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App Development

Facebook App for iPad

Facebook has long teased iPad owners/Facebook users with rumors of a Facebook app. Finally, after months of anticipation, the iPad Facebook app is now available.


The new Facebook offers many of the features you get from the online version; it’s just optimized for the iPad. 

The long-awaited app was released on Monday with little fanfare. Much more noise was made behind the scenes as Facebook and Apple worked out the details on the release.

Like That
The Facebook iPad app is available for free from iTunes and offers Facebook a laundry list of great features:

  • Bigger, better photos: Photos take on new life with Facebook’s photo album. Images are big and high-res.
  • Cleaner user interface: Facebook fiends can navigate their content – such as updates, photos and stories – quicker. Navigation is also easier, using a gentle tap, slide or pinch.
  • Simplified navigation: Send a message or see a notification. Also browse bookmarks without switching screens.
  • Games: You can also play your favorite Facebook games through the app, and on a bigger screen.
  • Send & review messages with a tap: A simple drop-down menu makes it easy to scan your messages and send them without visiting your inbox.

Overall, the Facebook iPad app gives users a sleeker interface, allowing you to stay up to date with your friends, their activities and more. For iPad users on the go, it’s a no-brainer.


The app even provides a way to easily find your friends in the real world. 

iOS Connection 
Apple insiders had assured techies that the Facebook iPad app would be revealed when Apple announced the iPhone 5 last week – and we all know how that turned out. Apple instead revealed the iPhone 4S. Nonetheless, a Facebook app is still a win for Apple considering no other tablets running Google’s Android OS have a tailor-made Facebook app – and that’s definitely something that would make Steve Jobs happy.  App development is a huge business. In fact, mobile apps already eclipse stand-alone software sales for consoles and PCs.

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posted by DMA Phill in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

iPad, iCloud & App Cards

At the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its next generation iPhone, the iPhone4S, but Apple was also talking about iPads, iCloud and apps, too.


Apple’s iPad pilot program for schools has put iPads in classrooms, in every state in the U.S. new schools are being equipped with iPads according to a recent article in the NYTimes. Photo via NYTimes. 

Apple has been pushing innovation not only in the technology space, but innovating schools and business. Apple’s latest phone features voice recognition and while it’s an incredible technological step, the company is full steam ahead on all fronts.

Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO, got a laugh for saying airplane pilots use of iPads makes airplanes more efficient. But it’s true; the FAA approved the use of the device and apps like ForeFlight. Hospitals are testing iPads, too. In fact, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are supposedly “testing or deploying” the iPad in their workplaces. And the amount of schools and summer camps using iPads has dramatically increased.

In addition to the new iPhone 4S, the Apple event was a chance for Apple to toot its own horn and talk about these innovations and outreach. And Apple continues to surprise us with its unique train of thought.


Instead of iPhone 5, Apple introduced…Apple Cards???

Digital Goes Analog 
Apple has surpassed 250 million sales of iOS devices. That’s iPads, iPod touches and iPhones. Apps make these devices truly shine. The App Store features some 140,000 for the iPad alone, with more than 500,000 total apps. More than a billion of them are downloaded every month. Leave it to Apple to introduce one that helps you send a greeting or holiday card. The Apple Cards app lets you create paper printed cards – right from your iPhone or iPad.


Cards are sent with a special postal mark barcode – when they’re scanned at the destination, you get a text message the card has arrived.

If no one else was excited about the Apple Cards announcement, we’re sure the Postmaster General is since traditional postal mail use is significantly down. People still prefer to send cards the old fashioned way, however.

High Above the iCloud 
In the future we’ll all be storing docs in the Cloud. Think of anything you save – a document, picture or song. It all goes in the Cloud. Google Docs has done this for some time, so it’s no surprise to see Apple follow suit by promoting iCloud.

Apple’s iCloud allows the storage of any file type, and serves up all your media on all your iDevices – MacBook, iPhone and tablet. When you sign up, you get 5GB for your mail and docs, and pay an additional $20/$50/$100 more a year for added storage. Users get unlimited storage for photos and music. Using iCloud allows Apple to see all the music you own, and maybe even if you paid for it or not.

