Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays! From Artgig Studio



Know what I forgot?

A card!


Don't worry - we've got your back, with the Artgig Holiday Card Generator.

Now you can make your own custom e-card, featuring the cute and quirky characters from our Alien Buddies App!

And you can do it in your browser or, on your iPad.

Look here - no Flash up our sleeve.


(Standing there, mouth agape, amazed)


So, Happy Holidays from us, to you.

(Drooling a little)


Okay fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Alien Buddies Have Landed – On Cafe Press!

This Just In:

The Alien Buddies have landed on Cafe Press!

That's right, we're having so much fun with our cute and quirky App Store friends, we decided to open a store to share and wear them!

Have a "New and Noteworthy" baby to shop for?

No problem!

Or maybe you just want your BFF on a shirt!

If you're looking for your favorite Alien Buddies on a plethora of products, we've got you covered!

Just look for Artgig on Cafe Press and follow the signs.

And it's 20% off right now with coupon code NOEL20.

As our Alien Buddies are fond of saying...


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shake-a-Phrase App v.1.3 - a Peek Under the Hood & a Party Invite!

Our latest Shake-a-Phrase update, v.1.3, went live in the App Store yesterday.

What you get:
Improved vocabulary and a better Starter theme!

(You can stop here, or read on if you want a peek under the hood and a party invite...)

When we first came up with the idea for Shake-a-Phrase, we thought the content would be relatively cheap - we were wrong.
We started with an open source dictionary but the definitions were lousy and not age appropriate so we ended up rewriting all of them.
With each update and testing, we take a good hard look at the overall quality of the phrases generated, along with user feedback, and make improvements where we can.
If someone is offended by a phrase due to a word in the mix like "drunk" (adj) - we take note and edit the dictionary for the next update.
We've been adding words, tweaking definitions, and deleting words to keep the fun, random silly stuff, but minimize the completely nonsensical phrases so you get a higher percentage of quality phrases.

Since Shake was released, we've been going theme-by-theme to tighten up, and make each theme as strong as it can be.
We updated Monsters for Halloween, and Fairytales for Thanksgiving.
The Sports theme was a big effort because many of the words in our dictionary take on a different meaning in the context of sports - so we gave Sports a separate dictionary.

For this update, we overhauled the Starter theme.
It's been long overdue - the Starter theme has been a bit like the wild west with lots of object nouns in the mix.
So we reclassified some words to make them location nouns ("on the bike", instead of "with the bike"), deleted some words, and we added a whole bunch of new people nouns for more human interaction.

It's not the kind of thing where you can easily point to any one thing and say "that changed" - but rather an overall sense that things are just better.
That's quality.

And tomorrow, you can download Shake-a-Phrase for just .99 (50% off) for the Appy Holidays Party.
We'll be there with Benny and our Alien Buddies hanging out under the mistletoe, giving away promo codes and getting into the punch.

Stop by for great app deals and giveaways from lots of fantastic developers:


Monday, December 5, 2011

Alien Buddies Educational App Review

Last week was a bit of a blur with the app launch and our Friday Moms With Apps promotion and I wanted to hold off on posting this to give the review some breathing room.

Diane was one of our Alien Buddies Beta testers and she was nice enough to also write a review of the app for the blog.

Alien Buddies - reviewed by Diane Darrow

The Aliens are coming, and they are cuter than ever! Alien Buddies is an adorable new app that helps young children identify colors, shapes, letters and numbers. The goal of the game is to load an alien into the correct spaceship so that they can happily fly away. In order for this to happen, children must first correctly match the symbol on the alien to that on the spaceship. Each time they run a successful mission, they earn a virtual sticker.

What is unique about this matching game is the wonderful way it offers various levels of challenge At the introductory level; the youngest child merely looks for a visual match. While busy making these matches, they hear the names of shapes, colors, letters and numbers called out. This subtle background experience is preparing the player for the next level, where the spaceship will only speak the name of the item the child must visually locate.

Alien Buddies moves beyond just basic letter and number recognition. A child can choose to practice matching either upper or lower case letters separately or together. Once they can identify numbers to 10, the player can move onto the learning numbers to 20 or even 50. Tiered challenges such as this within an app, is a valuable asset for any pre-school or kindergarten teacher looking for ways to differentiate learning in their classroom.

"Aliens Buddies is a charming app that offers a clever and engaging way for a young child to learn basic skills necessary for reading and math. "

If you ask a child why they are enjoy playing with Alien Buddies they will most likely comment on how much fun it is to interact with the characters.  The opportunity to earn creatures and objects for a sticker book is very motivating.  Children love playing with the reward stickers and if you listen closely, you may even get to hear the stories that their pictures are telling.  All of my small friends have thoroughly enjoyed watching the humorous way the aliens shuffle along the loading platform, and often giggle at their silly exclamations. Aliens Buddies is a charming app that offers a clever and engaging way for a young child to learn basic skills necessary for reading and math.

Diane Darrow is an artist, Reading Recovery teacher, and library media specialist at Bel Aire Elementary in Tiburon, CA. You can follow her on Twitter at @dianedarrow.

Thanks Diane!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Aliens Have Landed

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday – that is, if you live here in the United States.

If you live in other parts of the world, like Australia, you may have noticed a change today in the App Store.

That's right, I'm talking 'bout aliens.

You might say we're a little bit obsessed with the cute and quirky little critters – we've been tracking them for months now.
Google Analytics reports they've already landed in Australia and our sources tell us they're making their way to the US App Store tonight.

So keep your eyes peeled.

The Alien Buddies will be here when you wake up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alien Buddies - The Movie

SPOILER ALERT - This app is fun and educational and your kids will love it!

As Steve is busy trying to squeeze all the Alien Buddies goodness into a download-anywhere under 20MB package so we can submit to Apple later today, I thought I'd share the brand new video trailer with you.

We looked at lots of options for video capture using the iOS Simulator but we were getting weird gradient banding in the background art, so Lis went off on her own for a few days and came back with this.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Artgig Wins Gold For Website

Very pleased to be part of the team that won a W3 Gold Award for!

There's more to come from the dynamic duo of ESI Design and Artgig...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lots Shakin' at Artgig Apps!

I was going to say it's a bit of a stew today at Artgig Apps but a stew isn't nearly fast or exciting enough - it's more of a salad, one that is tossed together quickly but expertly, and comes together with just the right balance of complimentary flavors.

And avocados.

I love avocados.

As lunch quickly approaches, we're buzzing, making final launch preparations for our new Pre-K and Kindergarten educational app, Alien Buddies.

The Final build goes out to testers tonight and we're planning to submit to Apple next week so  (fingers crossed) we can be in the App Store by the end of the month!

Speaking of testers, we've got some really good kids, parents, and teachers working this app over and giving us great feedback and ideas, and I cannot thank them enough.

This app has been a lot of fun to build because it hits a sweet spot for lots of little kids I know and the testing gives us great confidence that we've got something special to share with you and your children.

And let's not forget about our other apps - Shake-a-Phrase and Being Benny were both updated last week!

We love tinkering with Shake-a-Phrase - every time we crack the hood we can't help refining and improving the vocabulary for the best possible user experience.

We also added some slick new sharing features, so you can share your favorite phrases by SMS or take advantage of the iOS 5 Twitter integration to tweet all about it.

And we're not done tinkering!

The chefs at Artgig Apps added an extra dash of holiday sprinkles to the Fairytale theme for some festive fun with phrases, and we'll be pushing yet another Shake update this week (v. 1.3) - so stay tuned!

We really want to hear from you, so please drop by our Facebook page and/or leave an app review for us in iTunes - all of our apps have a direct review link to tell us what you think.

Some of the changes we just made to Shake-a-Phrase are a direct result of user feedback!

We've also been hearing from a lot of teachers about using Shake-a-Phrase in the classroom for creative writing exercises, so we're serving up some stories to inspire your own school lessons!

Check out "Shaking Up The Classroom With Shake-a-Phrase," on the Shake website, to read about a 3rd Grade class using the Monster theme to shake up some spooky Halloween tales.


I'm starving!

Friday, November 4, 2011

How We Roll

What was all that white stuff that blanketed our town and crippled the Artgig command center for nearly the entire week?

It's too soon to say the "s" word out loud, but this week was a trip down Artgig memory lane.

Once upon a time, before Artgig got all fancy with a brick and mortar studio, we all worked from home.

As legend has it, way back in the days before Skype, the Artgig gang would meet around town, alternating between the diner and Jean Jacques, when we all needed to be in the same place to discuss really important things – like becoming a brick and mortar business.

