Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review of the Bose®- Limited Edition QuietComfort® 15 Noise Cancelling® Headphones- Blue

I have resisted buying any Bose products for a long time. I have had tons of other headphones that were uncomfortable and that hurt my head and ears. I have a drawer full of headphones that either have a short in the fixed wired cables or simply sound bad. I have at least one other noise canceling headset that literally do not cancel out any noise; there is no audible difference heard after the switch is turned on.If I added up the money that I've spent for all those bad headphones, I could have the Bose® QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® Headphones - Limited Edition a long time ago (maybe even two sets).

I actually visited the Bose store at the Great Lakes Crossing Mall and tried out the Bose QuietComfort 3 Headphones, which are the "on the ear" style of headphones. The Bose QC3 has a built-in rechargeable battery which is very nice. I decided I liked the Bose QC 15's "around the ear" feel a little better, so I would deal with disposable batteries.
Bose QC15 Headphones
I am not an audiophile, but I enjoy my music. I have over 2,000 songs on my iPad, my iMac and iPhone. I listen to even more music on the Pandora app. I love listening to my music without limits. Sometime I like blasting my music throughout the whole house via the Apple TV and my surround sound home theater system. Other times, I use my Jambone Jambox to keep my device on the charger while I carry the speaker from room to room. Still other times I like the music to be personal and streamed directly and personally into only my ears. I have never liked Apple's included earphones; the old ones or the new ones. Wearing Apple's version is like wearing two sticks in my ears. The Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones are like having soft pillows on my ears. Two soft pillows that emit awesome music and/or audio, that is.

I spend my most of my time listening to podcasts on my iPhone using the Stitcher Radio app. Podcasts satisfy my listening pleasures, as well as, offer a convenient way for me to stay informed of my topics of interest.

I also enjoy watching movies and watching episodes TV shows on my mobile devices. The Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphones are a wonderful addition to my world. They sound beautiful and are so comfortable thatI hardy know I am wearing them. I am tender headed and most headphones hurt the top of my head (especially more that my head is less covered with hair these days).  I enjoy watching movies as well.  I have many options for viewing movies on my iOS devices. I use the Crackle app, the Hulu Plus app and the Netflix app to stream content from the Internet. I also have my own movies on my Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB USB hard drive and mounted on my iMac 21" desktop computer. I stream these movies to the iPad and iPhone using the AirVideo app for iOS. Additionally, I stream the same movies to my Jailbroken Apple TV and to my Roku streaming device, but I don't use the Bose headphone on the TV sets. I do them if I watch the movies or training videos directly on the iMac.
The Limited Edition has a Blue Leather case.

I am always listening to something in my spare time. I also enjoy listening to audio books through the Audible.com (an Amazon.com company) app on my devices. Let's not forget that I love playing games on my iOS devices. Whether I am playing Kingdom Rush HD, Asphalt 7, Need for Speed - Hot Pursuit (I haven't tried Need for Speed™ Most Wanted yet, but I want to soon), The Walking Dead - The Game, Plants and Zombies HD or Osmos for iPad; it just sounds better with the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones. 

 I elected to get the limited edition Blue version of the Bose QuietComfort 15 because a splash of color never hurt any gadget. It would have been better if it was red; maybe a Product RED version? That would be nice!

But the Bose®- Limited Edition QuietComfort® 15 Noise Cancelling® Headphones - Blue is a nice looking addition to any gadget collection. Why get the one everyone has?

What's Included

  • Bose® Limited Edition QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones
  • AAA battery
  • In-line remote and microphone cable, 
  • audio cable, 
  • airline adapter
  • Limited Edition Blue Leather-like Carrying case
  • Owner's manual
  • Courtesy Cards (ads to pass on the interested parties)

The blue version is much better looking to me than the normal silver version. The blue color was added to both the headphones as well as to the carrying case. It is very peculiar that neither the Bose site nor any of the other reviewer of the Limited Edition version of the QuietComfort® 15 Noise Cancelling® Headphones mentioned the blue leather carrying case.


Not sure if it is real leather or not, but it is a nicer look and feel than the black standard non-leather like carrying case.

The Blue Limited Edition looks nice.

Built in moldings protect the cushions' shape.
I love these headphones and I couldn't wait to use them on my daily commute to and from work. I ride the commuter bus to and from work; about 45 minutes to an hour each way. 99% of the riders are professionals with a few students here and there. The crowd is fairly quiet, but we all from time to time get pretty chatty. It is nice to be able to just erase all of the conversation from the ride; with the help of the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones. Just turn these babies on and every outside sound just cease to be heard. It is surprising how much noise is generated from the bus and environment alone. The bus hums, squeaks and beeps without much help from the passengers. The traffic noise alone is annoying once you have lived without hearing it. Sometimes I think, for a quick second, about not taking out the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones and just using my normal ear-gear. That thought doesn't last long. It is easy to get spoiled quickly with these headphones. It is very nice to just put the headphones on, turn on the power and enjoy the peace; even without any music or audio playing. Sometimes I put on the WhiteNoise Pro app and just listen to the train sound. Other times I play the white noise sound and read a book or catch up on the news from the Flipboard app or the Zite apps.

Typically I listen to my audio via my LH HBS-700 Bluetooth wireless headphones. They are the headset I use when I am mobile. When I am stationary for even just a little while, I prefer the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones have very nice sound quality and the noise canceling feature is topnotch. With winter here in Detroit, I sometimes just wear the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones as my earmuffs.

A few days ago, my family was decorating the Christmas tree as I type this review and I couldn't hear any of their constant chatter; except very faintly between songs. With a wife and two preteens girls, I finally have a escape that doesn't remove me from the room. You can put on any pair of headphones and blast them into your ears to block out any noise. Of course that is not enjoyable to the person with the headphone on or those around them. Setting the volume at about 25% on my iPhone 5 is a very comfortable level to listen to my music when at home while the family is watching television. My daughter was sitting directly next to me and could not hear my music until I went one notch over the 50% volume level.

Other $299 headphones, that I've tried, claims to block out noise, but they don't. Those other headphones blast your ears with high volume to be louder than the other noises around you. The noise canceling is obvious the very second you place the Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones on your ears. Even without the music playing, you will be aware of the removal of the sounds around you. It focuses on certain sounds to cancel them. I can have the TV on and turn the headphones on and I can hear the voice from the TV without the other noises in the room. It is wild.

The Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones are nice looking. The have a very sophisticated or distinguished look to them. The Beats and other headsets add color to their headphones or boost the Bass to appear hip and youthful (the opposite of crowd I believe the Bose brand tries to appeal to).

Pros
  • Very Comfortable
  • Quality Sound
  • Industry best Noise Canceling
  • Two cables included; one with inline control for iOS devices
  • Detachable and replaceable cable
  • Only require a single AAA
  • High quality carrying case
  • Includes Airplane audio adapter

Cons
  • Requires a battery to use at all
  • No auto-power off feature

The $299 price of the headset can not be considered a cons because most of the headphones that would compete with this headphone in the open market are priced the same.

