Tag Archives: Sunday Showdown

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Wouldn’t it be cool if your phone knew to enter airplane mode when you go to the theater, or text your spouse when you leave work? IFTTT and Tasker can automate countless tasks like these to turn your phone into an attentive personal assistant. Today, we’re putting them both in the ring to see which one’s better at simplifying your life.

The Contenders

One of Android’s greatest benefits is how much you can customize it to your liking. That doesn’t just mean you can change your font or use a different app launcher. That stuff is child’s play. Automation apps can do everything from switching off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when your battery gets low to turning your phone into a voice-controlled remote for your living room. Today, we’re looking at two of the most powerful automation tool on Android:

  • IFTTT: IFTTT is a web service that connects the other services you use every day like Evernote, Gmail, or Dropbox with simple instructions called “recipes.” A recipe consists of a trigger, like receiving an attachment in Gmail, and an action, like saving that attachment to Dropbox. Each service has its own channel of triggers and actions. The IF app for Android adds several channels specific to your phone that let you trigger actions based on where you are, when you receive a phone call, or your phone’s battery level. You can then perform actions like changing your system’s settings, sending texts, or even setting a new wallpaper. For example, you can tell IFTTT to automatically update your wallpaper with NASA’s newest image of the day. IFTTT isn’t limited to Android, which means it’s easy to connect your phone to the rest of your digital life.
  • Tasker: Tasker is a rules-based automation app for Android. With it, you can create “profiles” based on things like what application is running, what day it is, or where you are. Tasker then watches your phone to see when those conditions are met. Once they are, it can triggers “tasks” to do things like send texts, change settings on your phone, or play music. For example, you can tell Tasker to turn on airplane mode whenever you’re at the GPS location of your favorite movie theater. Third-party plugins like AutoVoice allow you to extend what you can do with Tasker even more.

The examples we’ve given just scratch the surface of what these two services can do. If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out our readers’ favorite Tasker actions here. IFTTT also has a huge library of recipes you can browse if you’re not sure how to make your own. You can build on the work that many intrepid tweakers have already done to make your phone do some pretty amazing things.

http://lifehacker.com/5599116/how-to…

IFTTT Is Easier to Use But Limiting, While Tasker Is Powerful With a Steep Learning Curve

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

If we were to compare Tasker and IFTTT on ease of use alone, IFTTT would win with no contest. IFTTT’s recipes are built around a simple, familiar programming phrase: if this then that. If your phone leaves the house, turn off Wi-Fi. If Google Calendar says you’re in a meeting, mute your phone. This simplicity, combined with a gorgeous and accessible app design, makes it easy for just about anyone to automate simple tasks.

On top of this, IFTTT already has a huge library of published recipes from existing users. You can browse the library here, select a recipe you like, and click Add. Boom, you’re done. The most you have to do is install the IF app for Android and connect your various services to IFTTT. It couldn’t be simpler, even for beginners.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Tasker is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Tasker’s interface is far more complex and the app comes with only the most basic tutorials. We have our own guide here that can help you get started. You’ll also need Tasker’s official wiki to understand many of the features in the app. There are also Tasker-focused user communities can provide templates for how to automate certain actions, and you’ve shared some of your favorite actions too,but if you can’t find an existing action for the thing you want to accomplish, you’re on your own. Unfortunately, being on your own involves a lot of trial and error, research, and troubleshooting. While you don’t necessarily need to be a coder to use Tasker, it will help to at least understand the logic of how automating simple tasks works. Which is more than IFTTT asks of its users.

Once you get over Tasker’s learning curve, though, your reward for climbing that hill is totally worth it. With Tasker, you can do nearly anything with your phone. For example, this person set up voice commands with Tasker to control his lights, TV, and home theater PC. Another built this makeshift one-handed mode for giant phones. You can use Tasker and a few plugins to make custom voice commands for anything Tasker can do. Most of these aren’t the kind of thing you could set up in five minutes, but Tasker is only limited by how much time you’re willing to put into it.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker
Your average user probably has no idea what half of these Tasker options mean.

IFTTT, on the other hand, doesn’t give you nearly as much flexibility. You only have a small set of Android actions and triggers to choose from. For example, you can change your phone’s wallpaper, play music on your phone or from your favorite apps, and modify other system settings like volume, Wi-Fi, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t do more complicated things that Tasker is capable of, like create your own voice commands. In fact, you can’t even create IFTTT recipes with multiple triggers or actions. For example, say you wanted to create an action to find your lost phone by texting it, even if it’s muted. You can create one recipe to unmute your phone, and you can create a separate recipe to play a notification sound, but you can’t trigger both actions in the same recipe. This can get complicated if you want to perform two actions from the same trigger, since you can’t determine what order recipes are executed in.

Fortunately, you don’t have to use just one or the other (and we’ll come back to that), but for those who like tweaking their setup, Tasker is going to offer a lot more direct control. IFTTT is perfect for beginners or users who only want to do simple tasks.

http://lifehacker.com/5930652/unleas…

Tasker Plugins Give It New Powers, While IFTTT Can Connect to All Your Favorite Services

Tasker and IFTTT are both highly extensible, but in very different ways. Tasker supports third-party plugins, which add new functionality, while IFTTT connects to third-party online services to extend its features. Let’s start with Tasker. Here are a few of our favorite, most useful Tasker plugins:

  • AutoVoice: This plugin allows you to create custom voice commands to trigger Tasker actions. For example, in the home automation setup we mentioned earlier, one Tasker user used AutoVoice to create a voice command for “I’m home” that turns on all the lights in his house. It even integrates with Google Now so you can seamlessly use your own commands the same way you use Ok, Google.
  • AutoRemote: This plugin, when paired with AutoVoice, allows you to run your custom voice commands with Cortana in Windows 10. So, you could run that “I’m home” command from the last example while sitting at your desk, instead of having to pull out your phone. AutoRemote will simply forward the command to your handset, and Tasker will take it from there.
  • AutoNotification: With this plugin, you can create persistent notifications on your phone. Here, you can add buttons to manually trigger Tasker actions. For example, you could create an action that disables GPS and Bluetooth and enables Wi-Fi. When you get home, just tap this button so your phone saves battery on the services it might not need.

Third-party plugins are responsible for helping Tasker learn a lot of new skills since it first came out. While you can do some cool things with the basic Tasker app, it’s hard to deny that adding voice commands or Cortana support is pretty awesome. You can find more plugins on the developer’s web site here.

For its part, IFTTT doesn’t have plugins, but it connects to other supported online services. This means that you can change your phone’s wallpaper by posting to Instagram, or turn on your home’s smart lights when you get home. You can check out IFTTT’s massive list of channels here. We couldn’t possibly highlight everything you could do with these, but there are a few that are particularly useful:

  • Amazon Alexa Channel: If you have an Amazon Echo, this channel triggers actions on your Android device remotely using Alexa. You can use this to unmute and find your phone if you lost it (though as we stated earlier, you might need two separate recipes to do this). You could also use create a command to turn your phone’s GPS on, so you can ask Alexa to do it before you leave for work instead of fiddling with your settings in the driveway.
  • Connected Home: IFTTT has an impressive collection of connected home channels. If you have WeMo, D-Link, Harmony, or Nest smart home gadgets, you can connect them to IFTTT easily, and with the Android channels, you can use your phone to turn your lights on when you get home or change the thermostat when you leave.
  • Pushbullet: Pushbullet is an awesome service that allows you to “push” messages and files from one device to another. You can already use it to bridge the gap between your phone, laptop, and tablet. With the IFTTT Pushbullet channel, you can do even more, like get notifications on your computer if you miss a phone call or if your phone’s battery gets low.

These are just a few examples, but you can see how channels that aren’t directly related to Android can still be useful.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-pus…

Tasker and IFTTT Are Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter: Good Alone, but Better Together

So, after all of that, which one is better? Well, neither one! Tasker is perfect for making creative, complex actions, and IFTTT serves as a simple glue between your phone and various other services. When you use each one for what they’re best at, you can do some pretty amazing things.

For example, you can use Tasker to create a custom voice command that will send a text message to IFTTT, which will then turn on your WeMo light switch. You can use Tasker alone to do this, but it’s more complicated. By using both services together, you can do even more awesome things with your phone, with even less effort.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Wouldn’t it be cool if your phone knew to enter airplane mode when you go to the theater, or text your spouse when you leave work? IFTTT and Tasker can automate countless tasks like these to turn your phone into an attentive personal assistant. Today, we’re putting them both in the ring to see which one’s better at simplifying your life.

The Contenders

One of Android’s greatest benefits is how much you can customize it to your liking. That doesn’t just mean you can change your font or use a different app launcher. That stuff is child’s play. Automation apps can do everything from switching off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when your battery gets low to turning your phone into a voice-controlled remote for your living room. Today, we’re looking at two of the most powerful automation tool on Android:

  • IFTTT: IFTTT is a web service that connects the other services you use every day like Evernote, Gmail, or Dropbox with simple instructions called “recipes.” A recipe consists of a trigger, like receiving an attachment in Gmail, and an action, like saving that attachment to Dropbox. Each service has its own channel of triggers and actions. The IF app for Android adds several channels specific to your phone that let you trigger actions based on where you are, when you receive a phone call, or your phone’s battery level. You can then perform actions like changing your system’s settings, sending texts, or even setting a new wallpaper. For example, you can tell IFTTT to automatically update your wallpaper with NASA’s newest image of the day. IFTTT isn’t limited to Android, which means it’s easy to connect your phone to the rest of your digital life.
  • Tasker: Tasker is a rules-based automation app for Android. With it, you can create “profiles” based on things like what application is running, what day it is, or where you are. Tasker then watches your phone to see when those conditions are met. Once they are, it can triggers “tasks” to do things like send texts, change settings on your phone, or play music. For example, you can tell Tasker to turn on airplane mode whenever you’re at the GPS location of your favorite movie theater. Third-party plugins like AutoVoice allow you to extend what you can do with Tasker even more.

The examples we’ve given just scratch the surface of what these two services can do. If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out our readers’ favorite Tasker actions here. IFTTT also has a huge library of recipes you can browse if you’re not sure how to make your own. You can build on the work that many intrepid tweakers have already done to make your phone do some pretty amazing things.

http://lifehacker.com/5599116/how-to…

IFTTT Is Easier to Use But Limiting, While Tasker Is Powerful With a Steep Learning Curve

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

If we were to compare Tasker and IFTTT on ease of use alone, IFTTT would win with no contest. IFTTT’s recipes are built around a simple, familiar programming phrase: if this then that. If your phone leaves the house, turn off Wi-Fi. If Google Calendar says you’re in a meeting, mute your phone. This simplicity, combined with a gorgeous and accessible app design, makes it easy for just about anyone to automate simple tasks.

On top of this, IFTTT already has a huge library of published recipes from existing users. You can browse the library here, select a recipe you like, and click Add. Boom, you’re done. The most you have to do is install the IF app for Android and connect your various services to IFTTT. It couldn’t be simpler, even for beginners.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Tasker is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Tasker’s interface is far more complex and the app comes with only the most basic tutorials. We have our own guide here that can help you get started. You’ll also need Tasker’s official wiki to understand many of the features in the app. There are also Tasker-focused user communities can provide templates for how to automate certain actions, and you’ve shared some of your favorite actions too,but if you can’t find an existing action for the thing you want to accomplish, you’re on your own. Unfortunately, being on your own involves a lot of trial and error, research, and troubleshooting. While you don’t necessarily need to be a coder to use Tasker, it will help to at least understand the logic of how automating simple tasks works. Which is more than IFTTT asks of its users.

Once you get over Tasker’s learning curve, though, your reward for climbing that hill is totally worth it. With Tasker, you can do nearly anything with your phone. For example, this person set up voice commands with Tasker to control his lights, TV, and home theater PC. Another built this makeshift one-handed mode for giant phones. You can use Tasker and a few plugins to make custom voice commands for anything Tasker can do. Most of these aren’t the kind of thing you could set up in five minutes, but Tasker is only limited by how much time you’re willing to put into it.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker
Your average user probably has no idea what half of these Tasker options mean.

IFTTT, on the other hand, doesn’t give you nearly as much flexibility. You only have a small set of Android actions and triggers to choose from. For example, you can change your phone’s wallpaper, play music on your phone or from your favorite apps, and modify other system settings like volume, Wi-Fi, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t do more complicated things that Tasker is capable of, like create your own voice commands. In fact, you can’t even create IFTTT recipes with multiple triggers or actions. For example, say you wanted to create an action to find your lost phone by texting it, even if it’s muted. You can create one recipe to unmute your phone, and you can create a separate recipe to play a notification sound, but you can’t trigger both actions in the same recipe. This can get complicated if you want to perform two actions from the same trigger, since you can’t determine what order recipes are executed in.

Fortunately, you don’t have to use just one or the other (and we’ll come back to that), but for those who like tweaking their setup, Tasker is going to offer a lot more direct control. IFTTT is perfect for beginners or users who only want to do simple tasks.

http://lifehacker.com/5930652/unleas…

Tasker Plugins Give It New Powers, While IFTTT Can Connect to All Your Favorite Services

Tasker and IFTTT are both highly extensible, but in very different ways. Tasker supports third-party plugins, which add new functionality, while IFTTT connects to third-party online services to extend its features. Let’s start with Tasker. Here are a few of our favorite, most useful Tasker plugins:

  • AutoVoice: This plugin allows you to create custom voice commands to trigger Tasker actions. For example, in the home automation setup we mentioned earlier, one Tasker user used AutoVoice to create a voice command for “I’m home” that turns on all the lights in his house. It even integrates with Google Now so you can seamlessly use your own commands the same way you use Ok, Google.
  • AutoRemote: This plugin, when paired with AutoVoice, allows you to run your custom voice commands with Cortana in Windows 10. So, you could run that “I’m home” command from the last example while sitting at your desk, instead of having to pull out your phone. AutoRemote will simply forward the command to your handset, and Tasker will take it from there.
  • AutoNotification: With this plugin, you can create persistent notifications on your phone. Here, you can add buttons to manually trigger Tasker actions. For example, you could create an action that disables GPS and Bluetooth and enables Wi-Fi. When you get home, just tap this button so your phone saves battery on the services it might not need.

Third-party plugins are responsible for helping Tasker learn a lot of new skills since it first came out. While you can do some cool things with the basic Tasker app, it’s hard to deny that adding voice commands or Cortana support is pretty awesome. You can find more plugins on the developer’s web site here.

For its part, IFTTT doesn’t have plugins, but it connects to other supported online services. This means that you can change your phone’s wallpaper by posting to Instagram, or turn on your home’s smart lights when you get home. You can check out IFTTT’s massive list of channels here. We couldn’t possibly highlight everything you could do with these, but there are a few that are particularly useful:

  • Amazon Alexa Channel: If you have an Amazon Echo, this channel triggers actions on your Android device remotely using Alexa. You can use this to unmute and find your phone if you lost it (though as we stated earlier, you might need two separate recipes to do this). You could also use create a command to turn your phone’s GPS on, so you can ask Alexa to do it before you leave for work instead of fiddling with your settings in the driveway.
  • Connected Home: IFTTT has an impressive collection of connected home channels. If you have WeMo, D-Link, Harmony, or Nest smart home gadgets, you can connect them to IFTTT easily, and with the Android channels, you can use your phone to turn your lights on when you get home or change the thermostat when you leave.
  • Pushbullet: Pushbullet is an awesome service that allows you to “push” messages and files from one device to another. You can already use it to bridge the gap between your phone, laptop, and tablet. With the IFTTT Pushbullet channel, you can do even more, like get notifications on your computer if you miss a phone call or if your phone’s battery gets low.

These are just a few examples, but you can see how channels that aren’t directly related to Android can still be useful.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-pus…

Tasker and IFTTT Are Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter: Good Alone, but Better Together

So, after all of that, which one is better? Well, neither one! Tasker is perfect for making creative, complex actions, and IFTTT serves as a simple glue between your phone and various other services. When you use each one for what they’re best at, you can do some pretty amazing things.

For example, you can use Tasker to create a custom voice command that will send a text message to IFTTT, which will then turn on your WeMo light switch. You can use Tasker alone to do this, but it’s more complicated. By using both services together, you can do even more awesome things with your phone, with even less effort.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Wouldn’t it be cool if your phone knew to enter airplane mode when you go to the theater, or text your spouse when you leave work? IFTTT and Tasker can automate countless tasks like these to turn your phone into an attentive personal assistant. Today, we’re putting them both in the ring to see which one’s better at simplifying your life.

The Contenders

One of Android’s greatest benefits is how much you can customize it to your liking. That doesn’t just mean you can change your font or use a different app launcher. That stuff is child’s play. Automation apps can do everything from switching off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when your battery gets low to turning your phone into a voice-controlled remote for your living room. Today, we’re looking at two of the most powerful automation tool on Android:

  • IFTTT: IFTTT is a web service that connects the other services you use every day like Evernote, Gmail, or Dropbox with simple instructions called “recipes.” A recipe consists of a trigger, like receiving an attachment in Gmail, and an action, like saving that attachment to Dropbox. Each service has its own channel of triggers and actions. The IF app for Android adds several channels specific to your phone that let you trigger actions based on where you are, when you receive a phone call, or your phone’s battery level. You can then perform actions like changing your system’s settings, sending texts, or even setting a new wallpaper. For example, you can tell IFTTT to automatically update your wallpaper with NASA’s newest image of the day. IFTTT isn’t limited to Android, which means it’s easy to connect your phone to the rest of your digital life.
  • Tasker: Tasker is a rules-based automation app for Android. With it, you can create “profiles” based on things like what application is running, what day it is, or where you are. Tasker then watches your phone to see when those conditions are met. Once they are, it can triggers “tasks” to do things like send texts, change settings on your phone, or play music. For example, you can tell Tasker to turn on airplane mode whenever you’re at the GPS location of your favorite movie theater. Third-party plugins like AutoVoice allow you to extend what you can do with Tasker even more.

The examples we’ve given just scratch the surface of what these two services can do. If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out our readers’ favorite Tasker actions here. IFTTT also has a huge library of recipes you can browse if you’re not sure how to make your own. You can build on the work that many intrepid tweakers have already done to make your phone do some pretty amazing things.

http://lifehacker.com/5599116/how-to…

IFTTT Is Easier to Use But Limiting, While Tasker Is Powerful With a Steep Learning Curve

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

If we were to compare Tasker and IFTTT on ease of use alone, IFTTT would win with no contest. IFTTT’s recipes are built around a simple, familiar programming phrase: if this then that. If your phone leaves the house, turn off Wi-Fi. If Google Calendar says you’re in a meeting, mute your phone. This simplicity, combined with a gorgeous and accessible app design, makes it easy for just about anyone to automate simple tasks.

On top of this, IFTTT already has a huge library of published recipes from existing users. You can browse the library here, select a recipe you like, and click Add. Boom, you’re done. The most you have to do is install the IF app for Android and connect your various services to IFTTT. It couldn’t be simpler, even for beginners.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker

Tasker is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Tasker’s interface is far more complex and the app comes with only the most basic tutorials. We have our own guide here that can help you get started. You’ll also need Tasker’s official wiki to understand many of the features in the app. There are also Tasker-focused user communities can provide templates for how to automate certain actions, and you’ve shared some of your favorite actions too,but if you can’t find an existing action for the thing you want to accomplish, you’re on your own. Unfortunately, being on your own involves a lot of trial and error, research, and troubleshooting. While you don’t necessarily need to be a coder to use Tasker, it will help to at least understand the logic of how automating simple tasks works. Which is more than IFTTT asks of its users.

Once you get over Tasker’s learning curve, though, your reward for climbing that hill is totally worth it. With Tasker, you can do nearly anything with your phone. For example, this person set up voice commands with Tasker to control his lights, TV, and home theater PC. Another built this makeshift one-handed mode for giant phones. You can use Tasker and a few plugins to make custom voice commands for anything Tasker can do. Most of these aren’t the kind of thing you could set up in five minutes, but Tasker is only limited by how much time you’re willing to put into it.

Android Automation Showdown: IFTTT vs. Tasker
Your average user probably has no idea what half of these Tasker options mean.

IFTTT, on the other hand, doesn’t give you nearly as much flexibility. You only have a small set of Android actions and triggers to choose from. For example, you can change your phone’s wallpaper, play music on your phone or from your favorite apps, and modify other system settings like volume, Wi-Fi, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t do more complicated things that Tasker is capable of, like create your own voice commands. In fact, you can’t even create IFTTT recipes with multiple triggers or actions. For example, say you wanted to create an action to find your lost phone by texting it, even if it’s muted. You can create one recipe to unmute your phone, and you can create a separate recipe to play a notification sound, but you can’t trigger both actions in the same recipe. This can get complicated if you want to perform two actions from the same trigger, since you can’t determine what order recipes are executed in.

Fortunately, you don’t have to use just one or the other (and we’ll come back to that), but for those who like tweaking their setup, Tasker is going to offer a lot more direct control. IFTTT is perfect for beginners or users who only want to do simple tasks.

http://lifehacker.com/5930652/unleas…

Tasker Plugins Give It New Powers, While IFTTT Can Connect to All Your Favorite Services

Tasker and IFTTT are both highly extensible, but in very different ways. Tasker supports third-party plugins, which add new functionality, while IFTTT connects to third-party online services to extend its features. Let’s start with Tasker. Here are a few of our favorite, most useful Tasker plugins:

  • AutoVoice: This plugin allows you to create custom voice commands to trigger Tasker actions. For example, in the home automation setup we mentioned earlier, one Tasker user used AutoVoice to create a voice command for “I’m home” that turns on all the lights in his house. It even integrates with Google Now so you can seamlessly use your own commands the same way you use Ok, Google.
  • AutoRemote: This plugin, when paired with AutoVoice, allows you to run your custom voice commands with Cortana in Windows 10. So, you could run that “I’m home” command from the last example while sitting at your desk, instead of having to pull out your phone. AutoRemote will simply forward the command to your handset, and Tasker will take it from there.
  • AutoNotification: With this plugin, you can create persistent notifications on your phone. Here, you can add buttons to manually trigger Tasker actions. For example, you could create an action that disables GPS and Bluetooth and enables Wi-Fi. When you get home, just tap this button so your phone saves battery on the services it might not need.

Third-party plugins are responsible for helping Tasker learn a lot of new skills since it first came out. While you can do some cool things with the basic Tasker app, it’s hard to deny that adding voice commands or Cortana support is pretty awesome. You can find more plugins on the developer’s web site here.

For its part, IFTTT doesn’t have plugins, but it connects to other supported online services. This means that you can change your phone’s wallpaper by posting to Instagram, or turn on your home’s smart lights when you get home. You can check out IFTTT’s massive list of channels here. We couldn’t possibly highlight everything you could do with these, but there are a few that are particularly useful:

  • Amazon Alexa Channel: If you have an Amazon Echo, this channel triggers actions on your Android device remotely using Alexa. You can use this to unmute and find your phone if you lost it (though as we stated earlier, you might need two separate recipes to do this). You could also use create a command to turn your phone’s GPS on, so you can ask Alexa to do it before you leave for work instead of fiddling with your settings in the driveway.
  • Connected Home: IFTTT has an impressive collection of connected home channels. If you have WeMo, D-Link, Harmony, or Nest smart home gadgets, you can connect them to IFTTT easily, and with the Android channels, you can use your phone to turn your lights on when you get home or change the thermostat when you leave.
  • Pushbullet: Pushbullet is an awesome service that allows you to “push” messages and files from one device to another. You can already use it to bridge the gap between your phone, laptop, and tablet. With the IFTTT Pushbullet channel, you can do even more, like get notifications on your computer if you miss a phone call or if your phone’s battery gets low.

These are just a few examples, but you can see how channels that aren’t directly related to Android can still be useful.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-use-pus…

Tasker and IFTTT Are Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter: Good Alone, but Better Together

So, after all of that, which one is better? Well, neither one! Tasker is perfect for making creative, complex actions, and IFTTT serves as a simple glue between your phone and various other services. When you use each one for what they’re best at, you can do some pretty amazing things.

For example, you can use Tasker to create a custom voice command that will send a text message to IFTTT, which will then turn on your WeMo light switch. You can use Tasker alone to do this, but it’s more complicated. By using both services together, you can do even more awesome things with your phone, with even less effort.

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter

There are dozens of Twitter clients for the iPhone, but the official Twitter app and the third-party Tweetbot are two of the most popular. One’s free, the other’s pretty expensive at $9.99. Let’s dig into the main differences between the two, and see if the difference in experience is worth the difference in cost.

The Contenders

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Tweetbot (left) orders your timeline, y’know, by time whereas Twitter (right) does whatever it wants

Because of the way Twitter works, developing a Twitter app is a pain. It’s expensive for developers because Twitter charges them for keys to access the site, which means developers tend to pass that charge over to you, and then revoke access when you get too popular. Subsequently, most good Twitter apps tend to be on the pricey side, Tweetbot included. Let’s start with a quick look at both apps:

  • Twitter (Free): When it first launched, the official Twitter app was a bit of a joke, but over the years it’s improved quite a bit. That said, it’s basically just a mobile version of the web site, which means it’s built more for the everyday user than for power users who use all of Twitter’s features, or manage multiple accounts. It’s straight-forward to use and doesn’t feature any bells and whistles.
  • Tweetbot ($9.99): Tweetbot has been our favorite Twitter client for iPhone for a very long time, but $10 is a steep price to pay for most users. Tweetbot isn’t really made for most users though. It’s made for the type of person who spends the bulk of their day on Twitter, whether it for work or out of a deep-seated obsession with the social network. Tweetbot has a good amount of customization options for the interface, alongside a handful of ways to get a better Twitter experience by tweaking the content of your feed.

Assuming that the $10 price tag on Tweetbot isn’t enough to turn you away outright, picking between the two really depends on how you use Twitter.

http://lifehacker.com/5809798/the-be…

Tweetbot Has Better Customization

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Don’t like the tabs on the bottom? Tweetbot (left) lets you change them up

The official Twitter app is about as vanilla as an experience as you can get. Open it up and you’ll find an interface similar to the web site, with tabs on the bottom for your notifications, moments, DMs, and your profile tab. Functionality in the app is the same as the site as well. You can’t alter any of this. You can’t change the tabs, the colors, or even adjust the font size. With the Twitter app, what you see is what you get.

Conversely, Tweetbot has a variety of customization options. For example, the bottom tab bar has two buttons on the right that you can swap out for whatever function you want: activity (which includes mentions, replies, favorites, and new follower information), search, profile, likes, mute filters, or lists. If you use lists to tame your Twitter feed, having access to them in the tab bar makes your life easier. The official Twitter app tucks those lists behind several taps. If you’re using Tweetbot on an iPad or a iPhone 6 Plus, you also get support for columns in landscape mode, which lets you see two tabs side-by-side. Tweetbot also allows you to chose between a couple fonts, swap between username or full name for your timeline, alter the image size in your feed, and even customize the avatars. There’s a dark mode included if you prefer to do your tweeting late at night in a dark room.

Tweetbot also has extremely customizable notifications, so you can tweak them so you only get the notifications you want. Tweetbot has options for links too, allowing you to open links in Tweetbot, Chrome, or Safari, and even includes a reader view that strips away the visual styling of an article.

In the end, if you want an app you can customize, Tweetbot’s the one you’re looking for. The official Twitter app doesn’t allow you to change anything.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-clean-u…

Tweetbot’s Mute Filters and Lack of Ads Make Power User’s Days Better

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Tweetbot’s mute filters let you get rid of any part of Twitter you don’t want to see

Twitter is a noisy place. People tweet dozens of times a day, publications don’t seem to ever stop, and there’s always a chance for spoilers if you’re anticipating any type of media at all. Tweetbot has ways around this.

Tweetbot has a powerful set of mute filters. You can mute keywords, phrases, users, or hashtags. When you do so, any tweet that contains those things will not show up in your feed. This is great during sports playoffs when you’re not a fan, election seasons, or if you’re avoiding spoilers for something. If you do mute something, Tweetbot’s also smart enough to still show you replies that might mention those things, so you’re not totally cut off from the world. The downside is that these mute filters don’t carry over to the web version of Twitter, so it really only works inside the Tweetbot ecosystem (which includes the $10 Mac app). If you only use the Tweetbot iPhone app, it’s great, but if you’re also using the web version on your desktop computer, it’s a bit annoying.

Plus, like pretty much all third-party Twitter clients, you won’t see ads in Tweetbot. Considering how often those annoying sponsored posts seem to pop up, it’s a nice little addition if you’re not a fan of advertisements.

http://lifehacker.com/5887230/how-to…

Twitter Keeps You on the Cutting Edge

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
While Tweetbot lets you take a close look at what’s happening in your feed, Twitter likes to show you a more global view

The one area where the official Twitter dominates Tweetbot is in support for new features. The folks behind Twitter love to introduce new little features all the time, whether that’s fun stuff like polls or weird features like Moments. If you’re using the official Twitter app, you will almost always see an update in the app to support these new features immediately.

Tweetbot doesn’t do this at all. Heck, Tweetbot still doesn’t support polls. For whatever reason, many of the cutting edge features that Twitter decides to roll out don’t end up working on third-party clients. Of course, that’s also a feature of Tweetbot if you like a simpler Twitter experience as a whole.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-take-yo…

The Verdict: Tweetbot’s the Better App, but Twitter Is Free, Still Does Enough for Most People

Let’s be honest here: the general population who just glances at Twitter a couple times a day doesn’t need a $10 Twitter app. If you only manage one account, don’t mind seeing a bunch of extra garbage like ads and obnoxious hashtags, and it doesn’t bother you when Twitter adds some half-baked new idea to the app every week, then the official Twitter app is all you need.

If you spend a lot of time on Twitter during the day, then Tweetbot’s the best app for making that experience better. The mute function alone is worth the price of admission for some people, but the customizable toolbar and activity menu make it much easier to manage large scale accounts.

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter

There are dozens of Twitter clients for the iPhone, but the official Twitter app and the third-party Tweetbot are two of the most popular. One’s free, the other’s pretty expensive at $9.99. Let’s dig into the main differences between the two, and see if the difference in experience is worth the difference in cost.

The Contenders

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Tweetbot (left) orders your timeline, y’know, by time whereas Twitter (right) does whatever it wants

Because of the way Twitter works, developing a Twitter app is a pain. It’s expensive for developers because Twitter charges them for keys to access the site, which means developers tend to pass that charge over to you, and then revoke access when you get too popular. Subsequently, most good Twitter apps tend to be on the pricey side, Tweetbot included. Let’s start with a quick look at both apps:

  • Twitter (Free): When it first launched, the official Twitter app was a bit of a joke, but over the years it’s improved quite a bit. That said, it’s basically just a mobile version of the web site, which means it’s built more for the everyday user than for power users who use all of Twitter’s features, or manage multiple accounts. It’s straight-forward to use and doesn’t feature any bells and whistles.
  • Tweetbot ($9.99): Tweetbot has been our favorite Twitter client for iPhone for a very long time, but $10 is a steep price to pay for most users. Tweetbot isn’t really made for most users though. It’s made for the type of person who spends the bulk of their day on Twitter, whether it for work or out of a deep-seated obsession with the social network. Tweetbot has a good amount of customization options for the interface, alongside a handful of ways to get a better Twitter experience by tweaking the content of your feed.

Assuming that the $10 price tag on Tweetbot isn’t enough to turn you away outright, picking between the two really depends on how you use Twitter.

http://lifehacker.com/5809798/the-be…

Tweetbot Has Better Customization

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Don’t like the tabs on the bottom? Tweetbot (left) lets you change them up

The official Twitter app is about as vanilla as an experience as you can get. Open it up and you’ll find an interface similar to the web site, with tabs on the bottom for your notifications, moments, DMs, and your profile tab. Functionality in the app is the same as the site as well. You can’t alter any of this. You can’t change the tabs, the colors, or even adjust the font size. With the Twitter app, what you see is what you get.

Conversely, Tweetbot has a variety of customization options. For example, the bottom tab bar has two buttons on the right that you can swap out for whatever function you want: activity (which includes mentions, replies, favorites, and new follower information), search, profile, likes, mute filters, or lists. If you use lists to tame your Twitter feed, having access to them in the tab bar makes your life easier. The official Twitter app tucks those lists behind several taps. If you’re using Tweetbot on an iPad or a iPhone 6 Plus, you also get support for columns in landscape mode, which lets you see two tabs side-by-side. Tweetbot also allows you to chose between a couple fonts, swap between username or full name for your timeline, alter the image size in your feed, and even customize the avatars. There’s a dark mode included if you prefer to do your tweeting late at night in a dark room.

Tweetbot also has extremely customizable notifications, so you can tweak them so you only get the notifications you want. Tweetbot has options for links too, allowing you to open links in Tweetbot, Chrome, or Safari, and even includes a reader view that strips away the visual styling of an article.

In the end, if you want an app you can customize, Tweetbot’s the one you’re looking for. The official Twitter app doesn’t allow you to change anything.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-clean-u…

Tweetbot’s Mute Filters and Lack of Ads Make Power User’s Days Better

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
Tweetbot’s mute filters let you get rid of any part of Twitter you don’t want to see

Twitter is a noisy place. People tweet dozens of times a day, publications don’t seem to ever stop, and there’s always a chance for spoilers if you’re anticipating any type of media at all. Tweetbot has ways around this.

Tweetbot has a powerful set of mute filters. You can mute keywords, phrases, users, or hashtags. When you do so, any tweet that contains those things will not show up in your feed. This is great during sports playoffs when you’re not a fan, election seasons, or if you’re avoiding spoilers for something. If you do mute something, Tweetbot’s also smart enough to still show you replies that might mention those things, so you’re not totally cut off from the world. The downside is that these mute filters don’t carry over to the web version of Twitter, so it really only works inside the Tweetbot ecosystem (which includes the $10 Mac app). If you only use the Tweetbot iPhone app, it’s great, but if you’re also using the web version on your desktop computer, it’s a bit annoying.

Plus, like pretty much all third-party Twitter clients, you won’t see ads in Tweetbot. Considering how often those annoying sponsored posts seem to pop up, it’s a nice little addition if you’re not a fan of advertisements.

http://lifehacker.com/5887230/how-to…

Twitter Keeps You on the Cutting Edge

iPhone Twitter App Showdown: Tweetbot vs. Twitter
While Tweetbot lets you take a close look at what’s happening in your feed, Twitter likes to show you a more global view

The one area where the official Twitter dominates Tweetbot is in support for new features. The folks behind Twitter love to introduce new little features all the time, whether that’s fun stuff like polls or weird features like Moments. If you’re using the official Twitter app, you will almost always see an update in the app to support these new features immediately.

Tweetbot doesn’t do this at all. Heck, Tweetbot still doesn’t support polls. For whatever reason, many of the cutting edge features that Twitter decides to roll out don’t end up working on third-party clients. Of course, that’s also a feature of Tweetbot if you like a simpler Twitter experience as a whole.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-take-yo…

The Verdict: Tweetbot’s the Better App, but Twitter Is Free, Still Does Enough for Most People

Let’s be honest here: the general population who just glances at Twitter a couple times a day doesn’t need a $10 Twitter app. If you only manage one account, don’t mind seeing a bunch of extra garbage like ads and obnoxious hashtags, and it doesn’t bother you when Twitter adds some half-baked new idea to the app every week, then the official Twitter app is all you need.

If you spend a lot of time on Twitter during the day, then Tweetbot’s the best app for making that experience better. The mute function alone is worth the price of admission for some people, but the customizable toolbar and activity menu make it much easier to manage large scale accounts.

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

Smartphones, Wi-Fi, and GPS have made traveling easier, but a physical travel guide is always a smart investment when trotting the globe. Both Lonely Planet and Fodor’s have been around for decades, but it’s time to decide which guidebook deserves that coveted space in your travel bag.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-trav…

The Contenders

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

There’s just something about not having to rely on internet service or battery life that makes guidebooks an essential part of exploring new destinations. With one book you can navigate, learn the culture, and find hidden hotspots no matter where you are. In fact, despite all the great apps and online travel guides out there, guidebook sales are up and they’re making a serious comeback. There are a lot of options for you to choose from, but we’re comparing two of the most popular and all-inclusive guidebook series available:

  • Lonely Planet: In just over 40 years, Lonely Planet has printed over 120 million books and become the world’s most successful travel publisher. They’ve published around 500 titles that cover 195 countries, and they hire a combination of travel writers and local writers when creating or updating each one. Lonely Planet travel guides cost around $22 for city/small area guides, and $25 to $30 for country guides.
  • Fodor’s Travel: Fodor’s has been dishing out travel advice and publishing guidebooks for 80 years. They prefer to hire local writers based in each destination for their guidebooks instead of travel writers. In total, they’ve published over 300 travel guides that cover more than 7,500 destinations around the globe. Fodor’s travel guides cost around $20 for city/small area guides, and $25 for country guides.

Lonely Planet guides are updated with new editions every two years or so. Fodor’s guides are also updated every two to three years depending on the location. Generally, the more popular the location, the more often the guide will be updated.

http://lifehacker.com/5881839/top-10…

Layout and Contents: Lonely Planet Dives Into Planning While Fodor’s Primes You On the Culture

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

In terms of layout, Lonely Planet guides use double-columned pages with small print. It can be hard to read if your eyes are tired or if you have trouble reading without glasses. Fodor’s guides, however, use larger print and keep their pages single-columned. This makes their guides much easier to read, but that comes at the cost of having less information overall when compared to the encyclopedic amounts of data crammed into every page of a Lonely Planet guide.

Lonely Planet organizes their guidebooks into four major sections:

  1. Plan Your Trip: This section covers all the vital information you need to make your trip a reality. It includes a quick cultural and etiquette primer, a map of the country, popular things to see and do, a month-by-month calendar of major cultural events, example itineraries, ways to save money on your trip, and tips for traveling with children. This section also includes sections dedicated to first time travelers to the country, as well as a section highlighting what’s new in the country for those who have been before (something you won’t find in Fodor’s guides).
  2. On the Road: This section is the real meat of the guidebook, and it covers each individual city/area of the country and breaks it all down. For each part of the city, the book highlights sights, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, where to eat, and where to sleep. Each individual listing has an address, phone number, web site (if available), pricing, and a very brief description. There are also maps for certain areas.
  3. Understand: If you want to get a more thorough understanding of where you’re traveling, the Understand section covers everything you need to know: current affairs, history, the people, cuisine, arts, architecture, traditional accommodations, sports, and natural environment. The Plan Your Trip section has a quick cultural primer, but the Understand section is more of a course on the country and the people who live there.
  4. Survival Guide: As the name implies, the Survival Guide section is designed to be a quick reference to anything you need to know about the country. Everything from transport to medical care to electricity sockets to toilets are covered. There’s also a small section dedicated to important phrases that can help you if you’re lost or in need of something.

The Fodor’s guides cover a lot of the same material, as you’d expect, but organize things a bit differently. Their guides have five sections that go like this:

  1. Experience [Country/Region]: The Experience section is similar to Lonely Planet’s Planning section. It covers current affairs, top attractions and experiences, etiquette, money-saving tips, and some planning suggestions, but opts for a “less is more” approach as opposed to Lonely Planet’s “cram as much information as possible onto each page” style. This section is also filled with a ton of full color photos (something the Lonely Planet guides are definitely lacking.)
  2. A [Country/Region] Primer: This is equivalent to the Understand section in the Lonely Planet guides, complete with detailed information on local arts, pop culture, sports, current affairs, history, cuisine, natural environment, and even religion in this section. Once again, there are plenty of pictures in this section to help you visualize the culture.
  3. City/Area Chapters: Like Lonely Planet, these mini guides for each city are the most information-heavy parts of Fodor’s books. They include information for all the sights, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, restaurants, and hotels. And each individual listing has an address, phone number, web site (if available), pricing, and a description in addition to maps for certain areas.
  4. Understanding [Country/Region]: This is often a very brief section that has a few pages to help you further understand the culture, and it also contains a collection of essential phrases and reference material for deciphering menu text.
  5. Travel Smart: Tips for transportation, accommodations, electricity, healthcare, emergencies, and safety. It’s a less-exhaustive version of the Survival Guide section in the Lonely Planet books.

All in all, both books cover a lot of the same material, but with very different approaches. Fodor’s front loads their guides with in-depth cultural information and photos, introducing you to the region before it starts throwing information on how to get there at you. Lonely Planet does the opposite, and assumes you already know a little about the country’s culture. It saves the cultural rundown reading for later as a bonus, which is nice if you just want to get there first and ask questions later.

http://lifehacker.com/how-and-why-i-…

Appearance and Book Quality: Both Look Great, Are Easy to Handle, and Can Take a Beating

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

In terms of appearance, both guidebook series print in paperback and look remarkably similar in their current printing. Even their bindings follow the same visual pattern of “travel guide company name, country, a mention of a pull-out map, photo of location,” and both their covers use the same shade of blue. If you weren’t paying attention, you could easily mistake them for each other as you walk by them in the book store.

Fodor’s definitely has a leg up on Lonely Planet when it comes to overall quality, though. The current editions of their books are printed in full color on glossy, textbook-like paper that looks like it would hold up to even the roughest of trips. Lonely Planet’s current printing uses thinner, newspaper-like paper for its pages that feel like they could tear easily. Despite their different page materials, both books have sturdy covers and bindings that can take a beating and survive being crammed into a small backpack with other gear. Both books can also be used one-handed fairly easily as well, but not for too long since they tend to get heavy. Lonely Planet books tend to be a bit thicker than their Fodor’s counterparts, but their weight is usually pretty similar because the newspaper-like pages are lighter.

Digital Versions and Mobile Apps: Both Can Be Found On Your Favorite Devices

If you don’t want to travel with a physical book (though I recommend it), Lonely Planet guides come in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF formats for your favorite ebook readers and tablets (in color where available). All of their guides are available on Nook, Amazon Kindle, and most of them are free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Fodor’s guidebooks are available in ebook format as well (also in color where available), but can only be purchased on Nook or Amazon Kindle.

The Guides by Lonely Planet app (shown in the video above) is free to download and use on iOS and Android devices, and includes information on 38 different cities around the world. It also features offline maps and navigation, sights and destinations bookmarking, and more. The app is a great companion to your guidebooks, no matter which one you go with. The same can be said for Fodor’s City Guides app, which offers guides for 22 different cities across the globe. The guides include recommendations from Fodor’s staff of local writers, maps, and the ability to filter your destination searches by price range and category. Unfortunately, the Fodor’s City Guides app is only available on iOS devices.

http://lifehacker.com/lonely-planets…

Lonely Planet Is for Adventurers, Fodor’s Is for Those Who Want a Guided Experience

Neither of these will do you wrong when you travel, but each is better suited for a certain type of traveler. Lonely Planet throws more information at you than you’ll ever need, which is a good thing because you’re getting a ton of bang for your buck. Even though Lonely Planet guides can be more expensive than Fodor’s guides, they’re still worth every penny. But that massive amount of information also means you have to comb through it all yourself to plan your trip. It tells you places you should go to, but it doesn’t always show you. So think of it more as a list of suggestions and not an essay exploring the wonders of various corners of the world. If you’re okay with that, Lonely Planet is the best pick, period.

Fodor’s guides, on the other hand, are a more curated experience and better suited for the “show me the way” type traveler. And they’re a lot more fun to actually read. Their books have less information overall when compared to the exhaustive amount found in the Lonely Planet guides, but it’s information you can live without (or could find somewhere online). By narrowing their focus, Fodor’s manages to provide the essential information you need while also amping you up with photos and descriptions that aren’t “all work and no play.” As you read through a Fodor’s guide, you can see your future trip unfolding in your mind. That said, Fodor’s guides hold your hand a bit more, so it feels less like an adventure and more like a planned vacation. That’s perfect for some travelers, but for others (like me), it might make the trip feel a bit too touristy.

http://lifehacker.com/5923155/the-st…

If I were to sum these guides up to a friend, I’d say both books are like a box of LEGO bricks. No matter what, you have every piece you need to construct a great trip. The only difference is the Fodor’s box comes with an instruction booklet, and Lonely Planet’s doesn’t. Which way do you like to play?

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

Smartphones, Wi-Fi, and GPS have made traveling easier, but a physical travel guide is always a smart investment when trotting the globe. Both Lonely Planet and Fodor’s have been around for decades, but it’s time to decide which guidebook deserves that coveted space in your travel bag.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-trav…

The Contenders

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

There’s just something about not having to rely on internet service or battery life that makes guidebooks an essential part of exploring new destinations. With one book you can navigate, learn the culture, and find hidden hotspots no matter where you are. In fact, despite all the great apps and online travel guides out there, guidebook sales are up and they’re making a serious comeback. There are a lot of options for you to choose from, but we’re comparing two of the most popular and all-inclusive guidebook series available:

  • Lonely Planet: In just over 40 years, Lonely Planet has printed over 120 million books and become the world’s most successful travel publisher. They’ve published around 500 titles that cover 195 countries, and they hire a combination of travel writers and local writers when creating or updating each one. Lonely Planet travel guides cost around $22 for city/small area guides, and $25 to $30 for country guides.
  • Fodor’s Travel: Fodor’s has been dishing out travel advice and publishing guidebooks for 80 years. They prefer to hire local writers based in each destination for their guidebooks instead of travel writers. In total, they’ve published over 300 travel guides that cover more than 7,500 destinations around the globe. Fodor’s travel guides cost around $20 for city/small area guides, and $25 for country guides.

Lonely Planet guides are updated with new editions every two years or so. Fodor’s guides are also updated every two to three years depending on the location. Generally, the more popular the location, the more often the guide will be updated.

http://lifehacker.com/5881839/top-10…

Layout and Contents: Lonely Planet Dives Into Planning While Fodor’s Primes You On the Culture

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

In terms of layout, Lonely Planet guides use double-columned pages with small print. It can be hard to read if your eyes are tired or if you have trouble reading without glasses. Fodor’s guides, however, use larger print and keep their pages single-columned. This makes their guides much easier to read, but that comes at the cost of having less information overall when compared to the encyclopedic amounts of data crammed into every page of a Lonely Planet guide.

Lonely Planet organizes their guidebooks into four major sections:

  1. Plan Your Trip: This section covers all the vital information you need to make your trip a reality. It includes a quick cultural and etiquette primer, a map of the country, popular things to see and do, a month-by-month calendar of major cultural events, example itineraries, ways to save money on your trip, and tips for traveling with children. This section also includes sections dedicated to first time travelers to the country, as well as a section highlighting what’s new in the country for those who have been before (something you won’t find in Fodor’s guides).
  2. On the Road: This section is the real meat of the guidebook, and it covers each individual city/area of the country and breaks it all down. For each part of the city, the book highlights sights, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, where to eat, and where to sleep. Each individual listing has an address, phone number, web site (if available), pricing, and a very brief description. There are also maps for certain areas.
  3. Understand: If you want to get a more thorough understanding of where you’re traveling, the Understand section covers everything you need to know: current affairs, history, the people, cuisine, arts, architecture, traditional accommodations, sports, and natural environment. The Plan Your Trip section has a quick cultural primer, but the Understand section is more of a course on the country and the people who live there.
  4. Survival Guide: As the name implies, the Survival Guide section is designed to be a quick reference to anything you need to know about the country. Everything from transport to medical care to electricity sockets to toilets are covered. There’s also a small section dedicated to important phrases that can help you if you’re lost or in need of something.

The Fodor’s guides cover a lot of the same material, as you’d expect, but organize things a bit differently. Their guides have five sections that go like this:

  1. Experience [Country/Region]: The Experience section is similar to Lonely Planet’s Planning section. It covers current affairs, top attractions and experiences, etiquette, money-saving tips, and some planning suggestions, but opts for a “less is more” approach as opposed to Lonely Planet’s “cram as much information as possible onto each page” style. This section is also filled with a ton of full color photos (something the Lonely Planet guides are definitely lacking.)
  2. A [Country/Region] Primer: This is equivalent to the Understand section in the Lonely Planet guides, complete with detailed information on local arts, pop culture, sports, current affairs, history, cuisine, natural environment, and even religion in this section. Once again, there are plenty of pictures in this section to help you visualize the culture.
  3. City/Area Chapters: Like Lonely Planet, these mini guides for each city are the most information-heavy parts of Fodor’s books. They include information for all the sights, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, restaurants, and hotels. And each individual listing has an address, phone number, web site (if available), pricing, and a description in addition to maps for certain areas.
  4. Understanding [Country/Region]: This is often a very brief section that has a few pages to help you further understand the culture, and it also contains a collection of essential phrases and reference material for deciphering menu text.
  5. Travel Smart: Tips for transportation, accommodations, electricity, healthcare, emergencies, and safety. It’s a less-exhaustive version of the Survival Guide section in the Lonely Planet books.

All in all, both books cover a lot of the same material, but with very different approaches. Fodor’s front loads their guides with in-depth cultural information and photos, introducing you to the region before it starts throwing information on how to get there at you. Lonely Planet does the opposite, and assumes you already know a little about the country’s culture. It saves the cultural rundown reading for later as a bonus, which is nice if you just want to get there first and ask questions later.

http://lifehacker.com/how-and-why-i-…

Appearance and Book Quality: Both Look Great, Are Easy to Handle, and Can Take a Beating

Travel Guidebook Showdown: Lonely Planet vs. Fodor’s Travel

In terms of appearance, both guidebook series print in paperback and look remarkably similar in their current printing. Even their bindings follow the same visual pattern of “travel guide company name, country, a mention of a pull-out map, photo of location,” and both their covers use the same shade of blue. If you weren’t paying attention, you could easily mistake them for each other as you walk by them in the book store.

Fodor’s definitely has a leg up on Lonely Planet when it comes to overall quality, though. The current editions of their books are printed in full color on glossy, textbook-like paper that looks like it would hold up to even the roughest of trips. Lonely Planet’s current printing uses thinner, newspaper-like paper for its pages that feel like they could tear easily. Despite their different page materials, both books have sturdy covers and bindings that can take a beating and survive being crammed into a small backpack with other gear. Both books can also be used one-handed fairly easily as well, but not for too long since they tend to get heavy. Lonely Planet books tend to be a bit thicker than their Fodor’s counterparts, but their weight is usually pretty similar because the newspaper-like pages are lighter.

Digital Versions and Mobile Apps: Both Can Be Found On Your Favorite Devices

If you don’t want to travel with a physical book (though I recommend it), Lonely Planet guides come in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF formats for your favorite ebook readers and tablets (in color where available). All of their guides are available on Nook, Amazon Kindle, and most of them are free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Fodor’s guidebooks are available in ebook format as well (also in color where available), but can only be purchased on Nook or Amazon Kindle.

The Guides by Lonely Planet app (shown in the video above) is free to download and use on iOS and Android devices, and includes information on 38 different cities around the world. It also features offline maps and navigation, sights and destinations bookmarking, and more. The app is a great companion to your guidebooks, no matter which one you go with. The same can be said for Fodor’s City Guides app, which offers guides for 22 different cities across the globe. The guides include recommendations from Fodor’s staff of local writers, maps, and the ability to filter your destination searches by price range and category. Unfortunately, the Fodor’s City Guides app is only available on iOS devices.

http://lifehacker.com/lonely-planets…

Lonely Planet Is for Adventurers, Fodor’s Is for Those Who Want a Guided Experience

Neither of these will do you wrong when you travel, but each is better suited for a certain type of traveler. Lonely Planet throws more information at you than you’ll ever need, which is a good thing because you’re getting a ton of bang for your buck. Even though Lonely Planet guides can be more expensive than Fodor’s guides, they’re still worth every penny. But that massive amount of information also means you have to comb through it all yourself to plan your trip. It tells you places you should go to, but it doesn’t always show you. So think of it more as a list of suggestions and not an essay exploring the wonders of various corners of the world. If you’re okay with that, Lonely Planet is the best pick, period.

Fodor’s guides, on the other hand, are a more curated experience and better suited for the “show me the way” type traveler. And they’re a lot more fun to actually read. Their books have less information overall when compared to the exhaustive amount found in the Lonely Planet guides, but it’s information you can live without (or could find somewhere online). By narrowing their focus, Fodor’s manages to provide the essential information you need while also amping you up with photos and descriptions that aren’t “all work and no play.” As you read through a Fodor’s guide, you can see your future trip unfolding in your mind. That said, Fodor’s guides hold your hand a bit more, so it feels less like an adventure and more like a planned vacation. That’s perfect for some travelers, but for others (like me), it might make the trip feel a bit too touristy.

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If I were to sum these guides up to a friend, I’d say both books are like a box of LEGO bricks. No matter what, you have every piece you need to construct a great trip. The only difference is the Fodor’s box comes with an instruction booklet, and Lonely Planet’s doesn’t. Which way do you like to play?

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

When you really need to keep your files safe and secure, you need encryption. We’ve covered the basics before, and even rounded up your favorite encryption tools, but today we’re putting two of the most popular options for Windows head to head to see which one is the best at keeping your sensitive data safe.

The Contenders

Choosing two encryption tools for this comparison wasn’t easy. Should we consider two similar tools, or two of the most often-used tools? We opted for the latter in this case, and decided to focus on Windows, since—beyond it being the most popular OS in use—it lets us narrow our focus to the two big apps most people would actually choose from, even if there are tons of options with different features available. Don’t worry, if your favorite encryption app or platform isn’t included here, we’ll get to you soon. Now, with that said, let’s take a look at our two big contenders:

  • Bitlocker: Microsoft’s own baked-in encryption tool is very popular, partially because it’s effective and built-in to the OS you’re already using (assuming you’re using Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise, Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise, or Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise.) Bitlocker supports AES encryption, and while it’s primarily used for whole-disk encryption to lock down your entire computer and not just specific files, it also supports encrypting other volumes or a virtual drive that can be opened and accessed like any other drive on your computer. If you’re looking to encrypt specific data and not everything on your PC, that’s the way to go. When I asked publicly what encryption tools people were using, Bitlocker made more than a few appearances.
  • VeraCrypt: Free, open-source (mostly,) and cross-platform, VeraCrypt can handle almost anything you throw at it. It’s a fork of TrueCrypt, which melted down and ceased development back in 2014, but since then it’s been updated, improved its own security, and gotten a lot faster. VeraCrypt supports AES, TwoFish, and Serpent encryption ciphers, and supports the creation of hidden, encrypted volumes within other volumes. VeraCrypt also supports full-disk encryption, including system disks. This makes the tool flexible enough to do both on-the-fly file and volume encryption to keep specific files and data safe, or to encrypt entire systems so they’re only accessed by authorized users. It also doesn’t hurt that VeraCrypt is fast, free, and available on just about any computer you may need it—or your encrypted data—on.

Both options are solid, and you absolutely could (and, if you’re serious, should) use both. We’ll get into the nitty gritty in a moment, but Bitlocker is great for seamless, don’t-even-know-it’s-happening full disk encryption, and VeraCrypt is excellent at encrypting volumes, drives, containers, or specific files for storage or on-the-fly security. If we had to make an early recommendation, we’d say use both that way.

Still, Bitlocker and VeraCrypt are very different tools, and who each one will be best for depends heavily on the type of user you are, and what you have access to. Let’s run down some of the big differences.

VeraCrypt Wins on Availability

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

The biggest difference between VeraCrypt and Bitlocker is the most obvious one: Who can actually use it.

Not everyone has access to the Pro or Enterprise versions of Windows, which makes Bitlocker a non-starter for a lot of people. If you’re running Windows 7, 8, or 10 Home, you can’t even think about using Bitlocker unless you uplift to Pro. While we generally prefer the Pro versions ourselves, if you went out and bought a computer today, you’d probably get something with the Home version of Windows installed. On that front, VeraCrypt is a clear winner, since it’s available to anyone on any version of Windows (and of course, on other OSes.)

Similarly, the fact that a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) cryptoprocessor is required to use Bitlocker with your computer (or jump through a bunch of hoops to set it up otherwise) further narrows the field a bit—but not much. TPM uses hardware to integrate encryption keys into your device, and makes encryption and decryption transparent to you. It also has its own issues, more on that later.

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

Of course, most modern computers support TPM and have one installed, and if you’re a PC builder, you’re probably going to get a motherboard that has one too, whether you plan to or not. People with older hardware may have more difficulty, but anyone with modern devices will be fine—but it’s still a constraint VeraCrypt users won’t have to worry about on any platform, and it’s also something that keeps Bitlocker from adoption beyond Windows, not that Microsoft is terribly concerned with security beyond its own operating system.

Bitlocker Is Easier to Use, but It’s Not Like VeraCrypt Is Difficult

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

When it comes to ease of use, things are a little more contentious. As with any security product, the fastest way to get people to adopt your tool is to make it either on by default or so easy to enable that people will flip a switch and not think about it again. To that point, using Bitlocker to encrypt your whole hard drive is as easy as opening its Control Panel and enabling it.

To that point, full-disk encryption is the easiest way to secure all of your data. This means if your laptop is stolen or lost somewhere with sensitive data on it, and even if the drive is removed, you can trust that whoever ends up with it may get your hardware, but they won’t get your software and data, and you don’t have to manage containers to protect your files. Bitlocker excels at this, which is the reason so many businesses enable it by default. If you’re a power user, you can go further and encrypt partitions and additional volumes, or just turn it on for simple full-disk encryption while you use something else for specific files and folders.

All that said, it’s not like VeraCrypt is hard to use. You do have to install it and set it up—but that barrier is enough to keep some away from it, especially non-tech savvy, non-tinkerers. Using it for full-disk encryption is not a difficult process, but it is more involved than toggling a checkbox. You’ll need to make a recovery disk in case everything goes south, but you’ll also get the benefit of creating a decoy operating system so if you have to decrypt, you can decrypt the OS but not your data. It’s an example of the trend here: VeraCrypt is powerful, but you do need to be willing to dive in and really use it, and comfortable with a little more than turnkey effort.

VeraCrypt Wins on Security

Windows Encryption Showdown: VeraCrypt vs Bitlocker

An encryption tool is only as good as the security it provides, and while VeraCrypt isn’t perfect, it’s definitely more robust than Bitlocker. Most users probably won’t notice the difference, but it is important to point out there’s a gap between them.

VeraCrypt supports more encryption methods and types than Bitlocker does, stronger keys, a better encryption and decryption method (CBC vs XTS, although neither are perfect), and of course, is open source and open to audit. That’s something Microsoft likely would never allow, since Bitlocker is a proprietary product (and we all know how well security through obscurity works.) Best of all, the developers behind VeraCrypt took the results from TrueCrypt’s security audit and used their notes to improve their own product (and have begun to edge out closed TrueCrypt code from their own product.)

Like we mentioned though, VeraCrypt isn’t perfect. The Security Concerns section of its Wikipedia article sums up most of the big ones (although many of those, especially malware and other physical access concerns, also apply to Bitlocker) and are worth considering if you’re debating the two based on security. Plus, while VeraCrypt’s developers have worked to resolve many of the issues brought up in TrueCrypt’s audit, VeraCrypt has yet to go through its own full audit (although we hope it’ll begin later this summer.)

For its part, Bitlocker is no slouch. It’s not like it’s weak—it’s just not as robust. Bitlocker keeps things simple (largely to boost adoption), and doesn’t bog itself down with power-user features that, depending on who you are, you need or want to see to take the tool seriously. Its AES (128 and 256-bit) encryption is strong enough for the vast majority of people worried about losing their sensitive data in the back of a cab or someone snooping around their system—but if you actually have an intelligent adversary who wants your data, you’re not vulnerable per se, but you may want to strengthen your hand a bit.

The big—and still contentious, even today—issue around Bitlocker is whether or not Microsoft has backdoored the encryption software to make it easier for law enforcement and government agencies to access encrypted data. There’s no way we can settle that debate here, and it came up the last time we discussed Bitlocker. To be fair, most people won’t have an adversary like the NSA on their tails, so it won’t really matter, but we’ve already established that any backdoor—if it exists—is a bad one, because the door doesn’t care whether it’s the “good guys” or the “bad guys” (or the “bad good guys”) using it. Still, there’s no hard evidence—just a lot of suspicion, conjecture, and debate—that Bitlocker is backdoored, but there are more than a few good reasons to trust open source software over closed source, proprietary stuff anyway.

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Then there’s the question of whether or not TPM is secure. The developers of VeraCrypt (and a number of other open source security tools) refuse to support TPM, for good reason. TPM has been compromised before, although it required incredible effort to do so, but the truth is it’s good at one thing, but it’s not very good at protecting the system from malware or other attack vectors that could grant an intruder access to sensitive data.

At the end of the day, both products are strong, but VeraCrypt is just stronger and more flexible, even if it’s not turnkey. The average user won’t even notice the difference, and the fact that VeraCrypt is stronger shouldn’t keep you from using Bitlocker (just configure it properly) if you want a seamless, transparent full-disk encryption option.

The Verdict: VeraCrypt Is Stronger and More Powerful, but Use Bitlocker Too

Bottom line: Unless you’re planning to also use VeraCrypt for full-disk encryption, these two tools actually fit together better than they replace each other. Use Bitlocker for simple, full-disk encryption at the push of a button. Then fire up VeraCrypt and make some encrypted containers, hidden volumes, and leverage use all of the great benefits of the app. If you don’t want full disk encryption but do want to encrypt and decrypt specific files or containers, VeraCrypt is your best, fastest, most flexible bet.

If you’re a power user, or you don’t trust Microsoft (but you’re still using Windows), you could ditch Bitlocker entirely and go with VeraCrypt for everything, that’s fine too. The bar is a little higher for you when it comes to setup and configuration, but not so high it’s difficult to get over.

Either way, whatever you use, use something. Encryption is easier to embrace now than it’s ever been.

Image by JohnWilliamDoe.

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

Summer movie season has officially started. After you’re done watching trailers at home, you’ll want to find the best theater around to experience the films you want to see. Here’s how two of the biggest theater chains (and two of your most obvious choices.) Regal and AMC, compare.

The Contenders

In the U.S. market alone, there are dozens of theater chains, but Regal and AMC are the biggest by far. For years, Regal was the industry leader with 7,295 screens in 565 theater locations, more than any other company. While AMC has been a close second, their proposed acquisition of Carmike Cinemas (expected to close by the end of this year) would give it 8,380 screens in 653 locations, bumping it up to the #1 slot. This puts them both in fierce competition with each other, and neither one is backing down.

Both theater chains are pretty comparable in most areas. They each started upgrading to high-tech 4K displays in most of their theaters in the late aughts. For the most part, the average moviegoer won’t notice a difference in picture quality unless you seek out real IMAX screens.

Where the two really distinguish themselves is in the theater experience. In the last decade or so, it’s gotten easier to build your own home theater that’s good enough. Microwave a bag of popcorn, pop in a Blu-Ray, and you don’t even need to leave the house for a great movie night. To fight this trend, AMC and Regal have started tweaking their theaters to make their auditoriums better than yours. Frankly, it’s made the theater world a whole lot better.

AMC Wins On Dining, But Both Have Sweet New Comforts

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

In order to compete with your comfy couch, AMC has started experimenting with theater experiences that depart from the usual “sit in a tiny chair and stare at the screen.” Dine-In theaters, for example, are currently in 19 AMC locations around the country. These theaters feature full-menu restaurants with waiters that bring food directly to your seat. This format is familiar to anyone who’s ever heard of the Alamo Drafthouse, another boutique theater chain that prides itself on breaking out of the usual movie-going experience. While in my experience this is sometimes distracting, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way to posh up your theater outing.

AMC has also outfitted many of their locations with a full-service bar and lounge named “MacGuffins.” 132 out of AMC’s current 346 US locations have a bar available, which means AMC has nearly as many MacGuffins as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, adults can get alcoholic drinks and chill out before or after a film. While Regals has dabbled a bit with the restaurant and bar models, the company has mostly avoided these alternative amenities.

In more traditional areas, Regal and AMC are each upping their game as well. Both companies offer recliner seating and reserved seats at specific locations. AMC is outpacing Regal in this area as well, with recliners in 111 locations vs 85 Regal locations, and reserved seating in 147 AMC theaters, vs 131 Regal theaters according to Fandango. Knowing that you’re guaranteed a good seat and having a comfy recliner waiting for you can help offset the sticker shock for rising ticket prices.

If recliners and reserved seating matter to you (pro tip: they should. They’re awesome), then the competition doesn’t matter as much as your proximity to a supported location. Check the links above to find out which theaters near you have these features. However, if you’re interested in trying out a dine-in theater or want a drink before you step into the theater, AMC has you covered.

AMC’s Rewards Are For Frequent Moviegoers, Regal’s Are For Casual Fans

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

AMC’s rewards program is called Stubs, and it costs $12 per year to use. In return, for every $100 you spend, you get $10 back. You can also get free size upgrades on popcorn and soda, and all online ticketing fees via AMC’s website are waived. If you don’t go to the theater often, you might struggle to recoup even the minimal $12 cost every year. Pro tip, though: if you pay for your friends’ tickets up front and let them pay you back later, reaching $100 every year gets a lot easier. For avid moviegoers or families, it can quickly become worth it. The Stubs program also gives you a virtual library of all your ticket stubs. This has no monetary value to you whatsoever, but it’s kinda neat to look at.

Regal’s rewards program is called the Regal Crown Club. Unlike AMC’s program, it costs nothing to join, which is a plus. However, the perks aren’t quite as nice. It uses a point system to let you earn rewards over time For every dollar you spend, you get 100 points. You can also earn bonus points if you go to the theater more than six times per year. You can then spend those points on things like concessions or movie tickets. For reference, a 2D movie ticket costs 15,000 points, which is around $150 worth of points. You can shave that if you visit the theater frequently and don’t spend a lot each time, but it’s a far cry from the guaranteed $10 you get for every $100 that AMC offers. More importantly, AMC lets you spend your rewards money however you want, rather than making you save up to buy things with “points.”

On the one hand, AMC’s program offers more compelling rewards, but Regal’s costs nothing so there’s no reason not to sign up. If you live near a decent AMC theater and you (or the people you go to movies with) plan to spend a decent amount of money, AMC Stubs will be worth it. Regal will be worth it no matter what, but it may take a while to get any meaningful rewards.

The Verdict: AMC Is More Innovative, But Regal’s Catching Up Quick

On the whole, AMC tends to offer a slightly better experience for the avid moviegoer. The company has more locations with reclining seats and reserved seating, a better rewards program, and more innovative experiences like the Dine-In theaters and the MacGuffin bars. If you live near one of AMC’s tricked out theaters and you like spending time at the movies, you should probably check it out.

While Regal may be lagging a bit behind, it’s not by much. The company has nearly as many upgraded theaters as AMC and their rewards program doesn’t cost a dime. If you don’t go to the movies that often, or you don’t care for crazy things like restaurants in your movie theaters, Regal would be great for you.

Of course, it also depends on what’s available where you live. In my area, there are a dozen AMC and Regal theaters within 10 miles, but your area may be different. Both companies are aiming to improve the theater experience overall, so check out all the theaters in your area and look for the features that are most appealing to you. Then sit back in your recliner, relax, and enjoy the show.

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

Summer movie season has officially started. After you’re done watching trailers at home, you’ll want to find the best theater around to experience the films you want to see. Here’s how two of the biggest theater chains (and two of your most obvious choices.) Regal and AMC, compare.

The Contenders

In the U.S. market alone, there are dozens of theater chains, but Regal and AMC are the biggest by far. For years, Regal was the industry leader with 7,295 screens in 565 theater locations, more than any other company. While AMC has been a close second, their proposed acquisition of Carmike Cinemas (expected to close by the end of this year) would give it 8,380 screens in 653 locations, bumping it up to the #1 slot. This puts them both in fierce competition with each other, and neither one is backing down.

Both theater chains are pretty comparable in most areas. They each started upgrading to high-tech 4K displays in most of their theaters in the late aughts. For the most part, the average moviegoer won’t notice a difference in picture quality unless you seek out real IMAX screens.

Where the two really distinguish themselves is in the theater experience. In the last decade or so, it’s gotten easier to build your own home theater that’s good enough. Microwave a bag of popcorn, pop in a Blu-Ray, and you don’t even need to leave the house for a great movie night. To fight this trend, AMC and Regal have started tweaking their theaters to make their auditoriums better than yours. Frankly, it’s made the theater world a whole lot better.

AMC Wins On Dining, But Both Have Sweet New Comforts

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

In order to compete with your comfy couch, AMC has started experimenting with theater experiences that depart from the usual “sit in a tiny chair and stare at the screen.” Dine-In theaters, for example, are currently in 19 AMC locations around the country. These theaters feature full-menu restaurants with waiters that bring food directly to your seat. This format is familiar to anyone who’s ever heard of the Alamo Drafthouse, another boutique theater chain that prides itself on breaking out of the usual movie-going experience. While in my experience this is sometimes distracting, it’s becoming an increasingly popular way to posh up your theater outing.

AMC has also outfitted many of their locations with a full-service bar and lounge named “MacGuffins.” 132 out of AMC’s current 346 US locations have a bar available, which means AMC has nearly as many MacGuffins as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, adults can get alcoholic drinks and chill out before or after a film. While Regals has dabbled a bit with the restaurant and bar models, the company has mostly avoided these alternative amenities.

In more traditional areas, Regal and AMC are each upping their game as well. Both companies offer recliner seating and reserved seats at specific locations. AMC is outpacing Regal in this area as well, with recliners in 111 locations vs 85 Regal locations, and reserved seating in 147 AMC theaters, vs 131 Regal theaters according to Fandango. Knowing that you’re guaranteed a good seat and having a comfy recliner waiting for you can help offset the sticker shock for rising ticket prices.

If recliners and reserved seating matter to you (pro tip: they should. They’re awesome), then the competition doesn’t matter as much as your proximity to a supported location. Check the links above to find out which theaters near you have these features. However, if you’re interested in trying out a dine-in theater or want a drink before you step into the theater, AMC has you covered.

AMC’s Rewards Are For Frequent Moviegoers, Regal’s Are For Casual Fans

Movie Theater Showdown: AMC vs. Regal

AMC’s rewards program is called Stubs, and it costs $12 per year to use. In return, for every $100 you spend, you get $10 back. You can also get free size upgrades on popcorn and soda, and all online ticketing fees via AMC’s website are waived. If you don’t go to the theater often, you might struggle to recoup even the minimal $12 cost every year. Pro tip, though: if you pay for your friends’ tickets up front and let them pay you back later, reaching $100 every year gets a lot easier. For avid moviegoers or families, it can quickly become worth it. The Stubs program also gives you a virtual library of all your ticket stubs. This has no monetary value to you whatsoever, but it’s kinda neat to look at.

Regal’s rewards program is called the Regal Crown Club. Unlike AMC’s program, it costs nothing to join, which is a plus. However, the perks aren’t quite as nice. It uses a point system to let you earn rewards over time For every dollar you spend, you get 100 points. You can also earn bonus points if you go to the theater more than six times per year. You can then spend those points on things like concessions or movie tickets. For reference, a 2D movie ticket costs 15,000 points, which is around $150 worth of points. You can shave that if you visit the theater frequently and don’t spend a lot each time, but it’s a far cry from the guaranteed $10 you get for every $100 that AMC offers. More importantly, AMC lets you spend your rewards money however you want, rather than making you save up to buy things with “points.”

On the one hand, AMC’s program offers more compelling rewards, but Regal’s costs nothing so there’s no reason not to sign up. If you live near a decent AMC theater and you (or the people you go to movies with) plan to spend a decent amount of money, AMC Stubs will be worth it. Regal will be worth it no matter what, but it may take a while to get any meaningful rewards.

The Verdict: AMC Is More Innovative, But Regal’s Catching Up Quick

On the whole, AMC tends to offer a slightly better experience for the avid moviegoer. The company has more locations with reclining seats and reserved seating, a better rewards program, and more innovative experiences like the Dine-In theaters and the MacGuffin bars. If you live near one of AMC’s tricked out theaters and you like spending time at the movies, you should probably check it out.

While Regal may be lagging a bit behind, it’s not by much. The company has nearly as many upgraded theaters as AMC and their rewards program doesn’t cost a dime. If you don’t go to the movies that often, or you don’t care for crazy things like restaurants in your movie theaters, Regal would be great for you.

Of course, it also depends on what’s available where you live. In my area, there are a dozen AMC and Regal theaters within 10 miles, but your area may be different. Both companies are aiming to improve the theater experience overall, so check out all the theaters in your area and look for the features that are most appealing to you. Then sit back in your recliner, relax, and enjoy the show.