The very best apps and programs for monitoring motion pictures, music, books, and extra

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Hello, buddies! Welcome to Installer No. 10, your information to the very best and Verge-iest stuff on the planet. (If you happen to’re new right here, hooray! I’m so completely satisfied you’re right here, and likewise, you possibly can make amends for all of the {old} editions at the Installer homepage.) We made it via 10 weeks! It’s been so enjoyable to make this each week and to speak to you all in regards to the cool stuff you’re into. Thanks for being a part of the Installerverse (we’re gonna make {that a} factor, it’s gonna occur), and as all the time, inform me all the pieces you suppose we are able to do to make it higher!

This week, I’ve been studying about Marvel’s plan to fix its TV shows and all the wild testimony from the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, making numerous deranged artwork in the improved Bing Chat, watching the David Beckham documentary and debating many new hairstyles, asking all the kids in the event that they actually love LinkedIn, and blocking out my weekend to see the Eras Tour movie as many occasions as potential. 

This week, I even have for you a brand new flip telephone, a giant Roblox launch, a brand new messaging app, some sneaky browser hacks, and oh so some ways to maintain monitor of all of your media. And a deal on some really rad Verge merch!

As all the time, the very best a part of Installer is your concepts and suggestions. What do you need to know extra about? What superior tips are you aware that everybody else ought to? What app ought to everybody be utilizing? Inform me all the pieces: installer@theverge.com. And if you wish to get each version in your inbox a day early, you possibly can subscribe here.

This week’s a extremely enjoyable one. Let’s get into it.

The Drop

  • Omnivore. Top-of-the-line (and free and open-source) read-later apps got a bunch of updates this week — higher highlighting, higher text-to-speech — however I’m actually into the upgraded browser extension, which makes organizing a lot simpler. I have a tendency to save lots of a billion issues after which by no means discover them once more, so a superb tags system is a game-changer.
  • The Verge’s dbrand collab. Sure, that is brazen self-promotion, however I simply acquired the pores and skin I ordered, and truthfully, it appears to be like superior. We labored with dbrand on telephone {cases}, skins, chargers, and extra. And only for this weekend, only for us within the Installerverse (I informed you we’re making this occur), if you happen to use the code INSTALLER, you’ll get 15 % off all the pieces dbrand sells.
  • How Do We Fix It? “The Polarization Series.” I’m new to this podcast however have been having fun with the three-episode arc on the present damaged state of American politics, how we acquired right here, and the place we go subsequent. I took a very giant variety of notes on the episode about whether or not social media is guilty.
  • Space OS. The concept is tremendous compelling: a personal, private computer in the cloud that’s utterly yours and never topic to the whims of app suppliers and social platforms. The truth of “a non-public factor within the cloud” is far more difficult, however the crew behind Area OS has some actually fascinating concepts about the way it ought to all work.
  • Big Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul. A 3-episode dive into the spectacular rise and brutal fall of the largest identify in e-cigs. You’ll be able to see bits of all the pieces from Juicero to Theranos and WeWork on this story, and the doc tells it properly. (Truthful warning: I used to be interviewed for this, and I’m in it a bit, however you possibly can simply fast-forward previous these bits.)
  • The Motorola Razr. I believe flip phones are the future of phones. I actually do. And so I’m psyched to see Motorola showing up with a flip phone designed to handle your relationship along with your telephone, and most significantly, it’s $699.99 — rather a lot cheaper than different flip telephones we’ve seen. (I’m even seeing it on sale for $599.99 proper now.) Yeah, I want it had an even bigger outer display screen, nevertheless it’s good to have choices. 
  • Roblox for PlayStation. A protracted-overdue launch, if you happen to ask me, however nonetheless a giant deal, particularly as Roblox tries to change into a platform for all ages and all uses. Neglect what Meta’s constructing; Roblox is the corporate most attempting to make the metaverse occur.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher. Mike Flanagan’s horror exhibits have been a Netflix staple in recent times, and his newest (and perhaps final) sounds like a fitting finale: really bonkers however finally a whole lot of enjoyable. And bonus: loads of critiques of contemporary tech-forward life.
  • ActivityPub for WordPress. It is a big deal: it means anybody with a website on WordPress.com, which is an terrible lot of individuals, can now robotically syndicate their stuff to Mastodon, Pixelfed, and the remainder of the fediverse. I’m all in on the open net way forward for social, and it is a huge step in that path.
  • Lightroom Ultra HDR. That is the nice sort of HDR, the type that really makes your images crisper and extra lifelike, and now Lightroom’s Android app can work with it natively in your telephone. For now, Extremely HDR is only for Pixel telephones, however basically, Lightroom is a wonderful app and an ideal step up out of your typical smartphone modifying app. (Additionally, try all the wild AI stuff Adobe showed off at Max this week. I do know we speak an excessive amount of about “what is a photograph,” however severely. All the things’s completely different now.)

