Archive for April 2009


iPhone app review: Flower Garden

April 27th, 2009 — 1:23pm

Flower Garden, $2.99 at the App Store

Developer website: http://www.snappytouch.com/flowergarden

I’ve had my iPhone for about 6 weeks now, and I’m finally getting around to reviewing some software. There are a number of great apps that I use every day so it was a bit hard to choose which to review first, but Flower Garden is so pretty and fun that it wins the coveted first-iPhone-app-review-on-kayray’s-blog award!!

Flower Garden is a garden simulation app. It’s not the kind of thing you’ll play for an hour at a time, but you’ll find yourself checking your garden several times a day, especially when you unlock some of the more difficult-to-grow seeds. The graphics are very pretty and the outdoor sound effects, birdsong and a gentle breeze, are soothing. I feel happy every time I look at my Flower Garden.

My main Flower Garden page:

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When you play for the first time you have twelve empty flowerpots and a small selection of seed packets. Tap a seed packet, tap the “plant” icon, and you’ll have a pot of seeds ready to care for. Water them as often as necessary to keep the slider in the green zone and your seeds will grow into lovely flowers. If you accidentally over-water and the slider goes into the yellow zone, the app plays a sad sound and your flowers droop a bit. Let them get too dry and the slider drops down into the red zone, the flowers droop even more, and the dirt looks dry. There will also be an alert icon on your main garden page to let you know you’d better water them. But don’t worry — your flowers won’t die! Just take better care of them and they’ll regain their health.

My seed packets, with some still remaining to unlock:

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A packet of Sunflower seeds:

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A pot of Tulips:

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When you’ve got full-grown flowers you can cut them, assemble a pretty bouquet, and email it to someone special. Cut flowers go straight to the bouquet page. From there, you can remove any flowers that don’t suit the bouquet, rearrange them by shaking your phone, rotate horizontally with a finger-swipe, and even rotate them vertically with a two-finger swipe. You can zoom in and out and move the bouquet up and down. Choose from a small number of different-colored backgrounds; the developer says a color-picker is coming soon, which I’m happy about, since I need a mild yellow background my tulip bouquets. Tap the tag, which is draggable, and enter the recipient’s email address (or choose from your Contacts list) and a brief message. The email interface is perfect — you stay within the app instead of getting kicked out into your email program, and you’ll enter your own return address so your recipient knows it’s not spam. An emailed bouquet looks like this:

nyip.net Mail - Re: Flowers For You - kara@nyip.net

Over time you will unlock more and more seed packets. Eventually you will see a little padlock at the bottom of the seed packet page, which lets you enter an unlock code for super-special flowers. Try entering “snappytouch” or “theappera” or “theportablegamer” or “touchofgaming” or “iphonegamesnetwork” or “fingergaming” or “appcraver”, and let me know if you figure out any others. :) May 2011: Note: you no longer need to enter unlock codes. All of these flowers are in the Bonus Seed Pack.

Many thanks to Noel of SnappyTouch for this charming iPhone pastime, and thanks to Chris Hughes for recommending it to me!

Flower Garden on Facebook (check here for more unlock codes)

(By the way — any review you see here will most likely be positive. I’d rather write nice things about fun and useful iPhone apps than gripe about the bad ones.)

22 comments » | Blog, Reviews, Tech

The Adventures of Sally, Ch. 8

April 27th, 2009 — 8:26am

The Adventures of Sally, by P. G. Wodehouse. First published in 1922. Read for you by Kara Shallenberg.

The Adventures of Sally

08 Reappearance of Mr. Carmyle – and Ginger – 00:24:16

I’ll post another chapter next Monday.

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here: http://librivox.org/the-adventures-of-sally-by-p-g-wodehouse/)

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

This Country of Ours, Part 2

April 25th, 2009 — 1:01pm

I’ve finished recording the audiobook of Part 2 of This Country of Ours and it’s ready for you and your kids to download and listen to.
http://librivox.org/this-country-of-ours-part-2-by-h-e-marshall/

This Country of Ours

by H. E. Marshall

Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14

You can purchase a high-quality reprint of the text to read along with at mainlesson.com, and you can also read along online there for free!

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Adventures of Sally, Ch. 7

April 20th, 2009 — 8:25am

The Adventures of Sally, by P. G. Wodehouse. First published in 1922. Read for you by Kara Shallenberg.

