Tag Archives: Flixster

PTJ 186 News: Twist of F8

Microsoft, now Facebook, then Google and Apple: The developer conference season is in full swing. Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference took place in San Francisco this week, complete with live streaming sessions and announcements about 360 degree video — as well as bots, news distribution and marketing tools for its Messenger app.

Lots of Facebook/Messenger-related news was announced as well:  The Dropbox blog said this week that you can share files stored on Dropbox directly through and without leaving the Facebook Messenger; Ticketmaster says it will soon start selling tickets to concerts and other events directly on Facebook; and Fandango sent out an email blast about a new ticketing and movie-discovery bot for Facebook Messenger.


Speaking of that popular movie site,  Fandango completes its acquisition of the Flixster site this month, alerting users that the deal was done with an update to the privacy policy. Fandango agreed to buy Flixster, which comes with the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregation site, last February from Warner Brothers.

Less than a week after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced it on Twitter, images purporting to be of the new Kindle Oasis e-reader popped up briefly on the Tmall.com website.

The Yik Yak social site, popular on college campuses for its easy anonymous posting ability, is said to be having some financial problems due to a slide in popularity, and this has generated an interesting post on the Medium site. It’s a good read  about what makes one app succeed and another app flop.

Microsoft seems to be makingWindows Blue Screen of Death errors easier to deal with, at least if a recent Windows Insider build of Windows 10 is any indication. Beta testers there have noticed the appearance of handy, scannable QR code on the Blue Screen of Death messages that when zapped by a smartphone QR app, takes you to a Microsoft help page to begin your troubleshooting journey.


The 9to5Mac site got a peek at a note from an investment firm that predicts Apple Watch shipments will drop by 25% in a year-on-year comparison with 2015. Time to developer that killer app now…

If you like making graffiti or ever had fantasies of being a football TV analyst where you get to draw on the video playback, Periscope has something for you. A new beta version of the live-streaming app owned by Twitter includes a tool that lets you draw on your video feeds.

After a series of unfortunate events including an exploding rocket on a resupply mission, SpaceX is back on track with both its cargo deliveries to the International Space Station — and its ability to reuse its rocket boosters. While the payload took off for the sky, the Falcon 9‘s rocket booster made a successful vertical landing on an ocean platform without falling over.

Its Dragon cargo capsule docked with the station on April 10th and brought with it 7.000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts stationed up there — including lettuce seeds, mice and an inflatable room called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, for short.


Ransomware — malware that encrypts all the data on your computer until you pay up —has been making a comeback this year thanks to social engineering and the usual tricks, but the white hats are fighting back with a a decryption tool that can unlock files held hostage by the Petya ransomware. The decryption tool is a bit technical and probably not for the novice, but it’s a good punch in the fight against crime.

The State of New York is getting serious about distracted driving. A bill in the New York State Senate would require drivers involved in collisions to submit their phones at the crash site for analysis to see if they were texting while driving.

Also in New York, the U.S. Attorney’s office notified a federal judge in Brooklyn that the government plans to move forward with its request to make Apple help them unlock an iPhone related to a dealer in a local drug case. Encryption Wars, Round II.

Google is beta-testing its Voice Access accessibility feature that lets users open apps and navigate screens without using their hands. The beta test is full, but stay tuned.

And finally, while Google Glass may have bombed as a consumer product, the Internet-empowered eyeglasses have found fans with neuroatypical kids. Stanford University’s Autism Glass Project is using the Google specs as a learning aid for autistic teenagers trying to learn social interactions, emotions, recognize facial expressions or even make eye contact. Stanford researchers have created special software to use with the glasses and early results have shown improvement in social acuity for some participants. Perhaps Google Glass has found its mission at last.


Hollywood in Your Pocket

Ready for the fall movie season? Plenty of apps aimed at movie lovers are out there, but two stand out for their versatility and ability to work on most major mobile platforms. Yes, we speak of Flixster and Fandango.

Flixster.com, which is owned by Warner Brothers, is a movie recommendation site that’s recently been refocused to promote the use of the UltraViolet cloud-locker system. In fact, if you sign up for the UltraViolet service, you can actually stream full-length movies through the Flixster mobile app.

But even if you aren’t using UltraViolet movies, the Flixster mobile app still has a ton of features for cinephiles. You get a list of films opening each week, where they’re playing in your area, movie news and quizzes, actor bios, DVD release schedules, film trailers and ratings from the from the Rotten Tomatoes site that aggregates reviews from major news outlets. Since movies are a social event, you also get links to theaters, Yelp reviews of nearby restaurants and nearby 7-11 convenience stores if you’re really on a budget. In some cases you can even buy your movie tickets through the app, but that is not available at all theaters.

The Fandango site, that of singing paper bag fame, had a mobile app out early on smartphone screens. The site later added a beefier tablet version that offers perks like what movies are selling the best on Fandango. But on either version, you can search for movies and theaters — and buy your tickets on the run, without having to be in front of the regular Web site.

In theaters than have the right scanners, you can get a QR code for your Mobile Ticket sent to your phone that gets you in fast – and able to skip the line of people fumbling with their credit cards at the ticket-printing machines. In addition to ticket buying, you can watch film trailers and read cast and production information through the app. Fandango does have some social-media elements as well, including a measure of positive tweets about a chosen flick and a place for you to tap if you’re going to go see it. You can log in through Facebook or set up a Fandango account with a saved credit card for speedy purchases — which comes in handy when you absolutely, positively have to be there at the first midnight showing.