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Entries in apple (11)


rewind 2012: apps & technology

As I continue to rewind 2012, today I discuss my favorite apps and general technology geek talk. 
Top 5 Apps
1.  Clear
I love this app!  I use it on my iPhone and my Mac.  It's a very simple interface and friendly to use.  Nothing special, just real easy to do list making.  I really really love it and mostly love the simplicity.  No project managing, etc.  Just a real clear make a list and cross it off.  It's really changed the way I grocery shop and plot out my day.  Each day I learn how to make things a little simpler.  
2.  Scramble with Friends
So addictive!  This game was started on a whim, since I loved Words with Friends and I just wanted to keep playing some of my friends in these types of word games and this one stuck!  It's super fun and kind of a mix of cross word puzzles and word building.   I like that it's fast.   Each game is only 2 minutes per round and you can play a game while you're waiting for something to microwave or anything.  Brilliant and fun!
3.  Song Pop
 Basically, this game is Name that Tune.  Since I love music, this game fits a niche that not everyone loves, but I do.   I love guessing which song is which and can't believe it when I miss something.  It's very addictive and I found myself playing strangers anyone, just so I can play.   I've started to kind of taper off a little, but it's still very fun and highly addictive to play.  
4.  Angry Birds Star Wars
 I have loved Angry Birds for awhile, but I hadn't played in forever.  I must say when I saw the Star Wars themed version I had to check it out.  It's great.  It borrows from the standard angry birds game and from the space version, but it's all done with a Star Wars theme and I just can't get enough of it.  I started playing it in November and it's renewed my interest in all my Angry Birds games.   Those Rovio guys are genius and they even are planning on making a movie.  We'll see if they can build a real cross platform franchise or if this birds/pigs fizzle out next year.  
5.  Passbook
 This isn't so much an app as it is a feature within iOS6 for iPhone and iPad.  I think it needs to mature a lot, but I was really interested in exploring it.  Starbucks has a very seamless integration and it's so simple and easy and transformed how I get my Starbucks coffee.  It will pop up a notification on my Phone when I enter one of my normal Starbucks locations and give me access to my gift card/payment card without having to launch the seperate app.   Again, simple and I can see how this could evolve into a digital wallet type app.  I'd love to be able to use this for all my loyalty cards for stores which I hate carrying around so much.  I can also see it for credit cards.   I guess we'll see how it evolves over the next year, but so far it's intriguing and it's something I really want to use.  
Now that you know my favorite apps to use, here's some general tech talk.  As always, 2012 ushered in some cool new toys.  iCloud officially launched by Apple and MobileMe went away.  I am really enjoying iCloud and again it's the simplicity that I love the most.   I think I miss the website ease with MobileMe and I definitely miss the galleries.  But I'm using squarespace now for my site which is much much nicer and I'm looking into other ways with picture galleries, since I think the squarespace galleries lack a little something for ease of use.  iCloud just works and good to know my information is backed up in Apple's cloud (huge data center in North Carolina and maybe more soon).  The nicest part is the backups just happen when you are plugged into power and wifi is nearby.  Genius!  The bad part is that it's not backing up everything on my hard drive.  I like that I can delete stuff from my own hard drive and then just grab it back from iCloud especially the iTunes purchases.   This is extremely helpful.  I like it so much, I'm considering a service like Carbonite to backup the rest of my stuff on my Mac.  I've been holding off on using iTunes Match too, but I think I may give it a try since I keep hearing good things about it.  It was a rocky beginning so I held off.   
The tech patents are getting insane.  You need to look no further than the many many patent lawsuits that you see everyday.   TiVo is using them to keep themselves alive.  They have a great service and I wish them continued success, but they need to sell themselves to Apple and integrate with Apple TV.   They will die at some point due to a lack of innovation and how much it costs to get into their product versus a standard cable dvr.  They are way better than a cable DVR, but I must admit that I haven't upgraded my TiVo in like 4 years now and it needs it, but I wonder why I should bother.  I'm just recording less and watching online more.  I lvoe TiVo, but I wonder if it's a product whose time has come and gone.   Hmmm.....The patent lawsuits reached an all time crazy with Apple vs Samsung.  I'm glad that Apple won their victory, but then Samsung won something too.   I mean, some of the stuff these companies are claiming a patent on, just don't seem like things that you should be able to patent.  Crazy, and then lawsuits in multiple countries too?  Too much.  I think the patent system needs to re-evaluated in this new age of technology.  
Facebook did another redesign and introduced timeline.  They keep changing to keep it fresh, but they will have a hard time doing that I think as they evolve since they are so super huge.  They just bought instagram toward the end of the year too.   Who knows how long Facebook will survive, most of these type of companies fall out of favor after a few years, but Facebook and Twitter look to be going strong.  I will say I've tried Google+ several times and I really liked it, but couldn't get into using it.  There is something lacking there from a user experience and Facebook and Twitter are just simpler and more integrated and more of my friends use them.   Oh well.  GetGlue I am also still using for checking into movies and TV.  Now I'm also on Good Reads for books and FourSquare for locations.   Lord help me.  These social networks are just everywhere.  I feel like at some point, we'll all went to be a little less social, right?
Apple came out with all kinds of cool gadgets this year.  2 rounds of new iPads, new iPhone with a big redesign, new iPods with a big redesign, new iMacs, new Macbooks.  Thunderbolt and Lightning cables now replacing all of our other standard 32 pin iPhone/iPod/iPad cables.  Whew!   I didn't buy any of those new gadgets this year, but I finally got an Apple TV.  I LOVE IT!!!  It is a big change in my habits and I get much better playback of Netflix on that device.  It's so impressvely tiny too.   Not in the way at all.  I also like getting lots of my media from my Mac to my TV/Stereo.   I really really like it.  I subscribed to Hulu Plus only because I could get it on my TV through Apple TV.   I would never use this service if I could only use it online.  It's the way I consume a great deal of television now.   I still prefer to watch my TV on TV and not through my computer.   Although I do watch on my iPad occasionally.   I find it a complimentary service to my Netflix subscription and not a replacement.  It has more current shows than Netflix.  It also has commercials, but I don't find them very intrusive.  It still lacks a great deal of content, especially HBO and bothersome when whole sections of Saturday Night Live aren't able to be streamed, but the content they do have on there I like to consume.  I should probably do a whole post at some point this year on what I like about Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.   I need to also do a whole post on the Apple TV and what I'd love to see done with that.  There has been many rumors going around about what Apple wants to do in the TV space, so I guess getting my thoughts out there would make me feel better before anything actually happens.  I also need to do a whole post on digital downloads for movies and tv shows.   I've done a lot more of that this year through iTunes and have lots of digital movies in my collection.   I generally like the idea but have lots of issues with it.   I still have a bunch of blu-rays too.  iTunes major redesign finally came through in December too.  I've heard mixed reviews, but I generally like it.  Still getting used to it somewhat though.   
In general, it was another fun year in techy stuff.  Maybe a new iPad for me in 2013?  mini or standard?  let's see what next year brings.  this is the year that I would get a new iPhone too.  