But iCloud does allow you to share your media across your many devices, which could come in handy for work or home.

The Core of Apple 
Apple’s doing what it has always done; revolutionizing technology to make your life easier and more productive. Siri, the voice recognition software for your iPhone 4S, is billed as a personal assistant. The iCloud makes moving your media easier. Apple Cards let you send a mailed greeting card right from your phone. Apple is revolutionizing the way we live our lives. And owning an iPhone or iPad isn’t the only to get involved with the Apple revolution. Learning app development for iDevices is a great way to get started with the Apple iOS, too. You don’t have to work for Apple to change the world.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

Google Wallet & The Costanza Connection

A new Google app seeks to change the way you keep up with your personal data. A recent Google commercial is promoting the app with an homage to a 1998 episode of Seinfeld.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKGptWtzeaU&feature=player_embedded

Seinfeld’s George Costanza, with a wallet thick enough to induce spasms of lower-back pain.

In the new commercial, we see Jerry Seinfeld’s friend, George Costanza, approaching a street-corner utility pole on which an ad is posted. George takes a phone message and number from the notice, it reads, “Make your phone your wallet.” George struggles to place the take-along tag from this ad inside his monstrously overstuffed wallet. He stresses and strains until the wallet finally just explodes in the street, with shrapnel-like pieces of paper flying off in a thousand directions. The ad ends by stating, “Goodbye, wallet. The phone will take it from here.”

A New Way to Do Business?
Google Wallet intends to replicate your traditional wallet, electronically.  All of a person’s credit card info would be displayed within the Google Wallet app. In addition, it might carry coupons too.

It would work like this: Say you walk into a store and find something you want to buy, like soup. At the check-out counter you pass by a scanner-like device that utilizes what Google calls “near field communication.” You would take your phone and lightly bump it against the NFC scanner. Your transaction would be instantly processed and your purchase is complete.


Eliminating the need for a wallet? The reality is not that far away but will require some retail renovation. 

NFC-enabled credit card terminals are still rare by retail standards — they are available at hundreds of thousands of locations, but regular credit cards are usable at tens of millions of locations worldwide. It works with MasterCard account holders (who may have a Citi or PayPass card) Visa too has just got onboard, but if you happen to be one of the millions who use Visa, you’ll have to buy a Google Prepaid Card to take advantage of the app.


The technology requires some retailers to update their current barcode-scanning equipment. The Wallet app also requires that your phone remain switched on. If your phone should lose power, no soup for you!

While Google’s Wallet app can enable cash-free shopping, retailers must also adopt the payment terminals and process. And Google Wallet won’t immediately replace your leather one since people still use wallets and purses to carry other important cards (like car and health insurance) and cash, and that’s not really likely to change any time soon.


Using the Mastercard Pay Pass and Google Wallet. 

Comedy, Thy Name is Costanza
TV has given us some great conniving characters over the years. But none was ever more scheming or bizarre than George Costanza. He enriched nine seasons of Seinfeld with a treasure trove of personality quirks and enough anxieties to keep a team of psychiatrists busy.

Where Jerry was controlled and deadpan, George was anything but either of those things. He got mad (often), he shrieked and raged, and he screwed up his face in anger until a large vein would become visible in his forehead. He was really, really good at getting mad. One of the many kinks in George’s personality was illustrated in Season 9, Episode 12, “The Reverse Peephole” (which originally aired on January 15, 1998).


Portrayed with absolute manic intensity by Jason Alexander, George essentially played Daffy Duck to Jerry Seinfeld’s Bugs Bunny.

In the episode, George developed back pain because he is carrying around an overstuffed wallet— a regular men’s cowhide wallet that has been filled way beyond capacity. It’s crammed with so much junk that the wallet can’t even be folded.

