AppleTV, you underwhelm me

Everyone who knows me knows I’m an Apple Whore. I have just about one of everything they’ve made in the last 10 years (minus that stupid boom box and the apple battery charger).

I had the old AppleTV. Which, to me, was a step forward. A movement in the right direction. A glimpse of what was to become. And that was because I had a full understanding of the iPhone. Of the potential for applications being written around the AppleTV. About how this could be a game changer.

But thus far, I’m underwhelmed.

I have two of the Circa 2010 (or was it 2009) AppleTVs. One for each TV. I use them for perusing content that’s stored out on my NAS, using the radio functionality and Netflix. Great. For $99 bucks, I’m not going to lose a kidney.
But after this weeks “update” I sit here thinking “Um. What the fuck.” Underwhelmed is an understatement. So much so I don’t actually know what word to use. What’s worse than underwhelmed.

Help me, Apple, understand WHY we are where we are with this thing.
And here’s a list of my current frustrations.

1. Why do I STILL not have a keyboard to use with this effin’ thing. Bluetooth? Wireless Keyboard? This isn’t rocket science. It will save me the aggravation of having to input my user/pass with that idiotic iddy-biddy remote each time it “forgets” it.
I use alpha/numeric/special char passwords that are no less than 14 chars long. It’s a 20 minute process to input all that crap. wtf. For fuck’s sake, at least give me T9!

2. Since we’re on the topic of a human interface device, WHY can’t I just use the keyboard on my iPad/iPhone to input data into the AppleTV? That doesn’t make sense? We can push content to it, but we can’t use it to enter data easier? Do you think I like searching for movies, etc using a single button remote circa 1998? This is idiotic. Sure, the iPhone Remote app gives me some of that, but fuck me, it leaves a LOT to be desired!

3. Since we’re on the topic of inputting information INTO this thing, help me understand WHY I can’t search my content. I have nearly a thousand movies. And on this interface I can’t just input a couple letters? Instead it’s scroll scroll scroll scroll…

4. The update gave us a new GUI. But what’s the benefit. How is this the killer app if I can’t add any apps? Apple, you tards, you own the fucking ecosystem. Help me understand why I can’t put apps on my AppleTV! I mean, wtf, even my Samsung TV has apps! It might be the worst user interface on earth but they at least have apps! Help me help myself!

Apple, I’m really hoping you are going somewhere with this. Thus far, I’m completely underwhelmed.

Advertisements

iPad 3 review:

I stood in line at Walmart last night in hopes of picking up a new iPad 3. Though I pre-ordered one, it wasn’t scheduled to ship until the 19th. And frankly, waiting that long just wasn’t in the cards. So off I went at 9:30pm last night, expecting a line half way down the block. I was shocked to find that I was the only one there for the iPad 3. So the line began behind me.

 
A few hours later I left with a 64 gig WIFI + 4G on AT&T, a dream and a prayer. 
 
Image
 
My previous iPad, the Generation One iPad, has been very good to me. I used her religiously, even up to last night while waiting to purchase the new one. So my review of this iPad may be a bit skewed. I didn’t own an iPad 2. So the jump for me is two generations, and with that, an entirely new experience.
 
I’ll start with the obvious:
 
1. The CPU/GPU: She’s fast. She’s really really fast. Switching apps, downloading, the multi gestures to swipe from one app to the next…  fast. Though my current apps are lower res, and not taking full advantage of the speedier processor and the jump in GPU, the current apps are really really impressive. And they’re only going to get better.
 
2. The Retina Display: As an iPhone 4s user, I know I’m already spoiled. I stood my Generation One iPad beside the Generation three iPad, and frankly, I’m not seeing a huge difference. At least, not at face value. The majority of the content I have isn’t HD. Yet. But now with the massive 64 gigs of space, I can see the content quality taking a significant jump. Till then, drilling in on text I could see a difference in Generation one vs. Generation three, but frankly, it wasn’t mind blowing. It was cleaner, but not something I’d lose my mind over.
 
3. Camera: The first thought of the iPad with a camera with the Generation two sounded ridiculous. But now having one, aside from looking like a tool waving an iPad around to take a photo, the photos look great. Not iPhone 4s good. But still really good. I’ll be using it for FaceTime and Skype. 
 
My only gripe, thus far, is the idiotic “case”. I bought the iPad Three [Project Red] with the magnetic cover. The challenge is that it protects nothing but the screen itself. Not the back, the sides, and frankly, if you drop this thing, it’s a goner. Idiotic case. So bad, in fact, I’ll probably return it and buy something more substantial. Dropping a $1k device on the ground with a “case” that does nothing but protect the front from scratches and saves me a single step of clicking the top button. Stupid.
 
I’ll update this as time passes.
 
 
Did you get yours? Thoughts? 

Blog fu

This isn’t do much a blog post so much as an internal conversation that I’m having externally.

