Apps for Self-Quarantine from Houseparty to Netflix Party to Goodreads

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Well, hopefully everyone is safe and sound during this epidemic. Now that we are self isolating, what are some things to do (besides watch the news, help those in need and stay safe yourself).

Beyond Slack, Teams, Zoom and Messaging

Ok there are the usual suspects (and I don’t count Facebook or Twitter by the way), but what can you do to replace a coffee with a friend or a happy hour. We’ve tried all kinds of things with a big shoutout to Zoom for a way to actually have reliable video conferencing, but are there are mechanisms.

Well hat tip to Brandon and the a16z Podcast, but here are some that I’m trying:

  1. Houseparty. This is really from the gaming world. This is a kind of cool idea. Basically you have your magic URL and then it always up and running so people can just drop in for a video chat. Kind of a cool idea really.
  2. Netflix Party. Basically this is a chrome browser extension, you share a link and then everyone watches the same movie in synchronization. I haven’t tried it yet (I need some friends), but the idea of integrating chat and viewing is great. You basically start a netflix session in Google Chrome and then it gives you a magic URL that you pass to your friends and then watch together
  3. Whereby. This is another social application like Houseparty, it is more full screen though. What’s great about House Party is that the UI is litterally a tiny round circile you can just leave up on your desktop somewhere. It is browser based and limited to four peoplein the free version so not perfect but worth a try.
  4. Tandem. This is actually a language app, but they have a water cooler feature so people can just hang around.

For quiet contemplation

  1. WordPress. Ok this is an odd one, but you have a chance to be creative and the WordPress tools are great. They run across all devices, you can create posts (like this one) and they automatically propagated between devices. So contribute today to the collective knowledge in the world! This posts to a blog but you can set it to automatically post to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter through the free JetPack add-on. They will host a site for you or you can use it to build your own. (See https://richtong.net for the Tong Family Condo of sites 🙂
  2. Goodreads. I have never really used this site because of the multiple posting problem, but they now support a simple way to look at all the books you’ve bought on Amazon and then import of them. Plus WordPress has a JetPack add-in that let’s you put that list on your blog. So now buying and then reviewing is just one operation. You do have to click on “Amazon Purchases” to get this to work but it isn’t a bad way to do it. Now if I can find a way to post my Goodreads automatically from WordPress I’m set! They recently eliminated this feature which is too bad.

Exercise at home

I haven’t really figured this one completely out but:

  1. Strong. This is an Apple Watch application and ioS application. You can download a bunch of workouts and then they get automatically shared to Strava, TrainingPeaks and just about everything else via Healthfit. So at least you can be healthy. It even measures your heart rate from your Apple Watch so that’s nice.
  2. I’m still looking for exercise classes and things online… so more soon! I was using Strava to measure runs, but it no longer seems to do heart rate analysis, so looking for another application for this. Maybe just the core Apple Watch Activities application will be good.

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