Despite the pain the wallet inflicts upon him every time he sits down, George remains steadfastly loyal to his wallet. Jerry compares the wallet and George’s burger. “You know, you’ve got more cow here than here.” George defends his use of the wallet, calling it an organizer and a friend. Seinfeld flatly replies, “Well, your ‘friend’ is morbidly obese.” What was so important in George’s wallet? Mostly old coupons, some Irish money and some hard candy.


Face it, George, your ‘friend’ is morbidly obese. Maybe it’s time for a Google Wallet.

In spite of being off the air for 13 years now, Seinfeld has remained relatively fresh and still exerts an influence on the popular culture. Many of the show’s sayings have entered the American language and are now recognized parts of speech. Reruns of the series still air in syndication throughout the world.

If you’re interested in learning story development and filmmaking, Seinfeld is a great to way to see master storytellers in action. Often called a show “about nothing,” it was almost exactly opposite of that. Seinfeld is about everything, and how the stray details of our lives can become the topics of conversation, and how those details overlap with the details of other people’s lives.

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posted by Phill Powell in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

App of the Month: SketchBook Pro (Review)

Game: SketchBook Pro
Developer: Autodesk
Rating: 5 out 5 stars
Price: $4.99

From Autodesk, the makers of the industry standard for 3D animation (Maya), comes SketchBook Pro. The app is not only for artists, but for anyone wanting to express themselves using a fully loaded graphics illustration app.


An art store worth of tools and colors is available at the touch of a finger with SketchBook Pro

Users start out by choosing a brush from the extensive selection, then they sketch or paint using a finger or an iPad stylus. The app allows you to export layers as .psd files and has a customizable user interface as well.

The Features 
SketchBook Pro is one of the most capable illustration apps out there. Just take a look at just some of its amazing features:

• Full-screen work space, with support for any device orientation
• A canvas size of 1024 x 768 and supports up to 12 layers on iPad 2
• Optional High Resolution canvas on iPad 2 = 2048 x 1536 with 4 layers
• Multi-Touch Interface, with two-finger pan & zoom navigation with 2500 percent zoom
• More than 60 preset brushes, including pencils, pens, markers and natural media
• Precise brush strokes
• Install more than 90 additional brushes and stamps brushes from the in-app store
• Flood fill and smear tool (just like Photoshop), and other great tools additions, like 20 levels of undo/redo on iPad 2 and dynamic symmetric drawing


A customizable UI allows users to set up their most used tools within SketchBook Pro‘s own interface. 

You can also import images from Photo Library or the camera on iPad 2, too. Plus duplicate, merge and reorder layers (just like Photoshop) and toggle and adjust the layer visibility/opacity. Everything you would expect to do with a high-end graphics application or learn using Photoshop, you can do with SketchBook Pro.

The app exports photos, has in-app email and sharing features, customizable color swatches, eye-dropper selector, custom erasers AND (if that wasn’t enough), video output using either the Apple Component AV Cable or the Apple Dock Connector to VGA adaptor.

Becoming a Digital Designer
Artists have more digital tools available than ever before, but if you’re a digital designer with an iPad or someone who wants to start learning digital art and graphic design, SketchBook Pro is a must-have.


Create both complex and simple pieces of art using SketchBook Pro. Click the image above to enlarge. 

The app gives artists full control over their creativity and the import and export features are easy to use and set up. Creating complex works of art will still take time, but the app supports you with tools to express your vision every step of the way. And at just five dollars, the app is a great investment, and should be a no-brain’er for artists now using the iPad.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Textbooks of the Future

All over the globe trees are breathing a sigh of relief. Print is dying. Magazines and books, specifically, are on the way out. If technology has its way, soon printed materials will be replaced digitally. Think about it – you can now carry a library around in your pocket. And not only are digital books easier to access in a digital form, they offer a significantly enhanced reading experience.


Apple’s iBooks puts a library right in the palms of your hands.

eReaders like Amazon’s Kindle and the revved-up iPad are more popular than ever, while the recent closing of bookstore chains like Borders marks the start of a dynamic shift in print publishing and its distribution.

