Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

20: Leaving The Past Behind

January 25, 2013

1. Stop The Presses! Amanda Seyfried Nude

Amanda Seyfried is a beautiful actress, and news of her dropping her top should pull at the heart strings of any straight male movie geek.

Screen Crush:

Seyfried’s nude scenes weren’t a problem for her when she signed on to star in the film. “[Appearing nude] didn’t scare me at all. I wanted to jump right into all that kind of stuff,” she told MTV. And while “Amanda Seyfried nude!” might be a selling point for the movie, the actress hopes audiences get more out of the film than that:

Honestly, good for her. Lovelace — the upcoming movie where she takes it all off — is a biopic of an adult film star, so nudity is a given. Considering how much I respect Seyfried, I’d wager that her nude scenes are tasteful and handled with class. She doesn’t strike me as a person who would be filmed just to attract a demographic, and her attitude here is great.

via FlipBoard for iOS

2. Embedded Tweets And Copyright Issues

David Holmes, Pando Daily:

You could say, “Well if you don’t want your photos shared on the Web without credit or compensation, don’t upload them to Twitter.” The trouble is, now that embedded Tweets include not only photos uploaded directly to Twitter, but also Flickr photos, images from Tumblr, article previews, videos, audio, and even some apps, the copyright implications of Tweets are thornier than ever.

It sounds to me like Twitter has some work to do.

via @SpionKopRed on Twitter

3. Twitter Has To Give Up Identities Of Racist Tweeters In France

I’ve written about this before while it was still developing, but it’s now official; Twitter must hand police the names of racist tweeters, so says a court in France which has laws against hate speech.

I remain indifferent, but the court has spoken.

via FlipBoard for iOS

4. Speechless: New Mexican Lawmaker Hates Rape Victims

Representative Cathrynn Brown in New Mexico has introduced a bill to the NM House that would make rape victims who receive abortions felons. The argument is that terminating a pregnancy caused by rape would be tampering with evidence. There are few words to describe how messed up this is, and we should hope that the NM legislature has the sense to shut this down.

via @NFLion on Twitter

5. Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Keys To The Power Of The Written Word

I don’t particularly consider myself a writer despite publishing a solid amount of words every day, because I’m always learning and still finding my voice. Tips like the ones pasted into this article help me identify my own flaws, and helps me know what I need to work on.

My favorite of the eight keys:

4.Have the Guts to Cut
It may be that you, too, are capable of making necklaces for Cleopatra, so to speak. But your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

It, along with the preceding tip which is to “Keep It Simple” are probably what I need to work at the most.

Thank you Kurt Vonnegut.

via a friend on Facebook

6. “Pop Star Pouts”

Man, I love Capital FM; it honestly isn’t a bad radio station (although I’d question their claim of being the UK’s “#1 hit music station”) and they happen to publish some funny stuff too. Today I’m delighted to present to you… Ten celebrities pictured pouting.

(I think that this blog has reached a new low.)

via @capitalofficial on Twitter

7. Congratulations, Netflix. Take That, Pundits

Kit Eaton, Fast Company:

Netflix announced on Wednesday that it had increased its subscription numbers by 2.05 million in the fourth quarter and is now in 27.15 million American households. This figure, according to the company, led to a net income of $7.9 million.

I really like Netflix and I’m very happy to see it do well. Back when I first started writing I was doing movie reviews, and I had a weekly feature dedicated exclusively to movies on Netflix (streaming). Netflix deserves every ounce of success it receives, and I hope that it continues since it pushes digital media forward.

via FlipBoard for iOS

8. What Success Looks Like For Path

Kevin Rose interviewed the founder of Path, Dave Morin, and in “defining success” for Path, Morin included “maintaining trust” and having an “honest relationship” with users. I stopped using Path a long time ago simply because it didn’t fit into my life, but it’s nice to see a social networking company get it.

9. The Women In Horror Month Movement

The aptly titled Tumblr page WOMEN IN HORROR MONTH has a few tips by Hannah Neurotica on how to drive awareness for Women In Horror Month (February). If you’re a Horror fan you should read through the list and do what you’re able; chances are there is something for you to do. I’ll be using this blog to advance the cause, and might figure out some other things to do.

via Thirst for iOS (Which has been temporarily removed from the App Store, meaning I have no download link, sorry)

10. Idea: Abandoning The (Traditional) Web Browser

Note: When I use the term “web browser” below, I’m referring to traditional ones like Safari, Chrome, IE, Firefox, etc. Technically every app that access the web and loads information is a web browser, but if it doesn’t have a URL and search bar, in my mind it’s too different to qualify.