When I log into twitter, LinkedIn or any other social site I’m blasted with automated NetSec posts. This got me to wondering whether anything I were is actually read. I mean sure, I can check blog stats. Where did people arrive on my blog from? Where did they go after? How long did they stay?

And all of that is fantastic but are people actually READING what is written?

We have become a nation of “skimmers” with a very short attention span. I’m as guilty as the next. I sit here now wondering if I ever make it to the end of anyones blog post. Or do I move on after just a few sentences.

What is your reading style. Am I alone on this?

Thoughts?

Me electric bill is “teh suck”

I was ripping up my floor when it happened. I, for one reason or another, bent down at the now bare concrete wall, pulled the pile of wood pieces from the previous flooring and reached under the drywall, the edge of which was now exposed.

I was shocked.

There was nothing there. Not a stitch of insulation. Just drywall glued to cinder-bloc. Not even a frame. Nothing. I almost choked. “What kind of low rent building did I buy into?!?” and that’s what started this project.

First step, rip the drywall out, fill the HOLES in the cinderblock (Let’s put it this way, I could see sunlight coming through the wall), frame everything, then spray foamed the hell out of it. That was a very quick way to burn through a grand in materials, but it cut 1/3rd off my electric bill from last year, where my biggest bill was $1200. I shit you not. For a one bedroom apartment. But I still don’t understand WHY it was still sitting at $300 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment, which, btw, I only use one room of.

This building has HVAC units. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of owning one, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Essentially HVAC stands for “Heater/Ventilation/Air Conditioner” which is an acronym which describes exactly the things it’s really really shitty at. For heat, these things are essentially a heater coil and a fan that blows hot air up at the ceiling. Very useful when you want to heat the air over your head. They don’t come with thermostats, so essentially if you want to adjust the temperature, you have to turn the knob. More blue or more red. Not “71 degrees fahrenheit”. And the way they work IN the apartment is basically there’s a giant hole cut in the side of the building directly into your apartment where they push these things in with a really shoddy seal.

Even better.

So, back to being green.

I stopped using my HVAC units. All three. And I sealed the hole between the exterior of the building, and the HVAC by putting fiber board insulation, and then adding pink insulation all around the HVAC and then stuffed it tight by any means necessary. As a replacement, I bought a Vornado heater/fan unit. This thing is neat. It’s sort of a space heater, looks like a fan, doesn’t get hot to the touch and has this phenomenal futuristic technology called a “thermostat”, which, unlike the HVAC don’t require you to dial “more red or more blue”.

This thermostat technology is going to be HUGE! You can actually just set this thing at a temperature… say… 71 degrees fahrenheit, and it’ll maintain that room temperature. It’s saved me hundreds this winter. Fantastic.

But my electric bill was STILL 300 bucks.

Damn it!

So I took this green tech thing even more seriously. I went Belkin power conservation crazy. First I bought a Belkin Conserve switch. It’s essentially a power strip with a remote that you can completely power off all the things that are vampire sucking power when still powered off. Examples being the surround sound processor, floor lamp, the subwoofer, the Xbox, the TV and one of my switches.

While I was at it I purchased a Belkin Conserve Insight unit. This puppy plugs into the wall, then the device in question plugs into that. And what it gives you is this really cool little display of how much power that device or devices plugged into it consumes, as well as what it costs on a monthly/yearly basis. And so I’ve gone around the house trying to identify  wtf is consuming over $300 in electricity. I’ve found that the Vornado heater uses between $75 and 100$ per month. I also found that my computer only costs me about $20.00 a month, and that was before I configured my computer to sleep at 1am each night and come back at 7am. No need to be online at that time. I’m not running SETI at home.

On the same Belkin train, I purchased the Belkin Conserve Socket Energy-Saving Outlet. Plug it into the wall. Plug a device into it. Then set your time at a half hour, three hours or six hours. When you need to use it, press the button. So what’s the use case? I set one at 30 minutes, and into that I plugged in my kitchen appliances on a power strip. When I need to use the microwave, or anything else plugged into that little nugget, it’s as simple as pushing a button and it stays on for 30 minutes, then automatically powers off. When I want to power my cordless drill, dremel, etc. I plug them in and let them charge for 6 hours. No need to leave it charging forever.

Finally, I bought a boat load of LED spotlight (G10) bulbs from various vendors. They consume between three and four watts per bulb. In my bathroom alone I have six lights. So, consider this, six lights in the bathroom times 35 watts per bulb is 210 watts being used. With the LED bulbs I’m now using 18 watts. That’s a MASSIVE decrease in power consumption! And I did these all through the house! They are dimmable, they use less power than the previous bulbs and lastly, they last 25 years.

I’ll get my power bill at the end of the month. Thus far I’m still scratching my head as my Belkin Insight isn’t telling me who the big culprit is, however, I’m hoping to find the sneaky bastard sucking up all my power, and with it, banish my electric bill down to 1/3rd of its current amount.

I’ll keep you updated.