Print is Dead; Long Live Digital Distribution
Sure, many of us may still have a emotional attachment to a favorite book or magazine, but digital books deliver a more interactive and engaging experience. It’s no surprise then that not only are your favorite novels and new releases getting the digital treatment, but so are textbooks, too.

Here’s a look at the future of digital learning:


Click the graphic above to enlarge. 

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posted by DMA Phill in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

App of the Month: Remix Your Life with MadPad HD – Review

Music/Recording App: MadPad
Developer: Smule
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Price: $2.99

Tired of just Autotuning your mornings? Now you can remix your life, thanks to Smule’s MadPad. We tested the Smule app on the iPad 2, but it’s available for both the iPad and iPhone. With the app you can make music from anything. Recording your samples are as simple as pointing your iPad or iPhone at yourself, music instrument, water faucet, or whatever other sounds you may want to capture with your recording.


MadPad will help you make a synchronized music video on your iPad or iPhone.  

If you’ve been wanting to dabble in music production or get into “looping,” the app provides an inexpensive and fun way to do that. Looping audio/video tracks has been a popular pastime for musicians, but it’s been difficult to loop tracks without a bank of samplers and other gear. MadPad puts a miniature video and sound studio in the palm of your hand.

Portable Digital Sampling
The MadPad is easy to use. The recording interface is simple and straightforward. Once you’ve recorded all your samples in one of the 12 locations (recordings can be long or short), you’re returned to the main screen. Hit the menu button and then click on the looping icon. You can then play your samples just like a sampler, pressing the pad to trigger the sound/video you want. Before you know it, a song has come together. The app would make a Reggie Watts looper fan crazy since it has so much creative potential.

To make “beats,” start with a bass line, then add other sounds and effects. Or take a lesson from the master:

Musician Reggie Watts makes beats using just his voice; he lays down a track and then layers it over another sound. His self-styled method has made him a regular musical guest on Conan O’Brian’s show.

MadPad also lets you import sounds, in addition to recording them from scratch. There’s a library of more than 50 sounds…including guitars, pianos and new sounds uploaded by the MadPad community daily.


Smule’s been making great music apps for a few years.

Making Sound Waves
Once you’ve created the next pop hit, you can save and then share your creation. Like the rest of the interface, sharing is as easy as a one-button click. You can tweet it out, post it, or e-mail it. You do, however, have to have the MadPad on your device to view a video you’ve been sent. Still, it’s the closest you can get to a cheap portable sampler without making your own music apps.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Amazon’s Cheap Tablet Computer

The future looks bright for those thinking about becoming an app developer. Insiders say Amazon’s long-rumored tablet computer is a reality. The 7-inch tablet will carry the “Kindle” namesake and debut in November. The backlit touchpad will have many iPad-like features but cost only $250, which is half the price of Apple’s tablet. Amazon will effectively double the size of the app marketplace – great news to developers – with the move.


Seven-inch color touch screen, 6GB, featuring Amazon Kindle, Amazon’s Cloud Player and Video…all for $250 or less.

The Features

  • The 6-GB device, which looks and feels like a Blackberry PlayBook, features a carousel-styled interface. Content on the device is served up easily through the menu – apps, books and movies.
  • It’s all integrated with Amazon services: the Amazon Cloud Player is used for playing music, a Kindle app is used as the book reader, while the company’s Instant Video player plays video.

TechCrunch blogger M.G. Siegler recently revealed, ”Not only have I heard about the device, I’ve seen it and used it.” Amazon’s app store will be used to serve up apps. Siegler went on to say the Amazon tablet he tested has a full-color touch screen and runs a version of the Android operating system. The OS however, has been customized by Amazon.


AMZN is currently trading briskly in light of the upcoming announcement.  

According to industry analysts, like Forrester Research, the online bookseller could sell 3 million to 5 million Amazon tablets before year’s end. If the price prediction is accurate, Amazon’s Kindle could be a real challenger to Apple’s iPad. HP recently saw demand for its cheap HP Touchpad exhaust HP inventory and prompt a final production run for the tablet that featured HP’s WebOS and was reduced from $495 to $99.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

iPad 3 Features & Release Date

The iPad, just as Apple’s Steve Jobs predicted, has changed the face of computing. Some analysts predict that in 5 to 10 years, almost all desktop and laptop computers will be replaced by tablet devices. In the same way, smartphones have revolutionized cell phones, tablets, and particularly the iPad…and these devices are already revolutionizing computing.


