Well, Autumn is officially here, gang, the beginning of the long indoor season if you live in a cold and rainy part of the country (hello, Seattle!). While the Mac|Life staff will be kicking back with 80 degree weather this week, some of the rest of you might be cuddled up indoors, listening to the rain, reading on your iPads, watching a movie or two, or at least fighting with some Angry Birds. Here's a full dose of our best of the week to help you make the most of your rainy days.
- How To Make the Most Out of VLC for iPad - Okay, this one was one of those dream apps we've been craving since the day the iPad came out. It wasn't everything we'd hoped (get on the format stick, guys!), but hopefully that'll improve. Until then, here's the skinny on your movie consumption.
- Four Augmented Reality Apps You Actually Want on Your iPhone - Smartphones get smarter and smarter every go-around, but we're not quite to Minority Report just yet (luckily). But for when you want information while out and about, here's four (plus a few more) apps that give you the goods.
- How To Extract Audio from FLV Files - Sometimes the only place to find a song is on YouTube, which is unfortunate if you want to groove while you're on the move. But that's why we were all born with audio extraction software clutched in our grubby little fists. Of course you don't know how to use it yet, but that's what Mac|Lifers are for, getting those YouTube tunes into iTunes. You're welcome.
- iPhone and iPad Tips of the Week - Folders and High Contrast Mode - We bring you this feature every week, but every so often we go that extra mile and really give you the good stuff, not just the basics. Well, you asked for it, and we've got a few tips and tricks that go even beyond your phone this week.
Between the two reviews below, we're basically helping you figure out if you can ditch your cable in these perilous economic times, so dig in.
- Elgato EyeTV One Review - Now here's a handy device. If you've got a new-fangled digital antenna to pick up your local stations, plug this baby into your Mac and it becomes a TV, but here's where it gets good. EyeTV will let you schedule recordings of shows (one at a time) and there's even an app to make it happen. How about that for a solution?
- Hulu Plus Review - When you pair free local TV with Hulu, you're not missing out on much anymore, but how does their Plus service stack up? Well, on the desktop you get a lot more (still not everything for the completists), but there's troubling gaps in the mobile versions episode lists which are held up by licensing which is (hopefully) being negotiated successfully. Throw in a basic Netflix and your cable bill's topping out around 20 bucks. Now there's some real cash savings.
Well, there's news, and there's NEWS, and this story falls into the latter category. Apparently someone took the stick out of the butt of the App Store because -- hello! -- Google Voice apps are showing up for the iPhone, so grab 'em now!...speaking of the once forbidden now arriving for your iPhone pleasures, may we recommend Napster? Sure, it's a shell of its former glory as illegal file sharing service, but it's a legend after all. Respect...things that once were not but now are seems to be a trending topic here, as the iPhone 4 plus two new Apple Stores are showing up in China...because the iPhone is HUGE in South Korea, HUGE!...but what's apparently not showing up, despite the rumor bandied about in this article, is a Facebook smartphone. Or is it?....but if they were, maybe they'd use something like Droidthing which helps choose the correct Android phone...but since you're not buying one of those gizmos, maybe you'd be interested in using your iPhone in a Mercedes or BMW prototype...we're sure plenty of those Android people would switch if it wasn't for AT&T, and guess what? The carrier's not all that worried about a Verizon version, so what's the hold up, kids?...I mean, apparently Apple's ready to start cranking out the CDMA models, sooooo? What's going on?...oh, it's like that is it, Verizon CEO? Really? Really, really? Man, you people know how to crush dreams....
As long as we have our iPads to keep us warm while we await the hopefully inevitable Verizon iPhone, it's nice to know Apple's adding retailers, like Target to the mix...because Munster's predicting big sales in 2011. How big? Well, how does 21 million sound? Pretty big...and with improvements like exporting and MobileMe integration into the iWork for iPad suite, these babies are going to get even more attractive to the enterprise market...plus apps like Fuze Meeting that lets you host a meeting, not just join in one, actually be the host of one and manage it straight from your iPad...of course, many businesses are still pretty tied to their Blackberry action, so maybe this new tablet from RIM might be more their speed, not that we'd be all that interested ourselves...oh, the MobileMe, what can't it do? Well, it definitely can find your lost or stolen iPad, just like in this heartwarming tale of a family reunited. It's almost like Home Alone...and MobileMe might be even more valuable if Apple makes these smaller 7" iPads, because we're thinking forgetting one of these itty bitty guys will be a little easier than the big brother.