Other Headphones in the range include:

I tried all of the above out before I settled on the Bose.  I felt the Bose satisfied my need for a comfortable, great sounding headphone with fantastic noise canceling. I liked that the Parrot Zik had touch controls and was wireless, but I couldn't justify the extra $100 for those two features.  The sound and noise canceling would have had to have been considerable better.  They weren't even at the same level.

The only complaints I could muster up is the fact that the headphones are totally unusable when the battery is dead or not present. Bose does include a battery with the purchase. It is nice that it only requires a single AAA battery, but it is a bummer that the headphones do not offer an auto-off feature. I have fallen a sleep with the headset on and the battery continued to drained through my fast. It would nice if there was a switch to have the headset turn itself off after a certain amount of time.

I am extremely pleased with the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones. I would recommend them to anyone wishing to have a pair of comfortable, nice sounding headphones that block out the unnecessary background noises to allow the audio content to be enjoyed.




Friday, December 21, 2012

GQ Live - Makes the old fashion magazine relevant and current

I was at Target yesterday browsing the magazine stand for some gadget related magazines, but I couldn't find any. Then the December 2012 GQ magazine caught my eye. It had Rihanna on the cover; who mysteriously
appears to be getting younger instead of older.

Anyway, I was flipping through the pages in search of the Rihanna article so that I could "read" the story. As you may know, magazines are designed so that the story pages are physically shorter in width so that they hide between the ad pages. Other way to put it; the ads are designed to be seen above any article.

Since I couldn't avoid looking at the ads, I paid one of them more attention than I wanted to. I noticed that the ad had a GQ Live app marking on the page. Upon further investigating I found that the free GQ Live app for Apple iOS and Android, would make certain pages come alive. I couldn't wait to download the app to my iPhone 5 (luckily I switched from Sprint to Verizon or I would have had to wait because Sprint service does not work well at all in that store). I downloaded the app fairly quickly and began trying the app and the magazine out. The app's interface is very simple; it looks like a basic camera app. It uses the back camera on the device to "see" the image
on the magazine page. When it recognizes the image, it transforms the page into a living video. This technology allows a stagnate picture to provide much more information to the reader than it would otherwise.

Along with this, this technology obviously provides the advertiser with important information that the normal page couldn't capture. like whether a reader viewed the page at all, reveal at what point the reader stop watching the page, did the viewer stop viewing before the intended message was provided.

Since the information is streaming from the Internet, it could be modified to better convey the message. I noticed on GQ's website that the streamed content does have a expiration date. Not sure why it does, but I would guess it expires after the period that the advertiser paid for it to be available.

The GQ live content appears to be made with advertising as the focus, but there were articles with "live" content. But clearly the majority, maybe 95% of the GQ Live content was added to the ads. I did find the Rihanna article, but I was not able to check it out at all because I had to find a flat surface to lay the magazine out so that I could point the phone at it. The content pages that I found were all about Rihanna, but she was nearly naked on all of the pages.

How would that have looked to the other shoppers, with me standing over a magazine with my phone taking pictures of the young naked girl on the pages. Dirty old man! I didn't think I was old at 46, but the pictures of Rihanna made her look like she was only 18 or 19 years old. But I digress, the GQ Live worked very well. Some pages simply added a little video clip and included a www icon that launched the appropriate website when touched. Others literally made it appear as if the people or items on the page came alive. It was very impressive.

I could imagine this technology being used for other magazines like video game magazines that could better engage the reader and possibly lead to more purchases of the gaming titles. Or how about viewing an article that reviews a product like an iPad and then is able to allow you to see the item in action?

There are many uses for this technology. Maybe the print medium can be revived with this or is this just a temporary bridge until it all become totally digital? What do you think?

Here are a couple of screen shots I grabbed:




Monday, December 17, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review

I love Amazon. It is one of the first online stores I ever purchased anything from. I have been an Amazon customer ever since they opened their virtual bookstore door. Amazon remains the top destination for me when I browse for and for when I buy technology. Did I say I love Amazon? Yes, because I do!

I don't like the Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB tablet as much as I thought I would. I wanted to like it. No, really! I wanted to love it. When I pay cash for something I want to love it. If it was a review unit, then I might get away with "liking" it. I bought the Fire HD on Grey Thursday (aka Thanksgiving day) for $199 from Office Max.

I bought the Kindle Fire HD for my 11 year old daughter because she loves to read. I whould have gotten the Kindle Paperwhite if I wanted her to strictly read, but I wanted her to be able to have some entertainment options as well. This is the exact market that Amazon is targeting - those who like the idea of the Kindle, but who want to do more than read books. This is the same people who might be convinced to get an iPad or an iPad Mini instead and simply load the Amazon Kindle app on it to read their Kindle ebooks. It is also aimed at those who don't want to pay the additional $129 (plus the tax difference) for an iPad mini.

That is exactly me and my situation. I didn't want to fork out the additional cash. Now I am regretting that decision. I am not going to bore you with device specifications because the typical buyer of this category can care less. The few that do, has already viewed those specs elsewhere. I want to focus on the usage experience with attention called to physical features where appropriate.

There is no physical home button. The Kindle Fire HD has a virtual button that appears and disappears when appropriate. Sometimes I am looking for it and it just doesn't appear quickly or with the expected gesture. For the most part it works fine, but the few times that it doesn't can be irritating. The physical button gives a point of reference on the iPad mini that makes finding the other buttons like the power and volume buttons easier.

The power button on the Fire HD is very difficult to locate. This drives me crazy. The power button is designed to not be seen when looking at the device, but it is even hard to see or feel when you are looking for it. Think that is not a big deal? I was just at Best Buy and a older man was in the Customer Service line with his HP all-in-one computer. The tech had it all but one minute when he announce that the "power button is right here!" The man bought it in because he thought it was broke because it would not turn on. Hi-tech gadgets can be intimidating an confusing if it is not obvious.

The volume buttons are almost as hard to find, but I like that once you tap one of the buttons the on screen volume control appears. I like being able to slide the volume slider on screen once a button has been pressed.

The device is small and well built. It feels very solid, but it seems surprisingly heavy. If you have ever held a Kindle, that is simply a ebook reader, you know they are very pleasantly light. This device is not light at all. It feels as heavy as a full size iPad to me in my hand. The Fire HD is actually 13.9 ounces compared to my iPad 3's 22.4 ounces, so it almost half the weight of the big iPad. The iPad Mini weights 10.88 ounces, so while it is lighter - it not lighter by a whole lot. Still, picking up the Kindle Fire HD feels like picking up a toddler and expecting the kid to be light and instead finding the kid to be quite heavy.

The Fire HD feels like I am holding a heavy piece of glass. There is no way I would use this without a case. It just feels like trouble if this thing is dropped just once.

The Fire HD has some great things about it. The sound quality is just incredible. The dual speakers mounted on both sides on the rear of the device. I forgot that we are suppose to hear things in stereo after using my iPads for a couple of years.

I just purchased the Kindle Fire HD for my daughter for Christmas.

I wanted to get the iPad mini because I have tons of hundreds of apps for this platform already. Using my existing Apple ID would allow me use those apps and more on the iPad mini. My main reason to consider the Fire HD was for its parental control features. I want to control what apps, books, music and the other content is available to my kid.

I also want to control how much time is spent on the device and how much time on the types of media.

