Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How do you fall in love?

Well I'm talking more about a product here more then a love between two individuals, but when you think about it, it is really the same emotions.

Before everyone thinks that I am nuts about loving a product and categorizing me as a materialistic individual, let me give you an example that perhaps you can identify with.

"It all starts with one application" and it was Zelda that sold me on the Nintendo system.

Back in the early 1984 Nintendo release their first game machine. It is with fond memories of playing Zelda that I remember this machine so vividly. By the early 1990's with the release of the Super Nintendo machine, my own family of three children grew up in a household of video games; my son was born with a controller clutched in his hands.

I fell in love with Nintendo as even today with the WII I eagerly await for the next Zelda game to be released on a console that is as outdated as my old HTC phone. It is not the technology that I fell in love with but rather what that technology could deliver and only Nintendo can deliver Zelda.

After seeing the unveiling of the iPad 2 today, I went through a debate on whether I really need to upgrade? laying down another $829 for the top of the line iPad with 3g; upgrading is a form of dumping your old love for the new.

This brought me into a whole new set of emotions on why I fell in love in the first place? Why do I have any emotions with a product; it isn't that I would be completely devastated if I actually broke off my relationship and lets say I buy an Android Xoom, would I?

Back in 2010, my reasoning for buying an iPad was simply to display photos to my clients since I am a photographer. My belief at that time as it was with many others that it was nothing more then a glorified ipod, but the ability to pinch, zoom and swipe my photos around was indeed impressive to both my clients and I.

Then I suddenly realize many months later while hugging my iPad to bed, thatI loved my iPad!! The Apple reality distortion field (RDF) had somehow taken over my life, or has it?

The fact that I take my iPad to bed to read or watch movies and in the morning I may still be clutching my iPad ready to check my email as soon as I open my eyes. I carry this device everywhere.... and I do mean everywhere.... (my reading device in the loo) :-P

so how did I end up loving my new tablet so intensely? Was it the RDF chipset that Apple install in all their devices?

"It all starts with one application" and it wasn't angry birds, sudoku, or watching a movie in HD quality, or even the fact that all my favorite EA games like the Sims and Simcity have been ported, it was just the simple ebook app.

The fact that an ebook was extremely clear on my iPad due to the larger display and the fact that you can zoom in on the pages is a godsend when old age glasses is the norm. Having a dozen books plus music with headphones was all I ever need on a portable device when waiting at a bus stop or waiting for a love one.

Applications, music, movies, ebooks are all products that tugs at your heart. You begin to associate your emotions with the device that delivers them, although I haven't had any feelings for my DVD player, but this was the reason that I fell in love with Nintendo in that I had spent countless number of hours saving Zelda over and over again from the clutches of Ganon.

In watching the unveiling of iPad 2 today, they also unveil two new applications for the iPad; garageband and imovie. Since I play the piano, I can still remember that it was the right sound from a Yamaha piano that made me fall in love with yamaha products; Yes I do tend to fall in love with a lot of products.

Although garageband will work with my current iPad, the new iPad has a gyro that will detect how hard you press the virtual piano keys.... and this may be the main feature that might make me upgrade to an iPad 2. Making music anywhere has always been "one" of my passions.

It isn't that I travel a lot, but the fact that doing what you "love" is now portable. You can curl up on the couch, or by the beachside with a pair of headphones and start to compose. In fact I do a lot of curling up on my couch and lying on my bed, when reading my ebook; I am a fanatical reader.

For well over 6 months ever since I converted all my PC products over to the Apple world, I couldn't quite put my finger on the saying that "once you change to Apple you will never look back".

and then at the presentation today... Steve said the following:

It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive.

It isn't the technology or the product's ability that is important but it is how that product's ease of use and how much fun you had with it.... is what is important.

The first time I read an ebook on the iPad was the day I started to fall in love; from the simple fact that the pages would curl up at the corners as you start to turn the page. A friend of mine told me that this was a superfluous function, but since he is not a real book reader little does he know the real love of book reading.

