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The most effective apps and programs for monitoring motion pictures, music, books, and extra

Hello, mates! Welcome to Installer No. 10, your information to the very best and Verge-iest stuff on this planet. (When you’re new right here, hooray! I’m so glad you’re right here, and in addition, you possibly can atone for all of the previous editions on 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 concerning 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 at all times, inform me every little thing you suppose we will do to make it higher!

This week, I’ve been studying about Marvel’s plan to repair its TV reveals and all the wild testimony from the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, making plenty of 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 truly love LinkedIn, and blocking out my weekend to see the Eras Tour film as many occasions as doable. 

This week, I even have for you a brand new flip telephone, an enormous 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 at all times, the very best a part of Installer is your concepts and ideas. What do you need to know extra about? What superior methods are you aware that everybody else ought to? What app ought to everybody be utilizing? Inform me every little thing: installer@theverge.com. And if you wish to get each version in your inbox a day early, you possibly can subscribe right here.

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

The Drop

  • Omnivore. Among the finest (and free and open-source) read-later apps obtained 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 avoid wasting a billion issues after which by no means discover them once more, so tags system is a game-changer.
  • The Verge’s dbrand collab. Sure, that is brazen self-promotion, however I simply obtained the pores and skin I ordered, and actually, it seems superior. We labored with dbrand on telephone instances, skins, chargers, and extra. And only for this weekend, only for us within the Installerverse (I informed you we’re making this occur), when you use the code INSTALLER, you’ll get 15 % off every little thing dbrand sells.
  • How Do We Repair It? “The Polarization Sequence.” 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 obtained 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.
  • House OS. The concept is tremendous compelling: a private, non-public laptop within 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 group behind House OS has some actually attention-grabbing concepts about the way it ought to all work.
  • Huge Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul. A 3-episode dive into the spectacular rise and brutal fall of the most important identify in e-cigs. You may see bits of every little thing from Juicero to Theranos and WeWork on this story, and the doc tells it properly. (Honest 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 feel flip telephones are the way forward for telephones. I actually do. And so I’m psyched to see Motorola displaying up with a flip telephone designed to handle your relationship along with your telephone, and most significantly, it’s $699.99 — lots 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 a much bigger outer display screen, nevertheless it’s good to have choices. 
  • Roblox for PlayStation. A protracted-overdue launch, when you ask me, however nonetheless an enormous deal, particularly as Roblox tries to change into a platform for all ages and all makes use of. Overlook what Meta’s constructing; Roblox is the corporate most attempting to make the metaverse occur.
  • The Fall of the Home of Usher. Mike Flanagan’s horror reveals have been a Netflix staple in recent times, and his newest (and perhaps final) feels like a becoming finale: really bonkers however finally loads of enjoyable. And bonus: loads of critiques of contemporary tech-forward life.
  • ActivityPub for WordPress. It is a enormous deal: it means anybody with a web site on WordPress.com, which is an terrible lot of individuals, can now routinely syndicate their stuff to Mastodon, Pixelfed, and the remainder of the fediverse. I’m all in on the open internet way forward for social, and it is a huge step in that course.
  • Lightroom Extremely HDR. That is the nice type of HDR, the type that really makes your photographs 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 typically, Lightroom is a superb app and an amazing step up out of your typical smartphone enhancing app. (Additionally, try all of the wild AI stuff Adobe confirmed off at Max this week. I do know we speak an excessive amount of about “what is a photograph,” however critically. Every thing’s completely different now.)

Group challenge

Final week, I assumed I’d attempt one thing I’ve been desirous to do for some time: see if we, as the entire Installerverse (it’s HAPPENING), may all work collectively to determine the identical factor. So I requested, what do you employ 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 obtained loads of nice app suggestions, a bunch of really wild hacky programs, some critically 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 possibly monitor principally 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 within the TestFlight beta proper now.
  • The all-in-one apps. Couch was most likely the second hottest suggestion. All people 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, plenty of individuals beneficial Reelgood and JustWatch, and there was loads of love for Letterboxd as properly. For TV reveals, Hobi appears to be a favourite, and SeriesGuide and TV Membership each got here up a number of occasions, too. For e-book consumption, Goodreads appears to be the go-to, however StoryGraph obtained some love as properly. For monitoring music, MusicHarbor and MusicBox appeared to be the alternatives, although there are some Final.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 number of individuals who use bookmarking instruments like Raindrop, into which you’ll simply drop IMDb or YouTube or Amazon hyperlinks. Others used Instapaper and Pocket for saving hyperlinks.
  • Make them duties. A bunch of you might be repurposing to-do record apps like Issues, Todoist, and Microsoft To Do as methods to trace these things — some have it in an enormous “Stuff to Devour” record; others have it separated by media sort. One upside of that is that it may be collaborative: share an inventory with a accomplice or roommate, and all people can add to it simply.
  • Go to the supply. I heard from people who preserve their to-watch record in IMDb, their procuring record of their Amazon account, their podcast suggestions in Overcast, and their music queue of their Spotify library. The purpose, it appears, is simply to dump every little thing the place it’ll find yourself anyway.
  • Simply preserve an inventory. Notion; Apple Notes; Evernote; Anytype; Bear; Obsidian; Capacities; Google Hold; OneNote; heaps and many others. So a lot of you stated the very best factor to do is simply write every little thing down someplace — ideally, someplace you’ll discover it once more — and be achieved with it.

