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.
moviepass2

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.

Software Review: Vidify for iPhone

Vidify for iPhone is wonderfully useful automatic video editor for iPhone. At the heart of Vidify is the ability to take several different short video clips and edit them into one professional looking video. Instead of editing the selected clips in your photo library into one continues movie, Vidify uses a proprietary algorithm to take the selected video clips and spread them randomly into one final video.

Vidify_logoThe App’s settings allow for some user input in how the video is put together. The user is able to choose the length of the video, how fast the editing process takes, the inclusion of fades & cross dissolves and the video resolution. The user has the ability to choose color filter effects which include B&W, Sepia, and Warming Filter.  The user can choose from the stock music library or from music residing on the iPhone.  Note that the stock music library is limited to 7 songs that are a 1:30 in length.  Once finished the final video can be emailed, sent to YouTube or shared on Facebook.

What I like about Vidify is I can attend an event and take a lot of short video clips of the event, say a birthday party. Then select the clips I want to include in the video, Vidify then creates one high quality video memory of the event.  The process of editing the video depends on the user settings and the length.  For example I use the high resolution and slowest editing process in the settings, which adds some time to the process.

I like that the user can include songs from my music library, but you always run the risk that if you post the video to YouTube that it could be taken down by the copyright holder of the song.  I attempted upload the finished video to Facebook, via the app’s Share feature, but was denied as the video was deemed to have copyright music.  With that said  the finished video is simply saved to the iPhone’s camera roll allowing the user the ability to further edit the final product in iMovie, which can then be shared to several different services.

The App has a few drawbacks, sometimes the random editing can be not to the user’s liking and my experience has been to “vidify” the group of selected clips several times to get a better finished product.  The sharing sources are limited as noted, I wished there were a share to Vimeo, Twitter and Google+ options.  Lastly, though I know the key to Vidify is its algorithm to produce the final product, I wished the user had the ability to place certain clips in certain spots.

The Vidify App is available in the App Store for $1.99, but as of this post the App is currently free, follow this direct link https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vidify/id459324677?mt=8

Below are three videos I created with Vidify.

Software Review: Yahoo’s iOS Weather App

yahooweatherToday Yahoo introduced its new Yahoo Weather App for iOS. Now this is not an update to the stock Weather App found in iOS that is powered by Yahoo, but an App found in the iTunes App Store. The App is free and for the price it is amazing. The App uses flickr photos as the background and provides flickr link that the user can click to view the photo in full detail. This was great integration of flickr into the App, which appears to be part of Yahoo’s mobile App strategy since it revamped its flickr App on iOS.

In addition to giving the current temperature and weather conditions it provides expected high and low for the day. Swiping upward on the app reveals the forecast for the day and the next five days. Scrolling further reveals details for the the day’s weather, a map for allowing access for tracking temps, wind and precipitation. Finally users are treated to a forecast of precipitation, wind & pressure and the position of the sun at the moment, with sunrise and sunset times.

There a setting to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit, for me it defaulted to Fahrenheit so I am not sure if that the unit of measurement is country specific. The only thing at this point that the App is missing is social media share buttons. I think it would add to the App to show off the weather and integrate flickr photos into the post. The app has been reliable all day long and did not crash once. I was able to add all the cities I wanted. What I like most about the app is the ability to track weather via the map feature and to see the current day’s forecast and of course the 5 day forecast.

My hope is that Apple will take a look at what Yahoo has done with this App and apply that to the stock weather App. For its first try, Yahoo, in my opinion hit a home run. Take a look at the app in action below and give it a try by downloading it from the iTunes App Store. The App is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Software Review: Mailbox App “Sorry to Say (It) Probably Won’t Work for You”

MailboxAppCountdownAfter months of build up for the iOS Mailbox App I was ready to use Mailbox as an alternative to the built in Mail App of iOS. Mailbox touted some nice features that would “put email in its place”.  The day came that I was sent an email for my reservation to use the Mailbox App.  My place in line was 49450 and on February 7th the app was made available in the App Store.  Upon downloading the app I was prompted to enter my number and a special code that was provided in the email.  On the first day I moved up some 300 spots.  It  became clear that access to this app was going to take a while.  This caused quite the conversation on Twitter and various blogs.  Finally, on Sunday February 10th, sometime in the evening, I gained access to Mailbox App.

The app at the moment  is designed around Gmail.  As a Gmail user this on the outside appeared perfect.  I had to tweak some of my personal Gmail settings to allow for Mailbox to work with my Gmail account, but within moments I had access to my Gmail mail via the app.  The app lived up to the promise of what it could do.  I seamed very natural to swipe to the left an right archiving, trashing and listing mail, but there was one glaring problem.  To my amazement the app did not allow for access to Gmail labels and below is a tweet to my question regarding labels.


The one thing in Gmail that I love is labels. Its an easy way to organize incoming email and allows you to filter the email to where you want it to be. For instance if I don’t want to look at my iTunes receipts on a daily basis I can simply set up a filter and send those emails to a label to look at it later.

It was at this point the app simply became unusable for me. There was the suggestion to create “lists” in the Mailbox App, but I didn’t particularly care to have to manage emails that Gmail can automatically filter for me for which I can look at later. Also moving labels to the lists within Gmail didn’t pull in previous email.

I had several back an forth conversations via twitter with who I assume was a Mailbox App employee. I know that the app is a work in process and it could change, but for me the use of labels is critical.  I don’t think labels will ever be something the folks at Mailbox App will include as noted in the below twitter interaction.


After several months of hype and anticipation Mailbox App failed to deliver for a certain group of users. The lack of using labels from Gmail is certainly an issue. The app itself out of the box is designed around Gmail, so those using iCloud, Outlook, Yahoo Mail or other services this app will not work for you. The other glaring downfall is as one moves back and forth from an iPhone or iPod Touch with other devices such as an iPad, Mac or PC the mail has not been organized as it has with the app. This simply does not work for most users who use multiple devices. Future development of an iPad, Mac or PC app will be essential to accomplish the goal of putting email in its place.

As this app grows my hope is that its designers will look at those of us that want Mailbox App’s functionality without having giving up functionality from an email service. With that I am “all done” with Mailbox App.

iOS 6.1: Apple ID Security

The latest version of iOS, iOS 6.1 is out and ready for download. It includes a list of new improvements and bug fixes. I completed an “over the air” update.  After rebooting from the update and clicking through a number of screens the following appeared:

[quote]Protect your Apple ID by creating new security questions and adding a recovery email address.[/quote]

I am not sure if this was related to iCloud, but because I had iCloud set up on my iPhone I proceeded to set three security questions and answers to the questions.  I was then prompted to add a recovery email.  The email was sent to the email address I requested with the following:

alternativeEmail

One thing I noticed was my iPhone repeatedly prompted me for my password for my Apple ID until I actually verified the address via Apple’s website. I believe the new improvement found in iOS 6.1 may result as a response to the breach of security experienced by Matt Honan in August 2012 regarding his Apple ID.  This in my opinion is a step in the right direction for Apple.