A real reader always has the next page curled slightly on their fingertips, in anticipation, as their eyes moves quickly down the page and as they finish reading the page, the next page is quickly and suddenly turned with the eyes continuing from the top; and the next page is again curled slightly with the fingertips...

With my ipad, I've traveled to distant stars with Isaac, became the last wizard with Tanya Huff and have laughed at Adam's wit with the trilogy in five volumes "Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy". It's my constant companion at doctor's offices, reading material in the loo, I read before sleeping, I even read in-between reading web pages. I love my iPad for delivering something straight to my heart.

So why would I fall in love with the iPad 2 when I have a perfectly functional iPad 1 by my bedside?

"It all starts with one application" and that could very well be "garageband" for iPad?.... but is that enough to make me fall in love .... again?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Putting aside my iPad

Back when I owned the first generation HTC Touch phone when I was able to get unlimited internet, email on phone, TV streaming, I ended up using the device in a very limited way simply because of the screen size of 320x200; even with reading glasses the resolution was appalling to read.

I owned this device for 3 years because of a great contract through Bell which offered me unlimited mobile internet with 150 minutes phone time for only $20/month.

I use to laugh at the poor mobile users who answered their emails on their phone or attempted to browse the internet thinking that their experience was akin to my limited 320x200 screen experience; little did I know that technology had pass me.

The iPad was a real eye opener since it was the first time in a decade since I owned a portable device that really allowed me to browse the internet anywhere and actually read and respond to my email while sitting at McDonald on a 1024x768 screen. The monthly fee for 3g was only $35 for 5gb of data and I carried this device around for months in my handy iPad man bag.

However recently, the iPad has been put aside and is now my official coffee table tablet. With the cancelation of the 3g plan, the device is useless for travel.

iPhone 4

Instead, my iPhone has taken up the role of my day to day desktop computer with exception of photo editing.

With a resolution of 960x640 pixels, it is a breeze to read iBooks, read and respond to email, set up calendar events and even browse the internet (zooming into the web page with ease when needed).

It plays over 3000 songs, it allows me to stream movies (any format) using air video from my server, and for a little while it was serving up netflix, whether I'm sitting at McDonald or sitting on my couch, and with almost over half a million apps in the Apple iTune store I am never bored whether I'm playing a racing game or sudoku.

It is the phone that I wake up to and checking my email from the comforts of my bed in the morning, to a device that I depend on throughout the day from planning my calendar events to taking quick photos, to the device that I take to bed with me for reading ibooks or watching a movie under the covers.

I've been a cell phone owner since 1988 bricks and I have to say that the iPhone 4 has been the best experience so far...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lifestyle changes due to Apple

Although to my generation of friends it seems to them that I'm the first to adopt a new product but I am actually a little behind the times. It is only recently that I have untied the ropes that bound me to my desk and it was in part thanks to my iPhone.
Several years ago, I untied myself from a land line phone by redirecting all calls to my cell phone and subsequently canceling my land line once everyone was aware of my new cell number.

Canceling my cable subscription was my next step as the internet provided all my cable needs. Today, NetFlix supplies all the movies that I want to watch for only $8/month.

Like most of my peers in my generation, I was at the point where I don't like change especially when a product like my old HTC touch windows mobile cellphone, had served me well for three years; the old motto of why pay more for something you don't need. However it was old tech and it was because of the 320x200 screen that made me hesitate to accept email or browse the internet on the device. When my contract ended on December of 2010 that I decided that I would take a leap of faith to the iPhone since the iPad had proven itself to be a usable product.

So today's blog is about how my work habits has changed.

In the past, as a photographer, I would write down my assignments on a small pocket book calendar, scribble notes on a large notepad and if I had to travel to my assignment, I would google the address, then print out the directions.

