EEF33646-832E-47C7-9329-A006153AD436 Apple | Baghdad By The Bay

Posts Tagged 'apple'

WWDC Nerd Fest

Darth Trash CanWell Apple is in town this week for the World Wide Developer Conference and along with that comes the requisite keynote address. I’ve watched it a couple of times before writing this to let it sink in.

Not a single product was released. That means that there wasn’t a throng of Apple fans rushing to update their software right after the Apple love fest in an attempt to bring down the internet for the rest of the world. On the upside I think this keynote was Apple’s answer to everyone saying that Apple just isn’t as cool without Steve Jobs. Sure they had to pull out several people to cover for the missing omnipotent Steve, but I think they did a pretty good job. Here’s my breakdown of the speakers:

Tim Cook: He’s been seen as a bit milquetoast-like. He doesn’t offer the wow factor Jobs did, but he was always the voice of reason to come back to. I noticed a bit lispy precision in his voice making him sound a bit like a gay account as he was rattling off the numbers to us of how popular Apple has been in the past year.

Craig Federighi: This was the wow factor guy. He played the audience of balding 20 year old nerds quite well in such a way that he also made those who were watching that weren’t of the nerdish variety go weird. You know the type. Those people who think plugging in an appliance makes them technologically advanced. Craig played to the hecklers who tried to interrupt him without breaking a sweat and even through in a bit of self deprecation which always goes over well in my book.

Phil Schiller: He’s Phil. He’s always there and he’s got a sort of low brow, I’m not going to throw numbers at you, but big words that sound cool. Can’t innovate my ass was his best line of the show. Phil is the type of guy that you place a shot of 50 year old single malt scotch in front of and start to explain all the care and forethought that went into making it and when you turn your eyes back to him from the glass he’s downed it and ordered another couple of shots while pulling out his corporate card to pay for it. Phil to me represents the end user that just wants the box he sunk his money down on to do the job.

Eddy Cue: METALLICA! I was waiting for him to scream that out during his presentation of iRadio, but he went a little more subtle and chose Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin with a couple of required head bangs during the start of the song. Eddy Cue is like comedian Jim Breuer in that he took the stage looking like he had just finished off a few too many beers and can’t pronounce the big words Phil was throwing out. Oddly enough he did a pretty good job explaining iRadio. I’m going to use it when it’s available. Something tells me he has Nickelback on his playlist though.

All in all it was a pretty well thought out presentation. So much so that it wasn’t until afterwards that all the people who use Apple at home finally realized, They didn’t release a single product today!!!! The various people talking about how great Apple is was interspersed with shots of the audience to include Al Gore, Woz and Jony Ive just to add to the cool factor of the day.

From what they showed of  iOS7 looks like it was created by someone who watches far too much 80’s Japanese Anime, but after all the talk about flat, simple icons I could finally understand why when Craig started tilting an iPhone running iOS7 — the wallpaper looks like it sits about 6″ below the icons. I’m sure there’s someone at Apple who gets paid a lot of money who said the line during a meeting that 6” is enough for anyone. That was probably Jony Ive who used to be Jonathan Ive, but I guess that was a bit stuffy sounding for Apple. Then there was Darth Vader’s trash can™ or the new Mac Pro. It had a very slick look to it and it’s sleek black is something I welcome back. I’ve missed Apple’s black laptops because black will always be the new black. Black has always been cool and will always remain cool. Kind of like why we call the Yakuza the Japanese mafia and not the mafia the Italian Yakuza, because it was the first to come up with a cooler name for organized crime.

Looking cool seemed to be the focus of this keynote. Gone is the skeuomorphic design, replaced by flat icons that every designer has now redesigned in 15 minutes. Sure the new OSX Mavericks does some cool things, but it’s doing things it should have been doing a few years ago. Speed and functionality took a back seat in the presentation to showing off how tilting the screen lets you see more of the wallpaper or that animated thunderbolts accompany your weather prediction. It’s kind of like a new coat of paint on a old car with a few tricks thrown in. Yes Apple can still innovate, but at the same time they’re adding on features that other apps have been doing for awhile, so while they innovate they are also coming up to speed. San Francisco will be changed this week and hopefully the city can suck every last penny out of all the techies who’ve come to San Francisco and not live off the outside sponsored hipster buffets™ that no doubt will be going on all over the place.

iOS 6 and San Francisco

Well it’s here and I spent yesterday updating my iPhone and iPad. For the iPhone I can’t really say I see much difference. The iPad update on the other hand with the update to maps is freakishly stalkerish. You may not notice this if you don’t live near Cupertino or in San Francisco where Apple always gives their keynote speeches, but look at the picture I’ve taken of West Sunset Playground and that will give you a close idea of how freaky the maps app is here in San Francisco.

When I show my wife the pic of our house with the tilt and shift and zoom we could easily make out the  table and chairs in our backyard along with the kiddie slide on our deck. I didn’t include it because my wife just felt like we were spying on ourselves. So you get a pic of a playground instead. This pictures doesn’t do it justice because when you spin it around and do all the tilt and shift stuff you get a feeling like you’re really there.

There have been lots of complaints about the new maps app for iOS 6, but most of the complaints are coming from people far away from San Francisco. So if they want to enjoy the app they need to start stalking us in 3D mode on their iPads. Unfortunately, there is no 3D on the iPhone version of maps, but I suppose it’s a processor thing. I only have an iPhone 4 not a 4S or 5 so I could be wrong. I have noticed that in 3D mode that the it is very slow to load the maps, but if you’ve got time to kill it’s a kind of cool experience. I still feel that the accuracy and detail make it seem like you’ve got an app to spy on people, but at least there aren’t real time updates. I guess living in San Francisco we get the most detail first at the expense of our privacy. At least I don’t nude sun bathe in my backyard.

Cutting The Cord on Cable

We recently received a free Apple TV and after a few days we’ve decided that we no longer need to pay $93 a month to Comcast for cable TV. We have Netflix and Hulu Plus now so really anything we want to watch is available to us on demand.

We got the new Apple TV through the fact that I use a program called Viggle that let’s you check into TV shows you want and gives you points. It took me a couple of months to build up the 210,000 points to get the Apple TV, but was worth it. I now am building up points so that I get Hulu Plus for free. Currently that means that instead of spending $93.00 per month we’ll only have to spend $7.99 per month. That’s a noteworthy price decrease and I have to say that while we don’t one an HD TV, but an older EDTV [480p] the quality is really better than standard cable TV, plus we can call up the shows when we want to see them.

Add to this that we have an iPad which mirrors to the Apple TV, so we’ve downloaded apps for the local TV stations and we can see live local news as well. All in all we are very happy with our new little toy even though we run into small problems streaming videos from my computer to the Apple TV, but I’ll work the kinks out. Comcast, I’m sorry, but you’ve lost another customer.

Autism vs. The iPad

As I’m sure you remember we were able to get an iPad for our daughter during a time when we didn’t have much money [which is a fate we still share today]. She loves the iPad a lot and I thank again all of my readers who help us get it for her. Then my wife came running into my workspace all white face with a look of horror and my daughter running behind quickly screaming and crying — I think we just lost the iPad.

WHAT!? She handed it to me and it looked fine until she peeled back the case and showed me the dent. The dent happened to come right where the volume up and down keys were and while it still worked we couldn’t get any volume out of it. I quickly got an appointment at the Genius Bar to have them take a look and then started doing some research.

I was seeing everything from a few people who got it replaced free to most people who had to pay $299 or buy a new one. My heart sunk. This is my daughter’s baby. She treats it like a puppy hugging it and petting it. She never throws it or drops it unlike many of her other toys. She knows this is something special for her.

For any parent of a child whether they have autism or not I would highly suggest an iPad. My daughter has improved so much since we got it for her. She couldn’t point at things before, but now points to things that she doesn’t know the name of. She’s learned how to say words she never said a year ago and now she can even write. Sure she has therapists that help her out, but a lot of this even the therapists say comes from the iPad. It has helped her immensely and I was pretty devastated to learn that this great tool we had for her might be gone and we don’t have the money or credit to afford to get it fixed or buy a new one.

I went into the Apple store thinking to myself well, maybe I could ask for donations again, but I don’t really like begging. If you like the blog and want to make a donation feel free to do so, but I refuse to sit out there on the internet with a cup in hand asking spare change from everyone who comes to my blog. I’ve been getting enough work from TaskRabbit to help us get by until I can get a real job again so I figured I could find a way to make it work out.

