Tag: Technology

Post “Apple-Pocalypse”: Why You Should Upgrade to iOS 7 (after the servers cool down)

Yesterday we all survived the “Apple-Pocalypse”.  For anyone who owns a recent “i” product from the white fruit company, there was a sudden peer pressure to upgrade to the newest version of operating system.  Namely, “iOS 7”.  Not creative, but the name probably shouldn’t detract from the shiny-ness of the product itself.  

After having used the OS for about a week prior to launch thanks to a “Lifehacker” blog, I was able to test drive some things and see what I liked and potentially didn’t like before the servers exploded on launch day.  If you haven’t downloaded yet, now might be a good time and this is why I think you should:

(1) Everything looks and feels better.  Apple has spent a lot of time fine tuning the Keyboard, making the OS move faster (I’m running an iPhone 4S), and taking away all the fake Bevels and Gradients that clogged the visuals of previous operating systems.  The new look is solid and much more cheerful (bright and airy).  At the same time, the backgrounds are much more detailed and beautiful (honing in on the Desktop Background experiences as Handheld computing becomes more popular).  The fonts have been redone to embolden or recede as necessary in the Phone and Texting Apps, and the icons create a different ethos than was previously had.  Even the notes app is brighter and easier to use.  Going back to iOS 6 would be abrasive visually.

(2) There has been much more added functionality (and accessibility).  The number one improvement I like is that you can go into your “Cellular” settings and choose which apps are allowed to use Cellular data.  If you want to cut off a data hog thats not always necessary, you now have the precision tool to do it.  New Menus are also accessible by thumb swipes giving easy grap of the new built in Flashlight button, music controls, bluetooth, wifi, sleep, airplane mode, and especially at Brightness slider – all in one spot.  Some utilities like Camera, Calculator, and time are also there for quick picks.  Lastly, the Folders now can slide and have multiple pages – not sure if I need it, but its nice to know its there).

(3) The movement is more bouncy, and feels fun.  Texts bounce up and down when stopping (though only slightly), notes are similar when going up and down, the apps fly on and off screen when locking/unlocking the phone, and the folders grow and retract more smoothly than I remember.  The background creates depth by moving in the background, so my chosen image of stars and clouds tilt as I tilt the phone.  Its fun to show others and to do when I’m bored in meetings while checking the time.

Other things: The basic app selection on the phone doesn’t seem to have changed much.  Facetime seems to appear more prominently, with the same green icon as Phone and Messages, but apps like Passbook are growing in utility as apps come out that allow you to collect plane tickets, gift cards and movie stubs.  I hope this continues to develop.  The Maps app still isn’t as good at Google Maps, Gmail (for Gmail users) is still more precise search-wise with Google’s app than Apple’s.  The camera is more robust now with different modes and filters on live images which is fun (having instagram like abilities from the get go.  All the apps still work too – so its not like you’re going to miss much, and the new things will take some time to play with, but will soon become useful.

In conclusion, pick up the new iOS as soon as you can.  There really isn’t a downside and it seems like there is a lot of upside.  Its fun, pretty, and functional (and continuing to get better with each revision).  For Apple fans, just do it.

 

(Photo Credit: http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u154082/ios7_cover_photo_2.png)

Pass It On: What Google Glasses Will Be Like to Wear – Point Of View

I love new technology and I’ve been watching what Google’s new glasses are going to be capable of.  There are a lot of upsides to being able to access information without your hands.  Watch this video and I’ll give you a few of my thoughts below, good and bad:

Wow – pretty cool.  The upside seems to be that you’ll be able to record things without having to pull out a camera.  That’ll be really handy when you’re doing something dangerous or skilled. I picture “How To” videos becoming very easy to make.  Also, it seems that people having fun can continue to have fun.

The downsides?  I see a lot of people trying to stand still to take videos, talking incessantly into the thing when they don’t understand how to make prompts work, and awkward moments with people just staring forward like a robot watching video that you can’t see.  Kind of freaky.

