Apple TV

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 4, New Apple TV

I worked from home today. So my Apple watch sat unattended on its cradle. Unloved. If you aren’t going anywhere, why wear a watch, or trousers, or pants….

As I did nothing with the watch I thought I’d talk about something I own. The “New” Apple TV (forth gen) I have to admit getting caught up in the hype with this one. I got it on release day to replace one of my previous Apple TV’s.

Lets play good/bad:

Good: Apple TV has apps
Bad: Too many aren’t too good

Good: Apple TV has App Store
Bad: Interface is very clunky (currently, they are improving)

Good: Apple TV has Netflix
Bad: It’s the Netflix that everyone has, the one that prompts you to watch the next thing before the thing you are watching is finished. Netflix, I love you, but I want to see who the dolly grip was on my favourite movies. Don’t move the titles into a small box.

Good: Has remote with motion sensors and Siri
Bad: Doesn’t work with iPhone remote App. Now ok, the remote app has never been great. But if you needed to enter a password it was so much easier to type on a keyboard than scroll sideways through the alphabet. And people wonder why 1234 is a popular pin! This is also stupid from infrastructure point of view. I am in apples ecosystem. I buy their products because they all talk to each other without me having to think.

Good: The screensaver (yes) these are stunning
Bad: They have my excited over a screensaver. Not since 1994 have I been so enthused about a device for stopping screen wear. I changed the marquee of all the screensavers in PC World to tell people to go to another shop. ACTIVIST!

In a nutshell. Currently, unless the app store gets better (and it will) and the remote app gets redone (it should) there is no compelling reason to recommend this gen over previous gen. The previous gen was very Apple. This gen seems very market share price led. Shame really.

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Clearly I like things with breasts in and the writing of Steven Moffat

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Apple Fitness

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything techy… been a long time since I’ve written anything but hey. Today is iOS 9 release day, so prepare for the masses to bork Apple’s servers and/or complain that they have no space for the update on their devices and this is somehow Apples fault.

Last week they announced a new iPad pro that is the size of a house, comes with a stylus (Sorry Steve) and is clearly aimed at the business market. An example along side the 6/6s plus of Apple providing people with what the markets think they think they need, rather than just doing their own thing. Oh and there was a new iPhone, fetching in ringpiece pink. (I think that’s what they called it)

All that is not what excites me. If I was a app developer I wouldn’t be writing this, I’d be busy making a million dollars. Tim Cook’s barmy army announced a new Apple TV, with Apps. Now here’s the idea, you can have it for free. Apple TV Fitness.

The Apple TV coupled with the Apple Watch could, with a clever app on both devices, provide a home aerobic workout that is personalised, not only to you in general, but to you at that very instant. The apple watch monitors your heart rate and motion, so could influence the workout you see on screen. No more gym membership, no more putting up with the odours of farty Clarence whilst listening to the inane coaching stylings of Jenni “Woo yeah c’mon”

You are slowing, mid workout, Apple TV fitness coach encourages you. You do something well, there is praise. Want to workout with Homer Simpson or Ozzy Osbourne, it happened to Sat Nav why not workout? People will pay for different trainers/voices. If someone writes these apps I don’t have the skill to write there is money to be made. Hell throw in Apple Music in there as well and you could become an “iron man” led by Ozzy accompanied by “Iron Man”

I know you have Wii Fit and a few titles for Kinect and PS4. This however could change the game. Not for me, I have no time to keep fit, I’m off to sign up for the developer programme and to learn Swift.

Bases Loaded: MLB.tv Across the Pond

Bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, two outs and the count is 3 and 2. It’s all down to this, if the ball is despatched into crowd, via the inky black night sky. The game is won. Miss, and the glory is theirs.

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there... well maybe

MLB on Apple TV almost like being there… well maybe

My first brush with baseball came with the launch of Channel 5 in the mid 90’s. Late night, after the low rent porn movies, I would sit and watch. I chose a team, based on name only; The Royals of Kansas City. The Royals also being the name of Reading FC.

Both sets of Royals during this period were less than good.. Also I can’t recall Channel 5 showing a single one of the KC Royals games. Now however, thanks to the glory of my Apple TV I can enjoy, every single strike out or homer of the MLB season regardless of whether I can stay up to see the games or not. My allegiances have changed somewhat. The draw of the Yankees and the influence of a friend who is far too wonderful for her own good, means that I now follow the boys from the Bronx.

