Monday, October 31, 2011

iPhone 4s gets over 9mbps on At&t!

The iPhone 4s has an upgraded "4g" radio that gets 4g like speeds on at&t's network. I've pasted a speed test below and I was able to get over 9mbps download and 1mbps upload in the Cincinnati area. I've pasted a screenshot.

This may not be true 4g but it is a definite upgrade over the 3G in the iPhone 4. Something to consider depending on the quality of at&t's network in your area.

iPad 3 - Retina Display?

I'm looking forward to the iPad 3. Mostly because my 2-year old daughter has commandeered my iPad 2 and I'm back to using my iPhone 4GS for all of my news reading.

But I'm also looking forward to the possibility of an upgraded iPad display. is quoting a CNET report that a 2048×1536 display may be in the works. The only problem is producing these displays at a high enough volume to keep up with iPad sales. 

Now, for the most part, I'm satisfied with the display in the iPad 2. But when I go back and forth from the iphone to the iPad, I can definitely discern the difference. For video, its not as noticeable. But for text I can easily see pixels in the iPad. Text on the iphone is crystal clear. 

Its not a deal breaker but I've certainly gotten spoiled by the retina display. Lets hope they can ramp up production for a possible March launch of the iPad 3. 

Smart Phone Addiction

Interesting story from CNN on smartphone addictions. Guilty as charged.

Do these apply to you?

-- The urge to pull out a cellphone even when someone you're with is in the midst of a conversation with you.
-- Texting even while your child is telling you about his or her day at school, and realizing later that you can't remember the details of what your son or daughter has said to you.
-- Having the vague feeling that something hasn't really happened until you post it to Facebook or Twitter.
-- Feeling isolated and anxious if you are offline for an extended period of time.
-- Noticing that even when your family is all together in one room at home, each person is gazing at his or her own screen and tapping at a miniature keyboard.
I'm not a huge facebook poster but I have definitely pulled out a smart phone in the middle of a conversation with someone, which is admittedly quite rude. 

Sounds like a good idea for a New Years resolution. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

HDMI Cable Rip Off

Don't get ripped off on HDMI Cables

Cnet has a nice article on the difference between expensive and cheap HDMI cables. Bottom line: according to CNET there is no difference. They are all the same.

I have always bought my HDMI cables from (FYI, I am not a affiliate) You can get a 6ft cable currently for $3.50. I've bought many of them and they all work great.

HDMI is a digital connection. If you are getting a picture that looks like a quality picture, then you are getting everything that you are supposed to be getting. All of the data is coming through.

Take Cnet's advice and don't get ripped off by spending $85 on an HDMI cable.

How Many Boxes Do You Have Connected to Your TV's?

I love the idea of a simple TV set that has no external boxes connected to it yet gives me access to all of the content that I want to enjoy. Unfortunately, that dream has yet to be fulfilled. Right now there is no easy way to avoid having multiple boxes connected to your television.

Here are my 2 set-ups:

Upstairs TV - Wii, Apple TV, Directv HD-DVR

Downstairs TV - Xbox 360, Directv HD-DVR, Apple TV, Samsung Blu-Ray player

I find myself using Apple TV more and more because of its Netflix access and the ability to access all of my iTunes movies, Tv shows, and music...etc.

In both set-ups, I have all of my devices running through an AV receiver and then running an HDMI cable to the television. It cuts down on some of the clutter, but that still leaves a lot of cables and boxes.

I am constantly on the lookout for a simple solution but I have yet to find one. But as I see potential solutions I will let you know.

Here's a Samsung TV that has built-in Internet that lets you access Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and more. You will still most likely need some sort of cable box so while it cuts down on an internet connected solution like an Apple TV or Roku, its still not a perfect solution. However, it does look like a pretty sweet flat panel TV. Samsung UN55D8000 55-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D LED HDTV (Silver) - Affiliate Link

Friday, October 28, 2011

iTV - The future of Apple TV?

iTV - Great article from speculating on the future apple tv set. Its been widely reported that Steve Jobs claimed to crack the TV issue in conversations with Walter Isaacson that later appeared in the Steve Jobs bio book.

Apple has always considered Apple TV a hobby because of the problems in changing the power structure of the television industry. AppleTV is a great little device but there are huge holes in terms of live TV and sports programming. Until this type of programming is made available, it will be tough to Apple to provide a legitimate contendor to the cable companies.

Yes, you can subscribe to MLB and NHL sports packages and stream live sports via apple TV. But, local blackouts often prevent you from streaming games in your local market even with a season package. Apple's airplay feature also opens a lot of opportunities to stream great programming from your iPad to your appleTv set and watch shows on your big screen. But this adds a level of complexity to watching tv that will be difficult for many people to use regularly.

I am very curious to see how Steve Jobs cracked the TV. I've been wanted to cut the cord for quite a while but my sports addiction has prevented this from being a realistic option.

Nest - My next gadget - Thank you

The father of the ipod, Tony Fadell, announced what will certainly be the next most coveted gadget in my home. is now offerring a pre-order for the coolest looking thermostat you have ever seen. It is a learning thermostat that requires no programming. It apparently programs itself. Not only that, you can control it from an iphone from anywhere with an internet connection.

They claim to be able to cut 20-30% of off an average home's energy bill. Pretty impressive. And a good-looking device too. Thank you nest for adding a cool-factor to the dopiest gadget in my home.

Directv iPad App comes aLive

Directv has upgraded its already impressive iPad app to include live TV. There are currently 38 live tv channels available.

