Archives For Apple

Finding a LogMeIn Alternative

Dave Zatz —  January 22, 2014

logmein-eol

After ten years of service, LogMeIn has abruptly terminated their free tier of remote access. And my pal Janice speaks for many of us when she says, “That sound is parental tech support reps everywhere imploding at their desks.” Of course we don’t fault the company for wanting to make money and I’ve always been somewhat skeptical of the “freemium” model (and suspect its limitations are why Evernote now sells socks) – it’s the communication we take issue with.

Those who’ve purchased the $30 LogMeIn Ignition app for iOS and Android are being comped 6 months of Pro service, after which point we can move on or receive 50% off an annual two-computer plan for $49. Everyone else has 7 days after their next login to upgrade to a paid plan. As infrequent users, many of us will abstain… and are left wondering what else is out there.

As for me, Continue Reading…

qplay-family

After breaking news that TiVo’s co-founders have reunited to develope another (mini) set-top, it appears that the company rebrand has accelerated… as Invisioneer transforms into Qplay right before our eyes (and clearly without a private staging website). Our initial assumptions, based on limited site text and LinkedIn profiles, appears spot on. From Qplay’s new description:

For most people, playing [Internet video] on your tablet can be a chore and getting it to your TV is next to impossible. Qplay will harness the power of the Internet to give consumers new ways to discover, play and share video content.

While GigaOm sources indicate the company is hoping to aggregate premium content, neither Qplay’s test Twitter account nor the new imagery support that. Indeed, what one is (at launch) versus what they hope to become is not always one in the same. And whatever Qplay is doing with YouTube video (and now Vine) can likely be done better via YouTube’s native rating, sharing, playlists in conjunction with Chromecast beaming. Not to mention this space is getting crowded, between the gaming consoles, streaming incumbents, and incoming Amazon box – will Qplay offer enough, at the right price and with the stellar marketing that will be needed to make dent? Guess we’ll find out in “early 2014.”

dish-anywhere

DISH Anywhere Android and iOS apps have both been updated to expand their Sling Hopper capabilities from mere streaming to also include DVR recording downloads. Now the functionality isn’t new, but consolidating down from three apps to two is a good move – and one we’ve seen from a variety of service providers (like Verizon) who have finally realized less is more. By comparison, TiVo provides remote control, guide, streaming, and offloading in a single (iOS) app. Also worth mentioning, unlike retail Slingboxes, DISH Hopper apps are provided free of charge. And, despite upcoming service fee increases, the DISH Hopper, with integrated placeshifting and commercial skip, remains one of the most compelling set-tops on the market.

tivo-streaming-app

As you can see above and described here, TiVo has flipped the switch on remote access — allowing Roamio Pro and Plus units to stream both live and recorded content via WiFi. Of course, this functionality is only available to iPad and iPhone owners at launch. But Android support, along with cellular access, is expected in 2014 (with no word on other potential platforms). Further, anything locked down by your cable provider will be blocked. (Sorry, TWC customers and HBO subscribers.) Remote functionality will hit the TiVo Stream next month, bringing these very same capabilities to the base Roamio DVR and prior generation TiVo Premiere.

We’re planning an in-depth look after we’ve had a few days with the solution — is Roamio a Slingbox-killer? How does TiVo’s implementation compare to DISH Hopper placeshifting running on equivalent hardware? Will my wife loan me her iPhone again? Stay tuned… Continue Reading…

When Mavericks Attacks!

Dave Zatz —  October 23, 2013

“Free” proved a little too irresistible and I immediately upgraded both Macs in my possession to OS X Mavericks as soon as the download became available yesterday. Unfortunately, the Macbook Air didn’t make it out alive. As you can see from the video above (click to play), it’s become stuck in an endless reboot loop of alternating grey screens, one covered in errors. I’ll probably take the easy way out and hit the Apple Store for an OS restore. The iMac did escape unscathed, although Apple’s sense of time is slightly off (1 minute, 10 minutes, whatev), and my first order of business was removing the new-yet-superfluous Apple Maps and iBooks from the dock.

tivo-streams

Come Thursday morning, your TiVo is your Slingbox… with both live and recorded digital cable becoming available to us outside the home. Assuming you have TiVo Roamio Pro/Plus DVR hardware and an iPhone or iPad. Unfortunately, Android support has been pushed to 2014 and it’s not yet clear if Premiere units and the base Roamio will also receive placeshifting functionality via the TiVo Stream accessory this week. Regardless, this is a pretty dramatic move and one we never thought TiVo would make. So we’re hoping they’ve taken the last two months since Mossberg’s review to significantly improve upon his “terrible, almost unwatchable” experience… as I’ll be borrowing my wife’s iPhone for awhile.

Social TV app NextGuide moves to iPhone

atv-itunes-radio

For a few short hours last week, Apple TV software update 6.0 was available. However, due to a variety of glitches, had been pulled. The patched software has made its triumphant return today, featuring iTunes Radio along with a few playback and synchronization enhancements. While iTunes Radio is frequently compared to Pandora, it feels more like a platform to merely sell tracks – given prices displayed all over the place. And if I wanted to listen to music through my TV, I’d head over to the way more visually stimulating VEVO — MTV for the digital age. Of course, Airplay remains unrivaled… although Google’s $35 DIAL-powered Chromecast dongle looks real promising. But I’m still holding out hope for a more powerful aTV, sporting a full fledged app store and the ability to take advantage of iOS’ new gaming controller API – I think you know where I’m going here. Folders for ‘My Apps’ versus the current Roku-esque clutter would also be an appreciated enhancement.

From the release notes: Continue Reading…