Apple

iPhone 5s: Tim Cook Makes You An Offer You Can’t Refuse

You wait ages for one iPhone to come along and then two come along at once. Like the proverbial Bus. Yes the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s were released yesterday at Apple’s Cupertino Campus.

In the worst kept secret since Boy George came out. All the rumours proved to be true, there would be a “cheaper” iPhone, it would be plastic (sorry advanced polymer compound Mr Ive) it would be called the 5c. The premium 5s would have a fingerprint scanner, which would be used to unlock the device, it would be in gold.

No surprises there. However, Tim Cook showed his camp mafia don side to the iPhone 5 (or Jimmy as I will call it) thusly:

The Don Tim Cook: JIMMY! Come here you, have a cigar.
iPhone 5, Jimmy: Thanks boss.
TC: You have been a good and popular person to the family, some might say the most popular ever.
Jimmy: Thank you
TC: You have done some excellent work, fighting off those Google mooks
Jimmy: Thank you Campfather
TC: Your looks betray your actions Jimmy. Too often I see you scratched, drawn out to the chamfered edge. [Takes out a gun] You were a mistake
Jimmy: Please Campfather no.
TC: It’s already been done Jimmy. You are not available any more.

So the iPhone 5 gone, not moved down the line up like all iPhones before it. The aged iPhone 4s (yes I know it’s not that old) completing the line up in a next to useless 8 gig incarnation. This has to be viewed as an admission that the finish on the iPhone 5 was sub-standard and scratch prone.

Cue a second surprise. Elvis Costello. With 20 minutes left my friend and I thought there might have been time for “One more thing” but no, a rather eggy performance by Mr Costello.

IPhone_5C_Azul

So no real consumer game changers, the 5c is a 5 give or take in a new jacket. The 5s has lots of technical advances which are difficult to get a whoop out of for the average Joe. iOS7 should be great, the hardware should run it superbly. But to all those people saying that there is no “Wow” well there won’t be, not for some time. A good Android phone, does what it does, a good iOS device does what it does. If you have a Mac and you brought an Android you are a cretin however. All the tech firms are finding now that consumers want more, but consumers don’t know what they want more of but they will complain if they don’t get it.

Such is life.

In closing. I will be trying to get a new 5c or 5s depending on costings. Mr Schiller please stop mentioning “the other guys” Long live Craig Federighi.

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Being the “Tech Guy”

Firstly, let me state I enjoy my geek status. I like the fact that some of my friends and family rely on, and hopefully value my support and assistance when it comes to all things tech. Whilst stopping short of giving my life meaning it does give me a warm fuzzy feeling when my nearest and dearest are tech enabled because of my actions.

When you go into PC World (or other Microsoft Certified high street tech store) with an issue, the solution is often a Nuke and Pave. A full wipe of the hard drive, and re-installing the OS and transferring personal data from back up. Depending on how good the back ups are you may lose data you will definitely lose £100 as they charge you for 15 minutes work.

I hate this.

I like to try and fix the problem rather than deleting it. For the most part on the Windows side I was successful. However, it is stressful being an amateur (self taught) tech guru. Here are a few tips to make your tech guy relaxed.

Backup Your Own Data:

This is vital. The more regularly you back up, the less data you will lose, even if the guys at PC World have at your machine. But from a “Tech Guy” standpoint a good backup is great in case I mess up. I am a amateur, I am not perfect. Your backup is my safety blanket.

Offer Tea (or drink of choice):

Second on the importance list. A thirsty tech guy, is a irritable tech guy. Also (and I speak from experience) if I’m spending eight hours removing 82 trojans from your PC so that you can salvage your data and you don’t give me a drink. The nuke and pave “I can’t recover it” solution will soon be arrived at.

Don’t blame me, It’s not my responsibility:

You have asked me to (or I said I would) look at your machine. I am probably your friend/relative. I will try to best of my ability and knowledge to fix it. However if I’m not able to or as part of me fixing it, it goes wrong. I need to know I will not be blamed for the next fifteen years. I will already feel worse than you do.