The Adventures of Sally

07 Some Meditations on Success – 00:06:26

I’ll post another chapter next Monday.

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here: http://librivox.org/the-adventures-of-sally-by-p-g-wodehouse/)

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

The Adventures of Sally, Ch. 6

April 13th, 2009 — 8:24am

The Adventures of Sally, by P. G. Wodehouse. First published in 1922. Read for you by Kara Shallenberg.

The Adventures of Sally

06 First Aid for Fillmore – 00:47:40

I’ll post another chapter next Monday.

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here: http://librivox.org/the-adventures-of-sally-by-p-g-wodehouse/)

2 comments » | Audiobooks, Blog

the garden is finished

April 11th, 2009 — 11:53am

Mom came over on Friday and finished building my little garden! Henry helped, too. I felt really horrible that day so I mostly just watched but I did plant the zucchini seeds.

The planter box is about 7.5′ x 2.5′ x 6″. We had to buy quite a bit of dirt. Mom dug a pit about a foot deep, maybe a foot and a half. Then she picked out all the sod so we had a lot of decent dirt left over to go back into the hole. I’m lucky — the dirt under my yard was unusually nice for San Diego dirt. It’s real dirt, not just sand or clay, and even had some worms in it! It must have been trucked in when the house was built.

Anyway, I am thinking we bought about 6 bags of “amend”, 1 bag of steer manure, 4 bags of topsoil, maybe a couple more. Mom dumped the bags out in layers, alternating with plain old yard dirt dug from the pit, got it all wet, mixed it very well by turning it with the shovel, then tamped it down to get all the air pockets out. The resulting bed is beautifully moist and springy, and smells divine.

Total cost, including lumber, dirt, seedlings, and tomato cages was right around $100.

Here’s Mom evening out the dirt:

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Mom planting a tomato:

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Henry planting a bell pepper:

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Me planting zucchini seeds:

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The garden! Two tomato plants, four clumps of Swiss chard, a bell pepper, a clump of cilantro, and two plantings of zucchini seeds at the end:

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6 comments » | Blog

Knitting update

April 8th, 2009 — 10:31am

It’s been a long time since I showed off my recent knitting projects, so here we go. Brace for photos.

We gave Henry’s original Capitan hat to Sally, since it was a little big for him after he shaved off all his hair. So I made him another. (Just happened to have another skein of WotA Bulky!)
on Ravelry

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Here are Dan’s new favorite socks, made of Briggs and Little’s “Tuffy” (80% wool, 20% nylon), which Halcyon sells as “Canadian Sock Yarn”.
on Ravelry

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Here’s the little Helena sweater I made for Jaylah.
on Ravelry

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Another pair of Tuffy socks for Dan.
on Ravelry

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And a pair for me. I am absolutely in love with Tuffy!
on Ravelry

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And the beginning of an Andean Chullo hat for mom, from the Knitpicks’ kit.
on Ravelry

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Comment » | Blog

new little garden plot

April 7th, 2009 — 12:47pm

Not feeling great lately, tired all the time, depressed, anxious, irritable, can’t sleep, etc. I think my thyroid levels are off. Or maybe it’s something else. Today, however, I woke up feeling a bit better and had the energy to record two chapters for librivox, so maybe it’s just one of those things! Anyway I’m supposed to get my blood tested in another week or two so then we’ll see.

On Sunday Mom came over and dug me a little garden bed! She’s so amazing. I wouldn’t be able to dig up one shovelful of dirt but she dug a whole 2.5×8′ plot about a foot and a half deep in 40 minutes :) Dan hammered the frame together for me yesterday, and on Wednesday Mom and I plan to buy some more dirt to fill it, and some seedlings!

Also, I am really enjoying my new iPhone. I plan to do a software review post soon.

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1 comment » | Blog

The Adventures of Sally, Ch. 5

April 6th, 2009 — 8:23am

The Adventures of Sally, by P. G. Wodehouse. First published in 1922. Read for you by Kara Shallenberg.

The Adventures of Sally

05 Sally Hears News – 00:17:24

I’ll post another chapter next Monday.

(Impatient? Get the entire audio book for free here: http://librivox.org/the-adventures-of-sally-by-p-g-wodehouse/)

Comment » | Audiobooks, Blog

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