Since I’ve taken this blog in a more news/magazine direction, I’ve noticed that my web usage habits have changed dramatically. I went from using the Safari web browser on my iPhone and iPads to frequent sites, to discovering news using 3rd party apps/services like FlipBoard, Thirst, Tweetbot, Facebook, and Pocket.

This new way of discovering news has been a boon for this blog and even for myself. The news sites I source are so varied that it’s introduced me to so many more writers and writing styles, whom and which I hope that I’m introducing to you. It’s a departure from reading stuff from the exact same writers on the exact same sites every day.

Browsing the web using a web browser like Safari kind of slows me down. Apps like FlipBoard load information fast since the only thing being loaded is article text. Web browsers are egregiously slow comparably because they end up loading text, images, ads, comments, and outright unrelevant information.

My reasons for using Safari (or any web browser) have been dwindling, and it’s made me a happier person. I’ve known for a long time that “apps are the future”, but before now I wasn’t aware how soon that future would come.

Given everything, I feel that by the end of the year I can be in a position to dump web browsers. My new goal is to not use a web browser for an entire year, starting anytime before 2014. I think that I can do it, and I think that I should do it. Obviously there must be exceptions — for example, if I need to use Safari for work or school — but casually browsing as I know it should be dead.

I’ll draft the rules and more specifics of my plan later, and I’ll publish them here. My hope is that other people will do this with me. I’m actually kind of scared and simultaneously excited… This will be fun.

16: Don’t Kill Me Please

January 16, 2013

1. I Didn’t Come Here To Die

Check out the trailer [YouTube link] for this Horror flick that recently made its way onto digital avenues. I hear good things and intend to check it out this weekend. You can rent I Didn’t Come Here To Die on iTunes by tapping/clicking here, and on Amazon if you have a Prime membership.

via a friend on Facebook

2. Txt-Alternative For Kids

My search-fu is failing me at the moment, but based on personal interactions I’d wager that a significant amount of young kids send txt messages fairly regularly.

It’s no secret that txt messaging kind of sucks and is a pure cash grab by our mobile carriers, and that we’re all better off using alternatives like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, etc. Unfortunately services like Facebook Messenger aren’t incredibly youth-oriented, and now a youth-oriented alternative called Jongla is launching on iOS and Android.

Honestly I don’t particularly care what alternative service that kids use, but if we want to end the txting hegemony, all age groups need to contribute. If there are services targeting youth, I’m all for them.

3. Ashton Kutcher Really Really Looks Like Steve Jobs

The resemblance is striking. I’m still not convinced that he’ll do a fantastic job acting as Steve Jobs in the upcoming flick jOBS, however we’ll have to wait and see.

via FlipBoard for iOS

4. Self-Published Authors Kicking Butt On Kindle

At least in the UK, 15 of the top 100 best-selling Kindle books were self-published. That’s fascinating, and the situation is probably similar in many countries where Amazon sells Kindle books.

The world is changing.

via Thirst for iOS

5. The 6 Best Dresses At The Golden Globes

There are some days where you can’t not love The Onion.

via @acarboni on Twitter

6. 7 Men Gang Rape Bus Passenger In India

Faith Karimi and Shah Singh, CNN:

In an incident eerily similar to a sexual assault that sent shock waves worldwide, Indian police say a woman was gang-raped over the weekend by seven men after she boarded a bus at night.

So sad. It’s surreal to think of how much evil there is in the world. One of the things I hope to see in my lifetime is world peace, although I realize that it’s probably a few generations away. Maybe 100% hate-free is impossible, but I think that 99% can happen with time.

You can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. [YouTube link]

via With Fetus

7. Wearable Computing Is The Next Big Thing

These days you can’t find a tech publication raving about watches and glasses that can do more than tell time and help you see, but do tech writers represent the general population?

I can see the value in reading my Twitter notifications without having to take my iPhone out of my pocket, but I’m not sure that everyone wants to make fashion accessories out of their mini-computers. I could be wrong though.

8. Easter Eggs In January

Arrested Development is one of the few TV shows that I’ve ever watched, and the fact that Netflix is bringing it back is fantastic. If you’re in the US (presumably — I can’t test anything in Canada or the UK) Netflix has a bit of a promotion going on. If you’re an Arrested Development fan, follow these instructions and enjoy!

via FlipBoard for iOS

9. Reason To Recover #709

100 Reasons To Recover:

Because one day my story will change someone’s life.