Don’t Expect it to be completely free:

I will, provide my time and “expertise” for appreciation, sexual favours and Tea. (not all at the same time unless I’m very lucky.) However to fix your issue You may need to purchase a component or a piece of software. I will try to use free (open source) alternatives, but I do not have a “special place” to order stuff from where the “tech pixies” pay for stuff.

“It’s Not Perfect” (but it’s mine)

I will try to make every effort to recover your machine to where it was before the issue. In doing so I may have to delete things, move shortcuts, destroy saved games. Small sacrifices necessary to get your machine working. It may not be perfect, but it’s working.

Lastly:

I will leave you with instructions for general maintenance or guidelines after the fix. This is so you don’t repeat the same mistake again.

 Do what your tech guy has told you. Everyone wins.

Private Dancer

Before the advent of the “megapixel” camera when you had to wait 3 weeks for photos that the processing lab stuck little labels over. Before Flickr, Photobucket and Photostream two ways to share photo’s were. The Photo Album or the Slide Show. The only way to express a “like” in such arenas was to open your mouth and say “I like that one.” Voice activated before the X-Box was a twinkle in Windows 3.1’s eye.

Now we publish online. I am writing this piece to be published online, making it accessible to everyone with some type of internet connection. I publish other things too, I have a Gmail account, iCloud, Dropbox, Box.net, Yahoo. I am as online as you can be without involving Satan’s spawn itself Facebook.

Government spies enlisting the assistance of all tech’s major players has hit the news recently. It’s caused what can only be described as a kafuffle. All emails, blogs, pictures of your kids, pictures of the things you used to get those kids are apparently fair game for Mr FBI without your consent or knowledge .

Consent is a funny thing, Every email account, website or photo sharing service you sign up for has terms and conditions. Terms and Conditions that no-one ever reads. So chances are a high percentage of people (myself included) have consented to great deal of things we are unaware of. Granted letting the Government or anyone else look at your stuff probably wasn’t on the list.

Knowledge. You won’t know that anyone has looked at anything you put online. But you must be aware that they might. Even if you just look at human curiosity. If you worked at Flickr and saw a user account from MassiveNorks69, it’s only natural to want to take a sneaky peak. Google and the rest use your email to target advertising or have in the past.

The only way to keep your data safe from prying eyes. Don’t go online. Don’t phone anyone either. Don’t have a bank account, buy everything with cash. Not really practical. So what can we do?

Nothing. The old adage of if you have done nothing wrong you will have nothing to hide applies. I am not one of the tin foil hat brigade, but I’m not stupid enough to assume big companies and governments will respect the sanctity on my online life. That is the price we pay for the convenience of “Likes” “Re-tweets” and “Followers” So Hi there Mr FBI Man…. (I thought they were all shaped like that)

(28DW) Getting Ones Back Up

I’m gonna take a wild stab in the dark and say you are reading these words on some type of screen. OK you could have printed it out but I’m sure the “Please consider the environment before printing…” nazis would have got to you. (On a side note, do those people ever consider that putting that message at the end of emails actually wastes print toner when the document is printed, and therefore is bad for the environment)

So, your MacBook retina display / PC / iPhone / iPad / Android etc is now quite happily displaying my blog. Now think for a minute, what would you do if suddenly and for no reason your device of choice died. Just like that. OK now you have tried holding the power button down, crying, prayer (to a God who before you never thought existed) you ring a geek friend, who in no uncertain terms tells you “It’s fucked mate”

Now, you take your wounded tech to the local Apple Store / PC World. They are able to fix it, but it was your hard drive that was the problem. Maybe copying Gaga’s dress made out of only magnets was a bad idea. “It’s ok, we’ll swap the hard drive and restore from a back up”

A back up…. you are sweating now. The guy in front of you in the store, with the lanyard, only left school yesterday, but you feel so inferior to him. Back up? Why did no-one say anything. Well they did. BACKUP YOUR STUFF.

Luckily it’s very easy to do and there are a number of free (aside from the cost of a backup drive) or cheap ways to do it.

Mac:

On the Mac (I start here and move to lesser devices… haha, and they say Apple people are pretentious) Backup is very easy.

  1. Buy a suitably sized external hard-drive, the larger the better, has to be at least the same size as the drive inside your Mac.
  2. Plug drive into Mac
  3. If drive is PC formatted, open up Disk Utility, format to Mac OS (Extended Journaled)
  4. When drive is mounted, a box will appear asking do you wish to use “your hard drive” as Time Machine.
  5. Click Yes.

Your Mac will then perform a time machine backup, copying all your stuff. The first time you run this it will take longer than the subsequent times.

One downside to time machine is that you can’t boot from it. (Your Mac will not start from it) If you want this, Carbon Copy Cloner is the best around. It used to be free, but it’s not anymore. £25.95 for use on your Mac or any Mac’s you look after. Time Machine is a place to start for any Mac owner.. for free.

Carbon Copy Cloner in Action

Carbon Copy Cloner in Action

PC:

OK, surprise surprise I don’t have a PC. So I can only go on the recommendation of Alternative to.. and a PC Alternative to Carbon Copy Cloner is Clonezilla. It’s free, give it a go. Alternatively use Macrium Reflect.

Cloud Services:

iPhone / iPad:

Most of you will now be using devices that are compatible with iCloud. Just make sure you have iCloud backup turned on and you should be ok. For additional piece of mind, occasionally backup your iDevices to your computer too.

Android:

Android has no equivalent to iCloud in terms of full device backup. However Google do sync all your contacts, bookmarks and photos. If you sell them your soul to do so. If you don’t like Google, or do not trust them not to be evil. Consider Indefend Mobile.. and why you brought an Android.

* *

There is now a plethora of cloud based backup services. From Dropbox (use this link to get a free 2GB storage) to Box.net. Both of these services start out free and have mobile apps, both are useful for storing single files that you need to access or update on the go, both have sharing functions.

In the states there have been services like SugarSync for a long time. This is an offsite backup, always useful to have. Bitcasa is a UK alternative and something I am considering.

In conclusion, there are now so many documents, photos and save game files we hold dear to us. So many ways of keeping them safe. Don’t wait until you are burned by hardware failure. It’s not a question of if it goes wrong.. it will. Make sure you are ready. And don’t get caught..

Screen Shot 2013-02-09 at 18.31.34


Please check out the work of my 28DW reprobates  at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium  or kittens will die.

SIM Locked, Overstocked, Over a Barrel

I recently purchased a BlackBerry. I feel dirty and wrong. My excuse is that is was for someone very dear to me, and BlackBerries are cheap enough that I can use it as an opportunity to promote the virtues of iOS. But since I have not changed mobile provider myself for over 6 years it was a stark reminder of what it is actually like to be a mobile phone user in the UK at the moment. I think it’s a similar story elsewhere, but I am UK centric.

Analogy time so lube up and brace yourself.

When I was a kid, I occasionally used to go swimming at the local pool. The pool sold all kinds of swimming related accessories from trunks to arm bands/waterwings from Snorkels to floats. Generally these were all overpriced but on one occasion I wanted some new trunks (I believe I had grown tired of my budgie smugglers) so I stumped up the cash for a new pair of swim shorts. They were mine, I could swim wherever I wanted, and if I was feeling really rebellious I could wear them in the house nowhere near water!

Now imagine if the pool had sold me the swimshorts at a discounted price but informed me I could only use them to swim at that one pool even going so far as to put a mechanism in them that if I chose to swim elsewhere they would crush down and squeeze my love spuds with a vice like intensity rendering me unable to swim. There is no way the shorts would ever get sold.

