Movie Reviews From Computer Geeks

Movie Review Sites

It’s the holiday season and, in our family, we tend to head to the movies more than any other time of year. Usually it’s the Geek blockbusters that we want to see – the newest Star Wars or Harry Potter or Star Trek.  If none of those appeal to us, we head online to see which new movies are highly rated.  Here are some of the websites we use for movie reviews:

IMDb

The Internet Movie Database is my favorite website for movies and TV shows. It tells you what is playing in the theaters, and how other people have rated those movies. (If you create an account, you can rate movies too.)  Most movies and TV shows have a complete listing of all the actors and directors. IMDb has been very helpful when I’ve forgotten the name of a particular movie but can remember two or three of the actors.  What was that old movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?  Head over to IMDb to find out!

IMDb Movie Reviews

 

Rotten Tomatoes

I have been hearing about this site for years.  For many of my friends, Rotten Tomatoes is their go-to site for movie reviews.  Rotten Tomatoes shows ratings for new movies, movies on TV tonight, and soon-to-be released films.  Their secret? The Tomatometer® is “based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.”

Fandango

When we know we want to see a movie, now, we head to Fandango to see what’s playing, now (or in the next 20 minutes!), at our favorite theater.  It gives times and descriptions.

NY Times

If it’s a Sunday that I have happened to pick up the Times, I’ll take a look at their movie reviews.  What I like about them is that they’re not just reviewing the big theater movies.  They’re reviewing movies at the little community theaters, the art theaters, etc.  So, you hear about movies that the big sites aren’t reviewing.

Happy Holidays!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet.  Maybe I’ll try that next!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Is It Just Me, Or Is My Favorite App Down?

Does this happen to you too?  I head over to a certain app, whether for business or just goofing off, and I can’t log on!  I try again and again, being very purposeful entering my password.  I shut down the application and restart it.  I shut down my phone/laptop/tablet and restart it, but the problem persists.  What is going on?!

In some cases, it could be the application itself which is having the issue.  Their servers are not infallible, despite what they might claim.

Application down - WordPress 1 cropped

But WordPress can go down.  And so can Facebook, Twitter, Quickbooks Online, and many other.  To check the status of your app when you are having issues head over to any of these sites:

  • Down Detector – I like the visuals of their graph.  Very easy to understand.  Down Detector tracks Facebook, Netflix, AT&T, Verizon, eBay, Twitter, and many others: http://downdetector.com/
  • Down Right Now – I like the visuals of this site as well.  They mostly track Social Media and email sites: http://downrightnow.com/
  • Outage Report – Not only does this site provide a graph of down times, but they have a map to show where the outages are occuring.  In addition to Social Media and entertainment sites, this site also tracks online gaming apps: http://outage.report/

If you are experiencing difficulties getting on to one of your favorite apps, remember to check one of the above sites. and record your problem too.

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Olympics!

Will you be following the Olympics?  More and more people I know don’t have cable or satellite TV service anymore and are wondering how to keep up. Here are some suggestions:

2016 olympic logo

  • If you do still have a TV with an antenna, tune your set to NBC.  If you are near a large city that still broadcasts, you should be able to pick it up.  (Unless you’re in Colorado’s Foothills!)
  • Your second option is to view it via NBC’s live stream:  Note that I had to reload the page a few times before it would start playing.  I’m guessing their servers are busy!
  • You can also try Sling.com.  They have a one week free trial.  Remember to cancel before the free trial ends though, or get ready to pay $25 per month.
  • You can also download the Olympic app on your phone:  Note that it’s not very intuitive and takes a while to figure out how to navigate it.  If you’re just looking for results, though, this is a good place to start.You can also get information about the upcoming Olympics in PyeongChang, Tokyo, and Beijing.

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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5 Good Things to Know about Pokemon Go

Have you downloaded the new Pokemon Go App yet?  Are you playing it?  It seems to be taking the nation by storm! You can find out all about it at the Pokemon website: http://www.pokemongo.com and you can download it from the iTunes store or, for the Android from Google Play.

If you are playing, make sure you appropriately manage your security settings. (In fact you should always be careful with how much you share from your phone with game developers.)

pokemon_go_logo

Pokemon sure has been getting some bad press though. Consider some of these stories:

  • Veteran Memorial overrun by Pokemon players
  • Pokemon Go players go mad.
  • Falling, tripping, and other mishaps.

The Good News:

But it’s not all bad news.  There have been several good things to come out of this new craze.  For example, people with anxiety, autism and Asperger’s are finding the Pokemon Go helps them get out and be more social.  According to this article in Inverse:

 “… the game is reportedly helping people overcome anxiety and other mental health issues, bringing an array of players together under one common passion. Such has been the case for a few parents of autistic children, who have been sharing stories about the game easing their children into incredible social interactions.”