When we arrived for work Monday morning and found a tree had knocked down the building power line, we assumed it would be a minor disruption and it really wasn't so bad taking Halloween off to spend with the kids.

Four days later, it had turned into a beard growing contest between me and Jim (I won), and I was ready to fire my one and a half year old co-worker for continuously ignoring my orders to stop eating my Wacom stylus.

Despite the challenges of work and home lives colliding, amazingly, I am happy to report we reached a new pinnacle of production before power was finally restored yesterday.

It seems with less pressure to do things like shave and bathe, our app output actually increased!

In a few short days we cranked out a nearly-final Alien Buddies app build, a sweet Shake-a-Phrase update with new words and sharing features, and a Being Benny update.

All while juggling client projects and grocery shopping duties!

That's how we roll here at Artgig.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Come In Peace

We're really excited to finally introduce you to some new friends (big image here).

They're not from around here and they need a hand with some things like matching and connecting dots, but we think you and the kids will enjoy helping the quirky little buggers out.

Stay tuned as we get closer to a November launch.

And have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tease or Treat? A Halloween Invitation From Artgig Apps...

Hmmmm, that's a tough one, do I want to be teased?

Or would I prefer a nice treat?

What if I told you you didn't have to choose.

Because we're gonna tease you anyway, whetting your appetite for our soon-to-be-released (fingers crossed) Educational Kids App.

Then, we're gonna give you a treat by revealing who is hiding behind those masks (big image here).

Check out the the Moms With Apps Halloween Facebook Party this Friday, October 28th, at 1PM EST to find out more!

We'll be there in costume, handing out Shake-a-Phrase promo codes and free advice that could really come in handy this Halloween.

You know, like if your friend or loved one gets bitten by a zombie, sorry, you gotta ditch 'em - just leave.



And don't look back.

Okay, you can look now.

If you're really busy shopping for candy corn Friday, you can also keep an eye on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to see what's cooking (and Like us while you're there!)

See you Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Artgig Apps Shaking Up Halloween

Really happy to report we went Gold today on iOS build 14.

" iOS build 14" you ask, leaning in a bit closer.

I meet your gaze head-on. "If I tell you, I'll have to kill you."

I do not blink.

You slowly retreat.

End of conversation.

Well, maybe I can tell you a little something, but we are sworn to secrecy on this so forgive me for being so cloak and dagger.

iOS build 14 is a Universal iPad/iPhone Educational app we've been working on for a client.

The app serves up over 1,600 lessons, featuring over 2,000 videos in English & Spanish - all available via IAP's (that's In-App Purchases with your decoder ring).

And yes, it's good to be Gold!

But we also have a soft spot for the orange and black.

Did I ever tell you how much we like Halloween?

To celebrate, we're shaking up some Monsters in our own Shake-a-Phrase app, all month over on the Artgig Apps Facebook page so check it out and show some love by liking us!

And the gang has conjured up some creepy Shake-a-Phrase logos to decorate so we'll be sticking them wherever we can find a clean, dry surface.

And we'll be making a special announcement later this month about a new app we've got brewing...

Lots to do as the witching hour draws near.

Stay tuned and if you ever kill a monster don't turn your back unless you're sure it's really dead.

Stay Gold.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Artgig Apps Joins A4CWSN International App Party This Weekend!

We're busy this morning putting the finishing touches on our Shake-a-Phrase App, polishing it up to a fine shine, in anticipation of a big App Party this weekend stretching across the globe with hosts in the US,  Canada and on the other side of the world, in Australia!

If there's one guy who knows how to throw an App Party it's Gary at Apps For Children With Special Needs and we're honored to participate.

The goal is simple - let's raise enough money to give 50 kids in 50 states an iPad.

Starting tomorrow and ending Sunday, we're discounting Shake and donating half of our sales to the cause.

Check out the A4CWSN Facebook page for lots of great discounted apps and giveaways all weekend long.

The best part?

You don't even need to pick out an outfit.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Artgig Launches New Consumer Eyes Website!

We're proud to announce the official launch of the new Consumer Eyes website.

It's quite good looking, don't you think?

We first met with the consumer insight specialists at CE many months ago and found an innovative company who had clearly outgrown their small Flash website and needed help streamlining a disparate set of web properties.

So, we got to work in close collaboration with the CE team to redesign and reimagine what the Consumer Eyes user experience would be.

Fortunately, the CE gang is sharp and motivated and there was no shortage of content.

