Did you hear? The Netflix iPhone app launched today. It’s pretty cool. If you have a Netflix account it lets you watch from your streaming queue, it even loads the information on which episodes of a series you’ve already watched, or watched part of. You can search for new movies and add them to the instant queue or start watching right away. What you cannot do from the app is access or add to your regular queue. (I hope they make the Netflix Mobile site snazzier soon.)
I have a 3G iPhone and I’ve read that the Netflix app won’t work unless you’ve upgraded to iOS 3.1.3. Now, just in case you don’t know, if you have a 3G do not update your to iOS 4.0! (That would be the current one.) This causes all sorts of trouble for 3G phones. If you didn’t upgrade to 3.1.3 when it was out you have to do some fiddly upgrade and downgrade action to get there. This thread over at Ask Metafilter has some advice and links on getting your 3G phone to the iOS 3.1.3. The commenters there also say that rumor is the iOS 4.1 will fix the troubles for the 3G iPhones. Thank goodness.
The scene from my desk right now:
· comments  · 08-26-2010 · categories:iphone · technology ·
Here is an update on what apps I’ve been using lately, books I’ve been reading, and my absolute favorite iPhone case.
applications I use all the time
- Stitcher – I’m too lazy/impatient to download podcasts (I know.) so I use Stitcher to listen to them. With a super easy Favorites list it’s become all I need. (free)
- IMDb – We use it to play the “where have I seen him/her before?” game while watching Netflixed movies. (free)
- Convert – I think I saw this recommended over at Make, it’s got everything I’ve ever needed to convert, including bytes to kilobytes. It’s also handy for halving recipes that call for things in tablespoons. (99 cents)
- Public Radio Player – This allows you to listen to any streaming public radio station, but I mostly use it as a one-click way to listen to my local station. (free)
- NPR News –
It’s buggy and the interface is confounding and I want to like it but it causes me nothing but frustration. update: A recent upgrade has made this much easier to use, and relatively bug free. Much improved. But it remains the easiest way for me to listen to Morning Edition short of actually getting out of bed early enough. (free)
- (In case you’re interested here are my favorite podcasts: The Moth, Good Food, Splendid Table, Marketplace, WaitWait Don’t Tell Me, On the Media, To the Best of Our Knowledge, Sound of Young America, Dinner Party Download.)
applications I’m looking forward to getting to know better
- How To Cook Everything – All the recipes right there with me at the grocery store! ($4.99) disclosure: the HTCE app was a recent giveaway item on this site.
- Ratio – Michael Ruhlman’s ratios in handy, interactive-y form. I found myself stressing over quartering a large dough recipe recently and decided it was time. ($4.99)
- This American Life – The good: you can listen to any of the shows back to 1995! The bad: only when you’re within wi-fi or 3G network range. So, not in an airplane or my doctors office waiting room. ($2.99)
games I’ve been playing
- Babylonian Twins – This is currently consuming me, it’s a fun platformer that is challenging but never quite makes me frustrated. There are apparently secret levels to unlock but I’m still working on the final level so I’ll have to let you know. Highly, highly recommend this game. The story behind the game is fascinating. (free/$2.99)
- Archibald’s Adventures – A puzzle platformer that kept me completely distracted on the plane ride to Paris. The initial level set is far more fun than the additional sets, but there are so many it’ll keep you occupied for a good long time. (free/$3.99)
- Broken Sword – A classic point and click adventure game, updated with a parallel plot. I grew up playing the Sierra King’s Quest series so I really enjoy this, but I can see it feeling a bit slow if your parents bought you a Nintendo when you were a kid (lucky). Also, it’s set in Paris and I played it on the airplane to and from for my trip so I recognized locations in the game. ($4.99)
- Resquare – A simple, cleanly designed version of the ‘fit these shapes into this square’ style of game. It’s my current favorite for standing in long lines at the post office or bank. (free/99 cents)
- Flower Garden – This is more an entertainment thingy. It’s like having a pet garden that you care for. I didn’t expect to like it but I find I’m exited to check on my flower pots in the morning, birds chirp in the background and the flowers grow before your eyes, it’s all silly and charming. You need to grow certain flowers to unlock other seed packets and there are in-app purchases you can make to expand your garden (though I avoid in-app purchases like crazy). (It’s free right now!)
