Skala Color brings awesome, elegant color picker to the Mac

Skala, Bjango’s next generation interface design tool for Mac is still under development but a component of it, Skala Color has just been launched — and made free for all. Skala Color is pretty much everything you want in a color picker. From Bjango:

Skala Color is a compact and feature-rich OS X color picker that works with a huge variety of formats, covering everything you’re likely to need for web, iOS, Android and OS X development — Hex, CSS RGBA, CSS HSLA, UIColor, NSColor and more. It also automatically recognises colors copied to the clipboard, presenting them as a swatch that can be applied with a single click.

Check out the video above for more. If you’ve had your fill of crayons and the other OS X defaults, give Skala Color a try and see how you like it. Then let me know!



Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:20 in News | Comments (0)

Yahoo really really wants to be the default search engine for iPhones and iPads

Fire up Safari on your iPhone or iPad today and you’ll most likely find Google as the default search engine — but if Yahoo has their way that might change. Users have the option to change from Google to other search providers such as Bing or Yahoo, but Google’s had the default spot locked down for some time thanks to the handsome sum they’ve been paying Apple for the privilege. But Microsoft’s Bing is the default search used in Siri, so count that as a win for Redmond. Yahoo isn’t too happy that Google holds the crown jewel default search in Safari, and they’re apparently aiming to convince Apple to change that.



Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:20 in News | Comments (0)

‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’ for iPad Review – Shuffling for Zul’jin

Blizzard Entertainment has a long line of releases with serious stories, usually focusing on the fate of the world or racial warfare. The Warcraft franchise has a few nods to comedy here and there with creatures like the Murlocs and the Pandaren, but for the most part, big bads like the Lich King still run the show. Comparatively, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Free (HD)] is a card game where you can summon an angry chicken and peck your enemies to death. As you can imagine, it’s a ton of fun.

Let’s start with the giant elephant in the room — Hearthstone is free-to-play. Don’t get your pitchforks out just yet though, because after hours upon hours of play, I’m pleased to report that it isn’t pay-to-win in the slightest, nor does it withhold content in favor of a pay-gate. For starters, cards can be earned simply by playing the game, and leveling up any one of the game’s nine classes (Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mage, and Priest). Early on you’ll earn class specific cards very quickly, as well as a number of general cards that can be used with any deck. You’ll earn XP with each type and after a specific level, you’ll start earning “expert packs,” which is basically code for random cards.

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There are also quests to complete along the way that earn you coins, which in turn can be used to purchase packs for 100 in-game currency, and enter the Arena (more on that later). If you really want to pony up some cash, you can buy packs piecemeal by way of IAP. Having said all that, I haven’t spent one dime and I feel like I have more cards than I know what to do with. The game has gone through a monumental amount of balancing since its beta phase, and any player can craft a deck worth competing with based on the cards you get for free.

The actual game is super easy to pick up, especially if you’ve played a game similar to Magic: The Gathering. Hearthstone is strictly a one-on-one affair, with one deck for each player. A digital coin is flipped, and the starting player begins the game with three cards and 1/1 mana — the second player starts with four cards and a “coin” card that allows them to gain an extra mana, as well as the same 1/1 standard — to make up for going second.

Mana goes up by one maximum allotment per turn, and is essentially the resource that allows you to play cards. Weaker cards generally cost less mana, and stronger cards tend to be around the maximum range of 10 mana (although there are exceptions and cards that can modify your mana pool). This basically allows for a ramped up style of play, where matches begin fairly quietly, but evolve into dangerous games with lots of high-powered cards. As a result, rounds tend to not drag on, which is a good thing.

Your ultimate objective is to “kill” the other player, who sports 30 life points. Players can be damaged in lots of ways, including minion attacks (that have an attack and life value, and can’t attack the turn they’re summoned), spells, hero powers (which vary from character to character) and other ancillary cards. It’s your job to decide what cards to play, and what strategy to employ on any given game.

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For instance, you may start the round with two minion cards that only cost one mana. On your second turn with two mana, you can bring out both of those minions on the board, or use a two mana card that instantly does three damage to your opponent. Not bringing out minions could come back to bite you later on, and using the instant damage card early could be a mistake as well. Hearthstone is a game of constant give and take, and it’s that strategic depth that really makes it something special.