By AnemoneProjectors (Angel  Uploaded by Fæ) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Not me… in 2010


Now stop thinking of me in Speedos and now look at your mobile phone. Chances are it was brought associated with a network, either that or you paid through the nose for the handset. Back in the day a quick code tapped in to your Nokia 3310 rendered it SIM free, meaning you were off to play Snake and phone people on whatever network you liked. Not so with todays smartphones. There are many companies offering to unlock iPhones for example. However what they actually do is jailbreak them thus rendering Apple’s after sales support null and void.

I can understand that profit margins in this sector are very slim. If you buy a phone on a contract you get that phone at a huge discount. For example if you buy a iPhone 5 on a two year deal you can get it for nothing if you pay £44.00 per month for the tariff. Whereas if you buy the same phone unlocked from Apple you pay £529. So mobile providers have to try and keep your custom. I understand that but when your contract is up you should be able to move your phone to whatever provider you like. You current provider should have confidence that their service will bring you back.

Still at least it’s keeping Mazuma in business.

Skeuomorphism

A skeuomorph or skeuomorphism is a design element of a product that imitates design elements that were functionally necessary in the original product design, but which have become ornamental in the new design. – Wikipedia.

Look it’s just like torn paper!

From the outset of iOS Apple have applied this design principle. Address Book looks like it’s older paper brother and the same can be said for Calendar app on the Mac to name but two. This has been much maligned it would seem and with the departure of Scott Forstall in an Apple re-shuffle which sees Sir Jonny Ive take over the software design as well as that of the hardware. It may become a thing of the past.

I am torn (like the pages of my electronic calendar) I am geek enough to want my computer things to look computery and shiny. My Mac for example always boots in Verbose mode, meaning it looks like an old Windows machine booting from DOS (for practical reasons I like to see whats going on). However the folksy me that likes to sit in a big jumper with fluffy slippers (ok I have not got fluffy slippers, but they are there in my head) and curl up and watch a movie, likes the fact that there is an App that looks like Post it notes (Stickies) for note taking.

The skeumorph approach I believe played a huge part in getting those who weren’t geeks or in the Apple family to make the switch from other platforms. It’s much easier to say to Grandma that the Address Book application is the one that looks like the one that has been in her handbag since 1948. It’s easier for Grandma to understand that, and not be frightened by it, and embrace the technology.

Many of us have shown people how to do things electronically only to return later and see them bravely soldiering on with pen and paper. Tech is worthless if it is not accessible. Whilst I hold no fear that Sir Jonny won’t come up with a wonderful design for iOS OSX or iOS11 whatever it be called, I do fear that if he adopts the minimalist design he has for his hardware in the world of software, it will be a step backwards for the masses

iPad Mini: “Isn’t the Nexus tab crappy”

Before 2009 there was another tech love dear to my heart. Even now in the midst of my Apple fan boyism there is a piece of my heart that will be forever Sony. This love began simply as love stories all should. I won a colouring contest in the mid 1980’s and was presented with a new Sony Walkman. I was well and truly wired for sound. I did indeed listen to “Wired for Sound” on it too big Cliff Richard fan back in the day. (I was a strange child) That Walkman was used and abused and lasted at least 10 years before it died. A love was born.

I then set about filling birthday and Christmas lists with Sony kit, in the hope that my parents could take out a second mortgage and buy all the kit I asked for. Between the years of 1990 and 1997 I got given a Sony Triniton TV for my bedroom and a boom box style CD player. I loved them dearly and took them both to my new house when the need was there to spread my wings. I then set about filling my own house with Sony kit.

PS1 then PS2 and onto the present PS3, DVD recorder, Freeview box, and pride of place a 27” wide screen Sony CRT. At the same time I was doing this the company themselves were in trouble. Loosing money like no tomorrow. You see between the Walkman and Blu-Ray Sony forgot how to innovate. They famously lost the battle for home entertainment, with their technically superior betamax losing out to the less expensive VHS tech of JVC. A few years ago Sony had slipped into a bad practice of re-badging. This is letting someone else make things and shoving your name on the front. Wouldn’t be bad if these products were good but alas this was not the case. Sony’s reputation for good quality suffered.

Now I fear that Apple have forgotten how to innovate. Yesterdays launch of the iPad Mini is a case in point. The iPad was a innovative device that changed the landscape of computing and created a market all it’s own. Others tried to compete but could not match the quality user experience that the large screen iPad gave. Now it has gone mini. Why? I have a horrid feeling it is because it’s competitors have.

Last nights Keynote was without a doubt the worst Apple event I have witnessed. Don’t get me wrong the new iMac’s are amazing as the 13” retina display MacBook pro was predictable. But the iPad Mini section… or as I like to call it “Aren’t Google Tablets shit” section was awful. I cannot remember an Apple presentation that focused so much on a rivals product. This includes the entire Mac vs PC campaign.

Engineered so you can hold it in one hand, like an bigger unwieldy iPhone then. What is it for? Small and portable, you have your phone. Easier to create and absorb content for extended periods (with optional Coffee and bagel) you have the full sized iPad. Who is this device for? Who is it aimed at?

It’s not cheaper, sorry less expensive, than equivalent Android devices, so anyone in the Android Army is unlikely to jump ship, especially when you factor in the cost of buying new Apps. So what is the main competitor for the iPad Mini? The 4th Generation iPad. This appears to me to be Apples very own “Starbucks” moment Apple competing with well… Apple.
That’s not to say it won’t sell, oh it will. There will be lines of people, whooping and hollering excited to buy what is essentially a smaller iPad 2. Two whole generations behind it’s larger retina displayed brother.

iPad Mini every inch because someone else was doing it.

(BDYBIS) iOS 6 First Impressions

After saying I’ve learnt from previous experiences downloading operating system updates on release days, I am ashamed to admit that my phone has iOS 6 and my Mac upon which I am typing this has a spangly new install of Mountain Lion 10.8.2. What can I say, I had some time to kill.

Time I needed because it took well over an hour to download iOS 6. I think this is because of the “world and his wife” effect, though it could be my connection as a friend of mine did his at the same time and it downloaded in two minutes, and his connection is usually ropey (bastard) I wasn’t brave enough to download the update on the phone itself, so it was old school dock cable and iTunes all the way for me.

Aside from the time taken all went swimmingly, I had to remind myself to be patient and not start unplugging things before it had completed. I backed up everything (iOS & Mac) before hand. Just in case.

So it’s there… is it different? Is it good?

Well its a little mish-mash to be honest, which is not something I expect from Apple. There are some well implemented features such as “Do not Disturb” which lets you set a time where your phone won’t tell you if someone has liked your Facebook status or if they are calling you if you don’t want. Set the times and you are good to go and sleep, punch the spaniard or do whatever else it is you do.

Maps on the other hand appears to be a dogs breakfast. No I’m not complaining because I can’t get turn by turn on my iPhone 4. I knew that. It looks awful, taking ages to render map tiles (in hybrid view) even on wi-fi, yes I am aware my iPhone in phone terms is looking decidedly like a middle aged man trying to hide a bald spot and flirt with a 18 year old nympho named Mindy, but still. Thats not even the worst of it. A search for Manchester United Football Club points you to Sale United’s ground and according to this BBC News piece, whole villages have moved.

Who wants to go to Old Trafford anyway?

The Man Utd thing is a little unfair perhaps because if you search Manchester United FC you get Old Trafford so worry not loyal Man Utd season ticket holders your iPhone/iPad will get you from Surrey to the theatre of dreams… when you have done with the Madejski Stadium it will also get you to Old Trafford. However you would expect a search for Football Club and “FC” to come up with the same things. Whole villages moving, not acceptable.

I currently am not impressed with the new App Store. I think (or hope) this might be a familiarity thing. At the moment it feels like they designed it for the iPad and then thought “Oh shit iPhone… doi” To me it feels like you have to slide around just a little too far, on a bigger screen maybe one just slightly taller this would be…. oh Apple.. I see what you did there. You want people to get iPhone 5 so everything is designed for iPhone 5. Gotya. However I haven’t had to sign in with my Apple ID to download app updates yet, which is less hassle, but less secure. Hmm.