What are your thoughts?  Comment below!

I downloaded iOS 6 – My Thoughts and First Impressions

Thanks to various tech sites, I was able to determine that Sept 19th would be the download date for iOS 6, the newest Apple iPhone operating system.  Each upgrade makes upgrades, and this one claimed to make 200 tweaks, so I was ready.

The first snag was that I needed 2.5 gb free to do the upgrade.  I had to delete some HD videos on my phone, but was able to make the space free.  As I waited for the download, I read at Gizmodo.com about what was supposed to be in the package.  I was excited about Passbook, interested in the Phone app upgrade, and was not excited to lost Google maps – I use that quite frequently.  Now, I’ve used it for two days now, so this is my first impressions.

I’ll start with the bad:

(1) Apple’s Maps, powered by TomTom and their own in house mappers, is not ready for solid use.  I will be using Google Maps mobile application until the Apple Maps app matures a bit.  I’ve read a lot about how it took Google Maps to get as good as it is now.  Well, I need it good now, so I’ll have a button added for G.Maps through html until that day.

(2) Facetime is touted as being able to used over 3G/4G cellular data rather than wifi only.  I went to add this feature, and the phone told me that I have to call AT&T to determine if I am eligible.  This was a minor inconvenience, so I thought, until I called and found out that I’d have to hang up, turn off my cell, a signal would be sent to my phone, and then I’d be called back.  The service in my area went out for a few minutes at premium hours, and I received a message after AT&T’s call center hours that they’d tried to reach me and would call back.  They didn’t, and I haven’t either.   I’m sure this will be great – once I figure out how to wrangle AT&T into getting this set up.  It really shouldn’t be this complicated.

That’s all I’ve really disliked, there is much more Good than bad:

(1) Siri is faster and more intelligent.  I noticed right away that the wait times have been cut drastically in waiting for a response, and there is so much more information at Siri’s fingertips.  I never liked Siri before, but I’m going to start using it more and more now – its definitely become more fun with movie info, sports stats and scores, and the ability to determine what I’m looking for and give me a range of info.  I like it much better.

(2) The phone app has been upgraded, and now there are more options when multiple people are calling.  The dialing screen is now more crisp and bright – which makes it easier to put in a number without having to think and stare too much.  I appreciate that.  It seems to manage texts and other simultaneous notifications a bit better now.  There were odd times prior to ios6 where lots of activity would confuse the phone.  The order of operations seems to be a bit more worked out – as far as I can tell.

(3) Facebook integration is wonderful.  I pulled off my contacts and Facebook Friend profile pics, so when someone calls, I see a picture now.  I know that there are privacy concerns since Facebook has access to your contacts, but that’s always been true anyway – most of my friends and contacts are on Facebook.  I also like how Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and ios 6 seem to be so seamless.  I can update one and the others immediately start talking to each other.  Part of this is due to the new timeline robustness, and the ability for other apps to plug in – but I’m completely for more integration, despite the differences of all the platforms – its all the same to me (its internet communication with different modes).

(4) Panoramic Photo – I know this is simple, and really doesn’t need explanation, but the ability to take an incredibly long shot of really beautiful scenes is something I’ve wanted for a long time, also, especially for group shots on big trips.  I’m thankful this new feature has been made standard.

Lastly, the “Meh” stuff that really don’t seem to make a difference but could be developed a bit:

(1) Passbook – This is a great idea, and I would love to have a place where all my gift cards, plane tickets, movie tickets, etc are all in one place – unfortunately, there are only a few apps that actually support this service right now.  The best likely being Fandango, and I plan on trying this out eventually, but the others failed to excite.  I also didn’t expect it to require the downloading of the other apps.  I definitely assumed that it would be a one stop shop.  At the moment you have to have Passport, download Fandango (for example), and then purchase in that app and then it should appear in passbook.  I haven’t tested this but I plan to.

