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

Week Calendar

A Calendar on Steroids for Your iPhone

When iOS 6 was rolled out along with the iPhone 5 I was looking for a number of improvements to come along with it. I don’t pay much attention to the rumor sites, or even what Apple sends in some of the developer previews because they’ve been known to pull/add things last minute so when I fired up iOS 6 I didn’t know what to expect. There were a few things that I had hoped would receive some attention (Contacts, Airplay etc.), but one of the most important things on my wish list was an update to the calendars App. Don’t get me wrong, the built in calendar App does the basics just fine. It will allow you to input an appointment or task into it with no problem. It will remind you at a set time prior to that appointment with a notification, but it doesn’t offer much beyond that. When I saw the lack of calendar love with this update, I went searching for a 3rd party App to cover my needs. What I found was a super versatile, customizable, easy to use calendar that is now the only calendar that I use.  From the slick interface to the batch editing, it has everything that I want.

Beautiful Display

One of the things that I dislike so much about the built in Calendar App is the lack of a quality week view. Apple offers “list” view which is a semi-week view but no where near the beautiful layout of the week view in Week Calendar. With Week Calendar the week view shows every day of the week in 9 hour increments. A red line indicates what time of the day you currently are on and allows you to easily identify what appointments are approaching as well as which appointments are currently going on. Indicated by a light blue tint, the column (day) that you are currently in will have the day of the week and date highlighted in bright blue. On the topic of color, you can also color code events based on keywords. So for example I can color code all of my appointments for my children in green so that I can quickly determine what type of appointment I have just by glancing at the colors associated. To take this one step further, you can set the App to automatically color code an event based on keywords contained withing the appointment. For example if I start the appointment off with “Twins” it can change the color to green automatically. This saves a ton of time in color coding. Another great visual enhancement is the addition of icons. These icons can be entered manually into appointments or again automatically with keywords.

Moving appointments has never been easier than it is with Week Calendar. Just tap and hold to move around appointments like you would an App. Intuitive and easy; this is what makes the iPhone so great and that same simplicity transfers into Week Calendar.  Moving beyond simple reoccurring appointments, Week calendar allows custom, complex reoccurring appointments such as every 3 months on the last weekend day of the month, every 2 weeks on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and much, much more. Basically almost any way of making it reoccur is supported.

Everything You Would Expect

Beyond the added features contained within Week Calendar, it contains everything that you would expect to see in a calendar on the iPhone. Adjustments for the colors, calendar, views, and more. While the “week” view is my favorite and the most widely promoted for Week Calendar, you also have the option to view it in day, month, year, mini month, agenda, and more! This is truly a customizable calendar that is meant to be changed to fit your needs!

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quality, customizable replacement for the stock calendar App, Week Calendar is for you! It is totally customizable, well laid out, and easy to use. It’s not only powerful, but user friendly. It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen in a calendar.

 

You can get Week Calendar for the iPhone from the iTunes store for $1.99 here:  iTunes

STAYConnect Mobile

LodgeNet App Lets You Control Your Hotel TV

LodgeNet provides the hotel TV service for many of the hotels in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Seattle. Unfortunately although you have a choice in hotels, you don’t really have a choice in hotel entertainment systems. However, if you do happen to stay in a property that has LodgeNet and you have an iOS device (this is a Universal app) with internet access you can use it to control your TV, get information about the hotel you’re staying in and if the service allows you can even check out the room service and other services. Of course you can also order video on demand right from your iOS device.

Works in San Francisco

 

I’m traveling on business this week and I got to my room last night. I had downloaded the LodgeNet App a while ago, but this was the 1st time that I was in a property that supports it. I may have been in one before, but I don’t always turn on the hotel TV when I travel. During my channel surfing I saw the ad for the App and remembered that I already had it. So I decided to give it a try. You pair the App with your current room’s TV by displaying the code (I imagine it changes with each new guest) on the TV from the entertainment menu. Key that code into the App on your device and you’re all set. From that point on you can use the touch screen on your iDevice to change channels, control the volume and order video on demand content. It’s simple and it works, but it could be so much more. As a TV remote it’s cool, but not a killer App. However, if it tied into things like ordering room service, making reserations at hotel restaurants, etc., ordering car services/taxis, summoning the bellhop, unlocking the door when you return to the room, wakeup calls, digital do-not-disturb signs, etc. then the App would be infinitely more usable. As it stands the App works as advertised, but it would be nice to see it go way beyond TV control.


iTunes

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