The Explore Shakespeare iPad apps are interactive versions of Shakespeare plays, made on behalf of venerable British publisher Cambridge University Press. In addition to the full text of either Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet, you get an entire audio performance, plus photos of productions, glossaries and textual notes, plot synopses, academic articles, study activities and more. A perfect gift for students, or anyone with more than a passing interest in the bard.Long Version Features:
- Full dramatic audio performance of each play
- Embedded glossaries, academic notes and articles, plot synopses, and study activities
- More than 100 photos from a variety of performances of each play
- Scene and character-based word clouds
- Visual theme timelines and character circles
- Fully searchable text with highlighting and filtering
- MSRP: $ 13.99 or £9.99 per app (on offer until the end of November for $ 8.99 or £5.99 respectively)
- Available: Now
- Retailers: iTunes App Store
- Macbeth, or Romeo and Juliet
… interactive versions of two of Shakespeare’s plays: Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. As well as the text of each play, the apps include a full audio track so you can listen to the play being performed to bring scenes to life in your head. The audio performance is not a read-through, but a full dramatic production complete with atmospheric background noises and some recognisable names taking on parts (including Kate Beckinsale, Michael Sheen and Fiona Shaw). The audio performance can be switched on and off as desired. When it’s on, the text scrolls along in sync to allow you to read and listen (handy for actors learning lines).
The apps also include embedded glossary and textual notes so you can tap to bring up word definitions on sections of text or additional context about particular textual quirks and curiosities. The look of the app can also be customised — from a relatively plain view with limited additions, building up to one that includes layers of extra context, such as photos, plot synopses, added marginalia and study activities. Elsewhere you can read essays on themes, and do a spot of data visualisation via word clouds, theme timelines and a character circles feature that displays the relations between characters in case you’re having trouble keeping up with all the plot twists. Another character-focused features lets you look at only the scenes in the play in which that person features. And for Shakespearean word nerds, there’s a full text search feature with highlighting and filtering.Buy the Explore Shakespeare iPad apps for…
… students studying the plays, actors needing to learn lines — or anyone who’s especially fond of Shakespeare (and owns an iPad).Because…
… all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Or rather as a thoughtful gift for someone who really digs the bard. The apps would also be especially useful for schoolkids with Shakespeare texts to study who are maybe finding it difficult to get too excited about reading the plays. The audio feature means they can plug in their headphones and look moody while technically still studying.
There are other interactive Shakespeare iPad apps you could also consider — such as The Shakesperience series made by Sourcebooks, which includes Hamlet, Othello and Romeo and Juliet. However, those apps don’t include entire audio performances of each play, rather offering snippets of audio (and video) from various historical performances. If you want to be able to listen to the full sound and fury of Macbeth, or hear every wistful sigh of the star-crossed lovers, then Explore Shakespeare is the way to go.
NB: Fans of Shakespeare’s sonnets might also like to receive The Sonnets by William Shakespeare: an app that includes all 154 sonnets performed to camera by a phalanx of famous actors, including Sir Patrick Stewart, David Tennant, Stephen Fry and Dominic West.Related Posts:
Apple’s looking into some very intriguing things in a couple of new patent applications spotted by AppleInsider today, including sonar-style echolocation for passive proximity detection, and a text-to-speech engine that takes contextual cues about what it’s reading and adds personality to the computer-generated voices it employs. Both of these could result in big changes in the daily use of mobile devices.Speaking In A Voice You Know
The first patent, called “Voice assignment for text-t0-speech output,” can alter text-to-speech (TTS) profiles based on metadata gleaned from content found on a user’s phone or device. So, for instance, if it’s reading back an email from a contact it can identify as male, 25 and living in the U.K., then the voice it produces to read said email will represent those attributes in accent and tone.
The patent describes using actual recorded audio from an off-site database where possible to achieve as natural a reading as possible, and there’s even a provision whereby, with permission from those involved, an iPhone could record speech from contacts on phone calls and use that technique to produce a reasonable facsimile of their voice for TTS use. That way, if you were to have Siri read you an incoming iMessage, you’d hear it in the voice of the sender.
It’s an interesting play, and one that could encourage greater adoption of TTS services. Stilted, inhuman intonation and pronunciation is frequently cited as one of the major failings of computer-generated speech, and hardly helps promote a sense of identification between a user and their device. That kind of bond is important in driving further use of said services, which is in turn useful to Apple because it clearly seems to want to make Siri a go-to resource for iPhone and iPad users in all areas of discovery and potentially even search.Guided By Voices
The other patent application found today details a sound-based echolocation system that lets a device determine its distance from other objects. So a mic could be used to take in ambient sound and determine its relative position, also noting when an object gets closer or farther away. This could be used in place of an ambient light sensor to determine an iPhone’s proximity to a user’s face, for instance, and the iPhone could even send out its own audio signal or ping, when ambient sound isn’t detectable, to determine where it is relative to another surface. As we’ve seen with inventions like the jaja pressure-sensitive stylus, this noise need not be audible to the human ear to be picked up by Apple’s mobile hardware.
There’s a clear benefit for Apple from this tech: it potentially allows the elimination of components like the ambient light sensor it removed from the fifth-generation iPod touch. Apple SVP Phil Schiller reportedly responded to a customer email saying the part was left out of the iPod touch because its chassis is “just too thin.” Further reductions in the iPhone’s thickness could necessitate a similar move, in which case the three microphones currently found in Apple’s smartphone could prove a suitable replacement, should the tech described in this new patent application actually function effectively.Related Posts:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a knack for using his considerable net worth in interesting ways — 10,000 Year Clock anyone? — but for space buffs like me, one venture in particular takes the cake. In a new post on the Bezos Expeditions website, he announced that he and his team of savvy undersea explorers have located the Rocketdyne F-1 engines that helped propel the crew of Apollo 11 on their historic voyage to the moon in 1969.
