Friday, September 7, 2007

Another iPhone price drop

Will there be another iPhone price drop in 3 months? I was just checking out the AT&T site and I happened to notice the date in the price block in the upper right hand portion of their site:

iPhone pricing

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Apple burns me again.

There I go posting an "early" post, in my early adopter tradition and minutes after I post my complaint, Apple responds.

You made it right Apple. I appreciate that. And I'm taking my $100 and using it to stand in line for the next new item.

I've learned my lesson

I'm happy with my iPhone. I love new gadgets. But I've learned a lesson. You can buy MANY more new gadgets if just wait a little over 2 months if you buy an Apple gadget. I'm an early adopter. I buy the latest, greatest. I deal with the bugs, the kinks and the cost of having the latest greatest and enjoy it. I bought the MacBook Pro an hour after it was announced. There have been revs and price changes but they didn't come 68 days and weren't 33%. I bought a 1st gen shuffle minutes after the announcement and I happily bought a second gen when it came out. I've got 3 generations of iPods. I've buy a lot of things when they first come out. Heck I've ordered new items and they've taken 68 days to come arrive!

I've learned my iPhone lesson. The Apple "hype machine" WAS a great thing. I'm no longer biting. I'm still buying but it'll be months after. I won't be waiting in any lines. I can be rewarded handsomely for not waiting in line. 68 days is not long to wait for a new item, again it's taken 30-60 for some orders to come in, and to be rewarded w/ a 33% price reduction for waiting that period it's worth it.

I learned my lesson. There will now be a 90 day waiting period before I buy any new Apple devices.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

ImageWell Review

There are just pieces of software that just do what you want. Simple, yet they accomplish just about every aspect of the task at hand. And then to top it off they're free!

Imagewell does just that. Ever need to resize that digital picture to post on a web page? Want to upload it to your ftp site? Imagewell does both simply and very well. With the latest version it will upload your picture not only to your ftp site but there are a few more options. It will now seamlessly upload it Flickr, Imageshack, smugmug, ftp, sftp, webdav, iDisk, or just save it to a local folder.

Basically it will do just about all need to quickly modifiy the image file to get it to the specs you want. It will allow you to resize, crop, edit and even watermark your photos.

The free version while it allows you to edit the image, with a $14.95 registration it'll allow you to edit the image and draw more lines and shapes. The other "Xtra" features you get for your $14.95 include batch image processing, multiple images on your editing canvas, and templates for drawing objects and backgrounds.

You have the 2590 X 1920 image that you want to post on your web page or upload to a blog. This will fill most default screen sizes on most computers surfing your page. So a quick resize would not only make it more pleasant to your view it will also save them the download of what is a pretty big file.

Drag the picture over to the drop zone and use the slider to the 640 X 480 and click send to send it where you want. You can watermark it before you send it. Or you can actually draw little arrows on the picture to highlight things.

Want to grab part of the screen, want a full screen cap? It's all there. It will randomize the file name for you to upload. It will add the html code for the uploaded file to your clipboard.

All and all a very handy utility that takes up little screen real estate and gets the job done. I had no need for the "xtra" features but I sent the $14.95 because the free version was worth it and more.

iPhone - phone jack hack

I was happy to hear that Apple was including a 3.5" jack on the iPhone. There would be no having to lug around an adapter for headphones like I did with my Treo. Then i got my iPhone and tried to plug in my Bose noise cancelling headphones and they wouldn't work. Close examination revealed the plug wasn't all the way in because the jack was recessed! This may become one of life's great mysteries as to why Apple designed it this way.

Then I started reading about people using exacto knifes trimming the plastic to get it to fit into the recess. I thought that would be too "rough" looking.

Wired BrushI remembered I had a Black and Decker Rotary tool, which I bought for working on my sons' Pine Wood derby cars. Those days are gone, but I dusted off the power tool. I chose the wired brush tool pictured on the left here and went to town fixing all my jacks.

It was about 20 seconds of work on each jack and 100% worked flawlessly after I finished. And they didn't look half bad either. Here's a picture of a "modified" jack at the top and the same jack on the other end "unmodified".Comparision Maybe I'll setup a cottage industry modifying jacks to fit into iPhones. :)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Howto reset your iPhone

There I am loving my iPhone. Talking and surfing. Talking and emailing. Then the fun starts to diminish. Talk, surf, crash. It's like a snowball going down hill, getting worse and worse. It's more like just talk, and crash.

Thinking it's a mini OS X, I figure there's got to be a "Force quit" or heck just a reset. Sure enough:

Force Quit: Press and hold the "Home" button for six seconds with that app being displayed. IE., if you're staring at a Safari screen and nothing is happening. Just press and hold the Home button.

Hard Reset: This is the one that stopped my "snowball". It reminds me of the Menu - Center button combo on my iPod for those iPod owners. Press and hold both the Power button (the black button at the top right) and the Home button, until you see the Apple logo. This should take about 8 seconds.

Back to carefree surfing. Hopes I hit a flash only site, strike that "carefree surfing" line.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

MacWorld's list of 10 rights and Wrongs on the iPhone

I've just found this. It's MacWorld's list of what Apple did right and wrong. The best synopsis of plusses and minuses I've found in my opinion. Probably because I agree with all of them. :)

The iPhone - The next Day

I've now had my iPhone for 24 hours plus. I've posted my first impressions of it yesterday now I've got a few more comments. This isn't my first "smartphone". I've been searching for a "smartphone" that wasn't actually STUPID for years. I've had just about everything but a blackberry, and none of them could unobtrusively bring my info with me on the road. I was either manually moving things or had to "rig" three different programs to massage the data to get it on my phone.

My last phone was a Motorola LG9900 - The "Env" you used to see advertised. I had this phone and my last 8 phones with Verizon. I dumped AT&T about 10 years ago because of their service and coverage, and seriously never wanted to go back even though they've had some "cool" phones that Verizon hasn't had in the past. Not that Verizon service was been a gem. For example I've been working with them for 2 years (that's right years), in attempts to access my phone account information via their web page. Verizon's version of "push" email on the phone works when it wants, being down 1 out of every 4 weeks. I'll never find out if they can get this stuff worked out as I'm no longer a Verizon customer.

I walked into the AT&T store Friday night with intrepidation, because of my past history. I walked out pleased with the experience. The line was minimal about 10 people and it was probably "over" managed with AT&T staff ensuring there was no cutting and answering questions people had about the iPhone. I've waited longer in line at the gas station or grocery store and didn't have the helpful and informative babysitting.

The guy who waited on me did offer accessories, but readily accepted my no thanks, unlike experiences reported by Gizmodo. Actually as he was completing my order, I changed my mind and tossed a car charger onto the counter as he was processing my charge card. There was no line when we finished and I had intended to buy a second iPhone for my wife but was told there was a 1 per limit when I first got to the counter. After my sale was completed I again asked about the limit, pointing out there was no line now and a limit didn't seem necessary??? My rep went and got the manager. After I presented my case, and he seemed convinced I wasn't going to "scalp" it on eBay, he relented to my logic and he sold me a second phone. I admire that decision working in a field that requires a lot of "policies", but I'm often frustrated when someone blindly follows them instead of assessing the current situation and making a logical and justified exception, ie. thinking on his feet.

So you can possibly tell my AT&T phobia is subsiding. The service after the fact has been stellar too. My activation was within a couple of hours, contrary to other reports. In fact I was still playing with the features on the phone when it came through. I didn't even realize I couldn't make a call until the notice arrived in my email, as I hadn't tried to place a call yet.

I realize I'm a small sampling, but I read the Gizmodo article about 3 problems at the AT&T store. So I feel justified in giving my experience of 1.

Ok, you want to know about the phone usage. Reception and clarity is better than my Env. I'm not the guy at the restaurant that everyone can hear his conversation, for the most part, I talk in a normal volume. With my Env I get more "huh's" than I did with my past phones. That seems to have gone away.

Cut and Paste - I was expecting a "stripped" down version of OS X but without cut and paste between the apps this is "crippled" a version of OS X. A fine distinction in choice of words but very relevant. Cutting/Copying and Pasting between apps on OS X is fundamental feature and is desperately missed on the iPhone. It would stop my whining about not being able to sync my Notes. (I could email myself and copy them into the notes app.)

I didn't think I'd miss MMS messages, but I do. That's fine and dandy that you can email pictures, but what about the rest of the unwashed masses that don't have email on their phone. My 2 sons quite often snap photos and send them to me via MMS messages. This has to be added and quick.

Individual ringtones - Another one that I didn't realize I depend upon. I miss the fact that I can "hear" who's calling. On the plus side it's nice to "see" who's calling. Since my photos in my address book sync with the iPhone their picture now displays when they call. A feature I've had in other phones but never utilized because it was a hassle getting the photos onto the phone.

The camera - Takes very nice pictures but needs more integration with online services like Flickr etc. Though I can wait for this "upgrade". :) I haven't missed the video feature.

Still no problems with the keyboard for me or the speed of the AT&T network. I needed the phone number for a restaurant last night. I Googled it, got their number, tapped it with my finger and made the call to see if they had tables. I felt like I was on one of the commercials. The only problem was I couldn't use the restaurant's site for the phone number as it was 100% Flash. :( Another issue that may show up more - no Flash.

Wifi sync - No other comment other than WHERE IS IT?

