Tag Archives: tech

Make Watching Your Digital Movies Easier

If you are like me you are stuck between in two worlds.  The physical world and the coming digital age.  I’m not speaking metaphorically.  I’m talking about my movie collection.

I want to share with you about a couple of resources I have come across recently that have helped me step into the future of managing my movie collection.  Over the course of the last decade, I have spent money on most of the major e-commerce platforms purchasing movies and music.  I have half of my purchased music collection in iTunes and half on Google Play.  I can’t help with the music today, but I have a killer solution for your movies.  It is Movies Anywhere and it is amazing.

Movies Anywhere is available on the web and both mobile platforms – iOS (Apple/iPhone) and Android (Google).  It is a place where all of your movie purchases from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and Vudu all live together!  One app that syncs all those purchases you made years ago that you forgot about – in one place.  It is amazing.  No ads, no mess.  Just your movies.  It takes about a minute to get your accounts synced up and it is done.   Finally all of those Disney movies you have purchased with the digital code in the box that you never knew what to do with – now has a place to live.

And if you need help filling out your digital movie collection then I have another resource for you.  I don’t buy a ton of movies, but when I do, I want to spend as little as possible.   I came across JustWatch a couple of weeks ago.  It is a website that compares the various digital platforms and helps you see the best place to purchase or rent them.  Pair that with the Movies Anywhere app and you don’t have to have tons of random apps floating around your phone just so you can watch the videos you have purchased.

Google Pixel 2 – My Experience

In October I was due for a cell phone upgrade and after some research, I settled on the Google Pixel 2.  Using it every day for the last two months I have some observations.  I really like this phone.  It is the best phone that I have had ever, but it should be.  It isn’t perfect, but it is very good.  The Pixel 2 had the best features available for this price point (around $650).  Below are the aspects that bring me the most joy and frustration:

  • Camera – This camera is amazing.  Seriously.  It is so much better than anything I have ever used before.  It doesn’t have a ton of control options which is good because I would just screw those up.  I just take the picture and Google’s magic makes it looks great.  If you don’t want to learn how to take great photos, but want to have amazing photos – get this phone.
  • Phone Size – I had hoped that this would enable me to go back to using a phone with one hand, it has not.  For me, the phone feels a little too big to use comfortably one-handed.  I do LOVE that I can put it in my pocket and I can forget it is there!  It is nice having a phone that doesn’t take up so much space in my life.
  • Squeeze to Activate Google Assistant – I have enjoyed this feature, but it hasn’t been a game changer.  It is nice not having to yell, “Ok Google.”  But it still seems like I can only get a successful interaction about 80%, which is better than anything I have had with Siri, but not enough to make me it a go-to option.
  • 5 Inch Screen – Having come from the Nexus 6p which had a 5.7-inch screen, I was concerned about the smaller Pixel 2 screen size.  The older I get and worst my vision gets the more I want to have the luxury of the larger screen.  It hasn’t ruined my experience, but it is one of thing first things that I think about when reflecting on this phone.  Apart from the size, this is a good looking screen.  Google has offered some more options for ramping up the color saturation so some of the early complaints you will find in initial reviews aren’t an issue at this point.
  • Headphone Jack – At this point, if you are reading this you should know that it doesn’t have a headphone jack.  I get it.  It is terrible that it doesn’t have it.  You only notice it when you need it…which is ironically when you need it.  The adapters are cheap enough, but the fact that they don’t include some cheap USB-C headphones is frustrating.  I would suggest you order 2 or 3 extra adapters when you order your phone and have them already attached to connectors you need in your life (car, favorite headphones, office, etc).
  • Operating System & Apps – Android is a fun OS and most of your favorite apps are available on Google Play.  But “most” isn’t “all.”  Some of the more trendy productivity apps are iPhone exclusive and don’t seem to be moving to Google/Android anytime soon.

New Nexus 7 – Initial Impressions of the Google Tablet

I am not a full time tech reporter or reviewer. I just spend a little bit too much time reading about products I rarely purchase.  But with the New Nexus 7, released on July 30, 2013, I have jumped in feet first.

I have had a limited experience with the Android OS, using it on a Motorola Droid 2 in 2010 for about 12 months. It was Android 2.2, whatever was before Gingerbread update. As I told my friends, I like everything about it, but it doesn’t make phone calls very well.  Overall, it was a rough experience and I went back to iOS as soon as possible.

However, with each Android software update, I have continued to be impressed with their direction…in theory. In theory I loved what Google’s OS was doing, but in practice I as miserable.  So, it was with excitement and nervousness that I decide to bite the bullet and get the new Nexus 7 this past month.  Thankfully, with this 7 inch tablet, I want to do just about everything BUT make phone calls! This is my second experience with a tablet, iPad3 user for 12 months in 2012 on iOS 6. So, I have high expectations for what a device can and should do. I am seeking a tablet that will me access my content (books, articles, documents/Evernote) and web content in a pocketable but usable device. I have an iPhone 4s and I am tired of typing on the unforgiving keyboard and squinting at a microscopic screen.

Initial Impressions:

I very much like it, in fact, it might be love.

Pros:

  • Operating System (OS): One of my biggest frustrations with my first experience with Android OS was that it wasn’t smooth. Google has been working on that (in a strangely titled project, “Project Butter,” as in “smooth as butter”) with each OS update. With OS 4.3 Jelly Bean they have nailed it. It is smooth and responsive. 99% of my “touches” are acknowledged and the tablet responds flawlessly.  At this point, granted it is early, I have very much enjoyed this improvement from previous Android experiences.
  • Screen: The screen is amazing. The colors pop and I can’t find a pixel (that is a good thing). At times, the width is a little tight.  It is a 16×9 ratio which is great for movies, but does make PDFs & webpages tricky to find the sweet spot.
  • Value:  It is a great price point ($270 for the 32 GB which is plenty) and looks like it has the specs to be a good tablet for the next 2 years. I am sure you can find it cheaper by looking online a little bit. I think you could also get away with the 16GB version which is $230.
  • Size/Form Factor: As most reviews have said, it does at times feel “tall.” But it doesn’t feel awkward. It is comfortable in one hand and isn’t heavy. The back feels very good, it is a non-slip feel but doesn’t feel tacky/sticky.

Cons:

  • Google Play Store: The bottom line is that iTunes and Apple’s philosophy about having an easier platform to develop for (App makers only have to worry about 3 screen sizes) does make their offering of apps better. Even with “many, many” apps available on both platforms. I have found most of the apps I use on my iOS (iPhone & iPad) that are really innovative (example: Drafts for iOS, Tweetbot, or Checkmark), aren’t available on Android.  Apart from having to purchase them gain, I just can’t find them!  This isn’t the Nexus 7 fault. But it is a problem it has to deal with.

If you are looking for a tablet, this is a great choice. Is it “better” than an iPad? I think it is better than a non-retina iPad (i.e. iPad Mini or iPad 2).  If you have $400+ to spend on a tablet, by all means, get an iPad 4. If you are like most people, you need to find a balance between value and quality, this is the tablet to get.