The Mini's parental controls is very basic. It has a feature called Guided Access which can be activated to lock the device into a single app. The iOS device also has restrictions that let you hide certain built in apps, so that they are not available to used. This feature can not be used with 3rd party apps.

I like the Kindle Fire HD approach better because it allows me to give the kid a list of apps that can used and for a certain amount of time. I can give her 3 hours a day; of which she could read books for the whole 3 hours, but limit the time she has for playing games to an hour.

The pros and cons that helped shape my decision:

Cons
- I would have to buy already purchased apps again
- Not all apps that my kid enjoys on my iPhone and iPad are available on the Kindle Fire HD
- It has Advertising on the lock screen and below selected app on the home screen ($15 to remove)
- Seems heavy for its size
- It can not mirror all of the screen content to my AppleTV
- it is not a "real" Android device so it does not have the customizable features like Nexus 7 might have
- it does not have access to the Google Play store
- the browser crashes constantly

Pros
- The Parental Controls are spot on
- It is $115 cheaper than iPad Mini
- The speaker is much better
- it has a better quality screen with higher resolution

What will it allow her to do? She can load her pictures, music, Kindle books and the some of the popular apps like Angry Birds, Plants and Zombies, Spiderman, Asphalt 7, etc.

I had to remember that I bought this for my eleven old daughter who might not care about these things, plus the Parental Controls weighed in heavily in my buying decision.

Now I have two problems. One my OfficeMax 14 day return period has expired. Plus they charge a 15% restocking fee. Secondly, the iPad Mini is simply impossible to buy.

The reality is that the Kindle Fire HD would be OK for someone that has never owned a tablet. For those that have used an iOS, the Kindle Fire HD would frustrate you something terrible. The sluggishness of the interface and limited amounts of apps and content will drive you batty.

If I had my way, I would have taken it back and gotten the iPad Mini instead. I don't like it either way, but I have a big enough investment into the Apple economy and therefore it will be quite awkward to fit the Kindle Fire HD into our tech setup at the house.

I will give my daughter the option to choose whether she keeps the Kindle Fire HD 7", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB tablet or request the Apple iPad Mini tablet at Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is Apple Care Plus a Good Thing?

On Dec 8, 2012, at 7:14 AM, Carol wrote:

> I was wondering if most of you found this to be a "GOOD" thing to have or is it for the most part just a waste of money. IMHO the iPad or whatever you are buying should last without paying for extra coverage. Thanks


When Apple inc. introduced AppleCare initially, it only covered
manufacturer defects only. I was never a fan of the old AppleCare and
consequently I recommended the plans offered by Squaretrade.com
instead.

When Sprint started selling the iPhone 4S, Apple offered started
selling AppleCare Plus which included coverage for accidents. Since
then the AppleCare Plus is available to iPads and iPod Touch devices
as well. This change made the insurance something I could recommend.

Like any insurance, it is good if you have it and then have an
incident where you get to use it. If you never have a problem then it
seems like a waste. I have always felt this way about insurance of
every kind. Well I draw the line at Life Insurance. Don't leave loved
ones without any money to bury you, stuck with your bills and no money
to be comfortable without you here to provide for them.

Having said that, I do recommend device insurance for anyone else,
because they may not be as cautious as I am. I get insurance on my
work devices because my job pays for it and it is more critical for
the device to be available at all times.

For my own stuff, I do not. I never get insurance on my own stuff even
though I am one of those crazy people who hand their expensive gadget
over to kids all the time. One of my little nieces loves me because I
am the only person who lets her play with my iPhone or iPad. She is 3
years old.

My own kids have always used my stuff since they were very little. We
have never had an incident with either the boys who are 20 and 24 nor
with the girls who are 11 and 13.

I have never personally broken any the stuff I have paid lots of money
for. I tend to be very careful with them. I did have the Otterbox
case for my iPad 1. Never dropped it though. My wife has the iPad now,
but won't use the Otterbox or any of the other cases. She uses a $5
case with elastic corner holders at each corner because it is pink and
"hers".

I recommend it to anyone that is accident prone. I know people
personally that have broken their iPhone and iPad and did not have
instance. They were not happy. They paid hundreds of dollars to
replace them. Some chose to just keep using it in the broken state.

One of my sons had a iPod touch that he broke but continued to use
with the shattered glass. Actually the younger one owned it and broke
it. I got it replaced, but didn't have to turn it in. He gave it to
the older son who continued to use it because it was still functional.
They must have different rules in Canada where they live. Whatever
insurance he had, it wasn't AppleCare. I took the broken iPod Touch
to the Apple Store her in the USA and paid $99 to replace the whole
unit. The unit had no insurance in their system.

I just bought the girls an iPod Touch 5th gen and Amazon Kindle Fire
HD. Neither have insurance on them. We will see if they will take as
food of care for their own stuff as they have for mine. I have sturdy
cases for both.

They bottom line is I have never been a fan of device insurance. When
I bought my big screen HDTVs, I passed on the insurance. I just bought
a $300 pair of Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones and was offered
insurance of them. I passed. I think Radio Shack turned me against
getting insurance on gadgets; they try to get extra money on every
purchase.

Get all of the facts before you do. What does it costs to replace it
without insurance? Are you the type to buy the next device because it
is "the new one"? The AppleCare Plus is not transferable, so you would
have to buy a new plan with each new device. I personally don't buy
device insurance, but you have to decide for yourself based on your
habits, your environment and your situation.

Thanks,

Carl W. Brooks
Check out my iPad/iOS/Mac technology website
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Review

I love Amazon. It is one of the first online stores I ever purchased anything from. I have been an Amazon customer ever since they opened their virtual bookstore door. Amazon remains the top destination for me when I browse for and for when I buy technology. Did I say I love Amazon? Yes, because I do!

I don't like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD! I wanted to like it. No, really I wanted to love it. When I pay cash for something I want to love it. If it is a review unit, I might get away with liking it. I bought the Fire HD on Grey Thursday (aka Thanksgiving day) for $199 from Office Max. 

I bought it for my 11 year old daughter because she loves to read. I really should have gotten the Kindle Paperwhite if I wanted her to strictly read, but I wanted her to be able to have entertainment options as well. This is the exact market that Amazon is targeting - those who like the idea of the Kindle, but who want to do more than read books. This is the same people who might be convinced to get an iPad Mini instead and simply load the Amazon Kindle app on it to read their Kindle ebooks. It is also aimed at those who don't want to pay the additional $129 (plus the tax difference) for an iPad mini. 

That is exactly me and my situation.  I didn't want to fork out the additional cash. Now I am regretting that decision. I am not going to bore you with device specifications because the typical buyer of this category can care less. The few that do, has already viewed those specs elsewhere. I want to focus on the usage experience with attention called to physical features where appropriate.  

There is no physical home button.  The Kindle Fire HD has a virtual button that appears and disappears when appropriate. Sometimes I am looking for it and it just doesn't appear quickly or with the expected gesture. For the most part it works fine, but the few times that it doesn't can be irritating. The physical button gives a point of reference on the iPad mini that makes finding the other buttons like the power and volume buttons easier. 

