Mar 29, 2013

Audible

If you are a book lover without time to actually read, Audible may be a great app for you. Owned by Amazon, Audible has over 100,000 audio books you can download to your mobile device. I find it great for road trips and the kids when they are in a reading slump. One of my favorite features is that it has a huge number of titles younger readers.

The Audible app, is free, but the subscription service is where you will pay. There are several plans available, starting at $7.49 for the first three months, which includes credit for one free book each month. You can cancel at any time, or trade in a title you didn't like. However, many complain about losing credits and the cancellation process being difficult.



Price: Free

Mar 27, 2013

Pandora Radio

Pandora is a free Internet Radio app, which learns the type of music you like. Whether you have an Android, Apple or are just a PC user, Pandora has you covered. Even my Samsung TV and TIVO DVR have Pandora apps. Pandora requires a data connection to stream music, and is best used over WiFi to avoid extra data charges on your mobile device.

Pandora is best when it knows you well and has been tuned over a period of time. Using the same Pandora account between all your devices and eventually you can build the perfect station. By "Adding Variety", adjusting the "Options" for your stations and using Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down liberally Pandora will learn what music you really like. On your desktop, no app is needed, just go to their website to get started.

Recently Pandora has set a 40 hour listening limit on mobile devices. You can skip up to six songs an hour and twelve songs a day. 15 second ads are played every 30-60 minutes. By upgrading to Pandora One for $36 a year or $3.99 a month and can avoid the listening and skip daily limits, and your music will never be interrupted with ads.

Price: Free with ads, $36 annual/$3.99 month removes all ads
Get Pandora for Android

Mar 25, 2013

The Demise of Google Reader --> Feedly Review

If you're an ardent blog reader then Google's recent announcement on the demise of Google Reader left your scrambling. I use Google Reader to organize and read through a couple of hundred blogs, along with keeping track of comments on my own blogs. So needless to say, this leaves a gaping hole in my quest to wrangle useful information from the internets.

As a Chromebook user, the choices for a Google Reader replacement are a little more difficult to find. And mind you, I'm not looking for anything fancier or more visual. I am also an avid Pinterest Pinner, but when I read my favorite blogs, I'm looking for content - not pretty pictures. For now I have settled on Feedly. Mainly because it meets all my Chromebook and Android needs and because I think the Feedly team understands the way I gather information. (Checkout the Feedly blog for more on that.)

By changing the Settings View to 'Title' I can get a more meat and potatoes view of my reading list, and it feels almost like Google Reader. I imagine in time I will switch to the default Magazine View, and embrace a little change :)

Feedly is available for FREE from Google Play for my phone and tablets and is also available as an Extension for the Chrome browser  (apparently referred to as Feedly Plus) and an App for the Chromebook - so they have you covered!

So RIP Google Reader... you will be greatly missed.