Video and screengrabs in this post: a first hands-on experience of the free Marvel Comics app for iPad, produced with Comixology (who produced a popular iPhone app). Word is that more than 500 titles will be available through the application at time of launch on Saturday. The pre-launch copy of the application I'm testing shows many titles offered at $1.99, and a number of selections also available for free. All the Marvel classics are here: Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Spider Man, IronMan, Captain America, and a number of newer titles. User interface details of note: the ability to finger-flip through, page by page; scrollable bar of thumbs for all pages at the bottom of the page view, so you can skip ahead easily; double-click to zoom into an individual frame and finger-flip forward to advance frame by frame instead of page by page.
First impression: I like it. Scrolling is intuitive, brisk, and elegant. I'm amazed at how smooth. The store interface makes sense to anyone familiar with iTunes and App store. Flipping and reading, one luminous full-color page at a time, I do not miss paper. When zooming deeper into single frames, to scroll frame-by-frame, transitions (with "animated" option selected) feel almost cinematic— but sometimes zoomed-in art is not as crisp and high-res as I'd like (it varies by title). Unless I'm missing something, no way to view two pages at a time, as you might with a paper comic. I didn't miss that detail, but others might. And some comics were designed and drawn by the artist with that view option in mind. I'll be interested to see how the app and the content available for it evolve.
For years, Keith Ammann has maintained his blog, The Monsters Know What They're Doing, in which he carefully laid out the logical tactics that the monsters of Dungeons and Dragons would use in combat, based on their alignment, stats, and habitats, creating sophisticated advice for Dungeon Masters hoping to move their combat encounters from rote stab-stab-kill affairs into distinctive, memorable strategy-and-tactics affairs that created not just variety and challenges for players, but also depth and verisimilitude. Now, Ammann's work has been collected in the first of two planned volumes: The Monsters Know What They're Doing: Combat Tactics for Dungeon Masters is one of the most interesting, thoughtful, smart RPG sourcebooks I've ever read.
In A Public Service, activist/trainer Tim Schwartz presents the clearest-ever guide to securely blowing the whistle, explaining how to exfiltrate sensitive information from a corrupt employer -- ranging from governments to private firms -- and get it into the hands of a journalist or public interest group in a way that maximizes your chances of making a difference (and minimizes your chances of getting caught).
Photoshop is one of the most widely used photo editing tools out there, to the point that it’s the default program designers think of whenever they need work done. Small wonder, too: The flagship software in Adobe’s creative suite is very powerful — if you know how to use it. There is a lot to […]
Bamboo fiber is a relatively new thing in luxury fabrics, but it’s no surprise it’s this snuggly. After all, pandas eat bamboo, and they constantly look comfortable. But seriously: To understand the benefits of real bamboo sheets, you have to spend a night on them. This 4-Piece Luxury 100% Rayon Bamboo Sheet Set is a […]
No chef’s arsenal is complete without a good set of knives. In fact, it’s the first big sign that you’re ready to start cooking meals as opposed to just warming them up. Here are 20 knife sets that any chef would be proud to own, from visually stunning old-world metallurgy to sleek modern cutlery. Mini […]