Today on my iPhone:
1. email received with date, time and address for assignment.
2. tap on date-time to add event in calendar
3. tap address to search google maps
4. sync with Mac to ensure backup of calendar.

Everything is on my iPhone including calendar, notes, contacts and addresses; if I were to lose my iphone, all this info is on my desktop and sync'ing a new iphone to my desktop will restore everything including my apps.

I hardly use my desktop computer with exception of photoshop for photos and the occasional blog.

My server provides an iTunes home share for sharing with my Apple TV; selecting, converting and adding new movies can all be done via my iphone. Torrents for new movies are all done via RDP (remote desktop protocol) via iPhone/iPad to my torrent program running on my server.

Air video also allows me to stream any movie in any format from my server to my iPhone or iPad as well as converting any movie (mkv,avi, wvm) to Apple TV format.

I can watch a netflix movie on the Apple TV, pause the show and resume watching the same movie on my iPhone/iPad.

In addition, I can upload a movie to my iphone and air share the movie from my iphone to the Apple TV. Music on my iphone/ipad can be air shared to my apple TV with a simple tap. This seamless portability was only a dream a few years ago but is now a reality with the apple products.

Although it may be true that the Android line of products may provide similar seamless portability, Android is still in its development infancy. For example, Netflix is still being develop as of this writing, as well as TomTom voice navigation is still not available on Android.

In addition my iphone/ipad can control Apple TV remotely thus the idea of having distributed media clients around the house is now a reality where music/movie sharing is now possible using wifi-n and remotely controlling all the units.

I've defected over to the Apple camp for a good reason and thanks to Apple my lifestyle has completed the final change and I have settled in.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movies on the Go

Recently I signed up for Netflix on the Canadian Side and the reason that I state Canadian Side is according to the internet our choices of movies is much less then our southern U.S. Cousin due to copyrights, which I am unable to verify since I am redirected to the Canadian site due to my IP. Although I could use a proxy, just to check out the selection, it is best that I don't torture myself.

Despite the slimmer pickings, Netflix is still what we have been waiting for since the delivery of the home PC; a library of movies at your fingertips on demand.

In order for companies like Netflix to work is that you must remember that that these are not the most current releases of movies. In fact the latest movie is about 6 months old and some of the more popular movies like Avatar is not yet available although the icon is up for display. "When Harry met Sally", "Back to the Future", all my old time favorites are also not available.

Now I do have the DVD's for these and they are part of my private collection for home theatre viewing. So it isn't that I am dependent on Netflix for all my home theatre needs.

Netflix works on a plethora of devices and certainly my iPhone, iPad and my most recent purchase, Apple TV, all work without a hitch. I can have up to 6 authorized devices on my account and resume watching any movie on any device. Thus I was getting sleepy watching a movie on the couch, I resumed the same movie on my iPhone and headed to bed. Since I fell asleep before the movie ended, I continued watching on my computer this morning while I answered my mail and posted this blog.

At Wendy's, I was able to scroll through a large selection of movies and simply picked an older movie for entertainment while I devour my evening meal.

There are movies that I definitely never want to watch, but the choices are there and since it is unlimited, someday I may choose to catch up TV shows such as Weeds, Chris Angel and much more.

Although the movie quality is 720p and at times depending on the bandwidth such as my IPad 3g, the quality dropped down to a pixelated mess, the movie was still watchable. At home, through Wifi N, I am able to get a consistent 720p with 5.1 surround sound on certain movies.

Netflix for $8 a month augments my meager home theatre selection and it the freedom to watch unlimited along with a library that is bigger then mine that makes Netflix a nice addition to my array of Apple entertainment products.

If you want blue-ray 1080p quality, netflix is not for you, but if you simply want to watch a quick movie, no download times, then netflix could be a nice addition to your tv selection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

10 Intelligent Reason for Buying an Iphone 4

Most Window users prefer either a Windows phone 7 or Google Android for the simple reason that it is not an Apple device. In fact anything related to Apple is usually considered a consumer market device and anyone who buys an Apple product is usually an uninformed buyer or an idiot.