A 3D artist’s rendering of the iPad 3. 

While the tablet business has been brisk for Apple, it hasn’t been as lucrative for some. Hewlitt-Packard recently announced it would leave the computer hardware business entirely, including its tablet business. HP recently sold out its 16GB HP Touchpad for the jaw-dropping, basement price of $99.

Outside of Apple, Amazon is probably the company most aggressive about the tablet business, and Amazon expects to sell 3 to 5 million tablets by 2012. Still, the king of the tablet throne is Apple’s iPad, and rumors are already circulating around the next version of that device. We’ve done some investigation and here’s what the iPad 3 could offer and when you can expect it:

Better Display
iPad 3′s screen resolution and possibly its size will be increased. The iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch screen and 1024 x 768 resolution – the same as the first-generation iPad. A retina display (like the iPhone 4) with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 is rumored to be in the works for the iPad 3.

The iPad has also taken knocks for its glossy screen. Sure, it looks great, but the glare can be a real problem when trying to read a book or play a game. Amazon’s Kindle features a matte-like screen that diffuses light rather than reflecting it; Apple could offer a version of the iPad 3 with anti-glare.


Apple quietly re-introduced an anti-glare option for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. A similar option could be made available for the iPad 3.

Better Camera
The camera on the iPad 2 is less than 1 megapixel. Frankly, it’s appalling that such a cutting-edge device has such an outdated camera. Rumors suggest that the iPad 3 camera resolution will be significantly improved.

New OS
In addition to hardware upgrades, Apple insiders also point to a new or updated iPad operating system. Ideally, this OS would be released just prior to the iPad 3 release, and original iPad and iPad 2 owners would also benefit from the update. iOS 5 is already slated for release this fall.

New Outputs
Currently, the iPad requires an adapter (which must be bought separately) in order to connect the device to your flatscreen or to view pictures on the device you’ve taken with a separate camera. Some analysts have said a next-generation iPad may at least have HDMI out. However Apple insiders have ruled this out, because the addition of another output would increase the cost of hardware, which is something Apple is not fond of doing.

Release Date & New iPad Retailer
Apple’s hardware release pattern is somewhat predictable, at least it was until component manufacturers located in Japan, China and other Asian regions were affected by this past year’s tsunami. But most analysts look to a Spring 2012 iPad 3 release. Here’s why: A newly forged relationship with communications provider Sprint, which is rumored to be getting iPad distribution rights in 2012. Also, Apple has a tendency to release devices well in advance of the holiday season (usually during spring or early summer) to allow consumer demand to build for almost an entire year. In addition, Apple will not want to cannibalize sales of the iPhone 5, which drops in September. Apple will want that device to have all the limelight possible well into the end of this year.

Developing For The Future
As the computer hardware industry changes to embrace tablets, the development community must change, too. Almost all tablets not made by Apple are driven by the Android OS, and apps are the primary way to experience content. Learning app development or the Android OS could help you get your foot in the door of the tablet revolution. It’s a revolution that’s already well underway.

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posted by DMA Phill in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Google’s Plan For Android Domination


Why is this little guy smiling? Because he’s the dominating OS for more than 150 million devices.

According to Google’s CEO Larry Page, there are now more than 150 million Android-powered electronic devices in use around the world. To better understand that number, consider that each day, more than 550,000 consumers become new Android users. (That’s a conservative estimate; some industry analysts have estimated the number closer to 650,000 Android activations per day.)

And although Apple still leads the market (with an estimated 222 million devices that use the iOS), the Android numbers represent something we’ve known for a long time: If you own a mobile device, say a tablet or smartphone, and it doesn’t have Apple’s logo on it, there’s an almost a 100-percent possibility that the device is powered by an Android OS.