The power button on the Fire HD  is very difficult to locate. This drives me crazy.  The power button is designed to not be seen when looking at the device, but it is even hard to see or feel when you are looking for it.  Think that is not a big deal? I was just at Best Buy and a older man was in the Customer Service line with his HP all-in-one computer. The tech had it all but one minute when he announce that the "power button is right here!"  The man bought it in because he thought it was broke because it would not turn on. Hi-tech gadgets can be intimidating an confusing if it is not obvious. 

The volume buttons are almost as hard to find, but I like that once you tap one of the buttons the on screen volume control appears. I like being able to slide the volume slider on screen once a button has been pressed. 

The device is small and well built. It feels very solid, but it seems surprisingly heavy. If you have ever held a Kindle, that is simply a ebook reader, you know they are very pleasantly light. This device is not light at all. It feels as heavy as a full size iPad to me in my hand. The Fire HD is actually  13.9 ounces compared to my iPad 3's 22.4 ounces, so it almost half the weight of the big iPad. The iPad Mini weights 10.88 ounces, so while it is lighter - it not lighter by a whole lot.  Still, picking up the Kindle Fire HD feels like picking up a toddler and expecting the kid to be light and instead finding the kid to be quite heavy. 

The Fire HD feels like I am holding a heavy piece of glass. There is no way I would use this without a case. It just feels like trouble if this thing is  dropped just once. 

The Fire HD has some great things about it. The sound quality is just incredible. The dual speakers mounted on both sides on the rear of the device. I forgot that we are suppose to hear things in stereo after using my iPads for a couple of years. 

I just purchased the Kindle Fire HD for my daughter for Christmas. 

I wanted to get the iPad mini because I have tons of hundreds of apps for this platform already.  Using my existing Apple ID would allow me use those apps and more on the iPad mini. My main reason to consider the Fire HD was for its parental control features. I want to control what apps, books, music and the other content is available to my kid. 

I also want to control how much time is spent on the device and how much time on the types of media. 

The Mini's parental controls is very basic. It has a feature called Guided Access which can be activated to lock the device into a single app. The iOS device also has restrictions that let you hide certain built in apps, so that they are not available to used. This feature can not be used with 3rd party apps. 

I like the Kindle Fire HD approach better because it allows me to give the kid a list of apps that can used and for a certain amount of time. I can give her 3 hours a day; of which she could read books for the whole 3 hours, but limit the time she has for playing games to an hour. 

The pros and cons  that helped shape my decision:

Cons
- I would have to buy apps again
- Not all apps that my kid enjoys on my iPhone and iPad  is available on the Kindle Fire HD
- It has Advertising on lock screen and below selected app on the home screen
- Seems heavy for its size

Pros
- The Parental Controls are spot on  
- It is $130 cheaper than iPad Mini
- The speaker is much better

I had to remember that I bought this for my eleven old daughter who might not care about these things, plus the Parental Controls weighed in more for my buying decision. 

Thanks,
 
Carl W. Brooks
Check out my iPad/iOS/Mac technology website

On Dec 5, 2012, at 8:37 AM, Carol wrote:

On Amazon they make a comparison between these two.  Does Apple have their Comparison?  If they do where would I find it.  I didn't see it on their web site.  Thanks

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cut the Cord on Cable - Finally!


So I finally did it! I cut the cord on cable on November 21, 2012 . Wednesday afternoon, the cable man came and turned off the service. Now I have a smaller monthly bill. I can't eliminate the bill entirely because I have to keep the cable Internet service on to use some of the replacement services. It is possible to eliminate the cable company entirely; just not for me and my family.  If I were single and childless, I could possibly get along fine with just the free over the air HD channels and using Internet on a mobile hotspot or even tethering to my cellphone's data plan.  This does not work for us, because my solution must please myself, my wife and two daughters.

Before I proceed, I must warn you that this solution is not for everyone. Anyone that is not willing to sacrifice something to lower their monthly cable bill should not consider this.  It is not for someone who is not willing to tinker with different solutions.  Is is not of anyone who is not willing to patchwork together a solution.  There is no turnkey solution that you can just plug in and hit a single power switch like the solutions that the cable and television providers can rent you.  All that convenience has a price; an ever increasing price.

Before you even consider doing this, you will have to do some homework.  First determine how much time you spend watching subscription TV; whether it is cable TV or satellite TV. Secondly, list the channels that you watch. List the shows that you watch on each channel. If you don't know the network or channel, simply write the names of the shows you or your family watch.

This is what we watch.

I personally watch:

  • NFL Football games
  • The NFL channel
  • Some College football
  • Shark Tank
  • American Idol
  • The X-Factor (USA)
  • Revolution
  • Amazing Race
  • Game of Thrones
  • Some major golfing events


My wife watches:

  • Food Network
  • Lifetime Network (aka The man hater network)
  • Family Guy
  • American Family
  • 666 Park Avenue
  • Once Upon a Time
  • The Borgias
  • The Sopranos
  • The Walking Dead
  • The Tutors


The girls watches:

  • Avatar - The last Airbender
  • Avatar - The Legend Of Korra
  • Ultimate Spiderman
  • Wipeout
  • America's Funniest Videos
  • The Mighty B
  • And Various other cartoons


Once you have the list, evaluate it for the following:

  • Decide which shows are a must see (that you cannot go without seeing)
  • Which shows do not have to make the final list; are there alternative shows that can be watched?
  • Do you watch the show live or do you record (DVR) them?
  • Can these shows be watched another way? Though Netflix, Hulu Plus apps on a gaming console, Smart TV, home theater system, Blu-Ray player, tablet, smartphone, etc.?
  • Can they be watched on a computer or laptop via Hulu.com or the networks' website?
  • Can the shows be purchased on DVD or Blu-Ray? How soon after the season end do the disks expect to be released?
  • Can the shows be purchased online from Apple, Amazon, Google Play or another source?
  • Can any of them be rented from any of these sources?
Almost every household today contain at least one device that will stream some form of content into your home from another source other than your TV provider.  You may have a Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), a Microsoft XBox, Nintendo Wii (or WII U), a Smart TV, a tablet or Smartphone that can stream content into your home.  You may have to rely on one or more of these devices to be the entertainment hub for a particular room. Neither one of these devices, nor any of those that you can buy, will provide the entire solution.  No one device can replace your cable box.  You non-cable TV solution will require multiple devices and multiple content sources.

Once my wife and I decided to go for it, I had to start putting the pieces of the pie together.  I knew I would have to be able to get local channels on at least TV, so I picked up a digital HD antenna.  I bought a Roku media streaming player to go on the bedroom TV; the existing Apple TV would stay in the family room. 

So here is my set up: The living room has the Apple TV 2 connected to my 50 inch TV and the bedroom has a 32 inch TV connected to the Roku player. Most of my content is streamed from services like Netflix, Hulu plus or other Internet providers. My Panasonic home theater has a Blu-Ray player as well as "Smart TV" streamed content. Also the Wii game system has streamed content too. 