So my Genius is guy named Tony. I told him the story and how this is our autistic daughter’s best friend [yes, I played the autism card, but it was important because of what she’s got from it.] Tony took a look and said, well, it’s only a little dent and no screen damage so we’ll replace it for you right now.

DUDE!! AWWWWWESOME!

So the crisis has been averted and we’re in the process right now of getting the back up reinstalled on the iPad. Tony suggested that we get an Otterbox case for it which my wife and I have been talking about for a while. Now it’s obviously a definite buy item. I think I’ll have to take on a few more tasks to get the money to cover this one, but it’ll be worth it in the long run if it’s something that is helping our daughter improve herself.

Tony, thanks for helping a brother out.

[ad#AdBrite]

Forgive Me Apple, For I Have Sinned

I try to talk about San Francisco things during the week, but with the release of Apple’s iOS 5 yesterday I learned a few things that Apple doesn’t tell you so I have to give them a smack today.

My wife is not an early adopter. She is still using Tiger just as my workplace is using. I knew iOS 5 was to be released yesterday and was notified yesterday morning that there was an update to iTunes. I figured this was a tie in with iOS 5 since you went through iTunes to update your iOS devices previously. At work, we have a strict IT department so that wasn’t possible, but when I heard the announcement that iOS 5 was finally released I tried to update, but had to wait until I got home.

I get home and plug in the iPhone and try to update and was informed that it was having trouble contacting the update server. So I tried again, and again, and again with no luck. I figured everyone was doing it so that was the problem. I did check the suggestions to get around this and finally checked for new software updates and low and behold there was an update to OSX 10.7.2. After installing that I found out that I could update my iPhone to iOS 5. The only problem is that my wife’s iPad is hooked up with her computer and she is wary of updating because for some reason she always finds something that goes wrong. Well, it turns out that she can’t update to iOS 5 until she upgrades to Lion. Now I also have friends with mac’s that can’t upgrade to Lion because they’re computers don’t meet the specs who also have an iPhone or iPad. They’re out of luck completely.

On the plus side I have to say that both Lion and iOS 5 are nice, but there isn’t much shockingly different at first look. I say this to people who aren’t early adopters that feel like they’re missing out, you’re not really. There are a few new cool things, but nothing majorly WOW. I have noticed a few problems also, well one problem and that’s with the move from MobileMe to iCloud. First when you try to transition to iCloud you’re told to log into me.com to start the transition. This is wrong. You go to iCloud.com and enter your MobileMe user name and password and that is what starts the transition. After I transitioned I’ve found that while iCloud gets the mail it keeps telling me that my password is wrong and I need to re-enter it. This could be from the fact that many people are changing over to iOS 5 that it’s putting a strain on their new server farm. Also as I am typing this for some reason Safari has started to automatically hide itself under 10.7.2.

While I don’t totally understand the #OccupyWallStreet phenomena that’s going on, if you’re not an early adopter of Lion I suggest it’s time to go down to your Apple store and #OccupyApple and make them fix the problem. Yes, I know you need to have Lion installed in order to use iCloud, but if you have a mac that doesn’t meet the specs for Lion and you’ve been using MobileMe as of June next year it will all disappear on you. Which means that in moving forward you’ll have to get a new mac and switch to iCloud to continue to use your mac.com or me.com email address and all the other new features. You will be as useless as a Newton in a short time.

Steve Jobs R.I.P.

Yesterday evening I happened to take a look at twitter and got hit by a ton of bricks. Steve Jobs died, October 5th 2011. I kind of felt like I lost my breath for a second or two, but then I realized I had seen it coming, we all did. I’m almost certain that Steve took his last medical leave because he knew he didn’t have much time.

It’s odd that sometimes you learn more about people after they die than when they’re alive. Steve Jobs and Cupertino were coupled together like Brangelina, yet Steve was born in San Francisco. I didn’t know that until I read that after the fact. He was always the big keynote speaker at the MacWorld’s at Moscone Center. My funniest memory of MacWorld was getting an hour off work to go to MacWorld and because it was so big way back then I found myself stuck behind some slowly meandering idiot in front of me talking to a woman. To myself I’m thinking, get out of my way moron, I’ve only got an hour to see the whole place and then the moron turned his head…It was Steve Jobs. I had heard some pretty bad things about him such his dismissive behavior of fans yet I still blurted out, Mr. Jobs! and he turned around. I just said Thank you and extended my hand thinking for a second that he might possible give me a smirk and turn and walk away. He extended his hand shook it and smiled at me.

That was my entire extent of meeting Steve Jobs. I quickly walked around him and continued on with the rest of MacWorld. I figure I got my 15 seconds of Steve Jobs and that was much more than most people got. I have always been a Mac evangelist even though I’ve never worked for Apple. If you think back to the year 2000 and how life was you may remember things were a little different. Mp3 were just coming on the scene, but there wasn’t any way to organize them. There was no iTunes or iPods. There was no super fast gigaflop G4 computers yet. No iPhones, iPads or Apple TV. Airport were around to offer WiFi, but wouldn’t get extreme for another three years. We did have the sleek all black powerbook that had a clock speed of 400Mhz that was fast for the time, but it didn’t have the power anywhere near my iPhone 4 does today. By comparison, my stove was purchased in the late 70’s and if we were to purchase a new one today it wouldn’t be too much different.

When Steve returned to Apple in 1996 things changed. He became an iconic figure to the company that was parodied on numerous television shows, Saturday Night Live being one of the funniest where he was shown giving a keynote speech as if he were a God.We have to remember something though, while Steve built the first Apple computer along with Woz, he wasn’t building and designing so much as time went on at Apple. He may have inspired others to come up with the designs and if you look now Apple has people like Jon Ive and Phil Shiller and Tim Cook who will inspire those at Apple to continue when Steve left off. Apple will continue in the manner Steve intended it to because he picked the right people to lead the company.

Oh, and I last thing…

I’m sure we’ll all warm up to Tim Cook almost as much Steve, we just need to give it some time.

Thank you all very much!

A friend of mine and I were talking one day and we came up with the idea if you could get a million people to give you $1 a year for something that was relatively meaningful you wouldn’t have to work again.

Well, I tried that and it hasn’t worked yet, but apparently there were enough of you who thought enough to send me a few bucks to help us get an iPad 2 for our daughter. As we expected she loves it and has taken to it quickly from day one. We found several apps that are really helping her out such as the several ABA [applied behavioral analysis] apps that have gotten her talking more since we got it on Thursday. These apps show a picture of something with the word underneath and it says the word and waits for the child to repeat it. In some you can even record your own voice. We even downloaded an app that I call “Stephen Hawking” because it’s meant for people who can’t talk to be able to talk by hitting buttons on the iPad and it will speak in man or woman’s voice. We haven’t really used that with her because she’s talking more from the ABA apps.

We also found several apps that have her drawing pictures and letters and numbers in a somewhat structured way, but when she puts the iPad down and moves to crayons and paper you can see the difference. Then there are the music programs. Since my Wife and I are both musicians it’s no surprise that she’s taken to music and considering that I play guitar and my Wife plays bass it would only seem natural for our daughter to take to the drums.

I have to say that Garage Band’s built in instruments are really giving her a lot of excitement and while she’s not able to keep a 4/4 beat yet she has the virtual drum kits to help her out. The keyboard she also loves because it’s much more larger than on the iPhone apps I tried. Even though she has small fingers the iPhone. is still too small for her tiny fingers when she has some problems with fine motor skills.

My Wife downloaded a copy of Fruit Ninja for herself, but yesterday when I started to play with it Rebecca took to it in an instant. There’s not much for her to learn from the game, but she is perfecting her fine motor skills more.

Normally when we go upstairs for dinner it has to be ready right then and there or she starts throwing a fit. Autistic kids tend to be a little impatient at times, but now I just have to pull out the iPad and open up the YouTube app and we can quietly sit together and watch some of the sesame street cartoons we have saved as her favorites.

All in all I have to say that if you have a kid with special needs, get an iPad. It may take your child a few days to start to get it, but at four Rebecca’s becoming a pro already. If your kids like to tear up books like Rebecca does, there are many you can download that have a soundtrack that reads the book to them while highlighting the words.

There are many apps that are free with an upgrade so you have a chance to try before you buy which is good. For some of the apps we don’t even need to upgrade yet, but for the better ones we’ve already upgraded for the 99¢-$2.99 the apps run. So go for it. You’ll find it will change your child for the better.

Special thanks go out to Harry, Leon, Michael, Ian, Clint & Lyubov who donated. We really appreciate what you’ve done to help us help our daughter.

[ad#AdBrite]