Life: MoviePass

What is MoviePass?

MoviePass is a subscription service that allows subscribers to see a movie every 24 hours for a monthly fee. I subscribed for one full year and I saw 67 movies. My monthly subscription price was $35 a month, but I was able to get the first month at the introductory price of $20. I spent a total of $405 or $6.05 a showing.

How does it work?

MoviePass subscription works similar to a Gym membership. After the 30-day contract free introductory period, customers agree an annual contract, that if terminated before the end of the 12-month period an early cancellation fee is charged. Monthly payments are auto debited from the customer’s account set up with MoviePass. A MoviePass Credit Card backed by Discover is provided. The card is only usable when activated via the MoviePass App on your iPhone or Android device.

To activate the card, the subscriber selects a movie via the App; follows the steps on the phone and purchases a ticket from the kiosk or box office using the card. The card is active for only 30 minutes and the App uses the location setting on your iPhone or Android device to determine your location in relation to the movie theater. If a subscriber is too far away from the theater the card will not activate. I found it best to be within 100 yards proximity of the theater and a have decent data signal.
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Additionally, once signed in, the App is tied to the phone for which it installed. A subscriber can’t sign in to the App on another phone with the same account. A subscriber trying to sign into a phone that has recently had the operating system restored or has a new phone must call to customer service to reestablish the account on the phone.
With MoviePass you are able to see a movie every 24 hours. For example if you see a movie at 3:05 in the afternoon subscribers have to wait until 3:05 the next day before being able to activate the card. There is no limit on the number of movies a subscriber can watch, but subscribers are not able, as of this writing, to purchase tickets to 3D Movies. Once activated the card is granted a spending cap. I once attempted activating the card for a regular showing, but could not purchase a 3D ticket due to the spending cap.

The Pros and Cons

Pros:

Theoretically a subscriber could view a movie every day a week or on average 30 a month for a cost of $35 a month. As I mentioned earlier I saw 67 movies over a span of 365 days or one every 5.45 days. Needless to say I got my money’s worth.

The card works anywhere Discover Card is accepted. Because the cost is paid up front; using a kiosk to purchase the ticket can be fast and convenient.

Most subscribers frequent theaters with rewards programs, thus rewards pile up fast. Regal is the large chain in my area and about every fourth or fifth movie I would earn a free popcorn or soda or a movie ticket. On several occasions I used my rewards card, received a free popcorn ticket and used the Regal App to get a discount on the Soda.

Cons:

It is difficult to see a movie every 24 hours. In most cases I would go to the last showing in my area, which was at 9:45pm, but could not get up the next day and see a movie in the afternoon. Half way through my membership MoviePass changed to the 24 hour time limit, which slowed my movie going habits considerably.

I had to restore my iPhone several times over the past year and eventually I was put on the naughty list by MoviePass, which required me to send a screen shot of my IMEI number from my iPhone before I was able to regain access to the MoviePass App. It made me feel like a criminal.

The App has only been updated once in the 12-months of using MoviePass and is poor at determining my actual location. I live close to a city in Idaho called Meridian. However, for months the App thought I was in Meridian, MS. I had to have alternate movie App installed to find movie times and called customer service to activate my card. This was later fixed, but it took several months and I am not sure if it is fixed completely.

The App regularly fails to show the times of movies playing at the largest theater in my area. To this day any time I want to view a movie at the Edwards 22 in Boise, ID I have to call customer service to activate my card. Again MoviePass customer service made me feel like criminal for calling in to get my card activated. “Are you sure there is a regular showing of that movie?” is not what I want to hear 30 minutes before show time.

If you have a theater that takes online reservations, forget about getting a reservation for a good seat. MoviePass requires you to be near that location and you are limited to the time you can purchase.

My Conclusion

At first I thought MoviePass was a great value, but MoviePass changed its terms from a movie a day to a movie every 24 hours, which curtailed my movie going habits. The value I was getting out of MoviePass the past few months was one movie a week, thus I was essentially breaking even and for the most part recent movie releases haven’t been all that stellar.
The App is quite frankly the worst I on my iPhone. Uninstalling the App and reinstalling it, restoring your phone or getting a new phone eventually puts you in the dog house with MoviePass. At one point they threatened to cut off my use, but still charge me because they felt I was not using the service within their terms. I was only basically seeing a movie every six days, but they made me feel like I was seeing six a day and was robbing them of money.

My recommendation:

MoviePass is not worth the commitment. To get value out of MoviePass, like with a gym membership, a subscriber needs frequent movies often. Working five days a week limits my viewing abilities. I typically go to movies on Friday and Saturday, but to get value out the services under the 24-hour prerequisite required a commitment I was not willing to sustain over a long period of time. Finally, despite the number movies to view, the quantity of quality movies are lacking, which results in fewer movies I would actually pay top dollar to see.

Life: Weird Apple Airport Network Issue

AirPortTCTonight the wife can’t connect the Apple TV to iTunes residing on the iMac. So I go through the usual steps, restart iTunes on iMac, no dice, restart the Apple TV, no dice, restart iMac, no dice, reset all settings on Apple TV, no dice. Check if I can connect with the other Apple TV in the other part of the house and no issues. I also discover that I can’t connect to the wife’s MacBook Pro via screen sharing on the iMac, but can with our MacBook Air. I can all control her Apple TV with my iPhone using the Apple Remote App. Clearly everything is on the network, but there is something strange going on.

Now I am just getting frustrated. Restart everything in the whole house with the exception of the Time Capsule (‘TC’)and AirPort Express (‘AE’), which are connected via a wireless extension with the TC as the main router and the AE as the extension. Still no dice, the iMac and everything in Wife’s room are not talking or more importantly not listening.

I then open up Airport utility and notice that my iMac’s MAC address is showing up on both the TC and AE. This is not right as it either connects to one or the other. Restart the AE, still the iMac MAC address is appearing on both devices. I then unplug the AE and sure enough everything starts to work as it had perviously. I plug back in AE, all remains as it should. Not sure why the iMac was trying to use both routers, but needless to say that caused some major issues.

The only change tonight was I shut down my iMac to unplug a Drobo I just sold, which was connected to the iMac via Firewire 800 using a ThunderBolt adapter. While disconnecting the Drobo and putting in the box the iMac just started back up on its own. I thought I may have touched the power button, but I wasn’t even in the room when I heard it chime. I also have a new network interface called ThunderBolt Bridge under Network in the System Preferences. I wonder if unplugging my thunderbolt cable caused an issue. In the end I have fixed the issue, but it was quite the situation to resolve.

Life: The “New” Gmail

newgmailGoogle announced changes its Gmail service on May 29, calling it “A new inbox that puts you back in control.”  The announcement stated that the roll out would happen slowly over time, but users could “check gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the Settings options“.  I kept checking periodically over yesterday and today I finally noticed the option to configure the inbox was available.

Amongst the changes is the ability to set category tabs for your email between Primary, Social, Updates, Promotions and Forums. They also announced that in the coming weeks that Apps for Android and iOS would be updated as well.  I haven’t used my Gmail account on a day to day basis for a while, but the change may result in a change back from iCloud for a least the short-term and lead to a review. Until then I recommend you check out the video and take a look to see if the changes have been made available to you.

UP by Jawbone

UPjawboneBandAs part of my wanting to become more fit over the past few months I decided I wanted to track how well I was doing with accomplishing my goals. Up until now I could track my weight and calorie intake with the My Fitness Pal iOS App. This provides the basics, but I wanted a little more.

I took some time to research and came across several fitness wristbands.  I ultimately decided on the UP by Jawbone with MotionX. The UP by Jawbone is a wristband that tracks your movement and sleep, which you then sync with the UP companion app for iOS (Android App coming soon).

The wristband is worn day in night. During the day it tracks your movement or lack of movement and at night it tracks sleep, the amount, when, where and so forth. The technology behind the data tracking is MotionX.
[quote]MotionX® provides a complete environment for sensor-based solutions supporting state-of-the-art sensors and networks of sensors. MotionX has developed expertise in the life-cycle management of dynamic SensorWebs. In particular, key supported sensors are motion, imaging, proximity, light, magnetometer, and GPS.[/quote]

The data collected by the wristband is synced with the companion UP app via the audio jack on your iOS device (Android App coming soon).  The app recommends syncing twice a day.  For myself this is pretty easy to do, once when I awake and before I go to bed.  I wished the UP could sync wirelessly, and considering it is made by a company known for Bluetooth I found this pretty odd, but if you can overcome that issue it is nice device.

The iOS App also features the ability to track daily calorie intake.  It does this by allowing you to scan in the bar code of the food, searching for the food or taking a picture of the food.   Additionally the App allows you to track workouts and sleep manually.  Finally the app provides access to trends, notifications and others, that share their UP data with you.

The wristband also features the following: [unordered_list style=”bullet”]

  • Smart Sleep Alarm for waking you and not your bed partner
  • Idle Alert that buzzes you when you have been idle for longer than your specified time
  • Stop watch to time an activity
  • Power Nap, which uses sleep data to calculate the optimal power nap time.
  • The UP wristband is water resistant, so using it while you work out, take a shower or participate in a snowball fight won’t hurt the band. The wristband, on a full charge, will last 10 days before recharging.

[/unordered_list]Overall I like device.  I have set the idle alert for 1 hour and this has come in handy quite a bit. This also helps me to get out of my seat at work and move around.  With chronic back problems my whole life, getting a reminder to walk is a life saver.  I also can wear the band all day and all night.  Except when I take a shower I have had the band on at all times.  I just don’t like something attached to my wrist getting wet and then having to dry it.  Versus a clip device like  the Fitbit, I don’t feel as though I am going to lose the UP.  I can’t tell you the number of  pedometers I’ve owned and lost a few days in.  Finally, I like that it tracks my sleep and movement.  Knowing the amount of sleep I have gotten is also important to my health and making sure I have taken enough steps during the day.  Whether it be on the elliptical or walking to work, every bit counts.

The UP does have some downfalls.  The food tracking app is not as useful as the My Fitness Pal App.  The big annoyance is you can’t set your breakfast, lunch and meals apart.  Also entering the portions requires a slide up or down motion on the iPhone, which is not an ideal way to zero in on 16.9 ounces of  your favorite diet green tea drink.  Also for the price (see below)  you would think a maker of bluetooth devices could have added the technology to the device.  Though not a deal breaker, not having to sync the device, which on occasion requires you to reseat the UP bank in the AudioJack of the iPhone, would be nice.

The band costs $129.00, it comes in 3 sizes, small, medium or large, and in a variety of colors. Best of all if you are not happy with the device Jawbone offers a 60 day money back guarantee. Currently the UP by Jawbone is sold at Apple Retail Stores and via the UP by Jawbone website.

KaZoo Case for the 5th Generation iPod Touch

IMG_0141My daughter received a new pink iPod Touch from Santa for Christmas this year. She asked if she could have a case, so while out and about we stopped in at the local Best Buy and found the KaZoo Case for the 5th Generation iPod Touch. She chose the elephant version, but the KaZoo case comes in different characters/animals.

The case ran us $24.99 US, but I see that it is now $19.99 US online at Best Buy. The case comes with instructions to download the free companion KaZoo Keeper App, which provides wallpaper to match the case that was chosen as well as 3 games.

What I like about this case is that it had a large opening at the bottom for the speaker, headphone and lightening connector. Additionally, the buttons on the 5th Generation iPod Touch are covered by the case, but the case is built well enough that the buttons respond just as well as without the case. Other openings include an opening for the camera and an opening for the new pop out loop for adding a hand strap.

The case has helped provide protection for up to at least 2 drops I’ve witnessed over the past few days. It also adds a bit of weight to the device, which depending on your preference can be a good or bad thing (for me its a good thing).  Certainly worth the price paid and most of all my daughter is extremely happy with both the case and of course the iPod Touch.