Because of how many variables are in tow (cards that can attack instantly, cards that can create invincible shields good for one hit, and so on), every single game is utterly different, and every opponent will likely use a new strategy. It keeps the game fresh and entertaining for hours on end, especially when coupled with the portable nature of the iPad.

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So about those game modes. In Hearthstone you can play normal games online via matchmaking (unranked or ranked), practice against AI, play head-to-head with friends, or go at it in the arena. While all of the other modes are self-explanatory, the arena is the meat of the game for many competitive players. For a gold fee (or an unneeded IAP), you can enter a special set of matches that lets you play until you lose three rounds. The catch? You need to select a new deck after each death, and craft it around pre-ordained cards from a giant pool. It’s similar to playing closed deck Magic games, in that you can’t rely on the same strategy or deck every time.

Arena is really tense, and easily the highlight of the game as it encourages you to learn how to use a multitude of cards as well as win indefinitely. When you finally are brought down you’ll earn a new pack of cards based on how well you did. Then you’ll need to pay up again before you re-enter. It’s a fair system that encourages you to work for it, so it’s a good thing the game is fun to play in general.

In terms of the iPad controls specifically, Hearthstone works like a charm. All you have to do is hover over a card to read the text, tap a card to select it, or drag it to play it or move it around. Tiny inconsequential environmental effects can also trigger when touching around the map, simulating a mouse cursor click. On an iPad Mini I haven’t encountered one game with any significant amount of lag or framerate drops. For Blizzard’s first major iPad port, Hearthstone is a resounding success.

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I should also note that it’s cross-platform compatible as well, in addition to the fact that you get an extra deck just for logging into your account on an iPad — so you aren’t missing out on anything compared to the PC and Mac versions since it all runs off Blizzard’s backend servers. It’s also stunning on a visual level, sporting a beautiful art style that shines on the iPad just as well as it does on other platforms. The amount of art in this game is staggering, as no two cards look alike, and each effect has its own unique animation or sound.

Hearthstone is not only an example of a free-to-play model done right, but it’s a must-play for card game enthusiasts everywhere. It’s incredibly easy to get into, the picturesque art is easy on the eyes, and best of all — it plays perfectly on an iPad.

Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:00 in Applications | Comments (0)

Blizzard’s ‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’ is Now Available Worldwide

After a fairly brief soft-launch period, Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Free (HD)] has finally arrived in the US App Store. Hearthstone is a card battling game set in the Warcraft universe. It was announced at PAX East last year, and went through a rather lengthy beta testing period on desktop. That beta test was eventually opened up to include anyone, and last month the beta finally ended and Hearthstone was released on desktop. Earlier this month Hearthstone officially soft-launched for iPad in select regions, and it was assumed it would be at least a month or two before it was released worldwide.

However, the soft-launch was quicker than expected and today the game is now available. Also, if you’re not into the whole online competitive thing, a single-player campaign is currently in the works. if you don’t own an iPad or you’re on Android, there’s good news: an iPhone and Android version of Hearthstone is planned for the second half of this year. If you’re interested in Hearthstone, check it out on desktop or the iPad, and look for more platforms to follow later in 2014. Also, there’s tons of impressions from our community in this forum thread, so check those out too.

Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:00 in Applications | Comments (0)

TA Plays Live: Tomorrow’s Games Today – ‘Hodappy Bird’, ‘Unpossible’, ‘Hitman Go’ and More

When I rolled over at a little after 5:00 AM Central time to check the New Zealand releases, I wasn’t sure we were going to have much to be excited about today… Then all these games hit. Here’s what we’ll be streaming today:

There’s three ways you can watch the stream:

1. Scroll up to the top of the page here and watch it embedded right here on TouchArcade. By default the volume is set to 0%, so be sure to crank that slider up if you’re in a place where you can have sound.

2. Actually heading over to Twitch and viewing the stream over there. It’s basically the same as above, except with a slightly different layout for the stream and the chat.

3. Download the TwitchTV app [Free] and watch the stream live on your iOS device. If you haven’t tried the app in a while, it’s worth revisiting as it just got a massive update that makes it way better. Once you’re in the app, either search for “TouchArcade” or hit the link on your iOS device.

I usually stream until around 7:00 PM Central time, and you can find an archive of our stream videos over on our YouTube channel. I upload them right after the stream each day, so depending on how long YouTube takes to process them, if you miss a stream they’re usually available in an hour or two.