Group mission

Final week, I believed I’d attempt one thing I’ve been eager to do for some time: see if we, as the entire Installerverse (it’s HAPPENING), might all work collectively to determine the identical factor. So I requested, what do you utilize to trace all of the stuff you need to learn, watch, and hearken to?

Oh, boy, did you all come via. Thanks a lot to everybody who emailed and texted and DMed! I acquired a whole lot of nice app suggestions, a bunch of really wild hacky programs, some severely elaborate spreadsheeting, and far more. So right here, as finest as I can summarize it multi function place, is how the entire Installer group does its media monitoring.

  • The general favourite. Sequel was by far the most-recommended app in my inbox this week. It’s sadly just for Apple units, however people love its design, the truth that it could monitor mainly all types of media, its notifications for brand spanking new stuff, the additional information it provides, and extra. Oh, and excellent news: Romain Lefebvre, who makes Sequel, tells me model 2.1 is coming quickly with much more stuff, and you may get in the TestFlight beta right now.
  • The all-in-one apps. Sofa was most likely the second hottest advice. Everyone additionally appears to like the design of Trakt, Play is a nifty up-and-comer, and Cronica has some followers, too.
  • The media-specific apps. For motion pictures, numerous folks beneficial Reelgood and JustWatch, and there was a whole lot of love for Letterboxd as properly. For TV exhibits, Hobi appears to be a favourite, and SeriesGuide and TV Club each got here up a couple of occasions, too. For e book consumption, Goodreads appears to be the go-to, however StoryGraph acquired some love as properly. For monitoring music, MusicHarbor and MusicBox gave the impression to be the alternatives, although there are some Last.fm diehards on the market, too. For video video games, GameTrack was actually the one one I heard about!
  • Drop them in a hyperlink bucket. I heard from a couple of individuals who use bookmarking instruments like Raindrop, into which you’ll be able to simply drop IMDb or YouTube or Amazon hyperlinks. Others used Instapaper and Pocket for saving hyperlinks.
  • Make them duties. A bunch of you’re repurposing to-do record apps like Things, Todoist, and Microsoft To Do as methods to trace these things — some have it in a giant “Stuff to Devour” record; others have it separated by media kind. One upside of that is that it may be collaborative: share a listing with a accomplice or roommate, and all people can add to it simply.
  • Go to the supply. I heard from people who maintain their to-watch record in IMDb, their buying record of their Amazon account, their podcast suggestions in Overcast, and their music queue of their Spotify library. The aim, it appears, is simply to dump all the pieces the place it’ll find yourself anyway.
  • Simply maintain a listing. Notion; Apple Notes; Evernote; Anytype; Bear; Obsidian; Capacities; Google Maintain; OneNote; heaps and many others. So lots of you mentioned the very best factor to do is simply write all the pieces down someplace — ideally, someplace you’ll discover it once more — and be achieved with it.

A number of different particular apps that folks actually appreciated: Mela for monitoring recipes; Copilot for monitoring funds; Discogs for managing bodily music; Habitica for monitoring habits.

And a particular shoutout to essentially the most spectacular system I heard about this week, from somebody who requested to be recognized solely as Stealth1248, which I’m simply going to cite in its entirety:

“I’ve regarded into a few of the collector apps, however they’re costly and look like a whole lot of work. The enjoyment of an Excel spreadsheet is that it’s tremendous straightforward to switch to comprise no matter sort of info I need. I can type issues, categorize them, maintain monitor of if I already personal them or not, and many others.

“I additionally arrange a pair Microsoft Types so as to add issues to them. The explanation for that’s 2-fold. 1: Excel on cell (whereas potential) is admittedly onerous to work with. Types regulate much better to a small vertical display screen. You’ll be able to arrange free fill solutions, multi choose questions, fields that require dates/occasions/numbers, and make sure questions necessary (so I don’t overlook to fill out a sure area of knowledge) 2: You’ll be able to export the outcomes from Types as rows in an Excel doc, so this makes it straightforward so as to add them to the principle spreadsheet when I’ve time to take a seat down on an actual (aka giant with a horizontal display screen) laptop. Every query turns into a column of the spreadsheet and every full survey response turns into a row.”

