Back in April, Yahoo Mobile announced a unique approach to searching for nearby restaurants with the Sketch-A-Search app for iOS. The concept of the app couldn't be more simple: pull up a map of the area that you're currently in, and then sketch a circle (or any approximation of a shape) around the neighborhoods or blocks of streets where you'd like to eat. Sketch-A-Search then drops in pins to indicate the restaurants that fall within the designated space. Clicking the pins pulls up information on each establishment, including the phone number, operation hours, and Yahoo user reviews.… Read more
From the "why didn't I think of this?" file comes the Etch A Sketch iPad case from Headcase. The iPad (like the iPhone) already has a shake-to-undo function, so it seems like a natural. It even has the little knobs found on the iconic toy, which, sadly, don't do anything here.
But it sure looks awesome. It's officially licensed, so it even has the same raised gold logo at the top and is made from red plastic that looks a lot like the original, which is celebrating its 50th year.
It's set up so … Read more
You can't turn around in the App Store without tripping over physics-based puzzlers and games with a hand-sketched, graph-paper aesthetic--but Doodle Bomb still manages to be a fun, above-average entry into these two crowded subgenres.
Your goal in Doodle Bomb is to throw bombs--as few as possible--to escape each level. From your torn-out-paper perch, you're trying to blow up a green control panel to open a door and end each level. Along the way you have to blow up blue control panels to activate parts of the environment (such as hinges or wheels) and either avoid or exploit … Read more
Adobe Ideas is a free basic sketching program for iOS from the developers behind the hugely popular and standard-setting Adobe Creative Suite.
This simple drawing application lets you sketch, save, and share (via e-mailed PDF) "ideas," drawings that you create with the app's adjustable brush tool on a blank canvas that lets you pan and zoom in and out. The app's hideable touch toolbar gives you a brush, eraser, hand tool (for panning), undo (up to 50 times), and settings to change the size, color, and opacity of the brush. You can also import photos, which … Read more
This program moves beyond napkin sketching to communicating ideas in 3D. SketchUp takes what may traditionally be seen as a complicated task and adds an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, this sketch-based 3D-modeling program may look as if it has sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a suite of powerful 3D drawing tools that lets you experiment and play with new designs.
All actions are carried out using two button bars, one that runs down the left side and another that sits along the … Read more
Most graphics software can transform photos into artistic "sketches" if you know how or have time to learn. Photo to Sketch Standard (P2S) 4.0 by Thinker Software does that, too, but it's fun, free, and easy to use, something few graphics packages can claim. It hardly breaks new ground, but we found it simple to learn and a lot of fun to play around with, too.
P2S has two parts: a main interface for applying sketch effects to images and a basic but decent image editor/paint program. Sliders control the intensity of pen, pencil, and … Read more
If you're Yahoo, looking at a landscape where Google Search and Microsoft's Bing app pretty much have search sewn up, how do you get noticed? You try something a little eccentric.
The free Yahoo Sketch-a-Search app does what the name implies, letting your fingertip inscribe a shape on the map that will become your searching area. Maybe you want to avoid a certain area, or search for businesses in a wider pattern. Pressing the green button on the graphically rich interface engages the map, and you're free to doodle away on the native Google map. The location-aware app preloads your map based on your current location, but you can easily switch to a different city.
Searches are limited to restaurants, coffee shops, and some hotels for the moment, but Yahoo plans to expand to other local categories, like gyms, gas stations, pet stores, retail shops, and even real estate, like apartments. You can filter search results by star rating and restaurant category--we expect to see this expand when the categories grow.
Just for fun, we tried defining a search area in the shape of stars and letters of the alphabet. The app's algorithms failed to identify any searches in the area. Although that's a ding in our eyes, it's not very realistic that anyone will actually need to seek Moroccan eateries in an area shaped like the letter J. Right now, Sketch-a-Search covers only U.S. cities, but Yahoo plans to include the UK, Canada, and parts of Asia in future.… Read more
SketchBook Pro 2010 provides a sleek system for sketching art ideas. With a simple set of tools and realistic results, artists of all types will gravitate toward this tool.
The program's simple and professionally designed interface allowed us to jump right into creating our art. We never needed to access the Help file's instructions because everything was at our fingertips. Useful items were organized in a sleek toolbar that took up a minimum of space and allowed for a very large canvass, which we loved. We used our cursor to select our brush type and color, which was … Read more
An updated software tool combines energy-use evaluation with Google's 3D-modeling program to help improve building design in its early stages.
"OpenStudio is lauded around our office as one of the most complicated plug-ins ever written for SketchUp," Christopher Cronin, Google's strategist for SketchUp, said in a statement.
While Google may see OpenStudio as a plug-in for SketchUp, OpenStudio's creators may instead see SketchUp as an add-on to its simulation program.
The … Read more
Digital Physiognomy provides users with a way to discover personality traits simply by creating their picture. While the program promises big results, several factors drag it through the mud.
The program's interface initially felt intuitive. The facial characteristic tools are easily manipulated and their results do not take any special key to decode. However, users will most likely want to read the Help file if the face they created isn't coming out right. Users will find the tools to create a face to be childishly simple to understand, which is a positive. Users can download a real picture … Read more