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 5, He Hasn’t asked for it back yet!

My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

I said yesterday I didn’t set up the fitness elements of the Apple Watch right from the get go. Two reasons for this, I was short of time as I said and also I’m hardly “Mr Five-a-Day” healthy. I like to keep myself active, but I also like a full english breakfast from time to time. But its a feature and I thought it might be fun to actually see what gets my heart racing.

Like the set up of the watch in general the Activity monitor is easy to set up. Tell your watch how tall you are (short!), how heavy you are and how active you are (not very) and you are good to go. The watch then displays 3 worms. Red for Calories burned (actively) Green for exercise and blue for how long and how often you have stood up. The more you do the more achievements you unlock.

It did occur to me that wheelchair users may want to use this to track exercise and calories burned. To be told to stand up every hour would be a trifle annoying. Thankfully you can turn this off in the settings. Not that I have.

The daily goals are attainable and the watch will display words of encouragement to get you moving even a little more. Which has to be a good thing.

So thats the Health, what of the efficiency. Well I’ve decided not to charge the watch tonight and see how it does. It’s on 51% now so I’m not holding my breath.

IMG_3372
This woman is wearing an Apple Watch on her right wrist.
My Week with Apple Watch: Day 2, Health and Efficiency

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.

Happy Birthday Mac

(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) Hello iPhone 5 or How to eat a MacBook

(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.

(BDYBIS) Mountain Lion

Ba de ya: Blogging in September (BDYBIS)

Ok I know there are several blog-a-day things out there lots of those go for a whole year. 365 blog pieces a year. Well good luck with that. I want my bits to be interesting, informative and entertaining. As a general rule of thumb one outta three ain’t bad (one less than Meat Loaf but hey he’s a big guy) A month therefore is a better period of time to try.

So I’ve decided to try and write something for everyday of September. I figure it will be a good month, what with the Paralympics and Apple launching the iPhone 5 (Which won’t be called the iPhone 5… if it is I’ll eat my MacBook)

So this is a gentle introduction piece. Ba de ya?

Earth Wind and Fire. I was never a disco guy. But I do listen to podcasts, and have stolen the Ba de ya from Mac OS Ken. Who opened his daily Apple News podcast with that song throughout the whole of September last year. So I thought I’d write a little piece on essential podcasts for a guy like me.

Mac OS Ken:
15 or so minutes of Apple News, presented by Ken Ray, useful for anyone who wants to keep abreast (ha!) of all the new ways Apple made money the previous day. This guy does it with a fair bit of sarcasm and humour too, no mean feat when lots of corporate news involves coverage of earnings calls.

Another Mac One now..

Mac Geek Gab:
Embrace your inner geek for an hour and a half every week. Presented by Dave Hamilton and John F Braun of the Mac Observer. Everything I know about the Mac, that I haven’t learnt from Apple employees, I’ve learnt from these guys. Got a mac issue, contact them at feedback@macgeekgab.com thats feedback@macgeekgab.com (You’ll get that reference if you listen.)

Comedy next.. oh yes where I get my wit from.

The Danny Baker Show:
One of the most talented broadcasters of a generation. Millwall fan and writer of countless things you have laughed at. This is the podcast of his Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 Live. Even if you hate sport there is something of wonder to be found. Baker is willing to take risks with radio.

Richard Herrings Leicester Square Theatre Podcast:
Richard Herring one half of 90’s comedy duo Lee and Herring. Whilst the former has gone on to great critical acclaim Richard Herring has largely sat under the comedy radar this series features interviews (in the loosest possible terms) with Tim Minchin, Stewart Lee and Jonathan Ross amongst others.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe:
I’ve written several pieces on my love of the work of James Randi Educational Foundation. The Skeptics Guide to the universe podcast is produced in association with JREF and is a dose of reality in a world made of bullshit.

This is a cross section of my podcast taste. There are podcasts available for all tastes. If you have an iPod and have only used it for music, you are missing out. Give podcasts a go. They are mostly free and thanks to iTunes you don’t have to miss a single one.

Careful though they are addictive. Ba de ya.

Ba de ya: Blogging in September (BDYBIS)

Whilst I Was Sleeping

Whilst my motivation has been lacking I missed:

Jimmy Carr and Tax
Team DB not for Team GB
Microsoft Surface
Euro 2012
Murray Mania

So because I know you are all dying to hear what I (the angry masses) thinks about all this microblog a go go.

Jimmy Carr

Rich man employs people to pay as little tax as possible shocker. “It’s not fair” scream the masses all of whom would have done the same thing if they had:

1. Thought of it
2. Could afford a decent accountant.

Life isn’t fair, people will always want more for less in return. Human nature folks, embrace it.

Team DB not for Team GB

David Beckham 25 year old footballer plays for Man Utd and England, he has the vibe of a man who has yet to reach the pinnacle of his career, he has a wicked right foot that can fizz crosses into the box and he can hit a dead ball with style similar to that of Roberto Carlos. So it is a travesty that this young talented player has been denied a chance to perform at London 2012. What do you mean he’s 37 and a bit part player in LA? You are kidding me???

The Olympics is supposed to be for athletes who are at the peak of fitness to compete with each other according to Olympic ideals and values. Yes David Beckham gave a lot to bring the games to London but so did Seb Coe. I don’t see anyone mounting a campaign for him to get out his running spikes. Why? Because he had his time. As has Beckham.

Microsoft Surface

Finally a piece of hardware that suits Windows 8. An iPad killer? No. I don’t think so one because the iPad fitted into an ecosystem that was already in existence, and the distribution plans are shaping up to be a nightmare. On launch the Surface will only be available at Microsoft Stores and online in the states. How many stores? Less than 30!

Euro 2012

England were ok. Despite all the press saying we failed. We played a defensive game versus Italy that nearly worked. Boring well maybe, but defending is part of the game too. Spain were a cut above. The dutch need to actually like each other, relax in each others company. Maybe over a smoke and a pancake.

Murray Mania

Tennis. I can watch. Not the greatest fan but I can watch. Wimbledon however seems to be surrounded by people who are unaware that Tennis is played as part of a world tour. They seem to think that Tennis pros play for 2 weeks in a year. I don’t think Andy Murray will ever win Wimbledon which is a shame for him and Scotland.

Whilst I Was Sleeping