Internet Movie Database

I want to talk about one of my favorites sites today. I check this site pretty regularly, especially when I’m watching a movie at home. And without a doubt I know many people have checked this site out already. The site I’m talking about is IMDb (Internet Movie Database). It’s definitely one of the sites that holds so much information, it may be overwhelming at first glance.

Let me just start off with why I like the site so much.

  • First of all, it’s convenient. I can access it on my phone through it’s app, or I can access it while I’m on my computer. It’s just easily there when I need it.
  • There’s a lot of information on this site. It’ll tell you the length of the movie, who’s in it (and I mean everyone who’s in the movie), and the production crew involved in the movie.
  • Movie trailers, which is always good when you are checking out the new movies.
  • Social. There are users on this site that will post their lists of favorite movies. I like to go on these lists and check out what movies others may like based from some movies that I may have already seen.
  • The trivia. This has to be my favorite part of the site. There is information in there that may or may not be relevant to the movie, but it’s still interesting. I usually check out the trivia page on every movie I watch. It just fascinates me.

One thing I found interesting on IMDb was there is a list for the “Top 250 Movies“. It’s a list of the movies with the highest average number of ratings from uses on the site. I’ve been thinking about making this list a goal to complete within a year. It may seem like a task that is easier said than done. Checking out the list, luckily I have already seen some of the movies, but I still have quite a bit to go. I think this would be a task that I should complete in 2014. It’s also a nice way to check out what movies may be a good idea to watch.

So simply I just wanted to share one of my favorite sites and hopefully it would be a good source of information and movies suggestions for you all. Have you used this site before? Find anything on here you thought my be interesting? Write your comments below.

Photo Credit: IMDb – Facebook

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To the Bigger Screen

It seems now that almost everyone has a smartphone. It’s a growing trend around the world. You may have one, your friend may have one, even your parents may have one. What’s not to like on a smartphone. You can use it as a planner, a camera, a music player, and more.

If you’re like me, then you use your phone as your media device. I like to keep my music on their (or access the cloud from it), and I like to take pictures with my phone too. My phone stores all this content on its self and that’s about it. Sure I may back up some of my stuff to my computer, but that’s about it: my phone and my computer. What if I wanted to show off the stuff that’s stored on my phone, whether it’s pictures or music, or even video. Are there easier ways to sharing my content rather than having everyone crowd around my 4 or so inches or screen on my phone? There are easier ways and they’re simple as well.

Some companies include such features in their phones today and have been for a while. Some of these features let you beam or share your content on your mobile device (or others) and share them with other devices. Some of the features are older, but still work. This would include DLNA. Chances are that your TV or blu-ray player may have DLNA in it already. If your phone is compatible with it, you can beam your content to your TV or media device and Viola! you have your content on larger screen for everyone to see!

There are similar features by different names, such as Apple’s AirPlay and Roku’s Play on Roku.  Of course they have to be features that would work with your phone, so do some online research and find out what you can do with these features. Next time you have a couple of phones to share with your friends, it just may be easier to show them on your big flat screen TV than on your phone’s smaller screen.

Have you tried out features like these before? Did you every have an experience before where you tried to share your content with friends and family? Share your experiences below/

Photo Credit: ZDNet

Is that Disc Really Necessary?

With the internet getting you your movies on demand, do you really need to buy DVDs and blu-rays anymore? Do you really need them? You can simply get the movies you want to watch on demand on your streaming device and there you go.

Let me tell you from my experience, I still buy my movies in their physical format. I have been doing so for the past couple if years and I think that I will keep doing so for the next couple of years. I like to purchase my favorite movies or movies that I enjoyed in their physical format. But why do u keep doing so? I’ll explain why.

The first you will notice between physical media and streaming is the quality. Physical media will hands down have the best quality in both terms of content and consistency. When I watch a movie using Netflix and streaming it’s good, but but not as good as a blu-ray disc. Sure they may be services that claim to stream as well as blu-ray movies, but others can test saying that blu-ray still holds the crown in quality.

But another way to think about it is what time we’re currently in. Sure right now blu-ray and DVDs may hold good quality, but as with technology, everything is changing at a rapid pace. In a couple years physical formats may be obsolete. Big companies such as Netflix believe that physical formats may be gone soon and tried (miserably) to change their business strategy to adjust to that.