Push come to shove, I can stream content from the content providers' web site via the iMac computer that is connected to the 50" via AirPlay and/or a HDMI cable. I download some movies and TV episodes and/or rent them from services like Apple iTunes and Amazon. These files reside on my iMac, but are steamed to both the Apple TV 2 and the RoKu XD. The Apple TV 2 is Jailbroken and it is loaded with the Firecore ATV Flash Black media streaming software. The Roku XD has the Plex channel which streams from the iMac. Both do a great job categorizing the content with the meta data pulled to apply the box art and appropriate movie or TV show data. Even buying and downloading whole seasons of shows will be cheaper annually than paying for cable television. 

 The Ruko XD has more content available than the Apple TV 2, even with Apple TV 2 Jailbroken. The Apple TV 2 has AirPlay, so it can receive streamed content from my iPad 3 and iPhone 5 to the 50" HD TV; this is awesome to have and is used more than I would have thought. Local news and sporting events are viewed on the 32" HD TV via the RCA ANT1450BR multi-directional amplified digital flat antenna. What about sports!!! I only watch NFL football, major golf events and some occasional college football games like Michigan v Ohio State. All which is available free over the air. I was worried earlier today when 1pm came and channel 2-1 was coming on. I moved the flat antenna and rescanned and Bam! The game was on. Decided to get a second antenna for the living room, so that we can watch basic television in either room. I went with the next model up because it has a better range. Additionally I have Verizon Wireless on my iPhone 5, so I watch NFL Redzone on Sunday to the teams that are playing in the Redzone. This helps me track my Fantasy players' progress. All Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday night games are played in full on the Verizon iPhone 5. I can even use AirPlay on the Apple TV to watch Redzone or the full game on the 50" TV.   

We have enough content to keep us entertained. I was considering subscribing to the streaming channels from PlayOn.tv at $20 a year, but it requires a Windows PC to stream to the Roku and Wii devices. The downside is that we can not pause live TV and we do not have a DVR functionality. I can get a TIVO, but it is a startup cost of $200+ and a monthly cost of $12. I am trying to reduce costs, not increase it. I already bought the Roku for $59.99; RCA digital antenna for $30 and a second one that I used an Amazon credit to buy. I am saving on the monthly and will continue to do so year after year. 

My Internet and TV combo was $89 a month with a promotional DirectTV customer buyback program. It lasted 2 years and it has inched up quickly to $130 since late August 2012.  That is without any premium channels at all. Plus I paid $7.99 for Netflix.  Now I pay $59 for Internet. $7.99 for Netflix. And $7.99 for Hulu Plus. So I am paying $75 ($900 a year - wow that is still large) a month instead of $138; $63 less a month or $756 saving a year. Was it ever worth $1656 a year? Well it was actually was $1068 a year for the last 2 years, but it was way more before that. I can't justify paying much more anymore.  

 Will it last? Or will go running back to the cable provider with my cable between my legs? It is strange new world we live in where this 46 and his 36 year old wife is willing to cut the cable cord. Our 11 and 13 year old daughters are at a crossroad of conflicting technologies. The content providers will have to start a more aggressive approach to tackling this new demand for viewing content away from the broadcasted mediums. I will update you on our progression into the post-cable world of nearly total dependence on the Internet for our viewing content. 

 Thanks, 

Carl W. Brooks 

Check out my iPad/iOS/Mac technology website

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kingdom Rush: My newest Most Played Game


My wife was playing this game for free on our iMac. She seemed very engaged and seemed to be having lots of fun. Me, even if I  like a game, I don't like having to be chained to a desk to play it, so looked for an iPad version and they had one (the also have an iPhone version). I fell in love with this game. I like  defense games and used to play Fieldrunners. When Fieldrunners 2 came out and I bought it, but it crashes all the time (show have read the reviews first). 

Kingdom Rush is a much better game and much cheaper than Fieldrunners and Fieldrunners 2. It is currently $99 (normally $4.99); not sure if this is the new price or a promotion period deal. I just checked their site, they had this to say "With this very limited time offer you can purchase Kingdom Rush at the App Store for a mere 99 cents, that's 66% off the normal price. Quickly, defend your kingdom against hordes of orcs, trolls, evil wizards in this amazing tower defense title!"

So what is Kingdom Rush? The basics of the game is that you have a kingdom to defend; village by village. You are being invaded by hordes of bad creatures. You  start with a certain amount of money to build defenses against the creatures. You earn money when you kill baddies. The enemies range from low-level easy to kill fiends to tough to kill bad-asses. No worries, well maybe some worry, but you can upgrade your defenses as your money grows. 

You can even call on temporary help from the local villagers. They are well equipped, but they will fight hard to death to defend their home. If they survive the onslaught, they will leave after a few seconds. 

You can use this with a 10 second pause between attempts. Use them wisely, the 10 seconds can seem like an eternity. You can also summon fire from the skies to rain lava or fireballs down of the attackers. This has a much longer pause before you can use this again. 

The objective is to not let more than 20 enemies get past your defenses. When an enemy evades your efforts, you lose a heart. Lose 20 hearts and you have lost the battle. 

There is a certain number of waves of enemies that will attack your land. Successfully defend through all waves with losing all of your hearts and you will win that battle. 

Completing boards will earn you stars. It little or no enemies get pass you, then you earn 2 stars for the successful battle. Let a few more get by and you only get 2 stars. Allow a bunch and you only get 1 stars. Why are stars important? Stars can be used to upgrade the abilities of your army and/or equipment. Stars can also be used to buy the assistance of Heroes that will aid in your battles. 

Each board can be played in normal and easy modes. Three campaigns 
exist for each board; the regular campaign and 2 levels were you can be play challenge rounds where you might have 1 wave, but have limited resources. 

On the iPad, you have tons of extras. You can earn jewels that allow you to purchases upgrades. You can independent weapons of mass destruction or use it to buy extra cash to be used whenever you need it in battle to upgrade or build more defenses. 

The music and sound effects are awesome. From the music announcing the  advancements of troops, to the humorous sound effects made when calling on your help to the zany sounds that the weapon upgrades make; you will be entertained. 

I commute to work by bus, this game makes the 45-60 minute ride seem like 5 minutes. The game allows two other people to play their own game without messing up your progress. If you enjoy action and strategy games, then you will love this game. It has a level of difficulty that will not only entertain you and engage you, but will provoke you to play harder and longer with one goal - don't let the bad guys win. 

This game has tons of replay value and is tons fun. For me, it is easily the best game on the iPad. Reducing the price to $0.99 makes this an easy purchasing decision. 

ITunes Link: iPad Version 

Thanks, 

Carl W. Brooks 
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

iPad Mini Review


What can I say about the new iPad Mini? How can I start this review off? When I went to the Apple Store to review this item, a woman walked up beside me with a young child and said, "Here is the iPad mini! I still don't understand the point of it."

So I'll start my review off this way, the point of the iPad mini is…

The iPad Mini can so all the wonderful things that the regular iPad can do only is not as Big and Heavy! So the point is that you can hold it in one hand and you can hold it for much longer periods without getting hand fatigue.

The only questionable thing about the iPad Mini is the screen quality.  Since iPad is all about the display, that’s where I'll start. If the iPad Mini is too small then it is just an iPod Touch or iPhone . It had to be big enough to do all the things you love to do on iPad. And it had to work with all the apps made for iPad. Apple  determined the perfect size for the iPad Mini's screen should be  7.9 inches; not 7 inches for which Steve Jobs was quoted to say "you would need to sand down your fingertips down" to use a 7" tablet. 