(2) VIP folder in Inbox – Basically you can choose certain VIP contacts in your mail and this creates a super box for your urgent clients. This could be useful, but everyone I allow to have my main email is a VIP.  I don’t see myself using this too often.  If you’re the type with lots more spam – this could be a great thing, but I thought that’s what the Junk Folder was for.

All in All – I like the rebuild.  Biggest gripe is the Maps change, and if you really like that app, don’t upgrade yet.  If you have the iPhone 5, you have the new app anyways.  Its all still sleek and works better than any other phone I’ve played with – so be merry and enjoy your life with a little bit of tech.

Etiquette Guidelines for Posting Images on Your Facebook Timeline (and thus – everyone’s newsfeed)

When I heard about timeline, I got excited.  I actually registered as a developer and switched over early.  Though I don’t care about the stalker-ish mini-feed they introduced (which I pretty much ignore), I love the functionality, and how it really has gone from a place to share your words and thoughts, to a place where image becomes a whole new world of communication.  Passing around funny memes has gotten so much easier, but in order that we do not get deluged by ridiculous ridiculousness all the time – we have to ask ourselves, when is it appropriate to post an image to share on Facebook, especially with all 3,000 of your very different friends (with very different tastes…and political views).  So how do I decide when to post?

(1)  I ask myself, would all 3,000 of my Facebook friends think this is insightful, witty, true or funny?  If no, I make a group for those who will, and send that image to them.  If yes, then I post to my timeline, and thus, everyone’s newsfeed.

(2)  I then second guess myself and ask a few more questions before I post to the Facebuniverse.

(a) Has this image been posted by eleventy billion other people?  If yes, I do not post, but rather “share” someone else’s.

(b) Does this image come off as mean-spirited, and seem to purposefully offend a group in a disrespectful way?  Though I do not always do this perfectly (because of the different folks I’m friends with), I do not post these things.  I would rather act with grace and care for all the people I let into my circles.

(c) Is the argument being presented in this meme/image logical?  Humor is funny if it is true and in good spirits.  Humor is not funny when it is ignorant and the logic is full of holes.  Though we all post stupid things sometimes without thinking, take a moment to ask, “Does this actually make sense?”  If it doesn’t, your point, your laugh, or your viewpoint is shallow (and yes, I will unsubcribe from your updates).

(d) Did I post something or “Like” something like this within the last hour or two?  My timeline can only take so many airbrushed pictures of unicorns with philosophical sayings.  This becomes gaudy, and what you thought was “neat” becomes a nuisance.  Remember that you are a responsible caretaker of other’s timelines, and you want to represent yourself well.

(e) No, I will not join you in your game.  No, I won’t give The New York Times the right to tell everyone what I just read.  No, I don’t want to see every song you have listened to today (and most of the time it is a bit awkward), and NO, I will not click on anything you have if you are prone to be “hacked”.

(f) Concerning blogs, make sure to write well and have a nice pertinent image that can be neatly displayed next to your text.

So there is a simple list of things I would think or consider when posting to all 3,000 of your friends.  Otherwise, make a group and do whatever you like.  Peace.

Thoughts on the Life and Work of Steve Jobs

Where did Steve Jobs get his creativity, ambition?

Published Monday, October 24, 2011
The Island Packet
When it was announced that Steve Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer, I was stunned. I first started using computers in elementary school — Apple computers. All students were required to learn how to code in commands to a little pixilated green turtle. We made it move on the screen, caused it to draw lines and had some fun making patterns. It was good, simple fun, and we learned how to enter the digital age when it was in its infancy.I’m still using Apple products today — from my phone to the MacBook Pro I design and write on.Many, like myself, were captivated by the story of Steve and a friend working on their first computer in a garage. Through lots of perseverance (including being let go as CEO from Apple at one point — though he used that opportunity to invest in a then little-known animation studio called Pixar), Steve brought about products that changed how we create and interact with music, visual media, the arts and each other.

Since Steve’s passing, the iPhone 4S has gone on to sell 4 million units, doubling a previous record Apple made with the previous iPhone 4 model. The company is now one of the most valuable public company in the world — up there with Exxon Mobil.