I’ve linked to 100 Reasons To Recover before, and if you haven’t checked out that blog yet, you really should. It’s kind of inspirational and it can satisfy as a life guide for most everyone feeling down.

10. The Death Glare

A common look that I receive from people who see me using both my iPad and iPad mini at the same time is the Death Glare. For whatever reason a solid amount of people have a problem with me carrying around two iPads; these people often tote around Macs which are more expensive than my two iPads combined, but that’s beside the point.

The iPad mini kills the larger iPad at “consumption” — it’s smaller size and weight makes it easier to use kicking back leisurely-like — so I use my iPad mini to find articles to share here. When it comes time to write bits about those articles, I keep the articles open on the iPad mini and type up my thoughts on the big iPad, which saves time as opposed to switching between writing and reading on a single iPad which I did before picking up an iPad mini. Not having to leave the app that I write in saves a whole lot of time, I can probably finish blogposts twice as fast now.

In addition, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m learning a nifty coding language called Processing. Prior to getting an iPad mini I switched between both the book and the Processing app on my iPad, which was slow. Now that I have an iPad mini I code on the larger iPad and read on the iPad mini. Again, having the iPad mini probably makes me go twice as fast.

There are genuine reasons that I have and use both an iPad and iPad mini. So what’s the deal with people?

I’m reminded of when I picked up my first iPad in 2010; I had an iPhone 3G at the time, and friends derided me for having an iPhone and a big iPhone that couldn’t make phone calls. The problem was that the differences between iPhones and iPads hadn’t yet been established, so to a lot of people I was seen as A) wasting my money and/or B) an upper class jerk showing off my wealth (which was a laughable idea if you knew my financial situation).

The iPad and iPad mini have loads of crossover, I won’t pretend that they don’t. But I have each for their differences; the iPad’s larger screen makes it good for typing, coding, drawing, and the type of content creation that I do, whereas the iPad mini’s smaller screen makes it good for leisurely gathering and consuming information, gaming, and consumption in general.

The hate that I’ve received is weird and, in my mind, unfounded.

Guest Post: Watch More Movies, You Have The Technology (Bernardo Villela)

September 25, 2012

Editor’s note: Hey guys, Montana here. I’ve been sick since this afternoon and have been unable to write clearly. Fortunately a great guy and a great writer, Bernardo Villela, decided to save the day by subbing for me. I hope that you enjoy his following contribution as I have.

Ah, writing a guest post and all the dangers that it could incur. Fear not readers, I’ll try not to soapbox too much and not bore you to extremes. In the spirit of that remark, please forgive this rambling, meandering beginning as typically my guest posts or contributions have had a specific topic or movie assigned.

Seeing as how I’m in quite the stream of consciousness mood at current, perhaps my topic of discussion should be something that’s foremost in my mind at the moment. And what might that be?

Today, I viewed three films: one on Netflix, one on Amazon Instant Video, and lastly, one on DVD. Two of my biggest core beliefs cinematically are related: One, there are plenty of good movies out there, you just have to go out there and find them. Two, give yourself as many opportunities as you can to find them.

Before even getting into any kind of specifics I want to point out: I don’t want to dictate taste (nor should anyone), and no one knows what you’re predisposed to like better than you do. Yes, we’ve all been surprised by movies if we watch enough, but you know what your looking for, what you want to see; more often than not. Therefore, if you afford yourself the opportunities, and yes, endure many a thing that don’t work for you, you’ll find more movies you like.

I’ve only gotten into trying to avidly chronicle my movie-watching again recently. I know when I was younger and I’d rent/buy older movies and only see one, maybe two new movies on a weekend such that my total viewed for the year would be much lower than it was say last year. Part of the reason I have any idea is that I am tracking new films to assemble my own personal awards (Search: BAM Awards on my site if curious), which I created in a fit of rebellion and continue to this day. So, now I see more movies. Yes, I dislike more than before, but I also find more I like. Are as many films I see really something that stand out? That are special? Not really. Now, this may be a better year than most, so if I broke down my ratings, it may seem to prove me wrong but every few years there is an aberrant year.

