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DID YOU READ

iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event

iPhone 4S and iOS5 debut at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event (photo)

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For almost three hours today, the entire internet ground to a screeching halt as Apple put on its “Let’s Talk iPhone” event – the first one hosted by new CEO Tim Cook. But since your boss probably wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of you taking a few hours away from your spreadsheets to monitor tech site live blogs, we figured we’d go ahead and round up all the interesting bits. Why? Because we like you.

First up is the new iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It features more than 200 new features – way too many to run down here – but below are some of the highlights:

• The Notifications Center, which is a less grating and obtrusive way for Apps to yell at you than the traditional pop-up notifications. You’ll be able to open it up with a downward swipe.
• iMessage is basically Blackberry Messenger for iDevices, allowing you to send text, photos and videos to other iUsers. Apparently, the only thing that makes this difference from a regular text is that messages get pushed to all of a user’s devices, which sounds well more irritating than pop-up notifications.
• Reminders sounds more or less like an appointment entry in Calendar, which isn’t tied to a specific time. Instead, you can tether reminders to locations so your device tells you to do stop by the bank when you’re nearby.
• Twitter will now be completely integrated into your device, meaning no re-logins and the ability to Tweet from most of your standard Apps. Interesting, but seems like it might be irritating for people who share an iPad.
• There are several upgrades to Safari, including the Reader, which can save stories and pages to read later, which are then synced across device. Most exciting to us, however, is the introduction of tabbed browsing on the iPad.

After going over the new iOS features, the focus moved to hardware, with new versions of the iPod Nano available today in seven colors and two different versions: 8 GB for $129 and 16 GB for $149. The new devices are said to include improved functionality for Fitness, as well as 16 additional clockfaces for people who wear the player as a watch.

Apple’s most popular iPod, however, is the iPod Touch, and with the new iOS 5, it will also experience a price drop. The new iPod Touches will be available on October 12, in 8 GB ($199), 32 GB ($299) and 64 GB ($399) versions.

Of course, what everyone was waiting for was news about a new iPhone. While rumors had swirled around about a massive upgrade in the form of an iPhone 5, Apple is only taking what amounts to a half-step forward, introducing the iPhone 4S. The new device looks exactly like the pre-existing iPhone 4, but has completely new innards which makes it up to seven times as fast as the previous version. Here are some other highlights of the new iPhone:

• The phone has an Apple-designed A5 processor, which allows it to run monstrous Apps, like the all-new “Infinity Blade II,” which will hit the App Store on December 1 of this year.
• The device has two internal antennas, which the system will switch between during calls and regular use to get the best speeds, achieving 4G levels of performance.
• The iPhone’s camera is also experiencing massive upgrades, with 60% more pixels a five element lens (compared to four in the previous version) and more, which results in a 30% sharper image. Just as importantly, the device is also 33% faster at taking pictures than the iPhone 4.
• Video recording is also getting a shot in the arm, as the device can film 1080p HD footage.

By far the biggest news out of the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, however, was the introduction of Siri, a digital assistant hardwired into the iPhone 4S. To summon Siri, users will hold down the home button, and can then ask the digital assistant to do pretty much anything the phone can do: Tell me the weather, play a particular song, set a new calendar entry, etc. Siri can even read your text messages, recite information it found on the internet and just generally make you feel kind of stupid – so basically Siri is like a new annoying girlfriend who you don’t even get to ogle.

The new iPhone 4S will be available on October 14, with pre-orders beginning this Friday. With a two-year contract, you’ll be able to get a 16 GB for $199, a 32 GB for $299 or a 64 GB for $399. If you’re bargain shopping, however, you’ll soon be able to get an iPhone 4 for $99 with a two-year contract, or even pick up the somewhat dated iPhone 3GS for free with a new two-year contract.

What do you think of the iPhone 4S’s new features? Will you be ordering one this week? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.