The best part - other than the Todo's my information on my computer is coming with me more than ever has in the past. Just like I've wanted for YEARS. And it's not because I've setup a script or needed some third party software or patch to get some of the data over. It's just moving there. It isn't perfect, but none of my "Smart" phones have been. Is this the closest yet, in a word: YES.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

My iPhone Experience & Review

Well I know there is plenty of information and blogs about the iPhone today and for the past several months. But I got my iPhone yesterday and I'd like to add my comments as I haven't seen some of these issues mentioned anywhere else.

Let me start by saying I've had them all..... I had Palm Pilots (I still have a Pilot 1000 w/ a serial number < 1000), Treos, Windows mobile phones, etc. I've been looking for a phone that is an extension of my home computer. Some have come close, but they either didn't sync without problems or crashed and reset themselves on a much too frequent basis.

I bought my iPhone at the Lehigh St. AT&T store in Allentown, PA. I was previously an AT&T wireless customer about 10 years ago (several name changes and mergers ago) and moved to Verizon because of both poor wireless coverage and poor customer service from AT&T. I'm happy to say they we VERY helpful yesterday. And so far the wireless service coverage has been better than Verizon's in my local area. I had a LOT of questions when I made the purchase and they rep was VERY patient and sought help when he didn't know the answer. Considering the pace at which things were moving in that store (it was an hour after the phones went on sale), and he could have been making easier sales, I appreciate his help.

Now onto what the reviewers missed:

Notes - you can't sync notes. Everything else on the phone syncs but you can't sync notes?? I'm assuming Leopard will fix this but no one mentioned this in any review?

Headphone jack - my Bose noise canceling headphones don't work, any standard headphones don't work. Only the headphones provided will work. Where's my adapter? Again where's this mentioned in the reviews?

I'm afraid to drop it. I don't know, maybe it's just all that glass, but people drop stuff. I've dropped my Motorola Env, my MacBook Pro they've survived. I can see a big crack in the screen from a 4 ft drop. Anyone do any drop tests???

Wireless speeds. I must be deprived, compared to the reviewers I've read. Their Verizon and Sprint networks must be MUCH quicker than mine. The AT&T wireless speeds aren't blazing, they're slower, but appearance wise they're not much slower load times than my Verizon Web 2.0.

The keyboard - no problem. If you can type on a Treo I can't see where this is a problem. You don't get a tactile response but you do get a visual (letter enlarges) and a sound response. Non issue for me.

Yes you can view MS Word files and PDF files but you have to have them attached to an email. There's no where, where I can save a document. And you can't download a file off the web. Having "applications" via Safari is a PAIN. My Google reader doesn't work. I'd sure like to add a few icons on the Home screen. :)

IMAP Folders - IMAP folders - Inbox, Draft, Sent, Trash. It doesn't sync my subfolders.

Battery life seems to be superb. My Env has been a power misery lasting forever. I've only had the iPhone for a few hours of use time but if they battery draw during that period is any indication it should be fine. (Though I bought the car charger just in case.) :) There's a great "usage" feature under the settings telling you how many minutes you've used the phone since last charge, data usage, etc.

Overall this may be the phone I've been waiting for. It seems to extend my desktop, brings my contacts, calendar with me and allows me to edit them on the go. I'm hoping the shortcomings above will either be fixed by someone pointing out what I missed or patches from Apple and AT&T in the future.

Delicate iPhone - NOT

One of the things that concerned me with my $600 phone, was it looked "brittle". Like if I dropped it an inch my screen would have a big crack right down the center. Well thanks to these folks, I'll still be careful, but I feel a little more confident.

PC World Stress Test


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Remote buddy to the rescue

tiny_remotebuddy.pngAbout a year or so ago I posted plea for uses for the little white remote I got with my MacBook Pro. Well I've found the solution. It's called Remote buddy. It allows you to take any software you can run on your MacBook and reprogram the six buttons on your remote to do just about any function in the software. It comes with a complete set of preprogrammed keys for a series of software. Itunes, NeoOffice, PowerPoint 2004, Keynote, can all be used with this software, just to name a few. It's not free but a mere 9.99 € which translates to less than $20 US. It's well worth it to consolidate and get rid of one more device to carry around for presentations.

Airlines are missing an opportunity

I just flew back from Las Vegas. (Nope, I didn't hit it big as I didn't gamble. It's really doesn't draw me. I rather get my adrenaline rush on a roller coaster.) I was sitting on a full plane, wondering when the last time I was on a flight that did NOT have every first class seat sold out. I turned to my wife and asked if she could remember the last time she was on a flight with first class sold out. She couldn't either and the guy next to her overheard and chimed in he couldn't either. We both agreed there's an opportunity being missed by the airlines. It's not exactly Business class, but something in between. I'd throw another $50 onto my fare to not sit butt to butt with the next guy. They aren't going to attract the new family with 2 young kids on their way to Disney world. But 40+ traveler who is a little more established and has more disposable income I'm sure would fill quite a few of these roomier seats. Hopefully someone at the USA domestic airlines will figure this out before my next trip.