App Reviews: Legendary Cars, Curiosity: What’s Inside The Box?, Vjay

This week I’m going to share with John Moore my iPad collection of classic cars. He’ll beg, he’ll plead,  but I won’t let him take the Aston Martin out for a spin. We’ll also explore an unusual contest and video game from Peter Molyneaux and review an app that can let you mix movies as well as music for parties.

Road Inc. – Legendary Cars



Road Inc. has taken fifty classic cars that you’re sure to covet and have immaculately scanned them onto the iPad so you can caress them, look them over intimately, and start them up just to hear their engines rev. From early cars such as the Model T Ford and Rolls Royce Phantom II to iconic rides like James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 or Bugatti’s “Vlad the Impaler” Veyron 16.4, it’s a selection of automobiles that are both beautiful and major landmarks in road history.

This isn’t just an art book, it’s a collector’s museum experience meaning each car comes with the materials needed to tell its story, from birth to legacy. There are scans of brochures, yearbooks, and blueprints. There are galleries of production photos, glossy ads, and driver videos. An interactive timeline will let you sort the cars by speed, cost, and release date. And get this, every car has its own theme music. There’s a level of craft and care here that will catch every car lover’s breath.

If the $14.99 price tag gives you pause, there are free sample scans you can explore of every car in the collection at the Road. Inc. website.


Curiosity – What’s Inside The Box?



Legendary game designer and eccentric artist Peter Molyneux says he has a “life-changing” prize to give away. It’s a secret he has spent years thinking about, an item that he feels will truly bring about a change for the person who wins it. To claim this mysterious prize you’ll have to make your way to the centre of a virtual cube. Massive in size, this video game box is made up of billions and billions of bricks. By tapping on your screen you can shatter individual bricks and join millions of players around the world in stripping away its structure to see what’s hiding inside.

The trick is that the bricks can only be removed in layers, like an onion. You can’t simple dig your way to the middle. As you and the rest of the players work together to strip away each layer, making the box a little smaller each time, the promise is that hidden surprises and changes will be revealed that will keep the journey interesting as everyone races to reach the middle. Only one person can claim the prize and that will be whoever reaches the very last brick.

When the game first launched two weeks ago it suffered a number of bugs as it dealt with so many people trying to connect at once. Now it seems to be stable and already players have removed more than 1.2 billion bricks. The cube hasn’t shrunk by much, suggesting that it could still be weeks or months before the game reaches an ending. So far there have been few surprises and simply breaking bricks is an activity that quickly becomes monotonous despite the reward of winning virtual coins to unlock special brick-breaking tools.

Will Curiosity deliver on its promises? I can’t say, but the effort to deliver something original should be applauded.



iPhone 4S+/iPad


It’s extraordinary to think that by connecting your smartphone to a speaker system you can use it to DJ a wedding or a party. It’s not just that today’s phones can hold large music libraries, but with the right software you can transition songs into each other, mix them, and even use the touchscreen controls to scratch tunes with a virtual turntable. With Vjay you can also connect your phone to a large television or projector to play video mixes as a backdrop. When the Royal Ontario Museum holds their Friday Night parties for example, their DJ will project old Harryhausen movies against the dinosaur skeletons on display and it looks really impressive.

The controls match those for music. A pair of turntables are used to cue up two songs and two videos. A crossfade switch lets you transition between them and by swiping the screen you can scratch their playback, back-and-forth, between forward and reverse. There are effects that distort the image and the swipe, fade, and cube scene transitions you’d find in video-editing programs. Beat-matching and other advanced tools will help you synchronize the visuals to your music. You can pre-record a night’s entertainment or as some like to do, jump on stage and do all these tricks live to turn it into a performance.

A nice trick for those who do work live is to work in your phone’s camcorder to mix in live footage of the party. From Apple’s Airplay streaming platform to professional DJ systems, vjay can connect up to almost any gear.

It can be overwhelming to master at first, but the layout of the controls, both in landscape and portrait modes, are well thought-out and Even if you only have the patience to master its most basic features, vjay can be used to great effect.

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