MLB.tv is included on all Apple TV’s second gen onwards (and 39 other devices). It is a subscription service in the UK it costs £89 per year. I didn’t sign up for the whole year, because I wasn’t sure I’d get into it or if most of the games would be at stupid o clock so I signed up via MLB.com which lets you use Paypal to pay monthly. From there you sign into your account via Apple TV and you are good to go.

The MLB.tv subscription includes access to the great MLB At Bat App for mobile devices, which allows you to follow more action than you’ll ever have time for, wherever you are. You can enquire about that hitter whilst on the shitter if you so desire. You have stats, video and audio feeds.

Baseball itself for the uneducated English gent; Forget comparisons to Rounders, yes this is where the game originates but to compare it now is like comparing an iPad to a Newton. Think Cricket, think T20. If you stripped some of the English away from that and replaced it with some American English terms you’ll be halfway there. (My favourite term from last nights game was “Nowhere man’s land.” So no mans land then!) The game itself is not typical of American sport, there are long periods of action, at a low level (like cricket) but then it can change in a split second and be over quicker than an excited virgin. This is an American showcase but without the usual need to score a point every other second.

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Thanks for the images.. you know who you are 😉

The Premier League take note. This is how sport should be delivered, all the games (for UK viewers, blackouts are in effect in North America) whenever you want. No adverts (yes really!) I want to be able to watch my team play, be it at the ground or via Apple TV in my pants. If you like Baseball or even have a passing interest. Well worth a look.

(WMB4X) Pain in the Analysts

I would like to think myself creative (but I’ve tried and it didn’t work) I was never too good with numbers (which is why I work in stats now) there are people who love the numbers, get lost in the spreadsheets and can draw a pie chart quicker than I can draw my curtains. They love the fact that there is no grey area with numbers, it’s either right or wrong off or on. Binary list of 0’s and 1’s.

Know your numbers and you can make some serious cash. As a banker, a broker or Carol “I’ll sell anything” Vorderman. You can even be a market analyst, a gazer into the financial crystal ball. These people are telling us what we want before we even know we want it, and they have huge influence over the finances of the world and where money is invested, what with buy-ratings and the like.

In the world of business an equal amount of creativity and market nous is needed to make it. We can’t all be Jonny Ive. However it is important to get right people in the right roles. Money people, are not experts on lets say consumer electronics.

In 2008 analysts said that Apple needed to make a Netbook. (Remember those)

Netbook popularity in 2008 (PriceGrabber)

In 2010 Apple released the iPad, which is definitely not a Netbook. The rest as they say is history. Now in 2013 analysts say Apple need a iWatch, an actual Apple TV (not just the great set top box) a larger iPhone, a Smaller iPad, a larger iPad, A social network, a video games console the list is endless.

Apple may or may not make some of these things. But thanks to analysts we now get stupid headlines like this “Apple TV set reportedly delayed to at least 2015 over content deal trouble” So a product that hasn’t been announced is delayed. I mean even First Great Western couldn’t be accused of running a late train if it wasn’t announced. So what harm do these stories do?

Share price dip. These analyst wet dreams can wipe billions off companies share price. Why should we care? Well companies may rush things to market to keep the analysts happy and share prices high. Meaning we get to spend our hard earned on something thats half finished. Also analysts aren’t creative, they are more like a jealous neighbour “Keeping up with the Joneses.” ‘Well they have one, so you should too.’

All companies (Apple Inc included) are worryingly conforming to market pressure. This may lead to a very boring future. Like letting Bob from Accounts design your website. Scary very scary.


Please visit the Resident Weeble His 8 book deal with Penguin has been delayed

(BDYBIS) “No wonder you’re single” or FIFA 13 First Impressions

No work for me today. I booked it off ages ago. 28th September 2012 payday and release of FIFA 13. FIFA 13 for those thinking I was cultured is a football arcade/simulation for almost every single thing that has a screen. No Mac version yet BOO! Luckily I have a PS3 so I can play on there. Yes I took today off to go buy and play FIFA. Hence why I haven’t been laid since GB scored nil points in Eurovision.

After trying unsuccessfully to get one of my female friends to play “strip FIFA” I left my house early and headed out to my local video game emporium.. well Tescos only to find a big display with only XBOX editions of the game. Cheers for that. So I met another friend of mine, male, so the “strip FIFA” was out of the question. But we set out on a quest to find FIFA 13. Quite how I ended up with an Apple TV I’m not sure.

Said friend has wonderful 40” TV, an even more wonderful dog named Chili and a two month old un-named cat. If you want to comment on this piece suggest a name for it. Cute cats sell on the internet so I’m gutted I have no pictures. (Edit: I now have video!)

Because of all these factors, we headed to his humble abode via the slightly larger Tesco’s who had the forethought to stock games for Sony’s finest.

I’ve become accustomed to PS3 games installing, finding updates, then installing again. None of this with FIFA 13 straight in to the game. It’s made even easier because there is nothing to set up if you have played FIFA 12, it ports your settings across. I say nothing to set up. EA (video game publishing house) have sought to bring an end to second hand games.. or at least get some money for the use of them. If you want to play FIFA 13 online (and you are only really getting half a game if you don’t) you have to put in a code which enables all the online goodness. This code works only once, so if you purchase FIFA or any EA game second hand, you have to purchase an online pass from the PlayStation store. Making a second hand EA game less attractive.

Today being release day I was actually quite impressed with reliability of EA’s servers. My friend and I were able to get quite a few online games going with only the odd few drop outs. FIFA 13 has a “guest” feature for online play, where (we think) two of you can play against someone else online. Awesome (did I just say that) but we couldn’t get it to work. What did we do wrong?

So I played the first game solo. Scored a Free kick.. which is unheard of for me. Then conceded a penalty. Like a dick. They scored. Of course. I got my defender sent off.. but I didn’t realise this, no display no animations.. only after I conceded another 2 goals (due to having no defence) did I realise.

EA have been criticised in the past for being too incremental. Meaning they just make every sequel just different enough from the previous game. Well if you didn’t like FIFA 12 you aren’t gonna like FIFA 13. There are plenty of new features, the most interesting being “Match day” which fuses the game world with real life, so when Reading hit their stride and top the EPL their stats will go up in the game!

FIFA 13 for me is money well spent. It’s the most fun a single guy can have without the use of tissues. Even though I managed to lose to a nameless kitten and a Chili dog.

(BDYBIS) Hollywooden

 

The Godfather,
Goodfellas,
Scarface,
Citizen Kane
Star Wars
Ghostbusters
The Breakfast Club
Blade Runner
This is Spinal Tap
Aliens

10 classic films, each masterpieces of cinematic story telling. Even if you personally are not fond of any of the above titles you cannot deny that each title has a clear narrative and characters that are memorable. Some of these films made the careers of their stars and directors others killed them.

Now cast your mind back 10 years. Is there more than 3 Hollywood films that could be added to the classic list. I’m not a great film buff but other than the animated features of Pixar I cannot think of one.

Why is that? Well I have always thought that modern directors substitute a gripping storyline for the wow factor of CGI. But once you have seen one action hero jumping away from a burning building you have seen them all. It’s old. I am a fan of a humorous film. I know comedy is subjective but compare now to my 80’s childhood, going down the local Ritz Video Club. National Lampoons Vacation, Trains Planes and Automobiles, The Three Amigos. OK not exactly in the same league as The Godfather, but memorable.

Now all Hollywood film comedy can be split into two types (excluding animation) Rom-com boy meets girl, variations upon a theme. Or gross out comedy American Pie / Something About Mary re-made again and again… often without the funny bits. Shock value.

I have been a fan of european cinema for some time. German in particular (no not porn) films like Run Lola Run and Goodbye Lenin had low budgets but utilised them expertly, with excellent performances and stories. It’s not just me turning away from Hollywood with the north american box office taking a great slump this weekend. Yes I know there are other factors involved, the recession, the weather, the Olympics/Paralymics but still. A slump is a slump.

I know also that it’s not just the quality of the films. Most people have HD TV’s now attached to Blu-Ray drives or Apple TV’s. The current number one movie in iTunes right now is “The Hunger Games” this is available to rent in HD for £4.49 for just about £9 extra you can own it to watch again and again. You can watch instantly, on your 50” screen with surround sound and your own reasonably priced refreshment. You can watch naked if you want to, why would you want to go and sit in a uncomfortable chair with other people, not naked, and eat over priced food, and watered down drinks. It makes no sense.

The advice of a film fan (selective one at that) Get Netflix, Avoid recent Hollywood. Go european. And most importantly get naked.