- Games I’m looking at: Giana Sisters, Domino’s Adventure, Dragon’s Lair.
- update: Games I’ve loved in the past, and keep on my phone, include Spider, Drop 7, Rolando and Glyder.
sites I read to learn about apps
- app.itize.us – Features little known but nicely done apps.
- Fingergaming – Game reviews, nice amount of detail and opinion.
- Touch Arcade – Game reviews, nice amount of detail and opinion. (Sometimes I mix Fingergaming and Touch Arcade up to be honest, but both are good.)
- Mobile Monday at Casual Gameplay – They try out a lot of smaller games the other sites don’t mention.
- (I’m always looking for sites that do a good job of curating apps and games, if you have one you like I’d love to learn about it.)
Kindle books (I still think the Stanza reader is far more pleasurable to use, but Amazon has the ease of purchase and delivery that has grudgingly won me over, at least when the book is significantly less expensive.)
- Waiter Rant – It took me years to finally buy this book to read, and I’m really looking forward to his upcoming book on tipping.
- Cleaving – This was a book that felt appropriate to read in a dark room while the glowing screen gave up intimate secrets.
- Interface and The Cobweb – Older Neal Stephenson books, I’m a big fan.
the quest for my favorite case
My quest ended with me going back to get new version of the very first one I bought. The case I love (pictured above) is the Incase Protective Cover, simply a rubber sleeve that hugs the phone all the way around. I love it because it’s grippy. When I drop my phone (which is rare, see: grippy) it simply bounces. The only downside is that the rubber makes it a bit harder to slide in and out of a pocket. Of most importance, though, is that the Incase rubber cover is the most comfortable for playing games. What can I say, I fully embrace my inner ten year old boy. They make a similar one for the iPod Touch called a gaming cover which I covet.
After I wore down my first Incase protective cover I tried a few hardshell cases and one other rubberized case, all of which I found too slippery to hold on to (admittedly, I’m a clutz). One hardshell case failed me when I dropped my phone and it cracked, luckily not the screen. (Wave Case I’m looking harshly at you here.) One final note, the Crystal Film made by Power Support has saved my screen from countless scratches, I like it very very much.
· comments  · 05-13-2010 · categories:iphone · technology ·
This is interesting! As a form of volcano relief Lonely Planet is offering a bunch of their city iPhone guides for free (they normally start around $16) through April 22nd (that’s in two days, so hurry!). This includes the Paris guide I used during our recent trip, and has an offline location aware map, which is fantastic to use while avoiding roaming charges. I’m not sure if all the city guides have them, but I would expect they do.
I found this news at David Lebovitz, who is offering his suggestions on 10 Things to Do If You’re Stuck in Paris. If you are stuck in Paris you have both my sympathy and my envy.
· comments  · 04-20-2010 · categories:iphone · links · travel ·
To celebrate the release of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything App for the iPhone Culinate would like to give away a version to five of you lucky, lucky readers. Quoting from their web page: “Everything you love about the cookbook: 2,000 recipes and recipe variations; 400 how-to illustrations; hundreds of menu ideas; and Mark Bittman’s straightforward cooking advice for simple good food.” It has every single recipe from the book, how cool is that? I use the How to Cook Everything book regularly so I’m very excited that I’ll have it available on my iPhone, especially when I’m standing in the store wondering what to make for dinner.
Just a note: If you don’t want to wait to see if you’ve won, the app is currently $1.99 at a special price, I don’t know how much it will cost later on. update: Also, the kind people at Culinate tell me that there will be a future app just for the How to Cook Everything Vegetarian book. They also report they are working on an iPad specific version of the HTCE app.
If you’d like to win a free app, please leave a comment with this post. If you’d like something to mention in the comment I’d love to know if you have a favorite Bittman recipe, either from HTCE or from his The Minimalist column in the NY Times. Obviously you’ll need to have an iPhone or iPod touch to take advantage of this one. The usual fine print applies. You’ll be chosen by the Random Number Generator, and I’ll get in touch if you’ve been chosen.
You have between right now and Wednesday, April 21st at noon, PST to enter. Good luck! Comments are closed and the randomly chosen winners will be contacted shortly, thank you!
