If you’ve ever been stuck somewhere, the combination of an $8-per-month Netflix streaming subscription and the company’s free iPhone app is worth its weight in gold. Movies and TV shows stream pretty good even over a 3G connection, and you can add content to your Instant Queue for quick playback when you get home. Best of all, if you’re watching something on Netflix through your TV or computer, the iPhone app will pick up right where you stopped the flick.
Two years ago, Steve Jobs argued that iPhone users don’t really need Adobe Flash, in part, because much of the web’s video has been made available in other formats. For those times when Flash is the only choice, Skyfire’s VideoQ app comes in handy. Just copy the web page address from your browser, jump to the app and Skyfire converts the video on that page into a format that the iPhone can play. The app even suggests new and popular Flash content to watch, such as episodes of The Daily Show.
Mini-sized music-making apps are all the rage these days, and I’ve tussled with many of them, but nothing combines the capabilities of a halfway serious DAW (digital audio workstation) to the elegant simplicity of Apple’s iOS interface like GarageBand for the iPhone. The designers somehow managed to cram several of the Mac version’s features into a setup that somehow feels custom-made for a 3.5-inch screen, including guitar, piano and drum layouts, “smart” instruments (piano, guitar, drums, bass) and a multitrack recording studio with guitar amps and Stompbox effects. Whether you just want to noodle on the go, or actually scratchpad a serious tune, no other app scratches that itch like this does for just $4.99.
Do you have some time to kill? StumbleUpon is one of the best suppliers of the fine resource known as “random cool and interesting stuff on the net.” Just tap the “Stumble” button, and you’ll be transported from funny list articles to delicious recipes to oddball trivia to amazing photography, you name it. The more you provide feedback with StumbleUpon’s thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons, the more StumbleUpon will remember what kind of things you like and the better your viewing experience will be, so it’s a win-win-win.
Words With Friends
The “Friends” in Words With Friends is used somewhat loosely, as you’re able to compete against total strangers in this crazily popular word game that pretty much spawns from Scrabble, the not-as-interactive board game. You can carry on up to 20 simultaneous matches, too — the game will send you notification messages when it’s your turn. You can connect the game with your Facebook account to play against your actual friends, and games you start on your iPhone can be completed on an iPad or iPod Touch. Don’t scoff: Once you get addicted to Words With Friends, you’ll have several of those devices scattered around the house so you’re never too far away from countering one of your many opponents’ turns. Addictive to the extreme and fun as heck.
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