The best apps and systems for tracking movies, music, books, and more

Hello, mates! Welcome to Installer No. 10, your information to the most effective and Verge-iest stuff on the earth. (If you happen to’re new right here, hooray! I’m so pleased you’re right here, and in addition, you possibly can compensate for all of the previous editions on the Installer homepage.) We made it by way of 10 weeks! It’s been so enjoyable to make this each week and to speak to you all in regards to the cool stuff you’re into. Thanks for being a part of the Installerverse (we’re gonna make {that a} factor, it’s gonna occur), and as all the time, inform me every little thing you assume we will do to make it higher!

This week, I’ve been studying about Marvel’s plan to repair its TV exhibits and all the wild testimony from the Sam Bankman-Fried trial, making a lot of deranged artwork in the improved Bing Chat, watching the David Beckham documentary and debating many new hairstyles, asking all the kids in the event that they really love LinkedIn, and blocking out my weekend to see the Eras Tour film as many instances as potential. 

This week, I even have for you a brand new flip telephone, an enormous Roblox launch, a brand new messaging app, some sneaky browser hacks, and oh so some ways to maintain observe of all of your media. And a deal on some actually rad Verge merch!

As all the time, the most effective a part of Installer is your concepts and ideas. What do you wish to know extra about? What superior methods have you learnt that everybody else ought to? What app ought to everybody be utilizing? Inform me every little thing: [email protected]. And if you wish to get each version in your inbox a day early, you possibly can subscribe right here.

This week’s a extremely enjoyable one. Let’s get into it.

The Drop

  • Omnivore. Among the best (and free and open-source) read-later apps acquired a bunch of updates this week — higher highlighting, higher text-to-speech — however I’m actually into the upgraded browser extension, which makes organizing a lot simpler. I have a tendency to avoid wasting a billion issues after which by no means discover them once more, so a great tags system is a game-changer.
  • The Verge’s dbrand collab. Sure, that is brazen self-promotion, however I simply acquired the pores and skin I ordered, and truthfully, it appears superior. We labored with dbrand on telephone instances, skins, chargers, and extra. And only for this weekend, only for us within the Installerverse (I informed you we’re making this occur), should you use the code INSTALLER, you’ll get 15 p.c off every little thing dbrand sells.
  • How Do We Repair It? “The Polarization Collection.” I’m new to this podcast however have been having fun with the three-episode arc on the present damaged state of American politics, how we acquired right here, and the place we go subsequent. I took a very massive variety of notes on the episode about whether or not social media is guilty.
  • House OS. The thought is tremendous compelling: a private, personal laptop within the cloud that’s fully yours and never topic to the whims of app suppliers and social platforms. The truth of “a non-public factor within the cloud” is far more difficult, however the staff behind House OS has some actually attention-grabbing concepts about the way it ought to all work.
  • Huge Vape: The Rise and Fall of Juul. A 3-episode dive into the spectacular rise and brutal fall of the largest title in e-cigs. You possibly can see bits of every little thing from Juicero to Theranos and WeWork on this story, and the doc tells it effectively. (Honest warning: I used to be interviewed for this, and I’m in it a bit, however you possibly can simply fast-forward previous these bits.)
  • The Motorola Razr. I feel flip telephones are the way forward for telephones. I actually do. And so I’m psyched to see Motorola displaying up with a flip telephone designed to handle your relationship together with your telephone, and most significantly, it’s $699.99 — rather a lot cheaper than different flip telephones we’ve seen. (I’m even seeing it on sale for $599.99 proper now.) Yeah, I want it had a much bigger outer display, nevertheless it’s good to have choices. 
  • Roblox for PlayStation. A protracted-overdue launch, should you ask me, however nonetheless an enormous deal, particularly as Roblox tries to turn out to be a platform for all ages and all makes use of. Neglect what Meta’s constructing; Roblox is the corporate most making an attempt to make the metaverse occur.
  • The Fall of the Home of Usher. Mike Flanagan’s horror exhibits have been a Netflix staple lately, and his newest (and perhaps final) feels like a becoming finale: actually bonkers however in the end quite a lot of enjoyable. And bonus: loads of critiques of contemporary tech-forward life.
  • ActivityPub for WordPress. It is a enormous deal: it means anybody with a website on, which is an terrible lot of individuals, can now mechanically syndicate their stuff to Mastodon, Pixelfed, and the remainder of the fediverse. I’m all in on the open net way forward for social, and this can be a massive step in that path.
  • Lightroom Extremely HDR. That is the great type of HDR, the type that truly makes your pictures crisper and extra lifelike, and now Lightroom’s Android app can work with it natively in your telephone. For now, Extremely HDR is only for Pixel telephones, however on the whole, Lightroom is a superb app and an amazing step up out of your typical smartphone enhancing app. (Additionally, take a look at all of the wild AI stuff Adobe confirmed off at Max this week. I do know we speak an excessive amount of about “what is a photograph,” however severely. The whole lot’s totally different now.)