The iPad Mini has the same 1024-by-768 resolution as iPad 2 — in a size that’s significantly smaller.  The iPad mini display has 35 percent more screen area than a 7‑inch tablet. Many who have reviewed this device have made remarks that the iPad Mini should have included the Retina display as the new iPod Touch. iPhone or 3rd and 4th generation iPad. While it would be nice to include this, but it is not a negative that it doesn't. When the first iPad came out, it had this screen resolution. The iPad 2 had the same screen. Are you saying that a screen quality that was the standard for a tablet just 8-9 months ago is not good? That would be crazy to even suggest. There is nothing wrong with the screen resolution. I may prefer to have a Retina display, but it isn't significant to make or break the purchase of the iPad Mini. 

The second thing about the iPad Mini is that raises eyebrows is the starting price of $329 for the 16GB wifi model. Many have expressed that it is too high. Hogwash! It is a great price. The truth is the iPad Mini is priced right.  The next available priced iPad is the $399 iPad 2. Even if the iPad Mini was just a smaller and exact featured iPad 2, would it be priced at $299? You could make the point, even though making it smaller doesn't make the cost of the components smaller. 

The iPad Mini has an improved FaceTime HD front facing camera with 1.2MP photo taking ability and 720p HD video capabilities. Compare that to the VGA resolution for both photos and video. The rear-facing camera of the iPad Mini us 5MP instead of sporting the iPad 2's 960 by 720 camera.  Video recording is increased to 1080p HD from the iPad 2's 720p HD. Bluetooth is improved from Bluetooth 2.1 to Bluetooth 4.0 technology which significantly improves the performance. The iPad Mini has LTE capability instead of the iPad 2's 3G antenna. 

It includes the new Lightning port, keeps the 10 hour battery (even though it is thinner and lighter) and gives you Siri!  IS all this not worth the extra $29!?  iPad mini is 23 percent thinner, 53 percent lighter, and fits in one hand — yet it can do everything an iPad can do. You can't compare this to the $199 Nexus 7 or $214 Kindle Fire HD (without Special Offers - Ads)! You are not getting the same device.  I would pay the extra $115 - $130 difference for the iPad Mini.

This isn't exactly an even match, as the iPad mini is actually larger than these smaller screen tablets. Apple iPad Mini's 7.9-inch screen is significantly larger than the 7-inch screens on both the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD; even those their 1,280-by-800-pixel screens are actually significantly sharper than the 7.9-inch 1,024-by-768-pixel screen on the iPad mini. The cameras are much better on the iPad Mini than the other two; the Kindle Fire HD doesn't even have a front-facing camera and the rear camera is laughable. It is not about the technical specifications at all.  The average person does not care about this; to them it is all about the user experience.  Apple wins in this department without the iPad Mini. Now that Apple has a light, thin and extremely portable and mobile addition to their lineup, they are primed to extend their tablet lead.

I was planning to get my daughter the new iPod Touch for Christmas; maybe the iPad Mini will show up under the Christmas tree this year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Google Takes Aim at Siri with New iOS Search App

These stories are link bait. Other than both using voice to interact
with the service, Google Search and Siri are two very different
services. Google Search only does one thing that Siri does. Google
Search doesn't create my calendar events or tell me when there is a
conflict and let me change either event's time slot to avoid the
conflict. Google Search doesn't initiate timers or alarms.

Google Search doesn't send an email or SMS message to my contacts.
Google Search doesn't create reminders for you or create notes that
she can append to at anytime. Google Search doesn't know where you
live nor give you directions by saying "taker home". Google Search
doesn't know who your spouse, brother, best friend or child is so it
contact them by phone, email or text without you saying there name.

Google Search doesn't update your Facebook or Twitter status for you.
Google Search doesn't make reserve tables at your favorite
restaurant.

Google Search doesn't launch my apps so I don't have to search for
them. Google Search doesn't play songs or playlists from my music
collection.

Siri is a personal assistant that can do many things; one of which is
to search the web via a verbal command. Google Search does do this.
Google naturally does this very well.

Comparing these two things are like comparing a Swiss Army knife to a
Phillips Power screwdriver. Siri can turn the screw and much more.
Google Search turns the screw faster and more efficiently, but that is
all it does. Both are worth using.

Thanks,

Carl W. Brooks
Check out my iPad/iOS/Mac technology website
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

On Oct 31, 2012, at 11:45 AM, Ted wrote:

> I checked out the updated Google Search after reading this article and agree that the voice search works pretty good.

iOS 6.0 Tip: Guide Access Lock You in an App

Apple has yet to provide us the ability to lock individual apps from prying eyes. We have our whole lives in our phone and everyone shouldn't have access to it when we share our phone or lose it.

The iOS jailbreak world has had the ability to lock individual apps for years now. Yes, the iOS devices allow you to add a security code or even a complex password to lock your device, but this not enough.

The all or nothing approach to security is not adequate. There are times when you hand your device to a friend to view pictures or even a text message. You don't want them roaming into your private pictures or email or even financial information.

Ever give your device to a kid to watch a movie or play a game only to find later that moved icons, deleted apps or even peeked at a SMS message that came in at the time? Haven't? Probably don't want to either.

Apple has made a small step towards securing your content and just your device. Guided Access does one thing; it locks the user into one app at a time.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Microsoft Surface RT - Initial Thoughts

What is the Microsoft Surface RT, and is it you? Microsoft has released its surface tablet to the world and they have bombarded the TV world with advertisements, but they don't tell you much about it. Carl Brooks of IamthereforeiPad.com shares his thoughts on the Microsoft Surface RT.

Now that we have seen Microsoft's song and dance show, let's get down to what this device can and cannot do. First of all the Microsoft surface is not an iPad. It doesn't claim to be an iPad; actually Microsoft doesn't claim much about what it can do. On Microsoft's site there is very little information given as to what this device can do. I did find this little bit of information that Microsoft provides about what is installed on the device, "Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview1, (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote); Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music, Video, and Games."

So based on the software that Microsoft provides with the Surface RT, we know that you can manage your MS Office files, manager your email, send messages, store and retrieve your data from their SkyDrive cloud storage service, surf the web, listen to music, watch video and play games.

Will get into more of what it can do or cannot do later, Since Microsoft seems to focus their commercials and their website data primarily on the design of the Surface RT, I'll start with the design too.

Microsoft described the Surface RT as, "a feat of engineering and a work of art. One touch and you’ll recognize the thoughtful design and precision craftsmanship that make Surface a joy to behold. The unique VaporMg casing delivers a high-quality fit and finish that’s ultra-light and durable."

The build quality is indeed done very well and It feels very nice in the hands. The kickstand is a very nice feature that just makes sense for a tablet. It works as advertised. I like it, but I didn't think it had the same quality sound of closing the door on a well engineered car as it was described on stage during the Surface RT announcement event.

The kickstand is well thought out and solid. When not in use, the kickstand becomes invisible. There is a small slot on the left side of the screen that allows a fingernail to open the kick stand. I kept trying to do it from the right side. I wondered why they didn't just add a slot on both sides so the kickstand could be opened from either side.

