Category Archives: iPhone

Twitter versus Developers/Clients/Users

Thanks to Twitter most all of the fine third party twitter apps that are available to date, are losing many of the features they have been able to provide up to this point. In the end it seems evident that Twitter is preparing to implement a subscription paradigm – (Oh please no) – and they’re trying to chase developers away in such a way that no one is overly tempted to litigate.

Twitter has kind of developed a reputation for appealing to a more mature audience and I fit that model perfectly, but for those who really get some meaningful experience with Twitter, you soon discover that it can be a way to get customized “news” feeds that are beautifully blended with blogs, spontaneous comments and specific information about specific items, technology, support – and all of it as narrowly or broadly focused as a user chooses. And, it does it without being Facebook – praise be! It certainly can be more Instagram-like if a person wants to use it that way, and that’s cool too but, I’m just not an Instagram guy and Instagram really isn’t capable of meeting my professional and casual needs they way that Twitter can.

Thanks to Twitter getting more and more stingy with its tech, third-party developers of clients have their hands tied with no longer being able to provide the features that we’ve all become accustomed to. Personally I think Twitter is going to do less well with this strategy – as always time will tell. In the meantime I’m taking the opportunity to go through, and in some cases revisit, other clients just to make sure I’m not missing something. Here’s my take on a few of those apps – short and sweet:

Twitter’s own app, by itself or compared to the others I’ve tried – NO;

Echofon – Meh;

Twitterrific – Is elegant, but is also a nickel-and-dime trap;

Tweetbot by Tapbots @tweetbot – Has been my goto Twitter client for the better part of 10 years and inspite of Twitters BS I’m still going to stick with it after trying out some of the competition.

Some recent reviews on the App Store have complained that there hasn’t been much progress with Tweetbot, but consider this – It’s already very well developed and Twitter isn’t sharing their tech with developers in any meaningful way anymore. I’ve seen a few applications in my life that have actually been completely developed. Sure, you can always change things around, change colors, etc., but from a developmental standpoint there was no where else to go. Arguably, Tweetbot was arriving. My final and most starred praise for Tweetbot is for its virtue in remaining a non-subscription portal into the Twitter-verse. Thank you Tapbots and you never know, Twitter may come back to its senses before it’s too late.

ApplePay Progress In My Area – Updated

In Southern IL not so much. One of the first places in my area was Panera, but the system at that particular store works sometimes and not at other times. Interestingly, I spent a month working in London last year and was able to use Apple Pay almost everywhere, even in the outlying areas of the city. And, in that city, the best exchange rate I could get was to use my Simple Bank card, with or without my iPhone, at most any ATM – even when including the service fee it beat anything I could get walking into a bank or exchange shop. Where I live won’t be much empowered with AP until/unless Sams, Walmart and Target get on the ball, which I’m guessing won’t be anytime soon.

Update

All three Aldis that are within driving distance now take Apple Pay, sort of. Before I get into what that looks like – Target and Sam’s Club also allow you to check out using your iOS device, but, not Apple Pay specifically. Target really doesn’t work out well since all you get to do is scan your discount barcode from your phone, but you still are compelled to use cash or plastic to complete your transaction. Sam’s Club takes this one step farther and actually does allow you to checkout using your phone, but they’ve circumvented Apple Pay by having customers scan their own shopping cart items so that when you get to the register you, again, scan a barcode, but, this time the app is directly connected to a qualified card so you can, in fact, complete your check out with nothing but your phone, assuming you’ve got the app set up correctly BEFORE going into the store. It takes a little practice, but it really speeds up getting through checkout.

Now back to Aldis. I live in southern IL, so if you’re familiar with the area you’ll know the cities I’m going to refer to. Harrisburg: This is my least favorite Aldis because they just don’t have the selection that the other two stores in my area have, and significantly fewer organic choices across the board, but, Apply Pay in that store is the most reliable of the three. Marion: The hands-down best of the three stores for overall selection and certified organic meats and fresh produce, (still needs more improvement along these lines, but the best of the three to date). Apple Pay is spotty and the cashiers are not very friendly to helping the process along if Apple doesn’t connect properly the first time. Carbondale: Has an overall decent selection of food products, but has some catching up to do to match what the Marion store offers in the way of organics. Apple Pay is very spotty and the cashiers very unfriendly to assisting customers if the Apple Pay connection doesn’t succeed the first time. Unfriendly to the point where, if they see me whip out my phone to pay they will literally star off into the distance behind me, and if I ask for assistance they will not move a muscle to tear their eyes away from the distant object while mumbling that they don’t know anything about that. I’ve had that experience just about every time I’ve walked into that store – the Apple Pay fail followed by the attitude.

