Tuesday, February 22, 2011

iPhone, Netflix... what else should I know about?

I've told you before, my iPhone has changed my life.  I can't imagine how I ever got by without it; everything I could want to know is right at my fingertips.  (The bullshitters can't be too happy, though, now that they can no longer lay their crap on people without someone whipping out their phone to call them on it.)  

The Around Me app was invaluable on my cross-country trip back to Vegas; we'd roll into some God-knows-where town and get the name, phone, and location of hotels and restaurants just like that.  We could pull into a parking lot, make a few calls, and know exactly where we wanted to stay for the night.  I also love the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) app to see movie times, trailers, trivia, etc.  Love it.

I can't freakin' believe that I learned only about three weeks ago that you don't need a Kindle to download e-books.  Nope, you can download a free app to your Mac or PC or iPhone.  You can even sample books (including the fabulous Bastard Husband: A Love Story) from the Kindle Store for free and then pay the whatever ninety-nine if you like it.  I must have 10 books downloaded to my phone now.  I love that thing--I could sell them!

We recently started streaming movies instantly through Netflix, which I am so digging.  For $7.99/month,  you can stream an unlimited number of movies to your TV, PC, or phone.  But to stream to your TV, you do need an Internet-capable TV, an X-box or Playstation media manager, or a device like a Roku, which I'd never heard of until I set my mother and Step-daddy up.  You can get a Roku at Radio Shack for less than a hundred bucks and it's super easy to install (I did it myself).  Roku is not just for Netflix; you can also stream a lot of news channels and Pandora.  You will need wireless Internet service, of course.

Anyway, now I can watch a million movies and TV shows whenever I want, including a lot of old programs that aren't in reruns.  Remember Soap, the sit-com from the 70s?  Mom and I watched a few episodes of that when I was up in Boise recently.  Sometimes when Mike is playing Black Ops (don't get me going), I'll retreat to the bedroom and lust over Gary on thirtysomething.  Remember him?  Schwing!

Quite honestly, though, there are a lot of movies on Netflix that aren't available to stream instantly; for $9.99/month you can get unlimted streaming movies plus one-at-a-time DVDs in the mail the old fashioned way.  That's what we opted for.  Still a great deal.

I have to wonder about the future of cable TV and satellite.  When I first moved to Vegas, and during the whole 7 years I lived here before going back to Albany for the summer, I had what I called "supreme cable"--HBO, Showtime, Starz, IFC, Sundance--the whole shebang, including a DVR.  Not now.  We have basic cable and that's it.  And sometimes I wonder if that's even worth it.  I'm hearing that between Netflix and Hulu, people are getting rid of their cable altogether.

I'm not the most techno-savvy person, so can someone explain Hulu?  Tsk, tsk, I don't think their website does a very good job of explaining what the hell it is.   All I know is that you can get TV shows on it, but are they shows that are out now or old ones like on Netflix?  If I miss an episode of Modern Family, can I watch it on demand?  I'd appreciate someone who's familiar with this to clue me in.

One more thing I recently learned about:  Groupon.  Mike and I recently went out to a really nice Italian dinner and paid $15 for $50 worth of food and drinks!  They have coupons for lots of different stuff--massages, car washes, dance lessons, and more.

 I have to wonder, what else am I missing? What other great apps or gadgets or services should I know about?  Technology can be overwhelming, so if anyone has any cool information to share--or any questions--feel free!


Julie D said...

Oh, I LOVE Groupon. Michael has grounded me from buying anymore for now until we use up the ones we have. LOL

You need to download the Angry Birds app. You'll be addicted to playing it and it will drive you insane. It's your Black Ops.

BlogPress is great for doing blog posts from your phone.

Shazam is great for figuring out what song is playing when you're out somewhere (or you hear it on the radio and don't know what it is).

Red Laser reads bar codes on items and tells you where to buy them and for what price. For example, when I was buying Jordan a DVD for Xmas, I scanned it in, and found out that Walmart had it for $5 cheaper than Target (which was where I was at the time).

CardStar puts all those pesky key ring tags for stores etc in one place so you don't have to carry them all. It's great!

Dragon Dictation allows you to dictate and then insert in a text message or email. Very nice!

PS Express (Photo Shop) is great for editing pictures you take.

Nightstand is a fun way to make your iPhone an alarm clock with background pics of your choice.

Flashlight turns your iPhone into a flashlight!

iTreadmill is a pedometer that you use when you're out walking. Great tracker.

StumbleUpon is great, it's just fun entertainment when you're bored. It will also give you blog fodder. Basically you just tell it subjects you're itnerested in, and it pulls random shit off the Internet. I've found lots of really cool stuff that way.

8mm is a very cool app that turns videos you take into different styles, such as grainy film like in old movies, or 70's kind of feel, etc. Very fun app.

Starbucks app. Enough said. Will tell you where the closest one is, etc.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head for now!

Debbie said...

okay, this has nothing to do with your post ... i was in vegas this weekend!!!! dayum, i shoulda let you know! Stayed at Caesars and had a fabulous time. i may go back in june -- i'll give you a heads up. if you're appearing anywhere, let me know. would love to see you live.


Caz Wilson said...

Oh my goodness, Lover and I got iPhones this past weekend and I don't think I've left it alone all week - it's the best! I can see the obsession, I just love'em!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the article Linda. Netflix app is great on iPhone. If live outside USA, you can use tools like UnoTelly to get Netflix on your iPhone.