The second thing Microsoft spent their advertising budget on was to demonstrate how easily the external keyboard cover connects to the Surface RT via the integrated magnet(s). The single repeated Surface RT commercial shows multiple people clicking the two items together with a satisfying "Click".

The keyboard cover is super thin and light. The keys have no tactile feel nor any sound from the keys. They are not actual keys, but are imprints or drawings of keys. They work surprising well. I am not a touch typist, I mostly look at my keys as I type (even though I can type without looking - it's a bad habit). For me, this keyboard cover would be fine and is much better than typing on a glass screen. And it is light enough to carried all the time with the device.

The keyboard does not use Bluetooth, as most external keyboards do, but rather it has a physical connector that attaches when the two device connect with the magnetic pull. This is significant because the keyboard does not have to contain a battery like the Bluetooth keyboard do. That is why it can be so thin and light. They also

The Surface RT's dimensions are 10.81 x 6.77 x 0.37in with a 10.6" (diagonal) ClearType HD Display (1366x768 pixels). The iPad is 9.50 x 7.31 x 0.37in with a 9.7" (diagonal) LED-backlit Multi-Touch display with IPS technology (2048x1536 pixels). So while the two devices are in landscape orientation, the Surface RT is shorter from top to bottom, but longer from left to right. While sitting on a flat surface or in the hand, this orientation does not present any problem. The longer side presents some formatting problems when in the portrait orientation.

The Surface weights 1.5 lbs while the iPad (Wifi only) 1.44 lbs. So the Surface RT weights more without the cover. Keeping the keyboard attached, the device would cause hand fatigue over time as the full iPad does.

The Surface RT has buttons for power, volume up and down and a single home button. It has a 3.5 headphones jack, two speakers and two microphones (compared to the iPad mono speaker and single microphone). The real hardware differentiators for the Surface RT are the USB port and the microSDXC card slot. You can connect a flash drive, external hard drive, keyboard, mouse, wireless headphone, camera and many different USB devices to the USB 2.0 port. The microSDXC card slot allows additional storage space to be added to the device. The iPad does not offer these, but do offer some limited USB devices to be connected via a few optional dongles.

While I was able to plug my 1TB external USB hard drive to the Surface RT and access everything that was stored on it, I could not install many of the traditional Windows apps. Of course the RT is not designed to do so, but because Microsoft does not make it clear what it can do; people can become confused or frustrated as they learn by trial and error what it can and can not do. I believe people will think that they can do certain things because they see the traditional looking Windows Desktop while using the Surface RT. Of course the more expensive and heavier Surface Pro is supposed to let more or all traditional "Windows" apps work. The Surface RT has access to the Microsoft Store where apps made for Windows 8 can be downloaded. In some instances the windows 8 OS seems to prefer apps in the Microsoft Store over those found via the web or via your USB storage space. Time will tell how this will work on the Surface Pro.

But if the Windows Surface RT does not offer a full Windows PC experience than it must offer a full tablet experience, right? What is a full tablet experience? There are tons of Android tablets on the market that do not offer a full tablet experience. Many tablets are missing key essential apps, many don't have a well stocked app store (or no store at all), many offer a sub-par touch screen experience and most so not have access to an ecosystem for music, movies and more.

The Windows Surface RT don't suffer from all of these problems. If it had any problem, it would be a lack of essential apps. The Windows 8 store offer many recognizable apps like Evernote, Angry Birds, Netflix and Cut the Rope, but missing key apps like Pandora, Facebook, Dropbox, Logmein and more.

Speaking of Logmein.com, they have an iPad app called Ignition that has a feature I love.  When remote controlling my Windows computer, there is an setting that allows me to touch anywhere on the screen and move the mouse cursor to any point on the screen.  I like this method much better than being required to touch the screen exactly where I need to with my finger tip.  Sometimes the item that needs to be selected or clicked is too small and having my finger blocking the image I need to click is not the best way to implement this.  The Microsoft Surface RT using the "put your finger directly on the item method".  I would rather they give me the option to touch everywhere on the screen to move the mouse.  Whenever I entered into the Windows mode on the Surface RT, I felt a bit lost at times.  There is no start button.  Finding things that I commonly use became a chore that I sometimes gave up on before I located the setting or app.

The Surface RT is half a tablet and half a laptop replacement.  It doesn't appear to be a "full" anything.  It couldn't do many things I have come to love doing on an iPad; nor could it do many of the things I do on a computer or laptop.  If I can't do what I need to do on the device, I would at least like to be able to work remotely on another computer where I can do everything I want to do.  The problems with doing this are the Surface RT doesn't have a cellular antenna so I can't get connected without having access to WiFi and I couldn't get any remote software or VPN software to work in the Windows mode.

If Microsoft wants to sell the Surface as a laptop replacement, it has to get VPN and Remote Access applications working. Even with the iPad, that doesn't claim to be a laptop replacement device (but rather simply as a post-PC device), has remote tools that allow me to work on my remote computers while out and about. Sure Microsoft will eventually get the developers to create the essential apps, including remote tools, for the Surface tablet.

I have no doubt that developers will produce the essential app and because of this, the Microsoft Surface has a lot of promise. I think that Microsoft is not making any claims as to what the tablet can do, because they don't really know its full potential yet. It is just too early. It depends on what is developed for it.

The bottom line is this; all the Microsoft Surface RT has to be is a good tablet, but it isn't. It is a OK tablet with a lot of promise. But an OK tablet still might be adequate for many users. Let's look at the average Windows PC user. The average user uses Microsoft Office or Open Office to manage documents. The Surface RT satisfies this need. The average user surfs the web for Facebook, Ebay, Amazon and more. Surface RT does this. The average user plays music or watch videos and movies. These users manage their photos. They play games. They read news and gossip sources. The Microsoft Surface RT makes all of this possible. Maybe it doesn't have as many apps as the iPad or the big named Android devices. It does have more than the low end Android devices, but those are under $150.  The Surface RT can do what most users want to do on the go, but there are better options out there.

The Surface gets it right with the thin keyboard cover that is both light and functional. It proves that you can innovate beyond what is the norm (Bluetooth).  It also hits big with its build quality.  The kickstand is a necessary addition to a tablet or any size; especially tablet with a screen beyond 7.9 inches. Heck even a Smartphone is a great candidate for a kickstand. Where the Surface comes up short in both the tablet and laptop replacement departments. The Surface RT should have been designed as a pure tablet device with limited PC functions.  The apps used on the Surface RT should be built entirely with Windows 8 tile type interface.  Adding the "traditional Windows interface and desktop" for certain are activities and apps is a bad decision by Microsoft.  It is a pure indication that they tried to cheat on the implementation and development.  It was just plain easy (and lazy) to add the "old interface" in the Surface RT.  Those things are fine in the Surface Pro model, but not the Surface RT model.

The Surface RT boots up pretty fast and works pretty decent, but I would pass on it now. .It is just not ready for prime time. You will be better off letting the Microsoft develop the Surface RT further.  Wait to buy the 3rd or 4th generation Surface RT.  I look forward to seeing what this device evolves into. Remember that today's Apple's 4th Generation iPad has evolved quite well from the 1st Generation iPad.