The number of films I now see, and the quality thereof, has increased because I’ve tried to take advantage of as many means of viewing them as possible. Which mean not only multiplexes, but art houses when possible, Netflix (I’m one of the minority still on Instant and Disc), now Amazon Instant Video also, Redbox on occasion, the Library once in blue moon, DVDs, Blu-Rays and so forth.

Filmmaking and film-viewing stand on new frontiers. Distribution is a much more complicated thing than it ever was, and if we all play are cards right it can be great for all.

One of my vices is hearing about movies and tracking them until their release. But now with Twitter there’s so much more information, I become aware of so many more films. One example would be that the Best Foreign Language Film candidates are being submitted to the Academy through October 1st. Each of those submissions is reported by the trades (e.g. Hollywood Reporter, Variety). Many of them I catch, I read synopses of and become intrigued. Spain’s entry last year was somewhat controversial for being less “Oscar-Friendly” and not being directed by a maquee name like Almodovar. I just hunted down a region 2 disc of it, it was my DVD selection of the day.

Movies I, or anyone, can’t see bug me. As technology advances that is seemingly a lesser and lesser problem, especially with studios opening Movie on Demand distribution arms for their older, niche titles, which I hadn’t even touched upon until now!

If you’re a movie lover who’s frustrated with the mainstream there are plenty of other avenues to plunder for something off the beaten path that’s right up your alley (Pretty puntastic, no?). In all seriousness, that’s really one of the best things going, and if your head spins merely from the thought of scouring so many sources there are also great new sites such as WatchIt who can alert you when films become available on various platforms.

So if you’ve been struggling to find something good to watch, you can fix it. You have the technology.


Bernardo is the writer/editor of The Movie Rat. Most recently, Bernardo formed a new production company (Miller-Villela Productions, LLC) where they have many projects in the works, and is currently in pre-production on the original horror feature All Hallows’ Eve. You can read a more verbose version of his bio there if you’re so inclined.

How I Use iPad (And How You Can Too!)

September 3, 2012

This entry has been waiting to be written for a very, very long time. The fact that my iPad replaced my Mac has been something I’ve talked about for probably a year and a half in “real life” and online. I’ve either alluded to it or outright said it in blogposts here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve probably read many tweets from me also covering the topic.

So, enough with the foreplay. We know that my iPad is my primary computer, with my iPhone secondary. We know why. But all of that is explicitly useless information without knowing how I outright replaced traditional computers with iPads. It’s time to publish something useful. This article includes four main parts:

  1. How I used my Mac, listing the apps I used to use regularly and what they were for.
  2. The iPad apps I use in place of the Mac apps and how well they work as replacements, with pricing info and App Store links to the iOS apps.
  3. The apps I use regularly on my iPad which aren’t “replacement” apps, and make the iPad better than a traditional computer in my eyes, with pricing info and App Store links to the iOS apps.
  4. The iPad’s present shortcomings compared to traditional computers in my opinion.

This is a very detailed article, and it is quite long. I’ve organized it in a way which makes it easy for you to skip what you aren’t interested in. Further, I need to make clear that this article does not exist to prove any point. I’m not setting out to tell people what is and what isn’t the right way to use a computer. This is purely the information that I can offer to people thinking about how they can use iPads. Please don’t mistake it for anything else.

Part I

As a student I used my MacBook Pro for typing up term papers (among other, general stuff) and designing Keynote presentations. I used it for media storage/viewing, and even very basic media editing. I of course browsed the web, and instant messaged and audio/video chatted with friends. And until iOS 5, I used my Mac to manage my iPods and iOS devices, among other basic things. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that my exact use cases aren’t uncommon.

So, the Mac apps which I used regularly:

  • Pages: School papers and word processing in general
  • Keynote: Keynote presentations
  • iTunes: Media viewing and iPod/iOS device management
    (iomega external hard drive: Storage)
  • Preview and iPhoto: Image viewing and basic editing
  • GarageBand: What I used to create terrible music
  • Safari: Web browsing
  • Mail: e-Mail
  • iChat, Live Messenger, and Skype: Instant messaging and audio/video chatting
  • Handbrake: DVD ripping
  • (Funny observation: Almost every one of those apps are Apple’s own apps)

    Part II

    This next part might come across as a little disingenuous simply because this isn’t my story about switching to iPad two years ago. I’m not going to cover the holes I encountered which have been filled — this is explicitly about the present. The whole story is mostly irrelevant to you.

