· comments  · 09-1-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
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 ·
· comments  · 08-11-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 07-13-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 06-23-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 06-1-2010 · categories:links · technology ·
The cool people at PRX have offered me a This American Life iPhone app to give away to one lucky person! Yay!
The app gives you access to all of the streaming This American Life episodes, all the way back to 1995. That simple. The downside is that you have to have a signal in order to listen. So you’re out of luck on, say, an airplane. The upside is that it’s easy to sort through them to find what you want to listen to.
I’ve been listening to This American Life for a very long time. It kept me entertained when I got my first job coding websites and discovered just how uninspiring cubicle life could be, so I have extra warm fuzzy feelings. I even have a TAL poster hanging in my house, it goes very nicely with my orange wall.
So, if you’d like to win a code for a free This American Life iPhone app please leave a comment with this post. The fine print applies. This ends at noon Pacific Time on Monday, May 31st when the Random Number Generator will chose the winner.
[Since I love the show so much I'd just like to point out that This American Life is currently engaged in that ever present struggle to raise enough money to stay alive. You can donate right there, they even take Paypal. You can also text "TAL" to 25383 ($10 will be added to your phone bill). See? Painless. Just for the record, nobody asked me to mention this, I just really really like the show.]
update: Thanks so much to everybody for entering! Because of the response PRX sent me two additional codes to give out, thanks PRX. The Random Number Generator chose 37, 78 and 92, and the winners have been contacted.
· comments  · 05-27-2010 · categories: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 ·
· comments  · 05-11-2010 · categories:links · 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 ·
I spotted my camera (the Canon S90) and it’s nifty leather case in a recent Men’s J. Crew catalog. It reminded me to let you know that after dragging it all over Paris I am thoroughly happy. The case was easy to get into and out of, and the camera is small enough to stay with me all the time and it takes pretty good pictures in low light situations. And, it takes pictures in RAW. Awesome.
· comments  · 03-12-2010 · categories:shopping · technology ·
· comments  · 02-18-2010 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·
· comments  · 01-26-2010 · categories:iphone · links · technology ·