iPad Dis-Orientation

Just before selling my wife’s iPad to upgrade to a 3G model, we updated to the 4.2.1 iOS.  Here’s my review:

Love the folders.

Love the multi-tasking.

Love the AirPrint capability (once we have a compatible printer, or make it work with our wi-fi Brother HL-2170).

Hate, hate, hate the repurposed button on the side which used to control orientation lock.  What was Apple thinking? I’m okay with making the functionality a user option, but to make that a mute button means that there are now two buttons on the side of the iPad, BOTH of which are effective at muting the sound on the iPad (hold the “down” volume for 2 seconds and it goes to mute).

Anyone have insight as to what Apple’s rationale was on this one?

Two MacBook Pro Features Worth Waiting For

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m keeping my 2008 MacBook Pro until Apple releases one with two features that I’ve decided are essential if I’m to upgrade [writer crosses arms and points chin upward and off to the side in a defiant stance].

SSD internal storage. I’ve gone through two hard drives on my current MacBook Pro because I toss the thing around like it’s notebook, as in a paper notebook.  Ya know, the ones that won’t break when you drop them onto the floor?  I don’t actually drop my MBPro, but when I’m done using it, I close the lid, grab it, and drop it into my laptop bag.  I don’t have time to wait for the drive to completely spin down and get its shit together.  I’m ready to go when it’s time to go.  After losing two drives, probably because of this habit, I’ve been forced to give it a few seconds before I yank it into the bag, or at least be extra careful while that drive is still spinning.  I’m ready for a solid state drive, not only for the quick startup and performance enhancement, but also because of the reliability.  Mechanical hard drives are leftovers from the industrial revolution.  Let’s move on.

Retina display. I’m still enjoying my iPhone 3Gs, but when I look at the screen on the new iPhone 4, I fell like I’m looking into the future of the MacBook line.  I don’t know how long it will take for this technology to become affordable enough to include on the MacBook Pro, but I’m ready now. Oh, and speaking of affordable…

I’m gonna go all dreamy now and say that I want all of this for $1600. I wonder how long I’ll be waiting?

Own A 1990 Supercomputer

Part of Apple’s announcements yesterday included a huge power boost to the The Mac Pro. An article at FastCompany.com made an interesting point about the upgrade.

The new specs on this box are far beyond anything we’ve seen in a Mac.  Two 2.4GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors come standard, but as FastCompany points out, if you go for the dual-6-core Intel Xeon CPU option, that gives the Pro 12 cores of processing power, and “this is more or less equivalent to low-end supercomputer power of couple of decades or ago.”

If you are loaded with cash, you can also enjoy up to four 512 GB solid-state drives inside, which is almost like have 2 terabytes of RAM.  Take the Radeon HD 5770 and HD 5780 options for graphics in account and you have serious power for video and other whatnot.

And the biggest upside?  Having a supercomputer doesn’t cost millions anymore.

Steve Jobs Knew

As the hype surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna issue grew to outside the Apple campus, I’m guessing that Steve Jobs only had to think for about 12 seconds on how to turn this into a marketing opportunity.  Sure, they waited a while to execute, but this was not going to end with a recall. Ever.

Think about it: now, instead of just getting an iPhone 4, you also get a free case… IF you order before September 30th.  If 80% of iPhone users are going to get a case, this is saving them anywhere from 20-30 dollars!

Steve Jobs knew…

…the number of complaints about the phone were relatively small (only .55% of users have called Apple about reception issues).

…the iPhone 3Gs has the same issue, as does a few devices by other manufacturers on the market  (This excellent review of the iPhone 4 at TechCrunch compares the signal loss in both devices).

…a free case with a date limitation will probably increase sales during that period.

…most people just want the damn phone, and don’t really care much about the issue because they’ve asked their friends who already have one, and they all say it isn’t much of a problem.

Steve Jobs knew that this was mostly a result of media hype, and that he was going to have the last word.

He was right on all counts.

Google Chrome – Day 1 – Trial Run is Over

I thought I would give Google Chrome a trial run on my MacBook Pro for a week after hearing how speedy it was, but I’ve had a change of plans.

The trial is over in only one day; I’m hooked.

It renders pages significantly faster than my copy of Firefox, and seems just a little bit snappier than Safari. Though I’ve probably slowed Firefox down with addons, I’m hoping that Chrome is the browser that stays fast, even with multiple extensions installed.

The Evernote and 1Password extensions are working perfectly, and I highly recommend both.  (By the way, if you aren’t using Evernote or 1Password, they are both worth looking into.)

iPhone 4: Drool-Worthy

The Atlantic Wire has a good summary of the reasons that the iPhone 4 looks to be a worthy upgrade. Time to start a new budget envelope.  Now to just talk AT&T into letting me restart this contract.

This hi-res image gives some idea of how improved the resolution is on the new iPhone. Nice and crisp:

Usable Apps Weekly

February 15, 2010 1 comment

Please welcome Jason Morales, 98 Pound Geekling’s first staff member. He’s working for zero pay, but he is excited to be our new “Apps Pimp” (yes, that’s his official title), whose primary mission is to tell me about apps that I can’t live without for at least a week or so. Jason’s iPhone 3GS is currently home to a legendary amount of apps, 90% of which he hasn’t used in a very long time. But he has fun loving them and leaving them.

