Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Shoot. Facebook Messenger?

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Facebook Messenger app for iPhone

Another social media app?

While Google and Facebook trade blows in their social media slugfest, it’s clear who’ll win this fight.


Sure, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the social media offerings. We don’t have time to regularly use Facebook, Twitter and Google+, right?

Maybe not.

But we continue to text ’til our thumbs give out. And no one, anywhere, is chirping about how they don’t have time for texting.

Enter Facebook.

The ability to use Facebook’s messaging feature from our phones is nothing new. But the Facebook Messenger app feels like a souped-up SMS vehicle that allows you to include pictures and geotag messages.

The real power in this app, it appears, comes in how it connects us to contacts inside and outside the Facebook world. Start typing a name in the “To:” field, and you’re able to select from your Facebook friends and the contacts on your phone. It’s an exclusive club and a wide-open party at the same time.

Facebook Messenger app for iPhone

Now, about those geotags.

If you click into the location pin, guess what displays…

Of course. It’s a Google map.

That’s just one of the many interesting twists we’re sure to see as these social media giants keep trying to one-up one another.

The land grab is firmly focused on mobile at the moment. The introduction of the G+ app for iPhone put that service directly into plenty of palms, despite user complaints. You can bet Facebook has no intention of falling behind on the app front.

PC World is reporting that a video-chat component appears to be the on the horizon for the Facebook Messenger app. I’m wondering if this pushes Google to hurry its Hangout feature to phones.

I love it. We win as consumers when these companies compete like this. This story ends one of two ways: we either overwhelmingly support the better product, and it wins out; or the two continue to clash and crank out ever-evolving products that meet our changing needs.

Not everyone is a fan of Facebook’s latest offering, though. One writer even offers five reasons why you don’t need it.

If you’ve downloaded and tried the app, I’m interested to hear what you think. Comments?


Netflix has changed my view of TV

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

For nine dollars a month, I expected a huge drop-off from cable.

I was wrong.

Now, Netflix isn’t going to be the solution for everyone, but it’s been pretty close to perfect for my family’s viewing habits.

My kids have enjoyed watching their favorite Disney and Nick programming in chunks, whenever they want. It’s also been fun to introduce them to some of my childhood favorites like Fraggle Rock and The Littles.

For the adults of the house, Netflix has given us the opportunity to watch past seasons of popular shows that we’ve missed, or even series that are long gone. Arrested Development, Weeds and The Dresden Files are a few that we may have never watched, if not for Netflix, not to mention a wave of documentaries and Frontline-type offerings.

Crazy thing is, I initially justified the Netflix expense by comparing it strictly to what we spent on movie rentals. Two new movie rentals would cost the same or more than the nine-dollar monthly fee. So, if we rented just one movie a month, we would be ahead, or at least even.

I went in measuring Netflix as a movie-rental service, gauging the streaming offerings as a bonus. Our usage has been the opposite. Sure, we get 2-4 disc rentals per month, and watch movies via the streaming service. But, for the most part, we watch 30 and 60-minute programs.

Netflix has its cons, to be sure, but the service seems to have just about everything nailed. The lack of live sports–for me, anyway–keeps it from being a complete offering. However, the company continues to grow its catalog and its stock price.

Even with my current broken TV situation, Netflix still rules the roost in this house. We can watch it on the non-HD television via Nintendo Wii. Thanks to the iPhone/iPod app, we can also watch it on handheld devices. Then, there’s always the option of watching Netflix on the computer.

Now, if I could just carve out the time to go back and watch all of Lost all over again.

Categories: Blogtober, TV Tags: , , , ,

Libraries turn the page

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Technology isn’t killing libraries, it’s saving them.

This is our world: books on our phones or e-readers; some, like the one in the picture below, are even free.


A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” as seen on the Apple iPhone’s “iBooks” app

Now, libraries aren’t altogether closing the book on their business model. But they’re working with, rather than against, technology.

Just this week, one of the public libraries where I live rolled out a new program allowing anyone with a library card to download audiobooks and e-books.

In a time when we want (expect?) information and entertainment content to be free, the combination of the old check-out model with the new download mentality makes sense.

Letting the kids do their own shopping via an iPhone app

October 19, 2010 1 comment

We’re taking a new approach to Christmas shopping this year.

No, we’re not just being huge nerds who use the iPhone for everything. There is a method to the madness this time.

This app, called “Red Laser,” scans barcodes, then stores the items’ names and prices on your phone.

This is useful for a few reasons:

1) It keeps track of the best prices (online) for the items you scan.

2) It creates a working wish list on your phone.

3) When you empower the kids to do the scanning, as we did, it creates a sort of accountability/buy-in to the wish list.

It seems like a great idea now. Let’s see how it holds up when the kids change their minds the first of several hundred times between now and December 25.