This is what we came up with:
  1. Gotta look good now, and a year from now - Jim's barcode design is a timeless classic. Throw in some of Steve's special JavaScript sauce and this HTML website jumps to life.
  2. CMS platform needs to be expandable, modular and user friendly - No programmers, no problem. We built the site using Drupal and a quick tutorial got CE up and running.
  3. Manage an expert video library - YouTube!
  4. Integrate blog and social media - We picked up their WordPress blog content and moved it to the new site for easy management and a seamless user experience. Ever wonder what deep-fried butter on a stick from the Iowa State Fair tastes like? You got it – right on the site.
  5. Take the show on the road - We built the site with a variety of screen sizes in mind to ensure no users are left behind, including those with iPads. We also created a mobile theme for mobile devices.
  6. Did I mention eye candy? - Make that a double of Steve's special sauce. There's plenty of interactive goodness sprinkled throughout to dynamically illustrate innovation at work.
Check it out and don't forget to snap the QR contact code to add Consumer eyes to your contacts!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dolphin Tale Movie Strikes Box Office Gold - We Knew Winter When...

So, looks like our favorite bionic dolphin, Winter, is giving Brad Pitt a run for his money according to the weekend box office report.

Dolphin Tale, the feel good hit of the Fall, is just behind Moneyball in a photo finish, pulling in over $20 million and earning a top three spot.

Not bad for a little dolphin from Clearwater, Florida.

We were introduced to Winter and his remarkable story a couple of years ago when we made the Winter's Tail website for Turtle Pond Publications in support of the book.

Not surprisingly, the site is seeing a nice traffic spike with the movie's success.

Always nice to see a highly evolved marine mammal with a bionic tail make good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Shake-a-Phrase v.1.1 Sports Update and Featured iTunes App!

Hey, Shake-a-Phrase is featured again in iTunes as a Back to School "Write Away" App!

And that's not all...

Not one to sit idly on the sidelines, we decided to shake up our popular Shake-a-Phrase app with an all new Sports theme, adding over 350 new vocabulary words and a custom dictionary to the mix.

And there's more...

Our team of content editors analyzed the feedback we've received over the last few months and scrutinized each and every vocabulary word and definition - that's over 2,000 total words, to shape and refine the best possible user experience for all five themes.

In short, it's a much better Shake.

The update is free if you already have Shake-a-Phrase and if you don't, I'll let you in on a little secret - you can get the entire app tomorrow, 8/26, for FREE as part of a special Moms With Apps one day promo.

How can we afford to do all of this free stuff you ask?

Well, it's all part of the master Artgig Apps brand building plan.

We'll make the great apps but we need you to spread the word.

All we ask is that you tell us what you think of the app - leave us an App Store review, like us on Facebook, give us a shout on Twitter - and tell your friends!

We've got another kids educational app planned for the Fall so stay tuned...

And keep it shakin'...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shake-a-Phrase App Featured in iTunes App Store!

See that big "Apps For Learning To Write" banner splashed on the App Store front page?
If you click it, you'll see Shake-a-Phrase featured in the "Storytelling" apps!
I have another Apple story that isn't so happy and feel-goody but I'm going to let that one settle a bit before I mouth off.
Good vibes, good vibes...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Busy summer – lots on the way.
Will get back to the blog with updates soon.
Until then, cast your line and just chill...

Monday, May 23, 2011 Not Just Sexy – Crazy Sexy

Very pleased to find out last night that won a Gold MUSE Award in the Education/Outreach category from the American Association of Museums. Not only that, one of the judges called the website "crazy sexy."

If you got it, flaunt it, I always say.

Read all about it here.

Now we need to go get a mantle...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shake-a-Phrase – A Good Day in the App Store!

This is what a good day in the App Store looks like.

We ran a special App Friday price promo with our friends at Moms With Apps and dropped some press with heavy @artgigapps Twitter support this AM and watched Shake shoot up the Education charts!

We used appFigures analytics for live rankings updates and watching the top charts on our devices...and Shake...just...kept...going.

Really awesome.

Shake-a-Phrase App Store rankings as of 4pm today:

  • #9 - iPad paid Education apps
  • #22 - iPhone paid Education 
  • Top 200 - Overall paid iPad apps!
Thinking we may just let the good times shake right through the weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Shake-a-Phrase: Live in the App Store!