The Windows Surface RT is no iPad, but then it doesn't have to be. There is enough tablet and Ultra book demand out here for them to do well regardless of what Apple, Samsung or even Google does in this crowded space. Some people are just going to prefer Windows and this device will eventually get to a place where it satisfies the typical tablet user.

It is about time Microsoft got active in this post PC world; eventually Microsoft will have to actually say what the Surface RT does. Or maybe they will just see what we figure out for ourselves and let us share what we find with the world. I hope Microsoft is not leaving the message  in our hands, because it will not be a very complete and pretty picture for them or the Surface RT.


By Carl W. Brooks, Editor
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Apple Stream the iPad Mini Event to Apple Products after my Plea

Last month I emailed Tim Cook making what I called "an outrageous but doable request". I wrote, "Imagine turning on the Apple TV device and launching the podcast app and being able to live stream the event. I do!" Now I didn't think that the email would reach him. I thought the email would end up in a Spam folder. If it make it. I didn't imagine anything would be done so quickly if ever.

Here is the email I sent.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Carl Brooks
Date: Tue, Sep 11, 2012 at 9:23 PM
Subject: Unrealistic but Possible Request
To: "tcook@apple.com" 


Mr. Cook,

I know that Apple do not normally live stream the product announcements events, such as the one occurring tomorrow September 14, 2012, but I have an outrageous suggestion.

Please consider allowing us, the owners of an AppleTV device, to view a future announce event.  Wouldn't it be great to treat us to such a treat for being the faithful?

Imagine turning on the AppleTV device and launching the podcast app and being able to live stream the event. I do!

I know this request is unlikely to be received directly and even less probable for it to make it to you, but I believe this idea is something that is not only possible, but doable.

All impossible things become possible to become reality only after someone is willing to dream it is possible. Dream on. Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,
Carl W. Brooks
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

---------- End message ----------

One might say, it is coincidence, but it is highly unlikely.

I didn't get a chance to watch the event live because I never knew Mr. Cook acted on my request. He never responded to the email. In fact, I didn't know the event was streamed live until I was listening to the Mac OS on the Stitcher Radio app this morning. I sent the email because I thought that Apple would consider it. It only made sense. Apple loves that it customers are into their products. 

Who more than the current customers (and the press of course) would be so interested in the live stream of the event. I figured it would do a few things. Once Apple might consider it because it could lead to more device sales as the press outlets could use it to get first hand accounts of the event even if they were not invited to the event. 

If they don't own Apple products, they would in order to watch. Also, Apple fanatics could have "watch parties" and help spread the news in a very excited way. Why would Apple want this. You have to be in the "club" to watch, so it could lead to more sales and more Apple fanaticism. Lastly, it just made sense to me.

What would be the objection? Too much interest that a live stream would get overwhelmed  You wouldn't have the world tuning in and overloading the feed. You would stream it to the most likely people who are more effective than the press - the loyal Apple fans (customers).

Here are the screens (though not live) of how a streamed event would look on Apple TV.





Thursday, October 11, 2012

Battery Tips - Drain Issues Resolved

When I purchased my iPhone 5, I was amazed at the great battery life I
was getting. My phone would not complain about a 20% battery life
until between 7:30pm - 9:30pm with very heavy use. I mean checking
several email accounts all day, watch video via YouTube or NFL Mobile,
streaming Stitcher Radio to start and end my commute. Of course I find
many apps to download, update or play throughout the day.

Suddenly this week I noticed that my iPhone 5 would be 30% or so by
3:30pm - 4:30pm. Normally I would not see these numbers for a few
hours more.

Last night I went through the battery saving steps that have practiced
over time:

Set brightness levels down and turn off auto brightness in Settings
Turn notifications off for apps
Change email to manual update instead of push
Turn Bluetooth off (I left this on because I use this all day)
Turn off Wifi
Turn off Location Services
Turn on Limit Ad Tracking
Turn off Raise to Speak
Turn off Send Diagnostic to Apple
Podcast -
Change auto lock to 1-2 minutes
Close open apps in the fast-switching tray

Today I got to work with 100% at 8am. When I left today at 3:20pm, my
battery is 85%. Wow back to the way it was prior to this week; if not
better.

I think the biggest drain was location services and notifications.
Many app add notifications without you knowing. If you simply hit the
top toggle of notification, you are only turning off one portions of
the notifications.

Locations can be turned on when you need it and then turn back off
after use. You will be surprise how many apps using location services.
How many are working in the background when your device is idle.

Why some of these are iPhone specific, most can be applied to the iPad too.

Thanks,

Carl W. Brooks
Check out my iPad/iOS/Mac technology website
http://www.iamthereforeipad.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to get Multiple Signatures on iOS Device

Some people use their iPhone or iPad for both business and pleasure. In my case, the iPhone is company issued and the iPad is my personal device. Both devices are used to send both personal and business emails.


No matter if the iPhone is company issues or personally purchased, you will find yourself sending both business and personal emails from the iOS device.


In the past, Apple has realized this and increased the number of email accounts that you can configure on your iOS device. While they added more accounts, they forced you to use a single signature for all of your email accounts.


This was bad. It meant you had to either keep the generic "Sent from my iPhone" signature for all accounts. Or type your longest email signature and trim it down each time before you sent your emails to your recipients.


I had my iPhone's signature set for work, because it was their device. I had my iPad's signature setup for my personal email because it was mine. I tried to send all work emails from the iPhone and all personal emails from the iPad, but that plan never succeeded.


I would find it was more convenient to send work emails from the bigger screen iPad then the smaller screen iPhone. Each time, I would have to delete my personal blog's URL from the signature; leaving only "Thanks, Carl W. Brooks". I didn't always remember. My boss never said anything, but I rather not combine the two. Now my blog is about iPad and the such, but what if it was about a subject many might find objectionable? My oversight could caused potential harm.


Well iOS 6 fixes all that, but it only can help if you take some time to set it up.


If you have a very long signature that you use, I suggest sending an email from the desktop to one of the accounts you have configured on the iOS device and then copy the selection of text prior to going forward. This will prevent you from having to type it again.


So here is a great tip to give you multiple signatures for your iPhone or iPad; and hopefully one less thing to think about.

iOS 6 (hopefully you upgraded by now) has added the ability to have a different email signature for each of your email accounts.

To get started, launch the Settings App and scroll down to the "Mail, Contacts, Calendar" link past the iCloud option.


Click the "Mail, Contacts, Calendar" link.

Scroll down and click "Signature"




By Default, "All Accounts" is selected and the default "Sent from my iPhone" signature is active and shown below.




Select "Per Account" to toggle the option and display a signature fields for each account you have configured on your device.


I have 4 accounts configured, so I have 4 boxes. Type the personal signature you want in each box.






Now your work emails sent from your iPhone can look a professional as they do when you send them from your desktop or laptop. Your personal email addresses can now promote your blog or interests again.


When you select a different email address in the Mail app, by clicking the "From" field, the email addresses will appear.






Clicking the appropriate email address, will produce the appropriate signature automatically.




If you find this information helpful, please share this story and/or website with others that have an iOS device. Please contribute by adding your thoughts in the comment area below.