· comments  · 04-19-2010 · categories:food · iphone · technology ·
· comments  · 03-26-2010 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
· comments  · 02-18-2010 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
· comments  · 01-26-2010 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
I have the extraordinary luck to be headed to Paris in a few months. I’ll need a few things before I go.
I’m terrified of being without my iPhone for any length of time, even just for the books and games that will amuse me on long flights or train rides. This $15 iPhone charger is one I mentioned earlier, and it also made the Holiday Gift Guide for Geeks written by Mighty Girl. It gives two full charges. I might buy four. I’m also eyeing the Flexicord which I found over at NOTCOT, it’s a flexible USB cord that can work as a stand for your phone, and I’m betting it will prop up an iPhone well enough to allow me to watch movies. (Flexicord image used is from from NOTCOT.com.)
I already have one of these Bucky Ultralight masks but I’ll need another since Scott likes it too. I’m also going to get a Bucky Neck Pillow, previously I’d bought an inflatable pillow and it didn’t work out so well.
I will need books! Besides the Rough Guide to Paris I’m looking at The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City, to get myself in the right mindset, and Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris, because I anticipate eating as much as possible while I’m there. And of course, I’ll have to get the PNW’s own Rick Steves’ Paris 2010. Oh neat, they are all available for the Kindle, I wonder if they would look ok on my iPhone’s Kindle app?
· comments  · 12-15-2009 · categories:iphone · shopping ·
· comments  · 12-1-2009 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
I like this stand for my iPhone, it’s the Tiko Fold stand for mobile devices. It comes in four colors but my favorite is this translucent white. I use it everyday to hold my iPhone on my desk, and it’s saved it once from spilled coffee (thankyouthankyou). The Tiko is nice and sturdy, it’s really easy to adjust the angle, it’s got room to hold my phone even when it’s protected in a chunky rubber case, and it folds up flat so it’s good to use for travel too. My only reservation is that I wish it would tilt back a little further so it would be easier to watch videos when you’re stuck in coach all the way to Ohio. (I’ve heard from the creator and this is something he’ll be making happen in future versions.)
You can buy it on the Tiko website as well as on Amazon.
· comments  · 10-1-2009 · categories:iphone · shopping ·
· comments  · 09-30-2009 · categories:iphone · links · shopping ·
Some thoughts on throwies – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I’m glad to read this, though I admit I don’t fully understand most of it. I wondered about this when we were doing LED experiments for the reception.
Making the web faster. at Kottke
Quality Still Matters: Public Radio’s iPhone App | Wired.com. From the article: Another change Shapiro hopes for is that Apple would alter its policy regarding charitable contributions. “Until Apple resolves this gap between their interest in hosting other kinds of financial transactions but not charitable giving, we’ll have to come up with workarounds,” I would be more likely to throw NPR $10 through my iPhone than to call in during the pledge week I usually just avoid. Here is to hoping Apple allows them to accept cash money through their app soon.
Screens and Details of ‘Beneath a Steel Sky’ for iPhone | Touch Arcade.
FingerGaming » Serial Killer Sim Dexter: The Game Debuts in App Store.
FingerGaming » Silent Swords Brings Stealth-Action to the iPhone.
Crystal Cave Classic Review for iPhone | Touch Arcade.
HTML5 For Smarties – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report. The bits of HTML 5 website makers need to know.
Electronic Catan | Ask Metafilter. Question on going about making a game board that triggers game pieces to light up when they are set down.
· comments  · 09-25-2009 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
Here are the apps and games I love right now:
- TweetDeck You know, for Twitter.
- Monkey Island I never played the original and am digging playing this. You can switch between the new graphics and the original ones. I think the music is new as well.
- Spider, The Secret of Bryce Manor Super wonderful game, with a deeper mystery going on so playing it through a second time is still interesting. Spooky and a bit touching.
- Kindle for iPhone It isn’t as pleasurable to use as Stanza, but the ability to buy books easily has won over a few times.
- Skype for the iPhone Setting this up was easy and I was conferencing with no trouble.
- NPR News If only they had a “skip this segment” button. I think that is coming, then it will be the greatest thing of all things ever.
- Geared A nicely done gear arranging game. (I think it’s about to jump in price when new levels are added).
· comments  · 09-17-2009 · categories:iphone · technology ·
· comments  · 09-10-2009 · categories:food · iphone · links ·
· comments  · 08-31-2009 · categories:iphone · links · misc ·