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Apple Maps Alternative

As many of you know, I play with as much tech as I can get my hands on. I try to thoroughly test devices and applications best I can.
Also I have been a long time fan of Apple devices since getting my first iPhone 3G in 2008. Soon following with the iPhone 4 then the iPhone 4S and now after being fed up with horrible AT&T service in my area, the iPhone 5 on Verizon.

The iPhone 5 came preloaded with iOS 6 which included the new Apple Maps, a replacement for Google Maps which had been on all iOS devices prior to iOS 6.

I was excited about the new maps and on first use it did not fail. The turn by turn and voice were magnificent. It was spot on. I thought it was working great and would be ready to serve me up directions to anywhere whenever I needed it.

Later in the week to come I read many articles on how the Apple Maps were horrible at giving directions. I couldn’t figure out why they were so bad so I decided to further test it out.

Wow this app really IS bad.
Apple Maps could not find my local Wendy’s Restaurant right in the middle of my small town. Also while traveling, it COULD drop a pin on the hotel I was staying at, but its location was miles from me, so had I chose for it to give me directions to it, I would be almost a hundred miles from it. This was not good!

Apple Maps

Not a Wendy’s in my town at all according to Apple Maps.

No Home Depot in Oxford, MS ????

I KNOW there is a Chili’s in Batesville, MS. Why would Apple Maps disagree?


I can do this all day but I wont.
First before I tell you an awesome alternative to Apple Maps, I must defend them a little bit.
You can read it all day long on the internet http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/science-updates/apple-apology-for-maps-shortcomings but to sum it up, Apple wanted Google Maps to on their iDevices to have turn by turn voice directions.
Google said No!
Google wants to reserve that to just their Android powered devices. Apple said Good Bye and put a nice effort into making their own turn by turn voice driven Map application. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that well right out of the box. Tim Cook CEO of Apple release an apologetic letter to all and within it some alternatives. When Apple gets this one right, it will be great. Its already been proven that it uses vector images and therefore reducing data usage a great deal.

Of all the alternatives mentioned in Tim Cooks letter and the ones I have used in the past, I really really think WAZE is the best to use.

Ones I have used in the past were:
Navigon
TomTom
Google Maps
Apple Maps
Motion X GPS
Bing Maps
Google Maps inside of Safari

WAZE is the only one that has our most recently built TACO BELL on it. This is because the maps are constantly updated with other WAZE users input. I myself have even fixed some roads along my travels.

A short video about WAZE.

 

 

Has WAZE been helpful? You bet!

WAZE knows where the closest Chilis is!

It even knows where Wendy’s is

 

This app is really fast. Its faster than any other navigation app I have ever used. Its intuitive and easy to operate. It has alerts for speedtraps and other things due to the community of other wazers out there reporting.

Get this app and try it out.

WAZE http://www.waze.com/

Meet Waze – a fun, community-based GPS traffic and navigation app.

Join forces with drivers in your area, easily report what’s happening on the road and get turn-by-turn navigation that automatically re-routes you when road conditions change.

That way everybody’s commute gets faster and safer. Smart, right?

Download from the Apple App Store HERE

Download for Android users HERE

Download for Windows Mobile and Symbian devices HERE

Oh yeah and its FREE!!

Watch Movies On Your Iphone and Online, Free Through Netflix

Let me tell you about my story with NetFlix and Blockbuster and why I chose NetFlix once again and urge you to take advantage of the free

I once was a long time user of NetFlix. I used it and loved it, got 3 rentals at a time and things were good. Later I crossed over to Blockbuster to save a few dollars, and Blockbuster allowed you to return your movies to the store and get your next free rental right there in the store. I thought this was neat and it was at the time cheaper than NetFlix.

I was enjoying Blockbuster until an unfortunate turn of events in 2008 left me without a 9 to 5, so I dropped it.

Now that I have a new line of work, I can once again afford a simple luxury of online movie rentals, and the best part is that it all has become even more affordable.

There have also been many advances in the online movie rental business lately which makes it even more appealing.

month long trial they are offering right now.

With more than 15 million members, Netflix, is the world’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. With Netflix, there are never any due dates or late fees. Members can select from a growing library of titles that can be watched instantly and a vast array of titles on DVD. Among the large and expanding base of devices that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix are Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii consoles; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung, LG and Insignia; Internet TVs from LG, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders, and Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Streaming video is all the rage now, and NetFlix is in the lead with its new iPhone / iPod / iPad application and its even included in the new Apple TV, even Microsoft has adopted it into its Windows Vista and Windows 7 Media Center.

Poor Blockbuster…. with its lack of streaming is facing bankruptcy as it cant keep up.

Recently, I became interested in NetFlix again, especially in the streaming ability to portable devices. I wanted to stream to my iPhone and to my Windows Media Center 7 in the living room, so using another family members account and I was able to test it out and I was well pleased. I really enjoyed how smooth the video was on my iPhone. It even works really well over 3G.

On the Windows Media Center it works really well too. The install was a breeze, simply navigate to the NetFlix icon and press it. Then you will be presented with a button to press to install it. Then all you will need to do is log in and start searching for movies.

Watch a short video of it how it all works on Media Center here. (From Microsoft)

I found this video on YouTube and its pretty good and showing you exactly how it is on the Windows Media Center.

After that I found another video on YouTube showcasing how NetFlix works on the iPhone.

Both pretty good videos.

I think NetFlix is here to stay and will definitely be around for a long time to come. I think you should at least give the free trial a shot.

Air Video Iphone App Review

Air Video is a an application that allows video streaming for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

It is a really neat app, and I felt compelled to start reviewing some of iPhone apps that I use that I thought were really cool or could be of great use to you.

As most of you know from previous posts here, I have a media center pc in the living room and on that pc I have several movies that I have ripped from dvd, as well as tv shows that are automatically downloaded via rss feeds. Well since I purchased my new iPhone 4 I have been looking for ways to use my old iPhone 3g and although using the ipod, gps, bookreader, and other parts of it are great, I thought it would be really awesome to stream video from my computer to it.


Encoding of video files

In the past I used a program called ORB to stream video to my phone., but in order for the video to work on the iPhone I had to pre-encode it so that I could view it on the iPhone. I didn’t like this very much.

What I found to be great about the Air Video application was that you put a small client on the computer that has all the video files, and THAT computer can do ALL of video encoding for you on the fly in real time. Yes you can let it encoded it properly for the iPhone in real time as it streams the video to your phone. This is nice as you will not have to worry about what type of video it is that you are streaming. You can even encode it and save it for later to watch on your phone, ipod, or ipad.  I

Connectivity

Connectivity is great! I have tried it over Wi-Fi and also over 3G and it worked great. Over 3G there was a slightly longer buffer time, but it still worked out really good.

Check out their website here. Air Video


Here is a short video of the AIR VIDEO application for the iPhone.
I am recording this video using the iPhone4 video recorder and the app is on the 3G iPhone.
This application allows you to stream video from a source, which is my living room computer my Media Center PC, to the iPhone.
This can be done over 3g or WI-FI network.
I first stream an episode of THE IT CROWD a TV show, then I launch my copy of Iron Man the movie.

This is great when you are in the yard on the deck, or in the hammock, or laying in the bed.

Air Video is $2.99 but there is a free version that you can try first.
The free version only allows you to see 3 videos from your source.

I recommend this app!