According to Google, the rate of Android’s adoption is increasing steadily, with some 20 million users added during just the last month or so.

Patent Wars
Android powers every Motorola smartphone on the planet. So the recent announcement that Google would purchase Motorola makes sense, right? The truth is there’s a little more to the deal than meets the eye. Not only do Google need to have a powerful OS, but they need to own technology patents, too. By acquiring Motorola, Google not only will establish a manufacturing base for its hardware, but will also scoop up somewhere between 17,000 and 25,000 patents now owned by Motorola. Patents legally shape the electronics markets (i.e., who can sell what products), so these patents represent powerful sums of money. Plus, those patents, once owned by Google, could make Android even more powerful.

Want to get started developing for the Android OS? Becoming an Android developer could start you on an exciting career in game or app development.

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posted by Phill Powell in App Development,News Blog and have No Comments

App of the Month: Galaga 30th Collection (Review)

Game: Galaga 30th Collection
Developer: Namco
Rating: 3 out 5 stars
Price: $7.99 for the collection, $2.99 per game

1981. Prince Charles marries Lady Diana…the first Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes flight…and Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are all the rage in toy stores. On July 23 of that same year, Namco shakes up the game world by introducing Galaga in arcades. The game goes on to become one of most beloved shooters of all time.

To mark the game’s 30-year anniversary, Namco has released Galaga 30th Collection for iOS. The game collection brings together Galaxian, Galaga, Gaplus (aka Galaga 3) and of course, the first updated version of the classic shooter, Galaga ’88.

Playable on both the iPhone and iPad the Galaga 30th Collection features reworked graphics that lean more toward a modern remixed feel than their retro cousins – the games also feature (oddly) an optional scan-line filter and score-tracking HUD.


Four servings of Galaga await you in the 30th anniversary collection.

As far as gameplay goes, not much has changed in 30 years. Players still blast away at insect-like aliens that attack from the top of the screen, while trying to make it to the challenging bonus stages and collect extra ships. The game still delivers solid shooter thrills with two modes of controls that are similar to the arcade version. The “virtual joystick” mode moves your ship left and right across the screen at a speed similar to the arcade originals, while a “slider” mode moves your ship as fast as you can swipe your finger back and forth across the screen.

The History of a Classic
Galaga (pronounced as “gyaraga” in Japanese) was released in Japan by Namco and released to arcades in the U.S. by Midway. The game was part of the shooter craze that tried to capitalize on the success of Space Invaders, which was released in 1978.

Galaga was actually a sequel. It was based on Galaxian which was released in 1979. Galaxian took the invader concept and expanded on it, with insect-like aliens breaking off from the main formation and attacking the player independently. Galaga also spawned sequels of its own, like Gaplus (1984) and Galaga ’88 (released at the end of 1987).


The original flyer that was sent to arcade owners to convince them to buy the game. Note the cocktail table in the lower left corner; recently Galaga cocktail tables have sold on eBay for $4,000. 

Since its release in 1981, the game has been remade countless times. In 1995, Namco’s PlayStation version of the arcade game Tekken featured a side game consisting entirely of challenging stages. The game developed such a following that it has been paid homage to frequently in pop culture: on the ABC TV series Lost (in which a submarine is named “Galaga”), the show’s writers were such fans of the game that they played it between writing sessions; and in the 1982 film WarGames, the game machine makes an appearance alongside star Matthew Broderick. The greeting-card company Hallmark even released a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a Galaga arcade machine – complete with sound clips from the game.

The original arcade game was available in two versions, a standing upright cabinet and a sit-down cocktail table. Original Galaga cocktail tables are highly collectible now and command prices of up to $4,000.

Making Your Own Video Game
Today, a simple shooter like Galaga can be developed easily. Learning to make video games isn’t as hard as you think, provided you receive the right training. Plus, in the casual games age we live in, simple addictive games like Galaga have regained popularity. Who knows? Thirty years from now, we could be celebrating your videogame creation.

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posted by Vince Matthews in App Development,iPhone News & Tips,News Blog and have No Comments