If you show an Android user a fantastic IPhone App, they will either say "its stupid!" because it hasn't been ported over to Android or conversely say "Android has it and their phone only cost half as much as your IPhone".

Most buyers are uninformed and for most, it is a no-brainer that the IPhone is the phone to get but it usually because a co-worker, neighbor, friend or family member has bought one.

The usual response on

Q. why did you buy the IPhone 4?
A. it was hard to get so I had to pre-order mine.

So I have decided that it is time for all IPhone users to upgrade their credibility and provide an infallible quip for any Apple haters.

I've spent over 30 years on various PC, pocket PC's, Windows Mobile, linux open source and I know why I bought an IPhone 4 and it is not because everyone has one.

So lets begin... remember lying is acceptable when defending yourself against the Androids
  1. My IPhone 4 $20 corporate plan came with a great unlimited data plan, 400 phone minutes with unlimited long distance but the package was only with an IPhone 4.
  2. I needed a particular app (you have to do some research on what apps are available to only the IPhone 4 and not on Android) e.g. Tom Tom GPS software and Air Video, both are apps that the Android currently does not support. Although Google Maps with voice is the alternative on Android but it still requires the internet for accessing GPS maps. Tom Tom is a standalone app that does not require internet access which allows you to use it outside your country without paying for the $3 a MB charge.
  3. I am using both Mac devices an IPhone and an IPad and I needed my apps to run on both. Currently there are only one upcoming Android device that might be an IPad killer but it might be at least a year before Android Pads and Android phones work harmoniously together.
  4. I am a Doctor that only medical software runs on the IPad and IPhone. A lot of apps are being developed for the Medical field due to the portability of the IPad.
  5. I want to watch my downloaded movies on my IPhone anywhere, streamed from my home server. Currently only the IPhone and IPad supports Air Video that streams and converts in real time to a format that is playable on both IPhone and IPad. This app is still in development on Android.
  6. I got my IPhone for $50 compared to the $100 Android phone. When asked where? tell them that your Uncle Bob that works at Bell got you this great plan.
  7. I am a software developer and in the process of converting my Android apps over to the Apple Platform.
  8. My company is paying for the phone and has converted from Palm/Blackberry to the IPhone. Most Android users will rate users of a Palm and Blackberry's below that of IPhone. So it is a step up and stating that your company is paying for it means that you didn't have a choice in your selection; unless you own your own company but even then if you say it quick enough they may not realize or remember that you are self employed.
  9. I really wanted the HTC Desire but it was too expensive but I found this IPhone 4 on craigslist for only a $100. I think it is stolen, but I bought it anyway...
  10. I buy all the phones as they come out just to play with them. I am only carrying the IPhone 4 because it was the last phone that I tested. The HTC desire is still in the box waiting for me to do a un-boxing video.

I won't guarantee that an Android user will believe you or find any of the above reasons to be acceptable; therefore you must be prepared to refute any arguments they may have by doing the research before buying the IPhone 4.

My reasoning was that my corporate plan was expiring and in order to keep it I had to renew and since I will be adding data to my $20/month plan, I figure that IPhone 4 would be a great play around phone for the next 3 years.

Also I am looking into developing for the Apple platform, seeing if I can be the creator of the next "got to have" app for the IPhone; although this is more dubious in acceptability then "I am a doctor that needs doctor apps".

If none of the above reasoning are acceptable and if you have to make up an excuse, just don't say "oh I had to have that nice shiny thin phone"!

If in doubt, just smile and say nothing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I am feeling guilty but enjoying every moment!!

So my PC, Android, Windows Mobile phone buddies are making me feel guilty and rightly so for buying into the biggest closed system on the market where Steve Jobs dictates to me what software that I'm allowed to run (eg. no flash for website browsing), no external SD card, no upgradability on either battery pack or hard drive, but somehow I am addicted and have been happily assimilated into the Apple culture.

The most interesting thing about Apple is the experience!!

From the single IPad purchase, I've expanded my Apple ownership to a Mac Mini as well as an IPhone 4. One thing that you cannot accuse me of is blind marketing purchase as this is the first time that I actually invested time and effort in the research before making an informed decision to buy each Apple product.

It all starts with a great user experience. On the Mac Mini, even with a 2.4Ghz duo cpu, about 30-50% less power then my already outdated Quad 3ghz system, I am never left with the feeling that the Mac Mini was underpowered. In fact with the new IPhoto 11 to create Wedding photo albums, Garage Band to record my Piano Midi music and VM Fusion to run old Window apps, I am totally stoked on learning a new operating system as well as feeling satiated; a feeling that I haven't felt for a long time even with the introduction of Windows 7.

With Microsoft Windows, it was always the feeling of the Same ol, Same ol windows. It was never a breath of fresh air as it is with the Mac. In all my days of computers since the late 1970's, this is the first time that I could actually say that I'm having fun with my computer.

It is the user experience. With the IPad that I use as my Portfolio, it simply displays my Photos in stunning colors and resolution that sells my work to my clients. Pass the IPad to anyone and they are immersed into my world of photos without having to teach them how to navigate or where to navigate to see my photos. Squeeze and flick, the photos comes to life as though they were pages in a book.

Granted we had all these apps on phones before, but somehow the immersive experience on an IPad is just that much better. For the first time, internet browsing on a portable device has become fun and believe me, I had the first notebook computer, netbook, pocket PC and none of those devices has even come close in browsing the internet as it is on the IPad. The ability to zoom in on any part of the web page is a gift to my old age eyes. A quick swipe and the pages move.

After making an informed decision to buy the IPhone 4 today, after synching, all of my bought apps were loaded on my IPhone and worked immediately without having to re-purchase the same apps for my IPhone. One purchase works across all my Apple devices.

There is always something new to discover and it is a constant "Ahhhhh" moment that was always missing with the old windows environment. Perhaps it is just the fact that it is all new to me, but even with Windows 7 when there were things to discover, it was never an "ahhhh" moment.

From HD video recording, ibooks, a 5 megapixel camera, internet, video streaming, games, the list is endless and yes you will find all these functions on an Android phone, but somehow discovering these features on the IPhone is more refreshing.

The neat thing is that all three of my Apple products works together and I prefer a closed system of three rather then an open system like android of one.

ps. IBook bookmarks will sync between the IPhone and IPad so if you were reading on the IPhone and decided to continue reading on the IPad, sync the two devices and your bookmarks are copied.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The 3G experience

Back in the days of old when.dinosaurs wandered in our back yards and mobile connectivity meant tethering off your cell phone via a sync cord, it was a hassle in getting everything set up.

The 3G sim card in the iPad makes working on the Internet seamless as it is as simple as dragging out your iPad whenever you need to work and hitting the sleep button when it is time to move on. You can continue your work anywhere and anytime.

Right now I am touch typing on the iPad's on screen keyboard albeit slower then my normal keyboard but certainly quite usable.

However with 3G turned on I am automatically connected to the internet when I turn on my iPad with no cords attached; it is all self contained without having to switch on a separate device or creating a connection. It is simply a joy to use.

Right now I have 7 days remaining on my 3G monthly plan and still have 4Gb of data usage left. I have spent 2 hours at McDonald watching a movie streamed by air video from my home server, downloaded dozens of apps and surfed at least a dozen websites using a grand total of 230Mb of data. 5Gb is a lot of data if you are just generally surfing the Internet.

Having 3G on my iPad is certainly a luxury but having it may soon change my working habits as I sit at McDonald or star bucks more often.