I was watching the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games recently and the geek in me was interested to see what technology the athletes were brining into Celtic Park to record the momentous event. There were the standard tablets, phones, head mounted GoPros, DSLRs, some weird blue ring things which I’m still not sure what they are (please enlighten me if you know in the comments at the bottom). The vast majority of the nations were doing a great job filming their evening, and then New Zealand made their entry. I almost choked on my cornflakes to see that nearly all of them were holding up their iPhones and iPads and filming in VERTICAL VIDEO! Horror of digital horrors. Continue reading
Apps like Brainfeed frustrate me somewhat. It’s a great looking app, but it has some content issues. The idea behind Brainfeed is that it serves up educational videos in a variety of topics, some of which are free to view, but most of the videos require an in-app purchase in a variety of tiers, the cheapest being $15 for a yearly subscription. However, (you can probably guess where this is going) a 20 second check of YouTube revealed that the videos were easily available here. Fair enough, I thought, the free videos on Brainfeed are available on YouTube. What would be interesting though is are any of the paid videos available? The short answer is yes. The app doesn’t give you the titles for the locked videos, only screenshots, but it is easy to find the locked videos on YouTube with a quick search of videos from the video creator’s channels. To give an example, one of the locked videos was by ‘Stuff of Genius’. I dialed up their YouTube channel and the locked video was there to watch for free. Continue reading
iOS 6 – the latest version of the iPad’s operating system – boasts over 200 new features, but it also takes away a few things. One of the those that has drawn a lot of attention is the built-in YouTube app. That app is no longer around on the iPad or other iDevices that have updated to iOS 6.
I know many people miss the YouTube app, but I have to say I never liked it much at all. I found it had choppy and tough to watch video streaming far too often. For a long time now I’ve used a number of iPad video apps which I think are much better options.
So for any of you who are missing the YouTube app in iOS 6 here’s my suggested list of the best apps to take its place. All of these apps have AirPlay support (except Hulu Plus), some social / sharing elements, and great video content pulled from a great range of sources:
Video Time Machine is my pick for today’s Best iPad App Ever. Hands down. This is one of those very rare apps that grabs you from the first moment that you open it, and just keeps you gripped and fascinated on every visit to it. It’s the equivalent of a great book you can’t put down, you just keep wanting more.
As the app title states, it’s a video time machine, from the guys who created the YouTube Time Machine (YTTM) website. It contains over 10,000 hand-picked videos – from 1860 right up to 2011. So if you want to see a John Kennedy campaign ad from 1960, it’s easy to find. Or you want to watch Michael Jordan drop 63 points on the Celtics in the 1986 NBA Playoffs, oh yeah, that’s just as easy.
I love the backstory for how the website came to be, with a couple of friends out for beer and pizza and a fantastic idea fleshed out on a napkin. Here’s just a piece of the About page for the app on this:
Following many a beer (and PIZZA!) I was regaling him with the tale of my previous night, in which I had been up very late watching Michael Jordan videos from 1996. It made me feel so awesome deep down inside … like it was Sunday afternoon, and I was 14, sipping on a milkshake and watching my fav team play. That Jordan-fest lurched into a 4 am search for Primal Rage videos, and countless other mid-90s stuff.
I realized then, that it wasn’t specifically Jordan or Primal Rage videos I was searching for … it was 1996 … the feeling of being in 1996 … As I was lost, in the mists of time, Del broke me out of my ponderous silence and said ‘DUDE! THAT SHOULD BE A WEBSITE!!’ I said ‘YES!’ he said ‘YES!’ – and then we probably high 5’ed. …
Squrl – the excellent social video / video aggregator app for iPad and iOS – has been updated this week, to Version 1.8. The biggest new feature in this update is Playlists.
The app has always offered the ability to make your own Collections of videos, and the new playlist feature now lets you tap once to play all the videos in a collection. I love this feature. If you’ve got a good set of videos lined up this is great, as it cuts out the need to load up each video when the previous one finishes.
Here’s the list of other notable changes in the 1.8 update:
• Watch and Interact — iPad users can choose to watch video in a minimized view while continuing to use and browse in Squrl.
For iPad and AppleTV users
• Lean back, living room experience — Push playlists to your TV via Airplay on Apple TV and watch videos in a continuous stream.
For ALL users
• YouTube login — YouTube members now will have a seamless connection with their Squrl video collections by signing into their YouTube account, getting access to their existing playlists and subscriptions.
I’ve tried out several of the newer ‘social’ video apps for iPad over recent weeks, and Squrl is by far and away my favorite. It’s the one I use most often and have collected the most content for. The new playlist feature will have me spending even more time with this app.
The sceenshot above is of my home screen. The reason for using it is that it’s the screen I see the most of when attempting to use the new Deja iPad app, as it crashes continually.
Here’s what Deja is supposed to be all about, according to its App Store description:
Combine the simplicity of TV with the power of social media.
Deja is the new iPad app for sharing and discovering video in a beautiful lean-back experience.
Deja offers a ton of fresh content every day for a personalized viewing experience, curated by your friends.
Connect to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Reader and even any RSS out there.
I won’t call this a review, because the app doesn’t work well enough, or stay up long enough, to be properly reviewed. Once I saw how terribly unstable it is I tried the two most common remedies – rebooting my iPad 2 and deleting and reinstalling the app. This made no difference at all.
Quick Spoiler Alert: I love the Squrl app for iPad and iOS. It’s the best new (ish) iPad app I’ve seen this year – and easily the best app for using in tandem with AirPlay and Apple TV.
Squrl is all about videos. Discovering good video content from a wide range of all the best sources, organizing it, sharing it, and seeing what others are sharing. Here’s a little more intro type information from its App Store page:
Squrl is a clever way to collect and organize video from many different providers, in one easy to use app.
• Have you ever wanted to collect video from many different websites in one place?
• Are you tired of hunting through a half dozen or more iPad apps to view your videos?
You’ll always know where to find your videos, no matter where they are on the web, with Squrl. You can even discover new content through your network of friends!
Access all your favorite videos, movies, and subscriptions to your favorite shows with Squrl. Organizing is simple and you’re alerted when new videos are available to watch.