Right here’s what the ensuing spreadsheet appears to be like like:

I find it irresistible. I’d by no means handle to maintain it updated, however I find it irresistible. Thanks once more to everybody who wrote in with suggestions and concepts, we’ll do one thing like this once more actually quickly!

Display share

Each every now and then, I wish to textual content Casey Newton simply to see which note-taking app he’s utilizing — as a result of he appears to alter his thoughts nearly as usually as I do and is simply as keen to throw his life and hopes and goals into something which may assist him perform a little extra somewhat extra simply. And truthfully, identical. Casey will get it.

However however, Casey can also be one of the crucial considerate web customers I do know. If you happen to’ve learn his wonderful Platformer newsletter or heard the pleasant Hard Fork podcast, he’s deeply educated about how and why tech influences us. So I used to be curious to see what apps he makes use of, the place they reside, and the way he thinks about his telephone’s job in his life.

Right here’s Casey’s homescreen (two of them, truly!), plus some information on the apps he makes use of and why:

The telephone: iPhone 15 Professional.

The wallpaper: “The system wallpaper that exhibits you the place on earth you’re. I don’t suppose it has a reputation.”

The apps: Todoist, Barry’s (helps you to e book Barry’s courses on the go, or much more importantly, cancel them whenever you’re hungover), Clock, Cron (truly the extra I have a look at Cron, the extra I miss Fantastical. What am I doing to myself right here?), Stripe, Pocket, Messenger, Google, Google Maps, App Retailer, Settings, Overcast, Spotify, Cellphone, 1Password, Threads (Threads has felt far more energetic over the previous week, and I mainly suppose it’s three or 4 huge releases away from reaching escape velocity), ChatGPT, Messages, Gmail, Bear, Safari, Chrome, Darkish Sky (I’ll by no means delete this app icon as a result of it jogs my memory of what we misplaced. Valar morghulis), Day One, Holedown (it’s 400 years {old}, isn’t up to date, and might fill completely any period of time between 10 seconds and 90 minutes), Grindr, Mem, Ivory, Artifact, Poe, Bluesky, Lutron, Amie, Capacities (my new favourite note-taking app, and if you happen to’re out there for a spot to do your private data administration, it’s best to completely test it out), Epik, and Bonk.

I additionally requested Casey to share a couple of issues he’s into proper now. Right here’s what he mentioned:

  • Artifact. This little AI newsreading app from the Instagram co-founders is delivery new options sooner than any product on the buyer web. I more and more uncover information there that I put in Platformer, and I all the time discover one thing fascinating that I haven’t seen earlier than. I’m not completely certain the place it’s going, however I do know Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have big plans for it, and I’m having fun with being alongside for the journey. One cool characteristic is that if you happen to’re a author, they ship you push notifications when different folks hyperlink to your tales. Which is all the time enjoyable to see. 
  • Bonk. Bonk is the very best new social community. You add buddies after which “bonk” them, and each time you bonk, they get a separate notification telling them. So you possibly can shortly take over somebody’s complete telephone along with your horrible notifications, and each time you bonk, you get haptic suggestions, and the Bonk app itself is taken over by the phrase Bonk. The very best characteristic (except for each different characteristic) is that there’s a leaderboard that tells you which ones of your pals has bonked essentially the most over the previous few days. The funniest characteristic is that the app, which remains to be in beta, requires iOS 17 for causes recognized solely to the developer and to God. It additionally has the very best URL for an app I’ve personally ever seen: bonkbonkbonk.app.
  • ChatGPT. A mistake I made this yr as a tech reporter was not instantly subscribing to ChatGPT Plus when GPT-4 turned out there. It seems that if you happen to’re solely utilizing 3.5, you actually don’t know what’s about to occur to all of us. GPT-4 makes many fewer errors and is healthier in each means at serving to you suppose via topics or analyze textual content than its predecessor. I assigned the voice-operated model of it to the Motion Button on my new iPhone 15 Professional, so now I can speak to ChatGPT on the press of a button. It appears like getting a glimpse of the long run.

Crowdsourced

Right here’s what the Installer group is into this week. I need to know what you’re into proper now as properly! E-mail installer@theverge.com along with your suggestions for something and all the pieces, and we’ll characteristic a few of our favorites right here each week. And for far more nice suggestions than I might embody right here, check out this Threads thread.

Dex. It’s a ‘private rolodex’ app: it helps you to take notes about folks in your life, set reminders to comply with up, maintain monitor of birthdays, and sync with Gmail / LinkedIn. For a freelancer, my reminiscence expertise go away a lot to be desired. It helps me bear in mind particulars about conversations with folks the following time we speak — each professionally and socially.” – Ryan

“Two current wonderful collection, each on Apple TV Plus: Silo and Foundation.” – Dennis

“I exploit a number of browsers for various issues, then I exploit BrowserFairy to robotically route apps and websites to particular browsers. For my newsletters and associated issues to learn, I’ve BrowserFairy open Microsoft Edge. In Edge, I sync between units, group tabs, and all the traditional built-in-browser issues Edge brings, particularly vertical tabs (which is like Safari reader, simply so a lot better).” – Brent

“Making a sensible lamp utilizing a Shelly RGBW and a customized firmware mod to get it to work with Apple Dwelling. Most likely an enormous dwelling community safety danger, nevertheless it works. Additionally, an excessive amount of Stardew Valley on Apple Arcade.” – Timothy

“After years of attempting to heat as much as GTD apps, with little success, I lastly tried Agenda, and it actually works for me. I’m not utilizing it for note-taking (I’ve Apple Notes, Google Maintain, and Obsidian for that). However the way in which it handles triaging to-dos and integrates along with your calendar and Apple Reminders is admittedly slick. It’s loaded with options, appears to be like stunning, is consistently being up to date, and has a singular paid tier that you may get through subscription or a one-time cost. However the free model is so good, most individuals won’t ever have to pay. Lastly, I’m GTD!” – David

“Simply acquired Patrick Stewart’s new memoir, and I’m tremendous excited to learn it! I additionally acquired to see him throughout his e book tour, which was superb.” – Aaron

“Oh my god, I simply acquired a Nitro Deck from CKRD, and it’s completely my new favourite online game gadget. It’s a deck for the Change, with Corridor-effect joysticks, programmable rear bumpers, and a pleasant broad grip for big-handed people like me that discover the Pleasure-Cons cramped. I ordered the unit in GameCube purple and might affirm it’s as righteous in individual because it appears to be like on the shop.” – Nick

“The best factor I’ve seen just lately, I don’t know the way to share with anybody. It’s a film known as Hello Dankness that seamlessly cuts collectively all the pieces from Napoleon Dynamite and Wayne’s World to Pen15 and RoboCop to create weird cross-world interactions and make a satirical commentary on the absurdity of the post-Trump political panorama. However as a result of it’s mainly a pirated work, I believe you possibly can solely see it at movie festivals and particular screenings. Oh, and it has a bonkers trailer.” – Thomas

“I used iTunes completely till about 2018, and although it was unhealthy software program by the tip, it did supply a music nerd a whole lot of issues that Spotify and a few of the others don’t. There’s an iOS app known as Marvis, which has a professional model that provides lots of these options. The rub is that it solely works with Apple Music, however I’ve discovered that, for {old} iTunes holdouts, this isn’t a lot of an issue.” – John

Signing off

A number of days in the past, on The Vergecast, I discussed that among the best telephone equipment I’ve ever purchased is a extremely lengthy — mine is 10 toes — charging cable. I’ve one subsequent to my sofa and one other subsequent to my mattress, and y’all, the freedom that comes from not having to lean over to be nearer to my retailers!

However then, I acquired an e mail from Eric telling me how mistaken I used to be. Right here’s what Eric mentioned: “I used to work at Apple retail, and when folks would are available on the lookout for longer charging cables, they’d balk on the worth — longer Lightning (on the time) cables have been (are?) costly! — and I’d all the time advocate going to Goal and common extension cables. Far more choices (colours, lengths, thicknesses, wire types, and many others…) and infrequently means cheaper. Can’t inform you what number of people got here again in simply to say thanks for the concept, simply saved them $25. All this to say: David! Don’t purchase a 10-foot Apple USB cable, purchase an superior 12-foot extension cable as a substitute.”

I’ve achieved some wanting, and Eric’s not mistaken. There are some beautiful, cheap extension cables on the market (I searched “braided extension cable” and located lots of good ones), they usually’re far more multifaceted than simply having one lengthy USB charger. Apparently, I’m going to redo all my charging stations once more. 



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