I like being able to tweet direct from the notification screen. I like being able to send people a message if they are ringing me and I can’t answer, in just two taps. iMessage under iOS 6 plays very nicely with Mountain Lion now, with all contact methods (emails, apple id, phone numbers) being lumped in together to provide one conversation chain from device to device. iPhone 4 is not compatible with any of the siri improvements or the panoramic photo modes so I can’t comment.

This is a free upgrade, and provides many new features some of which I haven’t used yet, some I’ll never use. The maps app is the one that will hit the headlines and be one for the Android Army to use in their “iPhone sucks” arguments. I am confident that Maps issues will be resolved, but for a showcase launch of a new app on a new OS it should have been so much better.

(BDYBIS) Hello iPhone 5 or How to eat a MacBook

OK OK I was wrong. I said for a long time that Apple wouldn’t call the next iPhone the iPhone 5. I even said here I’d eat my MacBook if they did. Well I’ve emailed Gordon Ramsey for a recipe and when he gets back to me I’ll chow down.

Well the iPhone 5 it is. Most of the rumours I’ve read about this new smart phone turned out to be true. It’s taller, you can watch 16:9 movies/tv without having to stretch stuff (well your arm maybe, if you wanna reach a beer or scratch your balls.. there is probably an app for that) Being taller it also means you get an extra row on every page of your home screen for your apps and folders. Good news if like me, you are an App whore.

It’s not wider. Thank Steve for that. No really thank Steve Jobs for that, iPhone 5 was the last Apple project he had any input into and he always wanted a phone you could operate easily with one hand. Presumably to free the other one for ball scratching. In practice this is superb, all the galaxy 3 people must have pockets the size of the lady garden of Katie Price. I would also love to see stats on how many times people drop their phones. The Galaxy is just too big. It is not so much sat in your hand, but lodged precariously like a jumper on a railway platform.

The beloved 30 pin dock cable is no more. Well kind of, Apple have redesigned the dock cable to produce Lightening. (No not the blonde one from Gladiators, you know the one who would have kept you busy if someone else was with Jet.) No lightening is a sister cable to Thunderbolt the cable used to connect Macs with displays and other fun stuff. So Thunderbolt and Lightning, not very frightening, because Apple have an adapter which will make Lightning play nice with all forty of those old dock cables you have lying around.

Jet… Not Lightning

The processing power of this thing is immense. They demoed Real Racing 3 at the Keynote (which you can watch here) It’s a racing game with amazing graphics, which coming from an 8 bit generation as I do, I still can’t believe are being produced by a phone.

Everything appears to be improved or honed. Including Battery life (although real world useage hmm) But here are a few things I didn’t like about the keynote itself-

Facebook:
In iOS 6 (which is released on 19th September) Facebook is baked in, I have a Facebook account. But I hate it, I want to break away from it, how can I do that if my phone has it baked in. The ability to “like” things in the new iOS 6 app store grates too.

Shared Photostream:
Why don’t I like this. Well it’s more social buttfuckery. You can like and comment on photos in shared Photostreams. Whatever did we do before we could just click “like”.

“It’s 7.6mm Thin”:
Something, dear Apple is not 7.6mm thin. It’s 7.6mm thick. I know it’s not very thick but come on.

Foo Fighters:
Now I like the Foo Fighters. I’ve caught their live shows on TV and they seem to produce lots of energy and atmosphere. They closed the keynote. With the very talented Dave Grohl phoning in a performance.

Ear Pods:
I liked the iPad name. Even though some said it sounded more “Always” than Apple. But EarPods, really. It looks like a load of work has gone into replacing the headphones, you know the white ones that entertained a whole train carriage with tinny distorted Britney Spears. The keynote showed how Apple had developed an ear fetish, and the EarPods look good, do they sound good. Time will tell. Just hate the name.