    So, here’s the iPad apps which replaced the apps I regularly used on the Mac:

  • Replacing Pages

    Not surprisingly, Pages on iOS it what replaces Pages on the Mac, and is even better in some cases. Sure, the Mac version is more flexible, but Pages’ signature feature is how it handles media within documents. That feature is brought to life on the iPad in many ways — to begin with, manipulating images and videos is way more fun with your fingers than with a mouse pointer. But on top of that, the iPad’s cameras make Pages for iOS a killer app.

    A use case which I’m very familiar with is taking notes in class; all too often instructors write or draw something on the board which would take 1000 words to express. So what can you do when that happens? Well, if you’re taking notes on your iPad with Pages, just quickly open the Camera app, lift up your iPad, and take a picture of the board. Insert the photo right into your notes. That use case isn’t restricted to the classroom either. As an example, let’s say you need to create a flier about wildlife, and you want it to have pictures. Go out to a lake and create the entire flier there, pictures and all. Get home and be all ready to print it out.

    Edit: I wasn’t clear at all. Pages is a full word processor and can open and export Microsoft Word documents, and can also export to PDF. It’s native file type though is .pages, as with the Mac version.

    Also, if you have an AirPrint enabled printer, you can print your documents right from the iPad. It’s kinda cool.

    Pages for iOS: $9.99

  • Replacing Keynote

    Also not surprisingly, I replaced Keynote for the Mac with Keynote for iOS. Unlike Pages for iOS, though, which I adore — my relationship with Keynote for iOS is very love-hate. Keynote is my favorite app on the Mac by far, designing keynote presentations to deliver is my hobby. The featureset between the two is so different that Keynote for iOS should be called “Keynote Nano” or something. As an example, I like to time basically every aspect of presentations I design, and timing builds and transitions to go off at the millisecond I want them to is next to impossible on Keynote for iOS, whereas on the Mac I can actually do advanced work and make things perfect.

    Don’t get me wrong though, Keynote for iOS is immeasurably better than PowerPoint on any platform, it’s just that Keynote for Mac is immeasurably better than it. The best thing about Keynote on the iPad is actually delivering presentations. I hook it right up to a projector or TV, and press play. The portability of the iPad makes presenting easy and kinda fun, and if you’ve added “presentation notes”, they’ll show up on the iPad’s display for you to see while only the presentation is seen by the audience.

    Edit: By the way, Keynote can indeed import and export Microsoft PowerPoint documents, but it isn’t ideal at all. You lose so many things in the import it’s scary. It’s the same as the Mac version in that way.

    Keynote for iOS: $9.99

  • Replacing iTunes

    This is a relatively easy one. For media viewing, iTunes is replaced by the iPad’s built-in Music and Videos apps. I have all my music stored in iCloud with iTunes Match — callable at any time in the Music app — and I can bring up any movies I’ve previously purchased through the iTunes Store with the iTunes Store iOS app. Speaking if the iTunes Store app, it’s also where I buy new music. However… most of my music listening and movie watching is done through the Pandora and Netflix apps, respectively.

    To me, most of the movies I have “ripped” from DVD which are stored on my Mac aren’t ones I’d want to watch more than once. And in any event, I can rent movies in 1080p HD for $4.99, which is great quality and worth the cash compared to even my best DVD rips. As far as device management is concerned, my iPad (and iPhone) are backed up to iCloud, automatically when left to charge while connected to WiFi. Everything I previously managed with iTunes can be managed on iOS devices themselves.

    iCloud: Free. iTunes Match: $24.99/year. Pandora: Free. Netflix: $7.99/month.

  • Replacing Preview and iPhoto

    Also something that shouldn’t be too surprising, I replace Preview and iPhoto on the Mac with iPhoto for iOS on the iPad. The surprising thing is iPhoto on the iPad is outright better than iPhoto on the Mac. iPhoto on the Mac is quite irritating, it feels very out of place with the rest of OSX. It’s clunky, organization is funky, and it’s just a mess. iPhoto on the iPad is a pleasure to use and makes sense, it’s really hard to explain. Quick edits are easy, sharing is easy, and organization is great.

    iPhoto for iOS: $4.99

  • Replacing GarageBand

    Are you getting it yet? My iPad replacement for GarageBand on the Mac is GarageBand for iOS. GarageBand for iOS isn’t near as fully featured as its desktop sibling, but it’s way more fun. For example, playing the drums with your fingers is a lot of fun, and directly manipulating each track and loop you’ve created is great. Compared to the Mac version, GarageBand has a whole lot less pre-made loops and you’re limited in the number of tracks you can create per song. All in all, I’m not gonna lie, I’m a horrible, horrible, horrible musician. But being horrible with GarageBand on the iPad is so much greater than being horrible with GarageBand on the Mac.