So right now, would I change my spending habits on physical media. Nope. I still enjoy getting the most quality I can with the equipment I have now. Do I self in the future transitioning to streaming my content? Yes and no, but only time will tell.

So would you give up on physical media and only get your content through the web? Or would you rather still keep some of your physical media? Write your comments below.

Photo Credit: University of Texas, Austin

What Movie Should I Watch?

This is always one of the hardest questions I ask myself. I’m looking forward to the end of this week because my homework overload will be over. I don’t recall ever having a weekend so jam-packed with events such as projects, a wedding, and more! I’m looking forward to the end of the week to relax and watch a movie in HD in my living room. But… what do I watch?

I have a small collection of blu-ray movies (I jumped on the blu-ray wagon a little late), and I have a subscription to Netflix and Hulu Plus. I still have a good collection of DVD’s. So what do I watch? I could watch my favorite movies, but then I have more that one favorite, and they all seem like good choice. However, I can choose a movie from the Netflix streaming collection, then again, which one do I watch?

There are sites and apps that I use for deciding what movie to watch on Netflix or other movies I may have. They are the same apps that I use prior to going to the movie theaters. Some of the apps and sites I use are:

Flixster: I use this app regularly when deciding on a movie. What I like about Flixster is that displays ratings from RottenTomatoes.com. I tend to trust the ratings on RottenTomatoes.com. If anything has a score lower of 50%, I have a tendency of passing the movie and selecting another title.

Netflix Ratings: Netflix has their own rating system that varies between subscribers. Each subscriber rates each movie as they watch them. The system works really well. I tend to like comedy movies, so those are rated highly. Because of this rating system, I have been recommended movies I would have not thought of watching before. Some of these movies include Jeff Who Lives at Home, Safety Not Guaranteed, and more. So if you are a Netflix subscriber, I highly recommend rating movies as your watch them and rate your favorites. You’ll find something that you will like.

There are many other movie ratings sites/systems (IMDB is a good source as well). So if you are ever in a stump on deciding what movie to watch on a relaxing day or such, rate others and see what might pop up.

So have you used or still use movie rating sites? If so what kinds? Did you find a movie that you may have never found before and enjoyed it? Share your experiences below.

Photo Credit: Safety Not Guaranteed – IMDB, Flixster – Google Play

Turning the Dial

With all these new forms of entertainment you can get your music on demand. With the kinds of services available, you can get the type of music you want on demand. However, we use to not have this kind of feature years ago. We used to just turn on the radio and listen to what was on at that time, or if we listened to a specific show we turned in during that special time. So this got me thinking, do I still listen to the radio? Do I still use it as a form of entertainment?

To make my answer short and to the point, yes I do. I think that I have been listening to the radio more often now than I have been before. There are multiple reasons why I like to listen to the radio. First reason, my favorite radio show is on during the morning. This show is on early in the morning, usually during the time when I wake up to get ready for school. It’s a perfect time. And what’s even better is that my radio show is available online, but with that it takes away the randomness of the radio. What do I mean by randomness? Sometimes there is a music break during the show, and that’s how I get to listen to new songs… sometimes. Sometimes I do here that one horrible, horrible song that is on repeat on every station all day long. I still love to listen to the radio, except for that one horrible, horrible song from time to time.

Also there are satellite radio subscriptions available for those who like certain radio shows or who go cross country. One company that comes to mind is SiriusXM. I haven’t used these kinds of services, because I would rather use internet radio, but at least it offers something different.

So in the long run, would I give up my radio? Definitely not! I will keep that thing around for a long time.

So you do still listen to the good ol’ FM/AM radio? If so do you listen to the online version as well? Write your comments below and share.

Photo Credit: Real.com

Hey You, What’s That Sound?

So you may be out with your friends at either a bowling alley, a friend’s house, or a bar, relaxing with your friends. You are hanging out and then you hear something in the backgroud that grabs your attention. It’s a nice tune that you like, or it’s a song that you’ve heard before and you just don’t know the name of it. So what do you do? You want to know the name of the song so that way you can buy the song and leave it in the cloud and play that song whenever you want.

That used to be me, always wondering what the song was. I would listen to the song, try to memorize some of the lyrics, and then go home and Google it. If I had some statistics for it, I would say that my success rate would be at about 10%. It was horrible. You like then song, try to memorize it, and then try to find it. Some of the time I try to Google search it, I would forget what the lyrics were and how the tune of the song went. It was completely dreadful. But as usual, technology tries to fix everything for me. Someone out there must have had the same problems as me and said “That’s it!” Then that’s when the wonderful music identifying apps came out.