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

And a particular shoutout to probably 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 appeared into among the collector apps, however they’re costly and seem to be loads of work. The enjoyment of an Excel spreadsheet is that it’s tremendous simple to switch to include no matter type of data I need. I can type issues, categorize them, preserve monitor of if I already personal them or not, and many others.

“I additionally arrange a pair Microsoft Varieties so as to add issues to them. The rationale for that’s 2-fold. 1: Excel on cellular (whereas doable) is de facto onerous to work with. Varieties modify much better to a small vertical display screen. You may arrange free fill solutions, multi choose questions, fields that require dates/occasions/numbers, and make sure questions obligatory (so I don’t neglect to fill out a sure area of knowledge) 2: You may export the outcomes from Varieties as rows in an Excel doc, so this makes it simple so as to add them to the primary 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 seems 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 vary his thoughts nearly as typically as I do and is simply as prepared to throw his life and hopes and goals into something that may assist him perform a little extra a bit extra simply. And actually, identical. Casey will get it.

However then again, Casey can also be one of the crucial considerate web customers I do know. When you’ve learn his wonderful Platformer e-newsletter or heard the pleasant Laborious Fork podcast, you recognize 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 dwell, 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 reveals you the place on earth you might be. I don’t suppose it has a reputation.”

The apps: Todoist, Barry’s (allows 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 vigorous over the previous week, and I principally 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 previous, 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 when you’re available in the market for a spot to do your private data administration, you must completely test it out), Epik, and Bonk.

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

  • 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 at all times discover one thing attention-grabbing 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 enormous plans for it, and I’m having fun with being alongside for the experience. One cool characteristic is that when you’re a author, they ship you push notifications when different individuals hyperlink to your tales. Which is at all times enjoyable to see. 
  • Bonk. Bonk is the very best new social community. You add mates after which “bonk” them, and each time you bonk, they get a separate notification telling them. So you possibly can rapidly 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 most effective characteristic (except for each different characteristic) is that there’s a leaderboard that tells you which of them of your pals has bonked probably the most over the previous few days. The funniest characteristic is that the app, which continues 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 12 months as a tech reporter was not instantly subscribing to ChatGPT Plus when GPT-4 grew to become accessible. It seems that when you’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 best in each method 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 seems like getting a glimpse of the longer term.


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

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

“Two latest wonderful sequence, each on Apple TV Plus: Silo and Basis.” – Dennis

“I exploit a number of browsers for various issues, then I exploit BrowserFairy to routinely 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 conventional built-in-browser issues Edge brings, particularly vertical tabs (which is like Safari reader, simply so significantly better).” – Brent

“Making a sensible lamp utilizing a Shelly RGBW and a customized firmware mod to get it to work with Apple House. In all probability an enormous house 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 Hold, and Obsidian for that). However the best way it handles triaging to-dos and integrates along with your calendar and Apple Reminders is de facto slick. It’s loaded with options, seems lovely, is continually being up to date, and has a novel paid tier which you could get through subscription or a one-time cost. However the free model is so good, most individuals won’t ever must pay. Lastly, I’m GTD!” – David

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

“Oh my god, I simply obtained 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 extensive 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 particular person because it seems on the shop.” – Nick

“The good factor I’ve seen just lately, I don’t know the best way to share with anybody. It’s a film known as Hiya Dankness that seamlessly cuts collectively every little thing 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 principally a pirated work, I feel you possibly can solely see it at movie festivals and particular screenings. Oh, and it has a bonkers trailer.” – Thomas

“I used iTunes solely till about 2018, and although it was unhealthy software program by the top, it did supply a music nerd loads of issues that Spotify and among the others don’t. There’s an iOS app known as Marvis, which has a professional model that provides a lot of these options. The rub is that it solely works with Apple Music, however I’ve discovered that, for previous 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 very 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 obtained an electronic mail from Eric telling me how flawed I used to be. Right here’s what Eric stated: “I used to work at Apple retail, and when individuals would are available in search of longer charging cables, they’d balk on the value — longer Lightning (on the time) cables have been (are?) costly! — and I might at all times suggest going to Goal and common extension cables. Far more choices (colours, lengths, thicknesses, twine kinds, and many others…) and sometimes method cheaper. Can’t inform you what number of people got here again in simply to say thanks for the thought, 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 an alternative.”

I’ve achieved some wanting, and Eric’s not flawed. There are some beautiful, cheap extension cables on the market (I searched “braided extension cable” and located plenty 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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