“I’m excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface,” Bezos wrote. And now that the rockets have been located, Bezos is preparing to take the next logical step — bringing them back to the surface.
If he thought finding them was tough, I’d love to see how he and his team tackle the challenge of raising those from their watery grave. Each F-1 engine stood 19 feet tall and weighed over 18,000 pounds, and every Saturn V rocket came equipped with five of them. What’s more, some serious deterioration could’ve taken place during their nearly 43 year stint underwater, so who know how they’ll look should they survive the trip to the surface.
One thing puzzles me though — NASA conducted 13 launches with vehicles that used the Saturn V, which means that the sea floor plays home to more than a few F-1 rockets. Bezos seems very sure that the ones that he and his team have discovered are the ones from Apollo 11, though he doesn’t specifically mention how they can be so sure. Still, whatever the case, Bezos knows that the “finders keepers” approach doesn’t apply here — he admits that the engines are still NASA property, though he hopes that they’ll be willing to share at least one of the recovered rockets with Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
While definitely wild, this is far from the first instance of Bezos’s fixation on space — he founded the secretive Blue Origin in 2000, which eventually received NASA funding in exchange for help developing a commercial crew transport system (also referred to as a “space taxi”) for missions to the International Space Station.
A new product has hit the Android Market and we think you might find it quite nifty. Known as PocketCloud Explore, the app allows users to search for and view files across their PCs and Macs, all without ever needing to surrender data to the cloud. Simple file management is also part of the game, as users can remotely create, rename and delete both folders and documents, as well as upload files from their smartphone to the remote destination. The basic version of PocketCloud Explore retails for $ 4.99, which is limited to two associated computers. For users juggling additional boxes and lappies, the developer plans to introduce a premium service that will allow access to a greater number of systems. Even the basic product, however, offers unlimited transfers, which means your files will always be within reach. Curious for more? You’ll find the full PR after the break.
Continue reading PocketCloud Explore arrives for Android, enables file searching and viewing across multiple computers
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Change may be afoot over at Hasselblad, now that the high-end camera maker has been acquired by Ventizz Capital Fund IV — a private equity firm based in Switzerland and Germany. Neither party disclosed any financial details, but Ventizz said it will implement “no major structural or key management changes” at its newly acquired company. It remains to be seen whether or not this acquisition brings about any changes at the strategic level, though Hasselblad CEO Larry Hansen said his company is looking forward to exploring “brand new markets” — including, we hope, the “sub-$ 10,000″ one. Full PR after the break.
Continue reading Hasselblad acquired by Ventizz Capital Fund, will explore ‘brand new markets’
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Nowadays, you can’t really claim to have a mobile OS worthy of the title if your users can’t run Angry Birds on it. Good news from Microsoft, then, as Windows Phone 7 can finally be admitted at the grown-up table now that it has released its port of Rovio’s epic bird-launching experience. $ 2.99 is the Marketplace price for the full version, though there’s also the option to try out the first few levels for free. Because, you know, there might still be people out there who haven’t yet been exposed to the charms of this perniciously addictive little game.
Continue reading Angry Birds lands on Windows Phone 7, ready to explore the third ecosystem
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“There is no lead robot, yet each unit is capable of recruiting other units to make sure the entire area is explored. When the first robot comes to an intersection, it says to a second robot, ‘I’m going to go to the left if you go to the right.’”
This egalitarian robot army is the spawn of a research initiative known as the Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance Program, sponsored by the US Army Research Laboratory. The ultimate goal is to shrink the bots down even further and to expand their capabilities. Engineers have already begun integrating infrared sensors into their design and are even developing small radar modules capable of seeing through walls. Roll past the break for a video of the vehicles in action, along with full PR.
Continue reading Rescue robots map and explore dangerous buildings, prove there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ (video)
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Sir Richard Branson may have already branded his Necker Nymph aero submarine with the “Virgin Oceanic” moniker, but he’s now finally taken things to the next logical (and ambitious) step. He’s just announced a new, full-fledged venture of the same name, which promises to do to nothing short of dive to the deepest part of each of the Earth’s five oceans — all within the next two years, no less. That will be done with the one-manned sub pictured above, which was designed by Graham Hawkes and will be piloted by Chris Welsh on its first dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench later this year — those two are Branson’s partners in the venture, and Branson himself is set to pilot the sub on its second mission to the Puerto Rico Trench. Not surprisingly, one of the team’s goals is to set a few world records, but they’re also planning to conduct some scientific research along the way, and are already musing about future vehicles that could collect samples and allow for more extensive research. Head on past the break for a teaser video, although we’re told it should not be assumed to reflect an actual mission.
Continue reading Richard Branson launches Virgin Oceanic to explore the ocean’s depths
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Students explore science with summer program WAVERLY – For one week this summer, elementary students got a unique firsthand lesson with science.Related Posts:
Urbanspoon free iPad app helps explore local restaurants Urbanspoon’s new, free app for Apple’s iPad uses the extra real estate of the big, 9.7-inch iPad screen to offer maps showcasing restaurants.Related Posts: