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.

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SkyMotion - Highly Accurate, Hyperlocal, Weather Forecasts for Rain, Snow and Freezing Rain

Sky Motion Tells You Exactly When It’s Going To Rain

There are lots of great weather apps on the App Store today. I use a few different ones mainly because I haven’t found quite the perfect interface on a single one yet. Nonetheless I really like the choices that are out there. Sky Motion is a different kind of weather App. It has one goal in mind. It aims to tell you precisely when it’s going to rain in the next two hours in your exact location. It doesn’t pretend to be the jack of all trades when it comes to weather. It simply wants you to know if your outdoor activity will be rained upon or not. On this one goal, it does so very well.

I’ve had this App for a couple of weeks now and for most of that time my immediate area has been quite dry. So all the App would tell is “no rain”. However, now that we are seeing some rain the App is not only telling when it will rain, but for how long. Also unlike most of the other apps that based on a zip code or city, Sky Motion is using your exact geo location.

How well does it work?

It works well, but keep in mind that it only has a 2 hour window. So if you’re wondering if this Saturday’s game is going to be rained out or not this App won’t tell you. However, if it’s cloudy and you’re thinking about taking a walk or run right now and you want to know if you’ll be rained on or not, then Sky Motion is your app. By being tightly focused on your specific area and a short window of time, it can be very accurate.

You can also use it to search other areas by address, but the UI for that feature could use some help.

Overall, Sky Motion isn’t going to replace your favorite weather App, but it is going to be a nice addition to the one(s) you use now.

iTunes

Facebook App Gets A Speed Update (FINALLY)!

To say that the Facebook App on iOS was slow is like saying that the sun is hot. It started to lag so bad that I stopped using it. I started using the mobile web version instead. When I got a push notification and tapped on it I would see the Facebook App load and just sigh knowing that I’d have to wait a couple of minutes before I could see what it was that I was being notified about.

Why was it so slow?

Facebook is a big company with lots of cash! So why would such a high profile social networking company have such a bad App? Your guess is good as mine. I can only guess that it just wasn’t that important to the powers that be. Perhaps Mark doesn’t use an iPhone. If he did, I doubt that he would have allowed the experience to be so bad. The problem was that the original App wasn’t a native objective-c App (at least that’s my understanding) and this new one is.

Is it faster?

A first glance, YES! It is definitely faster than the previous version, but they would have to work pretty hard for it not to be. Is it fast? Well that’s a different question. While it is faster, I still don’t consider it to be “fast.” I would say that now it’s probably usable.

Any other new features?

Sadly no. I was disappointed to see that on the iPad there still isn’t much of an improvement. For example, Pages still don’t have Timeline support on the iPad. So with this update it seems that they spent all of their time on speed and I welcome that! It’s still kinda embarrasing for a company the size of Facebook not to support their own new features in their own App, but it is what it is.

This goes out to ALL of the social media sites that have Apps. Please make your Apps at least as functional as your website. It’s a shame that the mobile web version of your Apps offer more than your native Apps!

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Watch WMV Files on Your iPhone

 

A good friend of mine and I share funny emails back and forth on a regular basis. He’ll send me a funny picture or saying, and sometimes he sends me videos that he’s found that he thinks are funny (retired people don’t have much to do). Usually I open the videos on my Macbook Pro, but recently I’ve spend a lot of time on the road and I’ve been doing most of my communications through my iPhone and not my Mac. I found myself a little frustrated because most of the videos he sent were WMV (Windows Media Video files) which are not natively supported by the iPhone. I went searching. What I found was a feature packed App allowing me to watch WMV files on my iPhone that is easy to use; OPlayer lite.

 

Does it All

While I went searching for an App to play WMV files, OPlayer lite does so much more. It not only plays WMV files but it also supports the following formats as well: XVID/DIVX, AVI, RMVB, ASF, H264, MKV and more! Just about any file format you want is supported within this App. All of the expected options and features are there; screen lock, playlists, tv out, and Airplay. Also included is the ability to upload to FTP servers! All contained within a FREE App. There is a paid version but the ONLY thing that you gain with the paid version is the removal of banners. This for me isn’t a big deal because I’m only using it to view short clips that are sent to me via email. If you’re going to use this as your main Video App, spend the $2.99 and get the no banners version. Probably the best part of this App is actually a feature of the iPhone and iTunes. When I receive a video via email I can choose to “open in” and choose OPlayer lite. Almost instant access to my videos.

The Bottom Line

With all of the features, the inexpensive price (free) and the easy to use interface, I think OPlayer is just about the best App that I have found when it comes to video conversion/playback Apps for the iPhone.

Facebook Pages Manager

Facebook Pages Manager

To say that the Facebook App is not very good is really being nice. It’s so slow at times that I’ve basically defaulted to using the Facebook Mobile Site instead. While both the mobile site and the native Facebook App do incorporate access to your Fan Pages it treats them like second class citizens. Everything is really geared towards your personal account. For example, you can receive push notifications for things like tags, but that’s only if someone tags you personally. What about comments and messages left by your fans on your Pages?

Facebook Pages Manager

Believe it or not, Facebook makes a dedicated App just for Fan/Business Pages. The Facebook Pages Manager acts like the Facebook App for your Pages. You can upload pics directly to your albums. You can reply to messages and comments left and of course do your Likes on your Pages. Now you might be quick to think that since it’s by Facebook that it would be just as bad as the regular Facebook App, but really it’s not (as) bad at all. Once you sign in the App will list all the Pages that you manage. You and easily switch between them. The App is faster than the regular Facebook App perhaps because it’s not bogged down by all the personal stuff and timelines. The Facebook Pages Manager’s biggest advantage is that it gives you push notifications for things that happen on your Pages.

While it would be nice to have ONE GREAT Facebook App that handles Personal profiles, Pages, Groups, etc. it’s good to have at least one Facebook App that actually works decently. There is one point to make though and that is some are having stability issues with the App crashing. So far I’m not seeing any crashing, but there are too many complaining about it on the App Store to ignore and for that reason I’m going to give it a 3 star rating. Features are good and if they’d make it more stable for all then I’d be happy to raise the rating.

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