I had a chance to test it out and it works well. It integrates into the first page of the main screen of the app so you can scroll through the channels and touch whatever channel you want to view live. Plus, if you flick up on your ipad, whatever you are watching will pop up on your main directv-connected television

However, I would think of this as having an extra tv set with access to your directv channels (although limited to only 38 channels). You can basically use the ipad to carry your tv around the house. Pretty neat.

Quality is pretty good, although not as good as watching it using a directv box.

If you have an internet connected HD-DVR from directv you can also use the app as a very sophisticated remote control. You can set-up favorites, flick and scroll through a guide, and even bring up a mini-remote that mimics the standard directv remote. I like scrolling through the guide for a program without affecting what I am watching on the screen.

For this to work, you need to either run an ethernet cable from your router to your directv box or get a wireless kit that allows your directv box to get online.

The difference between Apple and Android

I was discussing the use of flash in mobile devices with a friend recently and that made me think of a fundamental difference between Apple's IOS and Google's Android.

Apple wants to control and optimize the entire user experience. Flash drains battery and doesn't run well on mobile devices so Apple doesn't allow it on their device. They curate the experience for the user.

Android basically says its your phone, you can do what you want with it. If you want to run your battery down in an hour using flash thats your decision.

Which side you stand on depends a lot on your own personal preferences. Personally, I like having a curated experience. I'm happy to pay Apple to weed out the junk for me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blogger iPhone app

I'm writing this post from the blogger iOS app. It has a very simple, clean interface with the ability to log into your google account and post from all of your blogs.

You can easily take a photo and add it to your post and include location data if your would like.

Not a ton of features but it's a nice simple app for creating quick posts on the go.

Using Evernote to Organize Office Documents

I've been a little Apple heavy with my posts lately so I thought I would shift gears and discuss one of my favorite software programs.......Evernote.

Evernote is a free program note taking program that syncs everything to the cloud. Their slogan is remember everything. Its great for taking notes but it is also good for so much more than that.

My wife uses it to organize recipes. You can easily clip webpages and import them into evernote. Once their they are permanently saved and accessible from multiple devices including smartphones and tablets. You can organize notes in separate notebooks and then tag them to provide even greater accessibility.

You can also store pictures, voice notes, plan trips, scan and organize receipts and much more. I recently used it at work to organize thousands of dimension sheets for industrial products. Rather than looking through a thick folder for a document, we can quickly and easily pull it up within evernote...saving hours of time.  Evernote uses OCR to identify text within your scans so that you can quickly find the document you are looking for.

You can buy a premium service for $5 a month that gives you additional monthly upload capacity and sharing capabilities to selectively share documents with other users.

iTunes Match is Nearly Ready to Launch

I just received an email from Apple stating that iTunes match is reseting the cloud to prepare for the public launch. I have turned off iTunes match on all of my devices and I would suspect that the product will be launching sometime next week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

iphone 4GS Siri and Other Impressions

I've had the iPhone 4GS from day one. Now that I've had it for a while, I thought I'd post a list of impressions. My previous iPhone was the 4G so I'll highlight some of the differences I've noticed.

  • The iPhone 4GS is very fast and I find that their is a noticeable difference compared to the 4G. 
  • Safari is lighting fast. I was shocked at how quickly web pages loaded. 
  • The upgraded camera is a welcome addition. Its a nicer more detailed picture. 
  • I love the image stabilization with the video camera. 
  • Still prefer my Cannon SLR camera for photos and videos whenever possible but the iPhone takes the place of a nice snapshot camera. 
  • AT&T "4G" in the Cincinnati area is pretty good and 5-7 mbps download speeds and 1 mbps upload. 
  • Still getting dropped calls from AT&T but quality seems to be a little better. 
  • Siri is very cool and I'm already using it for reminders, timers and the occasional text message. 
  • Siri has loads of potential and I can see it being extremely useful as it develops more. 

Unless you are a super geek like me, if you have an iPhone 4 you can probably stick with it and be happy. That being said, the 4GS is a really nice phone and I'm definitely enjoying the upgrade. 

iTunes Match is an Instant Hit

I've been able to participate in the developer preview of iTunes match and I can report that after some initial bugs, it seems to be working quote well now.

iTunes match allows you to get a digital copy of your entire music collection stored in the cloud. It costs $25 a year and you can access your entire music collection from iTunes or any IOS device and either download or instantly stream any song.

The initial process can take some time to set-up. A little longer than advertised. Itunes will provide an AAC digital copy for every song in your collection, but if you have music that isn't part of the vast itunes library, you will need to upload your own copy and that can take some time. However, it is much much quicker than competing services from google and amazon that require you to upload everything in your collection, which can take days or weeks depending on the size.

This is most useful if you have a large collection of CD's that you have ripped into itunes or if you have purchased mp3's from other services such as Amazon or Emusic. If you buy from itunes, you will automatically have access to any songs that you have purchased from the itunes store for no additional cost.

I tested this using the new Coldplay album Mylo Xyloto (Amazon Affiliate Link). I purchased the album via the amazon mp3 music store and imported the mp3's into my itunes account. Itunes match picked up on the new music and synced with the server. A few minutes later, the album was available for streaming or download in the music app on my iphone. Pretty cool.

Songs seem to take a few seconds to start streaming so if its something you listen to a lot you may want to just download a copy to your ios device. This is also a good idea if you are on a limited data plan because streaming music will use up your monthly data allowance.

Overall, its a great service at a low cost and I would recommend it to anyone that has a large digital music collection. It provides a great backup option and allows you to easily access your entire collection at any time.