Please be sure to follow us on Twitch, and if you really like the TouchArcade stream, subscribe. A premium subscription is $4.99 a month, and gets you a slick little TA icon next to your name in chat. We’re still working on other cool things to do with our subscribers, but right now just imagine it as a virtual tip jar.

Thanks for watching, everyone!

Update: Offline! Thanks for watching, everyone. Here’s the archive videos, which will be up for viewing as soon as YouTube finishes processing them-

Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:00 in Applications | Comments (0)

‘Frozen Synapse’ for iPad Receives "Red" Expansion Pack, On Sale for a Dollar

Frozen Synapse [$0.99 (HD)] just got a huge update. This brilliant strategy game was already filled with content but if you want more you can buy the Red expansion pack which adds an entire single player campaign, a new multiplayer mode called Upload, a new unit with a riot shield and you can even play against the AI with a friend in the brand new co-op missions. You can now also play the game in Red instead of blue hence the name of the expansion back. See it in action with this trailer from the PC version:

You can buy the expansion for $1.99. This update also adds Game Center achievements and fixes some pesky bugs. To celebrate this release, Frozen Synapse is on sale for 99¢ which is a really low price for a game that we thought was brilliant in our review. If you’ve got an iPhone, don’t despair as Frozen Synapse is coming to your tiny screen before the end of this year. If you’re looking for impressions, you can get some in our forums.

Posted Thursday April 17 2014 04:00 in Applications | Comments (0)

Weekly photo contest: Shadows!

Shadows are something all of us have, as do all the objects around us. Not only are they something we see every day, but they can add a whole new creative perspective to your photos. So that’s your task this week, snap a killer photo that just wouldn’t be the same without shadows.

The contest begins today and ends Tuesday, April 22nd at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Good luck!

It’s also time to announce the winner of our last photo contest! And the winner is…

The above panorama was snapped by forum member buxna with an iPhone 5s. The photo was then edited with Snapseed. The thing that really caught our attention in this photo was the depth and the dramatic colors. The composition is great and the position of the bridge is creative and well thought out. Congrats! We’ll be contacting you shortly to collect your prize!

Now on to the details of this week’s photo contest!

The prize: Mobile Nations prize pack!

The winner of this week’s contest will score a prize pack full of Mobile Nations swag featuring all kinds of goodies from your favorite sites. You can of course pick which pack you’d like but we already know you’ll pick iMore, right?

The rules

Submitted photos must have been taken with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

We’ll check the EXIF data of the original file to verify and any edits must have been done with an iPhone or iPad app. No Photoshop, Lightroom, or other external editing programs! If you have external lens accessories such as an Olloclip or other snap-on lens, you are more than welcome to use them.

You can submit as many photos as you’d like, but remember, this is a contest, so make sure you submit your best work!

Resources

Now, before you run off to take your photo, remember that it’s not technical skill alone that will claim this prize. Even if you’re not the best photographer (yet!), a great eye and a great subject can still get you the win.

However, a little help can never hurt, so make sure you check out our iPhone photography series for some tips.

How to submit

Submitting your photos is easy. just head over to the iMore Photography Forum and post your photos to the official contest thread. Don’t forget to state what device you have and which apps, if any, you used to edit your photo!

That’s it! Now go out and shoot!

ENTER NOW



Posted Thursday April 17 2014 01:20 in News | Comments (0)

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft now available worldwide

After a short soft launch in Canada and Australia, Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available globally. We’ve got some hands-on gameplay footage, if you want to see how it runs.



Posted Thursday April 17 2014 01:20 in News | Comments (0)

‘Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’ for iPad Now Available Worldwide

Blizzard Entertainment’s digital card trading game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for iPad is now available for download worldwide after soft-launching in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in early April. The game initially launched for the Mac in March.

The free-to-play collectible card game is set in the Warcraft universe, allowing players to compete with Magic the Gathering-style decks in one-on-one fights via Battle.net or against the computer. The iPad version of the game is able to connect to a Battle.net account, syncing with the PC/Mac version.

 

JUMP RIGHT IN: Fun introductory missions bring you into the world of Hearthstone’s intuitive gameplay.

BUILD YOUR DECK: With hundreds of additional cards to win and craft – your collection grows with you.

HONE YOUR SKILLS: Play in practice matches against computer-controlled heroes of the Warcraft universe. Thrall, Uther, Gul’dan – they’re all here!

COLLECTION TRAVELS WITH YOU: Your card collection is linked to your Battle.net account – enabling you to switch your play between tablet and desktop with ease.

AND FIGHT FOR GLORY: When you’re ready, step into the Arena and duel other players for the chance to win awesome prizes!

Our sister site Touch Arcade has given Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft a five star review, calling the game “a ton of fun” and “super easy to pick up.”

Hearthstone is not only an example of a free-to-play model done right, but it’s a must-play for card game enthusiasts everywhere. It’s incredibly easy to get into, the picturesque art is easy on the eyes, and best of all — it plays perfectly on an iPad.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is also available for the Mac after launching in March and Blizzard has plans to bring it to the iPhone as well, later in the year.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for the iPad can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]



Posted Wednesday April 16 2014 22:40 in News | Comments (0)

Make your Mac safer online: Five tips for better password security

Seems like there are endless examples of security problems with all the Internet services we depend on. What can we do?

Gotofail. Heartbleed. Target. Sony’s PlayStation Network. The NSA. It seems like every few weeks, there’s a new story circulating in the news about major security breach concerning systems that you rely on. What can you do to protect yourself?

The bottom line is that attacks do happen, so it’s best to try to minimize the risk you face when these services inevitably are breached. Here are some tips to help you stay as safe as possible by changing your password habits.

Don’t reuse the same password

It’s easy to remember one password, more difficult to remember dozens. That’s why many of us end using a single password for several different services we access. If you’re doing this, don’t. It’s huge mistake. You’re making it much easier for someone to get access to all of your accounts when you do this, especially if stolen information about you includes your e-mail address or other crucial identifying information you use across multiple sites.

Change your passwords…often

Get into the habit of changing passwords on a regular basis, at least on higher-risk sites and services like your bank or other financial institutions or anywhere sensitive data about you is maintained. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly, whatever, make sure you don’t use the same password forever. Many of these institutions may require you to change your password periodically already, but many (like my bank) don’t. So make sure to shore up your security by filling in those gaps when necessary.

Use strong passwords

Don’t use dictionary terms; hackers often employ word lists straight from the dictionary. That’s why many services now require you to use a combination of letters, numbers and other characters.

Don’t use the name of your spouse, pet, kids or any other information that might be gleaned from a potentially compromised personal profile.

The longer, the better. Some services have minimum password lengths they’ll allow, but it’s often a good idea to extend it even further. If your service requires an eight character password but allows up to 16, use as many letters as you can. Mix up letters, numbers, upper and lower case, punctuation — anything you can do to make it harder to crack your password.

Use two-step authentication if it’s an option

Check to see if the services you rely on use two-step authentication. Google, many banks, even iCloud support two-step authentication.

The idea behind two-factor authentication is to combine something you know, like a password, with something you have, like your cell phone. While it does add a layer of complexity to interaction with services you depend on, it is very secure, because while a hacker might be able to get your password, they’re unlikely to have access to your cell phone or another device you use for authentication.

Use a password manager or even just a notebook to keep track

Rotate passwords periodically. Use strong passwords. Use different passwords for every different service — it’s easy to lose your mind with passwords. Make it easy on yourself by using a password manager.

Password managers are standalone apps that help you manage passwords for all the different sites and services you use. Some, like Mavericks’ own iCloud Keychain and Agile’s 1Password, work on both OS X and iOS.

If you can’t afford a password manager right now or you don’t feel comfortable using one, consider getting a dedicated notebook to keep track of your passwords. It sounds counterintuitive: If it falls into the wrong hands, a notebook with your passwords can jeopardize your online safety, no question. (It pays to keep the notebook somewhere safe, that’s for sure).

But on the other hand, many of us aren’t trying to keep friends, family and coworkers away from our online accounts, but hackers from the far corners of the globe who we’ve never met and are unlikely ever to meet. To that end, a notebook can be a relatively secure option.

Be safe

These are just a few common-sense tips to protect yourself online; there are a lot of other things you can do to keep your identity safe while you’re online. I suspect you have a few of your own that you’re dying to share, so lay ‘em on me in the comments!



Posted Wednesday April 16 2014 22:20 in News | Comments (0)

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