An additional store that now takes Apple Pay without prejudice is, Staples, where about 80% of my Apple Pay transactions succeed and if they don’t the cashier are generally about as attentive to the customer’s situation as if you are using plastic. There may be other stores in my area that are now taking Apple Pay, but I’m unaware of them if they are. Whenever I go to a store for the first time, or that I have not visited in awhile, I will almost always ask they take Apple Pay and I do it as an awareness campaign for those that don’t. Oh yeah, and all of the Subways in the region are also taking Apple Pay and it seems pretty reliable at the two stores I frequent.

I really appreciate not having to shell out cash, which tends to get onlookers more interested in my wallet than I’m comfortable with, and I really don’t miss having to use plastic where I put myself at risk twice with every transaction in a checkout line – Once when I pull the card out and expose the card number and the second time is when I often have to enter a four-digit security code. (I’ve actually been scammed this way before and was aware that the person behind was paying too close attention to the card I was holding in my hand even as I was doing my level best to keep it tucked in my palm and held up agains my stomach while I waited for the cashier to complete the scanning process of my purchase. I almost have instant recall for long strings of numbers so I know this is easily possible. If it doesn’t come naturally a person can train themselves to remember long strings of numbers almost instantly.)

For me, Apple Pay is not only cool, but mostly, it’s just more secure for paying when shopping in the corporeal world.

An Audio Producer’s Take on the AirPods

I’m sure everyone’s dying to know what I think about Apple’s AirPods, so: 1) Amazing sales numbers considering how difficult it was to order a pair and get them delivered in some more normal time frame. (Checkout 9to5mac.com for the numbers); 2) They are the best sounding earbuds I’ve heard, wired or wireless. (“Best sounding” is very subjective so here’s my POV: I’m no audio guru, but I have raised a family and funded an IRA for 30+ years working in audio production); 3) In fact, these earbuds do produce an amazing amount of low end, but as with all earbuds, you’re not going to feel it. However, headphones are NOT required to get deep, emmersive low end. Many earphones that are designed to fit into the ear canal, and seal it, will provide amazing low frequency performance, perceptually. Of course, a good pair of isolating headphones will still beat them, but not as much as one might think.

AirPods are not designed to fit into the ear canal, but if they were, you’d get hammered with a lot of perceived low frequency performance. Find some music with a good bass track, or a cinematic action scene and press your AirPods straight into your ears while changing the angle to optimize the test, and hear for yourself – DON’T HURT YOURSELF THOUGH!. 4) For the money, the hype and considering who the developer is, I’m quite disappointed with the lack of on-board features of these earbuds, and it’s getting to be a typical quandary that Apple puts its fans into [I’m a huge Apple fanboy – no apologies] with their hardware – What it does it does well, but there’s so much more it should be doing for the time and expense that we end up waiting and paying for. Let’s see, what else – Nope, that’s it. Cheers.

Where’s the iPad MINI PRO? Tsuro by @Thunderbox_ent has just released a major update to one of its games and an all-time favorite of mine, Tsuro. It is a rare game, and in this case a board game, that is the perfect zen between intellectual engagement and zoning-out.

Where’s the iPad MINI PRO?

Tsuro by @Thunderbox_ent has just released a major update to one of its games and it’s an all-time favorite of mine, Tsuro. It is a rare game, and in this case a board game, that is the perfect zen between intellectual engagement and zoning-out. When I come home and play a computer game – which is not often – I don’t like to be left staring at the wall with no registrable EEG when I’m finished playing it, I like to have some brain function left. Tsuro fllls that occasional and important niche for me.

Thunderbox’s significant upgrade to the game, in its basic format, plays just fine on both of my iOS devices. In this update Thunderbox has included access to @Apple AR technology, but alas, while the new features work just fine on my iPhone 8, the AR on my expensive 256GB, iPad Mini 4 is a no-go. Sans AR, the basic, non-AR game-play on my iPad Mini is just fine, but I want the same AR experience on my Mini without having to buy the smaller of the two current versions of the iPad Pro.

I’m very disappointed, as is more and more often the case with my Apple experiences. The fact that Apple continues to try and force my hand into buying exactly what they want me to buy rather than meeting my needs as they exist in the real world, is a growing frustration. I’m fairly certain that “my needs” are not so unique that they are completely isolated from the needs of a significant number of on-going Apple users. I have strong evidence of this because just about the time I think I’ve thought of a unique product recommendation or feature request, almost always I find that many others have beat me to the proverbial punch. This is even more poignant with regard to their professional products, hardware and software, but that’s for another post.

