Reflection Journal - November 2012

Today is the start of a new month. As always, I will write a personal reflection journal of what we have accomplished over the past month.

First, I will highlight about the reviews that we have posted on the site. There have been several recurring topics that we prefer on Geeks with Juniors, i.e., apps for our juniors, apps for geeks and games that we play. We have reviewed quite a lot of apps for juniors, so I will break them down into several categories in order to give you a better experience as you read this journal.

Bugsy in Math Kingdom is a fun math apps for kids.Bugsy in Math Kingdom is an educational game for practicing addition and subtractions up to 99.

Math Apps

During the past month, we have reviewed four great math apps for different age ranges. The first three -- Sakura Quick Math, Number Run and Bugsy in Math Kingdom -- are great apps for younger juniors to practice basic arithmetic skills. Bugsy in Math Kingdom is slightly easier than the first two apps because it focuses only on addition and subtraction.

The fourth app is designed to help older juniors learn and practice long division. It is entitled Long Division Touch and was made by the same developer who built Algebra Touch.

A lovely storybook app for young ones.Animal SnApp: Farm is a beautiful and almost cinematic 6-in-1 storybook that tells the tales of adorable farm animals.

Storybook Apps

We also reviewed a variety of storybook apps for your juniors. All of the storybooks we picked this time are appropriate for younger juniors with the exception of The Adventures of Ned the Neuron, which explains an advanced scientific topic more suitable for kids aged 7-11.

If your juniors love the Cookie Monster character from Sesame Street, they would love reading the humorous story of him becoming the antagonist in The Great Cookie Thief. If they love animals, they would love the beautifully animated Animal SnApp: Farm.

For the curious juniors, I highly recommend The Adventures of Alex: Electricity, the story of a curious boy who discovers the origins of electricity. Finally, if you want to introduce them to the classic magazine-quality cartoon illustrations of the late Don Freeman and excellent work ethics, you would appreciate Flash the Dash.

Playground HD is a fun app for kids.Playground HD1 has 12 fun-filled activities to entertain your juniors.

Other Notable Apps for Juniors

In addition to math and storybooks, there are also other apps that I believe are worthy of your attention. First, there is Toca Tailor Fairy Tales, a free app derived from Toca Tailor. As the name suggests, the app allows your juniors to design their own wardrobes.

Then, there is Pettson's Inventions, a great contraption app that both my son Philip and I love so much. Next, there is a unique app called Meet the Insects: Forest Edition. Developed in collaboration with the National Science Museum of Korea, the app allows you to learn more about the world of insects.

Finally, if you are looking for an activity app for younger juniors, you should check out Playground HD1. This polished app includes 12 great activities and mini-games for your 2-6 year olds.

A solid journaling app with plenty of features.Our favorite journaling app, Day One, was recently updated to include long-awaited features such as hashtags and local search.

Stuff for Geeks

The month of November marked several changes in my geeky world. I started using Day One both on the Mac and iPhone. The new update to the iOS version brought great features such as local search, hashtags and MultiMarkdown support. This is a really good journaling app.

Another app that you might like is Avocado. Our dear friend, Abraham Gunawan, wrote an excellent guest post on how he used the app to stay connected with his girlfriend. If you are interested, the Avocado developer team has just introduced Avocado Unlimited, a premium service for the app that allows you to post unlimited photos and create unlimited to-do lists. The service is free-for-life if you sign up before the end of this year.

November also saw two of my favorite podcasts, Build and Analyze and Hypercritical, nearing the end of their shows. While I am still not sure which new podcasts would fill in the slots of my commute time, I want to highlight two new ones that I have been listening over the past few weeks:

  1. Debug. It's a conversational interview show focused on iPhone, iPad, Mac, gaming, and general development. Hosted by Guy English and Rene Ritchie, the first two episodes of Debug have been awesome, interviewing Loren Brichter and Paul Haddad.
  2. Quit!. It's a call-in show helping people sort out their lives, reevaluate their options, kick their crummy jobs, and start something awesome. Hosted by Dan Benjamin, the first two episodes of Quit! have demonstrated that this show has what it takes to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs and take charge of their careers. I really like this show.

A fun rhythm/physic puzzler for all ages.Flea Symphony is an exciting combination of a rhythm game and a physics puzzler.

Games We Play

Finally, we get to the topics of games. Both Camila and I have played several games this month, slightly more than in any of the previous months. Four of the new games that we reviewed are very good for casual play. They have a variety of gameplay time, ranging from three to more than 10 hours.

If you love 3D physics puzzles, you will enjoy playing The Room. Designed from the ground up for the iPad, this thrilling mystery/puzzle will surely keep you engrossed for hours.

If you love tower defense games, you will enjoy the beautiful graphics and the unique trail-drawing gameplay of Anthill. If you enjoy side-scrolling platformer games, you will love Nihilumbra. And finally, if you're into musical games and real-time physics games, Flea Symphony is an awesome little game with 100 levels to accompany you in your free time.

We also saw an update to Letterpress, the game that has taken much of our free time previous month. The new update brought rematch and the ability to send Game Center friend requests from within the app. Overall, it's a great update. I can't wait for the next one -- which was hinted by Loren on the first episode of Debug. If you're a Letterpress addict, go ahead and listen to the podcast to hear the spoilers.

A beautiful strategy/word game and instant time-sucker.Letterpress now supports rematch and in-app Game Center friend requests.

Other Updates

In addition to reviews, we have also done some housekeeping on the site. First, our website has now been redesigned to provide a better reading experience on the iPhone and the iPad. Our deepest thanks to our friend Abraham Gunawan who worked hard on this!

I also want to highlight another update that I have done on the site which was refining the list of 20 best apps that I highly recommend for 1-year-olds. There are eight new apps that I have added since I first created the list back in August. I am looking forward to update the list every now and then, especially when there are new apps that are worthy to be put on the list.

Handpicked 20 best apps for 1-year-olds.Don't forget to check out our updated list of 20 best apps for 1-year-olds.

Coming in December

While there are plenty of things that we have accomplished in November, we're looking forward for a merrier month of December. We have plenty of awesome things planned for you in this holiday season and we can't wait to announce them. Subscribe to our RSS feed and newsletter to make sure that you stay updated!