AMITIAE - Wednesday 21 March 2012

Some More Updates to iOS Apps: Comixology, Opera, Pinball HD, Huffington Post for the iPad, Central Department Store and PubSearch

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By Graham K. Rogers

App Updates

There has been a steady output of app updates recently. Many of these have included support for the Retina display as well as other fixes and changes.


Comix Use of the iPad as a reader is one of the valuable uses of this and other like devices, but the strength comes from content. While I prefer to read technical books and novels these days, as a teen in the UK I was an avid reader of comics from the US. Comixology is able to download content from two of the major publishers: Marvel and DC. The app also handles The Walking Dead which has something of a cult following on TV.

The update to version 3.1 advises us that along with a number of unspecified bug fixes and stability improvements, users may now use CMX-HD Books for the new ipad and its Retina display: a new High Definition Comics format. Along with this the app now adds Retina display assets for the new device.

A sharing feature has also been added and users may use this with Twitter, Facebook and via email. The developers also write that users may easily read downloaded comics from anywhere in the store.

Opera Mini Web browser

While most users of iOS devices will stick to the Apple Safari browser, Opera Mini Web browser has a good reputation, particularly with regard to its speed. For a number of years there has been a version of Opera available for the Mac too. As well as improved stability, the update to version 7.0.1 has a couple of minor fixes reported: fixes to issues with password manager and to a crash that occurred when Opera Link was enabled.


Pinball HD

As soon as this app came out I installed it on my iPad. Like the comics, it was a reminder of part of my ill-spent youth. The update of Pinball HD to version 2.7 is a hefty 195MB and there is a simple one-line comment from the developer: Game optimized for the new iPad.

Huffington Post for iPad

The venture by Ariana Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart and Jonah Peretti, has changed a lot of how news is available on the Internet, for good and for bad. Huff Post is now part of the AOL group with Ariana herself as head of the division. The iPad (and the iPhone) has apps for access to the news and the company makes full use of this and other media like RSS feeds and Twitter.

A developer description of the update to version 3.5 of the iPad app -- Huffington Post for iPad -- informs users that the update has added several new verticals in this release including Good News, Science, Money, Teen, Styleist (sic), and Styleist Home. They have also added several UI improvements, fixed numerous bugs and improved the overall stability and performance of the app.

Central Department Store

This app for users in Thailand does have a considerable amount of English text, even though the description on the iTunes store is entirely in Thai. It works on the iPhone and the iPad as well as the iPod touch. From experience, using the Contact section will bring an email reply within a fairly short time so the company is integrating the app and the internet into its other services. The update to Central Department Store, which brings the app to version 1.7, has fixed the UI and bugs. The changes are not detailed.


A useful app for academics who need to search for journal articles online is PubSearch. It is limited in the way that it focuses on the disciplines of Science and Medicine (I work in an Engineering faculty), but for those groups, this is a useful way that a search can be done quickly (on a bus for example) and efficiently. The update to version 1.8 reports just a minor bug fix.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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