Shake-A-Phrase for iPhone and iPad

Shake-a-Phrase is an education app that uses silly sentences to teach kids vocabulary and parts of speech. Your kids might get a kick out of the oddball phrases randomly generated by Artgig Studio’s $2 offering for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, but there are few features to recommend this middling app.

Aimed at kids between the ages of 8 and 12, Shake-A-Phrase has three modes, the most prominent of which is Shake It. In this mode, you shake your iOS device (or tap a handy button) and the app auto-generates a sentence using a library of 1700 or so words—something along the lines of “A cowardly diver tempted then heard an anxious senator” or “The brainy parent painted a quick baker by the salon.” Tap the adjectives, nouns, or verbs in the sentence, and a pop-up window shows the part of speech and a quick definition (usually covering up a chunk of the sentence in the process).

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Way with Words: The Shake It mode in Shake-A-Phrase produces a randomly generated sentence. Tap on any of the nouns, verbs, or adjectives, and a pop-up window provides a definition.

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Under the Gavel: Mighty fines

It seems like hardly a day goes by without Apple and its competitors taking various legal actions against each other. We round them up—the legal actions, not the companies—and summarize them for you in a little intermittent segment we like to call “Under the Gavel.” You must provide that distinctive Law and Order “DUN DUN” on your own.

Patently obvious

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TellMeLater for iPhone

Despite text messages, email and a constant stream of notifications, it’s still pretty easy to forget things these days. TellMeLater from Sixfoisneuf42 is a helpful iPhone app that makes it easy to remember things by offering a simple yet effective take on task management.

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Friendly Reminder: The reminder screen in TellMeLater lets you set a reminder that includes a due date and a notification option such as email and reminder tweets.

Think of the $1 TellMeLater as a set-it-and-forget-it task management app. When you launch TellMeLater, you’ll notice a large green New Reminder button at the bottom of the screen. It’s easy to spot—it’s the only button in the app.

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The Week in iOS Accessories: Come fly with me!

Whether you want to fly through the air, sit on your couch, or simply be productive, this week's roundup of iOS accessories has you covered. Here's what's on our radar this week:

Belkin's Keyboard Folio

Belkin: The accessory-maker wades into the crowded Bluetooth-keyboard-case market with its $100 Keyboard Folio for iPad 2. Belkin says the case has a “suede-like feel,” while the keyboard itself provides 60 hours of active battery life and 2,000 hours of standby battery life. The function-specific keys let you copy and paste text, as well as control the iPad's sound volume and several other features.

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Google buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion

Google on Tuesday announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for a cool $12.5 billion in cash. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the acquisition should finally afford Google the sort of mobile-focused patent portfolio the search giant has longed for. According to Google, Motorola Mobility will continue to operate as a separate business.

Earlier this year, Google missed out on acquiring the Nortel patents to a consortium involving Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and other large companies. Earlier in August, Google complained on its blog about companies bidding on Nortel’s patents as a means of competing with Android (despite the fact that Google, too, bid billions for the patent portfolio).

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Calorific Lite for iPhone

Anyone who's trying to change their diet has heard--or learned--that one of the most basic and effective ways to break entrenched eating habits is to write down everything you eat. Not only will you get an idea of how much you cram into your snackhole on a daily basis, you'll get a decent idea of how many calories you're taking in daily.

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Red Alert: Calorific Lite breaks down the foods you eat by color—green foods you should eat in abundance, yellow you can enjoy in moderation, and red foods should be a rarity.

While the act of recording what you put in your mouth can be a great reality check ("I had no idea I ate that many Snickers bars in a week") or an effective deterrent ("Do I really want to write down that lunch was 'a bag of Doritos?'"), it can also be a real pain. While the iPhone does not lack for calorie-counting, food logging apps, many of these require a lot of tedious searching; worse, some of them require you to look up the nutritional information and enter it into the app yourself. And one of the most frustrating features of nearly all the food logging programs is that they're often not equipped to handle "compound foods”—salads, soups, casseroles or sandwiches.

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The Week in iPhone Cases: I am number four

There seems to be no let up in the tide of iPhone cases—they just keep on coming, dazzling us with cooler and cooler ideas that range from the fashionable, to the practical, to the definitely unusable. That’s great news for your faithful //Macworld// staff, of course, who is more than happy to bring you yet another instalment of our weekly iPhone case roundup!

Gametime Geek's iPod touch case

 

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