    GarageBand for iOS: $4.99

  • Replacing Safari, Mail, iChat, Live Messenger, and Skype

    Safari and Mail really are a given. The replacement for Safari on the iPad is Safari for iPad, and the replacement for Mail on the iPad is Mail for iPad. As with the apps on the Mac, Safari and Mail come pre-installed on iOS devices.

    As far as web browsing is concerned, using Safari on an iPad is so much better than using any web browser on a Mac or PC. Manipulating entire web pages with only an invisible sheet of glass dividing you and the pages is brilliant, and you really need to try it yourself to understand why. A lot of times when I find myself at a Mac or PC, I try to scroll through web pages by touching the computer screen. It’s that natural.

    For Mail, the only major difference between the Mac and iOS version is that the Mac version supports filters. Why the iOS version doesn’t is one of the mysteries of life. But what do I care, I don’t really use e-Mail anyway. ;-)

    As far as IM services go, iChat on the Mac is replaced by iMessage and FaceTime on the iPad, both of which come pre-installed. It should be noted that iMessage and FaceTime only allow you to talk to other people with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and/or Mac. And Skype for Mac is obviously replaced with Skype for iPad, which personally, I think is better than Skype on Macs and PCs. I’ve stopped using Live Messenger simply because no one I know uses it. Probably no one you know either.

    Skype for iPad: Free

  • Replacing Handbrake

    The replacement for Handbrake is no Handbrake. Even if the iPad did have a DVD drive, there’s no way I’d have any interest in watching a ripped DVD on my iPad’s 2048×1536 Retina Display. My eyes would burn. I don’t think anyone is interested in doing such a thing. The best thing is to rent 1080p HD videos from iTunes or to watch streaming Netflix movies, as mentioned way above.

  • Part III

    So, how about stuff I regularly use my iPad for which I never used my Mac for?

  • Games

    I’m not much of a gamer. I dig my Wii and DS, but I never really played games on a PC or Mac. Funnily enough, my iPad has made my Wii and DS collect dust. Here are the following iPad games I play:

    Jetpack Joyride: Free – Side Scroller

    Star Legends: Free – Sci-Fi MMORPG

    DragonVale: Free – Fantasy Puzzle

    Groove Coaster: $2.99 – Music/Rhythm

    osu!stream: Free – Music/Rhythm

    Words With Friends HD: $2.99 – Multiplayer Word Puzzle

    Sudoku HD: $2.99 – Number Puzzle

  • Another thing I didn’t do on my Mac was read books. Infact, I outright didn’t read books — I hadn’t read a non-textbook in probably 5 years. When I purchased my first iPad in 2010 I bought roughly $100 of iBooks books, and read them in less than a month. Flipping digital pages was entertaining enough to keep my attention, and since then I have been a reader. iBooks is also great for reading PDFs, and has been great for keeping all of them organized.

    iBooks: Free

  • My iPad also shines as a learning tool. I’ve written about the iTunes U app before, but a quick recap: Instructors at various universities upload course material — syllabus, video/audio lectures, slides, readings, homework — and people with an iOS device equipped with the iTunes U app can take full courses designed by these instructors, for free. I’ve learned more than I can express through iTunes U.

    iTunes U: Free

  • And finally, arguably the most interesting thing I do regularly, is blogging. The iPad is, undoubtedly, the best blogging device that there is. Ignoring the ten hour charge and the portability, the iPad is so great at consuming content, and it’s very easy to find inspiration for your own articles. The more information you intake, the more ideas of your own you have. While it’s not said much, content creators are probably the biggest consumers; relay that the next time someone dismisses iPad as useless because “it’s only good for consumption”.

    So, where do I get my information? My primary news source is Twitter, and the client I use and regard as the best is Tweetbot. I can also be found in the IMDb and TechCrunch apps. Obviously, Safari (already covered above) works too, but as far as news goes I use it for maybe three sites. The “Read It Later” app-service I use is Pocket, which is honestly the best Read It Later service I’ve used, and is integrated with many apps, including Tweetbot and TechCrunch. And for articles I catch in Safari, Pocket has a “bookmarklet” which, in short, is Safari integration. It rocks.

