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There's No Reason to EVER Stop Using Your iPad!

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Category: Software Published on Monday, 28 March 2011

Apps Guaranteed to Increase iPad Addiction

Hold on!

Be with you in a minute. I just have to finish this level of Angry Birds on my iPad.

Hold on!

Be with you in a minute!

(Expletive deleted!!!)

Ipad apps are not only plentiful, but are often addictive. With that in mind, here are a few apps (aside from Angry Birds) that we've been using.

We took a look at dozens of these programs, ranging from reference materials and productive applications to games, but our starting point was actually a book that's a must read for anyone that lives and dies by Apple's tablet wunderkind.

"Best iPod Apps" ($21.99) from O'Reilly Media lists hundreds of apps that author Peter Meyers feels are the gotta-have-its culled from the thousands of applications available.

The book is set up so you can easily find the type of application you need without having to go through the endless list of available applications and sometimes being disappointed with the final product.

Moving on, we began our trek and discovered a few apps that we can't do without.

Baby Cortex has hit the iPad universe with a slew of apps aimed at two-to-five year olds. Baby Photos, Baby Flash Cards, Baby Piano HD, Alphabet Car HD and Baby Musician easily passed the four-year-old attention test, using a test subject who shall remain nameless, but is related to the author of this blog.

Baby Piano and Baby Musician use animal musicians to play tunes toddlers immediately recognize. You can even play music alongside your child using the two-player mode.

Baby Photos, although not really designed for a toddler to use, allows you to enhance digital baby pictures using stamps and frames and, later, share them on Facebook.

There are two versions of Flash Cards in addition to the original app, including Baby Flash Cards 2 and Baby Flash Cards 2 HD. The HD version is designed especially for an iPad's high resolution screen. These programs use various objects, ranging from food to animals, to enable children to associate pictures with words. Baby Flash Cards 2 gives you the additional option of editing cards from English to one of several other languages and record the sound of the words for each card.

Alphabet Car HD is designed for children up to seven years old and is used to help them spell words while driving a car. Simply put, this program has children tilt the iPad in various directions and run over letters that will eventually spell out words. There are more than 40 levels to the game, ranging from preschool to expert, and there are more than a dozen vehicles to choose from.

Ruckus Mobile Media has hit the app market with "A Present for Milo," which is aimed at the preschool to early-reader set. Aimed at 2 to 5 year olds, we again, let our test subject have a go at it and discovered that she was soon reading the story to us.

There are more than 125 animations hidden among objects that either repeat or change when the child swipes them. The same finger swipes also activate the narration of the story. The main focus, though, is word recognition, where the child can sound out about 50 words that are displayed on the screen.

Now let's move on to the older kids.

Riptide Games has developed the first "real" computer game for the iPad. Nancy Drew Mobile Mysteries: Shadow Ranch is a full-featured video game that is structured like a book where you play as you read. The objective is to collect various objects and conquer mini-games to solve the mystery and unravel the secret of Shadow Ranch.

We also tested several apps aimed at those of you that feel (perish the thought) you need to be productive with your iPad.

Paragon Software has released Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and the Encyclopedia Britannica for the iPad. As with most of these programs, there are free versions and more full-featured apps you have to pay for. You can even get versions to download to your iPhone or Android smartphone.

Both of these apps provide instant access to two of the most powerful reference materials on the planet at the swipe of a finger. Plus you can add foreign-language dictionaries that pronounce each word, simplifying the task of learning another language.

Those of you that need to track everything, there's TraxItAll. This neat little app helps you track everything from daily exercise routines to eating habits. Basically, TraxItAll uses a patent pending, three-fold tracking system that enables users to track counts, yes/no’s, and averages using any criteria.

On the purely business side, there's Bento from FileMaker. Bento allows users to organize their business priorities by tracking projects, planning events and managing "things." This program is basically a database for the iPad, where you can make use of more than 25 templates (or design one yourself) and easily change the contents of every cell with the swipe of a finger. It also syncs with Bento for the Mac, so can carry data from your office computer with you.

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