Why I’m not losing my shit over the iPhone 5

If you were hoping for something special from the iPhone 5, you, much like myself, must be disappointed. The differences between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 aren’t that much different.

  • iPhone 5 has a bigger screen. whooptie doo.
  • iPhone 5 has a faster CPU. hooray.
  • iPhone 5 has a different connector. wtf.

Aside from that, memory is the same, Bluetooth, camera, storage, display pixel density, audio, blah blah blah… all the same. Not mind blowing. Evolution not revolution.

But the bigger deal, the one that all of us will get, is IOS6. IOS6 is a big deal because it adds upwards of 200 new features and improvements. So why is it a big deal? Let me walk you through it.

Apple acquired a few companies over the last couple years and is finally replacing the Google Maps app with its own. Who cares? Well, you should.
The new maps app offers true turn-by-turn directions (with help from TomTom), crowd-sourced and real-time incident traffic reports (fastest route will actually mean something now), voiced by Siri with real-time integration with Yelp and a number of other services. Maps also has that super cool fly-over capability that will allow you to really drill in to see where you are… or where you want to be.

I often ask “Siri, why are you fucking with me?” to my iPhone. Because in most cases Siri screws up or doesn’t respond. But with IOS6, Siri has gotten smarter. She can now launch apps, send tweets, she integrates with opentable and yelp to check restaurant reviews and make reservations. She will pull rottentomatoes movie times and movie reviews. Epic. She will also be available on the iPad, which is also lovely.

Facebook Integration
Most people will love this. (I, myself, am not on Facebook, so it matters little to me, however…) Facebook is getting some major integration in this new update. With the ability to log into Facebook from the iPhone, users have easier access to Facebook in their apps, via web browser and also via Siri. Facebook contacts, birthdays and events will also now integrate with your calendar and local address book.

Quiet Time
In the phone app itself, Apple has made it easier to text folks back if you can’t take a call, or to enable a “Do Not Disturb” mode where the screen won’t come on, there won’t be any noise or vibrations so if you’re trying to sleep, or don’t want to be woken up at 4am by that crazy ex, you’ll love this. They can drunk dial for days and you’ll not even bat an eyelash.

FaceTime Over Cellular
FaceTime will now work over cellular connections, so you’re not dealing with Skype’s shitty ass IOS app that crashes every time you make a connection. Awesome.

Safari will get offline reading lists, a rip off of Instapaper, and a feature that came out in Windows 98.

Users can now share groups of photos to their friends over iCloud. Because not everyone has or wants to use photos. Especially for the nude photos.

There is a new VIP feature (from OSX Mountain Lion) that will highlight mail from people you need to prioritize, like your boss, your mom or the IRS.

Have a ton of little “loyalty cards” from CVS, your local grocery store, AMC Theaters, Century 21, and all the others? Yea, me too. Like several other apps in both Android and Apple app stores, this collects all of your loyalty card data but also adds ticket information and other info into one central place for easy access and easy viewing. And it’s location-enabled so it knows what to show based on where you are (so you can get your movie tickets at the theater, your plane ticket at the airport, or your CVS card at… well… CVS.)

I’ll totally use this.

The update will be out on September 19th. So stay tuned.

Mountain Lion review

I’ll admit that I’ve been using Mountain Lion for the last few months, performing the updates, dealing with a few pieces of software which weren’t compatible (until today, Evernote shit the bed each and every time I opened it) but as of tonight I upgraded to the latest Release Candidate and what a difference it made.

I could be crazy but it seems MUCH faster. Granted my laptop is a beast, but fuck me is it fast. Everything is fast. Opening applications, browsing the web via firefox, closing applications, switching applications. Fast. And that’s very exciting.

Dictation is neat. Siri has been a bit of a challenge as it’s interactive, but I like the fact that Dictation will learn based on how you talk. Neat. I’m sure I’ll use that on a much more regular basis, as I find myself using dictation on my iPhone on a very constant basis. Let’s face it, we can talk faster than we can type. And the Human Interface Device is currently the issue that we, as humans, face. Using our hands? Think of version 2 of Siri. Of version 3. It will be fantastic.

But back to Mountain Lion. I’m still exploring, but I love the single search bar for URLs and for Google Searching. No more little browser bar for each search, no more big browser address bar for URLs. (Thank you Google Chrome for the inspiration).

Mountain Lion is evolution not revolution. It’s a step forward, it polishes up the applications (iCal, Contacts, Mail, etc.) and it does so in a very subtle way.

To see more about OSX Mountain Lion (which is due somewhere in late July) you can read about all of them here: http://www.apple.com/osx/ and I hope you enjoy the performance changes as I do. Your comments, of course, are always welcome.

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. 
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?


My Audi Q5 review

I woke up this morning to find the earth cold and precipitation had blessed us with some snow. Sorta.

Now all of last year I was driving a Dodge Charger SRT. She’s a big girl. 450HP, 6.1 Liter HEMI. All balls, no cock.

She was something of a spectacle in the snow. Rear wheel drive meant I could spin her in circles, drift for days and floss my “mad” Yankee skills in the snow.

I didn’t give much of a rats ass about how much snow was out there. I drive that car through anything.

A year later my Audi S8 is in the shop for a number of tweaks and upgrades. Tires. Rims. The lot.

So today I was in fortune of driving a loaner from Audi, the Q5.

Its not a massive SUV. It’s mini. It’s big enough for a small family and small enough to not be a gas monster. “cute”. Dare I say even “soccer mom-ish”.

But with the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive transmission, I was chomping at the bit to go a little snow crazy.

And so I did.

The verdict? I love the little bastard. The full glass sunroof from front to rear let’s the light in and makes the interior feel larger than it is. Though it’s really quite roomy. Enough for kids, strollers and groceries… Or dogs, tools and bags of concrete.

Either way works.

The 2.0 liter turbo is more than enough “go” for city and country driving. The suspension is bumpy but not “bounce you out of the truck” bumpy. The truck rolls with the punches, sticks and moves and doesn’t offer any apologies.

The interior is basic plastic and leather with faux wood trim, but integrated iPod/iPhone integration makes it feel more elegant because your own personal theme music is then an integrated part of the experience.

All in all, I’ve enjoyed my limited time with the Q5. It makes for a great round town vehicle and not a bad day-trip car either.

Good enough for the family, or the guys, regardless of rain, shine or some rare October snow, she’s versatile and flexible enough for all.