    And creating blog articles? It’s a breeze with the iPad. Going back to the ten hour charge and portability, I can be gone all day without a charger and get any amount of articles written in any amount of settings. The battery life and portability can’t be emphasized enough — it’s very valuable.

    The apps I write and publish with is iA Writer and the WordPress app, respectively. iA Writer is an amazing text editor, in writing view everything except the keyboard and text is hidden. No status bar or any distractions, just the keyboard, the text, and you. And the keyboard is custom, adding very useful keys which save you time. iA Writer is incredibly well thought out and it’s foolish for any iPad writer to not have it installed (Sidenote: iA Writer works with iCloud, so everything you write is automatically backed up in iCloud). When I’m done composing everything in iA Writer, I copy and paste the article into the WordPress app, preview and then publish. The WordPress app for iPad is actually better than the website, which I’m sure every WordPresser can appreciate.

    I also write for Unity Bond, and over there the service we use is Blogger. Unfortunately Google makes the Blogger publishing site suck immeasurably for iPad bloggers, and Google only makes a Blogger app for iPhone. The Blogger app works on the iPad, although it looks ugly “pixel doubled”, and it’s very basic. But hey, it’s better than nothing.

    Tweetbot: $2.99. IMDb: Free. TechCrunch: Free. Pocket: Free. iA Writer: $0.99. WordPress: Free. Blogger: Free.

  • So there you have it. That’s how I use my iPad, and more importantly, how I can outright replace traditional computers with it.

    And, finally…

    Part IV

    What are the iPad’s current shortcomings, to me? To get it out of the way, personally, I prefer the iPad’s software keyboard to a physical one (and keep in mind, if the keyboard wasn’t software, iA Writer wouldn’t be able to add those great custom keys). I can type roughly two times as fast on my iPad as I can on a traditional keyboard. I understand that I’m not everybody, however… If you didn’t know, the iPad works with the high majority of modern Bluetooth keyboards (Infact I’m not aware of any which it doesn’t work with).

    The only personal drawback which I can think of is that Apple hasn’t developed Xcode for iPad yet. Don’t get me wrong, I know next to nothing about app development, but I want to start learning, and as of this writing Apple forces developers to use Macs. Those jerks. However considering I don’t know how to develop at all at present, this is a nitpick. Oh yeah, and it would be nice if Keynote for iOS was half as good as the Mac version. So basically, I miss next to nothing about traditional computers.


    I hope that this article has been useful to you, be you an iPad user trying to figure out how to use your device, or if you’re thinking about getting an iPad wondering how to use it. Or even if you’re not, I hope you found this interesting.

    By the way, it’s like five minutes to midnight. I made the day’s deadline! Also, happy 50 posts!!!

    Review: Orca

    February 22, 2012

    Chalk 1977 up as the year whales gained representation in the sea of creature features. After Jaws made killer whales look like tadpole, director Michael Anderson and writer* Luciano Vincenzoni decided to right this wrong by retelling the Moby Dick story. The end result was Orca, a little cheese-fest about an Irish fisherman and a vengeful whale.

    As the story goes… A successful fisherman, Captain Nolan (Richard Harris), decides to try his hand at whaling after a pretty marine biologist (Charlotte Rampling) convinces him that Orca whales are humankind’s equal. Unfortunately, Nolan messed with the wrong Orca; one willing to travel to the end of the Earth, killing everyone in his path, to exact revenge. That about covers it.

    In all honesty, Orca really is all over the place. It’s not clear what the filmmakers wanted to make; Is it A) Moby Dick circa 1977? B) A terribly made drama? C) Funded by PETA? D) All of the above? It’s a mess, with characters that lose and gain depth quickly enough to give any innocent viewer The Bends. The filmmakers did not do their jobs well.

    The actors weren’t much better! Alongside Richard Harris & Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, and Robert Carradine co-starred. No one even tried to put on a believable performance; everyone involved phoned-in. I know this to be true, because Richard Harris is a good actor, and Orca isn’t representative of his life’s work by any measure.

    So, obviously, Orca sucks and you shouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot harpoon, right? Well, not exactly…

    If you like bad sea creature movies as I do, there’s almost nothing more you can want from Orca. It’s perfect in its own horrible way, and as of this writing it’s available to watch on Netflix (streaming). Check it out if you so desire!

    *Sergio Donati is also credited as a writer.

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