Shake went live in the App Store last night and the early reviews started flowing in this morning:
"The New Must Have Fun English Language and Vocabulary App"  
–Fun Educational Apps (full review)
And Andrea at Applicable2U shares thoughts on using Shake in the classroom:
"As Shake-a-Phrase is integrated, sentences become more than just words, they become a visualization of a writers ideas." 
–Applicable2U (full review)
Not bad.

Go ahead...

Shake it up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kaplan Workout is Live for Your iPad Viewing Pleasure!

If you're looking to kill some time while you're waiting for our next killer app, Shake-a-Phrase, to clear App Store review, why don't you fire up your iPad with the brand-spanking new Kaplan 20 Minute Workout iPad Edition!

Train your brain for the LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE, DAT, OAT and PCAT exams and show off your cerebrum on the leaderboard!

Go on, get smart!

Shake-a-Phrase Waiting for App Store Review...

We submitted Shake on Friday.
It's not unusual for review to take a week or so, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier.
Here's a video teaser to pass the time...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Facebook: Apps, Ads, & Adventures in Privacy

Part 2 (of 2)

Jim Bail continues his mission to set up Artgig Facebook business pages and finds it all a little revealing...


Who doesn't want a more social experience? That's what FB is all about isn't it? So does this mean that with the default share settings I don't have to do a thing and that shady Estonian warez site that my 13 year old cousin likes to download pirated games from has access to a good chunk of this info? At least they won't know that I'm a Wiccan who is interested in lemur farming. Thank Goddess for that.

Speaking of lemurs...look at what that wholesome PBS Nature app can access after you blithely click “Allow” to view their app – which of course is what 99% of us have become conditioned to do.


I love this one. In the future, my friends may see ads with my picture in them. Can't wait for my mother-in-law to see my smiling face in that Valtrex ad a year from now. At least my secret's safe for now.

It depends on what the definition of “is” is:

From Facebook's developer blog: “Facebook has never sold and will never sell user information."

I found it a little interesting that a couple of days after I set up our Facebook pages I started seeing ads for fishing gear appear when I viewed our pages. I had in fact looked at some fishing gear during that time, but not on any FB pages.

I guess serving up targeted ads that companies pay for based on your surfing habits along with who knows what other information from your actual profile (and probably your friends' too) doesn't qualify as selling user information since the ad buyers technically don't know who you are.

Facebook isn't alone in doing this little tap dance around your privacy, plenty of other sites do it as well, but to me it's kind of like saying “we won't divulge your home address to anyone” and then telling the interested party that you “ in a raised ranch at an undisclosed location between 444 and 448 Main St. and we'll be happy to erect a blazing neon sign with your exciting marketing message directly across the street from said house (who's owner, by the way, is interested in refinancing, according to our data) for a small fee”.

So what was the end result of my little Facebook adventure? I don't think I really discovered anything earth shattering. It was more about seeing first hand how difficult if not impossible it is to manage who sees your profile information. Of course choosing not to share any information at all defeats the purpose of being on Facebook in the first place, but ours was an unusual case.

What was surprising was how many hoops I had to jump through to ostensibly lock things down. I'm still not confident that I was completely successful, but for our purposes it was good enough.

Having gone through this exercise, I can't help feeling, as others have pointed out, that Facebook's user interface appears intentionally convoluted and granular to the point of being burdensome when it comes to matters of controlling who sees your data. Settings are a chore to change, if not outright buried. I found myself mumbling “those sneaky bastards...” more than once.

I guess in the end it's a Faustian bargain. If you really must know what your high school chemistry lab partner had for dinner on day three of her Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas, then be prepared for the world to know the truth – that you're not being ironic when you say you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

This is Jim Bail, signing off.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Face Off With Facebook on Business Pages and Privacy

We coaxed our very own Jim Bail from the comforts of his warm and cozy cave and challenged him to create some Facebook business pages for us. This is his story...

Part 1 (of 2)

I recently spent some time setting up Facebook pages for Artgig and Artgig Apps. Although our original profile predates (I think) Facebook's policy, I discovered that it's an official no-no to set up your company as you would a personal profile. Facebook has “Pages” for that. Being one of the seven non-Facebook users on the planet, it turned out to be an interesting endeavor for me.

