Entertainment

We all need to have some fun. These apps are all for entertainment, although are not games. If you are looking for games, head over here.

Epic Rap Battles

Epic Rap Battles Of History!

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Today’s post is going to be a little more light-hearted. Today’s App is one that isn’t necessarily one that I NEED but I sure do love having it! For some time now I’ve subscribed to the Youtube channel ERB which is produced by Nice Peter, EpicLLoyd, Dave McCary, and Maker Studios. These guys are some of the funniest I’ve ever seen on Youtube so I watch them whenever I need a good laugh. Up until a few weeks ago I was logging into Youtube on my phone to get my ERB fix but recently they released an iOS App that makes it a whole heck of a lot easier to keep (almost) all of my favorite videos in one spot. (NOTE: Some of the videos, actually ALL of the videos are NSFW due to language)

 

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What it’s all about

So the basic premiss behind ERB is that they “match up” two of history’s most unlikely adversaries in a “rap battle”. For anyone that doesn’t know what this is, it’s where two rappers get the same beat to “freestyle rap” or come up with a rap in their head on the fly dissing the other rapper. So they make fun of their looks, their height, their intelligence, etc. It may not sound funny, or interesting but trust me, it’s the best 2-3 minutes that you’ll have today using your phone! As you can see in the screen shot above they have some hilarious videos. Babe Ruth vs Lance Armstrong, Tesla vs Edison, Ghandi vs MLK jr. but I think the one that has to be my favorite in this group is Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates! Hilarious work! What I really like about these videos is that they aren’t just on the fly and poorly done. They spend a lot of time, and a lot of money to make these videos very, very good.

So far I’ve only found one downside to this App and that is it only contains season 2 episodes of ERB. There were some very, very funny videos in the first season and after you watch season 2 found in the App, you should search them out on Youtube and check out season 1. It’s worth the watch!

The Bottom Line

If you love funny, short videos, then you’ll love Epic Rap Battles of History! These guys do an awesome job with the matchups, the video production, and the App. Since it’s free from the iTunes store, it’s definitely worth downloading!

 

You can get ERB from the iTunes store for the iPhone and iPad free here: iTunes

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon Instant Video

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Having another streaming content option is usually a good thing. I’ve got Netflix, Slingplayer, HBO Go and various TV station Apps. There is no shortage of things to watch on the go. When I saw the announcement for the Amazon Instant Video App I downloaded it immediately. I figured that since I already pay for Amazon Prime, I might as well take advantage of this benefit. I just got a chance to play with the App and it does the kinds of things I expected right off the bat. I signed in with my Amazon credentials and I was presented with a display of available TV shows and movies for instant streaming. So far so good. I randomly picked an episode of Fringe to watch and the quality was decent. Again, this is all good, but…

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Trouble in paradise…

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While the App performed as I expected, I was completely dismayed to find out that it only worked via WiFi. That’s right, no 3G/4G cellular support. While you can watch any videos that you’ve downloaded, you can’t stream anything once you step outside the range of a WiFi Network. This seems like a huge step backwards in 2013. In the early days many apps were restricted from streaming over 3G because AT&T was the only network that supported the iPhone and AT&T/Apple feared that millions of streaming customers would bring the network to its knees. However, those days have long gone since the iPhone is available now on several carriers. Also since most carriers charge for a certain amount of data use each month, users are careful not to do a ton of streaming unless their plans support it. I think that it’s very shortsighted of Amazon to limit their App this way. Perhaps put up a warning when I user starts a stream over cellular data and then once the user taps OK they’re on their own. The other problem (and this is not just an Amazon problem) is that the App doesn’t support AirPlay. So If I understand this correctly, I have to be on my WiFi network to enjoy the App, and since I’m home on my network I can’t even enjoy the show on my big screen HDTV? With these limitations, this will not be my goto App.

If you have an Amazon Prime account or you’ve purchased downloadable movies via Amazon, then the App is probably worth having on your device. However, the WiFi requirement and lack of AirPlay/HDMI out support will make it a limited experience.

iTunes

AMC Theatres

AMC Adds Passbook Support

I go to the movies when there’s a movie that I really want to see and don’t want to wait for it to come out on Blu-ray or streaming. Here in Michigan I usually go to an AMC theater. AMC has a rewards program called Stubs and of course this means carrying a Stubs Rewards Card with your barcode on it. I had already stopped carrying the card and just put the number in my Cardstar App. However, last night they released an update to their App to support Passbook. I decided to give it a shot since Passbook offers the advantage of being able to bring up your card when you’re near the business that supports it. Sure enough the AMC App let me add the card for my “favorite theater”. The App let’s you do all the things you would expect. You can find your closest theater, see show times, and buy tickets. You can also check your purchase history and Stubs balances. Lastly you can view cast info and trailers as well as share your movie choices via social media such Facebook and Twitter. This update also supports the iPhone 5 screen size.

Sounds good! What’s not to like?

This App works as advertised, but there is room for improvement. First off the text is on the small side throughout the app. It’s like they tried to cram a lot of stuff on each screen. This also means that the buttons are small and sometimes hard to tap. My next complaint actually has more to do with AMC theaters in general. The fact that I can purchase tickets online or via the App is great, but it seems kinda silly that I have to go to a kiosk and print my ticket when I arrive. Why do we need paper tickets in 2012? Next up is the electronic Stubs card now in Passbook. If I walk into my local AMC and want to buy a ticket via the kiosk, there is no way for me to manually put in my Stubs number or scan it. The kiosks only work with the physical card. In other words the kiosks need to go! I should be able to buy my tickets via the App and have those tickets show up in Passbook along with the Stubs card. When I get to the theater the guy/girl ticket taker scans my phone and away I go. The irony is that the concession stand actually gets this right. If you make a food purchase they can scan your Stubs card right off your phone.

The Bottom Line

I’m very happy to see AMC move forward with their App and support Passbook in iOS 6. However, they need to move faster towards eliminating the need for paper tickets at the actual theaters themselves. If you’re an AMC movie goer, then there is no reason not to have this App.
iTunes

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster on iPhone

Let’s face it. Buying concert and event tickets can really make you feel like you’re being ripped off at times. Gone are the days where people would camp out in front of the box office window the night or days before tickets go on sale to get the 1st or best seats. Back in those days you were pretty much just making sure that you got a good seat. The price was the price. Today there are multiple online sources to get tickets and the price is not “the price.” The price is what you’re willing to pay to sit where you want to sit on the day you want to go. Yep, it’s a racket! Ticketmaster is often a go to place for event tickets and they tend to be pretty reliable in letting you buy good seats and “reasonable” prices.

The Tickemaster app has recently been updated to let you not only search for events around you, but in other areas you’re thinking about going to or will be visiting. Prior to this update the App wasn’t very useful in my opinion. Now when you find an event you can see the ticket prices and buy your tickets right in the Appl You can also get push notifications for sales and last minute ticket availability. I think that’s probably one of the best features of a “mobile app”. We’re not always in front of our computers. So when an App can alert you to something that you would otherwise have missed by the time you got back to your computer, it’s a good thing. The app also offers suggestions after a quick scan of your music library to see which artists you like.

The Bottom Line

This update is definitely an improvement, but it could still use some work. For example, it would be nice to be able to save multiple cities as “Favorites” to be alerted for events going on in those cities. When I went through the process to buy tickets it prompted me for the captcha like picture where you type the letters numbers you see in the picture. Of course this can be a pain in the but on a mobile keyboard and I have to guess that there’s an easier way to detect if you’re a human or not coming in from their own App. The Ticketmaster App is Free and if you like concerts and other events there is no reason not to have it. You can use it to check prices and buy tickets. Best of all you get alerts.

iTunes

Someecards

Someecards to Share With Friends

I’m sure you’ve seen some of these funny ecards around your social media circles. They are usually classic line art images with funny captions. I usually see them chuckle and move on, but I did wonder what was the source. Were they being generated from a website? I should have known there was an App for that.

Someecards is an iOS App that has literally hundreds of these funny ecards in the app and is constantly being updated with new ones. The App does a great job in breaking them out by category so that you can find ones for the right occasion. You can add ones you find to your favorites for later use and more importantly you can share them via SMS, Email, Facebook, Twitter or simply saving them to your Camera Roll.

In my limited testing the App worked flawlessly and I really like the “Newest” and “Popular” category. The only thing I’d like to see is the ability to alter the captions or add your own.
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