Review

iPad 2017: A Few weeks In

You may have noticed I used to do a lot more Apple evangelist type stuff. Then again I used to blog more often too, for the Apple stuff though there has been a lot less to write home about as the computer tech world seems, to me anyway, to be stuck in a malaise of mediocrity. Nothing is particularly bad, Windows has caught up to MacOS again after deciding that desktops are different than tablets and phones. Thanks for playing guys.

iOS 10.3 is an excellent platform for all your mobile needs as is the latest version of Android. It is down to personal preference which you prefer, unless you go bargain basement both operating systems have similar features albeit in different places.

But I got myself a new iPad. Go figure.


My MacBook is wonderful, but very old being born as she was in 2009. So I thought the iPad would take the strain of my daily use prolonging the life of “old faithful” and with the £100 price cut and the introduction of a new faster chip (A9) it was a no brainer even for me.

As firmly ensconced in the Apple infrastructure as I am, this is my first iPad (not made by Fisher Price) set up was a breeze. I actually used my iPhone as wi-fi hotspot as I am a child and couldn’t wait to get it home to set up. Sign in with your Apple ID and you are good to go. As long as you have iCloud turned on everything from email to bookmarks and photos were available to me. My tinfoil hat has long been folded up in a drawer, if people want to find out about you they will whatever you do. Chances are they don’t so you may as well use cloud services for the ease of use they bring. Apple have been in court fighting for user privacy, so I don’t think they’ll want to see my iCloud pictures of my prize winning rooster or my Persian cat. Someone tells me there are enough pictures of cocks and pussys freely available on the internet.

More professional reviewers than I say that the Pro line of iPad’s are designed to replace computers. Well I couldn’t afford one of those and all I do these days is browse and write, sometimes at the same time thanks to the great split screen feature. So, so far the iPad (unprofessional) is doing a great job. Yes if I was a YouTuber I might be pushed to edit video on it, but as long as I didn’t run out of storage (I got the 32 gb version) iMovie could do a passable job 1080p editing.

I have got faster typing on the virtual keyboard. Although I feel in the coming months I will get some kind of stand/case/keyboard thing. Dunno which yet due to the wonderful naming convention system. This simple boy is confused.

So far, very pleased. It does everything I thought it would. Battery good, screen good, apps plentiful. For what it is, it’s a very good value device.

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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!

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

(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) 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) 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.

Review: Mac OS 10.7 Lion

Since the Keynote speech, MacBoy has been excited for the release of Mac OS 10.7 known to his friends as Lion. Been doing a little Google Fu and the only reviews I have found thus far have been for lucky buggers who own recent Macs. I however own a late 2009 MacBook, relatively new, but old enough to be worn in and not have a fancy multitouch trackpad. How does that effect the user experience in Lion?

Well.. Lion is touch enabled, borrowing much from the iPad/iPhone operating system iOs. To scroll down a page, any page you hold two fingers on the trackpad and move up, yes Apple moving up to go down. Now my Apple brothers with more recent machines with full multitouch options have the ability to turn this off, and move down to scroll down, as it’s been since god was in short trousers. I however do not, or if I do I have yet to find it. So up to go down is the way forward.

My MacBook has the minimum spec required for Lion. Before install I was worried about this, coming from the Windows side of things I have learnt that minimum specs aren’t to be listened to. On a PC a minimum spec means, can you turn it on and wait until next week to work. Install of Lion took about 40 mins, and I think it’s added a few seconds to boot up but that is the only slow down I’ve noticed. Yes if you filled up all the different desktop spaces with Final Cut re-rendering Titanic there would probably be some beach ball action, but as I don’t intend doing that anytime soon. It’s all good.

Navigation in Lion is all about Space, freedom to set up your work/leisure environment how you want it. Several apps can run in full screen, nothing to distract you, for instance I am writing this in Safari in full screen mode. To go do something else, those with a fancy trackpad can swipe across with 3 fingers and go do whatever, but what can I do. Well  Control and a arrow key, not as fancy but it works.

Other gestures I have no access to include, pinch to zoom, LaunchPad and Mission Control. Pinch to zoom whilst nice to have is not essential there are always other ways to zoom. I have plans for Launch Pad and Mission Control:

Yes folks, Hot Corners. bottom left launches Mission Control, bottom right launches LaunchPad. The low tech mouse gesture. With a few moderations Lion can be fully enjoyed without multitouch. Although I’m bordering on Fanboi status, at £20.99 everyone who can should.

Other pluses and minuses can be found elsewhere, but briefly:

Pluses:

  • Spell correct, from the iPhone.
  • Yahoo integration in iChat.
  • Airdrop*
  • Full Screen Apps
  • Price!
  • Security

Minuses:

  • Mouse Gestures and Older Macs
  • Airdrop, this is a file transfer system, all users involved have to be in a airdrop window, no notification system, for example “Barry want’s to send you a file” so Barry has to send a email to say he wants to send a file, by which time Barry could have emailed the file.
  • Rosetta RIP. No Photoshop CS2 for me!

Takes a little while to get used to, but I am Lion, hear me roar!

Review: Pages for iOS

So then MacBoy rides again. This will be the first fully functional blog I will have created using Pages for iPhone. I’m an experienced user of MS Word on my PC at work and I have briefly used the trial of Pages ’09 on my Mac. I have to say I didn’t get on with it, it’s all inspectors and I missed the familiar icons. So yes MacBoy likes MS Word 2002. Shh don’t tell anyone.

So why did I get Pages on the iPhone? Well, as you dear readers know I have a desire to write, there are times when one is inspired but nowhere near a computer. So this will be cool for that, it seems to be more feature rich than notes, giving you things like word counts and autosave. 134 words by the way 139!

The interface is slimmed down for the iPhone which is needed due to lack of screen real estate, at present aside from the keyboard there are just four buttons on screen, which is a huge change from computer word processing applications. Due to this I think although editing, formatting and styles as you create is possible I reckon I will get the inspired words down(!) and then stylise.

The options available for formatting your text are plentiful and easier to implement than any MS app I have used, the only feature missing is mail merge but who is gonna use that on a phone!!

One thing that is annoying (aside from achey thumb) is the lack of the ability to use any landscape orientated features. This I feel would be useful for reading back what you have written, some folks also like the landscape keyboard. A little confused why this is not included, as it is an iOS wide feature. Other minuses right now are the inability to sync to dropbox. However the need for this is limited due to the impending arrival of icloud.

In fact due to the iCloudyness baked in, the app is future proof, this coupled with a handy £6 price tag you can’t really go wrong. If you have an iOS device, you may as well get the app, it will save you having to find a pen and more besides!!

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