As part of the process, I needed to hide our long neglected personal profile. We still do use it from time to time for app development, so despite the fact that the content has little to do with Artgig proper, we needed to keep it around. We have some pretty interesting and entertaining friends, but unfortunately their updates don't make great fodder for a company presence aimed at sorry, but you won't be seeing the breaking news on our wall when the Auto-Tune remix of Crazy Badass Honey Badger drops.

Setting up pages was a somewhat confusing process in of itself, which I won't detail here. But for those thinking of setting up a company page, I'll save you 10 minutes of searching for where to do it because it's not obvious: set up Facebook Pages

Once our company pages were in place ( and ) I turned my attention to hiding our original profile. That's where things really got interesting.

General Privacy Settings – Fine Grained Fun:

There are about 20 individual privacy settings available and no way to bulk update them aside from reverting back to Facebook's recommended settings. And it gets better. Not only do you have to set them all one by one, but opting not to share a particular item with anyone requires an extra step, as it's a custom setting. So with a few exceptions, setting each item requires going through two sets of drop down menus to turn sharing off completely i.e. 5 clicks per item. The end result is that 70+ clicks are required to turn off all sharing in your basic privacy settings. Of course you're probably still sharing all kinds of info despite all of that...

Stay Tuned for Part 2: Apps, Ads and Adventure...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Water Safety Games for Home Safety Council

This summer, teach preschool kids to stay safe around pools and water with our just-launched water safety game, Get Wet! or Not Yet!:

Play Get Wet! or Not Yet! on the Home Safety Council website

We also made an interactive activity for parents and caregivers to polish their water safety badges:

Water Safety Search on the Home Safety Council website

It's never too soon to teach safety so pack a towel and get started!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Introducing...Artgig Apps

Do you smell it?


Ah yes, it's the double pleasure of new logo and new website smell.

Allow me to introduce you to our new website,

Artgig Apps represents Artgig's commitment to mobile app development and we're really excited by the possibilities for custom development and expanding what we can offer our clients.

The site launches with the recent release of "Being Benny," a children's book app, and "Shake-a-Phrase," a fun language app for kids that is presently in Beta testing.

Coming from a background of educational game development, stretching way back to the good old days of Sunburst Technology, the educational kids apps are obviously a good fit for us.

And most importantly, we like doing it.

And if you're going to bust your ass doing something, it's really best if you like it.

So stay tuned - we've got plenty more up our sleeves and we're feeling inspired to do all kinds of cool things.

Oh, and please take a moment to check out Artgig Apps on Twitter and Facebook – that's where we'll post reviews, news and other insights into the fast paced, high octane world of app development.


And enjoy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 – History Right Now!

You may recall we initially launched the site with a concept of select time-released events unlocking in "real time" on an interactive timeline in the History Now section.

Well, forget that.

We talked to the JFK Library and we all agree, the events are too important and too interesting and well, too cool, to hide from first time visitors and we all know how important it is to be "sticky" when you've got a content rich website.

So we just unlocked everything on the timeline.

Check out the 13 nail-biting days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, presented as an interactive graphic novel.
Or get a jump on the Bay of Pigs, with the anniversary coming up this weekend.

Remember you can dive in to individual cells to immerse yourself in the day and navigate frame-by-frame through the story.

We hope you like it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Artgig and Benny App in the News!

"Local Artists Create Digital Fun for Kids"

And the Benny story continues.
Had a nice sit down with Benny author/illustrator and Artgig pal, Dan Wetzel, and Lisa Buchman from the Bedford-Katonah Patch yesterday to talk apps.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Benny Lives! Available now in the App Store...

Live - from the Apple App Store, it's "Being Benny" for iPad and iPhone.
Yessir, feeling pretty good today about winning the appeal.

Check it out:

Being Benny book app available now in the 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the App Store...

Benny rejected!

Why? Well, apparently Apple found the "Being Benny" app is "primarily a book" and therefore not appropriate for the App Store.

Umm...yeah, that's why it was submitted to the "Books" app category.

It seems Apple recently started directing some book apps to the iBookstore which uses the ePub platform, while continuing to allow others into the App Store.

The author of "Being Benny," Dan Wetzel, originally came to us because the ePub platform wasn't really suited for a graphics intensive interactive children's book application.

So we're scratching our heads a bit.

I don't want to say much else right now while awaiting Apple's verdict on appeal, but we're determined to free Benny and make it right.

Unfortunately, we're not the only developers blindsided by the shifting policy of the mysterious App Store approval process – you can read for yourself:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Set your alarms - - The Peace Corps

Tomorrow is March 1, 1961 on the website and you can get a look at the graphic novel treatment of Kennedy's push for the Peace Corps in History Now when the event opens on the timeline. For an an extra layer of rich interactive goodness, you can also dive into individual frames to get more story and media.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Monkey Sleeps With the Fishes

By Artgig:

Check out the full size masterpiece and make your own at the Draw and Fold Over website

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Being Benny" Children's Book App Coming Soon...

So, we’ve been working on some apps.

The first to release this year is “Being Benny,” a children’s book app based on the story from our good friend Dan Wetzel at Purple Sneakers Studio. We know Dan from way back in the Sunburst Technology days when we were making educational games for Houghton Mifflin. He’s a good friend and a very talented illustrator/animator and all-around creative.

When we found out Dan had written and illustrated his own book we applauded him. Sure, it’s easy to dream of writing a book but to actually sit down and craft an entertaining story and illustrate it, is no small feat. Once we got Benny in our hands, it wasn’t long before we were talking about making the leap from the page to the touchscreen.

The app is in Beta testing now and should hit the Apple App Store for iPads and iPhones in the next month or so.

Stay Tuned...

Being Benny is currently available in paperback or hardcover at the Purple Sneakers Store.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

JFK 50th Anniversary Website - Part 3

JFK50 - Legacy Gallery and Beyond...
(Part 3 of 3)

Back to those killer videos... JFK was a media-savvy guy and he embraced all platforms of communication. You can see it in the televised addresses, radio speeches, photographs and films of everything he did, and how he made all this media available to as many people as possible. So we went out of our way to incorporate as much video and audio as we could. In addition to the JFK historical media, there is a growing library of videos in the Legacy Gallery that show how the JFK legacy has affected the lives and work of people today, ranging from Matt Damon and Wynton Marsalis to Stephen Colbert and Nancy Pelosi.

And finally, there is a Downloads and Resources section of the website, making themed content available to students and teachers for use in personal or classroom projects.

JFK seized the hearts and minds of America and inspired a nation to form a community focused on change. Since we launched the site on Jan 20th - the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s inauguration speech, I’ve talked to a number of clients, friends, and family, who were there in the 60’s - and the site is clearly stirring memories and emotions. That is impressive. What would really be impressive is if we can achieve our goal, and inspire a younger generation to carry the torch. Who knows? Maybe a future president is looking at History Now, right now.

Monday, January 31, 2011

JFK 50th Anniversary Website - Part 2

JFK50 - History Now
(Part 2 of 3)

Working with ESI Design is always a great experience, and working for the JFK Library and Museum in Boston has been a pleasure. Their vision was to bring the life and times of President Kennedy to not only the generation that remembers him, but to engage the new generation of kids who know his name, but maybe not so much about his passion and ideas for a better world. Working for kids is one of our favorite things to do, and we wanted to make history speak in a contemporary language. And so the History Now section of the site was born - transforming formerly dry, colorless information into a graphic novel styled panorama. The timeline is peppered with major events taking place during the three years of the Kennedy presidency, like JFK’s inauguration and the Bay of Pigs invasion, that unfold on the same date they occurred 50 years ago. It's our own version of a time machine. And we think it’s pretty cool.

Next up, Legacy Gallery...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

JFK 50th Anniversary Website - Part 1

JFK50 - Something for Everyone
(Part 1 of 3)

The final days leading to a major launch are always nerve-wracking, but after some last-gasp coding heroics by super Steve, the site is live and we're all feeling pretty good about it. This project was another herculean team effort, featuring the combined forces of Artgig and ESI Design, along with the crack video crew at Ager Meillier Films.

The jfk50 site is a ground-breaker for us. If you've been keeping up with the iOS vs Flash war raging on the internet and here in my blog, you will have seen that at this moment in the constantly evolving primordial internet soup, it's a complicated and excessive task to make a media-rich, interactive site accessible to every person on every kind of device. But that's just what we've managed to pull off, and we've done it in a way that we hope is both transparent and intuitive. On your computer you can view the site in all of its Flash goodness, or default to HTML for accessibility. On mobile devices and the iPad you'll get all of the media delivered in a friendly lightweight HTML5 presentation. It sounds easy but video was the giant uncooperative gorilla in the room, because once you get away from the standard Flash player - there are no standards. So you better triple your time for testing and tweaking to get it right.

Next week - History Now...