i love you apple - but what should I do?

I really would like a new computer. I am the proud owner of a G5 Power PC iMac and I have absolutely loved it over the last several years. I bought it in 2004 pre-iSight integration. It’s been great. But the machine is getting older. It’s having issues. I had the repair from Apple a few years ago that fixed the constant automatic power downs. In the last few days though, I’ve noticed it again - not constant, just every now and again when I’m not using the computer - it’s just sleeping, and fear after reading some posts online that the same issue is starting to resurface. It’s also a lot slower than it used to be and can’t take advantage of some of the new software that is out there for the Intel based Macs. I’m using all this as a good excuse to start looking at a new computer. I considered it last year, but I felt I couldn’t really afford it. Now I believe that I just need to invest in it. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth out of this one, but Apple has lots of new toys to choose from nowadays and what to do? I love Apple products and I guess I’m a fanboy now. I gave my parents my old G3 iMac a few years ago and that baby is still ticking. I bought that one in 2000. My first new computer. As you can see, I won’t consider any other type of computer. I'm not buying a PC or a scrawny little netbook at this point.

But do I go iMac again?? Those nice shiny 27 inch iMacs look amazing! I would love one. I keep asking myself, do I need the power of that quad core iMac or is a stock model good enough for me? I always like more power. Not sure if I really use it. I do like working on graphics and video, but haven’t in awhile. Is it because my G5 iMac not working well and it takes way too long, or is just me not taking the time to do it? Ugh! Decisions.

I’ve also found myself using computers on the go a lot more. My work computer is exclusively a laptop (PC though - Ugh!) and I want to consider a laptop as my primary machine at home, but not sure if I’ll miss the desktop experience. Not sure what that even is but will I miss a larger screen? Something tells me if I plunk down some serious coin for a nice shiny new Macbook Pro, I don’t think I’d spend money right away on a nice external Apple Cinema Display. Ooooh, that would be nice though.

Plus, now that Apple has the shiny new iPad out there, maybe that could serve as my inexpensive portable computer? I mean I really want one of those babies, but do I really want a laptop and an iPad? I know that my overlord of technology that I love is Steve Jobs and he says that this is a new device category that I need, but I’m trying to think of why I’d lug around an iPad and a laptop on a vacation or just on an airplane. I was impressed with the iPad presentation and think it would fit in well with my life and my line of iPods and iPhone. I do a lot with my iPhone that I never thought I would so maybe the iPad would satisfy that laptop experience?? Plus, it looks all cool and Star Trek like.