What are music identifying apps? They are apps that you install on your phone and then simply identify songs for you. And since these came out, I have been buying songs left and right. I just absolutely love these apps. I have two on my phone that I use interchangeably. So what kind of apps are there? I’ll go over a few for you now:

Soundhound – This is my number one go to app. Soundhound is a simple app that will listen to a song for you, identify it, and give you links and where to buy the song. I also like that Soundhound will keep a history of your songs, so in case you can’t buy it then, you can buy it later. It usually does pretty well on finding my songs, but it’s not 100% successful in doing so.

Shazam – I don’t have this particular app on my phone, but I know others love this app. It works just like how Soundhound does. This too will give you links on where to buy the song, watch the song on YouTube, and it will also help you find the lyrics of your song.

Google Sound Search – Now when I got my new phone this app was preinstalled. This is not so much an app, but more like a widget that you can place on your homescreen (if you have an Android phone). I usually use this widget whenever Soundhound can’t find the song that I’m looking for. The success rate for those times have actually been pretty good, I would think mostly because it being Google.

So those are apps that are really popular, but there are more out there. Give them a try, they are usually free with ads and about $5 without ads.

So you use music identifying apps to find the songs you’re looking for? If so, write your comments below and also write which app you like best.

Photo Credit: Soundhound – Google Play, Shazam – Google Play, Sound Search – Google Play

Big Black Record

In my last post, I talked about how vinyl sales were on the rise and continue to do so. Companies such as Amazon and Best Buy are still selling vinyl records. And I briefly talked about my sparked interest in vinyl, but I left out quite a few details. Sure it’s not the cloud, it’s not streaming music, and it’s not portable. However, it was technology that would soon affect the world and their need of entertainment. And in recent years, it’s technology that’s still around and will continue to stay around.

My first experience with vinyl records dates back many many years ago. My family has always had vinyl records in their collections. Did we ever use them? Not really. In reality, it didn’t get any actual use for a while. We had to get a stylus replaced for it, and that was a $50 job, about 8 years ago or so. Then it didn’t get any use after that.

Our current record player

Our current record player

Recently I wanted to check out the vinyl records again, and I was shocked to see what I found. I found out that we had the original Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller”. It still had the original paper sleeve inside of it too. Then there were multiple albums, some from artists I haven’t heard from in years. So I’ve been looking into what other things I may need for the record collection. I need to get a brush, a new stylus, and make sure that I can connect it to the audio receiver and have it come through the speakers. Maybe in the future, I can get some nifty things to add to our existing collection.

Our existing record collection

Our existing record collection

Now since I’ve been writing this blog, I been wanting to write about vinyl records because I really appreciate the technology that audio has gone through the past decades. It’s interesting to see that songs we love were available in these large plastic discs, then to smaller plastic discs, then to flash media, and then on demand from the cloud. Even with the new technology and media formats are around, it’s great to see that the classic media forms are still around.

So what do you think about vinyl records? Do you still like them, listen to them, buy them? Write your comments below.

The Rise of Vinyl. Again.

Who would’ve thought that vinyl would make a come back into the mainstream. Could it be because of DJs such as DJ Pauly D? Could it be because CDs were out of style? Or could it because of the warming sounds of the snaps, crackles, and pops for the style moving along the grooves of the record. It’s all of those reasons. And it looks like vinyls of going to stay for a while.

We’ve seen those classic vinyl records. Though I must admit the many times that I saw them during my younger years I saw them as a decorations. I do know that vinyl was a medium that contained music and other audible sounds. And at our home we always had a turntable. Did we ever use it? Not really until the last couple of years. Like everyone else, I had an interest in vinyl in the past couple of years, because I thought they were just cool. Simply as that.

If you think about, these plastic like discs contained recorded audio. The audio could then be played back with a needle (technically a stylus) would move along the grooves and reproduce the audio. If you have never heard a recording being played, I would recommend it. Sure it seems odd that some people say that you can hear a difference in vinyl, and I would have to agree. The sounds are “warmer” so they fill the room. It’s a nice welcome especially listening to warm music like Christmas music.