Enough with the hate. A new version of iTunes was mentioned and demoed too. Looks good. Will write something on that when it’s released to the great unwashed.

In short (678 words!) iPhone 5, not much has changed, except everything. Do I want one? You bet my MacBook Risotto I do.

(BDYBIS) Mountain Lion

Ok. Time to do a tech piece.

Mac OS 10.8, Mountain Lion to it’s friends. I’ve had it installed for a while so now it’s bedded in and everyone is talking about the iPhone I thought I’d give the world my two penneth whilst I’m waiting for my dinner to cook. (Sausages, if anyone is interested)

Released on July 25th 2012, installed on my machine 3 days later. I have learnt my lesson about purchasing operating systems on the day of release. This release like it’s predecessor Lion is only available via the Mac App Store. Now that we live in a broadband world this is the way forward. Just over 4 gigs over dial up would be a no-go! The purchase is associated with your Apple ID and if you are lucky enough to have 10 macs you can install Mountain Lion on all of them for no extra cost (although lets be honest, if you have 10 Mountain Lion compatible Macs you aren’t short of a few bob) £13.99 for ten licences is very good value.

The only criticism I have with the App Store launch of Mountain Lion is the fact that you can’t (well I couldn’t) find Lion to purchase anywhere. I understand apple want people to have the latest and greatest, but I recently purchased a MacBook which although not ancient is not up to the spec of Mountain Lion. Signing in to the App Store on this machine yielded only search results for Mountain Lion. Luckily Lion is in my purchase history so I was able to download again from there. Although this is no good for first time second hand mac buyers.

So what does Mountain Lion give you?

Well if you have an iOS device an awful lot of familiar features. Notification centre makes an appearance down the right hand side of your screen if you do the right magical swipe. I don’t have a multi-touch enabled track pad so it’s accessible via a click on the top menu. Housed within are twitter, mail, messages and the newly christened Calendar (bye bye iCal). There seems to be virtually nothing else in the way of notifications you can add, a sports results notification would be nice but no.

There are just three things that I really like about Mountain Lion. These are messages, iWork in the Cloud and Reminders.

Messages:

This was released as a beta as part of Lion. So there were no great surprises here. It replaces iChat. It is a great instant message client, with easy set up for Yahoo, Google Talk, Aim and most awesomely iMessage. This means that if you know anyone with an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone or another Mac running mountain lion you can message them from the comfort of your sofa. You can also FaceTime via Messages but if you want to use video chat over Yahoo or Google Talk you are out of luck. MSN is available via a third party addon.

iWork in the Cloud:

iWork (Apple’s office suite) has had cloud features baked in since the release of iOS 5, meaning you could write something in Pages (like MS Word but actually good) on your iPad and it would be there on your iPhone. You could also go to iCloud.com on your Mac and download the document, continue writing and upload when you were done. A little clunky. With Mountain Lion iWork on the Mac cloudyness is baked in. It’s so easy, it’s helped me this month with the blog-a-day thing. I’m able to write parked up in my car on my iPhone and then continue the same piece on my Mac when I arrive home, no fuss. As someone once said “It just works.”

Reminders:

Another iOS app that has been around since iOS 5. It can be used to remind you to do something when you are at a certain place. (Sounds good, however in reality I only used this feature once, it uses GPS all day which kills the battery) It can also be used to write shopping lists or to-do lists. For me these are easier to write on a computer, and Mountain Lion lets you. When you get to the shop, just fire up reminders on your phone and that order for a “Big fuck off Bottle of Jack” that you typed on your Mac will be right there waiting.

In summary:

I did tell my friend not to bother getting Mountain Lion. This is based on his usage, however next time I see him I think I will tell him to take the plunge. At £14 there is very little to complain about. I think I would pay that for iWork in the Cloud on it’s own. There are lots of other features but I haven’t really used them. Find out more here. If you have Lion or Snow Lep and your Mac can handle the big ML. Do it.