3 iOS Apps From All Over

| Free on iTunes

As Chance, The Gardener in Being There (check out the movie if you don’t know it. A classic.) often said, “I like to watch.” What passes for socializing these days isn’t something I want to be actively involved in. I prefer to observe and try to make sense of the cacophony of info blasted at us. It’s kind of like listening in on a multiparty phone conversation with your mic on mute. You’re there, listening to all the gossip and news, but not contributing.

For instance, I refuse to tweet and I don’t want my face in Facebook. It’s not that I’m antisocial, it’s just that I believe my uninteresting life is my business. I share what I want with whom I want when I want, and I don’t feel I need to burden the public at large with reports of my angst and aches, joys and jealousies, visions or validations.

Does it mean that I may suffer unforeseen consequences due to my ludditical (not a real word, but it should be) view of these technologies? Yeah, maybe, but that’s my choice and I can live with it. It could be that I’ll have to yield to the pressures of living in our increasingly malconnected (another word that should be in Webster’s. It means to be socially connected, but in ways that are a detriment to you) world, but until then, I’ll keep my tweets, and my face, to myself.

So, am I completely off The Grid? Heck no! My daughter sends me pix and movies of my grandson via MMS regularly. I get fashion advice from my son though he lives three thousand miles away. I get my news through a variety of sources, and I can choose from a huge list stuff to keep me entertained through one of several devices, all connected to the Internet. I don’t need to drop off to drop out. All I want is a little diversion, something random that gives me a momentary pause and makes me go, “hmm!” Lucky for me, and those of you who understand what I’m talking about, there are many interesting apps available that may do just that.

McSweeney’s, for instance, is an interesting app that offers and eclectic blend of stories, movies, commentary, and just random bits and pieces from all over.


The free app includes a one month subscription to The Red Chair, which offers up a bit of something from one of the other McSweeney’s publications. Even if you don’t subscribe to The Red Chair or other content, there’s plenty of freebies to keep you coming back for more.


You can also buy books and other content and store them in the in-app library.

If you enjoy reading and viewing interesting, off-beat content that you’ll not find elsewhere, then McSweeney’s is for you.

If you like your amusement formatted for a more on-the-go lifestyle then you might enjoy Vulture Clickables.

Vulture Clickables

Here you’ll find viral vids, trailers, and other multimedia knickknacks culled from the Web for your viewing and listening pleasure. You’ll find darn near anything. If it’s cool then you’ll likely see it on Vulture Clickables.

Of course, you can find most of the stuff on Vulture on your own, but here it’s all in one place. And it’s free! The only problem is that it’s for iPhone only. This would be such a cool iPad app.

Vulture Clickables

Ah well, you’re more likely to be standing in line with you iPhone than iPad, so on that count, Vulture Clickables is right on time. Grab it.

OK, who doesn’t like a good podcast? It wasn’t so long ago that if you said, “podcast” to all but the technorati the response would have been, “pod-what?” Now, podcasts are the way many people get information about all manner of subjects, and there are a gazillion podcasts out there. So it’s only reasonable that there’s a decent app that lets you manage the podcasts you like and find new ones.

Stitcher Radio may sound like a weird name for a podcast app until to see what it does. It grabs and ‘stitches’ together podcasts from all over the place and puts them together in one, easily manageable app.

Stitcher Radio

What I mean by “manageable” is that Stitcher Radio will let you group podcasts you like into “stations”, which is always available with the latest installment of the podcasts of choice. If you want, Stitcher can create a station for you based of your preferences. It’s kinda like Pandora for podcasts. Sweet, right? I KNOW!!

The app will bookmark where you left off listening, in case you are interrupted by a phone call, and it has a great news station called In Headlines, that keeps you up to date on current events.

Stitcher Radio

You can even play your Stitcher Radio stations in the background while using other apps. Isn’t multitasking great?

This is another app that I find hard to believe that it’s free, but it is. Get it, even if you don’t listen to a lot of podcasts.

And that’s a wrap for this week. Below is a shortlist of free TV episodes including Terra Nova, the Back to the Future/Jurassic Park mashup that’s not bad.




Completely agree on the Stitcher app.

As for being a luddite if one doesn’t want to face up to Facebook, well, no; I would say that the majority of my professional associates and friends have a bearish view of FB. Privacy is the thing driving that attitude.

I am on FB, but sporadically throughout the week. Most use services like LinkedIn. I see only a few of my professional contact on FB, but nearly all on LinkedIn. That may be a medical/health/research secular trend, and not necessarily representative of other professions and groups.

As for Twitter I would argue, yes, you are pushing luddite-dom. You needn’t share every passing thought (in most cases that is just TMI), but I find it the fastest way to obtain and share relevant information. I cannot tell you how many times I get a tweet on a world event before it makes the newsfeed updates via email.

The joy and fun on Twitter is in the receiving and the giving. Brilliant stuff.


I’m going to have to try Stitcher. I’ve tried to do the same thing with iTunes but it’s quite kludgy.

I don’t twit either. I tried it for a month. The feeds were either vacuous, or links to articles (“Verne Seward’s latest Free Friday Article is Out”) well for the sites I check, I know the article is out there. For those I don’t, well I don’t check them for a reason. I also found I couldn’t tweet myself.  John Martellaro and I corresponded about this a year or two back. Twitter was the new big thing. I tried it and I finally told him that I can’t write anything worth saying in 140 characters. My shopping lists have paragraphs. What was more, in a month of following a few feeds I concluded that almost nobody else could either.

I’m on Facebook but I have no information out there beside my name and marital status. I use it to follow particular CBC program comments and a couple of other things. Finally a month ago I “unfriended” everyone too. Really I didn’t need to know my nephew got wasted at the party last weekend or the pictures of somebody’s infant throwing up. I posted a fair amount at first but it dwindled down to nothing on my own wall.

I think I’ll need to check Linnedin. Sounds like it could be useful in my current job search.

Lastly, I had to watch Being There for a film class in College. The instructor was positively euphoric about how beautiful and uplifting it was. I found it to be one of the worst films ever made. The story of a mentally deficient person thrown into the cold cruel world where he is used and abused by everyone he meets for their own purposes. Far from uplifting I found it to be a very bleak picture of a very ugly world. She said I “just didn’t get it” and I said there was nothing of value there to ‘get’. I passed the class though.


I think I?ll need to check Linnedin. Sounds like it could be useful in my current job search.

Hilarious post, geoduck. You write well. I am surprised that you have nothing to say on either FB or Twitter. One of my professors early on pointed out that brevity with clarity and completeness is a much harder objective than verbosity, which is often content-poor. The former takes both thought and artistry.

As for LinkedIn, it is well worth it to have an organised network. I have seen it work for many people in my circle. More than that, it really is designed to be a professional/career network.

For that matter, I have also made referrals on FB, but it is not optimally primed for that function. I still view FB as a watering hole where predators lurk (paying FB clients), where you go to socialise while being preyed upon. My principal mission in going to that hole is to keep track of my kids and make sure they stay out of trouble. At some point, I will back away from that role, and likely leave FB altogether.

Vern Seward

@ Wab95: While I agree that Twitter CAN serve a purpose, I’m not so sure that it can serve a purpose for me. If I had friends or relatives in countries with unrest then I suppose I’d look for a solution that provides the quickest way to glean info about current events. I don’t so normal news channels are good enough for me.

It’s yet one more info channel in a world flooded with info channels. I may take a look sometime in the future, but it is not high on the list.

@Geoduck: My Facebook try-out was even less enthusiastic. I think I lasted 3 weeks though I haven’t unfriended anyone yet. I just don’t bother.

I had a friend tell me that there was a certain elegance in being able to express a thought in 140 characters or less. So, I guess I’m not only a luddite, but uncultured as well. Go me! grin

When I first saw Being There in the movies I thought it was one of the most cleverly executed movies I’d ever seen. Chance wasn’t mentally deficient, he was socially deprived and completely innocent. His view of the world beyond the walls of the small garden he worked in came to him via TV, which is why his reaction to everything was couched in TV or garden references.

I also didn’t see people that he ran into (with the possible exception of Raoul, the small Black man) being cruel to him. On the contrary, I saw them so desperate for attention, approval, and validation that they created Chauncey Gardner from little more than a cough, and they gave meaning to his inane, but innocent remarks. I didn’t find the movie “uplifting”. I saw it more as a commentary on how dysfunctional our society has become to where a few words from the mouth of a social “babe” was enough to change things. It still ranks as one of my favorite movies.

Try watching it again, but this time, don’t read so much into it.

Lee Dronick

I have a Facebook account, but I am careful about my privacy. It lists my hometown, but that is so that old friends can find me. It also has my birthday, but a few days off of the actual one, people like to say “happy birthday.” Otherwise I don’t list employers and such. I don’t play any of the Facebook games/apps, as they seem to be a personal info goldmine. I don’t let anyone, even friends, write on my wall and only friends can see my posts.

I have a few friends that are local, but most are scattered in various places in the USA and some overseas. The nonlocal friends are mostly family and school classmates. It is fun, we share recipes, poetry, and such. It is also frustrating, Facebook seems to me to have a clumsy and confusing interface. The free betterfacebook plugin is your friend, it fixes a lot of Facebook’s problems.

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