Once I get the new computer I’m going to upgrade my Airport too. I feel a new computer deserves a newer wireless router too. Maybe not right away, but maybe soon. Or maybe right away. Man, it’s not like i have a few thousand sitting around, but I do really want this stuff. I guess I don’t buy new computer equipment or computers often enough. Maybe I'm just a gadget freak and haven't gotten enough new gadgets to play with. The glow of the iPhone 3GS only lasts so long.

I’m really perplexed. Any suggestions? I know in my heart that I can’t get an iMac, an iPad and a Macbook Pro, so don’t even offer that as a suggestion. I’ve definitely considered it (I crunched some numbers) and that’s too much money for me at this time to even think about spending. How about suggestions for re-purposing my G5 iMac. Should I strip it down and use it for something else? Or is it time to donate it to some organization that is more interested in fixing these power supply and hardware concerns? Computers feel like big purchases to me and they always make me nervous. But I always love it when I get them.

My parents could really use a new computer too. That G3 iMac is managing a ton of iPods and some other portable media devices that aren’t as good. They need something new to Skype or iChat with too. I think laptop is the way to go for them. I’m just trying to decide if I get them a standard Macbook or a Macbook Pro. I mean, when I’m back home I will use it, so it might as well be something I like too. I’ve also thought about not spending as much money on them and getting them a simple netbook PC computer. GASP! I know, but I wouldn’t be using it as much. But I like the Mac idea since they are already using iTunes on a Mac and an upgrade of that process would be nice for my nieces too. My sister got an iPod shuffle for Christmas and the thing wouldn’t even mount on the G3. But don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic machine still. Just slow at stuff and really showing its age. 10 years for a $1,000 computer though is really good I think.

OK, thanks for reading, if you have any suggestions, please email or leave me a comment on the blog. I will continue torturing myself with ideas until I just break down and buy something. Maybe wait for the next product cycle though......we’ll see.


2Do List App for iPhone - Love it!

I love my iPhone, but as a task manager it sucks. I can add To Do’s in iCal on my Mac, and then I can awkwardly sync them in MobileMe, which then allows me to see them on my iPhone. UGH! It’s a sucky workflow and I hated it. It made me not use my iPhone to actually track any to do’s which I thought was a silly waste of my iPhone’s power. I mean I can watch The Matrix on it, but I can’t have it remind me go get milk?!?! I was looking for a cool app to help me with that. I love the iPhone apps. they are usually great. or just silly, but always fun. I took a look at a lot of To Do lists apps, but a lot of them wanted me to just use their website or their interface only on the phone. I was really looking for something that allowed me to use the simple iCal interface and not have to use MobileMe to make a duplicate of it. I looked around for some ideas and found a great list of apps on Macworld’s website. I checked them out. Some were expensive, but there were at least 4 or 5 that would do what I wanted. I took the recommendation from Macworld and decided to try 2Do List. There was a free trial which allowed me to check out the interface and use it a little. I tried to get it to sync with iCal and then I realized they don’t let you do that in the free version. Makes sense I guess. It’s a big feature as far as I was concerned. So after playing with the free version for a few days, I decided to buy the full version. It was only $6.99. I really like it. It syncs with iCal over WiFi. This makes it nice, since I can sync my To Do’s at home without having to sync my iPhone. I really only sync my iPhone once every week or 2, so I like the feature of syncing over WiFi. I can do this in the morning or at night and stay really up to date. I find that being able to review my to do list every day on phone makes me a little more accountable and I like being able to see what I’m working on. It also has a fun little scribble out motion when that makes me think of making a paper list and checking it off. Very satisfying and not a waste of paper. I also like that it saves all my info in the app and syncs to iCal even when the tasks are completed. It also has a fun little feature of making things into a project and not just a to do. I’m just starting to play with that. This isn’t supported in iCal, but it will generate into a list in iCal. All the notes on each to do are always saved in iCal too which is really beneficial for reviewing later.

All in all, I really enjoy the app and encourage you to take a look if you’re looking for similar iCal syncing and simple features like I was.


Netcot & podcasts direct to iPhone

Downloaded some podcasts directly to my iPhone this past week. Great
feature. I enjoyed the Netcot podcast about DisneyWorld this week.
Very enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

Sent from freddie's iPhone


Apple's Let's Rock Event

Apple had their Let's Rock Event yesterday. While most of the late predictions came true, there were some surprises. I'm excited about the new Nanos since I was thinking of getting a new one soon anyway. My headphone jack is kind of worn out and now I don't hear clean music through my nano anymore. I'm also excited to use the new iTunes 8. I'm just starting to play with it now since I downloaded it last night. OK, well here's a ton more info if you're interested.

Watch the whole event in quicktime
Check out the apple store