Suffice it to say that, if/when/ever, Apple decides to cough up an iPad Mini Pro, I will mortgage the farm to get it, but I will not be forced/coerced into buying a full-size iPad Pro under any circumstances. It’s almost like Apple realizes they’ve got us, and not unlike the phone company and cellular service providers in general, they believe they can get away with anything. Maybe they can, time will certainly tell, but there is a breaking point with me and those with similar experiences and expectations. I have invested a lot in Apple tech, up to and including, staking my professional reputation on its hardware and software technologies, over and over again, over the years. After the badly down-played XSAN fiasco I have backed way down from insisting on Apple products for professional application. On the consumer side of things I have also become much less vocal for pro-Apple evangelism. And for the record, I do not believe it has anything much to do with who’s at the helm. Even with Steve driving the company, it was headed in the same directions. But again, this is for another post.

Lack of AR on my recently purchased iPad Mini 4, and lack of talk of a Mini Pro, (which is why I bought the iPad Mini 4), leaves me wondering how much longer I can continue to invest in Apple, as a consumer and as a market investor. I guess one voice is, one voice – but, there is that voice, for whatever it’s worth.

Thanks For The Reviews iMore!

http://www.imore.com/iphone-6s-review

Got my 6S last week [upgrading from 5S] after doing a lot of reading, mostly from iMore. For me performance is everything with all computing devices, big or small, desktop or hand-held, and it became clear to me that the 6S(+) hardware was going to offer everything that is possible with the technology this year – and I am not dissapointed. This thing is fast and the 3D touch is absolutely a game changer for human interface with machines, and, almost all of the developers of the utility apps that I use and need are moving quickly to take advantage of the power and interface upgrades of the new hardware and iOS. This time I decided to get my phone from the Apple Store and I’m trying the new-every-two method. I’m a Verizon customer, (out of contract – yay!), and at the Apple sales person’s recommendation I called Verizon, and, long story short, they knocked $20/month off of my phone bill, per month – which offsets the $40/month iPhone payment by 50%. Wow! Who woulda thunk. Okay, enough fun, gotta get back to work. Thanks, iMore, for the 6S reviews!

I Mostly Embrace Apple’s Thing …

Where @asymco, in writing about greatness, achieves it.

I’m pretty much with the sentiment here, have been since 1985 (no, not 1984). However, there’s one place Apple did cave – (apologies for my less eloquent verbage), a BIG phone. And, not just that they did big, but that they left small behind. One of the very few areas that Samsung got Apple to bend. I really do not believe that Apple would have stopped making a “small” phone if the pressure hadn’t been on from iPhone users who were getting slowly, but steadily, envious of the big phones. Even I finally buckled and traded my 5S in for a 6S, not becuase I wanted big, but I needed the power and functionality. Praise be to your Diety of choice it doesn’t feel as big as it seemed it would, but, it’s definitely bigger, and again, the thing that’s irkesome and disappointing is not that they did BIG, but that they abondon small. In almost every other way I have embraced the Apple mind-set for mobile computing and the long forgotten standard of shear quality that used to be a part of the fabric of American manufacturing, and that Apple, almost single handedly, carries on. Dear Apple, size matters, BIGGER is not always better, and I still love you.

5S to 6S – To Be Or Not To Be … To Be!

Just want to share a little anecdote for those considering an upgrade to one of the current iPhones. I was in St. Louis this last Sunday on some other business and decided to stop by the Apple store and look at a new phone – long story short, I upgraded from 5S to 6S last, and after some wrangling, finally got everything up and going – and, it turns out to be a very important upgrade for me, especially from a performance standpoint

I do want to elaborate on the, “wrangling”, a bit: I was using Beta 9.1/2 on my 5S and the new 6S I brought home was running 9.0. So, I was, initially, not able to restore my 5S backup to the 6S because iTunes would not allow me to restore an image from a later iOS – it took me a little while to figure out what to do, (I admit I can be a bit slow sometimes), but, I finally decided I was okay with installing Beta 9.1 on the new phone, went back to my Apple beta program email and followed the instructions to get the new 6S upgraded to iOS 9.1 beta. Now I’m able to smoothly restore my 5S backup to my 6S. In the meantime there have been a few apps that don’t want to run at all or have acted irraticaly – simply deleting and reinstalling them has fixed these problems.

My wish is that Apple would take us beta testers into account when we want to upgrade our hardware. In retrospect it makes sense that Apple would provide safeguards for its users, but, I wish they would spell it out, up front, don’t just hit me with a screen that says I can’t restore because the new device has an older iOS version – be aware that I’m using a beta of the iOS that is beyond the current stable release and spell out this fact for me, then give me on-screen instructions on what to do. Would’ve saved me a couple of hours of frustration. Even so, the final outcome is, in a word – AWESOME!

If you’re a performance oriented user and you’re upgrading from 5S or a previous version of the hardware, I would suggest that, looking over the latest iPhone iterations is definitely worth your time.