 Pokemon has helped people find things:

According to one story, two women found a toddler: “Looking for new Pokemon Friday night, as they’d done before, the two stumbled upon a little girl who looked to be no older than 2, crossing a busy street by herself.”

 Another teen found a missing man who had recently died.

Businesses have realized they can use Pokemon to their advantage.  In fact, this Forbes article is full of ideas that businesses can use to lure in more Pokemon players – and potential buyers!

“Instead, take a cue from this local indie clothing store, which got into the spirit of the game by saying, “come get your PokéBalls and previously rocked threads. Gotta catch ‘em all in style!” That’s bound to leave a positive impression, get people talking and, with the overwhelming media attention this game is getting, potentially get your local business some exposure in the press.”

And players are accidentally getting more exercise!  One friend posted this on her Facebook a few days ago:

“I’ve walked 26 miles this week playing Pokemon GO. This is the weight loss plan I’ve been waiting for my entire life.”

In fact there’s even a guide for people who want to do interval training!

“Interval training … is a workout where you push yourself as hard as you can in short bursts, rest, then repeat. … This kind of stop and go activity is perfectly suited for the walk-and-stop play of Pokémon Go, and knowing that you get to play while you exercise can be a huge motivator. You’ll collect items at PokéStops (like eggs that only hatch if you walk or run), hatch said eggs with the massive number of steps you rack up, wear down rival gyms so you can take over, find wild pokémon to catch, and get fit all at the same time.”

Is it all just a mad scheme?  How long do you thing this craze will last?

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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Facebook and Politics

Social Media:

I don’t know about you, but my Facebook is getting full of posts about politics.  Sometimes I agree with my Facebook friend, and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes the posts are downright offensive!  I have a trick I use to minimize the number of times I see those offensive posts. It also helps minimize the times that those people can see my posts and start trolling.

Other People’s Posts:

I am assuming that you still want to be Facebook friends, you just want to see less of some of the posts that makes your blood boil!  If you don’t want to keep in touch with that person, by all means, press the “unfriend” button.  Otherwise, follow these steps:

Bring up the person’s Facebook page and click on the down arrow next to the “Friends” button.

Facebook acquaintence list 3

Then click on “Acquaintances” and make sure the “Get Notifications” option is unchecked.

Remember that Facebook uses algorithms to figure out what to show you.  If you check out that person’s page, it is more likely that their posts will show up on your feed. Facebook needs to be trained!

If something does show up on your feed that you don’t want to see, click the down arrow on the right side of the post and select “Hide Post”.

Facebook acquaintence list 5

You’ll get another pop-up after clicking on “Hide post” that looks like this.  Here you have another choice.  Do you want to see less from that particular person? Or do you want to see less from their source.  Click on your option and continue on your way through your news feed.

Facebook acquaintence list 6

Your Own Posts:

Sometimes it’s good to minimize who sees your posts as well.  Now, that will be easy for you to do.  When you post a news story or your own opinion that may be controversial to some, you can select who gets to see it.  Click on the down arrow to the left of the “Post” button and select who can see this post.  If you select “Friends except Acquaintances”, then all the people you’ve categorized as Acquaintances will not see that post.

Facebook acquaintence list 7

I hope these tips help you keep your sanity through this election season!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted!   Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial (Yes, we’ll get a small commission when you sign up.)

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My Favorite Websites

Several months ago, I blogged about Chris’ favorite websites.  People keep asking me what mine are so here goes!

Searching:

For searching, I prefer Google over all the other search sites like Bing or Yahoo.  I think it’s results are accurate – it finds what I am looking for, especially if I use the provided search tools, like Images, Video, Date, etc.

News Sites:

I’m a Jersey girl and grew up with the Sunday New York Times – every week!  For a long time I didn’t like it because at my friend’s house, they had a newspaper with comics!  But as I got older, I learned how to read and enjoy it.  Now it’s my go-to website for what’s going on in the world.

I like the Huffington Post for its left-leaning news, and its separate pages for meditation, healthy living, and eastern religions.

I started following Mashable on Twitter ages ago.  Now, the website is my go-to site for news that not everyone is writing about.

Other:

Call me weird, but I have a huge collection of books.  I like LibraryThing because it helps me keep them organized.  You can borrow and lend books with other LibraryThing members too.

Entertainment:

If I ever have a question about a movie, or an actress, or who was that guy in that TV show, I head over to IMdb.com, short for Internet Movie database.