So are vinyls coming back? Definitely. It has shown that record sales have been growing since 2008. It’s becoming so popular that retailers are selling records in stores and online. Some retailers are even taking the extra mile with vinyl. Amazon now offers an mp3 version of your vinyl purchased with their AutoRip program. AutoRip is a program that Amazon stated in 2013 that gives your an mp3 version of a CD or vinyl in your Amazon cloud. So not only do you have your warm vinyl record, but you have your album with you on the go with the cloud.

So what are your thoughts on vinyl? Would you buy a vinyl record anytime soon? Would you buy one if you could get an mp3 version as well? Write your comments below.

Photo Credit: Digital Music News; Amazon AutoRip

The Connection on Wheels

If you’re like many people around the world, you not only need your entertainment while you’re at home, but you also need it on your travels. But what ways to you travel? Many people in the U.S. at least travel by their automotive vehicle. And soon enough, like everything else in the world and your house, it’s going to be (or is already) connected to the internet. Why? Well why not.

So how and why are car companies doing this? Drivers and passengers like getting their content and media from the internet, so why not implement it into everyday uses. Some car manufactures can do by creating a system that works with your current smartphone, or by using its own system with its own data connection. Some may have already done this, but it’s still fairly new. The big movement now is that it’s finally coming to more affordable cars every year.

For instance, in recent news, T-Mobile and Audi are partnering together to have Audi vehicle connected to the internet through T-Mobile’s data connections. This connection would get you updates for your navigation system, thus removing the need to use your phone and consuming its battery. Also because of this connection, you will be able to create a Wi-Fi network in your car so that passengers could use their devices while going on for a ride.

What if you didn’t want another bill for another internet connected device? There are systems available for that as well. In recent Ford cars, there is a system called Ford Sync by Microsoft. Sync uses your phone’s connection and acts as a voice-activated system for your content and apps on your phone.  It will do calling for you, accessing your music files, or connect to your cloud services such as Amazon Cloud Player.

No matter what, the internet is coming in way possible. So get your cloud music ready, it’s going to be a connected ride.

So what are your thoughts about cars connected to the web? Write your comments below.

Photo Credit: Autoblog

Out with the Old, In the New (But Still In with the Old)

It’s that wonderful time every two years (or every year, whatever floats your boat), a time for a new phone upgrade. You can get that latest iPhone, that new operating system, or the phone with the quad or octo-core processor. Like I said in my last post, data speeds are getting faster, so you have to get the new phone to handle that faster speed. Oh the joys of a new phone.

Not too long ago, I finally upgraded to a new phone. It’s actually a nice phone too, it was a Nexus 4. It was a much nicer phone that the one I had previously had. Though there was one thing, the old phone was still good. It still worked, it turned on, the Wi-Fi worked, and I could still take pictures with it and listen to music. So what could I do with an old cell phone? Well I did some searching and found multiple answers.

Out of the many answers I found, I decided to keep my old phone, but not use it as a phone. I decided to keep it as an mp3 player. But wait there’s more! I made it into a streaming player as well. The previous phone was running Android as its operating system, so I  downloaded many apps onto it. I downloaded Pandora, iHeartRadio, Soundcloud, and Amazon MP3. And luckily my old phone had Bluetooth as well, so I was able to use it as a wireless streaming player with my Bluetooth boombox. It was a nice simple set up. Sure I can do the same things with my new phone, but it’s almost like having an mp3 player specifically for your entertainment.

My previous and current phone, both I use with my Bluetooth Boombox

My previous and current phone, both I use with my Bluetooth Boombox

But I didn’t just keep it for that. I kept it as my “rough” phone. What I think a “rough” phone is, a phone you wouldn’t mind taking out and not worry it getting damaged and keep your nice newer phone at home safe and sound. I’ve done this a couple of times with this old phone, and many phones before that. It’s a great way to keep your new technology safe prestine.

There are other things you can do with an older cell phone too. You can donate your phones. There are multiple charities that would be happy to reuse or recycle your phones. For example, Cell Phones for Soldiers is a charity that helps recycle used cell phones. For the money receieved from its recycling partner, Cell Phone for Soldiers purchases calling cards and other communications for active duty members. Also check out this page from HowStuffWorks and see what other charities are available in recycling used cell phones.

So getting a new cell phone is great, and reusing an old cell phone is great as well. Whether your repurpose your phone or donate it, it’s still useful technology that could get more out of it.

So what have you done with an old cell phone before? Have you donated it or repurposed it? Write your comments below.