This week’s usable app is Siri, a “personal assistant” app which has the ability to find information on restaurants, events, taxis, movies, weather, and just about anything you would want to spend your time or money on. The genius of this app is that the method for getting an answer is to simply ask a question. You speak into the mic, and Siri finds what you are looking for.

Questions like, “What’s playing at TPAC this week?” will prompt a list of shows coming up at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville (as long as it knows your location).

I’ve tried the YellowPages app, and tried using Maps to find things I’m looking for, but Siri looks to be a one-stop app for this purpose with great ease of use.

The application currently supports iPhone 3G and 3GS with OS 3.0 and is expected to support the iPod Touch in the future.

The iPad Will Change the PC Landscape

February 8, 2010 2 comments

Remember 2001, when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod?  At the time, there was a mixed response, just as there has been with the iPad. Check out the negative (and some juvenile) comments you’ll find in this forum from the day the iPod came out in October 2001:

“iPoop… iCry. I was so hoping for something more.”

“Great just what the world needs, another freaking MP3 player. Go Steve! Where’s the Newton?!”

“Hey – heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive and crap server line up?  or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?”

And my personal favorite:
“I’d call it the Cube 2.0 as it wont sell, and be killed off in a short time…and it’s not really functional.”

As we know now, the iPod was launching more than just an MP3 player. Along with iTunes, the iPod was the beginning of an evolution in the way we listen to, purchase and manage our music.

I believe that we are going to look back at the launch of the iPad and say the same thing.

The iPad’s e-reader capabilities will take the Kindle concept to a whole new level. Instead of pressing a hard-wired plastic button on the device to turn a page, we will reach with our finger and “flip” to the next page, as if we were flipping the paper pages of a book.

Portable gaming is about to look a lot bigger and more interactive. Anyone notice the racing game in the iPad promotional video? Doing that on an iPhone is novel, but add another six diagonal inches to the screen and it becomes intersting and fun.

And what about Web content? As the iPad and other tablet computers grow in popularity, web designers will begin creating content that takes advantage of the multi-touch capabilities. Swiping, pinching, and other finger gestures may be the standard way we surf the web and interact with the sites we visit in the near future.

Still not convinced that the iPad is a technology revolution coming of age? There are already reports of companies scrambling to come up with something similar. In the tech industry, if you are being copied, then you are the one in the lead.

Apple is taking that lead, and the others may as well follow (or get the hell out of the way).

Apple Announces iPad as ‘Latest Creation’

Apple announced the iPad tablet device on Wednesday at a special event in San Francisco. The tablet is an effort to fill the gap between the iPhone and iPod Touch and the MacBook.  At first impression, it appears to fill that void nicely.

The Specs

The iPad is a half-inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds, and  looks like an large iPhone, including the signature home button.  The aluminum bezel and glass screen look like they are straight from the MacBook line. The screen is a 9.7-inch LCD (with 1024 by 768 resolution). It has a 1GHz CPU (called the Apple A4), which is a direct result of Apple’s purchase of PA Semi in 2008. The hard drive is flash based and comes in 16GB,32GB, or 64GB sizes., and, Jobs claimed, will get up to 10 straight hours of battery life or a month of life on standby.

All models have 802.11n Wi-Fi, with 3G connectivity as an option.  Bluetooth 2.1 has been included, which allows users to connect Bluetooth keyboards. A seperate Mac or PC computer with iTunes is required, so using the iPad as your only computer is not an option. It syncs using USB with the included cable.

No contract is required for the 3G connections, but AT&T has two new cellular data plans available for the iPad: $14.99 a month for 250MB of data and $29.99 a month for unlimited data. However, the iPad ships “unlocked”, so users could probably use it with the T-Mobile network if they have a SIM card from T-Mobile. We are likely to hear about those possibilities once the iPad is released and users begin testing that theory.


The user interface appears to be a hybrid of Snow Leopard and the iPhone OS, though it looks more like the iPhone than anything. The home screen has the very iPhone-looking app icons and the included applications are similar.  Here’s what’s included out of the box:

  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Photos
  • Video
  • YouTube
  • iPod
  • iTunes
  • App Store
  • iBooks
  • Maps
  • Notes
  • Calendar
  • Contacts

Each of these apps have been designed specifically for the iPad.  The iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) is also available as a $30 download, with each app available separately for $10 each.

Multi-Touch and On-Screen Keyboard

Users will interact with the iPad using touch-screen controls and an on-screen keyboard. In Jobs’ presentation, the interface was very responsive to the multi-touch gestures that iPhone and iPod Touch users have become familiar with.  However, the OS includes panes, floating windows, and tabs, thanks to its larger screen space.  Most of the apps appear to have the ability to display in both landscape mode and be switched between widescreen or fullscreen aspect ratios.

Buyers can get their hands on one at the end of March. The iPad will start at $499 for a Wi-Fi-equipped 16GB model.

For $130 more, you’ll be able to add 3G connectivity to each of them, and these 3G models will arrive 30 days after the Wi-Fi only versions.

Live Updates From Today’s Apple Announcement

Thinking of coming to 98PoundGeekling.com for live updates from Apple’s big announcement today? Bad call.

I’ll be over at Gizmodo following the announcement there. The event starts at 10:00 a.m. Pacific., 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

Head over to Gizmodo for live updates. Then come back here for some post coverage tomorrow!

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