How Deep Does Your Browser Go?

 
I have long been suspicious that web browsers go deep when installed on any OS, and I beleive that the article at the head of this post is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes me wonder how we can be so cavalier about installing web browsers. Many users have multiple installations of various web browsers installed and it’s not unusual for a single user to use different web browsers to get things done. I draw the analogy that, using web browsers to get everything done is a lot like using a public restroom, where, we also eat, wash our clothes, have afternoon tea with friends, scrawl bank account passwords on the walls and stalls, and etc. I know that web browsers are not the only illegitimate way into a pc, but I have to wonder, of all of the break-ins that happen, how many are accomplished and/or initiated through launching of a web browser. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a pop-up of somekind that is just downright creepy – and that’s with all blocking and saftey switches fully engaged.
 
My suspicion is also why I am absolutlely not on-board with the notion of web apps. I know for a fact that web apps can save a company money, and can provide freedom from an OS App store distribution system, but I don’t think it’s worh it. I’ve been burned a few times on the web, most notably when I was more heavily into being an eBay reseller, and, before there weren’t many/any non-webb apps dedicated to buying and selling with a more closed front end. In the name of more discloser, let me say that, in retrospect, the hack [theft of login info] could have easily been avoided if had just kept mental track of how many times the convincing-looking eBay login page kept poping up. I was very busy preparing purchases and just figured that I had been logged off because of a prolonged period of inactivity, and was therefore being prompted to re-login. Thankfully the outcome of that, while bad enough, was not the end of my financial world, but it could’ve been. As it was, the hacker(s) got enough info from me that they used my account to spam thousands of other eBay users and for a few days I got many angry emails from fellow eBayers. EBay doesn’t get high marks from me for the help that they proferd after the fact, but they did help enough that I was able to make ammends to my brothers and sisters in eBay land in a fairly short time. All of that from having to use a web interface to get the job done. Yes, it could’ve happened using a non-web app, but it would have been much less likely.
 
My two personal favorite browsers are Firefox and Safar – in that order; but in the real world I will have nothing to do with Firefox, because, of all the browsers I’m convinced that it goes the very deepest into the OS. In years past, and in more recent years, major performance improvements have been yielded by completely removing Firefox from an OS – I have even won a couple of low yield bets, that, removing Firefox from a given desktop system would immedately improve performance to a greater or lesser degree, but to a measurable degree in any case – and I won both times.
 
I have finally come to the point where I only use a browser when there’s no other way, and furthermore, when a company or individual provides a product or service that forces me to use a web browser or a web app, I move on to other vendors and service providers. And, that includes the likes of mint.com and intuit.com, based on the way they used to provide their various online services only a few years ago. I think that they now provide mobile and/or dedicated desktop apps for their products and services, ultimately furthering my point. Comeing back to the realm of media production, there are a couple of companies offering some very promising video sharing and production collaboration services – guess what their interfaces are? But, if they do well, I beleive that, in the long run, they will end up developing dedicated, non-web, apps.

@iMore – Faster, Harder and Stronger!

 

To quote one of my favorite Naturopaths – “Faster, Harder and Stronger!”

Plus, very water resistant, and, wireless charging – and not wireless dock charging – I mean wireless charging. (I don’t have to drop it on a proprietary, uh, dock, it just has to be x-number of inches/feet from the charger thingy.)

Oh! And, small please.

The Age of Small iPhones

 

With regard to phones I’m pretty sure, along with many others, that Apple’s not going to release a small phone this year, and that’s too damn bad. But, if correct, that means I have another year to save up for Fall of 2016’s new releases. Unfortunately, I think that any future “small” iPhone gear will feel a lot like getting an iPod Touch – the hardware specs will intentionally be a step behind whatever their current-year, new releases will be – that always drove me nuts using an iPod Touch – but, in the end it worked, Apple got me to buy an iPhone 5S with their antics … I mean, strategy.

All of that is to say, I fear the age of small phones is gone and I will be compelled to get a monster phone by this time next year if I want to upgrade. I’m a performance-driven user of all things Apple. When I upgrade I’ve got to have the latest CPU, maximum RAM, best video components, screen technology and etc. Besides needing the performance in my reality, it dramatically helps downplay hardware obsolescence over time.

So, I’m going to spend the next thirteen months getting use to the idea of carrying around a monster-sized iPhone. When I pickup the phone and look at the big, beautiful screen, and luxuriate in the responsivness of the UI, I will have absolutely no issue, but, when it’s time to put it away and hit the road, in the pocket it will not go. That means, back on the belt, (which I came to really loathe), and, I just don’t do the back pocket – just don’t.

 

Life is tough – isn’t it?!