Group challenge

Final week, I believed I’d strive one thing I’ve been desirous to do for some time: see if we, as the entire Installerverse (it’s HAPPENING), might all work collectively to determine the identical factor. So I requested, what do you employ to trace all of the stuff you wish to learn, watch, and hearken to?

Oh, boy, did you all come by way of. Thanks a lot to everybody who emailed and texted and DMed! I acquired quite a lot of nice app suggestions, a bunch of actually wild hacky techniques, some severely elaborate spreadsheeting, and way more. So right here, as greatest as I can summarize it multi function place, is how the entire Installer neighborhood does its media monitoring.

  • The general favourite. Sequel was by far the most-recommended app in my inbox this week. It’s sadly just for Apple gadgets, however people love its design, the truth that it may well observe principally every kind of media, its notifications for brand new stuff, the additional information it provides, and extra. Oh, and excellent news: Romain Lefebvre, who makes Sequel, tells me model 2.1 is coming quickly with much more stuff, and you may get within the TestFlight beta proper now.
  • The all-in-one apps. Couch was most likely the second hottest suggestion. All people additionally appears to like the design of Trakt, Play is a nifty up-and-comer, and Cronica has some followers, too.
  • The media-specific apps. For films, a lot of folks really useful Reelgood and JustWatch, and there was quite a lot of love for Letterboxd as effectively. For TV exhibits, Hobi appears to be a favourite, and SeriesGuide and TV Membership each got here up a couple of instances, too. For ebook consumption, Goodreads appears to be the go-to, however StoryGraph acquired some love as effectively. For monitoring music, MusicHarbor and MusicBox gave the impression to be the alternatives, although there are some diehards on the market, too. For video video games, GameTrack was actually the one one I heard about!
  • Drop them in a hyperlink bucket. I heard from a couple of individuals who use bookmarking instruments like Raindrop, into which you’ll simply drop IMDb or YouTube or Amazon hyperlinks. Others used Instapaper and Pocket for saving hyperlinks.
  • Make them duties. A bunch of you’re repurposing to-do checklist apps like Issues, Todoist, and Microsoft To Do as methods to trace these things — some have it in an enormous “Stuff to Devour” checklist; others have it separated by media kind. One upside of that is that it may be collaborative: share an inventory with a associate or roommate, and everyone can add to it simply.
  • Go to the supply. I heard from people who preserve their to-watch checklist in IMDb, their buying checklist of their Amazon account, their podcast suggestions in Overcast, and their music queue of their Spotify library. The purpose, it appears, is simply to dump every little thing the place it’ll find yourself anyway.
  • Simply preserve an inventory. Notion; Apple Notes; Evernote; Anytype; Bear; Obsidian; Capacities; Google Hold; OneNote; tons and plenty of others. So lots of you mentioned the most effective factor to do is simply write every little thing down someplace — ideally, someplace you’ll discover it once more — and be finished with it.

A number of different particular apps that folks actually favored: Mela for monitoring recipes; Copilot for monitoring funds; Discogs for managing bodily music; Habitica for monitoring habits.

And a particular shoutout to essentially the most spectacular system I heard about this week, from somebody who requested to be recognized solely as Stealth1248, which I’m simply going to cite in its entirety:

“I’ve regarded into a few of the collector apps, however they’re costly and appear to be quite a lot of work. The enjoyment of an Excel spreadsheet is that it’s tremendous straightforward to switch to include no matter type of info I need. I can type issues, categorize them, preserve observe of if I already personal them or not, and so forth.

“I additionally arrange a pair Microsoft Varieties so as to add issues to them. The explanation for that’s 2-fold. 1: Excel on cell (whereas potential) is actually laborious to work with. Varieties modify much better to a small vertical display. You possibly can arrange free fill solutions, multi choose questions, fields that require dates/instances/numbers, and make sure questions necessary (so I don’t overlook to fill out a sure area of information) 2: You possibly can export the outcomes from Varieties as rows in an Excel doc, so this makes it straightforward so as to add them to the primary spreadsheet when I’ve time to take a seat down on an actual (aka massive with a horizontal display) laptop. Every query turns into a column of the spreadsheet and every full survey response turns into a row.”

Right here’s what the ensuing spreadsheet appears like:

I find it irresistible. I’d by no means handle to maintain it updated, however I find it irresistible. Thanks once more to everybody who wrote in with suggestions and concepts, we’ll do one thing like this once more actually quickly!

Display share

Each from time to time, I wish to textual content Casey Newton simply to see which note-taking app he’s utilizing — as a result of he appears to alter his thoughts virtually as usually as I do and is simply as keen to throw his life and hopes and goals into something that may assist him do some extra slightly extra simply. And truthfully, similar. Casey will get it.

However then again, Casey can also be one of the considerate web customers I do know. If you happen to’ve learn his glorious Platformer publication or heard the pleasant Onerous Fork podcast, he’s deeply educated about how and why tech influences us. So I used to be curious to see what apps he makes use of, the place they dwell, and the way he thinks about his telephone’s job in his life.

Right here’s Casey’s homescreen (two of them, really!), plus some information on the apps he makes use of and why:

The telephone: iPhone 15 Professional.

The wallpaper: “The system wallpaper that exhibits you the place on earth you’re. I don’t assume it has a reputation.”

The apps: Todoist, Barry’s (allows you to ebook Barry’s lessons on the go, or much more importantly, cancel them whenever you’re hungover), Clock, Cron (really the extra I have a look at Cron, the extra I miss Fantastical. What am I doing to myself right here?), Stripe, Pocket, Messenger, Google, Google Maps, App Retailer, Settings, Overcast, Spotify, Telephone, 1Password, Threads (Threads has felt way more energetic over the previous week, and I principally assume it’s three or 4 massive releases away from attaining escape velocity), ChatGPT, Messages, Gmail, Bear, Safari, Chrome, Darkish Sky (I’ll by no means delete this app icon as a result of it jogs my memory of what we misplaced. Valar morghulis), Day One, Holedown (it’s 400 years previous, is rarely up to date, and might fill completely any period of time between 10 seconds and 90 minutes), Grindr, Mem, Ivory, Artifact, Poe, Bluesky, Lutron, Amie, Capacities (my new favourite note-taking app, and should you’re out there for a spot to do your private information administration, it is best to completely test it out), Epik, and Bonk.

I additionally requested Casey to share a couple of issues he’s into proper now. Right here’s what he mentioned:

  • Artifact. This little AI newsreading app from the Instagram co-founders is transport new options sooner than any product on the buyer web. I more and more uncover information there that I put in Platformer, and I all the time discover one thing attention-grabbing that I haven’t seen earlier than. I’m not completely certain the place it’s going, however I do know Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have enormous plans for it, and I’m having fun with being alongside for the trip. One cool characteristic is that should you’re a author, they ship you push notifications when different folks hyperlink to your tales. Which is all the time enjoyable to see. 
  • Bonk. Bonk is the most effective new social community. You add mates after which “bonk” them, and each time you bonk, they get a separate notification telling them. So you possibly can shortly take over somebody’s total telephone together with your horrible notifications, and each time you bonk, you get haptic suggestions, and the Bonk app itself is taken over by the phrase Bonk. The very best characteristic (apart from each different characteristic) is that there’s a leaderboard that tells you which ones of your mates has bonked essentially the most over the previous few days. The funniest characteristic is that the app, which remains to be in beta, requires iOS 17 for causes recognized solely to the developer and to God. It additionally has the most effective URL for an app I’ve personally ever seen:
  • ChatGPT. A mistake I made this yr as a tech reporter was not instantly subscribing to ChatGPT Plus when GPT-4 grew to become obtainable. It seems that should you’re solely utilizing 3.5, you actually do not know what’s about to occur to all of us. GPT-4 makes many fewer errors and is best in each manner at serving to you assume by way of topics or analyze textual content than its predecessor. I assigned the voice-operated model of it to the Motion Button on my new iPhone 15 Professional, so now I can speak to ChatGPT on the press of a button. It seems like getting a glimpse of the long run.


Right here’s what the Installer neighborhood is into this week. I wish to know what you’re into proper now as effectively! E-mail [email protected] together with your suggestions for something and every little thing, and we’ll characteristic a few of our favorites right here each week. And for far more nice suggestions than I might embody right here, take a look at this Threads thread.

Dex. It’s a ‘private rolodex’ app: it allows you to take notes about folks in your life, set reminders to observe up, preserve observe of birthdays, and sync with Gmail / LinkedIn. For a freelancer, my reminiscence expertise go away a lot to be desired. It helps me keep in mind particulars about conversations with folks the following time we speak — each professionally and socially.” – Ryan

“Two latest glorious collection, each on Apple TV Plus: Silo and Basis.” – Dennis

“I take advantage of a number of browsers for various issues, then I take advantage of BrowserFairy to mechanically route apps and websites to particular browsers. For my newsletters and associated issues to learn, I’ve BrowserFairy open Microsoft Edge. In Edge, I sync between gadgets, group tabs, and all the conventional built-in-browser issues Edge brings, particularly vertical tabs (which is like Safari reader, simply so a lot better).” – Brent

“Making a sensible lamp utilizing a Shelly RGBW and a customized firmware mod to get it to work with Apple Residence. In all probability an enormous residence community safety danger, nevertheless it works. Additionally, an excessive amount of Stardew Valley on Apple Arcade.” – Timothy

“After years of making an attempt to heat as much as GTD apps, with little success, I lastly tried Agenda, and it actually works for me. I’m not utilizing it for note-taking (I’ve Apple Notes, Google Hold, and Obsidian for that). However the way in which it handles triaging to-dos and integrates together with your calendar and Apple Reminders is actually slick. It’s loaded with options, appears stunning, is consistently being up to date, and has a singular paid tier you can get through subscription or a one-time cost. However the free model is so good, most individuals won’t ever must pay. Lastly, I’m GTD!” – David

“Simply acquired Patrick Stewart’s new memoir, and I’m tremendous excited to learn it! I additionally acquired to see him throughout his ebook tour, which was superb.” – Aaron

“Oh my god, I simply acquired a Nitro Deck from CKRD, and it’s completely my new favourite online game gadget. It’s a deck for the Change, with Corridor-effect joysticks, programmable rear bumpers, and a pleasant huge grip for big-handed people like me that discover the Pleasure-Cons cramped. I ordered the unit in GameCube purple and might verify it’s as righteous in particular person because it appears on the shop.” – Nick

“The good factor I’ve seen just lately, I don’t know methods to share with anybody. It’s a film known as Whats up Dankness that seamlessly cuts collectively every little thing from Napoleon Dynamite and Wayne’s World to Pen15 and RoboCop to create weird cross-world interactions and make a satirical commentary on the absurdity of the post-Trump political panorama. However as a result of it’s principally a pirated work, I feel you possibly can solely see it at movie festivals and particular screenings. Oh, and it has a bonkers trailer.” – Thomas

“I used iTunes completely till about 2018, and although it was dangerous software program by the top, it did supply a music nerd quite a lot of issues that Spotify and a few of the others don’t. There’s an iOS app known as Marvis, which has a professional model that gives lots of these options. The rub is that it solely works with Apple Music, however I’ve discovered that, for previous iTunes holdouts, this isn’t a lot of an issue.” – John

Signing off

A number of days in the past, on The Vergecast, I discussed that top-of-the-line telephone equipment I’ve ever purchased is a extremely lengthy — mine is 10 toes — charging cable. I’ve one subsequent to my sofa and one other subsequent to my mattress, and y’all, the freedom that comes from not having to lean over to be nearer to my shops!

However then, I acquired an e-mail from Eric telling me how mistaken I used to be. Right here’s what Eric mentioned: “I used to work at Apple retail, and when folks would are available in on the lookout for longer charging cables, they’d balk on the worth — longer Lightning (on the time) cables had been (are?) costly! — and I’d all the time suggest going to Goal and taking a look at common extension cables. Far more choices (colours, lengths, thicknesses, twine types, and so forth…) and infrequently manner cheaper. Can’t inform you what number of people got here again in simply to say thanks for the concept, simply saved them $25. All this to say: David! Don’t purchase a 10-foot Apple USB cable, purchase an superior 12-foot extension cable as an alternative.”

I’ve finished some trying, and Eric’s not mistaken. There are some beautiful, cheap extension cables on the market (I searched “braided extension cable” and located a lot of good ones), they usually’re far more multifaceted than simply having one lengthy USB charger. Apparently, I’m going to redo all my charging stations once more. 

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