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Mac and iPhone News, Reviews, and How-Tos.

Top 3 iPhone Games

Note: I am honored to present this special Guest Expert blog post, written by my friend Zach, a Macintosh and iPhone gaming expert.
-- Christian Boyce

Top 3 iPhone Games
by Zach, age 9

First Place:
Ancient War
Type of game: side-scrolling battle
Point of the game: destroy a totem pole without your own totem pole being destroyed too
Cost: $1.99

Ancient War is great difficulty-wise.  It has different levels that start off really easy and become extremely hard.  Also Ancient War has good action, good controls and okay sound effects. I like how every couple of minutes you get to shoot fireballs.

Ancient War

Second Place: Angry Birds
Type of game: Arcade
Point of the game: get your eggs back from the green pigs by launching birds at the pigs using a big slingshot
Cost: 99 cents

Angry Birds is like Ancient War difficulty-wise.  It has different levels, some easy and some not.  Good controls, pretty good action, and ok sound effects. I like how you shoot your birds from the slingshot and hit something hard.

Angry Birds

Third Place: Eliminate Pro
Type of game: shooting
Point of the game: kill a guy without being killed
Cost: FREE

I like Eliminate Pro because you can play people online. I play it with my friend William online almost every week. It is good for advanced players and beginners.  If you play someone good it is hard, but if you play someone not so good it is easy.  It has great action, not so good controls because controls fade away a lot when you need them most so you don't know where every button is, and good sound affects. I like how if you shoot a guy when he is dead he explodes.

Eliminate Pro

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NFL Prime Time iCal Calendar for 2010

iCal Calendar icon
UPDATE: click here for the 2011 NFL Prime Time calendar in iCal format.

Note: this is a repeat of a blog entry from last year, with updated data for 2010. Preseason games are not included.

I wanted an iCal calendar of the prime-time NFL games (Monday Night Football, the Sunday night game, the occasional Thursday night game) but I couldn't find one online. I did find the entire NFL schedule, but that was way more than I wanted. Solution: I imported the entire NFL schedule, then wrote an AppleScript to remove every game whose starting time was before 4 PM. Simple. Here's the script, for educational purposes...

-- By Christian Boyce,

tell application "iCal"
set the_games to every event in calendar "NFL"
repeat with i from 1 to (count of the_games)
set the_start_date to start date of item i of the_games
set the_day to word 1 of (the_start_date as string)
set the_hour to character 1 of time string of the_start_date as string
if the_hour is not greater than 3 then
set the_event_id to uid of item i of the_games
delete event id the_event_id of calendar "NFL"
end if
end repeat
end tell

and here's the NFL Prime Time calendar, ready for you to click on and import.

Note: you will get the chance to put this calendar's events into one of your existing iCal calendars. That's probably not a good idea. Choose the "New Calendar" option when asked and I think you'll be happier.

Thanks to for the entire NFL schedule in iCal form.

Like the calendar? Did it help you? Leave a comment and let us know.
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RadioShack Trade & Save program

RadioShack wants your old stuff. And they'll pay for it.

Start by clicking this link to the RadioShack Trade & Save program. Once you're there, you tell them what sort of stuff you're looking to get rid of. Here are the choices.

Suppose you have an iPhone 3G, and you're moving up to an iPhone 4 (which you can buy at RadioShack). You click on the Phones button, then choose Apple from the several manufacturers listed, then indicate which model iPhone you have. Click a few buttons to show what kind of condition your iPhone is in, click the "Calculate" button, and just like that they tell you what they'll give you for your phone. Neat. Looks like this:

Your next move is to send your stuff to RadioShack, which you do with a pre-paid shipping label that RadioShack will generate for you. When RadioShack gets your item(s) they'll look them over to be sure they're what you said they were, and then they'll send you a RadioShack gift card loaded up with money.

Of course, you may want to do this at a RadioShack store, and you can, as long as the thing you're trading in is relatively small. Here's the list of things you can bring to a RadioShack store:
  • wireless phones
  • GPS receivers
  • digital cameras
  • digital camcorders
  • video games
  • mp3 players
Everything else has to be done online, and then mailed in, but that's not much of a hardship. Still, I think I'd rather get my gift card on the spot instead of waiting for it to arrive in the mail, so where that's possible that's what I'll do.

Note: there is a slight possibility that you will not become rich by sending your old electronics to RadioShack. Some stuff, such as my 17-inch Apple Studio Display which cost $699 new, fetches an almost insultingly low price-- in the case of my monitor, $7.20. (I have to wonder about the 20 cents there-- I would have figured $7.35, easy.) Still, something is better than nothing, and since RadioShack is going to turn right around and sell your old stuff to someone else, your perfectly-good-but-not-the-latest-model electronic gizmo will get a new life with a new owner, and that's worth something too. Considering that I thought I'd have to tape ten dollars to some of my old stuff just to give it away this RadioShack program sounds like the best thing ever.

Now all I need to do is figure out what to do with the $7.20.

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Save Money on iPhone Apps

Some iPhone apps are free. Some aren't. Except when they are. Turns out that iPhone app pricing changes all the time. That app that you didn't buy because it cost too much might suddenly cost half as much-- or maybe even nothing at all. The trick, of course, is to get 'em when they're cheap. AppMiner, itself a free iPhone app, helps you do it.

In a nutshell, AppMiner watches the prices on the iTunes App Store, and when a price goes down, AppMiner makes a note of it. All you have to do it launch AppMiner and check the categories you're interested in. See below.

Here are some of the categories...

Here are some more...

And here are the rest.

The numbers tell you how many items in each category have dropped in price either today or yesterday. They don't go further back because prices change pretty quickly and out of date info wouldn't be useful.

Touch a category and you'll see something like this:

We're looking here at items that used to cost something, but don't anymore, in the Education category. You can see that some of these things are marked down considerably.

Touch any of the items and you get a description of the app, just like on the iTunes App store. Here's what it looks like:

If the description sounds interesting you can tap the "Free" button (or the "Get It!" button) to go straight to the right place on the iTunes App store, where you can "buy" the thing (for free). Otherwise, you can just go back and see what else might be interesting.

Of course you don't have to check only what's free. You can check what's on sale, what's new, what's top rated, etc. I go for the free stuff myself.

I check AppMiner every night to see what gems may have fallen into my lap. I don't know exactly how much money I've saved but I do know that I have a whole lot of apps on my iPhone and I've paid for only a few. AppMiner is saving me money and I'm sure it will for you also. It's on my first home screen-- a place of honor. Go get AppMiner and check, check check it. You'll be glad you did.

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