Eagles:

In the spring, there are a couple of webcams pointed at eagle nests.  I found it very relaxing to watch the mama and papa eagles tend the eggs and then the eaglets.  There’s one from Minnesota, one from Georgia, and one from Pennsylvania.  The webcams generally operate from February thru July.

What are your favorite websites?  Let me know why!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at www.GeekForHireInc.com. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area. They can provide remote service throughout North America.

11 Ways To Save On Your Entertainment Budget

When we decided to get rid of DirecTV, we were paying over $100 every month. Lots of times we would flip through hundreds of channels and find nothing interesting to watch. We talked about it for months and eventually, of course, we cancelled DirecTV right before the Rockies were in the World Series, but who would have thought they’d get that far?!

Since then, we’ve found that there are a number of different websites and applications that allow you to watch movies, news shows, and weekly or nightly TV shows without having to subscribe to a cable or satellite service.  All of these services come with a free trial.

Netflix – Starts at $7.99 for one viewer/ $9.99 for 2 / $11.99 for 4 viewers – Netflix is what we primarily use at our house and we’re pretty happy with it. Downsides?  There are times when it “thinks” and we watch the little red circle spin round and round for minutes on end. They also don’t seem to like when you watch two many movies back-to-back-to-back.

Amazon Prime – $99 per year – Not just movies, Amazon Prime includes free two day shipping, streamed music, Kindle books, etc.

Hulu – $7.99/month, $11.99/month without commercials – You can watch current episodes and entire seasons of TV shows. The fine print says that some of the more popular shows still have commercials, but they are limited to the beginning and end of the show as opposed to interrupting the show two or three times with commercials.

YouTube has always been free, but there is the time hassle of finding what you want. Increasingly, there are commercials either before or during the video. Commercial shows are generally not available on YouTube.

HBO Now – $14.99/month – You no longer need to subscribe to a cable or satellite service to get Home Box Office!

Acorn TV – $4.99/month with first month free – For folks who like British shows. A friend of mine has been streaming Acorn for quite a while now. She and her husband really like it.

A lot of news and comedy shows are available online the day after they’ve been broadcast live. Shows like:

Some news stations provide taped videos and  live streaming of their news programs. Some of these include:

  • ABC News
  • CNN – you can watch various videos.  Live CNN news is only available to cable or satellite subscribers.
  • MSNBC – has a number of regular programs that you can watch the day after they have been aired.  Like CNN, you can only watch MSNBC Live as a subscriber to cable/satellite.
  • CBC -Canadian news
  • BBC -British news

And finally….

Roku – works with your existing TV to stream whatever apps you’ve signed up for.  In this case the cost is for the hardware – $50 – $130 plus the cost of streaming apps.  Roku works with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, PBS, Acorn TV, and many others.

Apple TV – Works like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV, where it needs an internet network connection to retrieve content, and has an HDMI jack which contains video and audio which outputs to an HDMI-input port on your television.  It has a small and narrow shaver-like remote control, and can display video from apps such as Netflix and Hulu.  The differentiator of the Apple TV is that it can be used to remotely display the content of your Apple computer.  But the computer must be within about 10-15 feet of your high end WiFi router, or else the video artifacts will make the display look very blocky.

Which of these services do you use? Are there others that you use that I didn’t include? Let me know your favorites in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

iPad Games For Your Cat

I’ve been hearing about games you can play with your cat on your iPad.  I decided to try a few and see how Dot (our cat) liked them.    I started with this article on MacLife.com.

I have a silly rule about applications for my phone and iPad.  All apps (except for the ones required for business) must be free!  Most of the free apps I found were published by Purina/Friskies.

If you don’t have a screen protector, I’d recommend getting one before letting your cat play with your iPad!

First we tried Cat Fishing 2.  Dot seemed interested in the fish swimming around the screen and watched them intently.  But she never tried to catch them or attack them in any way.  The game makes two sounds.  Dot didn’t seem to notice the fish bubbles, but when the iPad meowed at her, she jumped about a mile!

Cat Fishing 2
Cat Fishing 2

Next we tried Nifty Cat Games.  It showed a fly buzzing across the screen.  Before Dot could express an interest one way or another – a mere fifteen seconds later – this nifty screen popped up:

Time Out!
Time Out!

Next we tried Game for Cats.  I’m starting to think my cat just is too cool for the iPad.  Here’s a photo of her with the laser tag game:

Yawn....
Yawn….

I think we’ll just stick to the old fashioned cat toys!

Dot vs. Cat Toy
Dot vs. Cat Toy

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.