It is a bit ironic that the pinnacle of Steve’s career as an engineer, as a communicator and as a CEO, came at the very end of his life. I imagine that, as a perfectionist, he liked it this way.

Most people will not remember him in frailty. What they will remember is his strength — standing on stage in an iconic black turtleneck, wearing blue jeans and New Balance sneakers with the simple Apple logo behind him on a large screen.

His passing points to humanity’s ability to imitate the one who created us. God made the elements of the universe and combined them with spirit to make living creatures. Intelligence was given to the first people, and it is recorded in Genesis, that we were given the commission to spread out, rule over creation and to work to cultivate the wild so that we could live well. We started to tame the thorns and weeds, we built buildings and we tamed the animals. We thought through human expansion by building roads, debating forms of government and laying down communication cords across the ocean.

As we enter an era in which our identities become wrapped in the digital world — as we remember Steve and his legacy of bringing the digital media age to so many people’s hands — let us also take some time to remember who created the elements in the electric chips, who placed order in the universe so we could learn laws and master them to further humanity’s growth and lastly. Let’s remember the one who breathed life into an ambitious child named Steve.

Praise be to God for every new possibility, with every new life, even as we revere the lights who went before.

Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Read his blog at www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.

Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2011/10/24/1839716/where-did-steve-jobs-get-his-creativity.html#ixzz1cfQ8SPze

Exponential Growth of Technology is Owed to Growth in “More Good People”

Technology is amazing … but then again, so are people

Published Monday, August 22, 2011

The rise of technology and its integration into everyday life during my own lifetime has astounded me.

When I was born, the Internet did not exist. When I entered elementary school, I learned how to move a green pixelated turtle on a screen using complex computer code. Later I learned how to find my favorite video game magazine on the newly founded World Wide Web when I visited my dad at work. In middle school, I took computer study skills and learned how to manage life through typing and computations. By high school, I was using Adobe Photoshop for graphic design. Now, I study the Bible using tools that incorporate texts going back millennia, which have been digitized and placed within a program to do what the Library of Alexandria must have done ages ago.

This progression only took a few decades.

Some people react to the rapid changes in culture with fear, others accept it wholeheartedly and find their identity in the mobile devices and electrons. Most people, though, just wait until something becomes useful to them and then buy products that are easily explained and implemented. This is probably the reason the iPod and iPhone from Apple have been so successful and why other platforms are catching on to the importance of ease of use. You use your finger and have access to your contacts, can make a phone call, listen to music, watch a video, browse a website and level a shelf all using the same device. The buttons are easy to press, and things happen.

If it works in everyday life and business, then it’s a winner.

A friend of mine brought all this to my attention a few years ago, exclaiming that life has completely changed all because of technology. I thought about that for a bit and something occurred to me that really changed my thinking on the inanimate world of silicon.

In our world, what is the most changed factor in the growth of technology? Likely, the first response would be knowledge. Knowledge and ideas make advances possible, and the Internet spreads knowledge to the ends of the Earth.

But there is more.

The most important ingredient to progress and change in the world is not these inanimate things written down or placed in a plastic box with a screen.

In our world, the center of all our advances and growth has come from one thing and that is this: There are more people living on our planet now than have ever been. There are more people thinking about solutions to problems than have ever been. As minds are freed up to tackle issues, and brilliance is allowed to flow like water — the real ingredient to our advance as a species — more people do more good things.

Ideas flow as a river from the many centers of human thought. Without people, there would be no technology.

In the first book of the Bible, God makes two people and tells them to multiply and become rulers of all living things. In the first and second chapters of Genesis, humans are caretakers of the Earth and the resources within it. Later Abraham, the father of the Israelites, was promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashores (See Genesis 15-17). He took that as a blessing and held on to that promise.

As the Earth reaches 7 billion people, we have challenges concerning food distribution and our proper relation to the environment. Many face starvation across the globe.

