Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 4, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, first of all, hi hello welcome, and second of all, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.)
I’ve been sick a good chunk of this week, so my internet experience has been significantly more couch-based and horizontal than usual. I’ve been watching Twisted Metal and doing my umpteenth rewatch of Superstore, devouring this delightful documentary about the Apple Newton, reading about the booming product-return industry and the unmasking of a huge ransomware gang, buying just about everything on The Verge’s “cheap stuff that doesn’t suck” list, listening to the ultra-chaotic new podcast from a bunch of late-night hosts, and worrying about all my Apple gadgets dying now that the iPhone 15 launch is only two weeks away.
Also this week, I have for you a bunch of cool stuff about old video games, another step toward ultra-repairable smartphones, the smart speaker that might just make assistants work, a way to keep your online life organized with basically no work, and Victoria Song’s homescreen. Let’s get to it.
(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What do you want to know more about? What awesome tricks do you know that everyone else should? What app should everyone be using? Tell me everything: [email protected].)
- Starfield. A big, huge, epic, giant, massive sci-fi game that actually seems to live up to the hype. This is more of an “explore the universe” kind of game than a “shoot the bad guy” game, but that’s all the more reason you might find yourself spending way too many hours playing. Early access is already underway, and the game launches for real on Wednesday.
- Can You Start a YouTube channel in 2023? I could watch Marques Brownlee and Cleo Abram talk about the mechanics of running and growing a YouTube channel for hours. MKBHD and Huge If True are two excellent channels, obviously, and it’s fun to hear them talk about storytelling, fighting with algorithms, and not getting stuck.
- Obscura 4. I’ve always been kind of dubious of custom iPhone camera apps — the built-in one is good and so much easier to access and more reliable — but the new Obscura has me reconsidering. (MacStories has a good breakdown of everything that’s new.) All the gestures and dials do take some getting used to, but they put a million controls right in front of you as you shoot. Plus, the app is just lovely to look at.
- The Big Flop: Quibi Bites the Dust. It’s so perfect and funny that you can tell the whole story of Quibi in one 37-minute podcast episode that is actually mostly just jokes about Quibi’s bad shows. But this is actually a pretty good recap and — call me crazy! — sort of convinced