x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

App of the Week: IntoNow has the facts about what's on TV

Whether you're at home, in a waiting room or in a hotel, this programme will list the name, episode, plot and characters on whatever's airing.

IntoNow can describe the programme, episode number, plot, characters and cast of whatever is on TV.
IntoNow can describe the programme, episode number, plot, characters and cast of whatever is on TV.

Most geeks dumped our long-time companion, the television, for a sporty new laptop years ago - some of us even remain deep in our second honeymoon phase (what do you call it when you make lunch decisions based solely on the splatter risk it poses to your keyboard?).

What initially drew many of us to the smaller, more interactive screen was a sense that being a couch potato was a "time suck". Certainly, taking a more active approach to the content we consume would be a more efficient use of our time. And we were right. Now, thanks to our broadband connections, we can waste time at 10 times the rate we did in the early 1990s.

But there are still times when we sort of have to watch raw television. Maybe we're in a hotel. Maybe we're in a waiting room. Maybe we're visiting our mum for more than 45 minutes - in each case, excruciating, aggravating and disorienting experiences for the attention-deficit control freaks we've become.

The app

Fortunately, there's IntoNow (free; iPhone, Android), a smartphone app that can tell you everything you want to know about the random TV show that's assaulting your eyeballs once it records just a few seconds of audio.

The details

To use the app, simply tap the big green button as a show airs and wait a few seconds until a detailed description of the programme appears: season and episode numbers, plot, characters, cast, genre, etc. The app works with old and new shows alike almost without exception - just don't expect IntoNow to know the outcome of sporting events (although I recommend they consider offering such a feature in a paid version).

It's particularly useful for talk shows, giving you a complete line-up of guests in case you spot that one celebrity who has political opinions that won't make you nauseous.

IntoNow invites you to register so you can engage in all its social-networking functionality. If you do, however, be prepared for details as personal as "Shana P is watching Project Runway" to spill into the Facebook and Twitter universes.

Of course, IntoNow can do little to affect the quality of programming we are forced to watch when trapped in environments untamed by the internet. But it does, at least, give us the illusion of control - and all geeks know that's a key tool in any crisis.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae