iPhone

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

When I started writing these i only ever envisaged doing a working week with them. Why? Because I’m lazy and no-one cares what I write!!

So day 5 has to be some kind of conclusion. Well here goes:

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch is truly great at what it is, people have accused Apple of taking other peoples ideas and claiming them as their own. Well watches were around long before Steve Jobs looked like a geeky Ashton Kutcher. So yes they took this and improved on it.

As a smart watch, fitness tracker, style icon (for the “look what I got” people) and remote for the third gen Apple TV it is second to none. If you are far more active than I and already have an iPhone it’s a no brainer.

That said, I’m not that active and although notifications were nice to get, I’m not comfortable with dictating messages via Siri so I always reached for my phone to reply to messages and pretty much everything else. It is nice to be able to look at the time on my wrist. But a cheaper dumb watch will do that.

I think the cost is a factor for me. If someone got me a Apple Watch for Xmas or it was 50% off on Cyber Monday I would be grateful/tempted. Because I have enjoyed it, I can now put it on at the first time of asking, and it is a very nice object, I like the chunky design. However I would bulk at paying Apple Watch money for something I’m not going to utilise fully.

Of course.. unless my friend actually asks for it back…. no rush eh!

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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

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 3, Smashing through the boundary lunacy has found me..

If you’ve read the two previous blogs i’ve written this week (who hasn’t!) you’ll know I thought I’d give the battery of my loner Apple Watch a bit of an unscientific test. Now I love my iPhone. I’ve had jobs that made watching paint dry interesting, I still miss my colleagues at Dulux.

I have had jobs that have so much down time it’s lovely to be able to escape the tedium and play a game or email people. So over the years my iPhone’s battery has been known to be dead by the mid-morning.

Apparently I am “king of the notification” (this from a man who wants to live in a yurt) so Apple watch was gonna get a fair real world test.

It passed for two days use. It was down to 8 percent just before i got in my bath. So i put it on charge, it charges like magic with the things that take your heart readings doubling up as some power connectors. It’s witchcraft! There is a low power mode which you can activate to prolong things even further. (Like the teenage me trying to think of Bruce Forsyth squatting on a glass table…: sex joke)

Things of note. I reached one of my health targets. I was rewarded with a trophy that looks like an old 1980’s hob element. But yay trophy.

When you set a timer, (for my damn pizza) on the phone it vibrates the watch. Pretty cool if your phone is on silent and you’ve gone for a cheeky (insert vice here) No excuse for burnt anything anymore. Except crumpets… overdo those.. go-on.. then top with cheese.. try it.. go now..


 

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 1, Strap On Issues

“Guess what I got (on loan)
Picture attached.

“Is that an Apple Watch? Why on loan?”
“Yes it is, (You were the first notification I got) My friend is going through an anti tech phase. Wants to live without it for a week see how he gets on. So he isn’t tempted I get it for a week to see if I like it.”

“Your friend is weird”

Who am I to argue with beautiful wisdom from across the pond. My friend is weird, but I knew that because he’s friends with me. I get a shiny watch to play with. So why haven’t I got one already? I’m a Apple guy.

Well, I’m not a watch guy, haven’t worn one for 17 years and my bank doesn’t offer Apple Pay a huge selling point of the watch. Also I haven’t had the money. So no pressing need. But I am an apple geek and it’s a nice thing. So why not try it out, remembering of course to take it off when I have a bath, for it isn’t water proof.

1st impressions. We’ll obviously no unboxing for me, but set up (off wrist) is so easy. Line your iPhone camera up with the pattern on the watch screen and boom you are paired. A few questions follow about transferring available Watch companion apps for the apps I have on my phone. And it’s set.

Strap on issues…I am cack-handed. My friend knows this and he showed me method for putting the watch on. I still couldn’t for a good 10 attempts. The strap on the sport model is a nicely made rubber affair with a stud for fastening (much like my gimp mask) but instead of a traditional strap the left over strap gets tucked in back towards your wrist. I kept fastening it only for it to come undone whilst tucking. Who hasn’t come undone whilst tucking…

I skipped the bit about health as I am running short on time. I will cover more about that in tomorrows piece. Now it’s on and I look forward to notifications, I’m off to work.

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Apple Watch: Modelled by a Sasquatch clearly

Enjoy

Enjoying the now. You wouldn’t think it’s difficult would you? To enjoy what you are doing, live in the moment. Before I started writing this I was thinking it was just me, but all of us to some degree fail to grasp fully the wonderful things that are occurring. Right now.

Modern life doesn’t help full of distractions and noise. Long time readers of this blog (thank you and that ambulance outside is probably for you) will know that I love my tech. My iPhone much to my bosses displeasure hardly leaves my sweaty palm. But does it let me enjoy my life knowing that a footballer I follow on twitter is talking to another footballer about “Take Me Out” yet I consume.

I have been to many a gig. The focus for many now is not to let go, be absorbed in the music but to video it in full HD, so they can enjoy it later. The later that never comes, or the later that you only enjoy when one of your fellow gig goers dies. Then you’ll sit and look at it and go, “remember when you filmed this.”

Contentment goes against human nature. We will always want more, faster, higher. It’s what has moved us on, moved us out of our caves. But the human race has pretty much gone as far as we can now, and the reality is that most of us aren’t gonna make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Recently I have had good cause to try and live in the now. I find my myself making plans, plans that would be amazing, but plans that I know I actually have very little control over. These plans then take my focus away from what is happening now, robbing me of not only an unlikely future but an exciting and inspiring present.

Enjoy the now, after all you probably planned this moment ages ago..

Thats how to enjoy the moment.

Happy Birthday Mac

30 years ago today the first Apple Macintosh was announced in the US. There was very little whooping and clapping and certainly no-one had been sleeping outside on the New York streets for 3 days to get their hands on one. But what an impact the Mac had. First time I used one I didn’t like it!! It had one mouse button and was being hogged by a friend who was showing me how to put flames round some writing in Photoshop.

No thanks. I thought, I’ll stick to my PC, it runs Championship Manager 2.

I was wrong.

Without the Mac we quite possibly wouldn’t have had The Mouse, Copy and Paste, MS Powerpoint, smartphones, iPods, Usable tablet devices, and digital music stores amongst other things. Sure all these things probably would have sprung up, but in very different forms than they are now. It’s always pointed out to me that Microsoft pioneered the tablet PC years before the iPad. Trouble is Microsoft always want their mobile devices to run the same software as desktops the devices are always doomed. They haven’t learnt from past mistakes.

Microsoft have of course played a huge role in the success of the Mac. Developing MS Office for the Mac and investing $150 million in 1997. At a time where Windows was king and the Mac was on dicey ground indeed.

Fast forward to the present day. Whereas in the UK the PC used to rein supreme the humble Mac has gained a significant market share in the home market. Even in the office where I work more Mac’s are thankfully appearing, I just wish the people who had them (not me) knew how to use them. Mind you it does give me a opportunity to be a Mac Geek at work, which is much better than trying to eat my Dell keyboard because I have tried to use a Mac keyboard shortcut.

Main question I see on Twitter is (computer wise, not about Justin Beiber) “Is the Mac worth the extra money?”

The question in itself is wrong. If you spec the a PC to the levels of the Mac Pro the home built PC will be more expensive. But MacBook Air is more expensive than £250 PC. If you want a machine that is not only usable but runs the same as the day you got it the MacBook Air will not disappoint.

I hope the Mac will continue to be around in some form for at least another 30 years and that Apple continue to Think Different.

(WMB4X) QuizUp

Something new for these fair pages an App Review. Or more likely as it turns out me saying “Look at this cool App” So look at this cool App.

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QuizUp is a pretty damn sweet quiz (clues in the name people) game from Plain Vanilla. It’s a very simple premise, download the App from the App Store (Android version on the way) create an Account, you can use Facebook, Twitter or email address for this then you are off and running. Choose from over 250 different topics anything from Family Guy to Myths and Legends or Logos to Harry Potter, you then get to answer 5 questions multiple choice questions for a maximum of 20 points followed by a sixth question for a maximum of 40 points.

The longer you take to answer the lower your score will be, getting the answer wrong will mean you get nothing. It may also mean you want to launch your iPhone or iPad across the room. Oh of course you are not playing against your phone. You are playing against your friends, if you link your Facebook, Twitter or Game Center, or if you are a loner like me random strangers from across the globe, so it does require an active internet connection. However if you want to challenge one of your friends who happens to be lets say hard at work or busy contemplating their navel you can set a score for them to try and beat later on. In addition you can also find players nearby to play.

I did think initially that it was going to be too Americanized (note the “z” in homage) for me. And yes some of the TV rounds will have people without the “right to bear arms” perplexed, as will some of the Logos. However I have noticed the very English (now owned by GM) Vauxhall (known as Opel elsewhere) pop up. This game will only get better as time passes because they allow the community to apply to submit their own questions. The key word here is “apply” implying that there is a vetting process so, “Whats the largest landmark in Sweden?” Answer “Yo Mamma.” quite disappointingly won’t occur.

My advice. It’s free, give it a bash. Then when you have finished that play QuizUp. You might even end up playing me. Be warned its addictive. (They aren’t paying me)

IMG_0740


Visit the Resident Weeble’s blog. He’s the reason I look like I know about Game of Thrones. I thought it was a regal version of musical chairs

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.

(28DW) Snooze!

I really should get up.

A thought that often crosses my mind. You see I write this from my bed, it’s a double and very comfy. It’s seen less action than a whole convent of nuns. (Sisters I’m open to offers… I’ll save you… I kinda look like Jesus) My bed is warm and even though my mouth is dry and I need to pee I have the compulsion to stay here until the very last possible second. It’s 11am, Saturday by the way so it’s not like I’m stupid late for work.

Workdays are even worse. I have 3 alarms with at least two hours where I know I can hit snooze. I still leave it to the last possible second. I have responsibilities I’m a adult, I should know better. I should be up preparing breakfast, doing yoga or as one of my colleagues does actually checking work emails. Three words… Get A Life.

I’m lazy but it’s not my fault. I blame snooze.

Which mental case invented that button? It’s more tempting to push than any button that says “Don’t Push” in fact I think it’s the one thing that unites the people of the world. From Nun.. (Call me yeah) to Whore.. From politician to pimp (sorry they are supposed to be contrasting things aren’t they) everyone has pressed snooze. Yes I know there are people without alarm clocks. But I also know they would find the snooze too difficult to leave alone was it present in their homes.

Don't press it..

Don’t press it..

It’s the “drug pusher” of buttons. There on your bedside saying “go on just a few more minutes, you’ve earned it, you are a special guy” in your hazy lazy state you believe ol snooze and lay there. There are some people who are full of pep in the morning. I want to kill them all!! I believe these people are recovering snooze addicts. They pressed so much it made their noses bleed. (Because they ran into a door whilst rushing to work, late cos of too much snooze) These folks have to be full of the joys of morning because they live in fear that snooze will return for them.

Well at nearly midday guilt now fills me. I must escape the warm snooze enabled clutches of my slumber pit. Guilt my arse… I just want a cup of tea before I go to football. Maybe a few more minutes…


Please check out the work of my 28DW friends at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium Who both featured in a News of the World “Snooze” exposé some time in the mid 90’s.

(28DW) Geek Future

As a proud geek, I often wonder where we will be in the future in terms of the tech we have. A friend of mine just purchased a new MacBook Air, lucky bastard. It is light, thin and powerful. By comparison my 3 year old MacBook looks light years away.

By Paul Hudson from United Kingdom (11″ MacBook Air compared to 13″ MacBook) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking at Jonny Ive’s design (that all the ultra book manufacturers copied) I struggle to see where they can improve. Yes I’m sure they will get quicker and storage will grow (or become cloud based) the screens on all Apples machines will be retina displays but aside from that.

The keyboard on the Air is full size, a thing of which apple are proud, it makes the air easy to operate. So I can’t see them going smaller, nor can I see them doing away with the physical keyboard. Although currently I am typing this on my iPhone, the virtualised keyboards of iDevices don’t make for good long term typing options. The screens will not get smaller, for we need to see what we are doing. Google have their goggles, which incorporate a display onto glasses but again how comfortable will that be for long term use.

It’s not just hardware I ponder. Software too, games, graphics, operating systems. Microsoft have gone down the touch screen route for their latest version of Windows. Some operations easier to perform with a finger on the end of a cramped hand on the end of a achey arm. Than with a traditional mouse, but touch screens don’t work, thanks for playing. One division of Microsoft who has got it right is the Xbox. Their motion controlled gaming system Kinect, is truly revolutionary. I hate it, because you can’t use it sat down, but the tech behind it is amazing.

Couple this with the advances in graphics and its now increasingly the case that games look very real and you are performing real actions. Fast forward generations into the future and in Grand Theft Auto 8 you will be stabbing a very real looking prostitute in the face. All boyish prevado aside (y’know the inner 9 year old who says “that will be cool”) will that be fun? Really? If nothing else it will give the “video games cause serial killings” people serious ammunition.

Additionally no-one could have predicted how the smart phone has revolutionised our lives. I used to feel anxious when I mislaid my Nokia 3210, when I mislay my iPhone I go batshit mental. Now I would be lost without it. Everything is on this mixture of aluminium and glass. Who knows what they will do? If it will in the long term enrich our lifes or just extend the control these screens have on our increasingly Orwellian existence.


Please check out the work of my 28DW Comrades at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium