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Entries in tech news (8)


rewind 2012: apps & technology

As I continue to rewind 2012, today I discuss my favorite apps and general technology geek talk. 
Top 5 Apps
1.  Clear
I love this app!  I use it on my iPhone and my Mac.  It's a very simple interface and friendly to use.  Nothing special, just real easy to do list making.  I really really love it and mostly love the simplicity.  No project managing, etc.  Just a real clear make a list and cross it off.  It's really changed the way I grocery shop and plot out my day.  Each day I learn how to make things a little simpler.  
2.  Scramble with Friends
So addictive!  This game was started on a whim, since I loved Words with Friends and I just wanted to keep playing some of my friends in these types of word games and this one stuck!  It's super fun and kind of a mix of cross word puzzles and word building.   I like that it's fast.   Each game is only 2 minutes per round and you can play a game while you're waiting for something to microwave or anything.  Brilliant and fun!
3.  Song Pop
 Basically, this game is Name that Tune.  Since I love music, this game fits a niche that not everyone loves, but I do.   I love guessing which song is which and can't believe it when I miss something.  It's very addictive and I found myself playing strangers anyone, just so I can play.   I've started to kind of taper off a little, but it's still very fun and highly addictive to play.  
4.  Angry Birds Star Wars
 I have loved Angry Birds for awhile, but I hadn't played in forever.  I must say when I saw the Star Wars themed version I had to check it out.  It's great.  It borrows from the standard angry birds game and from the space version, but it's all done with a Star Wars theme and I just can't get enough of it.  I started playing it in November and it's renewed my interest in all my Angry Birds games.   Those Rovio guys are genius and they even are planning on making a movie.  We'll see if they can build a real cross platform franchise or if this birds/pigs fizzle out next year.  
5.  Passbook
 This isn't so much an app as it is a feature within iOS6 for iPhone and iPad.  I think it needs to mature a lot, but I was really interested in exploring it.  Starbucks has a very seamless integration and it's so simple and easy and transformed how I get my Starbucks coffee.  It will pop up a notification on my Phone when I enter one of my normal Starbucks locations and give me access to my gift card/payment card without having to launch the seperate app.   Again, simple and I can see how this could evolve into a digital wallet type app.  I'd love to be able to use this for all my loyalty cards for stores which I hate carrying around so much.  I can also see it for credit cards.   I guess we'll see how it evolves over the next year, but so far it's intriguing and it's something I really want to use.  
Now that you know my favorite apps to use, here's some general tech talk.  As always, 2012 ushered in some cool new toys.  iCloud officially launched by Apple and MobileMe went away.  I am really enjoying iCloud and again it's the simplicity that I love the most.   I think I miss the website ease with MobileMe and I definitely miss the galleries.  But I'm using squarespace now for my site which is much much nicer and I'm looking into other ways with picture galleries, since I think the squarespace galleries lack a little something for ease of use.  iCloud just works and good to know my information is backed up in Apple's cloud (huge data center in North Carolina and maybe more soon).  The nicest part is the backups just happen when you are plugged into power and wifi is nearby.  Genius!  The bad part is that it's not backing up everything on my hard drive.  I like that I can delete stuff from my own hard drive and then just grab it back from iCloud especially the iTunes purchases.   This is extremely helpful.  I like it so much, I'm considering a service like Carbonite to backup the rest of my stuff on my Mac.  I've been holding off on using iTunes Match too, but I think I may give it a try since I keep hearing good things about it.  It was a rocky beginning so I held off.   
The tech patents are getting insane.  You need to look no further than the many many patent lawsuits that you see everyday.   TiVo is using them to keep themselves alive.  They have a great service and I wish them continued success, but they need to sell themselves to Apple and integrate with Apple TV.   They will die at some point due to a lack of innovation and how much it costs to get into their product versus a standard cable dvr.  They are way better than a cable DVR, but I must admit that I haven't upgraded my TiVo in like 4 years now and it needs it, but I wonder why I should bother.  I'm just recording less and watching online more.  I lvoe TiVo, but I wonder if it's a product whose time has come and gone.   Hmmm.....The patent lawsuits reached an all time crazy with Apple vs Samsung.  I'm glad that Apple won their victory, but then Samsung won something too.   I mean, some of the stuff these companies are claiming a patent on, just don't seem like things that you should be able to patent.  Crazy, and then lawsuits in multiple countries too?  Too much.  I think the patent system needs to re-evaluated in this new age of technology.  
Facebook did another redesign and introduced timeline.  They keep changing to keep it fresh, but they will have a hard time doing that I think as they evolve since they are so super huge.  They just bought instagram toward the end of the year too.   Who knows how long Facebook will survive, most of these type of companies fall out of favor after a few years, but Facebook and Twitter look to be going strong.  I will say I've tried Google+ several times and I really liked it, but couldn't get into using it.  There is something lacking there from a user experience and Facebook and Twitter are just simpler and more integrated and more of my friends use them.   Oh well.  GetGlue I am also still using for checking into movies and TV.  Now I'm also on Good Reads for books and FourSquare for locations.   Lord help me.  These social networks are just everywhere.  I feel like at some point, we'll all went to be a little less social, right?
Apple came out with all kinds of cool gadgets this year.  2 rounds of new iPads, new iPhone with a big redesign, new iPods with a big redesign, new iMacs, new Macbooks.  Thunderbolt and Lightning cables now replacing all of our other standard 32 pin iPhone/iPod/iPad cables.  Whew!   I didn't buy any of those new gadgets this year, but I finally got an Apple TV.  I LOVE IT!!!  It is a big change in my habits and I get much better playback of Netflix on that device.  It's so impressvely tiny too.   Not in the way at all.  I also like getting lots of my media from my Mac to my TV/Stereo.   I really really like it.  I subscribed to Hulu Plus only because I could get it on my TV through Apple TV.   I would never use this service if I could only use it online.  It's the way I consume a great deal of television now.   I still prefer to watch my TV on TV and not through my computer.   Although I do watch on my iPad occasionally.   I find it a complimentary service to my Netflix subscription and not a replacement.  It has more current shows than Netflix.  It also has commercials, but I don't find them very intrusive.  It still lacks a great deal of content, especially HBO and bothersome when whole sections of Saturday Night Live aren't able to be streamed, but the content they do have on there I like to consume.  I should probably do a whole post at some point this year on what I like about Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.   I need to also do a whole post on the Apple TV and what I'd love to see done with that.  There has been many rumors going around about what Apple wants to do in the TV space, so I guess getting my thoughts out there would make me feel better before anything actually happens.  I also need to do a whole post on digital downloads for movies and tv shows.   I've done a lot more of that this year through iTunes and have lots of digital movies in my collection.   I generally like the idea but have lots of issues with it.   I still have a bunch of blu-rays too.  iTunes major redesign finally came through in December too.  I've heard mixed reviews, but I generally like it.  Still getting used to it somewhat though.   
In general, it was another fun year in techy stuff.  Maybe a new iPad for me in 2013?  mini or standard?  let's see what next year brings.  this is the year that I would get a new iPhone too.  