The promise to Abraham inferred that they would be a light to the nations and a blessing to all the peoples of the Earth. If we have been given the blessing of more people and knowledge increases exponentially and our devices have become more and more entertaining, we have wasted our promise if we do not take our responsibility as a growing humanity to help solve the problems of homelessness, hunger, disease and lack of education.

The only real technology is more people, and the best way to make that a good thing is to make sure everyone has opportunities to contribute to the greater good.

Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church. Read his blog at http://www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @dannonhill.

Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2011/08/22/1765526/technology-is-amazing-but-then.html#ixzz1W3N2iH5e

Pick Your Phone By Your Personality (Windows, Blackberry, Iphone, Android) – Response

I just read this blog on Choosing Your Phone by Personality Type.  The writer makes a statement that he likes the Window’s phone best and then tries to characterize the personalities of those who prefer the different phones.  I felt that his take on the Iphone, however, was pretty shallow and I wasn’t sure what he was basing it off of.  So as a person who prefers the Iphone I will respond and characterize all four operating system users from an Iphone User’s perspective.

Android

Before Verizon had the Iphone, the Android became the status equivalent of the Iphone.  The news follows it rigorously so fanatics can obsess and fanboy over it like iOS.  Many who use Android are the tinkerers who don’t like Apple’s closed code policies so some rebels are among this group.  Since Google developed it, it has instant credibility and name recognition and has become the mass market smartphone.  People can trust it because Google is backing it and has perceptibly near infinite resources to back the project.  These users are not homogenous because there are a variety of devices at different price points.  It is a cheaper mass market option in line with Google’s strategy to dominate everything in every way in every sphere.  Lastly – the little Android guy is cute and may get some business from that angle.  Just saying.

Windows Phone

This phone is for the gamers, especially Xbox fans, and those who are generally fans of Microsoft products.  The design is sleek and there are those people who want Windows flow with an easy to use interface.  Who better to make a phone for pc lovers than MS and the simplicity in this os is surprising considering their past with convoluted menu systems and folders.  I think a lot of people will stumble into the Windows phone and the marketing seems quaint.  It is a phone that is supposed to save us from our phones.  Those who don’t like the direction complicated direction phones are taking may check this one out.

Blackberry (RIM)

Recent dedications to video and beautiful screens cover up the fact that BB’s are really the first smartphone to really take hold.  They are negatively known as “Crackberries” due to the nature of business people always connected, neglecting other responsibilities or relationships without really intending to drop the ball.  When texting, email and phone are always active, who could blame early adopters.  The roller ball and keyboard were well done for the time (though severely out dated since touch technology has become widely adopted).  Those who use Blackberry are now the traditionalist business people who don’t like change.  They got used to this thing so they’ll use it as long as they can.  Some businesses are making the move to Iphone, but I bet that many won’t take this without a fight.  Their market share may be shrinking, but that’s probably due to the market expanding around them.

Iphone

Ok – I’m a little biased.  I’m writing this on a Macbook Pro, I have two Imacs and I have an Iphone 3g (older, I know, but its still nice).  Iphone users tend to be obsessive about their tech (to the point of religious devotion – google it – there was a study on the brain).  The design factor and delight in merely holding such a beautiful device is enough for some, for others it is the integration of all things Apple.  These folks probably don’t mind the loss of a little control for the simplicity of a product that works and has amazing customer service.  They will pay more but get more out of the experience, and their word travels so that Apple really doesn’t have to market as much as it does these days.  Unfortunately, Apple changes things as it innovates and so the Iphone user is almost forced to upgrade every year and half, and compulsive buyers line up for the latest must have handheld.  A last word for apple – they know how to string people along.

Conclusion:

Hopefully this added a different perspective to the above blog (linked).  All the phones are good for someone, but they won’t fit everyone.  As phones become works of art and fashion they become more subjective.  Buyers should first start with the question of functionality and look at reviews of the device to determine the best phone, then look at the form factor.  Hardware and OS are key.  Find the right fit and you’re golden.  Good luck!