--a lethal virus that resides in bat urine and horse spit--to the ever increasing list of barnyard threats.
The U.S. and other countries are investing in Hendra virus research because they fear it may be used in biological warfare, Dr. Peter Reid told horse owners and "bat carers" at the Queensland Horse Council Hendra virus conference last week. And Dr. Reid should know--he was the veterinarian involved in the first known Hendra outbreak, which killed prominent Queensland horse trainer Vic Rail and 14 of his horses in 1994.… Read more
AutoRun is the handy Windows feature that automatically starts a program when, for example, you insert a CD-ROM in your PC's drive. Whether you're a network administrator or a newbie, an installation program that starts right up with a professional-looking interface is a reassuring sight. Good installation programs don't design themselves, though. Someone put it all together and put it on disk. You can, too, with AutoRun Pro Enterprise II from Longtion. It's designed to let anyone create interactive front ends for downloads, CD-ROMs, and other such applications, regardless of skill level. It lets you bring … Read more
It's a dog. It's a porcupine. It's a dog dressed as a porcupine (Martha Stewart's dog Francesca, no less). Yes, it looks like Francesca will be dressing up as another animal species this Halloween, and she no doubt will suffer a serious identity crisis in the process.
Required materials include fiber optic strands, electrical tape, a 5-millimeter LED light, AAA batteries, silver reflective paper, a craft … Read more
Peekaboo Barn is a farm-themed educational game designed for toddlers, from which kids can learn about animal sounds and names. Fittingly for this age group, Peekaboo Barn has a very simple and satisfying schtick: a red barn bounces up and down gently as you hear a muffled animal noise. You tap the barn to open its doors, revealing the now-louder animal. Its name appears, and is also spoken aloud (charmingly, by a fellow toddler in English, or by an adult in Spanish mode).
The game cycles through 10 different farm animals in this way--everything from a cat to a cow … Read more
Like indie films? Documentaries? Animation? Ho, boy, have I got an app for you: NFB Films lets you watch over a thousand movies on your iPhone. For free.
The "NFB" stands for National Film Board, a kind of Canadian PBS. The app taps the NFB's mammoth library of documentaries, animated films, trailers (for upcoming NFB releases), and more.
All the movies are streamed to your iPhone, but there's also an ingenious "watch later" option that downloads a selected movie for later viewing. However, these downloads expire after 24 hours, not unlike App Store movie … Read more
NewView Graphics' File Viewer is a basic image viewer and photo editor that allows users to make simple changes to their images. Although the program works fine, there are definitely more sophisticated options for doing this sort of work.
The program's interface is dated and plain, and it's not immediately clear how to get started. The fact that we couldn't actually open a file using the File menu threw us a little bit. It turns out that users must navigate to their desired location from the Directory pane within the program; a separate pane displays the contents … Read more
PostSmile is a silly but fun program that allows users to insert emoticons, quotes, and signatures into their e-mail. The program's content is kind of ridiculous, but we really like the way it works.
The program's interface is kind of ingenious. The content--including animated smiley faces, quotes, jokes, and more--is arranged in tabs. Inserting everything into e-mail is a simple matter of dragging and dropping things into the body of the message. Using the program was simple and fun. Whether you'd actually want to use the program's content is another matter entirely. There are five tabs … Read more
MB Chinese Zodiac and Star Signs Software offers up a fast and easy astrological reading. With its simple layout and results that anyone can understand, this is a great way to know more about oneself.
The program's layout left us wanting more, since it is primarily text based and its Help file explained how the program functioned and not how to use it. Fortunately, navigation was so simple, we felt immediately comfortable even though we've never done more than read a fortune cookie. This was because of the basic information needed to begin. With our name and birthday … Read more
Talking Flash Cards aims to improve math, spelling, time-telling, and toddler basics with visual and audio tools. Its simple navigation and a variety of options allow this program to be a favorite of parents and kids.
We could see children really enjoying these cards, especially since they look exactly like physical flash cards, but tack on a digital element that can't be matched with traditional cards. The math cards gave us multiple-choice options, the spelling cards and time-telling function read the answers aloud for us, and the toddler learning tools felt more like a digital See-and-Say than a computer … Read more