Profiting from Piracy

Check out this article. Studios are intending to embed ads into any videos on the web that feature copyrighted content. I find this very interesting. It may allow for much more posting of copyrighted material by individuals and change the online world of what's considered piracy a bit. Very interesting to me.


TiVo and Netflix together

Here's an article about the new partnership with TiVo and Netflix subscribers. Basically, if you've got a newer TiVo that can stream internet content, you'll soon be able to stream movies in your Queue from Netflix that are available for instant viewing. You must be a subscriber of both services to take advantage.

I think this is a great idea for both companies. I've been intrigued to try Netflix's instant view service, but since I have an older Mac and didn't want to buy a Roku player (who needs another box in their media center) I was shut out. This will help me greatly to have more entertainment options.


Turn your PC into a TiVo

It appears that TiVo wants to exist in whatever form it can worldwide. I think it speaks to more things to come from this innovative company. I love my TiVo and couldn't live without it. I tried and used a cable company DVR for awhile and it's just not the same. Anyway, TiVo is making software for your PC that turns your PC into a TiVo. Maybe TiVo and Apple can start talking about a mac based TiVo. I would buy it in a heartbeat. Much more desirable than an Apple TV. Anyway, here's the article. I'm sure that this isn't earth shattering and that many people have tweaked their TiVo's in the past, but this is the first real attempt by the company to expand beyond selling TiVo boxes.


Apple's Let's Rock Event

Apple had their Let's Rock Event yesterday. While most of the late predictions came true, there were some surprises. I'm excited about the new Nanos since I was thinking of getting a new one soon anyway. My headphone jack is kind of worn out and now I don't hear clean music through my nano anymore. I'm also excited to use the new iTunes 8. I'm just starting to play with it now since I downloaded it last night. OK, well here's a ton more info if you're interested.

Watch the whole event in quicktime
Check out the apple store