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Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
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Genre: Rock
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  • Now Here Is Nowhere

    • 10 out of 10
    • Secret Machines
    • The Secret Machines' inaugural album, Now Here is Nowhere is both old and new in its sonic assault. The trio's surprisingly big sound evokes Pink Floyd (without ever sounding like any Pink

  • The Dresden Dolls

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Dresden Dolls
    • The energetic duet of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione that make up the Dresden Dolls have created a wonderfully haunting sound in their self-titled album. They have been able to construct an imme

  • Modern Lovers

    • 10 out of 10
    • Modern Lovers
    • This timeless masterpiece is little known, but it has inspired almost as many bands as The Modern Lovers' own inspiration -- and only slightly better known -- The Velvet Underground & Nico.

  • Spanks for the Memories

    • 8 out of 10
    • Asylum Street Spankers
    • The Asylum Street Spankers are...well...The Spankers. Hailing from Austin, where I saw them live dozens of times, the band played entirely acousti

  • Physical Graffiti

    • 10 out of 10
    • Led Zeppelin
    • This album bears every flavor of genius from the five records that came before. It is, I believe, the band's finest. With Physical Graffiti, Zep came raging back to their musical home territory -- har

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Quick Look Review

Wings Earth for iPhone: A Pleasant Flying Experience

There are flight simulators designed to develop proficiency, but this isn't one of them. It's basically a simul-game for iPhone and iPod touch that allows one to fly over various terrains with accompanying music. It's an ethereal experience, good for calming the nerves or an occasional diversion.

The product description says it all.

"Wings brings the fun, excitement, and relaxation of flying to everyone.... Tailor your flying to have fun or just relax and enjoy the scenery."

Wings Earth is all about the flying experience, sans any other activity or attentions.

Wings Earth 1

HUD on

To reinforce that relaxation theme, there are several ethereal sound tracks that augment the experience of floating over the terrain. There's a head's up display that can be toggled on and off, and a throttle. One can also set the default for whether the view is slightly down, straight out or up. These settings are in the iPhone Settings at the bottom, not in the app. Once those are set, the main page provides four virtual worlds to select from.

I noted that the sound comes only out of the headphone/earbud jack and not through the external speaker.

What I liked was the music, the sense of floating, and the fabulous, fabulous clouds. What I didn't like was the rapid emergence of terrain, brought on by the limitations of the platform, even when selecting long range setting. There is also an annoying ad for other Bottle Rocket apps the first few times the app launches.


Wings Earth 2

HUD off

Flying is a tense proposition for any kind of aircraft, from balloons through F-22s. Even sailplane pilots have to be well trained and alert to keep from landing out. This app takes away all those cares, and just focuses on the sensation of flying. So, while it's technically a flight simulator, serious pilots, unless the subscribe to the theme of the app, won't find it of much use. The iTunes product page even points that out: if you're looking for flight training, go with X-Plane.

On the other hand, if you're in your cubicle at work, eating a hasty lunch and under stress, this app could help calm your nerves. Plug in some earbuds and float along in the sky.

The app is available in English, Chinese, Dutch, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

Wings Earth, Version 2.5 was released on June 23, and it's priced at US$1.99. The developer suggests rebooting the iPhone after install. It requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later and is 3.0 compatible.

Given what is does, it's fun, and I liked playing with it for awhile. But my sense is that, for most adults, whether they're pilots or not,  interest will soon wane. 

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